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December 2015 Working Party

Our last working party for 2015 was accompanied by rather awful weather. This discouraged us from wandering about the site too much, such as to go down to the tender in the carriage shed. With it being our last working party for 2015 you'll find the dates for the first three months of 2016 in the Working Party Dates page. 

In the weeks leading up to this working party however, Clive from Team Wylfa had been progressing the connection of the vacuum pipes in the tender. Two of the chambers now permanently connected and with help from a new welder who has kindly welded 1” stubs into a pair of flanges, these were screwed respectively into one end of a tank and into the corresponding elbow and then everything bolted up. There's still more to be done before this can be ticked off the jobs list.

We spent the weekend concentrating on one job, that was the cylinder drain cocks' operating mechanism. This in turn had a number of aspects to the work. The first one being the task of finding the various components and we did find some down in the old clip shed where we were originally based. At the drain cock end it's a new arrangement to fit our new larger drain cocks so we also spent a bit of time working out the best method.

We need to add a plate across the three faces of the valves to give the linkage something to work against to prevent them from rotating loose when operated. We therefore decided to add an L sectioned plate across the faces and so started by measuring all the hole positions and making a template to check the fit.

A template in place for the linking plate between the three drain cocks. (Photo: Laurence Armstrong) The drain cock lay-shaft now in it correct orientation. (Photo: Laurence Armstrong)

A template in place for the linking plate between the three drain cocks (left)
and the drain cock lay-shaft now in it correct orientation that caused us so much grief early on (right).

In dealing with the linkage we'd sent a search party out (into the wet!) to look for pieces with one outing coming back with more sander linkage than drain cock linkage! What we did find with these componets however, was that they were not a pleasant sight being bent in various places, not to mention showing a life of repairs out in South Africa. One of the team therefore spent a considerable amount of time heating and straightening and re-welding repairs to the linkage rods.

Whilst checking out the linkage it became apparent that the lay-shaft that links the operation of the cab control to both cylinders had been positioned 180 out of place, ie one of the crank arms was pointing down rather than up. As this had been positioned before all the suspension and vacuum pipes had been positioned it quickly became obvious that this was not going to be a quick job!

We therefore had to remove the vacuum pipe and one of the leaf springs. After a bit of messing we did get the lay-shaft positioned the correct way up.

So that was it. Progress made, if frustratingly slow at times for various reasons, but a new year will bring new vigour and hopefully the ticking-off of this job.

See you in the new year.

November 2015 Working Party

This was our penultimate working party for 2015 and a cold one at that with the weather having recently turned to being more winter like. With it comes the risk of our group suffering the seasonal bout of cold and flu as happened to your 'scribe' here who unfortunately had to cancel his visit with a dose of something 'orrible! Even so there were still eight of the group in attendance over all or part of the weekend making it a very worthwhile and well attended working party for this time of year.  

So what was achieved? On the 'jobs completed' list now goes the second lubricator support bracket. The left hand support was the first to be finished a couple of months ago and now that on the right hand side has also been completed and finished in primer and ready for an undercoat. Hopefully one of the smaller jobs that Team Wylfa can do during the week.

Another job completed was the reverser arm.  The observant amongst you will have noticed in previous photographs that this had been previously trial fitted, however it had to be removed. It's now back in place and all seems well so hopefully it'll stay this time. 

With the wheels now in place as previously reported, it gives us a wider range of jobs that we can do the loco frames. One of those was the trial fitting of the brake blocks. As these are new castings and all the brake rigging had recently been refitted it was worth a check to make sure there were no underlying problems. Fortunately all these went in place with no issues observed. Also trial fitted were the round tender spectacle plates recently received from being cast. 

A new brake block fitted in place. (Photo: Martin Coombs)

A new brake block fitted in place.

Of the jobs still being progressed, the main one here is that of the Vacuum pipes in both loco frames and the tender with the route that the pipe will be taking in the frames being finalised. Again more pipes were cut and threaded over the weekend, but there's still more to do before we can tick this one off.

All told a good turnout and a very productive weekend - and a very encouraging weekend with jobs being completed. So that leaves us with one more weekend of 2015, the December working party. That no doubt will also include our annual Christmas meal.

October 2015 Working Party

The October working party saw a number of the smaller jobs ticked off the 'to do' list. It's always satisfying when that happens.

The first of those was the fitting into place of the last drain cock on the right hand cylinder. The middle, valve chest drain had been difficult to fit on the last attempt as it would not go fully into place. After another trial filling to make sure the thread wasn't bottoming out we ran the tap through the threads to clear out and foreign matter then tried again and this time all was well. The thread was then packed and sealed in place and the valve faces aligned with the others.

