Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Axle boxes

Photos by Rob Bishop

Last month's engine news was a slight diversion from the main focus of activity,  the restoration of the chassis. With the cylinder block and crankcase dispatched to Cast Iron Welding Services, the volunteer effort has returned to the chassis, or to be more particular, the axle boxes. Over the past weekend,  all 12 of the pins required to attach the radius rods to the axle boxes have been manufactured:

This means that we now have a full set of axlebox components, and, bar a few bolts (and the wheel turning), all of the running gear components.
The kit of parts which make up a single axlebox are illustrated below:

Which look like this when assembled:

Lubrication is applied via the trimming wool pad & wicks of the Armstrong oilers.
The spring loaded lids on the feed to the under-axlebox reservoirs are a nice little feature:

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Engines Update

Photos by Rob Bishop, Matt Wolstenholme, Emily High

Just to pick up briefly from the last report with some chassis news: ‘while your wheels are important to us, they have been placed in a queue’ - so they remain sat in the yard at Boston Lodge waiting  for a turn on the wheel lathe, behind an NNG16 Garratt (which has a lot of wheels) and a tram from Beamish.  As one chapter enters a state of hiatus, another one begins.

Engine news and a brief history lesson  

KS4415 is of course a Diesel pioneer, and when built was fitted with a 60HP 4 cylinder McLaren- Benz MDB4 engine. The reference code is an acronym; Mclaren Diesel Benz, with the 4 a reference to the number of cylinders. McLaren also produced similar MDB2 & MDB6 models. The MDB4 in KS4415 was replaced in 1945 by an 80HP McLaren MR4 (one of the differences being the use of a Ricardo whirlpool head). The MR4 looked rather derelict when the loco returned to the UK and it was clear that restoring it would take a considerable amount of effort. 

MDB4 engine
MR4 engine

In 2007 another 1945 McLaren egine was acquired, a 90hp M4 Mk2. The M4 engine (which was once part of a standby generator set) was the one which the team had running at the 2014 Superpower weekend. Although of the same vintage the M4 and the MR4 do not appear to have very much (if anything) in common and on stripping the loco it became apparent that the M4 will not fit inside the loco's frames; the sump of the M4 is massive.

M4 Mk2 engine
The narrow, automotive type sump of the MDB4 & MR4 can be appreciated in these views, in comparison with the huge square lump of the M4. Both the MDB4 and the MR4 sumps are a similar shape and the mounting bolts for both engines are in the same location. The photo of the MR4 shows the engine in situ, supported by two steel channels above the floor plate. The big issue with the M4 the amount of original material which needs to be cut away to lower the engine down so that the centre line of the engine is in line with the gearbox.  This includes frame stretchers (which pick up the sub frame) and also a bracket for the brake gear which is hung from the floor plate.

Restoration of the MR4 has been contemplated. However a rumour that Armley Mills Museum in Leeds had an MDB4 in store proved to be true. After some patient negotiation we now have agreed a loan of this engine (which is also in need of restoration). Fitting the MDB4 will allow the locomotive to be restored to its original condition. Exciting stuff!

The MDB4 has now been stripped down. This has revealed damage to both the cylinder block and the crank case that originated from a catastrophic failure of the crankshaft. So of the 3 engines we have, the one that works (M4) does not fit and the MDB4 is in far worse condition than the MR4 it arrived with. But the MDB4 is a very rare beast and the opportunity it provides to return the loco to original condition is compelling, so despite it requiring the most work this is the horse we are now backing.

The crank shaft of the MDB4. 
Drive to the gear train which powers the fuel pump and valve rockers to the RHS. 
Output to the flywheel lying forlornly in the middle  -  this should be on the LH end of the shaft. 

If you are thinking that these minutiae only appeal to blokes in dirty macs, you could well be right. 
Rob Bishop steam cleans the cylinder block while Dave High cleans the sump.

Unsurprisingly the pistons had seized in the cylinder block. 
One has a chunk missing out of it

While three of the pistons yielded readily to a bit of gentle jacking, piston four took more persuasion. 
The photo of the Wolstenholme patent piston puller doing its thing undersells the two hour application of ‘pocket rocket’, sledge hammers, gas and cursing which preceded it.

