Nick Simpson, M.P.D. Manager, gives us an update on what's been happening at the Motive Power Department this past month.

This summer, as well as keeping the gold services running, the shed is working on its long term restoration projects. These projects are vital to the long term future of the railway as each steam locomotive runs for 10 years then is withdrawn for boiler repairs and mechanical overhaul. These long term projects are then required to come into traffic to fill the gaps created, it is no good having everything repaired and running all at once, it is a continuous roll out of traction, including diesel rebuilds. That being said the M.P.D. is currently overhauling No. 34101, No. 44806, No. 75029, D5032 and the boiler of Bagnall No. 2702. We are also helping finish the Q6 after N.E.L.P.G. have completed the overhaul of the engine.


No. 34101 – work over the summer sees the boiler rebuild continuing, this involved marking out and drilling hundreds of holes in both the inner and outer boiler sections so that the sections can be put together for welding. This welding all needs preparation, which is done and then supporting to stop deflection.


No. 44806 – Locomotives frame works, the wheel sets have been removed using our in house lifts and many hands. During spring the frames have been stripped, cleaned and readied, which has seen the lift completed, wheels out and then lowering of the frames onto frame support stands.

Work then turned to cutting off the old buffer beam as it was life expired, the front drag box has been examined, cleaned and checked for straightness. The new buffer beam material is on site after ordering new steel for replacement. The whole frames have been cleaned over this time period, both internal and external, down to bare metal and crack testing has been completed. The frames are in good condition, the brake cylinder is stripped to components for examination and the rear drag box examined also. Almost every component removed has been cleaned, repaired and painted in readiness to rebuild when the fabrication is finalised.

No. 75029 – The boiler work forms the majority of work ongoing for this project, the foundation ring has had welding done to build up where it has worn in its life. Hole drilling, grinding profiles and preparing the ring for its fitting is the main task undertaken this summer.

D5032 – We have had the main generator overhauled by external contractors which arrived back to shed last month.

No. 2702 – The boiler over winter was fully stripped, all stays removed, barrel sections taken off then fully examined for cracks, thicknesses and condition report. Work this summer has been to mark out the new barrel sections, fit and align the barrel to the centre line of the firebox.

Q6 – N.E.L.P.G. (North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group) have been working tirelessly to ready the loco following the lifting of the boiler into the frames. The loco is almost complete and they have asked the M.P.D. to help lift and fit the pipe work in the smoke box. The site's fitters have fit both new main steam pipes ready for steam test when the group are ready, we are on hand to help with that also.

Work behind the scenes on these machines brings different challenges to the service engines that run every day, but time spent doing this work now, rectifying faults, wear and problems brought on by age, helps the locos run at the best of there ability when they get into traffic for the passengers and the railway to enjoy.

Nick Simpson, Motive Power Department Manager

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