Our new piston heads. (Photo: Laurence Armstrong) All three right hand drain cocks in place. (Photo: Laurence Armstrong)

The new piston heads (left) and the right hand drain cocks in place (right).

The other job ticked off was the trial assembly of the rear (Krauss-Helmholtz) pony truck suspension. This was to make sure that everything is in place and present for when we come to permanently fit the truck. This was the last piece of the suspension to be fitted and now that it's all in place we note that we're a couple of pins missing and a 'foot' from on top of an axle box.

Whilst one group was doing this another was continuing the manufacture of the support brackets for underneath the right hand running plate. This is to support the lubricator on that side. By the end of the Sunday these had been fitted and the lubricator bolted into place on these.

The new brackets to support the right hand lubricator. (Photo: Laurence Armstrong)

The support bracket for the right hand lubricator as seen under the running plate.

Another ongoing job is one being worked on by the Team Wylfa, that of  the pipework to connect our four vacuum chambers together in the rear of the tender body. Numerous fittings and short lengths of pipework need making for this so the job is very time consuming.

September 2015 Working Party

The September working party took place during on the 19th and 20th, the weekend following Superpower. Unfortunately the writer was again unable to attend, his back letting him down on this occasion, so these brief notes have been passed on from those there. 

With it being two weekends on the run and being just after Superpower the team were somewhat thin on the ground with only five people there., however, one of the encouraging features of this weekend was the arrival of a number of new castings for the loco. These include the axlebox packing pieces for the tender, our new piston heads and the loco brake blocks.

On the work front, and with the main driving wheels having being refitted, the main task of the weekend was the fitting of the main loco springs. The operation was a bit like a jigsaw, finding which piece went where, as well as discovering those that still need locating! We'll be restricted by what we can do as the suspension arrangement is fully compensated so we won't be able to get it all fitten and load bearing until the pony trucks are in place.

Some of the springs after being fitted. (Photo: Peter Randall)

Some of the springs after being fitted.

Superpower weekend

Whilst not formally a working party weekend a number of the team where there to be on hand to show progress to visitors and to be on the receiving end of a number of donations as well. We were very fortunate that the loco had been re-wheeled in time for the event (see the News section) and this gave a real boost to all concerned, both the team and visitors.

At the same time, and during the Society AGM held over the same weekend the original South African cab plates from No 134 were also on display. Again see the News section for more details.

August 2015 Working Party

The August working party was held over the Bank Holiday weekend to give three working days, however as a number of the group have family commitments there were a few of the team missing, including the writer here! One result of my not being there is a complete lack of photographs.

There were two main areas of activity over the weekend, one being that associated with the mechanical lubricators. This included the continuation of manufacture of the brackets to take the weight of the lubricators on the running plate. This is a somewhat fiddly task getting the brackets into place so as they perform the desired function. Secondly was the continuation of the manufacture of the linking brackets that will drive the lubricators from the motion. 

It has been mentioned in earlier reports that we're checking the alignment of all the valve gear components and machining those in need of attention where required. This was another job that was continued this weekend.

July 2015 Working Party

With us having had to move our July working party forward from our usual 3rd weekend of the month we found ourselves back at Dinas only two weeks after the June working party. This weekend however, was also chosen to hold our annual Braai on the Saturday evening. 

As to be expected the areas of work covered were similar to the June working party, with one of those being the continuation of the grease lubrication pipework, including the attachment onto the frames of the grease point block for the front pony truck's side control arm ball joints.

The manufacture of the lubricator mounting brackets was another job progressed, and one that was continued from last month as was the refurbishment and re-assembly of the valve gear.

A new job started was the final fitting and sealing into place of the cylinder drain cocks. We did the left hand cylinder on Saturday by removing the drain cocks that had been trial fitted into place and refitting them with all the joints hemp sealed and fully tightened into their correct alignment. The right hand cylinder's drain cocks were started on Sunday but one drain needs further attention and so will be completed next time.

Clive from Team Wylfa is manufacturing the connecting pipes for our vacuum chambers. There are four vacuum tanks that we inherited from Boston Lodge and these are being fitted into the tender. All four require connecting together and this will be in a series / parallel combination, ie two pairs of two in series with them then joined in parallel to in effect form one large chamber. On Saturday Clive was therefore continuing in his task of cutting and threading all the required pipework, a job he's also pursuing during the Thursday evening Team Wylfa working parties. 

