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As you may already know, the Arthur (The NRM’s SR ‘King Arthur Class’ No. 30777 “Sir Lamiel”) is currently at Tyseley Locomotive Works to make use of their Wheeldrop. The engine arrived at Tyseley last week after the East Lancashire Railway’s Gala and went straight onto the wheeldrop, pausing just long enough for the rods and motion to be taken down to enable the wheels to be dropped. The work was scheduled because we have been monitoring of a bit of play in the motion and horns for some time. As soon as the rods were down, the van went across to Tyseley to collect them (taking two trips: the Arthur is built like a battleship and the rods are far too heavy for one load). Craig, Mick and the GCR’s engineering team were asked to undertake the job of inspecting and where necessary re-bushing the rods, while TLW set to checking and truing the horn blocks.

The Arthur's 7' wheels out of the frames at Tyseley

It was always going to be a big job, but then, once the first two axles were dropped, Alastair Meanly phoned Tom to inform him that the axleboxes could do with attention as well. Back went the van to Tyseley and came back with 4 axleboxes, leaving the engine stood on the front bogie and the trailing driving wheels.

As soon as the boxes landed at Loughborough the team cranked up the pace, melted out the old whitemetal and began the time-consuming task of re-metalling and truing up the boxes. The railway’s big new horizontal borer came into play, as did the horizontal miller.

Craig supervising the big borer

Mick with a box on the miller

For most of this week, Mick, Craig and the team have been churning out a seemingly endless stream of axleboxes. Although there are ‘only 4’ boxes to do in this phase, it seems like more because sometimes just as the finished size is reached an imperfection in the whitemetal surface will be uncovered, necessitating a trip back down the shed to the metalling bench to puddle some more metal into the box ready for further machining.

New bearing surfaces need new lubrication pads, so Armstrong Oilers were contacted and a set of underkeep pads were bought, and are now soaking in oil ready for installing. They need at least a day’s soaking to ensure that they are thoroughly saturated before use, because they rely on capillary action to wick oil onto the bearing surface and won’t work if there are any dry spots in the wicks.

Watching the team synchronising the work is amazing; they have planned it down to the last detail, everyone knows what their job is and gets on with it without prompting. The phrase “I’ll just finish this bit off before I go” has lead to a few late nights – Thanks Team!

As I write this the first four boxes have been returned to Tyseley ready for Alastair and his team to re-install them on the axles so that the last pair can be removed and brought to Loughborough for attention; at least this time it will only be two boxes for Craig and Mick to work on, not four, then it’s “just” finish off the motion and put the engine back together.

Four boxes finished and ready to go back to Tyseley

Many thanks to Craig Stinchcombe, David Wright, Harry Wainwright, Hugh Milton, James Hazell, Mick Carr, and various others, not forgetting the team at Tyseley who are working on the hornblocks and operating the wheeldrop.


By Info | Thursday, March 11, 2010 | Tags : 30777

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