On Sunday 6th April the four main parts of Oliver Cromwell were re-united. For those of an historical disposition, I’m not talking about the four quarters of the late, not much lamented, Lord Protector of England who was dug up and quartered at the restoration of the monarchy, I’m talking about our own beloved 70013 who has been dismembered in Loughborough Shed for the last four years.
It’s not the first time that the boiler has been back in the frames, there has been at least one trial fitting of the boiler to enable the team to align the smokebox . But it didn’t stay in the frames for very long before it went back onto the well wagon for more tests and for the cladding to be fitted. It’s amazing how much space there is at Loughborough now that the boiler and cab are back on the frames and the engine and tender are together, although there are still a lot of bits to go back on, and still more painting to do.
The story in detail.
Sunday began with a blanket of hard frozen snow up to 2” deep. Not ideal weather for a craning job. Craig Stinchcombe, Dave Wright and James Hazell got the cab floor read to go on the boiler, which included de-frosting it with a blow torch so that it could have a few last minute welds.
Alan Pakes managed to get the underside of the boiler cladding painted into gloss just before the boiler went into the frames – it is, he says, marginally less inaccessible on a well wagon than on the frames, but it’s still Olympic grade upside-down painting.
Meanwhile, the shunting team dragged the boiler out of the shed on the weltrol, crossed over to three-road in front of the frames and began draining it (note the funnel).
The cab was brought out of the shed where it had been painted and put ready for the crane to pick up. The shunt team positioned the crane on the middle road and set the legs ready for craning, a fire had been lit earlier and all the usual oiling was fitted in during the rest of the set up. You can see the back buffer beam of the crane in the previous photo. The cab is visible in the background of the photo below.
The shed was closed to visitors for the duration of the lift. All non-essential volunteers were politely requested to remove themselves from the vicinity. Some chose to stand around in the snow and watch from a safe distance, others chose to carry on working. Hugh, me and a new cleaner called Ashley were cleaning and painting the five’s frames from inside the shed, which as it turned out made a splendid vantage point from which to see the boiler lift as you can see from the photos. Les Greer and another volunteer continued painting the running boards and Alan Binder took the opportunity to sweep the strangely empty shed.
The cab floor was attached to the boiler backhead, then the ashpan was hung from the foundation ring.
Next the boiler was craned into position in the frames.
Finally the cab was put onto the frames and fastened down.
Put like that it sounds quick and easy, in reality, like all craning jobs it was slow careful work and took most of the afternoon. The next job was to temporarily connect the engine and tender so that the locomotive can be shunted safely. The photo below shows (left to right) Dave Wright, James Hazell (with his hood up) Mick Carr and Kevin Tilbury.
That wasn’t the end of the job though. Afterwards we had to swap the five and the Brit over, re-arrange the shed so that the N2 is at the front, put all of the vehicles that normally live on three-road back into place and finally put the crane away. Luckily we had Alan Pakes working out the shunting order, and locomotives driven by Tom, Kevin, John Pepper and the crew of the 8F to help so it was over relatively quickly, many thanks by the way to Kevin Thomas who was signalman and, had been signalman last Saturday for the previous giga-shunt.
The whole operation was filmed by the BBC for East Midlands Today and a visit to their website will probably allow you to find the news report.
By Info | Monday, April 7, 2008 | Tags : 70013