A selection of the recently acquired boiler fittings, including the two NGG16 safety valves that fit our NG15. (photo: Laurence Armstrong) The left hand drain cocks secured and aligned into place. (photo: Laurence Armstrong)

A selection of the recently acquired boiler fittings, including the two NGG16 safety valves that fit our NG15 (left) and 
The left hand drain cocks secured and aligned into place (right).

One of our members had picked up a consignment of fittings from Tilbury Docks in London. These were a selection of safety valves, Ejectors, and  Vacuum Brake equipment that we'd purchased from our contacts in South Africa. Most of these are all complete however, where there are some bits missing we compatibility with those on our existing equipment on the NGG16s. Some of these have patterns already made so it'll be easy to manufacture replacements. We acquired NGG16 safety valves to standardise with those we already have and whilst we though they should be the same 'fitting' we did do a quick check on our boiler to make sure!

June 2015 Working Party

Held on the Summer Equinox weekend of the 20th and 21st June, we had what was one of the lesser attended weekends than of recent times. Although it has to be said we still achieved quite a lot.

On the lubrication front, the pipework continued for the grease lubrication to the rear pony truck's pivot points and side compensation ball joints. This also included the manufacture of its grease nipple termination block for attachment under the running board. At the same time as this the two way grease termination block for the front ball joints was also completed.

The rear pont trucks grease lurication pipework. (photo: Laurence Armstrong) Riveting needed here (photo: Laurence Armstrong)

The rear pony trucks grease pipework and grease nipple block now fitted (left) and 
the location, on the outside of the frames, where the left hand ball joint will fit and rivet just above it needing hot riveting (right).

We were also hoping to fit the last rear pony truck side compensation ball joint onto the frames, however, this was not possible as it would foul us being able to fit a rived just above. There are two rivets needed in that area so next time will be an exercise of hot riveting! We did however start to paint the side compensation arms for the rear pony truck.

As regards the oil lubrication, the mechanical lubricator was fitted to the right hand running plate. This is the lubricator that will provide the  oil to the cylinders, and other points that require cylinder oil lubrication. This in itself was a multi-tasked job and involved the drilling of the mounting holes and the cutting of a slot in the running plate. This is needed to pass the arm through to the motion from which it will be driven. Some time was then spent making the arm that passes through the running plate as well as the one for attachment to the combination lever. 

On the left hand side the same treatment had already been done to the mechanical lubricator fitted there that will provide the bearing oil lubrication to axle boxes etc. Both arms had been made and attached by two of the group during a previous visit. Some calculations have been done to work out the throw in various cut-off positions of the driving arm attached to the combination lever however it was decided to leave the final hole drilling and rod fitment until the wheels are on and we can double check the motion's movement in practice. 

The trial assembled left hand valve gear and new lubricator arms. (photo: Laurence Armstrong) The trial assembled right hand valve gear and new lubricator arms. (photo: Laurence Armstrong)

The trial assembled left hand valve gear and new lubricator arms. (left) and that on the right hand side (right).

In fitting the valve gear to the two sides some measurements were made as regards the two pivot points in relation to the valve cross-head spindle as well as the reverser die-bar slot to establish how much wear there is. There were a number of discrepancies in the measurements and those on the left hand side will be corrected when we add the new pin sleeves. We took the opportunity to machine the reverser die-block slot and so we'll need a new block manufactured.

The right hand side however, is a different story! This is showing damage indicative of the loco having had a serious problem at some time, and is why the right hand side cylinder is a replacement. It was bad enough to have us scurrying to check upon the condition of №133's radius arm. We'll see if we can remove this easily to assess its condition then decide whether we repair ours or use 133's.

Whilst the left hand lubricator is in place it still needs a support bracket underneath the running plate to take the weight of the heavy Chinese lubricator. That has been started at the last working party and continued at this.

There was some tidying-up to be done on the mounting brackets for the vacuum brake pipe at the front and this was duly completed. Hopefully this won't need removing again now.

In the background Team Wylfa have been woring away during their midweek evening sessions. One job they've been looking at is the steam powered Stones turbo generator. The bearings were seized on this but have now been freed. It's likly it'll need completely stripping to get access to these and replace if needed. Once refurbished we'll run a few tests on it to be able to design our electrical/electronic circuits to our needs.

The Stones steam turbo generator (photo: Laurence Armstrong)

The Stones steam turbo generator that will be used on №134.

