A meeting was held on 6 January 2017 at Old Hall Engineering to seek feedback from the railway company, the railway’s engineers and the drivers. The main points discussed were: having a common driver interface, which would require installation of a new regulator; and adopting the railway’s standard wheel profile.
The existing tender had many problems which would need to be addressed. The water tank leaked; the wheel tyres were considerably narrower than the standard R&ER wheel profiles, which could cause them to drop at pointwork and damage the point frogs; the driver’s position was high and left the driver exposed to the Cumbrian elements; and considerable modifications would be needed to install ancillary equipment including air generation and braking, battery and radio. It was therefore decided to construct a new tender, which was designed by volunteer Stuart Marsh. The platework for the tender was laser-cut from steel, and arrived at Old Hall at the end of February 2017. The tender was designed for longevity, with a stainless steel bunker and a shovel plate insert to take the repeated hammer of the shovel. In general, nooks and crannies have been avoided as these tend to collect corrosive coal dust.
The existing Krauss regulator operated vertically with an in-out movement. Since the boiler pressure acts on the far end of the regulator rod and tends to push it open, a ratchet is used to restrain the regulator in a set position. Feedback from the drivers was that the steps permitted by the ratchet were coarser than they were used to with the usual transversely-acting R&ER regulators. In order for the new locomotive to be readily used by different drivers, it was desired to have a common regulator control to minimise the possibility of driver error particularly during shunting and coupling and in emergency situations.
A design was produced based on the dimensions of the River Esk regulator arrangement. The R&ER design uses a pressurised ‘steam box’ external to the boiler to equalise pressure on the regulator rod, and remove the need for a ratchet. A crank within the steam box translates the rotary motion of the regulator to the in-out motion of the regulator rod. The railway’s boiler inspectors, British Engineering Services, carried out a design review of the regulator arrangement and this was signed off on 20 November 2017.
Other works carried out during this period included boring out and relining the piston valves and fitting new piston rings, to rectify the steam leakage that was found during Phase 1 testing. The cylinders were demounted and sent away for boring. It was also found that the rear face of the cylinder block had never been machined flat for matching to the chassis, an apparent rare defect in the original German engineering. This was corrected in July 2017.
Ideas for names and colours were invited during summer 2016, and a shortlist was drawn up. Voting slips were issued with the December 2016 magazine with a choice of six names and six liveries. Ben Vincer drew up computer simulations of each of the liveries. Over 500 votes were received, representing over 30% of our members. The results were announced in the March 2017 magazine, with the favourite being ‘Whillan Beck’ reflecting the river theme of the other main engines, and a Caledonian Blue livery.
Heritage Painting were commissioned to undertake the painting into the new livery. They started work on the tender on 11 September, spending a week at Old Hall. They returned towards the end of October for a further week, and the lining-out was completed by 27 October 2017. The Train from Spain’s transformation was nearing completion.