Engineering Up-date - July 2016

Locomotive Frame Assembly

Work continues on the construction of The Unknown Warrior at number of locations.

Members listen to the presentation during Members Day at Llangollen Works, 25th June. Photo – Kevin West

Work is progressing at Llangollen following on from the locomotives return at the end of March.

The Unknown Warrior in Llangollen works, June 2016. Photo – Kevin West

The locomotive has been positioned in front of the Tender Frames in the shed at Llangollen, where it is now expected to stay until completion. The original idea was to lift the locomotive off the Driving Wheels for the next stage of assembly, but it has now been decided that this is not necessary.

The Chassis jacked up to allow work on the frame assembly. May 2016. Photo – Kevin West

This has allowed the Driving Wheel Springs to be trial fitted to the Axleboxes and Spring Hangers. Unfortunately, the Jubilee pattern springs that were purchased for the engine on advice given in the very early days of the project are not suitable and some re-working has been necessary.

One of the main Springs during trial fitting. May 2016. Photo – Kevin West

Spring trial fitting. May 2016. Photo – Kevin West

A selection of the Hangers, Pins and fittings for the Springs during the trial fitting. May 2016. Photo – Kevin West

The Motion Girders have been removed for some final machining for oilways. The Smokebox has been removed from the Frames to aid access to the area around the Inside Cylinder and in anticipation that the Smokebox will move toCreweto be married up with the Boiler Barrel.

The replacement Stretcher 4 has returned from remedial work and is being installed in the frames.

A view of the Inside Cylinder from between the Frames, June 2016. Photo – Kevin West

After numerous casting failures the Cylinder Liners have finally been machined and work is in process for them to be shrunk into the Cylinders. The Front Buffer Beam has been removed to allow easy access to the Inside Cylinder for the liner to be fitted. Once the liners are in place the Rear Cylinder Covers can be fitted and the Slide Bars fitted and finally aligned.

The Cylinder Liners, following machining, June 2016. Photo – Kevin West

Other parts on site at Llangollen ready for fitting include the Sandboxes and necks and the bearings for the Main Reverser Shaft.

A selection of parts for The Unknown Warrior in Llangollen works, May 2016. Photo – Kevin West

Brake System and Lubrication System

Manufacture of the locomotive Brake Gear components is underway with the Crossbeams, Bridles and Pull Rods due to be delivered to Llangollen in the next couple of weeks.

The flame cut blanks for the Brake Cross Beams at CMS Cepcor, May 2016. Photo – Kevin West

The Pull Rod Bridles at CMS Cepcor, June 2016. Photo – Kevin West

One of the Pull Rod End under manufacture at CMS Cepcor, June 2016. Photo – Kevin West

The Brake Cross Shaft under the Cab, will be a casting and final design work is underway.

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

Design work focus on the chassis has now returned to the lubrication system. The overhauled 16 feed Mechanical Lubricator has been moved to Llangollen from the Great Central Railway, Loughborough. The smaller 8 feed unit is now at Loughborough for similar attention.

The 16 feed Lubricator at Great Central Railway, Loughborough following refurbishment, June 2016. Photo – Kevin West

The 8 feed Lubricator following delivery to Loughborough for refurbishment. The completed 16 feed unit is in the background, June 2016. Photo – Kevin West

Design work for the lubrication pipe work runs, fittings and clips continues. Design work for the Oil Boxes is complete and quotations for the castings are being obtained. The Non Return Valves for the Cylinders have been manufactured and delivered to Llangollen.

One of the Lubrication Drive Cranks. Just one part of the many parts required for the smaller systems on the locomotive, June 2016. Photo – Kevin West

Dave Owen, the recently retired Chief Mechanical Engineer of Llangollen Railways has recently joined the project as a member and has agreed to work take on the fitment of the lubrication system as a self contained project. We are very grateful for Dave’s offer and work will commence in the near future.

Pistons, Valves and Motion

Work is progressing on the procurement and manufacture of the remaining Inside Valve Gear parts.

Cad model of the Inside Motion.. Photo – Kevin West

The Eccentric Sheaf Halves have been finished machined and delivered to Llangollen and were on display to members on during Members Day 25th June, along with the associated Eccentric and associated bolts, nuts and cotters.

The Eccentric Sheaf Halves and a selection of other motion parts at CMS before delivery to Llangollen . Photo – Kevin West

The Inside Eccentric Rod has been machined at CMS Cepcor. Some final fitting work is required to associated Pins and Bushes before it is delivered to Llangollen

The Inside Eccentric Rod at CMS Cepcor, June 2016. Photo – Kevin West

Machining of the Big End Bearing castings is underway as CMS Cepcor. These are the final parts required for the Inside Connecting Rod Assembly. All the other parts are also at CMS and will move to Llangollen as  a single unit once complete. Only the white metalling of the bearings is required at Llangollen to complete these parts.

The new Inside Crosshead casting is still at Tyseley, and will move to CMS Cepcor for initial machining once the design has been finalized, before returning to Tyseley for finishing. The Inside Valve Gear drawings we hold are not complete and a little work is underway to establish the exact position of the trailing pivot point of the Union Link in relation to the Crosshead centre.

