10 Year Overhaul
Running In
Railmotor 93
News from 2011
News from 2010
2009 News Page
Starring 5542
BSK 34991

2011/12 10 Year Boiler Overhaul 

The 10 year boiler overhaul for 5542 commenced on Monday October 3rd 2011 (Day 1)

This page will give  regular updates of the work undertaken, with photographs if available, at the South Devon Railway Buckfastleigh workshops in our attempt to complete the work by 20th March 2012(Day 168)

If you would like to help financially please see Donations

Preparation work prior to 03/10/2011 will show as minus(-) days, days after 03/10/2011 will show as plus (+)days.

We thank everyone for their ongoing interest and support.

5542 on 24/05/2012 Photo © John Hallett

Wednesday 30/05/2012 Day +241

Final touches being made ready for re-entry into public train haulage at the weekend.

A coat of paint for the front plating and new floorboarding for the cab are just two of the tasks.

Monday 28/05/2012 Day +239

The overhaul is now virtually complete, 5542 moved under her own steam today!  See full report on News Page

Saturday 26/05/2012 Day +237

Another day of completing various jobs to complete the reassembly of the loco.

GWR Shirtbutton

The shirt button in close up - slightly larger than used by the GWR but we felt it would look better like this!

5542's new livery

John Wood looks out at the new livery.

Brickarch in 5542

The new brick arch in place

Lighting up

The chairman lights up

Harry assembles the new cylinder drain linkage
Photos © Mike Dunse

Tuesday 22/05/2012 Day +231

All is revealed as Brian sets to work on creating the GWR Shirtbutton Livery on the tanks of 5542. The loco will carry this 'less common' livery for the first period of its new boiler certificate and we hope it will add some variety the the GWR loco 'scene'. Its first public airing is due for the SDR Jubilee weekend Gala.

Photos © Ray Lee


Saturday 19/05/2012 Day +228

Following several days of serious 'rubbing down' the big task of re spraying the side tanks and bunker got underway in the early hours of this morning with the aim of completing the task in one day, which was duly completed. There was however still some 'tradition' painting relying on a brush and paint tin ably completed by Mike. All is now coming together and the remaining hardware should be delivered during the coming week allowing the much awaited 'self propulsion' to get underway. The SDR Jubilee Gala has 5542 rostered to work a regular 2 coach 'Branch Line' working during the event which runs for all 4 days of the Bank Holiday weekend. A real taste of how things used to be. The evening timetable sees us working until almost midnight on one of the days. Why not pay a visit?

Ready for painting

A good finish begins with the preparation. There are no shortcuts.

Wrapped ready for painting

Shrink wrapped ready for painting.



Spray painting the tanks

Spray painting the tank.

Spray painting the bunker

Hi tech painting of the bunker

Hand painting

Low tech painting: An old man, an old paintbrush and a pot of old fashioned paint.


Above and below Top coat, top job!


Photos © Mike Dunse

Saturday 12/05/2012 Day +221

Work today continued on the endless checklist of nuts and bolts that need to be tightened and suitably split pinned, along with the 'tweeking' of rod runs so that the maze of pipes and linkages do not foul each other in every possible combination of operation. To that end we have now completed the main vacuum pipework, drain cock linkage and front sandbox controls. Other work completed this week and seen in action is the new ashpan control arrangement.

As followers will be aware we recently had the tanks and bunker shot blasted and resprayed by an outside contractor. Unfortunately we were very disappointed with the final results especially when compared with the finish that has been achieved on the other paintwork that has been completed 'in situ'. So we have taken the decision to repaint the tanks and bunker and you will see the arduous rubbing down process which Tony has almost completed single handed for us over 2 days, under strict instructions from the painter himself.  Final completion of that process is expected within the next 10 days, hopefully to coincide with the completion of the new piston assembly.

These two unplanned expenses have not helped our overall finances, so if you've been impressed with the timescale of the overhaul process and our 'blow by blow 'account of what's involved a quick visit to the 'Donations' page might just help us a little.

