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Summer 2023 Update

As on the previous update, the wheelsets for the trailing bogie were delivered to Statfold Engineering for the previously mentioned alterations to the tyre profiles and axle ends to be carried out. Not long afterwards the castings for the axleboxes were collected followed more recently by the delivery of the underkeep castings for these. On the same day as these arrived a further delivery was made by John Dunn of John Dunn Engineering. He had been contracted to manufacture the handrail pillars for the cab entrance in readiness for fitting once the tanks and bunker have been fabricated. As can be seen from the relevant photograph these have been done to a high standard of finish, which is important as they need to be maintained in a bright condition.

Handrail Pillars

Another recent delivery has been that of the newly manufactured leaf springs for the trailing bogie, these having been made by Jones Springs of Darlaston, West Midlands. Brian has now finished machining the threads on the trailing bogie tie bars now that we have received the 1½ inch BSW nuts for which thanks to Ian Howitt who has kindly made and donated these. The tie bars have now received their first coat of paint as have the wheel sets for the power bogie. Further work on the trailing bogie has been the drilling of the pivot stretcher and associated angles plus the drilling and reaming of the holes to fix the pivot casting to the stretcher top plate. The upper and lower castings have now been sent away for the dished mating surfaces to be machined. The trailing bogie frames required some machining of the horn faces plus the top and bottom faces. This work has been carried out on the horizontal borer in the top workshop.

Trailing bogie springs
Trailing bogie tie bars in front of the driving wheels
Trailing bogie pivot castings
Jude watching Nigel drilling more holes
Trailing bogie stretcher top plate

At the same time Stuart was carrying out the initial machining of the trailing bogie axleboxes on the horizontal borer in the bottom shop. For us this is the first time that the two boring machines have been used to machine parts for the same project.

Trailing bogie frames being moved to the horizontal borer
Horn face openings being machined
Two views of the initial machining on the trailing bogie axleboxes

Recently the trailing bogie wheelsets which we had sent to Statfold Engineering for the alterations mentioned earlier to be carried out, have been returned together with the slate wagon belonging to Joey Evans, which has joined the one belonging to Martyn. Since they are standing together are we likely to turn up one day and find a row of little slate wagons?!! As you will see from the picture below, the wheelsets are now together and have received a coat of primer where required

All the primed wheelsets together

Brian, together with Tony has been busy working on various other items. Currently they have been finishing the cast iron strainer boxes which will be positioned under the side tanks to supply water to the injectors. Although these were not present on the original GOWRIE, we decided to fit them as, during the restoration of the Hunslet WD 4-6-0 tank 303 (1215) it came to light that they had been fitted to some of the later orders of this class. They are a useful addition since if a strainer becomes blocked it is possible to clean it without emptying the tank simply by shutting off the water supply by closing the valve between the tank and the strainer.

Strainer boxes being worked on (above) and nearly complete (below)
John painting the rear buffer beam
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Work on the fixings for the bunker floor

