Author Topic: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive  (Read 37189 times)

J. Wilhelm

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #75 on: June 18, 2020, 05:45:29 pm »
My Dear Monsieur Harrison -
thanks for keeping us up on this project, it is a rare treat and the dedication of the entire group is incredible!

I do have one dumb question - what fuel is to be used?  the high BTU but nasty coal, less nasty less polluting wood, or is it to be fitted to burn oil?

yhs
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- but it was pointed out you could even just drop a lump of fissile material in her firebox and she'd steam merrily away, irradiating the landscape as she did so. 

That sounds like a splendid idea! Some people deploy nuclear powered missiles. And you can deploy nuclear powered locos! Both of them happily irradiating the landscape!  ;D

James Harrison

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #76 on: July 11, 2020, 05:26:35 pm »
There's whisperings that some more parts now exist- albeit in timber rather than iron or steel- which suggests patternmaking in my opinion. 

Also, there may or may not be an opportunity to do some volunteering.  I've mentioned the tender before, which sits about a mile down the track and has trees growing out of it (the tank was converted to a sludge carrier and is completely shot).  One of the design team is making noises about needing gardeners to clean up around it so that the chassis and frames can be measured up for things like the steam heating pipes. 
Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.

James Harrison

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #77 on: July 14, 2020, 06:58:59 pm »
The yearly newsletter from the GCR-RST landed on the doormat this morning.  There's a lot of good news regarding Barnums #228 and #695.  #228's bogies are well advanced and, when they return, #695's will go away for refurbishment.  Then the internal restoration and fit out of #228 can get on in earnest, followed by #695. 

The Trust are actively seeking partners to either restore or take on some of the carriages; the National Railway Museum have taken back their Barnum (#666) reducing those at Ruddington to three.  This last has been taken to Quorn on the Great Central Railway and is now listed for disposal.  The RST have regretfully taken the decision that they can't take it on. 

The second six-wheeler #373, has been costed for professional third-party restoration at somewhere between £130,000 and £170,000.

The pair of arc-roof suburbans are also in this list. 

That still leaves the three Barnums, restored six-wheeler #946, and a clerestory carriage as the Group's main goals.  Of which work is either planned or progressing on two, the third will be a repeat of those, the fourth is a completed project, and the last is the Chairman's stated favourite of them all. 

There are also discussions to get the collection under permanent cover.  Ruddington's Building 4a, a carriage workshop capable of holding four vehicles, is well advanced.  The Group also has ideas for a Building 1, a one-road small museum, and also raised is the possibility of a Building 8- a dedicated RST carriage shed for those waiting their turn in the works. 

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #78 on: August 25, 2020, 04:12:51 pm »
Newsletter time from the 567 Group....

.... anybody want to sponsor a part of a wheel?  There are 40 spokes available at £150 each and 4 tyres at £1,800 a throw.  I think I might be able to stretch to one spoke, in about three months, if I am lucky.  These are for the 3'- someodd diameter bogie wheels, not the 6' 7" (or is it 6' 9"?) driving wheels.  Then there are still 18 sets of the nuts and bolts for the bogie hornblocks around at £30 each...

The workshops, thanks to the prevailing.... madness... have been closed since the middle of March.  Whilst that means that 'not much' has gone on with manufacturing, things have been progressing on the design front. 

A pattern for the bogie wheels has been made, the tyres have been ordered (but as noted above the Group are looking for sponsorshipto recoup the costs of those) and there is 'the prospect of cast assembled wheels by the end of the year'.  The completion of the bogie is getting nearer and is currently viewed as the 'prelude to a major initiative to raise the funds for the driving wheels'. 

The designs for the tender tank have been completed to a standard for manufacture.  The existing tender was converted to a sludge carrier and presently has trees growing around and out of it.  Whilst its chassis is salvageable the tank- the bit on top that carries the coal and water- is life expired. 

There's also some prgress with the valve motion, as the crosshead slippers have been whitemetalled and now wait for machining back at Ruddingtonwhen the workshops reopen. 

