Crewe Overhaul Update 1

Our ten-year boiler certificate expired at the end of June. To renew it for another ten years, the boiler has to be thoroughly examined, inside and out, by our Vehicle Acceptance Body's boiler inspector, and our insurance company. To be able to do this, the boiler has to be lifted from the frames, and all the cladding and attachments removed. Once this has been done, and the tubes and flues have been removed, the boiler inspectors will be able to get inside and have a good look round. Until that has been done, we won't know how much extra work will be required.

When any repairs have been done, to the boiler inspector's satisfaction, we will have to undergo hydraulic and steam tests, before and after refitting the boiler to the frames.

While the boiler is off, we take advantage of the situation to access, inspect and maintain other parts of the loco. We won't have as much to do, this time, as we have had to do in the past. This is partly due to the fact that we did a lot more work than usual during the last overhaul, in anticipation of this one - we are all getting older, and we knew that we would have to pay someone else to do it, this time. We have also been keeping up to date on the maintenance work during the boiler ticket. One of the examples of this is the compressor. This was removed and overhauled last year, during our annual outage. One of the major things, this time, is the loco tyres. When the boiler has been removed, the frames can be lifted from the wheels. These will, then, be sent away for new tyres, which we already have in stock, to be fitted.

To get the boiler off, we have to remove the cab. To remove the cab, we have to remove most of the electrics, including a lot of cabling. (We also have to remove the electronics in case we have to have any arc welding carried out). Because of the complexity and uniqueness of the wiring, Crewe asked us if we could do this ourselves.

Our electricians have been planning this for some time, and they were at Crewe for three days, this weekend, with the option of staying longer. We believe that they have disconnected and removed all the necessary equipment. They worked very hard, and have disconnected and/or removed the AWS batteries, OTMR, TPWS, GSM-R, lamps and a lot of trunking and wiring. Some of this will need recertification before the end of the overhaul. It will, then, all need to be re-installed and tested.

While all this was going on, we managed to get a lot more done:-

We had to do all the usual post-trip things, such as cleaning the smokebox and firebox, and emptying the ashpans. We also washed out the boiler.
The injectors were dismantled, and the cones removed, for maintenance.
The safety valves were disassembled and removed.
The clack valves were opened up.
A start was made on removing some of the cab fittings, such as the M8a (air brake control valve), sander control valve, blower valve, and all the pressure and vacuum gauges.
Some of the air-braking pipework was disconnected.
The sandboxes were emptied.
The spark arrestors were dismantled.
The tender was drained, and the sieves removed.
The lubricators were removed and emptied.
The canopy between the loco and the tender was removed.

Here are some photographs taken during the weekend, showing some of the work that has been done.

Some of the cab fittings have been removed:-

The spark arrestor screens and basket have been disassembled:-

Some of the removed items stored in the support coach vestibule:-

Two of the safety valves, dismantled:-