Welcome to our restoring 4561 blog, which in the first instance will document the progress to rolling chassis.  The majority of the work is being done at Williton under the management of Ryan Pope, with external contractors engaged as necessary. The blog is written by Mike Johns, who also lends his valuable experience to the work as it progresses.

This photo shows the new main frames when work stopped on the locomotive’s overhaul. At that time the main section behind the cylinders had been renewed and given a preliminary coat of paint for protection. The parts for the forward section had been trial fitted but awaited completion of the two new cylinders. These had been cast but were stored in Williton yard to weather pending machining in due course.

When work resumed late in 2018 the immediate need was to confirm that the firebox repairs done to the boiler at Buckfastleigh, SDR, were satisfactory prior to completing the remaining work. Sadly some issues were found and some protracted discussions have been necessary to agree a way forward.  The SDR will now provide some replacement parts which will be fitted at Williton who will also complete all outstanding work. This has become possible as a consequence of developing the necessary skills carrying out some boiler contract work for outside parties.

During 2019 arrangements were made to get the new cylinder castings machined by Roach Engineering who had the necessary skills and machinery and recently carried out similar work for other railways. This photo (courtesy Roach Eng.) shows the two freshly machined cylinders as seen when Ryan Pope and Don Wood visited Roach and expressed themselves well satisfied with the quality of the work that had been done. Arrangements were also made to have the new valve liners made and fitted into the cylinder blocks which now await transport back to Williton.

Owing to the poor condition of the originals it was necessary to renew all the coupled axle horn block castings (12) which are the guides within which the axleboxes are contained in the frames. These have involved initial machining of the basic castings followed by final finishing to size ready for bolting into position. This photo shows one pair of new horn blocks temporarily bolted into position in the LH frame plate. They must be closely fitted to the frameplates, hence the jacks in position in the photo., before the bolt holes can be reamed to final size preparatory to ‘fitted’ bolts being driven into the holes. The fitting of these bolts is critical as it is important to minimise any possibility of the horn blocks becoming loose once the locomotive re-enters service. Work has just started on making the 84 fitted bolts that are required.

This Photo shows the leading pony truck frame which has been thoroughly cleaned ready for a detailed inspection to determine what remedial work may be necessary.