Progress since the last update has been at a much slower pace for various reasons. It had been reported that the carrier frames were due to go for riveting at the beginning of April. In the event, this did not occur until the end of the month. Although the frames had been set up level and square for the riveting to start there was a further delay due to one size of rivets having to be made to order. Unfortunately the size concerned is the one required for the majority of places where the stretchers and rear buffer beam are secured to the frames. However, some of the rivets have now been delivered which means that some of the parts can now be riveted together once the respective holes have been reamed to size. This process is currently underway. There are various other parts including bunker and tank supports which need to be riveted to the outside of the carrier frames, these are currently being made so that they can be fixed to the frames before they are returned to us. It is now anticipated that the riveting will be completed towards the end of July.
Front buffer beam with angles for fixing to inside of frames bolted on
This obviously means that we will have more time to prepare the power bogie frames, but it also causes a delay in the intended time frame for having the two assemblies returned so that further work can be carried out. All the holes have now been drilled and countersunk in both frames for the power bogie, it is amazing how many holes you can put in one piece of steel before it becomes a colander. They have now been separated and are ready for assembly once the holes have been drilled in the stretchers and angles. The castings for the coupled wheels have now been made and have been moved to join the tyres and axle steel at our contractors premises, which means that we are now in a position to proceed with having the wheelsets machined. We are hoping for a time slot to be available during July for this to take place but in order to take up this offer we need to have the funding in place to pay for this work. The cost for the machining and assembly of the wheelsets is going to be in the region of £15,000. One of our supporters has offered to match fund donations that we receive towards this part of the project, but this means we are looking to raise £7,500 in order to take advantage of this offer so that we can make payment at the required time.
Tyres and axle materials have arrived for machining Photograph by Nigel Freebury
During early May a small group of us went to Boston Lodge on the Ffestiniog Railway to fulfil a suggestion we had received when visiting the Welsh Highland Heritage Group visit last June that we speak with Jon Whalley with regard to modifications that we intend to incorporate in our new locomotive. A lot of the ideas coming out of this meeting reflected the current practices of the FR including stainless steel smokeboxes (which we intend to fit to GOWRIE) and armoured flexible stainless steel steam pipes. Another area discussed was the method of fixing the firehole ring into the firebox. We were looking at the new boiler for the quarry Hunslet Velinheli and it was noticed that the firehole ring was to be welded into the firebox. Jon explained the very logical reasons for adopting this method of construction i.e. it is cheaper, not subject to differential heating and therefore lasts longer. It is also cheaper to repair. With these points in mind a request has been made to our boiler designer for this part of the design to be altered to incorporate the above modification.
Stainless steel smokebox of new double fairlie James Spooner Photograph by Joey Evans
Closeup of smokebox interior showing the type flexible steam pipe on the right hand side, that we intend to use on GOWRIE Photograph Joey Evans