Engineering up-date - December 2017

Just a quick end of year report majoring on progress on the Boiler at Heritage Boiler Steam Services.

Work continues on the construction of The Unknown Warrior at number of locations.


Following on form the last report we were finally able to announce that we have placed a contract with Heritage Boiler Steam Services to complete the construction of the boiler for The Unknown Warrior. HBSS is based at the West Shed, Swanwick Junction, Midland Railway Centre and has been formed by Rob Adamson and Andy Wilcock, both who previously worked for LNWR Heritage, Crewe. They have both been working on our boiler at Crewe and looking after the boilers of the locomotives in the Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust based at the West Shed.

The component parts of the boiler were moved from Crewe to the West Shed on Thursday 30th November. Loading at Crewe took some time as the parts were located at several points across the depot and Heritage Centre. On arrival at the West Shed we found the unloading area was being used to lift and turn a boiler. Unloading of our parts was therefore delayed until this was finished, finally being completed around 11pm!

The Boiler Barrel, Inner Firebox and Outer Firebox Wrapper loaded at LNWR Heritage, Crewe, ready to move to the West Shed. 30th November 2017. Photo – Kevin West

The Doorplate being loaded onto the road trailer at LNWR Heritage, Crewe, 30th November 2017. Photo – Kevin West

LMS-Patriot Project Chairman, David Bradshaw and CME, Kevin West are seen with Rob Adamson and Andy Wilcock from Heritage Boiler Steam Services on 30th November. Photo - Gavin Shell

Work started on the first stages of preparing the Outer Wrapper and Doorplate for assembly on the following Monday, 4th December. This entails the marking out of the hundreds of rivet holes in preparation for pilot drilling.

The Doorplate showing the start of marking out for drilling. West Shed. 8h December 2017. Photo – Kevin West

The Inner Firebox seen through the Outer Firebox Wrapper, West Shed. 8h December 2017. Photo – Kevin West

By the end of the month work had advanced sufficiently for a trial fitting of the Doorplate into the Outer Wrapper.

Trial fitting of the Doorplate into the Outer Wrapper. West Shed. 20th December 2017. Photos – HBSS

Trial fitting of the Doorplate into the Outer Wrapper. West Shed. 20th December 2017. Photos – HBSS

Close up view of the riveting on the Inner Firebox. Photos – HBSS

This work is a major step forward towards the completion of the boiler assembly.

The Throatplate was briefly returned to Tyseley for some attention to some welding that was requested by our insurance company. This work was completed very quickly and passed inspection before being delivered to the West Shed.

Brake System and Lubrication System

Work continues on installing the lubrication system pipework.

The new Locomotive Brake Cylinder that was delivered to Llangollen on the morning of our AGM 11th November has been receiving attention in the Llangollen machine shop to finish machining that the supplier was unable to complete due to staff illness. The Cylinder has subsequently been moved to Harco for completion as it was found to be outside the capacity of the machine at Llangollen. The cost of this work is being reclaimed from the Cylinder supplier.  

Refurbishment of the original 9” Tender Brake Cylinder from 8F 48518 continues at Harco Engineering.

The Oil Box for lubrication of the Ashpan Damper operating gear has been cast and delivered to Llangollen for machining.

Oil Box. Photo – Kevin West

Pistons, Valves and Motion

Work is progressing on the procurement and manufacture of the remaining Inside Valve Gear parts.

Recently delivered are the 3 Die Block sets for all 3 sets of Valve Gear.

Die Block sets for the 3 sets of Valve Gear. Photo – Kevin West

One of the Die Blocks showing the superb machining. Photo – CMS Cepcor

Also delivered is the Inside Union Link for the Inside Valve Gear.

Inside Union Link. Photo – Kevin West

Close up view Inside Union Link. Photo – Kevin West

All the associated Pins and Collars for the 3 Union Links have been machined and were delivered but have been returned for finishing following inspection.

Work continues on the final design of the Piston Rod and Valve Rod assemblies. The detail drawings we have are for the Royal Scot class locomotives as built. The Valves heads fitted then had a single wide Valve Ring which proved to be unreliable in service and were later replaced by multiple rings. We are waiting to obtain a copy of the Jubilee class drawing from Tyseley to enable detail drawings to be prepared.

 A similar design update for the pistons is to be fitted. Once again detail drawings will be finished once a suitable piston can be measured up.

 We have obtained on loan, from Tyseley, an original Piston Rod Gland Spring unit to measure up for manufacture of new items for The Unknown Warrior.

Original Piston Rod Gland Spring Unit. Photo – Kevin West

Piston Rod Gland Spring Unit. Photo – Kevin West

 Manufacture of the Cab Reverser unit continues at Harco Engineering.

Drain Cock Gear, Cylinder Relief Valves & Sanding Gear

Work continues at Llangollen trying to get the Cylinder Relief Valves to seat properly and open at the required pressure. At present we have valves which open at very low pressure. We are investigating sending the units to a safety valve manufacturer for investigation.


We have recently taken delivery of 2 new Great Western pattern 10 X Injectors. Great Western pattern injectors are known for greater reliability over the more troublesome LMS designs and are being widely fitted to former LMS locomotives.

Injectors. Photo – Kevin West

The mountings for the Outside Cylinder Valve Chest Drain Cocks has been cast and delivered to Llangollen for machining.

Drain Cock Mountings. Photo – Kevin West


Little work to report on the tender as the major effort has been on the locomotive chassis.

The new Rear Buffer Beam and Frame Stretchers have been delivered.

Future Work Planning

Areas of existing design work include, Boiler Cladding Sheets, Cab Footplate structure and Tender Tank.

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