The latest blog post from Nick Simpson, M.P.D. Manager, on the tasks and challenges facing the team at Grosmont Engine Sheds:

As the busy summer season approaches us we have to get the locomotives into routine patterns for the washouts, it really is one-in and one-out during this part of the season as each steam loco requires a 28-day washout and examination.

Each washout takes approximately 5 days, as the locomotives boiler is gradually cooled, water drained, washout plugs removed, washed out, examined, rebuilt, refilled, steam raised and tested. We also take this opportunity to perform any repairs that might be necessary on the machines, so each engine could have upwards of eight fitters working on it at any one time; all the running fleet go through this  process. As water boils, it leaves behind particles that build up over the running, which need swilling out. This critical work is performed by the team to ensure that the locomotives run for the full 28 days in between the washouts.

Along-side this we try to keep rebuilding the locomotives that are in the shed on long term project work, for example the newly made in-house fitted bolts (shown above) for 75029 are all machined to size and then fitted.

White metalling of various components, such as Repton’s cross head (above), will then be machined before hand scraping and refitting. Other work on the rebuilds see the internal frames of No. 44806 fully descaled, this takes many hours to get back to bare metal to remove old paint, rust and grease. Once complete we can be crack testing and then applying new paint to protect the metal while the loco is in service.

In the boiler shop, Hartland’s boiler moves from the drilling of first size holes, to grinding prep for the fitting out of inner to outer boiler sections and prepping work for the welder to come on-site alongside the boiler inspector so the two largest sections can be welded together as one. The foundation ring for No. 75029 is currently being welded to reduce the rivet hole sizes, build up and wear and make the profiles square once more.  

Our apprentices are learning on the job, they are spread around the fitting staff so they get the most experience possible, as the work-load and priorities shift as traffic demand increases they are right in the thick of making parts, washing out, fabricating, learning how to examine motion and boilers, hammer test, coaling engines, and everything else the department does!

Our local cast iron supplier, William Lanes continue to cast products weekly for our fleet, as the mileages increase due to traffic demand so does our need for cast iron brake blocks, fire bars, side carriers and mouth piece protectors. We make patterns on site which they use to make all these bespoke products. They also do all our bronze foundry work, the more the wheels turn the more we wear bronze bushes, piston packings and valve bodies. Lanes are an integral part of our railway machine that we work with weekly.

Diesel locomotives are just as important, Class 25 D7628 has had a new set of diesel pumps installed, governor setting and is currently on 6 monthly exam so it's in the best state for the summer timetable and daily running to Whitby. No. 37264 has had more paint applied and is in traffic. We have done a shunter swap of No. 08556 to Grosmont for repairs to the electrical system exam, a rewire and examination and No. 08495 to the Permanent-Way for track work.

No. D5032's main generator is coming back from the contractors after its overhaul and will be installed along with the rebuilt turbo charger (above) we did in-house.

On site developments this month has seen the wheel drop internal lighting finished and commissioned and new point signage around the yard. Contactors are also due to the wheel drop to install new rams this week.

Nick Simpson, M.P.D. Manager. - Previous Entry