Engineering Up-date - November 2017

Locomotive Frame Assembly

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

The Unknown Warrior, Llangollen.  2nd October 2017. Photo – Kevin West

Work is continuing on the installation of parts onto the locomotive chassis.

Recent work has seen the final fitting of the four brackets and mountings for the Main Reverser Shaft, the two brackets for the Inside Expansion Link and the single bracket for the Intermediate Reverser Shaft.

The Mounting Brackets for the Inside Expansion Link in position. Photo – Kevin West

The Bracket for the Intermediate Reverser Shaft in position. Photo – Kevin West

The Inner Main Reverser Shaft Trunnion mounted to the inside of the right hand frame. Photo – Kevin West

At Llangollen the Coupling Rods have been removed following trial fitting for Members Day in July and have had the felt oiler pads fitted.

The Expansion Links and Bearings have been receiving attention in preparation to final fitting. All three expansion Links are now mounted in position ready for the rest of the motion.

The Main Reversing Shaft castings have been moved from CMS Cepcor to Rewind & J Wilson, Liverpool for machining as CMS are unable to undertaken the work, partly due their own workload and also relating to the size of the castings and the capacity of the machines at CMS.

The Cylinder Clothing sheets have been fitted following drilling and tapping on the fixing holes in the cylinder blocks. This was done using the sheets as patterns to ensure the holes were drilled in the correct positions. Both outside cylinders are finished with work almost complete on the Inside Cylinder. To enable this work to be undertaken, along with work associated with the Inside Cylinder Drain Cocks and Lubrication Pipework, the locomotive has been jacked up and the Bogie run out.

Picture – Left hand cylinder with clothing sheets and bands in place. Photos – Kevin West

A view of the Bogie Centre Pin, taken while the Bogie has been run out to allow fitting of the Inside Cylinder Clothing Sheets.  Photo – Kevin West

 An overhead view of the Bogie. October 2017. Photo – Kevin West

With the Bogie run out from under the locomotive the fitting of lubrication fittings on the Bogie can be completed.

For the comfort of the Driver and Fireman, their seat mountings have been designed and the Brackets and Frames ordered. The Seat Bases themselves are good traditional English Oak, which have been sourced and made by our member David Hughes.

One of the Cab Seat Bases made by David Hughes. Photo – Kevin West

The volunteer painting gang have been busy working on the Cab. It has been rubbed back and prepared for the red undercoat, the first coats of which have now been applied. The Platform Valance have both been completed as well.

Cab following recent painting work. Photo – Kevin West

Another small, but visually distinctive part has been completed recently. The Tail Rod Cover that can be seen on the platework below the Smokebox Door has been manufactured. We had obtained a quotation for this to be made commercially some time ago, but the price quoted was very high for what is basically a thin steel cover. At last year’s Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition, Pete Stevenson, a fellow member of the Coventry Model Engineering Society, was demonstrating metal spinning. I mentioned the Tail Pipe Cover to Pete and he offered to have a look at making one for us. At the year’s exhibition Pete presented the finished part to our sales stand.

The Tail Pipe Cover. Photo – Kevin West

The Tail Pipe Cover can be seen on this view of 45551 at Euston station.

The volunteer painting gang have been busy working on the Cab. It has been rubbed back and prepared for the red undercoat, the first coats of which have now been applied. The Platform Valance have both been completed as well.


Much work has been undertaken on the selection of a new contractor to complete the construction of the boiler for The Unknown Warrior.

The Inner Firebox completed, LNWR Heritage, Crewe. Photo – Jordan Leeds

Following the writing of tender documents these were distributed to the interested parties and the results awaited. Once all the replies had been received we then undertook a process of evaluation of the replies and selection of 3 main suppliers. More details meetings were held with these contractors until a final decision was made. We are now in the final stages of compiling a contract. Once this has been signed a formal announcement will be made. The good news though is we expect the new contractor to start work on our boiler in early December.

Back at LNWR Heritage, Crewe, the riveting of the Inner Firebox assembly is approaching completion this week, despite the initial promise to finish it by the end of June!

