Sir Nigel Gresley overhaul – update 2

In The Works, the overhaul of Nigel Gresley continues. Locomotive Engineer Darrin Crone provides us with an insight of the previous couple of weeks’ work.

Week starting 8 February 2016

On Tuesday we arrived to find that Flying Scotsman 60103 had been placed facing the front of 60007! It gave the workshop a real Doncaster Works feel. This week we have been removing boiler tubes and as 60103 was very close to us so extreme caution had to be exercised when pulling out the 18′ long tubes from Gresley’s smokebox.

Removing the flue tubes - without whacking 60103 in the process

Removing the flue tubes – without whacking 60103 in the process

A particular challenge has been to cut the flues at the top of the firebox as it is difficult to see where the torch is cutting at times. However by the end of the week all of the top 3 rows have been removed.

On Tuesday work started on the release of the boiler at the firebox end in preparation for lifting the boiler off the chassis. The brackets that support the drop grate shaft were separated from the foundation ring along with the expansion brackets. Later in the week all the cotters in the pins that hold the ashpan to the foundation ring were removed. The ashpan is now not connected to the boiler. The only thing holding the boiler on at the rear of the loco is the diaphragm plate. All lower bolts have been loosened, removed and replaced in turn to ensure they can be removed easily when we lift the boiler.

The front tubeplate - top 3 rows of flue tubes with surrounding small smoke tubes removed

The front tubeplate – top 3 rows of flue tubes with surrounding small smoke tubes removed

Also this week the dome cover has been removed in preparation for the removal of the regulator and on Saturday the mechanical lubricators were removed. This week we will continue to strip the boiler and make it ready for lifting. Stripping the boiler of it’s flue and smoke tubes at the National Railway Museum gives the public a rare opportunity to see this work which is usually carried out, out of sight, in boiler works.

Week starting 15 February 2016

A start was made this week removing parts from between the frames. Work involved the removal of AWS (Automatic Warning System) and TPWS (Train Protection and Warning System) equipment from beneath the loco. The lubricators removed the previous weekend have received a deep clean and the area where they were removed from on the loco was also cleaned. Elsewhere, cleaning of components removed from the engine continued – its an un-glamorous but essential task.

Right hand cylinder cladding removed

Right hand cylinder cladding removed

This week saw the removal of the 4th row of flue tubes. Before removal the 3rd row next to the engine had to be moved outside the workshop along with a number of small tubes. Even though we are now well practised in transporting them into the yard it is still a time consuming and exhausting task moving the flue tubes about.

A view looking forward in the boiler toward Flying Scotsman

A view looking forward in the boiler toward Flying Scotsman

On Thursday all the last row of flues were released at the smokebox end along with the row of small tubes above them. Then work started at the firebox end. All of the row of small tubes worked on at the smokebox end were knocked forward and were ready for removal and one flue was cut through, then we were stopped from working as Flying Scotsman was to be varnished. We were told that we could not make dust for the next couple of days so that put an end to pulling the tubes out. However progress was made elsewhere on less dusty jobs. These included the removal of the diaphragm plate that helps to hold the back of the boiler down onto the frames.

Darrin (left) with some of the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust volunteers helping to overhaul the engine.

Darrin (left) with some of the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust volunteers helping to overhaul the engine.

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About Dan Clarkson

Dan is Web Manager for the National Railway Museum.
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