The Train from Spain Project

Phase 1 works

Phase 1 involved initial works during 2016 to get the locomotive moving under its own steam.

The boiler was lifted from the chassis on 22 February 2016 to allow for a boiler inspection. Following a visit of the boiler inspector and non-destructive testing, the required works were confirmed in May 2016. The inspector’s report confirmed the initial thoughts from the visit to Mataró: the boiler was generally in excellent condition. Building-up was required to some pitting where water had stood over time. In addition, and as known from the Spanish visit, the boiler was not originally fitted with a fusible plug to protect against low water levels so this needed to be installed. The washout plugs all needed to be reinstalled. The boiler inspector also confirmed that the superheater fitted in Spain could not be accepted without documentation of its fabrication and testing, which was not available. Therefore, the superheater was removed and the locomotive was run on saturated steam to give an arrangement in common with the other R&ER locomotives.

In the meantime, the chassis was moved to Ravenglass between February and June to test clearances. The locomotive has a narrow gauge profile similar to Rivers Esk and Mite, and considerably smaller than River Irt and Northern Rock, so it was not expected that there would be any clearance issues. However, clearance issues could potentially arise nearer track level or at the platforms, in particular given the drain cocks projecting below the cylinders. Low-speed trials were held over the pointwork in Ravenglass and up to Miteside, on 1 March 2016, using a diesel to push the chassis. A few weeks later on 17 March, the chassis was pushed to Dalegarth to confirm there were no clashes.

The main driving wheelsets were sent away for non-destructive testing including ultrasound proving of the axle and dye-penetration testing of the spokes. The wheels were given a clean bill of health on 29 June. The wheelsets were turned to the railway’s standard profile during July 2016.

It was required to have the locomotive brakes operated by the train air system, such that the locomotive and train brakes act together rather than having separate systems. The locomotive was originally fitted with a steam brake. To compensate for the lower air pressure compared with boiler steam pressure and to provide an equivalent braking force, a new larger air brake cylinder was sourced and installed in August 2016.

The water feeds were extended into the boiler to reduce the differential temperature stresses which could be caused when cold tender water is injected close to the firebox. Boiler fittings and a manifold were installed in August. The injectors were changed over to ¾” and ½” injectors, similar to the other R&ER locomotives. With other works carried out, the boiler was ready for its hydraulic test on 20 August 2016. Its first steaming in nearly 90 years was carried out on 2 September.

The boiler inspector visited on 26 September 2016 and confirmed his satisfaction. The boiler was reunited with the chassis, and the boiler certificate was issued by the inspector on 9 November 2016.

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