3rd June 2015

For the last 12 months, the bogie has sat on blocks, just clear of the ash.


Meanwhile the wheels and axleboxes have been safely tucked up at the west end of the new shed. Today the wheels have been re-railed inside the shed and then hand-rolled up to the headshunt at platform 5

Here come the wheels, fantastic effort from 92 Squadron crew.  Alan Whenman is barking encouragement.  


Once the wheels were on the track adjacent to the NVR steam crane, the Kirow lifted them onto the track immediately behind it and the axleboxes were fitted. This was the first time the new boxes had been mated with their journals and it’s a tribute to the engineering skill of Dave O’Connell that everything went together correctly.

Awesome view emphasising the scale of the Kirow compared to our Steam Crane as the tail bogie is carefully lowered onto the waiting wheelsets and axleboxes.



Steve Lacey, one of many helpers from 92 Squadron, steadies an axlebox as the bogie slots into place.


Looking over the back of the NVR steam crane at Colas’s Kirow driver, a trainee, who stuck at it all day, coping admirably with our demands.


The Colas Kirow team were coming to the end of their time at Wansford and had agreed to do some lifting work, both for 92 Squadron and for the NVR.


First thing was a trial re-bogie of one of the continental coaches - this is to confirm that we can mix-and-match good bogies with good coach bodies in order to assure a full set of coaching stock for this year’s Santa Specials.


Secondly, the boiler from 92 Squadron was placed on sleeper mountings in the yard ‘triangle’ so that it can be grit-blasted and steam-tested.


Finally, if  there was time, the NVR Steam Crane’s Tail Bogie would be re-wheeled on-track where it could be reconnected to the rest of the crane.


Thankfully, the early moves went smoothly and time was available for the re-wheeling operation.



24th June 2015

It’s been a busy few weeks but there’s not yet much to show for it.  


The old grate was very dishevelled and so was committed to scrap.  The new grate is slightly smaller so a new support ring has been made.


A surprising amount of rust was removed from the firebox and chimney by needlegunning. Richard has thickness tested the inner skin after the operation was complete and was pleased to report that the steel is still a comfortable thickness.


New tubes have arrived and the process of installing them was demonstrated to us by Peter from NNR (formerly ‘Chatham Steam’.  We’ve taken on the bulk of the task ourselves - the process is slow but we expect to have most installed by the end of June.  Access through the boiler-side doors is restricted and quite a few tubes will need expanding using a special mandrel operated from the far side of the boiler through the tube itself.


Each tube has a thick end and a thin end and, as the tubeplates are curved and the tubes slope in the boiler, each one needs cutting (at the thin end) to an individual length. Half the tubes go into the boiler in one direction, the other half go the other way round.  Then they are expanded so that the fit in the tubeplate holes is watertight.


The new axleboxes have had oil pads installed and have been topped up with oil, so the crane can be moved when required.  Sam has painted them in her spare moments while waiting for Thomas to dry.

New grate laid out ready for installation.  It’ll be a few weeks before it gets fitted.

Richard’s new hula-hoop.    We’re going to use it as a grate support.

Rust.    Better out than in.

Tubes.    Better in than out.

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

NVR 40t Steam Crane