Locomotive News – May 08

Locomotive Number 10 (AB 2244/1948) passed its steam test on 26th April and was ready to enter service the following week. It has been a long process, starting with the exchange of boilers between Number 10 and Number 19, through the extended period when the boiler was away at two different boilermakers, to the re-assembly of the locomotive once the boiler came home. It has also been a very expensive one; we reckon the total cost at over £30,000. A substantial proportion of this cost was generously funded by East Ayrshire Council.

Work has now started on restoring the fireless locomotive to steam. Shell Refinery Number 8 (AB 1952/1928) was the last working steam locomotive in Scotland, and came to the Group in working order when the refinery at Ardrossan closed down. It last steamed in 1995. At the present moment, all the cladding has been removed, revealing that only a small amount of work is required on the steam receiver itself. A new sparge pipe will be fitted. One cylinder was found to be loose on its mountings; repairing this has necessitated dropping the rear wheelset, so the opportunity has been taken to skim the journals. New bolts will have to be specially made to re-mount the cylinder. When the cab floor was lifted an old bird’s nest was found. More seriously, the exhaust pipe from one cylinder was cracked all round. A similar break has obviously been repaired on the other side at some time in the past. Specialist copper welding will be needed here. Again, a grant towards the cost of this restoration has been received from Cumnock and Doon Valley Minerals Trust. It is hoped to have the loco back in steam by the end of the year, when we think that it may be the only working fireless locomotive in Europe.

[thumb:168:l]The cosmetic restoration of Number 19 has been put to one side in the rush to get Number 10 finished and the site ready for public opening. We hope to get back to it soon.

Some work continues to be done on the diesel fleet. The Sentinel locomotive continues to have a clutch defect which defies diagnosis or repair. More work will obviously be needed here. However, Powfoot No 1 (AB 347/1941) has had its gearbox successfully adjusted and now runs in all three gears. A new air pressure safety valve has been fitted.

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