Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Two little jobs that I was please Trevor asked me to help with. First, to put new threads onto a pair of original cast brass oilers that he had found. These were in a very dirty state and had the incorrect size of thread to fit Sirapite's Trunk Guides. So I was able to machine these to the correct thread for the engine, and generally clean them up. Secondly I turned a new new back plate for the pressure gauge. This was made from a piece of Mahogany that I had stored away for the last twenty years from a time when I used to do a fair amount of restoration wood turning. The finish is given by pure Bees wax from hives I used to keep ages ago before Trevor was even a teenager!! No, I'm not giving a date.

Lots of Detailed parts are being fitted.

Come the early part of August 2009, and Sirapite has been slowly becoming more of a machine and less of a basic boiler and fire box unit. You will see that the Buffer beams have been fitted as have the running boards along side the wheels. On the upper deck much work has taken place in fitting the pistons (high and low pressure), the piston and connecting rods complete with the cross-heads and trunk guides. Work is in progress so as to be ready for the return of the crankshaft and fly-wheel which are being reground and re-engineered to bring them back to a truly 'As new' state' if not better. The work here is of such a high standard that this engine will last for well over another centuary, and with basic maintenance should provide fault free operation.

Another major cfitting is prepared for assembly

The original buffer housings (the Red bit) were all damaged beyond safe use, so new castings had to be made and machined to size. Then the large springs were also broken, so these too had to be manufactured to an estimated specification. New hold-fast bolts were also made and slowly the buffers were assembled and made ready to be mounted on brand new 'Buffer Beams'. May be I shall be able to post a picture of this work in the near future. Helping Trevor with some of these simpler tasks has shown me just how careful and methodically he prepares each procedure. His experience and understanding of this type of work is really quite extraordinary.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Wheels at last

It might be thought that it would be a straight forward job to lift the engine up by crane and just role the wheels into position and lower away. Not a bit of it, We did not have a crane big enough to lift the weight, so the engine was lifted up and the front only and the first pair of wheels set onto the rails and rolled into position. The main bearings need a little persuasion to bed down correctly, but at least the gear teeth meshed very nicely. Then the rear was jacked up and the remaining legs removed. Again the rear set of wheels were carefully rolled into position and with a little cunning and carefully applied 'brute force' the wheels were coaxed into a position which allowed the bearings to line up AND the gear teeth to pull themselves into the proper mesh. Some way now needed to be devised so that Trevor could move this heavy assembly in and out of the shed when needed with out having to strain his back any more than he already has. As more and more parts are fitted to the engine basic 'crow-bar' action is not an option.

Some catching-up to do!

Sand Blasting away the rust:

I see that the date this work took place was the 21st April 2009 . So much has happened since I last opened this Blog, that this all seems a difficult memory. I really must try and keep more up to date. Anyway, the engine was duly cleaned and the immediately under-coated with a metal primer paint. Because there were so many Nooks and crannies, this whole job stretched over two days . The time spent on doing a first-class job will repay for itself in the years to come in terms of not having to strip down the engine in order to cure obscure corrosion pockets.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

SIRAPITE, as stage further

This image shows the test fitting of the cab and tender to the SIRAPITE boiler assembly. The over-riding problem is that the original engine, being made as a 'One-off' and being assembled 'As-it-comes', does not provide many reference points for accurate alignment of parts. Thus the need to pre-assemble, measure,adjust, look again, try and fore-see future troubles with fittings and then make the difficult decision to drill the NEW fixing holes. An extra problem here, was to make off-center allowance for the Buffer Beams due to the fact that the whole engine assembly is set off to one side with respect to the Driving wheels and track, necessitated by the size of the driving spur-wheel on the inside of one pair of the track wheels. The spur gears occur only on one side of the engine. Remember that this engine is a 'TRAM-WAY' design and is not driven by a crankshaft axle on the driving wheels.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Back another Generation:

Having posted an image of my father as a Bass player during the 2nd World War, I find that I can now post a picture of my maternal Grandfather, who it will be seen was an Engine driver. I must contact York Museum about him, as it is in the family verbal history that he used to regularly drive the 'Royal Train from London to Edinburgh for Queen Victoria. Unfortunatly he ended his driving as a shunter after he received an eye injury from a hot cinder. For the record, his name was William Parrell, and lived in Stockwell, London, not far from the Vauxhall Railway Yard.

Interesting that my son Trevor is so much involved with the restoration of all types of steam machinery. In particular his own Clayton and Shuttleworth Tracktion engine 'RAMBLER', as well as the LONGSHOP MUSEUM'S shunting loco SIRAPITE.