C2 Project News

September 2022

Equinox Activities

Over the summer we have been taking advantage of fine weather to get the old boiler cleaned up ready to go back on the frames. This will enable us to finalise the design of other components such as equipment in the cab, whilst we wait for the new boiler to be made. Autumn is now upon us but the Welsh weather was kind in September so we made the most of it to complete some activities best done outside.
The weekend before our working party, Andrew had a couple of free days and he managed to almost complete the cleaning and painting of the outside of the boiler, using a needlegun to clean the parts the wire wheel wouldn’t reach. On Sunday afternoon, Jake and Jacinta helped out with the painting. Parts of the smokebox saddle were inaccessible because of the way the boiler was positioned on our wagon.
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The old boiler after Andrew, Jake and Jacinta had cleaned and painted it prior to the main working party.
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The old boiler after Andrew, Jake and Jacinta had cleaned and painted it prior to the main working party.
At the start of the working party itself, Paul and Andrew (with some help from Matty) lifted the boiler and moved it along the wagon to give better access to the smokebox saddle, and so that the firebox partly overhung the opposite end of the wagon. This will also give better access to the inner firebox for cleaning that.

Paul also removed some high spots on the loco frames where the smokebox saddle will mount, and touched up the paintwork.

Paul then measured up the positions of the boltholes in the frames, and marked the required hole positions in the smokebox saddle. These are different from before, because we have narrowed the frames, but not far away from the existing holes. So Paul decided to use the oxy-acetylene to enlarge the existing holes into slots, rather than attempting to drill new holes very close to the existing ones.
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The boiler moved backwards on the wagon to give better access to the inner firebox and the smokebox saddle.
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Slots in the smokebox saddle marked out for cutting.
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Slots cut in the smokebox saddle, ready for mounting to the frames. It has also now been cleaned up and painted inside and out.
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Paul removes slag from the underside of the smokebox saddle after cutting the slots.
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James hoovers out the smokebox while Paul cleans the underside of the smokebox saddle.
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Notch in the smokebox saddle to fit between the cylinder ribs.
Another consequence of regauging the frames is that the smokebox saddle is a tight fit between the cylinders. At one point a rib on the cylinders would foul the saddle, so Paul made some neat notches in the saddle to fit around these ribs.

James then set to work to clean up the parts of the smokebox saddle that Andrew hadn't been able to get to previously. This included the inside, which responded well to some attention with the needlegun and hoover. Finally, James cleaned the surfaces down with white spirit and applied a coat of paint.
The other end of the boiler is connected to the frames by a diaphragm plate and a couple of spacers. Again, these need to be different from the old ones because of the regauging. We had ordered a profile-cut plate for the main part, and Andrew found some suitable steel section for the spacers. They all needed drilling for the mounting bolts, so Andrew measured up and marked them out. "Measure twice, cut once" was a valuable maxim here!
James cleaned up the steel in preparation for drilling and later painting. Andrew and Bobby then drilled the bolt holes.
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The profile for the rear diaphragm plate, showing how it is positioned in the frames.
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James cleans up one of the diaphragm plate spacers.
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Bobby drills the bolt holes in the diaphragm plate and its spacer.
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The diaphragm plate drilled and ready for final cleaning, painting and fitting.
The one part of the boiler that still needs cleaning is the inner firebox. To provide a safe working environment we have purchased a face mask with air filtration, and have worked out how to fit a powerful extractor fan to minimise the dust inside the firebox when working. So now we're ready to start cleaning up in the fire box. Once that's done, the old boiler can be refitted.
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Initial setup for the extractor fan ducting on the firebox.
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Breathing equipment has arrived for use while cleaning the inner firebox.
Meanwhile, Erle has continued work on the turbogenerator. The lost-wax-cast turbine blades have arrived, nicely custom-made by a jewellery supplier. As homework, Erle has started preparing and fitting these, and they look superb. It's amazing what can be reverse-engineered when you put your mind to it!
Erle has also made a start on maching the centrifugal weights that form part of the governor mechanism. These are a complex shape and will require another weekends' machining before they are ready to fit.
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The first 10 turbine blades fitted; there are 110 in total.
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One of the old governor weights which Erle is now replacing.
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Stages in machining the replacement governor weights, which are a remarkably complex shape!
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Stages in machining the replacement governor weights, which are a remarkably complex shape!
James, John, Andrew and Paul also filled slots on the locomotive roster over the weekend and covered site supervisor duties too.
October 2022