C2 Project News

Easter 2017

Wheeling the Frames and other major progress

For us, Easter started on 6th April, and will finish on 17th April. Hopefully there will be plenty of progress throughout the 12-day working party.

6th to 9th April

On the 6th and 7th, Paul and Chris 2 made a start with some logistics, sorting the newly arrived profile-cut materials. The tender frames and the new profiles for the tender are now on our bogie wagon, while the bufferbeam profiles and the trim parts we previously made for them are on the slate wagon. Dragbox and drawgear profiles were stacked on a pallet. Paul and Chris then de-scaled the parts needed for the dragbox yokes, ready for them to be welded together. Bob did a lovely job of this and all three yokes were assembled by the end of Friday.

Meanwhile, Martin had been busy in the machine shop, boring out a large hole in the loco-tender drawbar and machining a chamfer on the axlebox thrust faces.
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The three dragbox yokes, welded together. Next job on these is to drill and ream the holes; then they can be painted and the bushes pressed in.
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At the last working party we discovered that the axlebox thrust faces needed a relieving chamfer. Martin did this, making them ready for final fitting to the axleboxes.
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The rear end of the loco-tender drawbar, bored out to suit the rubber bush that will be pressed into this hole. Thanks to Martin for this little job!
On Friday, Chris started tapping holes in the loco bufferbeams, while Paul started reassembling the axlebox thrust faces. After discussion with the Boston Lodge works staff, we decided it was necessary to improve the fit of the axleboxes on the axles using the traditional method of scraping them in.

Chris left on Friday afternoon but was replaced by Dave 1 who assisted Paul in this work over the weekend.
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On Saturday, there was a shortage of loco crews and Paul got drafted onto the Palmerston for the morning run of the 'Snowdonian' special train. These two locos are each 125 years older than our C2! (Photo © Roger Dimmick)
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The new rear bufferbeam for the loco. Chris 2 has been tapping out the holes that will mount the crash-beam.
The axlebox scraping and fitting was a time-consuming task requiring attention to detail, but by the end of Sunday all eight boxes were complete and we could really feel the improvement.
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Paul and Dave 1 spent several days scraping and fitting the axlebox journal bearings to provide a perfect fit.
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Seven down, one to go! Dave 1 trial fits an axlebox.
On Sunday afternoon it was Paul's turn to head back to the 'real world' and he was replaced by Dave 2. The two Daves will spend the next few days on the dragbox and drawgear components: drilling, reaming, removing scale and painting them ready for assembly into the loco frames. Once they're on the wheels we need a way to move them so we might as well have the drawgear complete too.
Meanwhile, Alan has been busy at home on three tasks. He has prepared the horn keep retaining bolts by drilling holes for the split pins that will retain the castle nuts. He has also purchased a new range of branded clothing, some for ourselves but most for sale. And he has been painting and polishing some replica forestry plates and Harbin worksplates for sale, and for the loco itself. Initially these will be on sale at the 'Quirks and Curiosities II' weekend, and if there are any left they will be advertised on the merchandise page.
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Alan has been busy with his homework project, preparing a batch of Forestry plates. The original Chinese ones will be used on the loco, while the replicas will be for sale the the Quirks and Curiosities II event in 3 weeks time.
As usual we found time to enjoy ourselves in the evenings with some good food and beer in the local hostelries. The newly redecorated 'Spooners' is nice, but we think that the Purple Moose Brewery has truly set a new standard in Porthmadog with their refurbishment of The Australia which reopened this week.

10th to 12th April

On Monday, Daves 1 & 2 set to work on the drawgear components, drilling and reaming holes in the yokes, spring plates and washers. Having completed the smaller holes, they spent Tuesday learning how to use the boring attachment on one of the milling machines to bore out the larger holes. This will be another useful skill to have in the group as we move on to refurbishing the motion.

