Engineering Report - August 2015

Locomotive Frame Assembly

Work continues on a number of fronts on the construction of The Unknown Warrior.

The major work of permanent fitting the cylinders to the locomotive has been completed.

RH Motion Bracket with Bottom Slide Bar in place being drilled – Photo:- Gavin Shell

This work has also involved fitting the related Motion Brackets, Motion Girders and Frame Stretchers. This has involved a lot of measurement, checking positions to ensure the parts are correctly located.

Chris Collins work on fitting the RH Motion Girder – Photo:- Kevin West

As part of the ongoing design work it was found the Motion Brackets, Rear Motion Girder Support and Boiler Expansion Bracket on the left side of the locomotive required holes and slots adding. These are for various rod runs for the mechanical lubricator drives and Drain Cock operating gear to pass through. These details were not shown on of the original drawings, but are evident on related Jubilee and Royal Scot locomotives.

Work is also progressing on the drawings for the Drain Cock operation gear andLubricator Drivesystems. The Drain Cock Gear alone totals 168 individual components.

The four leading Sandboxes have been manufactured and will be delivered to Llangollen this week ready for painting before they are fitted to the chassis.

The locomotive is scheduled to be re-wheeled and have the Smokebox and Deflectors refitted early next week prior to moving to Barrow Hill for the gala on 25th to 27th September.

L&NWR Loco Dept jack being used to position the RH Motion Girder – Photo:- Kevin West

Away from physical work on the locomotive, recent searches of the drawing archives at theNationalRailwayMuseum,Yorkhave turned up another 100 drawings that are either original Patriot drawings or from related locomotives that can be used for the build of The Unknown Warrior.

Then followed a trip to view the North British Locomotive Co drawing archives, held atGlasgowUniversity. The North British Locomotive Co build the first 50 Royal Scot class locomotives and there are many parts of the original Royal Scots that are either the same on the Patriots or very similar. Another 55 drawings were discovered that will aid the construction of The Unknown Warrior.

55 Royal Scot drawings identified at GlasgowUniversity. – Photo:- Peter Morphew/Glasgow University

Brake System and Lubrication System

Refurbishment of the Locomotive & Tender Brake Cylinders from 8F 48518 continues at Harco Engineering.

Design work continues for the lubrication system. The mechanical Lubricator under overhaul at the Great Central Railway, Loughborough is progressing well. It was purchased as a set of parts to overhaul and build up as a complete unit, but the new body cast in aluminum provided by the supplier is not proving to be as robust as expected. A new body and lid will be cast in steel in the next month.

Mechanical Lubricator under overhaul  – Photo:- Kevin West

Design work for the lubrication pipework runs, fittings and clips continues.

As mentioned in the last report, the Braking system fitted to the locomotive will be similar to that carried by the Jubilee class locomotives. The Stanier 8F class2-8-0parts which we had hoped were available have unfortunately been sold to another locomotive group. Therefore the Brake gear for The Unknown Warrior will be all new manufacture. CAD work is completed following measuring up the parts from Jubilee classBahamasat Tyseley Locomotive Works. We now have also located the original brake gear drawing for the Royal Scot class. Once we have a copy of the drawing to hand they will be compared to the data taken fromBahamasbefore data is sent out for quotation for manufacture.

The Brake Hangers have been cast and await machining.

MechBrake Hanger castings– Photo:- Kevin West

Pistons, Valves and Motion

Following the fitting of the cylinders and Motion Brackets, work has continue fitting the motion parts. These include the Front and Rear Cylinder Covers and Slide Bars. Drawings for the Slide Bar Bolts have been completed and sent to Llangollen for manufacture.

Front & Rear Valve Covers trial fitted. Photo – Kevin West

Llangollen Railway Engineering are also progressing the manufacture of the Coupling Rod Bushes and Brasses.

Quotations for machining the recently cast Expansion Links are being obtained.

The refurbishment of the legacy motion parts is continuing by the volunteer gang at Llangollen. Many hours have been spent on mainly hand work to clean off the years of pitting and corrosion. The new Connection rod is also receiving some attention to polish out the machining marks. Once again if anyone is interested in getting hands on with the Unknown Warrior, if only for a few days, please contact the office. 

Coupling Rods showing refurbishment in progress. Photo – Kevin West

Connecting Rods. Original from Jubilee Achilies on left. New rod on right. Photo – Kevin West


Drawings for the Valve and Cylinder Liners have been prepared and sent for quotation for castings.


