Friday, 19 September 2014

Achilles Report No62: Success at Last...

Hi guys. Here we are, at last, its done and it only works you know! The blue tank engine has been waiting in the wings since about July, waiting for me to have the time to work on her. I think the trouble my end was that the cladding had already had two repaints, and a third would mean more mess and toil. However, with a week on nights in prospect the other week, I decided to just smash the painting out, bake it on and have another go at running the loco. Its been a terrible season for the engine thanks to my attempts to repaint her, but at least she's done now. Today, in the drizzle, the engine was steamed at the CMES base of Ryton Pools, alongside a pair of 4-4-0 types: Eddie's 3.5" gauge 2P and Colin's 5" gauge LNWR Precursor. We arrived at around 12:30pm and the engine was in steam by about 1pm. Slowly but surely, the engine left the steaming bay for the test run, with the cladding still in tact. Well, I am proud to say that she ran beautifully and had no problems. The only jobs remaining are to do a little bit of 'touching in' with a craft brush on some of the tiny marks that the engine has received during the on-going work. This job list is perhaps the smallest I have ever had since owning the engine. I am very pleased with the final result, all done and dusted and with a working superheater to boot...
The three engines are seen here lined up outside the station with the drizzle having stopped for a moment. The bright blue paintwork of "Achilles" does brighten the place up a bit though...
"Friday Afternoon Line-Up"
Also today, at last, Ken was finally reunited with the engine in its post-repaint form. As this is only the second time that the loco has appeared at RPMR in steam since its repaint, this is the first time that Ken has seen her. I am pleased to say that he was very impressed with both the livery and the performance of the loco, which is a great relief to me. My main interest since owning the engine has been to ensure that Ken is happy with the on-going work. I am now pleased to say that I am now very happy with the engine and, apart from putting new pins in here and there, she is pretty much set up right. Here is Ken with "Achilles"...
I was trying to work out in my head all of the work the engine has had done since I've had her. Ken made the engine to a good standard when she was new, but 25 years or so of sterling work had worn her out, that was all. So, here is the list:
  • New connecting and coupling rod bushes
  • New crossheads and little end bushes
  • New whistle valve
  • New steam pipe
  • New rear axleboxes
  • New pipework to and around double-acting water pump
  • Full repaint into a new livery lined in white
  • Service to handpump and axlepump
  • Various seals, little jobs and light repairs
I may have forgotten a few things from the above list but those jobs certainly have been carried out. Naturally it has been done over the course of months as the bottom-end overhaul took place the winter before last in 2013, as documented on this blog. In 2014 we have of course done the full repaint as, again, documented on this blog. So, finally, BEFORE...
AFTER... 
I still have a few 'touching in' jobs to do as I said, as well as fitting the dummy whistle when I've finished doing some work to it. The engine is now in traffic as such, and is fit to run whenever required. I am hoping that it will run again at RPMR before the winter season but the locomotive will also, I hope, be attending the GEC Railway's Halloween run at the end of October. This is a fantastic event and is well worth a visit. Best of all, it is FREE, though donations are of course gratefully accepted. So, there you have it guys, the engine works. That's it, job done. Thank you so much for reading and thank you for following the engine on this blog. I am very pleased with the end result. Al the best, Sam...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well done Sam! I look forward to seeing Achilles in service on the RPMR Steam On Sunday services next year? Good that Ken was pleased too.
A certain Mr. Jones has mentioned that the loco is still missing a large yellow Number 1 on the tank sides, but I couldn't possibly comment on this...
Kind regards,
Emma-claire.

Sam Brandist said...

Thanks Emma. Ha...yellow number one?! Mr Jones should be careful with mentions of engines and their liveries as a certain little black engine has not had any lining done yet or isn't likely to have unless he pulls his finger out! Glass houses! :)