The engine has performed well since the winter maintenance and has given only a few problems. During the winter’s work we discovered that the expansion links fitted to the engine are the wrong ones and they are in fact from a 28xx class. I am sure at the time when we did the restoration somebody said they were all the same. However when we came to set up the valve timing this winter John H could not get the right settings no matter what we tried. A bit of paint removal from the links shows 2861 stamped on the offset pins. She does run reasonably well with the wrong links but not quite as she should be. So another job for the overhaul to the tune of an unexpected £5k to fit a new pair of expansion links to the correct radius.

During her normal running she did suffer a failure of the Vacuum ejector clack valve, the spindle snapped off. Having been coaxed back to Toddington and back on shed I got a call to say she was in trouble. This was circa 16.00hrs. now thankfully Ian Carpenter of the Steam Dept had found a drawing showing a modified stainless steel spindle. In the meantime I am on my way to John Hancock’s house to collect some material. From there I drove to Toddington to meet Ian. After a brief discussion with Ian and a phone call to John H it is back to his house to leave him with an evenings work before shooting off home. Up bright and breezy next morning to drive to John’s to collect the now fully repaired clack. Then across to Toddington to fit the part as she was raising steam for that days work. 08.10 am repair completed and engine fit for traffic.

Recently in this very hot weather she broke a right side driving wheel spring which we have had to change. We also have a superheater element blowing which is a real sign that the elements are on their last legs. We already have two blanked off.

She has completed over 40 steamings already this year so only 20 to go, although we want her to achieve as many as we can to help the restoration pot.

The new front tube plate is already being made as are the expansion links and other odds and ends all in readiness for her overhaul at the end of the year.

John Cruxon


Freshly painted loco dragbox

The tender frames with overhauled springs fitted look fresh with a new coat of paint.

Team leader Roger Burrows in orange overalls, with John Longhurst in the foreground. Jeff Jefferies a steam dept Fireman gives the roof of the firebox a good polish.