Workshop Week 2017- Part 1

At the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway every year, in mid February, we have what we call Workshop Week. The aim is to push on with getting the locomotives and rolling stock ready for the fast approaching operating season. This year the ‘week’ ran from Friday February 10th through to Sunday the 19th. As it was my wife’s birthday earlier in the week I  attended for just four days from Wednesday  to Saturday.

The following pictures and notes will hopefully give a flavour of what was taking place and perhaps tempt some readers to try a bit of hands-on heritage railway work themselves. There is always work available for people of all levels of experience ranging from complete novices to skilled machinists. Training is available and there is the opportunity to learn new skills.

Lempor Exhaust

Lempor 4 Nozzle Blast Pipe

This photo shows a Lempor four nozzle blast pipe for one of the Beyer Peacock locomotives. Both The Earl and Countess are having their blast pipes replaced this winter. The existing units are badly worn and it makes sense to undertake all the machining and fabricating in a single winter.

These are more complex than a simple one nozzle blast pipe but the improvement in steaming and reduction on coal consumption make them a sound investment.

Top View Of Lempor Blast Pipe

This is a view looking down on top of the blast pipe. Multiple outlets mean that there is an increased surface area to the blast to help draw the fire. The complex shapes of the nozzles, diverging angles and the matched petticoat pipe ensure good gas flow.

Inside View Of Lempor Blast Pipe

Looking from the inlet side. A lot of hour of machining time are taken to turn the nozzles and then mill them to fit together precisely.

If you would like to learn a little more about Lempor exhausts then have a look at the two links below. NB they are now quite old but still useful reading.

Improving The Fleet by David Moseley

Theory Of The Lempor Ejector As Applied To Produce Draught In Steam Locomotives
by L D Porta

Four Handles

What sort of handles ?
Handles for the Mess Coach…..

It would seem that the track gang are being molly coddled and additional grab handles are being provided to help them get into their mobile tea hut. This was one of the tasks I undertook. Basically some 20mm diameter bar was bent into handle shapes and then welded to some little fixing pads. It all sounds so simple doesn’t it.

Heating 20mm bar prior to bending

The bar is put in a jig heated and bent to shape. Even when hot 20mm bar still puts up a bit of a fight. To make matters worse the welding/hot-work bay is rather cramped so working with long lengths of metal requires a bit of planning otherwise the walls and pillars get in the way.

Radial Arm Drilling Machine

The fixing pads were marked out on a length of 25mm x 10mm strip. The pilot holes were drilled on a pillar drill and then opened out to the required size using the 60″ radial arm drilling machine.

Drilling the handle mounting pads

Drilling the 11mm diameter holes that will be used to fix the handles to the Mess Coach.

Pads drilled

All the holes have been drilled. The next task was to cut it up into individual pads.

Handles and Pads on welding jig

Another very simple jig held the parts in the correct alignment for welding.

Four Handles

My part done!

Preparing for paint

‘HG’ preparing a handle for painting.


Elsewhere ‘Gandalf’ was dismantling Countess for attention to the left hand side slide valve. A while ago one of the drain cocks became jammed open and when examined a piece of a copper rivet was found to be the cause. The most likely source of the rivet was one used to hold the valve adjustment shims in place.

We did a similar repair to The Earl a couple of years ago and you can read about that at:

That is the end of the first instalment I will post some more in a day or so.


This entry was posted in Heritage, Llanfair Caereinion, railroad, railway, Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, Workshops. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Workshop Week 2017- Part 1

  1. says:

    Geoff, Thank you for this report/photos. It was very informative and even I could assimilate the points covered. Did your good wife enjoy her birthday?Many thanks,delboy.————————————————————————————————————————————————

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