Basically we've got a substantial chunk of the bottom half of the loco being advanced.   

There's likely not going to be a jolly day out to Nottingham this year sadly, thanks to plague, the annual supporter's event is likely to be something livestreamed instead. 

James Harrison

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #79 on: October 31, 2020, 01:07:11 pm »
I'm anticipating that at some point in the next month the Supporter's Day will take place, in some form or another- most likely a Zoom* conference call. 

*Other internet meeting services are available

Meantime....



The pattern for the 3' 6" bogie wheels has been shown off on the Group's Faceache page.  I've saved up enough to be able to sponsor one of the wheelspokes...

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #80 on: November 24, 2020, 05:08:10 pm »
Virtual trip to Nottingham this Saturday for the AGM...

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #81 on: November 25, 2020, 06:14:03 pm »
The pre-AGM newsletter has arrived....

We've got wheels!!!
3' 6" diameter 10-spoke leading bogie wheels.  Plus the axles are being machined.  Plus the tyres have arrived. 

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #82 on: November 28, 2020, 03:13:23 pm »
The AGM was a little different obviously; the first time we've attended from the comfort of our own sitting rooms...

Progress;

Bogie wheels have been cast, bogie wheel tyres have been manufactured, bogie wheel axles have been machined.  Complete bogie wheelsets are anticipated at Ruddington in December, at which point it's a case of when the workshop reopens that dictates when the bogie is completed.

One very generous supporter has sponsored both the pattern for and the casting of the driving wheels (!)- which still leaves the axles, tyres and machining to be financed but means we can get those components sooner rather than later.  The trailing driving wheel axle is basically a repeat of the bogie axles however the leading driving wheel axle is the crank axle, which is basically a project just on its own as it will need to be built up from various castings and bars and obviously needs to be fully designed and whatnot as you really don't want it flying apart at speed

Plague this year basically means we've lost a year of volunteer and workshop time, so the focus has instead been on progressing with the design work and going out to industry to get components made (the bits that we can't make in house, basically).  Somewhere around 80% of the locomotive exists either in metal or as draft or approved drawings.

If anybody has a hankering to be on the first public train to be hauled by 567 you're advised to join up sooner rather than later as 196 of the 200 seats are now spoken for.... the goal is to to aim for a completion date in 6 to 8 years, sooner if possible.   

E.J.MonCrieff

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #83 on: January 10, 2021, 10:21:13 pm »
I've just spent a pleasant, and somewhat nostalgic hour reading all of the posts on this thread.  I'm in awe of the dedication that has been put into this project; and I hope that at some time in the future I too may be able to ride on this restored train. 

It was nostalgic, because the posts detailing the work being done on restoring carriages brought to mind a journey I made more than sixty years ago on the Central Wales line.  The locomotive was of course steam, and the carriages must have been made in the nineteenth century, or at latest before the first world war.  Certainly they predated nationalisation - possibly rolling stock from the Cambrian Railway.  Compartments opening on to a corridor, and in each compartment a door with a window that could be raised or lowered on a heavy leather strap.  I still remember the curious fittings of the toilet - turned wood surrounding the washbasin, which was a nickel-plated bowl.  Waste was of course dumped onto the permanent way... 

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #84 on: January 11, 2021, 05:22:48 pm »
That's a very nice memory to have!

I think one of the worst days in the current plague mess for me was December 27th, which is traditionally when the West Midlands and Black Country steampunk groups descend en masse on Kidderminster and take the steam train up to Bridgenorth.  This has seen such delights in the past as the 'how many steampunks can you get in a compartment?' game (we managed I think somewhere north of 20, in a space designed for 8), the time I spent an hour and a quarter with my head stuck out the window into a snowstorm (with the engine three carriages in front doing it's very best Mt. Vesuvius impression) and the time I think the year before now when we just had a very quiet trip back to Kidderminster, three of us in a compartment through the gathering gloom with the lights turned down low.  And then last year spending the day sitting alone in my house unable to go out. 

Mmm.  Sorry, didn't mean to get all depressive there. 