Rubbing down

Tony 'attacks' rivet 437 just another 173 to go

Rubbed down

Side tanks rubbed down for repaint

Cab door

Cab doors refitted and repositioned

Modification to Drain Cock linkage

Rear pony truck

Rear Pony truck showing showing rerouted pipework

New vacuum pipework

New Vacuum pipework
Photos © John Wood

Saturday 05/05/2012 Day +214

Following on from yesterday's Steam Test success, attention today returned to the outstanding work to complete the re assembly of various  components along with the preparation and spraying of the remaining boiler cladding. The drain cock and front sanding controls were being slightly modified and fitted to the cab whilst various small cladding parts and the fronts steps received the painters best efforts. The cab condensing pipe work was  also given a once over prior to refitting next week. 

 Reassembly continues

What does all this lot do?  Chairman John Wood at work under the loco.

Checking clearances

Ray Lee checking clearances of Drain Cock and Front Sander controls

Cab fittings nearly complete

Most of the fittings are now back in the cab.

  Painting underway

Before and after - painting was moving from the back forwards.

Green and brown paper livery

Above & below Loco masked up for spray painting.

Spray painting

Painting steps prior to refitting

Painting steps prior to refitting.

Freshly painted bunker

The bunker looking smart.

Cleaning pipework

Cab pipework being cleaned ready for refitting.

Photos © Mike Dunse and John Wood.

Friday 04/05/2012 Day +213

5542 has passed her boiler insurance steam test, not much left to do now!

5542 during the steam test

Nearly complete 5542 is seen during the successful steam test.

The overhaul team at Buckfastleigh.

Some of the team involved in 5542's overhaul seen with the loco at Buckfastleigh.

Tuesday 01/05/2012 Day +210

Regular 5542 stalwart Graham Woolvin had the honour of lighting the fire that will raise steam for Friday's Steam test. The boiler will be gently warmed over the next few days until reaching full 200 psi working pressure. 

Lighting the fire in 5542

The fire is lit

Photos © Ray Lee

Sunday 29/04/2012 Day +208

6 keen workers braved the monsoons to get to Buckfastleigh today where the remaining work ahead of next Friday's final steam test is gradually being ticked off.  Most of the work centered around the cab where painters and engineers worked in perfect harmony, so 10 years must have mellowed the demeanour of some, of us as on the last overhaul painters and engineers worked on different days!

Inside of the cab roof was cleaned and a coat of Cream Gloss paint was administered, whilst the main supports for the wooden floorboards were also being produced and fitted.  The last major backhead component, the gauge frame has been fitted during the last week along with completion the new vacuum pipework. Front right side running plate was refitted and various parts of cylinder cladding were cleaned ready for refitting. The outside of the cab front along with the top of the firebox also received the paint sprayers attention yesterday.  Final work is also underway on the ashpan operating mechanism, and full details of our new design and operation will all be revealed in the fullness of time, but we believe will be the most user friendly of any operational locomotive, GWSR firemen get your turns booked now, you won't be disappointed.

Otherwise we now look forward to Friday's steam test, which will be notable in two ways, firstly it will be our last formal engagement with our boiler inspector of the past 12 years who is due to retire within the next 12 months, and secondly although we are confident of passing the steam test, because of the failure of one of our outside contractors to fulfill the piston contract on time we will have to await the refitting of that essential component for a couple more weeks, so sadly no test runs just yet. Our replacement supplier is working hard to complete our order as soon as possible and we are very grateful for all their help at short notice.

5542 looking very close to completion.

Paintwork on top of 5542.

Much of the paintwork on top is now complete.

Painting the inside of the cab.

 Painting inside 5542's cab.

Four views of the painters at work repainting the cab roof and of the first coat finished.











Cab fittings complete

Backhead fittings completed.

Work under the footplate

Chairman John gets hands on beneath the footplate.

Modifications under cab floor.

Adam works on the modifications to the cab floor

Work on top of loco

Paintwork on top of 5542 progressing.

Photos © John Wood and Mike Dunse.

Saturday 21/04/2012 Day +200

First the main news this week is that the penultimate insurance inspection of the overhaul was passed on Thursday 19th. This was the 'Final Internal' inspection and the date of the 'Final Steam Test' has been set for Friday 4th May.  By this date all boiler and associated steam fittings need to be in place, fully operative and in steam tight condition.

