Sunday, 1 March 2009

"Sir Gomer" Sees The Light...And The Pressure Washer!

Shackerstone's 0-6-0 Saddle Tank No1859 of 1932 "Sir Gomer" stepped another place forward in her overhaul today. The locomotive's boiler was taken away to the Llangollen Railway's boiler shop on Monday, leaving only the wheels and frames at Shackerstone. The bottom end work will be left to us (the steam department) and will be carried out at Shackerstone. Today, was our first chance at gaining full access to the bottom end, now that the boiler was removed. When I arrived "Sir G" was over the indoor pit and we soon began cleaning the frames with de-greasing fluid. However, as it was a nice sunny day we decided to drag the frames outside and work on them in the outdoors. Therefore, the 02 Shunter "Diane" was soon brought to life and beginning to make air.
Once air pressure was made, "Diane" dragged "Sir Gomer" outside. Mic soon had the pressure washer connected up and ready to go. He then began washing down the frames. Once he'd removed as much grime as possible, we set to cleaning the frames with the fluid once again. We also used scrapers to remove trapped oil and ash from such places as the "axleboxes". The fluid helped immensely in removing any stains of dirt and oil from the frames. Once we'd done this job, Mic set to with the pressure washer again to wash away the grime that we had removed. The frames were then left to dry. It was now 3pm and "Diane" was restarted to move "Sir Gomer" on "half a wheel revolution". This would allow us to the clean the bottom sides of the eccentrics as well as the opposite halves of the axles. Myself, Jamie & Carl then got to work once again with the scrapers, brushes and the fluid for once last go at removing more grime.
Once this process had been completed for a 3rd time, Carl turned the pressure back on for a final time and set to cleaning away the final areas of grime. The result was quite impressive. (Carl is seen above pressure washing the frames on the 3rd stint. The full length of the frames can be appreciated from the photograph). Once Carl had finished pressure washing, it was time to clear away the bits and pieces. "Diane" was then restarted before pushing 1859's frames back into the shed. We positioned her directly over the indoor pit before I "screwed her down". She was also chocked around the centre axles for safety reasons. "Diane" was then uncoupled before dropping back towards the shed doors. The 0-4-0 was then switched off after its short but useful operations of the day. Meanwhile, Pockets had been working away on his SR Brake Van, which he is gradually restoring to its former glory.
The above picture once again shows Carl washing the frames for the final time. The image shows that only the sandboxes, reverser, vacuum brake & handbrake remain of the engine's upper half. Meanwhile, the bottom half remains completely in tact! The result following the cleaning of the inner frames was very impressive. The axles, axleboxes, di-blocks, rods, spindles, stretchers and frame sides were all an awful lot cleaner! This process will probably need to be carried a couple more times before we have finished the "full cleaning". However, for now, we have made good progress. Meanwhile, the locomotive's Saddle Tank & Cab/Bunker still remain in the car park awaiting refitment once general piping up is completed, following the return of the boiler. "Sir Gomer" then lay dormant in the shed until next week when checks to the valve gear will be carried out, mainly revolving around the working of the reverser & "reach-rod".
I think it will unfortunately be a few weeks before I head to Shackerstone again now but hopefully not too long! My next job is to find a locker(!)...a handy place to keep all my bits and bobs that I have to keep fetching and carrying to and from the railway each time I go! I seem to have found one but we still have to salvage it from behind "Lamport No3"! Oh well, until next time. Thank you for reading. We hope to have "Sir Gomer" back in steam, and "almost as good as new", for late Spring time, so why not come down and have a ride behind her?

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