One of the MDB4's unusual features is the separate casting on the rear of the engine which carries the cam shaft. Removal of the casting from the cylinder block was relatively straightforward, removal of the cam shaft from the casting less so. 
After a good soak in Diesel and with more ‘Pocket Rocket’ to the fore,
 Matty introduces the cam shaft assembly to the Talyllyn Railway wheel press.

The camshaft, casing and followers await restoration

The sump and cylinder block palleted up and ready for dispatch to Cast Iron Welding Services for repair

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Update 2nd September 2016

Photos by Rob Bishop

There is a saying that no news is good news, in the case of KS4415 no news is just that; no news. In March all of the team became distracted by their holiday plans, the usual stuff, don’t know what to take, don’t know what to wear. Holiday snaps on:

After all that excitement normal business has been resumed. Having completed the repairs to the main frames, the subframe channels required some attention. The left hand (‘clock side’ to Boston Lodge habituees) had some pitting which Rob Bishop made good by building up the wasted section with weld, the high spots of which were then milled off to return it to its original profile:

Welds on the clock side sub frame being tidied up in milling machine

The repaired clock side sub frame

The right hand (‘engine’ side) frame required more attention, as some of the channel flanges were heavily wasted. The solution for this member was to cut out the bad areas and replace them with new, welded in sections:

New section of channel flange let in to original subframe, prior to welding

Overall view of 'engine' side subframe showing extent of flange replaced

One of Rick's little side projects is producing some vintage style chopper couplings (see 13/2/2016 report). These combine old ‘split face’ choppers, with new hooks and eccentrics and recovered bob weights. Coupling to slate wagons will use the ‘twisted 8’ link in the rear coupling hole, secured with a French pin:
Vintage style chopper coupling

One of the technical challenges facing the project is the wheelsets. The tyres have a lot of life in them, but they are gauged for a 2’ gauge railway, rather than the 1’ 11 ½” of the F&WHR. Will High has been working with Paul Molyneux Berry & Jon Whalley to establish a wheel profile that can be turned on to the original tyres which will allow the loco to run on railways of both gauges. Re-use of the tyres addresses both conservation and budgetary targets. A profile has been agreed and templates laser cut. The wheels are now waiting for the attention of the Boston Lodge wheel lathe.

Wheel profile gauges and new axlebox end cover
(to replace a missing original)

Once the wheels have been turned, all of the heavy downstairs work will be complete. The brake gear still needs sorting out, together with the transmission chains and drag boxes to suit the new couplings, but the end of the initial phase of the project is now in sight.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Custom-made Bolts

Report by  Dave High. Photos and all the hard work by Dave Linton

The KS4415 project is full of contrasts: after the last report of heat, team work & big hammers, now a report on one person working carefully & precisely.

Each axlebox has 4 bolts which connect the upper (keep) part of the axlebox to the springs. Of the 24 bolts, 6 were considered unfit for re-use. Dave Linton has manufactured 7 new ones: 6 for fitting, one ‘just in case’. The drawing below shows the various components. Dave had previously made the spring clamp plates.

Overview of the components

Roughing out in the lathe

A machinist's half-dozen

Some brutal attention from a hacksaw

Tickled off to fit in the milling machine

Rather sexy, if you like that kind of thing

With the Kerr Stuart drawing

This is what the finished product looks like 

The view from the top of the axlebox, with one of the old bolts for company

Sunday, 20 March 2016

A Riveting Report...

News from 11th  March 2016 

Photos by Adrian Strachan, Paul Wood, Rob Bishop

Last month's brief diversion into the 21st Century and MIG welding has passed. The March working party has returned to the solid, good old-fashioned values of 1927. Away with your new-fangled welding, bring on the hot riveting!

To me, to you! ...

Job No 1 saw the replacement angle bracket fitted. The notch out in the bracket is to clear the gearbox when the frames are the right way up; they are still upside down at the moment.

 The saga of the drivers’ side rear frame repair has also reached its conclusion.

 Also at the cab end of the loco are a number of brackets supporting the step ‘pockets’ below the footplate. Several where very badly wasted and have been replaced. Matty Wolstenholme gets up close & personal with some hot stuff.

We managed to get the floor plates riveted in. The angle brackets in the photo below are original. It is strange how some of these brackets where fine and others completely corroded away. 