Today's work saw action at both ends of the boiler with further progress in the smokebox on the less spectacular but all important parts including spark arrestor brackets. However very importantly the Blast pipe is now 'in situ' as is the Smokebox door. More of the backhead fittings are finding their way back to the their respective 'homes' with just the Gauge Frames being the major missing component now.  Re-routing of the Vacuum pipework has been required to allow the Auto operating gear to be located in a more practical and accessible location and in (we think) an altogether better arrangement than the original  GWR/BR design. Other routine work included front footplate refitting following valve installation and preparing the newly turned wooden tank lid stops for fitting. 

Smokebox with blastpipe fitted  Smokebox door fitted

Left   Smokebox Door fitted                                                     Right  Smokebox with Blast pipe fitted

Cab fittings   Reversing lever

Cab Fittings                                                                     Right  Reversing Leaver and Oil Box

New vacuum pipework

New vacuum pipework

Vacuum pipework under cab floor

Vacuum pipework fitted under cab floor

Top feed pipework

Injector pipework to Top Feeds

Tank filler supports

Tank Filler Cover Supports

Photos © John Wood

Saturday 14/04/2012 Day +193

Today was a day of good steady progress as the team continues the process of  reassembling the engine ready for the forthcoming final boiler tests. It is good to already be putting back all those components we removed as recently as last October.

Today's home made cake at tea time was lemon drizzle cake. 

The all-important steam fountain and the right hand injector were reinstalled and much of the associated pipework was annealed by heating and quenching and a start made on reconnecting the tanks to the boiler. Now that the cab is back in situ the many bolts that fasten it and the tanks to the frames are now secure.

Annealing  Quenching

Annealing and quenching pipework

Fitting vacuum pump

Ian and Adam align and bolt in place the vacuum pump

Planning the next task

Ray, Jennie, Tony and Adam plan the next action

Work beneath the footplate

Tony and Jennie at work beneath the footplate

Welding ashpan

Adam mig-welding on the ashpan

Crosshead on piston rod

One of the crossheads test fitted to its piston rod. In the background the wheels of the Metropolitan Rly 0-4-4 tank await attention.

Cab fitting checked

Tony checks his handiwork in the cab

Photos © Mike Dunse

Saturday 07/04/2012 Day +186

Work today centered around manufacture of new copper pipework for the Steam brake/ejector exhaust in the smokebox, and the pictures show the fruits of a long and 'thankless' day last Saturday packing a copper pipe with  ever more grains of sand which supports the pipe during bending. This allows a smooth internal surface rather than a rippled one, allowing steam to pass unhindered. Other work involved fitting of the front damper door on the ashpan, fully bolting down the tanks and some surface preparation work on the cab fittings prior to refitting next week.

Tube bending in progress

Above Copper pipe bending  below Finished item prior to separating

Finished item

Stean fountain

The steam fountain prepared for fitting.

Ready for brazing.

Setting up for flange brazing

Blower fitted

Smokebox showing blower fitted and some new copper pipework.

Firebox backhead

Backhead painted and Firebox doors fitted

Model of the future 5542 and auto 169

'Vision of the future - Gauge 1 Small Prairie with Autocoach South Devon Garden Railway Group's line at Buckfastleigh.

Tuesday 03/04/2012 Day +182

The tanks and bunker have now been refitted, you will see there is no lettering on them yet so the final choice of livery - GWR or BR(W) - remains to be seen - keep watching these pages!

Saturday 31/03/2012 Day +179

Work continued today on fitting the remaining insulation and cladding to the firebox along with further work on the backhead cladding sheet ahead of delivery of bunker and tanks from the paint shop due early next week. Evidence of this week's work on smokebox component reassembly with regulator, superheater header, superheater elements and main steam pipes all in place. Other work centred around painting cladding and  preparation of copper pipe for production of new  smokebox ejector exhaust pipes.

Boiler backhead.

Work has progressed on cladding the boiler backhead.


















Superheater elements and steam pipes in place.

