Wednesday, 1 October 2014

A New Arrival, A New Toy...

"The Finished Product" (The Steam Workshop)
Hi everyone. At last, here she is, the unmentionable Atlantic. She is now home and so I can finally say, meet No4436. The story of the 'new toy' goes back to about May this year when I had sort of put my feelers out for a second locomotive to join "Achilles". The way I saw it, "Achilles", my big blue chunky lump, was most at home pulling passengers and doing heavy work. Naturally, to counteract these uses, she is heavy and cumbersome to move around. I had always liked the LBSC designs and this one, 'Maisie', caught my eye long ago. I always promised myself one if it came up in the right colour and the right condition at the right time. However, I hadn't bargained for how fast this one would turn up! When looking out for one of the numerous 4-4-2s, I was pointed in the direction of The Steam Workshop. These friendly guys buy & sell locomotives as well as offering overhauls, finish-ups, paint jobs etc. Upon contacting Simon, he advised me that a 'Maisie' had just turned up. Driven by the 'kid in a sweet shop' enthusiasm, myself and Eddie went to see the engine after seeing the following picture...
"When She Came In" (The Steam Workshop)
The example above was the engine in question. The unusual livery did raise eyebrows all around I think but it apparently had good engineering credentials so was, undoubtedly, well worth a look. So, in June, we visited the works of TSW in Bradford to see the engine. Remember the Kirklees post? Well, that was the decoy whilst on route to see the secret new engine! It had just had a successful hydraulic test to twice pressure as the copper boiler was determined to be new. Unfortunately, though she had passed her steam test, she did not run. The slide valves were refusing to seat, thus meaning that any steam simply exhausted to atmosphere. No matter, we were here to view. Because of her 'under test' nature the engine looked less than desirable when we went up there!...
Looking passed her unusual black, red and dark green livery, we saw a nice engine. Both Eddie & myself looked all around her. The machining was nice, the bearings were new and tight, the boiler was new and looked of good construction, almost commercial. The only thing that let her down, apart from a certain mechanical issue causing her not to run, was her paint. Therefore, the negotiations began and, though she didn't look pretty, I considered the brand new boiler aspect. A brand new, working boiler is always a bonus of course, plus brand new running gear! With a change in price to reflect the extra work required to make the engine look and run well, the purchase was agreed. Since June the engine has been undergoing her full make-over to my specification. TSW lads were more than happy to do the engine just as I wanted it. Their enthusiasm for what they do really does shine through and you can tell that everything must be 'just so' for them. I have included a couple of TSW's pictures below of the overhaul. To see their overhaul report for my new engine, click here. Here is the tender and the boiler enjoying some paint stripper...
"Removing Old Paint" (The Steam Workshop)
Here we see some of her components following stripping and blasting. This method, at least on the images, seems to give a great working surface for repainting...
"The Main Bits" (The Steam Workshop)
Just to give you the odd before and after shot. Here is her dark green LNER lettered tender before...
"The Before" (The Steam Workshop)
And here is her tender after painting and lining in apple green, before the application of her transfers which finish her off perfectly...
"The After" (The Steam Workshop)
The painting was probably finished around 6 weeks ago but since then the lads at TSW have been battling with the loco. It turned out, following inspection, that the slide valves had not been made correctly, thus causing them not to seat in the chests. Once new ones were made and fitted, she ran! However, what did she do? She dropped her timing on the eccentrics! It turned out that the eccentrics were just on the axle and not properly secured against the forces acting against them. So, unfortunately, the boiler was off again and the eccentrics were off, reset and secured. The timing was then set properly. So far, so good. The second steam test: to test what had been removed and refitted: was then carried out with good results. The engine ran well with good beats and with nothing mechanically amiss. Unfortunately, the gremlin struck again and the paint blistered around the boiler bands on the barrel. Down but not out, the SW team removed the boiler yet again and fully repainted it before hardening the paint and then trial steaming without the bands on. With all now well, the bands were refitted before another steaming which rendered everything OK. At last, today, following all of their hard work and determination, the engine was being admired by her elder shed-mate "Achilles"...
The locomotive is now waiting. She is waiting for the Midlands show where she will appear on the Coventry stand on behalf of CMES. She won't be running before then so that she remains in outshopped condition. After that, she'll have a run - which I am already looking forward to. All in all, a longer experience than was planned but I cannot really fault the SW lads for the immaculate end product they have turned out. The loco is nothing like her former self, nicknamed the 'red running board beast'. I hope she will turn out to be a good performer but, as readers, you'll find out when it happens! Meanwhile, shed mate "Achilles" will hopefully have one or two runs before "Maisie" goes out but we'll see.
 
As a background, the new engine is the 3.5" gauge 4-4-2 "Maisie" designed by LBSC. This type is a pretty good model of the Great Northern Railway large boilered Atlantic. These engines were big and powerful performers on the GNR and survived through the LNER and, in smaller numbers, to BR. With big wheels and boilers they were fast, but were modified at various points in their life to make them better at starting trains with only four driving wheels. The class were also adapted from their original pole reverse with slide valves (a nightmare) to screw reverse with piston valves. This improved their economy. I think these do come out as an attractive engine and mine (4436) was modelled on that engine as I believe she was never overly modified. Some C1's ended up with Gresley inspired cabs and outside valve gear, but not 4436, keeping her true to form. To check out other work and for sale engines on the Steam Workshop, click here. All the best guys, Sam...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Superb looking machine Sam. Health to drive! I can see why you'd be torn between wanting to see how it performs and not wanting to damage the immaculate appearance!
Phil (in windy Northern Ireland)

Sam Brandist said...

Hows it going Phil? Cheers mate. I'm pleased with it but this is the thing now, its too clean to use! Its almost a mantelpiece model. But, nevertheless, it will run and it will get dirty. Even "Achilles" is showing paint wear marks after only 3 steamings! Tis' the way..ATB Sam