Yes, timber-panelled compartment carriages, with the door you have to fumble with through the window to get it open, and the fabric bench seats that try to eat you when you sit on them, and the changing view out of the window.  One of the most pleasant spaces you can spend a bit of time in. 

James Harrison

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #85 on: February 26, 2021, 04:14:58 pm »


This is another bit ticked off the to-do list.  3'6" diameter leading wheelsets, cast cleaned, tyred, profiled and pressed onto their axles. 

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #86 on: February 28, 2021, 06:25:10 am »
Almost drool over the beautiful engineering in those wheels and axles - love 'em!

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #87 on: April 09, 2021, 04:41:33 pm »
I had an envelope arrive this morning with the annual letter and certificate thanking me for being a supporter of the carriage restoration group.  Unsurprisingly not much has happened over the last year, given we're now 13 months into some form or another of lockdown measures, however one exciting piece of news... they've decided they're going to build a proper storage shed for the collection. 

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #88 on: September 10, 2021, 06:42:30 pm »
The June newsletter for the locomotive... never happened.  There's supposed to be a newsletter coming out later this month, but whether that happens or not....

In any case, there's a bit of an update in the lastest copy of Mainline.  The next big ticket item is going to be.... the driving wheels and the trailing axle.  One very generous supporter has offered to bankroll the casting of the drivers, and beyond that there's enough in the funds to cover the machining of the rough castings and complete the rear wheelset. 

The rear wheelset is the simpler of the two as the axle is 'just' a straight length of circular section bar.  The leading coupled axle takes the connecting rods and is therefore more of an engineering challenge, being a built-up crank axle.  I recall the group's lead engineer a few years ago saying the the crank axle is the one part of the project that keeps him awake at night, with good reason.  One of these came apart at speed in July 1884 and 24 people didn't go home that night.  So understandably the ORR will want to see the design for that element analysed down to the last atom before letting it loose on the rails. 

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #89 on: October 07, 2021, 05:20:07 pm »
Progress report.  Supporters Day at Ruddington on 23rd October 2021.

We've now got 201 supporters so anybody joining now, sorry but the first public train is full up. 

The workshops are still out of bounds, so we've brought the tools to the loco rather than the other way around.  Trailing headstock has now been fitted to the frames.  This now means we can start measuring up footplating and the like.  At the moment, this is just temporarily erected, once the cylinders are in we'll be taking the slave bolts out and rivetting up. 

The slipper blocks have been whitemetalled and are now awaiting the reopening of the machine shop for working up. 

Local mouthbreather types have been using the tender as a nightclub so the next working party will be making that more secure. 

21 out of 40 bogie wheelspokes have now been sponsored, likewise 26 out of 36bogie hornblock nuts and bolts have been sponsored. 

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #90 on: October 23, 2021, 08:16:54 pm »
Today was one of my dates that once in the diary it would take nothing less than a meteor strike to make me miss it.  I'm talking, of course, about the 567 Group annual general meeting. 

Last year, you may recall, we were compelled to hold it over Zoom but this year we were able to meet again at the project headquarters at the Nottingham Heritage Railway in Ruddington, which is, err... just outside Nottingham, as you may have gathered. 

Because of some... interesting... developments, a good deal of the presentation was taken up with matters that although outside the locomotive are germane to it. 

A few years ago there was an incident at a preserved railway that could very easily have led to a fatality.  In the wake of that, the Office of Road and Rail (which is the regulatory authority that oversees rail operations) concluded that perhaps they weren't keeping as close an eye on preserved/ volunteer outfits as they should.  So they started a programme of rigorous inspections of heritage railways, of which the GCRN (as then was) was one of the to experience.  This was taking place at around the time that the pandemic was taking hold- the Railway closed down operations in the March and then the ORR came to visit.  The result of that visit was Not Good.  Multiple issues were highlighted and, basically, the ORR issued a stop notice- so even if the plague let up, the Railway couldn't reopen until the list of issues the ORR identified had been resolved.  Now in the eighteen months since then most of those issues have been closed out, but the biggest headache is that two of the bridges on the line are life-expired and (there's no alternative to this) they need replacement.  Until they're replaced the railway can't reopen to any traffic at all- not only the heritage passenger trains but more critically the freight traffic to a gypsum works a few miles down the track- and the Railway and its landlords are quite forthcoming in saying that the money for those replacements simply isn't to hand. 

