The attached photograph’s show the work we have recently undertaken in November to the Chimney.

The story is that whilst on one of my last driving turn’s I noticed a wisp of steam coming out of the edge of the copper cap. Now the copper cap assembly is made up of three components. Obviously the copper cap bit you see from the ground. However the top is made up of a piece of steel. Inside holding the two together is a steel ring. I knew the top steel section was getting a bit rusty but not as bad as we subsequently discovered.

In November the GWSR not operating Steam so a couple of the Wednesday gang and I took the opportunity to investigate. There was another driving factor in that our friendly coppersmith Trevor Tremblen is moving premises at the end of the year and was already down scaling his work load. However he was committed to doing the copper cap for 6960 Raveningham Hall on the West Somerset Railway so there was an opportunity to get ours done as well.

Having drilled out the four steel rivets holding the top lip of the steel section in place we then eased the steel edge of the cap off the cast iron chimney. When we started to try and lift the whole assembly off the steel section just broke away. The edge of the steel where it meets the copper lip and where inside the steel ring sits was simply rotten. We were now totally committed. The copper base section then needed some gentle warming before it lifted free and off the Chimney. Into the car in two pieces and a trip to Swindon to the coppersmith

A few days later, literally, and the refurbished copper cap was finished all to the GWR drawing. So a journey back to Toddington to fit it. In between a few members of the Steam department had needle gunned the chimney to get rid of all the rust and muck, which suggests it had been leaking in rain water for quite a while? A coat of silver heat resistant paint and it was ready for the copper cap to be fitted. On putting the copper cap back in place it slide on beautifully only to be about half an inch too short. This was because the new copper top lip is no longer in the vertical plain as the steel one was but in the horizontal as it lips over the top edge of the chimney. This change of design by Trevor the coppersmith is to prevent any future water getting inside the copper cap. So a trip back to Swindon for a slight modification in the dimensions and back to Toddington. Now it fits perfectly so with some new specially made malleable bronze riv
ts the copper cap is now riveted back in place.

We were lucky to get this done so quickly and have now been fortunate to pick up a filming job on the GWSR with our engine on Friday 13th. This is an extra steaming so the money will be much appreciated and will go some way towards covering the cost of the copper cap repair.

Other than that the engine is going well with three steaming to go, including the 13th.

John Cruxon
Locomotive Manager




The old copper cap

The crew fitting the n ew cap