Inevitably, I wasn’t too sure just how well the re-wheeling process would go. In theory everything should have fitted together perfectly but of course, in practice, there are so many variables that things don’t always go as planned. In an effort to give ourselves as much time as possible, Paul and I took the week of the August Bank Holiday off work; Mike took the Tuesday off and kept both weekends free; Stuart and Jonathan made themselves available for both weekends and the Bank Holiday Monday. In theory we had plenty of man-hours at our disposal, now we just needed the gods to smile on us and deliver a week of decent weather; a fairly major request bearing in mind the poor showing throughout the summer!
Left to right: Jonathan, me, Stuart and Paul. This was taken just before we set off to transport everything to Murton. Mike was already on-site. (Copyright John Dunn Engineering).
My plan had been to approach the job in stages with a set of achievable goals for each day, but with a degree of flexibility built-in for any unforseen eventualities. If things went well and the axleboxes fitted in the horns without any problems we would aim to get the brake rigging back on, and get the locomotive mobile, by the end of the week. If problems were encountered with the fit of the ‘boxes then the week would be spent resolving these; in this case, where we ended up at the 2nd weekend would depend on the scale of the problems encountered. Of course, added into this mix was the weather!
SATURDAY: all of the tools, equipment and the axleboxes were transported to Murton. Apart from the more obvious hand tools we needed jacks, steel sheets (because of the ash ballast), a barrow with a hydraulic lifting table, strops, rope; the list went on and on – and most of it is fairly heavy, bulky and difficult to handle. By knocking off time we had unloaded everything at Murton and got it all under lock and key in a secure container; exactly where I had wanted to be by this stage.
Saturday evening and the axleboxes are inside the container at Murton. You can also see some of the brake rigging and the brake blocks. (Copyright John Dunn Engineering).
One of the axleboxes being tried in position using the hydraulic table on the barrow. (Copyright John Dunn Engineering).
SUNDAY: the horns were degreased and cleaned and the axleboxes were then tried in place to check that they fitted correctly. Each ‘box was placed on the hydraulic barrow which was manoeuvred to place the ‘box correctly into position, the table was then raised to slide the axlebox into the horns. This sounds simple but, once again, the ash made things difficult; we placed steel sheets down to make a smooth surface and to prevent the barrow’s wheels from sinking under the weight.
By way of a comparison to the previous photograph, here the barrow has been lowered slightly and the ‘box is “hanging-up” as explained in the text. (Copyright John Dunn Engineering).
I was extremely relieved to find that all four ‘boxes slid smoothly into place without any adjustments being required and the fit appeared to be spot-on. I am told that conventional axleboxes such as these should “hang-up” in the horns if the fit is correct, in other words they should not slide out under their own weight until given a very slight nudge with a short crowbar, and I was pleased that this had been achieved. All the measuring and time spent machining and fitting was paying off – so far anyway. The aim now was to get the locomotive back onto her wheelsets; as a precursor to tomorrow’s efforts the new oiler pads were put into oil to soak overnight.
Two of the oiler pads just prior to being put into oil to soak. (Copyright John Dunn Engineering).
BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY: once again, all of the tools, equipment and the axleboxes were moved the 150 yards from the container to No.8’s siding; no easy job – ash ballast again. The journals and thrust faces on the rear of the wheels were degreased and given a polish with fine emery tape, we were then ready for the actual re-wheeling operation.
The usual procedure for re-wheeling involves placing all of the axleboxes on the journals with the keeps in place. The locomotive is then carefully lowered down onto the fully assembled wheelsets and, if all goes according to plan, the axleboxes enter the horns smoothly and the locomotive ends up back on terra-firma. We had risk-assessed the operation and felt that, because of the conditions on-site, another method might be more practical and safer.
The keeps were removed from the axleboxes and the ‘boxes were then lifted into their respective horns; they were suspended in place using a bar across the top of the horns and some high breaking strain rope, hopefully the photograph will make this clear. Once all four axleboxes were located the locomotive was see-sawed down by alternately jacking at each end of the locomotive. On completion it only remained to replace the keeps along with the new oiler pads.
One of the axleboxes suspended in position as described in the text. (Copyright John Dunn Engineering).
It all sounds simple but it was actually a very difficult job for various reasons. The ash got everywhere and we ended up having to put the journals in “dry”, i.e. without a film of oil, because the ash kept blowing into the bearing and sticking to the oil which meant everything had to be cleaned. The clearance under the loco was very restricted once she was nearly back down and this made re-fitting the keeps (along with the oiler pads) extremely long-winded and awkward.
Oiler pad and keep ready for fitting. The pad has been soaked in oil, hence the change of colour. (Copyright John Dunn Engineering).
We were eventually beaten by the light but we finished the day with all the keeps replaced and No.8 at the stage where, in the morning, she would only need dropping a few inches before the weight was on the springs again.
The situation as it was at the end of the day; the ‘box is in the horns and down on the axle, the keep has been replaced. The ‘G’ clamp is preventing the spring pin from dropping. (Copyright John Dunn Engineering).
TUESDAY: this was a fairly relaxed day after the stresses of the weekend. No.8 was jacked down until all of her weight was being taken by the springs. The horn stays were replaced and the brake rigging was cleaned. We even allowed ourselves a celebratory cup of tea!
The rest of the day was spent tidying up the site around the locomotive.
The rear right driving axlebox after completion of re-wheeling. The horn-stay has now been re-fitted. (Copyright John Dunn Engineering).
WEDNESDAY: Paul and I spent the day re-fitting the brake rigging. Although this needs some attention it was necessary to have it on the locomotive for the impending move to Scunthorpe. The job was a rather long-winded affair because of the difficulties with access and clearance underneath No.8.
The brake rigging has been replaced. This is only temporary, it will all be removed for overhaul once the locomotive has been moved to the AFRPS at Scunthorpe. (Copyright John Dunn Engineering).
THURSDAY: the locomotive was given a thorough examination in preparation for being moved out of the siding. A number of components which had been removed were replaced and secured; other parts had been loosened off during the overhaul and these were also made safe.
FRIDAY: we had a day off!
Not the best of photographs because I was fairly busy but this shows No.8 being shunted out of the siding by the DVLR’s 88DS. It was fitting that one of our lads, Stuart, was driving. (Copyright John Dunn Engineering).
SATURDAY: No.8 was moved out of the siding for the first time since the overhaul had been started on 2009; everything went well and she was shunted around the yard without any problems. The pistons and cylinder end-covers were all temporarily replaced in preparation for the move; it was easier to get them transported with the locomotive rather than the alternative of having to lug them there ourselves.
The cylinder end covers and pistons have all been temporarily replaced in preparation for the move. (Copyright John Dunn Engineering).
By the end of the day No.8 had been shunted back down the yard and stabled behind the signal cabin in preparation for the move to the AFRPS at Scunthorpe.
Ready for the off. No.8 stands with a barrier wagon in the yard at Murton on Saturday evening. (Copyright John Dunn Engineering).