May 2015 Working Party

The May working party was held the same weekend as the railway's Rail Ale festival so there was quite a lot happening around the station and loco shed area throughout the weekend.

One job completed was the fitting of the front pony truck's side compensation arms onto the frames. The units had been refurbished and altered to grease lubrication and were assembled at the last working party - see below. In the intervening time Team Wylfa had finished painting the units so these were duly bolted to the frames this weekend.

The re-assembled front pony truck side control arms bolted into place. (photo: Laurence Armstrong) Fitting the lubrication to the rear side control unit's ball joint. (photo: Laurence Armstrong)

A re-assembled front side control arms attached to the frame (left) and 
work starting on the lubrication to the equivalent unit for the rear pony truck (right).

At the other end of the frames work has started on the grease lubrication pipework run for the the rear pony truck's side compensation arm ball joints.

The main grease lubrication pipework on the right hand side is more or less complete other than the odd bit of tweaking into place. This is now ready for painting.

Finally to mention is the fitting of the two main lubricators. The one on the left hand 'fireman's' side saw most work taking place with the required holes and slots being prepared in the running plate. As this is a heavy unit, and more so when filled with oil, the running plate is being reinforced with a couple of brackets underneath that will transfer the lubricator's weight to sturdier parts of the frames structure.  


April 2015 Working Party

Things are really starting to look good with our NG15 as more and more components are added to make it look so much like a locomotive again.

This weekend was shared with the K1 group who were there dismantling their loco to get it ready for its boiler inspection, so it was generally a busy weekend all round the shed. The first jobs however, was getting K1 round to the loco shed where it could be worked on and moving various components and clearing room from around our NG15 so we could get to that. This always takes a bit of time at the beginning of the weekend and again at the end to but it all back where we found it.

So what did we manage this weekend? One job was the continuation from the previous weekend's working party of the re-assembly of the front pony truck's side control arm ball joint assembly. This fits to the frames close to the front of the loco and shares its attachment with the front most suspension hanger support. The work involved a trial assembly of the unit to the frames, the sourcing of the required nuts and bolts and the conversion of some of those bolts to take split pins. The ball joint was then packed with grease, fully assembled, tightened and secured with split pins then a coat of primer was added. Hopefully Team Wylfa can complete the painting during one their evening sessions then we can assemble the unit onto the frames next time.

The re-assembled front pony truck side control arm and ball joint (photo: Laurence Armstrong) Fitting the side control spring unit onto the pont truck frame section. (photo: Laurence Armstrong)

Components for the front pony trucks side control: 
A re-assembled ball joint ready to attach to the frame (left) and the spring unit being fitted to the pony truck frame section (right).

The item that fits onto these ball joint arms is the side control spring unit and this, following the re-assembly with new springs a couple of months back, was being bolted to the pony truck frames. This involved the conversion of a number of bolts to countersunk head and then converting them to take split pins.

The valve heads and associated valve gear were trial assembled into place. This was so as the two mechanical lubricators could also be trial fitted so as the best way of adding the linkage could be established. The left hand side with the Chinese lubricators was done an Saturday and the right with its lubricator (of the same type as used by the NGG16s in the WHR fleet) was assembled on the Sunday.

The valve gear and mechanical lubricator being trial fitted on the left hand side. (Photo: Laurence Armstrong)

The valve gear and mechanical lubricator being trial fitted on the left hand side.

This then involved numerous measurements, and visits to NG15 №133 in the yard, to make sure the lubricators were not foul of the boiler, or as with the Chinese lubricator, that at worst all we'd need was to add a indent in the boiler cladding. This indent will be similar to that used on some standard gauge loco's - see the Duchess of Hamilton just below the nameplate. The right hand side lubricator was proving a bit more complex to find the best position so some more thought will be needed next time.

And finally to mention is the grease pipework. The main runs on the right hand side had their last few end nipples brazed on so this is more or less completed, the left having been done some time ago. This just leaves the pony truck lubrication pipework to manufacture and fit.

March 2015 Working Party

Once again a good turnout, regardless of one member breaking down on the way over to Wales and another going off sick. We were able to continue with what is now fairly regular task of the grease lubrication pipework as well as lending a hand with the dismantling of K1.

On our NG15 the last clip was fitted for the lubrication pipework for the rear pony truck pivots and side control arm ball joints and add two clips to hold the pipework for the front side control arm ball joints. As the only place we could take the pipe to be clear of the area needed for the revised draw-bar arrangement in the front dragbox it involved the removal of a bracket that once supported the smokebox washout drain. If we decide to reinstate the drain we'll use a different assembly.  

