It has been a busy time for many new build projects since the last news round-up, with progress that can fairly be called momentous for the Patriot, news of a sad set-back for the Clan and no shortage of solid progress elsewhere.
45551 The Unknown Warrior
In a milestone development, the inside cylinder for the Patriot has been successfully cast at the Coupe Foundry in Preston. Moreover, as project chairman David Bradshaw wrote in a comment to May’s news update, the cost of all three cylinders is expected to be as low as £30,000 thanks to the use of a polystyrene pattern and lower than expected machining costs. The innovative pattern technology is likely to be significant for other new build projects, as it allows a significant saving of both money and time, not only in respect of cylinders but other components too: some front bogie items for the Patriot have already been produced in the same way, and other components will follow.
Even more impressively, the project has been passing other milestones at the same time. The smokebox has been completed at Crewe, and was on display at the – by all accounts very successful – members’ day at Llangollen on June 15th. The driving wheels were due for completion at Buckfastleigh by the end of this month, and will go to Tyseley for the fitting of axleboxes before being moved to Llangollen.
All components for the front bogie are now ordered, and it is hoped that it might even be fitted while the chassis is on display at the Tyseley open day in October. The copper for the firebox has been ordered, at a substantially lower price than was originally envisaged, and it is hoped that work will start on it before the end of the year. Other components are also on the way, including the running plate (being made now) and the cabsides (quotations being sought, with revised drawings now completed).
The project is therefore on course to have a very complete-looking rolling chassis by the end of the year, with one very obvious gap: the boiler. Accordingly, the appeal to fund this major item has been launched in earnest, with supporters invited to buy ‘boiler bonds’ to whatever value they wish, rather than as part of a regular covenant, to raise the estimated £500,000 needed.
For more fine detail on all this progress, see this post and the wider thread on NatPres.
Unfortunately while the Patriot makes great progress, the Clan project has encountered a significant setback. Its existing main frame plates have been discovered not to be fit for purpose on account of holes drilled in incorrect locations, and the horn guides being twisted and incorrectly welded. Rectifying the problems is reckoned to be only marginally cheaper than having new frames produced; the fabrication, profiling and welding is being done by one company. It has also become clear that the frame plates were not from the reported ‘special rolling’ of imperial-measurement plate, but from 32mm plate.
This disappointing discovery raises the question of how many of the project’s components might also have problems: they are currently dispersed across the country, and the team are in the process of gathering them in one place, and checking them all. The company’s press release states that all components to be assembled by Ian Riley at Bury needs to have the relevant Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) paperwork in place; this seems to suggest that some components that should have this might not. This checking process is now a priority for the team, which effectively took charge of the project in April 2011.
More happily, the first of the lower combined frame stretchers has been cast; see this news item for pictures and more details.
The AGM takes place on July 13th at STEAM in Swindon, and supporters are being encouraged to attend for more information on how the recently discovered problems came to pass.
32424 Beachy Head
A detailed update on progress has been published on the Brighton Atlantic: the cylinders are now fitted to the frames, a laborious process due to difficulties with access to the necessary points of the frames; and many other components are fitted or on their way, including the rear cylinder covers, slide-bars and motion brackets. The boiler and firebox are also progressing – see here for full details.
1014 County of Glamorgan
Another highly detailed update has been published by the County group. This includes planning for the loco, tender chassis and tender superstructure to be all on the same road by the end of 2013. A meeting to review progress on the boiler at Crewe has set a completion date for it of December. The use of poly patterns, following the Patriot’s positive experience, is also being actively considered.
The 567 group has been working hard on the issue, highlighted in the last update, of the strength of the front end of the locomotive. Scrutiny of photographs of the locomotives in service has shown evidence of front-end damage in service, and the group has uncovered details of improvements made to the frames to counter this. They have also found slight inaccuracies in the paper drawings, as the process of creating CAD drawings has shown the lines and radii do not entirely match up. Many small components have been drawn, and a major design review meeting is imminent in July, after which a frame cutting drawing will be hopefully be released for cutting.
The pattern for the 82045 cylinders has had its first cylinder cast… but not for this locomotive. It will be fitted to class 4 mogul 76079 on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and the pair for 82045 cast once the machining has proved satisfactory. Meanwhile, riveting on the front end of the chassis is complete and attention now turns to the rear.
The final driving wheel was due for casting at the Boro Foundry on May 14th, and progress continues on the cab. A local BBC News report on the project is available here, and suggests both that the engine could be completed within two years, and even that a second could follow.
Both trailing driving wheels and the rear drag box have now been cast for this locomotive. Refurbishment of the donor wheels, axleboxes and horn guides is required, and a handful of further components needed, to allow the completion of a rolling chassis.
2999 Lady of Legend
The firebox for the Saint is also well through its schedule of work. Meanwhile, a second GWR standard No.1 boiler, from ex-Barry 2861 (whose cylinders will be used on 4709), was fitted to the frames on June 1st as a template for setting up pipework.
2001 Cock o’ the North
The Doncaster P2 trust is at the stage of ordering frames for the locomotive, and has appealed on Facebook for suitable premises at which to store them, and possibly also assemble the locomotive.
The Claud Hamilton group has had some organisational changes. Chris Allenby has stepped down as chairman, with Dan Knights filling the post on an interim basis and three new board members appointed. Newsletters are now being made available to members.
New build Dean Goods?
A superficially unlikely, but undeniably active, new project has emerged on Facebook: a new build GWR Dean Goods 0-6-0. Why unlikely? Because unlike all the other new build projects, this one aims to build an engine already represented in preservation, by 2516 in STEAM, Swindon. The originators of the project note that it has never steamed since withdrawal and would be very hard to extract from its current home; they have located a Dean Goods boiler at the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway, intended for a pannier tank but now redundant after a more authentic boiler was located. A recent update however indicated that talks to purchase this have “halted”. Indeed, after a period of very active updates on Facebook, including reports of correspondence and phone calls that one might not ordinarily expect to see made public, the group has, “decided to go into non-public mode,” for a period. They have, however, visited STEAM to photograph and “measure” the existing engine (the purpose or use of such measurements is unclear, as they would surely not be any substitute for proper original drawings), and are even talking in terms of acquiring custodianship of it. As with the other ‘Facebook new builds’ New Build Steam will keep an eye on the project, and include it in the projects regularly covered on the site if it appears to be making real progress.