The regulator, superheater elements and header; and steam pipes all in place.

Above and below: Repainting ahead of the refitting of the tanks.

Saturday 24/03/2012 Day +172

While the Volunteers' A team gathered at Williton for WSR Spring Steam Gala fund raising on the Auto 169 railway book and yacht chandlery stand, work on 5542 continued at Buckfastleigh, focusing on fitting the new smokebox and preparing the boiler cladding for painting and installation.

Fitting 5542's new smokebox

Ray and Tony plan the next move while in the background Melissa selects the tools that will be needed.

Working inside the new Smokebox

Tony drills the next bolt hole in 5542's smoke box.

Tapping home a securing bolt.

Tony taps home the next bolt to secure 5542's new smokebox while Ian puts another coat of heat reflecting

silver paint on the firebox.

Preparing boiler cladding for painting.

Jennie prepares a section of the boiler cladding ready for Ian's paintbrush.

Working on 5542's smokebox.

Tony at work on 5542's new smokebox.

Smokebox attached and ready for fitting the outside steam pipes.

5542's new smokebox firmly attached and ready for the refitting of the outside steam pipes.

Photos © Mike Dunse

Tuesday 20/03/2012 Day +168

Our loco is now really coming back together - the boiler is back in the frames!

Saturday 17/03/2012 Day +165

For a further report on progress see South Devon Railway - 5542 Boiler Test

Thursday 15/03/2012 Day +163

The first fire went in the boiler today, the pressure was raised to 60psi!

First fire in 5542's boiler

First fire in 5542's boiler

Lighting first fire

Warming up

Photos © John Wood


Tuesday 13/03/2012 Day +161

The boiler today passed its hydraulic test with flying colours, and work will now progress towards the steam test as soon as possible. This is likely to be within 7-10 days. Watch out for that news, and visit our sales and display stand at Williton during the Spring Gala for the very latest updates. Pictures show 260 psi reached on the boiler test and the Superheater Header and elements being inspected by the SDR works manager (Rob LeChevalier) and Boiler inspector (Ian McKenn)

Boiler reaches 260psi

260psi reached on the hydraulic boiler test.

Inspecting the superheater elements

Superheater elements being inspected.

Saturday 10/03/2012 Day +158

Despite no formal working party today lots has been happening during the past week and I will take the opportunity to catch up on recent goings on that may have been missed in other updates.

The main news of the week is that following the blanking of the boiler, the preliminary hydraulic test was underway on Friday and the pressure was raised to about 165 psi (over half the final test pressure) and no undue problems have shown as yet. The full test is due by midweek this coming week and the boiler should start steam test 'warming' by the end of the week following refitting the grate and ashpan.

Meanwhile the tanks and bunker have been away receiving the attention of the painters and currently sport a new 'mottled' grey/green livery. New corners were fitted to the bunker prior to dispatch as, when we closely inspected what remained of the old ones there was surprisingly little.

We will have a 5542/Auto 169 stand at Williton during weekends of the WSR Spring Steam Gala. Please look in for a chat and further news updates

Work progressing on 5542's bunker

Prepared for new bunker corners

Work on 5542's bunker

New corners fitted

Bunker corners being prepared

Bunker corners being prepared for replacement

Bunker in primer

5542 tanks awaiting repainting

Tank awaiting removal of old paint

5542 tanks in primer

Tanks sand blasted and in primer

Photos © John Wood

Saturday 03/03/2012 Day +151


Work today was mainly involved with final boiler tubing work and painting. Most of the tubes have now been expanded and where necessary 'Beaded Over'.

This process is probably unfamiliar to those not intimately involved in boiler work or footplate staff. It is a process whereby all the tubes at the firebox end are rounded over to reduce the risk of the ends burning and thereby reducing the life of the tube. It also increases the area of steel tube in contact with the copper firebox increasing heat dissipation and also reducing the possible burning of the steel. Some are also beaded at the smokebox end mainly to make access to the fittings easier to manage. Fittings surfaces have also received attention and new studs fitted to the smokebox faces.

