Following the short notice substitution of Tornado
for King Edward I on 'The William Shakespeare' tour from London to Stratford-upon-Avon on 30th December, the locomotive made her way to Ropley on the Mid Hants Railway on New Year's Eve. The Trust’s staff, led by David Elliott, carried out inspection work and a few tasks including removing both injectors for cleaning and repair. The MHR staff, led by Frank Boait, have done the routine dismantling and reassembly including piston and valve exam, removing the motion to enable all the rod bushes and crank pins to be inspected and measured. They have also removed all the engine and tender brake gear to enable inspection of pins and bushes and to ensure full lubrication of all the joints.
The insurance and VAB boiler inspectors have completed the cold examination of the boiler and have not found any problems. A further completed periodic item is ultrasonic and magnetic particle inspection of the axles and crank pins which is scheduled every four years. As the start point for Tornado
was August 2008, it was done now to avoid having to take the locomotive out of traffic part way through the year.
Other work includes paint work repairs, the tender sides needing rather more than would be normally expected as there is evidence of something metallic having scraped along the upper side in addition to the usual chips due to flying coal and scratches from line side vegetation. The opportunity has been taken to replace the early style British Railways emblem with the later style crest on the tender sides.
Three modifications are planned for this winter:
· Improved engine-tender drawbar spring arrangement
· Larger capacity auxiliary batteries
· Preparation for GSMR Radio
Whilst the majority of the winter maintenance work has gone extremely well, a problem was found with a component in the engine brake gear - a 3½in diameter pin had seized in the wishbone bearing. Despite several attempts to press it out it in situ, it eventually proved necessary to remove the cast steel bracket in which the pin was mounted and to machine out the seized pin. In the mean time the MHR team have manufactured a replacement and minor design change is being made to enable grease lubrication of the pin as opposed to external oiling.
The locomotive will start this season wearing her livery of BR Brunswick green, carried by the original Peppercorn class A1s for most of their working lives, but with the later British Railways crest replacing the earlier emblem on the tender sides. Over the duration of her first boiler certificate Tornado
will carry all of the A1’s historic liveries of LNER apple green with ‘British Railways’ on the tender, BR blue and BR Brunswick green, with both emblem and crest.
The net result of this is that work is running about one week late and the first operations of the locomotive will be on the weekend of 25th/26th February 2012.