So this is the context that we've held our meeting in, the railway where we're based is slowly hauling itself out of a mire but by no means is it home and safe yet. 

This has impacted the 567 project because the Chief Engineer and the Chairman were, at the time, both directors of the Railway.  The Chief Engineer gave quite a frank account today of what had happened over the last year- which I think really is to applauded as it takes a certain amount of courage to say to a room full of people who've been giving you money that what has happened, you're partly accountable for.  The precis of his account is that he was Director for steam traction at the railway for 13 years and that that placed a massive demand on his time. Then he was asked to chair Director's meetings, which he agreed to, but didn't realise that made him de facto Chairman of the Railway, which was a position he wouldn't have accepted had it been offered.  Then the ORR came calling and as the closest thing to a Chairman obviously it was him they addressed all correspondence to- he said that he spent a lot of last year trying to deal with things of which he had no experience, such as civil engineering.  The ORR's findings were some fairly serious issues, both on the operational side and on the infrastructure.  And that took all of his time and more and basically meant that 567 went on the back burner.  The 567 group Chairman was also co-opted onto the Railway Board to try to alleviate matters but likewise found that all of his spare time was being suckered up by Railway matters.  Then the Railway's shareholders decided that the ORR's inspection was a commentary on the management of the Railway and decided they wanted a new Board of Directors.  At which point our Chairman and Chief Engineer decided that so far as railways are concerned what they really want to do is hands-on nuts-and-bolts engineering on steam locomotives, so they stood down from the Board.  This takes us up to about the Spring of this year. 

Are you with me so far?

So since our Chairman and Chief Engineer stood down from the Railway board, they've had more time to devote to the 567 project.  We've been able to start working parties on the locomotive frames and the tender- another couple of components have found their way onto the basic frame structure.  The frames are set up on a concrete platform outside the main workshops, the fact they're outdoors means there are no Covid restrictions that need to be adhered to.  But we're having difficulties completing components because the workshops are shut.  I had thought this was due to Covid but today it was disclosed that it was a result of the ORR visit- the workshops had been treated as a storeroom, which is fine if it's only small bits being stored and neatly at that, but it wasn't- and now we're waiting on the Railway's new Board to determine when they're happy that the workshops have been sufficiently cleared and tidied up to allow people to work in them again.  And as alluded to above, well the new Board have several matters competing to attention and some of them are more existential threats to the Railway than not being able to access the workshops. 

It's all a bit of a terrible web really, isn't it?

The Chief Engineer no longer being a Director of the Railway means that he has more time to devote to the project and this has already produced results in that he project managed the completion of the bogie wheelsets, and the intention going forward now is that he'll continue to do that sort of a role and hopefully we'll start to see more large bits of the locomotive progressed in a more timely fashion.  The wheelsets themselves have been designed and manufactured in modern materials and compliant with modern codes but given the aesthetics of the originals. 

The wheel centres on the original locomotives were cast iron and ours are cast steel.  On the original engines, the wheel tyres were rivetted onto the wheel centres whilst they've been shrunk onto ours (that is, the tyres were manufactured ever so slightly smaller than the wheel centres, and then heated up.  This made them expand, then they were placed over the wheel centres and as they cooled they contracted so they're pretty much impossible to remove without some sophisticated machinery and processes). 

The announcement has been made today that the Chairman and Chief Engineer want the locomotive in steam and running in six years.  They're still working on how that timeframe is going to impact the budget, but the project has already been ongoing for ten years and- nobody is getting any younger.  The assumption has always been made that the project would attract volunteer attention as well as financial contribution but the reality of it is, especially in a post-Covid environment, that the money comes in easily enough but very few people are willing or able to actually give up their spare time to do the physical work.  We always knew that we wouldn't be able to build the locomotive 100% in house, but we're now looking if we can use the funds we're accruing to place work packages in the hands of subcontractors, rather than trust that individuals or small work parties will turn up to do the work. 