The chart above shows the progress of the cylinder appeal. If you are a Friend of Gowrie you will see in the latest magazine, we have had the sales stand out at many events, where we have received some relatively large donations towards this appeal. Before embarking on the appeal for funding the cylinder patterns and castings, we needed to have an idea how much these parts would cost. What follows is a brief account of the investigation and work undertaken over the last nine months to arrive at the position we are now in regarding this very important part of the project. Just before the end of last year we started this process which covers the only large item of the project that we had not, up to that time addressed, the cylinders. First thoughts were what method we intended to use to produce the patterns, the two options discussed being wood or polystyrene. On a recommendation, an approach was made to a company very experienced in producing patterns, including those for locomotive cylinders in both polystyrene and wood. The initial enquiry was mainly for the production of polystyrene patterns, followed by the use of these for the production of the castings. The attraction of using polystyrene for the patterns was the low cost of their production and although these are sacrificed during the casting process, since they are produced using a computer programme, they can be easily replaced. Another advantage of using a computer programme to produce the patterns, is that since our cylinder patterns are not identical, in other words one is a mirror image of the other, using the above method, the two patterns can be produced by simply producing a mirror image from the programme, but more of this later. After much discussion with our normal pattern maker, who uses traditional methods to make wooden patterns, it was obvious that a pattern would be needed for each cylinder, thus doubling the time needed which was why our thoughts had considered the use of polystyrene as being a cheaper and quicker option. Having discussed the possibility of going down the polystyrene route with various parties, some drawbacks were highlighted, the main one being contamination of the casting due to the evaporation of the pattern during the casting process. When considering piston valve cylinders this is not so much of an issue, since the wearing surfaces are not the actual casting, but are liners inserted in the cylinder bores and the steam chests. With GOWRIE having slide valve cylinders, the port face of the casting needs to be resistant to penetration by steam, as it is the working surface for the valve. With all this in mind, thoughts turned to using wooden patterns, as these would avoid the contamination issues associated with the use of polystyrene, but would also result in having patterns which could be re-used in the event of a casting failure or other problems. The next recommendation from one of our supporters was initially to contact a local foundry to discuss the use of sand printed moulds which avoid the use of any patterns, since the printing is again performed using a computer generated programme. During a discussion with the owner of the foundry, he did not appear to have much knowledge of the sand printing process, but indicated that he normally used two pattern makers, one who was a traditional wooden pattern maker and the other who produced 3D modelled patterns, but also in wood. This now gave us the advantage of being able to have wooden patterns produced by simply using the mirror image of the computer file. The pattern maker using traditional methods declined to offer a price, but the one who could use the 3D machined patterns gave an initial figure of approximately £20,000 for the two patterns The company we had approached for the polystyrene patterns also quoted for producing traditional wooden patterns at a cost of £17,000 for each cylinder. The relevant parties were told that at the time we were not in a position to raise an order since we did not have the necessary funding in place, we were looking for an idea of what the cost was going to be in order to pitch the appeal at the correct level. As previously mentioned, the target was £35,000, which we indicated that we would like to raise by the end of the year. As it turned out, we achieved this figure during the early part of the summer. We have to acknowledge that the success of this appeal has been due to some very significant donations, plus the prominent placing of a very large appeal bucket at the events we attended. A third company was approached for a quote for this work, but after several unsuccessful attempts to get a price and with the clock ticking, the decision was taken to investigate further the second option. Arrangements were made to visit the foundry of Mark Sutton, Sutton Castings, Oxton, Nottinghamshire, where we were very well received and shown around the premises. Mark had also arranged for us to visit the pattern makers, Greenbank Patterns, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, where we met Luke Clarke, who is the Grandson of the founder of the family business. David Smith was requested to send the necessary drawings to the company, so that they could quote for the work, which they did after a couple of weeks. The quote was for two cylinder body patterns, plus 13 core boxes. This was extremely competitive when compared to the quote from the first company we contacted. Having consulted the other trustees it was agreed that we place the order with Greenbank Patterns for this work, with an expected delivery date of the latter part of November. At the appropriate time the intention is to place an order for the castings with Mark Sutton, with an expected delivery date of the end of the year. It has also been recommended that the castings are stress relieved, which saves time by not having to let them season for several months prior to commencing machining. So, as can be seen, the raising of the funds and the completion of the work to arrive at the situation where we have the cylinders ready for machining, has been considerably shortened by the generosity of our supporters. Moving on to other work, Stuart having returned from holiday, is continuing with the machining of the axleboxes for the trailing bogie, as shown on the front cover. The components for the bogie stretcher have been transferred to the premises of Richard Jeffs for riveting. Once this has been carried out the frames can be united with the stretcher, with the intention of this part of GOWRIE hopefully being completed during the Spring of 2024. Brian has been busy working on various components including starting the pipe work for the vacuum braking system to be fitted to the rear of the carrier frames. This part of the system needs to be installed before the bunker is finally fitted, as it will not be possible to access it after that time.

Vacuum brake trainpipe swan necks
Freshly machined trainpipe dummies and unmachined castings for vacuum pipe end fittings

With the bunker floor in position on the carrier frames and after carefully measuring the required positions, the fixing holes were drilled through the floor and the angles attached to the frames, so that once the bunker has been returned in its fabricated state, it can then be bolted in position. On the original GOWRIE, the bunker was fastened down to the frames by riveting, but the decision has been taken to use bolts so that it would be an easier matter to detach the bunker if the need arose. A start has also been made on cutting the angles which will be used to fasten the various parts of the bunker together. Again, the intention is to use bolts rather than rivets, but in this case they will be dome headed allen screws which, once the sockets have been filled in, will resemble the original riveted assembly. The last two images in this article show the springs we have had made which are part of the power bogie pivot assembly and control the amount of side tilt of the upper part of the locomotive. This is followed by the final part of machining on the handbrake shaft. This is the keyway which allows the handbrake handle to be fixed to the shaft.

Platework for the bunker sorted ready for fabrication
Platework for the tank sides together with lengths of angle which form part of the bunker assembly
Another view of the tank end and side plates
Power Bogie pivot side-tilt control springs
Keyway machined in top of handbrake screw shaft
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