Hydraulic test blanking plates were also retrieved and sorted ready for the imminent test.  Most of the boiler now sports a coat of silver paint. Other work continues on the frames, including 'ride height' checking and adjustments. The tank and bunker repaint work is also progressing off site and hopefully some pictures of this work will be available soon.

Beading over the tubes at the firebox end - photos © Mike Dunse

Beading tubes on 5542

View of tubes beaded over in firebox of 5542
















Beading over tubes in forebox of 5542

Boiler backhead painted

The boiler backhead has been repainted.

Photo © John Wood
















Superheater header

The superheater header ready for new studs.

Photo © John Wood












Safety valve mounting

The safety valve mounting ready for new studs.

Photo © John Wood












Expanding tubes at smokebox end

One worker, 3 watching (plus the photographer) as work

is done at the smokebox end.

Photo © John Wood













Saturday 25th February 2012 Day +144 

 10 workers active again today and we are now nearing completion of tube and superheater flue fitting. All small tubes are in place and have had first expansion work completed along with 'beading over' in the firebox end. The Superheater flues were placed into their positions but these need to screwed into the firebox and expanded at the smokebox end. Due to the wall thickness this is a much more physically demanding process. The outside of the firebox was wire brushed and the paint gang began the paint process.

We are hoping to be in a position to hydraulic test the boiler within the next 7 days . Out of frames steam test should then follow soon after with the boiler returning to the frames due soon after, all subject to sucessful test of course.

Ashpan modification work continues and is on target for completion ready for refitting when  required. Further work  was also undertaken on auto gear fitting along with routine adjustments work on the front and rear pony trucks.


Firebox showing Beaded tubes against copper firebox        Superheater Flue tubes Firebox end with bottle ends attached


Fluetubes in place and expansion underway                         Boiler painting underway


Top view of boiler barrel showing cladding support crinolins        Work on ashpan modifications takes shape


Saturday 18th February 2012 Day +137

 10 workers today and we are at last well into the retubing process which got underway in earnest late last week. Well over half the 196 tubes are now resting in place in the boiler following preparation swaging to both ends using the recently installed machinery which is both simple and efficient in its process. Tubes are reduced by 2-3 mm at the firebox end by forcing a collar arrangement over the tube end and expanded by a similar amount at the smokebox end by forcing a solid former into the tube end by about 300mm.

Other work concentrated on producing a Crinolin 'cage' arrangement for the top half of the parallel boiler section to help support the cladding in that area and avoid the risk of damage when it is walked on during cleaning and tank filling operations. Other work underway is the modification of the ashpan and mounting arrangements to the bottom of the boiler. The new design will allow for easier disposal of the locomotive at end of daily service, and also further reduce the risk of  dropping hot ash during normal operation.

Work completed during recent days included fitting of the new stainless steel delivery trays in the boiler, dispatch of the tanks and bunker for sand blasting prior to re spray. This work should be completed within about 3 weeks.

Further work on the new Auto Gear assembly has also been progressed along with the mid week paint gang work on and around the frames .Our 'new' Stones Generator has also been delivered .


L&R) Mr and Mrs Dunse engaged on tube preparation                            C) Some of the 'Fruits of their labours'


L) Swaging machine  showing expanding former     C) New Water Feed Trays fitted to roof of  boiler           R) Over 100 tubes in place awaiting expansion


L) Ashpan modification underway                               C) Rear Door removed                                                    R) Mounting brackets being modified

For 4 images from 18/02/2012 by  Mike Dunse click here  here  here   and   here

2 images from 21/02/2012 by Ian Grady are  here and  here


Saturday 4th February 2012 Day +123

9 participants involved in the action today and things are now beginning to enter the preparation for refitting the boiler stage.

Attention mainly on  the frames with serious cleaning and touching up of paintwork underway along with sorting and cleaning of parts, nuts and bolts that will be  required during reassembly work. Preparation of bunker and tanks for transportation to the paint shops was also underway.

Boiler welding repairs to small cracks discovered during inspection along with small areas of building up have also been taking place during the week just passed, along with delivery of the new valve ring assemblies.


