After our annual cold boiler exam, we have "boxed up" the boiler. This involves re-fitting all the washout and syphon plugs, putting the mudhole doors back with new PTFE-based gaskets, and machining and fitting new fusible plugs. The boiler has been filled with treated water, but we can't light a fire until we can get some water in the tender.

Our driver's-side motion is now almost back in place, after the bushes all had their white metal replaced. Once machined to fit the associated crank pin, each bush is pressed into its rod. This takes some doing as, believe it or not, the bush is slightly larger than the hole in the rod - this is known as an "interference fit". This has all been done and the rods are back up. All that is needed to complete the job is to manufacture a new oiling ring for the little end, and fit the gudgeon pin.

A coupling rod bush being machined

A coupling rod bush on the crank pin

Pressing in a coupling rod bush

Most of the motion is back up

During this time, we have also re-built the grate. Most of the carrier bars were starting to sag and crack, so they have been replaced. A lot of the finger bars were burnt, so they have also been replaced.

The re-built rocking grate

Our electricians have been busy, consolidating our battery charging for AWS/TPWS and GSM-R, to minimise the number of cables needed.

The society's painters have been hard at work, too. They are well on the way to finishing the cylinder covers and the smokebox door. They have also been repairing some minor damage to the tender tank which occurred during the recent grit blasting (we were expecting a lot more damage than we actually got).

The cylinder covers have recieved another coat of paint

Specialist Coatings (GB) Limited have been working very hard on the inside of our tender tank, giving it at least another thirty years of active life (more than most of us will have!) They have grit-blasted the interior, including all the bracing struts and baffles, and meticulously applied several coats of epoxy resin. You can see more detail on their own website, www.specialist-coatings.co.uk, and their Facebook page here.

We are now preparing for our first steam test, followed by the boiler inspector's "hot exam".