We even managed to fit the angle iron stiffeners to the bottom of the buffer beams. All of the heavy work on the main frames is now complete, but we still need to replace some rotten steel on the sub frames. The drawing below records progress to date. The red bits have been restored and the blue bits replaced. The pink sub frames are the next area of work, together with turning the wheels. Dave Linton is making steady progress manufacturing replacement bolts and pins and we have received quotes for some new drive chains.

Monday, 15 February 2016

February 2016 - more progress with the welding

Update 13/2/2016,  Report by Dave High,  pictures by Rob Bishop

Previous progress reports feature rust or paint drying. Prepare to be dazzled! Pete Freestone welds in frame repair described in the previous report. This is the rear frame stretcher, underneath the cab. The tape measure & pliers are on top of (or technically on the bottom of) the rear buffer beam (the frames currently being upside down). Various large holes for previous drawbar arrangements in the buffer beam are a witness to a diverse past.

The completed repair is on the left, original bits on the right. The stiffening plate and bracket have been temporarily bolted on. The next job is to rivet them up.

While Pete was at the Lodge he also welded in a patch repair to the front buffer beam.  This made good a crack and also removed some of the surplus drawbar holes. The horizontal row of bolts fasten an angle iron stiffener along the bottom of the buffer beam & the vertical rows attach stiffeners which tie the buffer beam back to the frame stretcher. Replacing these bolts is also on the riveting weekend to-do list.

To run the WHR winter passenger service KS4415 had been fitted with chopper couplings, which remained on the loco during its time on the FR. The old chopper couplings did not have a full buffing face, just two side cheeks. The provenance of the new couplings is unknown. Rick recovered these from Minffordd and cut the drawbar shanks down to suit 4415. Welding the bosses on was another ‘while you are here…’ job for Pete.

Back on the frames this is a replacement angle bracket, attached to the rear of the front frame stretcher which attaches the sub frame to the main frames. The drive chain from the gear box to the leading axle passes through the hole in the stretcher. The brackets on the left carry the brake gear. See drawing below for how all this fits into the big picture.

Ed Ford cleaning up the cab floor castings

Back to paint drying; Eds’ handiwork, the cab floor castings.

January 2016 update

The focus of the restoration to date is on the frames. The main frames are supported by a very simple sub-assembly (formed of two channels) which carries the springs & axleboxes. When 4415 was re-gauged from 2’ to 3’ to run on the Castleberg & Victoria Bridge Tramway these channels where simply moved out. In the photos of the upturned chassis by Ron Walker on 14/8/15 the witness marks of where the channel sit for the 2’ gauge option can be seen, with further holes outside for the re-gauging. Why there is a third sit of over-lapping holes we have yet to fathom out! Hopefully this all makes sense when you see the Kerr Stuart picture of the sub-assembly below.
Sub Assembly

The photos below are of the main frame (which is carried by the sub-assembly)
Main frame 1
At some point in the past the frames on the drivers’ side have been subject to a rather horrible repair.  The bolted in patch ( also in photo below) is connected to the rear buffer beam by the 3 very long bolts.
Main frame 2
Above is a view of the same repair from ‘inside’ the frames (drivers side, looking backwards). The clevis (centre) is the anchor for the axlebox tensioners (which Kerr Stuart describe as ‘radius rods’). The clevis is contained in a slot to allow the frames to be re-gauged. The channel which carries the springs and axlebox assemblies sits on the square hole above the clevis.  
Above is the same view after removal of the repair, and with the frames cut back to receive a repair piece (to be welded in)
Mainframe 4
The frame repair, prepped & ready to go. Original clevis re-used, but the rest is new. It does say ‘this way up at the bottom’. Rick does know what he is doing; the frames are upside down at the moment!

Radius rods
Some of the radius rods were missing. Will High took the KS drawings and re-drew them in CAD format. Lazer Centre UK them manufactured them from Will's drawings, complete with 1 ½” Whitworth LH thread. The shiny components are new, the others original. The longer set fit between the centre and rear axles (as can be seen in the KS photograph).

Brake blocks
Four new brake blocks, cast from a pattern made by Norman Bond to the original drawings.
Axle box
Bottom half of one of the axleboxes with new Armstrong Oilers from the NYMR.