June Update - Progress Report on 5551

For those who were fortunate enough to see 'The Unknown Warrior' during the week of the Armistice commemorations last year, a cursory glance at 5551 will suggest that things have not progressed. Nothing could be further from the truth as you will read in the following update of work currently in progress.

The boiler returned to the Heritage Boiler Steam Services Ltd. (HBSS) workshop at Huyton where progress continues on drilling the firebox to take the thousands of stays required. The stays have been ordered from David Wright in Loughborough and discussions are proceeding with suppliers of longitudinal stays. The dome has been fitted and we are waiting for our contractors to trial the manufacture of a new superheater header for another heritage railway before producing ours. It is expected that HBSS will make and fit the cladding and manufacture the grate and ashpan, which they will also fit.

The tender is progressing well at Leaky Finders in Devon, though it has been delayed by a couple of months because of a number of serious errors made by the last contractor, these are having to be rectified before the frames can be assembled. We are shortly to meet the team who will fit the main line running gear to finalise details of pipe/conduit runs and to establish what design changes are needed in the tender tank to accommodate the electronics.

Progress on rectifying the numerous problems and quality issues, found following our departure from Llangollen Railway Engineering, is progressing well. The motion is at Statfold Barn Engineering for rework which includes some new bearings to replace those previously supplied that are out of specification. All of the white metal is being replaced and machined to the correct tolerances. LMS-Patriot Project Engineer, Nigel Day has or is putting right other issues identified following detailed inspections by him and Andy Forster (ex-CME of the West Somerset Railway).

This has amounted to a full mechanical quality audit of the work undertaken so far. The final part of this work was undertaken in the first week of June with the Valve Rod Crosshead Guides being optically measured to establish if any work is required in this area.

• On the new motion work, two new droplinks are being manufactured by a supplier in Wrexham, we had one original, but have decided to replace both with new components. We are also obtaining quotations for new Outside Combination Levers instead of using the original parts we have as both are showing signs of possible damage from use. A new manufacturing method for the reverser shaft has been agreed with the VAB and quotes have been received, with a decision on who will manufacture it imminent. The issues found on the centre driving wheel Crank Pin Keyways, which was to be corrected by replacing the Crank Pins, is being looked at again due to long-term sickness by the specialist staff due to do the work at our selected contractor. We believe we have found a way to rectify the errors by machining and inserting new material. Drawings have been prepared and presented to our VAB for approval. Just to get this far has taken numerous emails, telephone calls, drawings and hundreds of motorway miles! Assuming approval is received the repair should be quite quick.

• An outstanding job has been done fitting the lubrication equipment, this has been redesigned along the lines of that used on the Stanier 'Jubilee' class. Much of this work has been intuitive as detailed drawings have not been readily available.

• Despite some criticism about the length of time taken to find a contractor to complete the locomotive, progress is being made, but given the issues experienced with previous contractors, speed is less important than thoroughness as we MUST get this right. We have to be happy that the new supplier can deliver on time, within budget and to the right quality. We also need to be entirely happy that they can work with our team because much of what they do will be dependent on our ability to get the components required to them on schedule.

For those who are anxious to see 'The Unknown Warrior' on the main line you can be assured that this is reflected in the Board’s wish to see good progress as well but not at any cost.

A further announcement will be made soon.

The LMS-Patriot Project Engineering Team

The LMS-Patriot Company Ltd. • The Hub, 17 Eastgate Street, Stafford, ST16 2LZ
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