I suspect I'm now coming to the chapter of this essay that everybody is really wanting to know- what do we want to achieve in the coming year?  The short answer to that is- we haven't decided yet.  We've got a considerable amount of design work done on many areas of the locomotive, we've got an offer from a very generous individual (who actually came to the meeting today to reaffirm that offer as the Management Committee hadn't spoken to him in a few months) to sponsor the casting of the driving wheels, we've got a number of work packages that we could look at progressing but we don't know yet which one(s) to pursue. 

We could
(1) follow up on the success of the bogie wheels by casting the driving wheels (but they need final design work undertaking, not least on their balancing);
(2) start cutting metal for the superstructure of the locomotive (the smokebox, boiler cladding, wheel splashers, cab etc) and start erecting that on the frames (but then the frames themselves aren't rivetted together yet and won't be until the cylinder block is fitted, and the cylinder block has been on the to-do list since I joined in 2016- the more that we fit to the frames, the more we'll have to take apart again);
(3) seriously get to grips with the cylinders and motion, the benefit of the Chief Engineer no longer being involved in management of the Railway means there's no longer a conflict of interest when it comes to his giving an opinion and valuation to some locomotive motion parts that are (were) Railway property;
(4) start looking at progressing the boiler;
(5) make a serious effort to progress the tender. 

 

   

James Harrison

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #91 on: April 25, 2022, 06:57:18 pm »
Another newsletter appeared.  I'd almost given up hope  :D

Naturally as might be expected at present work on 567 is still somewhat hampered by plague, but even if that weren't the case there's the elephant in the room of our host railway basically being closed by order of the Office of Road and Rail due to issues... most pertinent to us being the condition of the workshops. 

Still, a corner has been turned and things are on the mend and it looks like soon we'll be able to go back indoors and progress with stuff that can't be done on an exposed, windy, usually rain-soaked patch of concrete hardstanding. 

Things have been moving forward since October, the frames for instance have been painted for protection and appearances.  Admittedly this paint will then be removed again when the frames are descaled prior to hot rivetting.  Having heard of another newbuild group who *didn't* descale their frames, and who are now in the position of having a nearly completed locomotive taken back down to a pile of bits because of that, I'm reassured to hear that such a process is on our radar.  The descaling process I should point out is basically sandblasting the frames to remove the millscale and scum that accumulates on worked metal as it is cooling down.  If it's not removed it gives a rough, pitted finish to the metal and stops rivets and the like getting an absolutely solid/ weathertight joint.  Then in the long run things happen like the rivets working loose, or water getting in behind them and causing all manner of havoc through corrosion. 

Looking to the future, well work is in hand to fit the running boards, steps and footplate with a view to then moving on to fabricating the splashers, cabsides and smokebox.  One supporter has offered to sponsor the pattern and casting of the driving wheels, which would then just need to be machined, tyred and put on their axles.  And there are murmurs that 2023 we'll look to getting the crank axle sponsored and the tender tank in 2024.   

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #92 on: April 27, 2022, 08:09:01 am »
Sorry if I misunderstood what you have updated us on (just read the 2021 and 2022 messages), but am I to understand you basically are working on the engine but don't have much of a track to run it on?

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James Harrison

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Re: Great Central Railway No.567; a New-Build 1890s Railway Locomotive
« Reply #93 on: April 27, 2022, 05:12:14 pm »
Sorry if I misunderstood what you have updated us on (just read the 2021 and 2022 messages), but am I to understand you basically are working on the engine but don't have much of a track to run it on?

Sorontar

At present that is about the top and bottom of it.  By the time the engine is finished, hopefully in about six years' time, we should (all things being equal) have at least four or five miles of track in condition to run it on, potentially up to eighteen depending on how quickly the Gap Project progresses.