Assembly of the bogie continues apace at Tyseley Locomotives Works. The Bogie Centre and Horn Guides  have been fitted to the frame assembly.  The Spring Beams have been trial fitted.

The Bogie Frame Assembly under assembly at Tyseley Locomotive Works. Photos – Tyseley Locomotive Works

Final machining of the Axleboxes for the new wheelset is waiting for a dimension from South Devon Engineering following final machining of the assembled wheelset. This is due to be completed this week.

Machining of the Axle and WheelCentersfor the new Bogie Wheelset has been completed at Harco Engineering and the parts were delivered to South Devon Railway Engineering for assembly on 29th May.

The tyres were delivered to South Devon Engineering on 25th August. They need machining before fitting to the wheelset. This is due to be completed in mid September after which they will be transferred to Tyseley for final tyre profiling along with the wheelset from 48518.

Bogie Tyres Photo – Gavin Shell

The Bogie is due for completion in mid October for fitting to the locomotive chassis.


Work continues on the forming blocks for the outer firebox Steel Flanged plates at Tyseley Locomotive Works. The Doorplate block has been cast .

At LNWR Crewe, the Inner Firebox Crown and side sheets are being prepared for welding prior to a start being made on assembling to the door and throat plates. A start on riveting the 2 barrel rings is expected soon and the Foundation Ring components will be sent away for machining before welding in the side sections.

Foundation Ring Corners before final machining. Photo – Kevin West

The steel Outer Firebox Wrapper sheet order has been deferred until after the steel wrapper sheets have been formed. These will then be measured and the wrapper sheets formed to fit. It is easier to do this than try and adjust either the Wrapper or flanged plates is there is a mismatch.

A further meeting has been held with the LNWR Heritage engineers to plan the boiler build up to completion in December 2016.

The original regulator and J Pipe from 8F 48518 has been obtained for use on The Unknown Warrior.

Regulator from 8F 48518. Photo – Kevin West


Work on the refurbishment on the Tender Frames continues at Rowlescourt Engineering.

The new front sections of the outer frames have been profiled and tacked into place ahead of final welding. The Inner Frames have been replaced completely following removal of the rear dragbox, which had several wasted plates that required replacement. Completely new welded dragboxes for both front and back have been assembled and wait for machining before they are installed in the frame assembly.

Tender Frames showing new section of Main Frames ready to be welded in position. Also note the new Inner Frames. Photo - Kevin West

Discussions are underway to decide if the final riveting will be done at Rowlescourt or back at Llangollen when the frames return in the new year.

Design work on the new tank which will be of welded construction with dummy rivets is continuing taking into consideration the requirements for new main line running regulations.  When complete, which is expected to be by Mid Summer 2016, it will be finished in the livery which will be chosen by the project’s membership. 

A start has been made on repair of two of the Tender Axleboxes. During their time in Barry scrapyard, the tenders were subjected to removal of the bronze bearings. This was sometimes achieved by smashing off the outer Axlebox Cover with a sledge hammer, rather than unbolting it. Two of the axleboxes we have were subjected to this and sustained damage in the process. One had just lost the ears that the fixing bolt was fitted to, but the other had lost a complete section from the base. These castings have now been restored by specialist Cast Iron welding by Shilton Cast Iron & Welding, of Hinkley.

Bogie Axlebox before repair showing missing section.

Repair underway.

Cast Iron Welding.

Bogie Axleboxes after repair. Photos – Oakwood Visuals

The Bogie Wheelsets are at Llangollen. A number of areas require welding to repair voids in the castings. This work is planned to be completed very shortly. Painting of the unaffected areas in underway. The journals andTyreprofiles were restored at Tyseley Locomotive works in 2012.

Bogie Wheelsets being painted at Llangollen. Photo – Kevin West

We have acquired a set of Axlebox Covers for use on the Tender from the Stanier Mogul Fund.

Axlebox Cover. Photo – Stanier Mogul Fund

Future work planning

The Unknown Warrior will leave Llangollen in late September and move to Barrow Hill for display on 25th – 27th September at the Barrow Hill 65 event.


We are very grateful to Alleleys Heavy Haulage, who have kindly sponsored the locomotive movement costs from Llangollen to Barrow Hill.


The following week The Unknown Warrior will move to Tyseley Locomotive Works to have the Cylinder and Valve Liners fitted.


The Bogie which is being assembled at Tyseley will also be fitted following its completion, before the locomotive returns to Llangollen in early November. The Unknown Warrior will be on display at the Tyseley Locomotive Works Open Day at the end of October.





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