L+C) Two small lengths of weld required on the boiler barrel                                                                R) New Valve ring assemblies


 L) Ian Aldridge gets serious about the paintwork                 C) Ian and Jennie Dunse about to go "Head to Head"     R) Room for one more in there?


Saturday 28th January 2012 Day +116

Today saw 8 active workers at Buckfastleigh and the current situation finds us with all the driving wheels now checked and refitted, with no work required on any. We are replacing the axle box lubrication pads all round.

The pony wheelsets are  yet to complete although they are prepared for inspection and are not expected to reveal any problems.

Last week saw  riveting work undertaken in various areas and eventually we have taken the opportunity to replace a few more than originally planned (approx 60 in total) because some of the remaining ex B.R. (possibly GWR) ones that we first took out were definitely showing more signs of wear and tear than we expected which then warranted further investigation and replacement. This probably was responsible for some  'chattering' at the point where cab and tanks met. Many of the removed components  are receiving general cleaning to allow for easier reassembly when required.

The replacement  piston and valve components are all understood to be progressing via outside contractors to schedule.

Some small modifications to the bunker have also been completed


L) Center Drivers replaced                                                                                       R) Riveting Frame Stretchers


L) Frame Stretcher Riveting                                                   R) Bunker modifications underway

 Boiler Work News.

 A range of new administrative requirements during major boiler overhauls has delayed progress a little since the New Year. This means that we now find ourselves playing 'catchup' and are currently 2-3 weeks behind our original schedule. (those approaching a '10 year' overhaul take note) However this does not mean that we have made no progress in this area and apart from receiving the formal go ahead from our boiler inspector this for all remaining work up to the hydraulic test, today has seen much stay work activity. The new copper stay work on the front plate has been completed today, along with much of the steel stay work. Final measurements of boiler barrel plate work has revealed just a few small areas that we will build up for 'good measure' with the tapered section actually, despite our reservations pre stripping, being in very good condition, especially as it is now at least 50 years old.

The pictures below will show large areas of white 'crack test' paint which has shown no plate work/stay area cracking and just a very small section of cracked weld which can be very easily rectified. The internal corners of the firebox are also in fine fettle.


L) New Stays in place ready for attention                                 C) The old plate                                                    R) Waterspace showing new stays Copper lower , Steel above 


L) New mudhole doorway showing copper and steel stays      C) Inside firebox                                                                 R) Outerwork completed

Inside firebox Copper stays completed , stay nuts being  fitted

Saturday 21st January 2012 Day +109

Brief  update. Centre driving wheels now checked , Bunker removed ready for repaint work. Full update with pictures next Weekend

Sunday 8th January 2012 Day +96

Happy New Year to all our 'visitors'

A new Year 'catch up' with progress at Buckfastleigh reveals that despite the recent break for the festive season progress continues both in the boiler shop and on the routine work on the frames and wheels. The replacement plate on the firebox outer wrapper is progressing well and we shall soon be starting the retubing work. Needlegunning work on the boiler barrel continues during our visits with attention now on the boiler barrel. Having now inverted the boiler to allow the riveting and replacement stay work to progress, descaling of the underside is much easier.  I'm pleased that we only have a relatively small boiler!

In the main workshop full use is being made of the wheel drop facility to check out the axleboxes and journals as it is now 5 years since the retyring work was done. We are pleased to report that having completed 2 of the 3 driving wheelsets no undue wear or damage has been found and the modifications to axlebox lubrication made during restoration have proven 100% sucessful. Whilst the centre drivers are out of the frames we shall be replacing a few rivets that have worn a little loose over the years on the frame stretchers. This work should be completed this week so the last driving wheelset can be checked out and the frames made ready to receive the boiler once again.

We are pleased that work continues on schedule and on budget at present, and having recently secured an 'underwriter' we will be progressing the repaint work on tanks and bunker in the next few weeks. Let the livery debate begin!  


L) Foundation ring rivets inside firebox                                                     C) Close up of internal firebox  rivets                                                        R) Outside  Foundation Ring Riveting  almost complete     


L) John Castle whose only escape is to leave the country (so he is)       C) Centre drivers checked over and ready to  refit                                              R) The next 'greasy bit' for attention 


L) Father and Son discuss Eccentrics                                                        C ) Journal looking good                                                                                         D) Someone knows how it all works!