We also started the manufacture of the grease nipple block that will fit onto the loco frames and that will provide the central grease point for the two front ball joints.

Pipework fitting on the driver's side continued with the annealing of the pipework to get it to bend and fit better and also to have the ferrules added to their ends. These will allow the pipework to fit into their respective grease fitting.

Brazing on of pipe ferrules. (photo: Laurence Armstrong) Brazing on of pipe ferrules. (photo: Andie Shaw)

Brazing on of pipe ferrules (left) and the axleboxes being machined at Boston Lodge (right).

At Boston Lodge on the Ffestiniog Railway our driving wheel axleboxes were being machined to size. Once these are done there shouldn't be anything to stop us re-wheeling the loco during one of the forthcoming working parties, hopefully the June working party.

Once again with sufficient numbers available we were able to lend a hand on dismantling K1. Some of the team therefore were helping remove the tubes from the boiler as well as removing, labeling and storing cab fittings.

February 2015 Working Party

Confirming the feeling of optimism that was mentioned in last month's report, we were immediately presented with our new springs as mentioned in the site update a couple of weeks ago. This will now allow us to start the reassembly of quite a few items on the loco. 

Our new main springs for the NG15. (photo: Andie Shaw)

The new springs arrived from the manuafcturers in South Africa.

The first and main task was the re-assembly of the pony truck side compensation springs into their housing followed by the bolting of the housing onto the pony truck frames. The next task will be the fitting of these back into the frames once the loco is re-wheeled onto the main driving set. The manner in which this will be done has still to be worked out, but in the end may involve fitting the spring unit into the frames then adding the pony truck then re attaching the two together.

Meanwhile work continued on the grease lubrication pipework with the manufacture and assembly of pipes on the driver's side. 

With the number of people attending the weekend we were again able to spare effort to help on K1. On this occasion some of the team started with boiler tube removal.

January 2015 Working Party

Well here we are, another year in the restoration of NG15 №134. A year that has a feeling of optimism to it as we really are close to re-wheeling the loco onto its driving wheels, hopefully a couple of months away now. There are plenty of components arriving back  from being refurbished by Boston Lodge or other outside contractors, and on top of that we're getting very good turnouts at the weekends. 12 this weekend, with plenty of those being 'youngsters' joining in the fun.

The NG15 volunteer team seen here on NGG16 №87, one of the service fleet locos that the team also worked on.

The NG15 volunteer team seen here on NGG16 №87, one of the service fleet locos that the team also worked on.

So what did we do? Well with the number of volunteers attending and with limited time available due to the Christmas holidays to produce a complete plan of work for this weekend some of the team helped with a few jobs on K1 as well as the operational NGG16 fleet. This included removal of boiler washout plugs, removal of blowdown valves and cleaning of tubes. As there was plenty of working inside fireboxes and smokeboxes a number of our team were suitably blackened by the end of each day.

On our NG15, the main area of work involved the lubrication pipework. This was in two areas of activity, the first being the coaxing into place of the previously bent pipework on the driver's side of the loco. Here the nipples were brazed onto the end of the pipe and then fastened into their respective grease point fitting. Unfortunately some of these fitting had not been fully tightened into place so this necessitated the removal of some components in order to tighten the fitting properly before refitting the component piece back in place. Once the nipples and pipework was connected the pipes were tweaked into place before being finally clipped down. 

The driver's side lubrication pipework being coaxed into place The driver's side rear pony truck side compensation arm ball joint housing.

The lubrication pipework on the driver's side (left) and one of the pony truck side compensation arm ball joints (right).

The second aspect of the lubrication pipework involved the fitting of clips in preparation for the pipe-run to be made to lubricate the rear pony truck side compensation arm ball joints that are fitted onto the frames as shown above. The fitting of these clips is taking  a long time as the plate for the frames is quite hard such that it's typically taking around 10 to 15 minutes to drill each pilot hole, and there are two for each clip, then following a rest, there's another 3 to 4 minutes to enlarge each hole to the size ready for tapping. Then many are in a position where there's a local obstruction that fouls the arm of a conventional tap wrench so other methods are used that take considerably longer.  

By the end of the weekend all the clips were in place for the rear ball joints so next time the clips will be made and fitted for front pont truck ball joint lubrication. This looks to be a much simpler run of pipes so should be quite quick. Hopefully!


Earlier working party reports can be found in the Archive




All content webmaster or as indicated - This page updated 12th December 2016 by Laurence Armstrong