First and foremost happy New Year to you all.

Well another season has been and gone and as always the engine does what it is supposed to do. We did have a blip before last years Steam Gala when she broke up the left hand piston rings and generally got into a bit of a mess. However, a sterling effort by the support team of the GWSR got her sorted in a matter of a few very long days. Our thanks really must go to them, well in fact I did thank them.

We are now up for our annual boiler exam. This involves removing all the washout plugs and Doors, thoroughly cleaning the inside of the boiler. In addition all the smoke tubes are blown through with air to remove the build up of soot and the firebox thoroughly cleaned for the Boiler inspector to carry out his examination. We are hopeful no issue’s will be found, so we will then put everything back together before carrying out a steam test of our own and an official steam test with the boiler inspector on the 1st of March.

We have already had the rear trailing coupling rods off and the whitemetal bearings redone. This is to remove excessive wear. We have also stripped off the left hand drain cocks and linkage to allow us to remove the cladding underneath the cylinder. There is a hidden copper pipe under there which drains the left hand cylinder of water. However when the engine has been working I had noticed some steam leaking from that side. Sure enough when we got the cladding off and removed the pipe, which is a really awkward job we found a hole in the pipe. This was an original BR pipe so we made a new one and replaced it. The cylinder cladding needed some attention and the pipe is now back in place and the cladding refitted. On Wednesday 24th, we will refit the drain cocks and linkage so hopefully that is that little job out of the way. We currently have the tender and engine split. We are giving the area’s between engine and tender a through clean from accumulated coal dust.

Here you can see below some of the washout plug locations with the footplate prepared for the boiler exam

The two pressure gauges, Boiler and Steam Heat have both been removed and their calibration checked.

The ongoing list of small jobs will also be undertaken and put right for the start of the New season when we hope we ill be back and up and running.

We are now departing the UK for New Zealand so I am leaving the support team to get on the Winter maintenance without me interrupting them �� I shall be back in time for the Steam test on the 1st of March.

John Cruxon Locomotive Manager