Images copyright M Dunse  and J Wood.

Sunday 11th December Day +68

Work on the boiler has concentrated on reconstruction of the smokebox with handrails and internal bracket etc being fitted. The endless needlegunning work continues when we have volunteer labour available with Saturdays work concentrating on the top sections. The top mudhole doors have been completed with the doors trial fitted. The 'Bottle Ends' for superheater flues have now been manufactured and  200 small tubes have been delivered as part of a 'lot' to cover the SDR's needs for the rest of the winter. Some of the injector pipework has been removed for minor modification and the Chimney, blower ring and petticoat pipe assembly have been separated ready for checking and refitting.

Bearings for the Auto Gear have arrived so work can continue in that area as and when time allows. The next major work will involve dropping the wheelsets to check that all is well, but we are not expecting to need any major work in that area.   


L) Boiler backhead showing dressed fitting surfaces                 C) Smokebox with handrails and internal brackets                           R) Right side locking bar hinge  


L) Needlegunning continues                                                         C) Bottle ends for Superheaters                       R) Chimney and Blower ring separated ready for checking


   Four people required to 'Look into' it' and another to take the picture, it's a wonder we get anything done.

And you can tell who 'worries' most about it!

Copyright 5542 Ltd





Monday 28th November Day +55 (about a third of the way through the project)

Boiler work has continued with the new plate on the  firebox front now prepared and welded in place ready for staying and riveting to take place. The top mudhole doors have received attention to return them to good condition and work on the new smokebox has continued with internal brackets fitted and the door also trial fitted, it has also been offered to the boiler to confirm correct fitting and alignment. We are well on target to commence tube replacement before Christmas. The overhaul of boiler fittings continues steadily as and when time allows, and all backhead faces have now been cleaned and refurbished as necessary.

On the frames some of the riveting has now been taking place along with sandbox refurbishment.








L) New boiler plate in place                                          C) New smokebox with door trial fitted                            R) Selected frame re-riveting  is underway

Images Copyright Locomotive 5542 Ltd

Sunday 20th November Day +47

Work is now really moving on apace. The boring work is now completed on cylinders and valves with a complete set of valves and pistons now being manufactured. Work on the boiler itself is now also in full swing with the area of plate for replacement now removed and preparation work on the new piece underway . Work on overhaul of fittings continues, along with Auto gear work.

Sunday 13th November Day +40

Yesterdays' work continued the needlegunning preparation for  the main boiler work to begin.

The boiler internal trays and associated brackets have been removed to make access a little easier. An informal visit from the boiler inspector on Thursday last continues to reassure us that there will only be limited major work and also confirmed the crown stays to be in good condition requiring no major work, with just some nuts being replaced.

Design and preparation of the rodding runs for the front end Auto gear continue along with work on cladding components to allow easier fitting during reassembly. Work on the cylinder rebore is now complete with attention to the valves being undertaken later this week.


L) The 'Needlegun Team' continue their work C) Fountain seat showing the weld that caused us problems 10 years ago R) Crown Stays in the waterspace towards the backhead

Sunday 6th November Day +33

Yesterday's update visit to the S.D.R Engineering found our boiler having received its first serious attentions of the engineering staff by way of boiler plate thickness measurement concentrating on the backhead  platework  and crack testing of B.R. welding on the boiler barrel joints. All of the above resulted in our continued good fortune and no excessive wear or cracked welds found to date. The foundation ring is also very good with no grooving found.

The main steam pipe has been removed and one of the more undernourished members of the workshop staff has  managed to squeeze between the longitudinal stays to get a close up view of the only other major unknown factor at  present namely the Crown Stays, but even these look in reasonable condition at first sight. We now keanly await the  boiler inspector's visit later this week for confirmation of the boiler work program.

Other work has included stud removal on Superheater header and Fountain. 


L) Boiler showing crack test paint on barrel seams                      R ) Boiler internal with Main steam pipe removed


L) Foundation ring looking across front front of firebocx                  L) Firebox side stays                                            R) Crown Stays from inside of firebox

Above images Copyright John Wood

Saturday 29th Oct ober Day +25

6 workers today shared their attentions between needle gunning the boiler and planning the fitting of the front end Auto gear.