The Inner Firebox during riveting. The Foundation Ring has been fitted. Photo – Jordan Leeds

Andy Tranter making fine adjustment of the position of the Foundation Ring. Photo – Jordan Leeds

The Throatplate had been completed by early August and along with the Doorplate has since been subjected to various inspections. A minor issue has been found in a couple of positions where holes used to hold the plate down to the former have been welded up. These will be addressed in the coming weeks and re-tested.

Recently delivered has been the casting for the Regulator J Pipe. This casting sits under the dome inside the boiler with the regulator mounted on top. The J Pipe is basically a 90 degree elbow. The front end of the J Pipe is connected to the Main Steam Pipe which takes the steam from the regulator to the cylinders.

The J Pipe casting. Photo – Kevin West

The patterns have been made for the Damper Door Operating Gear Lubrication Tray and Lid. Castings have been ordered.

For fitment in the Smokebox we now have the Blast Pipe casting to hand. This is a three into one pipe junction which takes the exhaust steam from the cylinders and combines it under the blast Pipe Cap. After passing through the cap the steam continues up and finally out of the chimney.

The Blast Pipe casting. Photo – Kevin West

The Blast Pipe Cap casting. Photo – Kevin West

Also for fitment in the Smokebox are the main Steam Pipe Lower castings. These have been machined at Harco and delivered to Llangollen.

LH steam Pipe casting after machining and delivery to Llangollen. Photo – Kevin West

The casting for the Boiler Steady Bracket has been ordered.

Brake System and Lubrication System

Brake Cross Shaft Mounting following installation under the Drag Box. Photo – Kevin West

The completed Brake Cross Shaft Bracket has been mounted under the Drag Box and has been fitted with the Brake Cross Shaft and its associated Bushes. All the Brake Gear forward to the Driving Wheels has been fitted and tested. Only the Brake Blocks are awaited to complete this part of the brake system. Design work for these is underway as the original drawing no longer exists.

The final part required is the 10 ½” dia Steam Brake Cylinder. This is finally due for delivery to Llangollen to be available for inspection by members at out AGM on 11th November. Original delivery date was February 2017! Some final machining is still required that the supplier is unable to do, so this will be undertaken at Llangollen before installation in the next couple of weeks.

Brake Cylinder, Llangollen 10th November 2017. Photo – Kevin West

Brake Cross Shaft shown after assembly. Photo – Kevin West

Brake Adjuster on the main brake Pull Rods. Photo – Kevin West

Picture –Vacuum Pipe Mounting

The Vacuum Brake Pipe section from the front Buffer Beam to the Vacuum Ejector is under construction also while the Bogie is out. Photo – Kevin West

Lubrication Pipework for the Axlebox Guides being installed. Photo – Kevin West

On the lubrication system, many of the pipe runs to the Axlebox Guides are either complete or underway. A start has been made on the runs from the Lubricators to the Cylinders, now that the Lubricators have both been bolted in position.

Cylinder Lubrication Pipework on the RH Cylinder. Photo – Kevin West

The Lubrication Drive Gear has been fitted. A minor modification has been found necessary on one of the links and this will be undertaken once the valve motion has been fully erected.

Lubrication Drive Gear installed on LH side. Photo – Kevin West

Lubrication Drive Crank mounted behind the LH side Expansion Link. Photo – Kevin West

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

Pistons, Valves and Motion

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

Good progress in being made at various suppliers on the remaining parts for the motion.

The Return Cranks for the outside motion are finally taking shape. These were originally due for delivery in the spring, but various issues at the suppliers have delayed manufacture. The raw material is forged to the basic shape before machining. The first attempts were found to be sub-standard once machining started, so a second attempt was required. The forgings are now complete and machining is underway. We now expect the finished parts to be delivered in the middle of November.

Return Crank Forging showing the basic shape. Photo – Stephenson Engineering Ltd

Return Cranks undergoing machining. Photo – Stephenson Engineering Ltd

The Speedometer Drive Crank has been delivered to Llangollen from Askeys Ltd, Wolverhampton. This has been temporarily bolted to the Trailing LH Crank Pin.

Speedo Drive Crank. Photo – Kevin West

The Inside Crosshead has been completed by CMS and moved to Tyseley in preparation to fitting to the Piston Rod.

