At the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway it was Workshop Week from the 10th to the 18th of February . There was plenty of activity taking place in and around the railway as for the first time we were running steam trains during the spring half term holiday.
Joan arrives back at Llanfair Caereinion on Saturday 17th February 2018
One of the key activities was the visit from the Boiler Inspector for the dry examinations of the railway’s two original locomotives The Earl and Countess. They passed and in a week or so will be subject to an examination while in steam. Because Joan was required for hauling trains she will be dealt with later.
A constant feature of operating a steam steam locomotives is replacing parts that have either worn out or corroded away due to the hostile conditions they have to endure.
Both The Earl and Countess are having new spark arrestors fitted. They are being made from stainless steel so hopefully they will last a little longer than the previous ones.
The top plates of a new spark arrestor is clamped in place in the The Earl’s smokebox.
Steve milling a spark arrestor plate for The Earl.
The brakes of the W&LLR’s locomotives and carriages are worked by vacuum. On a steam engine it is created in a vacuum ejector. This is relatively simple device that passes steam from the boiler through a series of conical passages to draw the air out of the braking system. The Earl and Countess each have two. The large one is used to initially create the vacuum and then, if required, release the brakes quickly and the small ejector maintains the vacuum while the train is on the move.
The exhaust pipe from The Earls large ejector was badly corroded and had a large hole in it. In this short video Alan is seen boring the centre hole in a plate that will form a new pipe flange.
The lathe is a Colchester Triumph and was purchased second hand during 2017 when the workshop was being re-equipped after the asbestos clean up.
The gradient profile of the W&LLR resembles that of a theme park roller coaster, however, for the comfort and safety of our passengers the trains run at a more sedate pace. Controlling the speed on the downhill sections means we get through quite a lot of brake blocks. Tim and myself spent several hours drilling the fixing pin holes in new brake block castings.
A trolley load of blocks ready to take over to the stores.
On Saturday afternoon we were asked to check how many brake blocks were stored in the undercroft of the engine shed. This is not some lofty vaulted cellar but a filthy dirty pit covered with gratings that you cannot stand up straight in. We dragged out about 120 of various shapes and sizes and stacked them in the yard at the back of the Colinette building.
Staying with brakes new handbrake screws and nuts have been made for the two Beyer Peacock locos. Here Mark is seen finishing off turning the shaft of one of them down to the final size required.
Out in the yard Tim on the inside and Christian on the outside (not seen) fitted dome headed bolts to hold the smokebox onto the boiler of 699.01.
A showy looking train ascending Dolarddyn Bank on Thursday 15th February.