29th April 2015

The men from Outer Space 92 Squadron prepare to perform their magic tricks on the crane’s boiler.

John (on the left) stands by the wet-blasting machine while Mike (right) calls on the gods of grit-blasting to bless the operation.  


Although the boiler looks a right mess, the inspector was happy with its internal state, so refurbishing the exterior is definitely worthwhile.  With any luck we won’t see the boiler unclad again for another ten years.

Afterwards, undercover in the shed. Still looks untidy but all the rust is off and a first phosphoric coat has been applied.


Look closely at the boiler top - that’s the finish we want

A smart-looking fully phossed boiler.


No tubes yet

Certification Stamp


from boiler shell.  Steam tested to 120psi (hydraulic at 180) in April 2002.

17th May 2015

Replacement tubes are expected this week but cannot be fitted until the tubeplate holes are tidied up. This will be done by gently grinding down rust etc. to smooth circles into which the new tubes can be expanded. There are also a few nicks in the tubeplate holes that need filling - they will be attended to by the tube installers as part of their work.


Stan has finished tarting up the phosphoric acid on the boiler exterior while Richard has removed the flanges that fix the boiler to the crane - these need some refurbishment.  He’s also made a start on cleaning up the un-nicked tube holes in the tube plates.  


Dave O'Connell has made good progress with the axleboxes and they are now assembled, horn guides cut and the boxes are ready for a test fit on the tail bogie.

Axlebox Manufacture

Boiler Work

Final cut being made on the second hornguide on the second axlebox.


 In the background, the completed first box can be seen.

29th May 2015

Condenser has been needle-gunned, phossed and primed. Some work has started on cleaning up chassis/cab area before boiler is re-installed.

The boiler has been lowered to it’s side, so that all tubeholes can be accessed. Stan has ground clean the tubeplate holes to prepare them for tube installation..



Note - with the tubes out and good lighting, it’s possible to see (bottom centre) the steam scouring that happened when the fusible plug blew.

New tubes have arrived.


Axleboxes have bearings fitted and are ready to go in.  Bearing pads have been cleaned and dried but need a 24hr oil-soak prior to fitting.

26th April 2015

Part-way through tube removal.  48 tubes, two ends each plus a cut in the middle to ease removal.

Considering whether we should strip and repaint the area before the boiler is returned

Richard completed the tube removal and the boiler has been returned to vertical ready for transport to the shotblast area near the woodstore.


Stan has repaired the broken condenser drain pipe and some unknown kind soul has cleaned out the area where the boiler sits.

Copyright © 2015-16 Stan Bell. All rights reserved.   stan.bell@systemsoft.co.uk

NVR 40t Steam Crane