The Valve Guide Brackets and Eccentric Bushes and Bearings at Llangollen Works. Photo – Kevin West

The cad work for the inside Combination Lever and Union Link with associated Pins and Bushes is complete and await drawings to be completed before they can be sent out for quotation. The Valve Crossheads and associated slide blocks, Pins and Bushes are also in progress.

Drawings for the Gland and Stuffing Box parts for the Piston Rods and Valve Rods are in progress to enable manufacture.

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

Cad work for the outstanding Outside Motion parts is also underway. Preliminary work on the Outside Eccentric Rods is finished along with the Pins and Bushes.

The Piston and Valve Head castings are at Tyseley ready for machining. Tyseley will also produce the Piston and Valve Rods to supply complete assemblies ready to fit to the locomotive.

The Cylinder Relief Valve Body castings are at CMS for machining, but are waiting for the final drawing before work can start.

The Cylinder Relief Valve castings at CMS for machining. Photo – Kevin West

The castings for the valve spring holders are also to hand. The valves will be ordered next.


The completed Bogie is at present under the locomotive. The Bogie wheels have been receiving the attention of our volunteer painting gang, to bring them up to the standard achieved on the Driving Wheels. The painting gang has also worked on the Bogie Frame while the Bogie was run out from under the chassis to allow work on the Frame Stretcher above the Bogie.

Work in progress painting the Bogie wheels at Llangollen Works. Photo – Kevin West


The Firebox Doorplate has being formed at Tyseley Locomotive Works and moved to LNWR Heritage Crewe.

The Outer Firebox Doorplate at Tyseley Locomotive Works. Photos – Top – TLW, Below – Kevin West

Progress on the Throateplate has not been as rapid as promised due to a variety of technical issues between Tyseley and LNWR. These, we believe have finally been resolved and we expect the formed plate will be complete and delivered toCrewein the near future.

The Boiler Barrel sections have been assembled and riveted at LNWR Heritage,Crewe.

The Boiler Barrel sections being riveted at LNWR Crewe, May 2016. Photo – Gavin Shell

The Inner Firebox Assembly is almost complete at LNWR,Crewe, with the plates being riveting together.

The Foundation Ring welding is in progress with completion expected in the next few days.

Following a meeting that was held between the projects engineering team, LNWR Heritage and our boiler inspectors, drawings for our revised Dome design have been prepared and passed to the Insurance Company for approval. We are waiting for their reply before we can arrange for the dome parts to be manufactured.

We have also established the build plan and the inspection requirements to cover the final stages of the boiler build up to completion.

The Outer Firebox Wrapper at LNWR Crewe. Photo – Kevin West


Work on the refurbishment on the Tender Frames has been underway following their arrival from Rowlescourt Engineering in March. They have been set up behind the locomotive in the shed. The volunteer painting gang have started work on the replacement platework to bring them up to the high standards of finish they have set.

The Tender Chassis at Llangollen. Photo – Kevin West

The Llangollen Engineering staff started to replace a number of rivets that have wasted heads and preparatory work to rivet the Drag Boxes into the Frames. The Rear Buffer Beam was removed as part of this work which showed up severe corrosion in the inner faces of the Outer Frames and the Outer Rear Drag boxes between the Inner and Outer frames. The corrosion was severe in places reducing the frame thickness to almost 50% of the original. There was also previously known wastage where the springs are fitted that was due to be corrected by welding. Bearing all this in mind, rather than replace just the rear section it has been decided to replace the whole Outer Frame Plates.

The new Tender Frames following delivery to Llangollen. Photo – Kevin West

The new plates have been delivered to Llangollen and work is underway to install them on the chassis. The profiled plates for the new Outer Drag Boxes are also on site and have been welded ready for machining and fitment into the chassis. A new Rear Buffer Beam has also been ordered, as the original was also severely corroded on the internal face.

This additional work was slightly disappointing, as the chassis had surveyed by our VAB whilst at Rowlescourt Engineering and had not been highlighted, although the areas that have been found were not easily visible before the rear end was dismantled.

All the Horn Guides and Spring Hangers have been removed from the original frames and work is underway to re-fit onto the new plates.

The original Frames showing the Horn Guides and Spring Hangers have been removed. Photo – Kevin West

The Horn Guides and Spring Hangers removed from the original Frames. Photo – Kevin West

Our hunt for a pattern for the Axlebox bearing brasses has been fruitful with one being found with the London Midland Society who are restoring 4F No. 44123 at Bitton. We are placing an order for the 6 we require plus another 6 for a related project.

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. Discussions with various locomotive groups to ascertain what they would suggest in the light of their main line experiences have been taking place.

David Hughes works on cleaning the Tender Guard Irons while in the foreground the Sandbox Necks and Tender Axlebox Covers have been primed ready for titting. Photo – Kevin West

Future Work Planning

Future work on the locomotive at Llangollen is expected to include permanent fitting of the growing number of finished parts.





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