Meanwhile, Alan's been busy with his homework finishing the Harbin worksplates. Some of the finer detail of the Mandarin lettering has been lost in the polishing process so Alan has been painstakingly re-engraving the relevant parts. Hopefully some of you will want to buy the finished product to make Alan's work worthwhile!
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Boring out the large holes in the dragbox yokes. The smaller holes have already been drilled and reamed, ready for Iglidur bushes to be pressed in. The pins that Colin made last month will go in these holes.
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A replica worksplate, re-engraved and ready for the final touches of paint. It reads 'Harbin Forest Machinery Factory'. We don't know if our loco ever carried these, but Harbin 210, 211, 218 and 219 at Rongshan certainly had them on the dome covers, and we've also seen one of these plates at Yinghao.

13th to 17th April

Easter weekend 2017 was our BIG weekend and the culmination of several years of hard work. Over the weekend, we carefully fitted the completed 2' gauge wheel sets and assembled the refurbished suspension onto the frames.
The process involved positioning the frames over the wheelsets, sitting on the old skates (which we previously used to move the locomotive from Porthmadog when the locomotive was 2' 6" gauge). We then used the C2 shed gantry crane to lift each wheel set in turn into the frames before fitting the wedge horns and bolting on the horn keeps.
All 4 wheel sets being prepared for installation in the frames. - Andrew Nelms 15/04/2017
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Getting ready to lift the loco frames onto the old skates over the wheel sets. - Andrew Nelms 15/04/2017
Axle 1 is lifted into place and secured in place with the horn keep. - Andrew Nelms 15/04/2017
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Al fitting the horn keeps under frames - Andrew Nelms 15/04/2017
View from under the frames prior to lifting the wheel set. - Andrew Nelms 15/04/2017
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All wheel sets now fitted. - Andrew Nelms 15/04/2017
With the wheels sets now all fitted the suspension components were fitted. This would then allow the locomotive frames to be lowered onto the rails for the first time on 2' gauge.

Installing the suspension wasn't quite plain sailing as we had to remove a little material from the frames to clear one of the new spring hangers, and the leading springs needed to be compressed a little so that we could insert the knife edges.
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With refurbished springs and newly-made spring hangers all in accordance with the drawings, we hoped the suspension would go together easily. We soon discovered why some of the old components had been modified! We had to use clamps to compress the springs so that the knife edges could be inserted. Hopefully the springs will settle a bit; if not we may need to revisit this in due course.
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The dragbox yokes, with holes drilled reamed and bushed, and 3 coats of paint. These have now been assembled into the frames as well.
Meanwhile, work on the dragboxes continued. The yokes were completed and the dragboxes front and rear were fully assembled. The components for the tender have also been manufactured at the same time.
With all the wheel sets fitted into the frames and the springs/suspension assembled, Sam and Al lower the rolling chassis onto the the track for the first time on 2' gauge. - Andrew Nelms 15/04/2017
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The combined weight of the frames with all the wheels and suspension fitted. Total weight at nearly 4.2 tonnes. The wheelsets with axleboxes are about 550kg each. - Andrew Nelms 15/04/2017
While all this was going on, Andrew and Matt found time to progress the tender frame rebuild. To this end, the new tender spine was aligned and positioned within the frames and tack welded in. The rear dragbox plates were also positioned and tack welded in. It is hoped that these can be fully welded in place over the next week before the May Day bank holiday weekend. Please come and see our progress at the Ffestiniog Railway Quirks and Curiosities weekend:
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Here's proof that we did achieve our main goal. Al, Paul, Dave and Sam pose in Glan-y-mor yard head shunt. Missing from the photo is Dave2, Matt and Chris who were also at the working party. Their help is greatly appreciated. Andrew was unfortunately called away on the last morning to drive the Welsh Highland Railway train to cover for sickness and so is also absent from this picture. - Matt Keen 17/04/2017
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At one time, Boston Lodge used to photograph their new locos and rolling stock in front of a corrugated iron fence. Here's a modern interpretation with the new 'Sied Gwlyb' in the background.
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The loco frames standing in the grassy headshunt by the sea at the far end of Glan-y-mor yard. This is as far as they have been to date. Perhaps at Quirks we'll take them a bit further?
News Archive 
March 2017