The outside Crossheads have had the white metal bearing surfaces re-newed and machined and trial fitted to the Slide Bars. They will also return to Tyseley for Piston Rod fitting when required.

Right hand Crosshead – Kevin West

Both Outside Expansion Links are now mounted in the Motion Girders and bedded into the associated bushes and bearings.

LH Expansion Link in position. Photo – Kevin West

The six sets of parts that make up the three Valve Crosshead Slides have been machined by Harco and delivered to Llangollen.

LH Valve Crosshead Slide in position. Photo – Kevin West

Die Blocks and Pin for Valve Crosshead Slide. Photo – Kevin West

Three of the Valve Crosshead Slides. Photo – Kevin West

On the Inside Motion the Expansion Link is now installed in the mounting Brackets and connected to the Eccentric Rod. The Inside Big End Bearings have been white metaled, machined and bedded into the Crank Pin on the Crank Axle. These parts are now stored ready for final fitting when the inside motion is erected.

Inside Expansion Link on the floor and the Inside Connecting Rod Big End Bearing.  Photo – Kevin West

CMS Cepcor have completed the manufacture of several pieces of motion work to their usual high standard. These have been delivered to Llangollen and include the Inside Combination Lever, Inside Crosshead Gudgeon Pin and Nut, Drop Link and Union Link.

Inside Motion parts recently delivered by CMS Cepcor. Photo – Kevin West

The Valve Rod Bushes for both Front and Rear Covers are now at Llangollen for white metaling and final machining.

Front and Rear Valve Rod Bushes. Photo – Kevin West

Work continues on the final design of the Piston Rods and Valve Rods.


A quotation for the Inside Radius Rod is in progress. This is the final motion part required for the locomotive.


Manufacture of the Cab Reverser unit continues at Harco Engineering.



Drain Cock Gear, Cylinder Relief Valves & Sanding Gear

All parts for the Drain Cock Operating Gear from the Cab to the Outside Cylinders have been delivered to Llangollen and painting is in progress. Some parts have already been fitted to the chassis.

Drain Cock Gear Operating Rod passing through the Boiler Expansion Bracket on the LH side of the loco.  Photo – Kevin West

Drain Cock Gear Operating Rod passing through the front of the cab on the LH side of the loco.  Photo – Kevin West

Drain Cock Cranks following fitting to the underside of the Platforms.  Photo – Kevin West

The Drain Cock Operating Lever in the Cab. Photo – Kevin West

The Cylinder Relief Valves have been machined and delivered to Llangollen.

Cylinder Relief Valves bolted in position under the LH cylinder.  Photo – Kevin West

Cylinder Relief Valves.  Photo – Kevin West

The Rear Sandboxes have now been given the first coats of undercoat. The Sanding Gear is ready for pipework to be added when time allows.

Trailing Sandbox in position and painted in red undercoat.  Photo – Kevin West

The 2 Splashers that fit over the Rear Bogie axle, behind the Outside Cylinders have been painted and are ready for fitting.


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.

Allianz volunteers Day

Earlier in the year the project was contacted by David Dunn, from Allianz Insurance asking if we would be interested in hosting a party of engineers for a day volunteering on the project? As a result of this offer a party of 25 engineers descended on Llangollen on 20th September.

The Allianz engineers in front of The Unknown Warrior.  Photo – Kevin West

As much as we would have liked to have all 25 working on the locomotive it was just not possible, so they divided into smaller groups to work on various tasks for both the project and Llangollen Railway. The Unknown Warrior benefited from a nice deep clean down of all the accumulated workshop dust and both our storage container and 16 ton van was sorted out to provide easier access and some repairs to the shelving in the van undertaken.

Sorting out the storage Van.  Photo – Kevin West

Out in the yard a sleeper wall was completed for the coal stack, and two wagon loads of ash were dropped and spread over the carriage siding.

Building a new sleeper wall for the col stack.  Photo – Kevin West

Spreading the ash on the carriage siding.  Photo – Kevin West

A couple even progressed to helping a boiler washout on GWR 2-6-2T 5199, getting very wet and dirty in the process!

Boiler washout on 2-6-2T 5199.  Photo – Kevin West

A very enjoyable day for all concerned and our thanks go to all the Allianz staff for their efforts.

Future Work Planning

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


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