Attention on the boiler concentrated on cleaning up the vulnerable areas so that those required to confirm what work is going to be required can get the clearest possible indication  of the current condition. We are optimistic that we will have a full  picture of required work in 7-10 days time. The new smokebox door was also available for inspection


Firebox tubeplate                               Internal view of boiler barrel looking towards firebox      New smokebox door under manufacture

Above images Copyright John Wood


Boiler Work underway                                                         Auto Gear  Route Planning                                              Frames bereft of boiler

Above images Copyright Mike Dunse


Thursday 27th October Day +23

A visit to Buckfastleigh today revealed the boiler now removed from the frames with all tubes and flues removed, along with all boiler fittings and associated studs. At first look the unclad boiler shows no obvious unforeseen problems, and the work that will be required is generally no worse than we had planned for. Final confirmation and a work list will be drawn up once the boiler has had the attentions of the ‘needle gun team’ who will start work on Saturday(29th). Overhaul of the boiler fittings is now also underway with several  already completed. New superheater element ends have been delivered to replace those fitted 10 years ago with the intention of them completing 2/3 years at best. We are pleased to report that 95% of the boiler cladding is fit for further service and with the luxury of being able to work with the boiler out of the frames the few replacement and modified parts will be much easier to manufacture than first time around. The lubrication regime we instigated mid way through the last 10 years has also paid dividends with valves and regulator now receiving ‘just the right’ amount of lubrication and are therefore in excellent condition. Who says you can’t teach steam loco drivers new tricks!

The valve and piston liners will receive some routine attention during the next few weeks. We will take the opportunity of replacing a few loose rivets in some of the frame stretchers whilst the boiler is absent along with replacing some bolts that were used due to restricted access issues when the frame repair was completed 5 years ago. Finally, a quick 'Thank -you' to Mr. Bridger for the kind donation.


Boiler Lift Images Day +22  Above Copyright R Lee  

Below copyright  J Wood

Front tubeplate with tubes removed          Boiler awaits smokebox removal , all studs removed prior to moving to boilershop   New Superheater element header ends 


 Friday 21st October Day +17

It's 7 days since the last update and although I'm not fully up to date as yet work has continued to progress apace with the smokebox now fully dismantled, all steam pipes removed and the chimney cut out (O.K. as the smokebox is being replaced). Main flue tubes also removed along with sundry other work on dismantled tanks and cladding


All Images copyright Peter Darke


Friday 14th October Day +12

Cladding and boiler barrel insulation removed today, and so far  no 'nasty' surprises revealed as yet. Next update in about a week when there should be more progress to report. Original red oxide paint is still visible on boiler barrel


Boiler insulation and backhead cladding being removed            Copyright John Wood

Wednesday 12th October Day +10

Tanks and Cab roof removed today


All images copyright Peter Darke


Friday 7th October Day +5

More boiler backhead fittings removed along with piston removed ready for cylinder skimming


(L) Boiler backhead                                    (C) Piston removed                                              (R) Cylinder ready for 'skimming'

( Copyright Mike Dunse)

Wednesday 5th October Day +3

All the smokebox end bolts are now removed along with steam pipe cladding. Tank and Bunker nuts loosened. More cab fittings have been removed along with fire grate and brick arch


(Left) The old smokebox beginning to look devoid of fittings. (Right) Mike Dunse take a 'breather' to admire the fruits of his labours (John Wood)

Tuesday 4th October Day +2

Work acheived so far includes removal of smokebox door and all associated hinges brackets etc.  Removal of some boiler fittings. 


Old Smokebox door inner skin (left) and outer skin (right)

The soot inside the door might have been there since the late 1950's or even earlier

New smokebox awaiting fitting of recovered 'furniture' from the old one (John Wood)

Sunday 2nd October Day -1 Loco dispatched to Buckfastleigh for overhaul to commence.

Thursday 16th June 2011  Day  -76  New smokebox blank delivered to Buckfastleigh.


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