Taff Vale Railway Class O2 0-6-2T No. 85 restoration update

Whilst all the attention has been focused on the return to service of 5820, the pending re-launch of ‘City of Wells’  and the pending start on the overhaul of 41241, out of the limelight the progress being made on TVR no. 85 has gone on unnoticed and unreported. It is some time since we saw no. 85 out on the branch but the team in Haworth Locomotive works have not left this withdrawn engine rest for too long. With the smallest useful engine available being MR 4F 0-6-0 43924, the Railway has been bereft of a small but handy tank engine to take the more lightly loaded trains on quieter days. Since entering the shed the engine has been completely stripped down and a lot of work has been undertaken to return the locomotive to traffic, hopefully, later this year.

So on entering the shed what have the fitters been up to. When tackling an engine of this vintage the potential for a long list of jobs that need doing is very high and no. 85 has not disappointed. Restoring engines back to the running fleet is obviously the priority for the team, so we are very grateful to Dave Coates for putting down his spanners and taking to the keyboard to  put this report of jobs completed so far.

With such a comprehensive overhaul to undertake the locomotive was stripped down to its constituent parts – all fittings removed, sidetanks taken off, the boiler taken out, ashpan dismantled and all wheel sets removed. So with this kit of parts what has been done to date.

  • The axle boxes were checked and both left and right hand new driving axle box brasses have been made and fitted. All springs were checked, also spring hangers, bushes and pins. A crack in frame at the left trailing back horn has been repaired and new fitted bolts fitted. The complete motion has been dismantled, cleaned, checked with a complete set of new pins and bushes obtained and fitted. Slidebars were checked, and the cross heads adjusted. Side rod bushes were checked and refitted.
  • Valve buckles have been machined out. New valves made and fitted and valve faces on the cylinder block made good. New valve guide bushes were made and new piston rings fitted. A new mechanical lubricator drive has been made and fitted and the mechanical lubricator checked.
  • All the frames, motion cleaned and painted.
  • The boiler has been checked inside and there has been quite a lot of attention paid here. Tubes, J Pipe, regulator and rod have been removed. New smokebox steampipe elbow has been made. In the copper firebox 8 tube ligament cracks were found and these have been welded and made good. About 90 lap screws have been fitted.

Compared with what has been done, the list of “still to does” appears relatively small suggesting that a return to traffic is not too many months away.

  • On the firebox, 6” up from foundation ring there is corrosion and cracking in the plate necessitating removal of the outer wrapper. Both sides require new plate to weld in plus one row of stays, both sides to be refit and rivets in foundation ring replaced. A coded welder is awaited so that this work can proceed.
  • There is attention needed to platework on the boiler after which it will receive a complete retube.
  • Reassemble of the steam pipe, J pipe and regulator
  • With the boiler out of the frames there will be a hydraulic test, followed shortly after, hopefully, by the steam test. Once completed the boiler will be lagged and the cladding fitted and the ash pan reunited with the firebox.
  • Now on the final lap, the boiler will be returned to the frames and the tanks, cab and all the other parts that go to make a complete engine re-assembled with all the copper pipes annealed to soften them prior to being refitted

… and that’s all there is to it! A lot of work has been completed in a relatively short time with an anticipated return to action later in the year. So when standing and admiring all the work that has gone on to get 5820, resplendent in its new grey livery, back in action and look on in awe at the graceful lines of ‘City of Wells’, and ponder the immense amount of work that has been carried out over the last 25 years or so, spare a thought for Dave Coates and the guys working away in the depths of Haworth Loco on this humble but nontheless important part of the KWVR scene.

5 comments on “Taff Vale Railway Class O2 0-6-2T No. 85 restoration update

  1. It was especially good to see and hear the news of the first steaming of the boiler. The work of news@kwvr is very much appreciated. I do of course agree that it is important to let the public know about the work of those volunteers who I met that morning at Haworth, the smaller projects are of no less acclaim.

  2. I visited yesterday and was very impressed with the progress of all work in the shed but of course especially the Taffy tank. I took some pictures and if you would like copies of them then let me know. I publish a blog called steammemories and all my pictures and links back to you can be seen there. http://steammemories.blogspot.co.uk/

  3. Very good to hear about the progress with No. 85 as well as all the other engines and coaches under restoration. It really does help in appreciating how much hard work goes on, and also helps to attract interest from potential new members and visitors. Best wishes David Smith

    • Thanks, David. You have hit the nail firmly on the head as to why we set up the site in the first place. It is our aim to bring the news of all the restorations and numerous activities going on on the Railway. But, as we all appreciate, most of the guys doing the work right across the Railway are volunteers, doing the work they have given their own time to do and that is their priority. We are now asking them to give even more time to give us a report, that is not easy but we are working on it. In this instance we are very grateful to Dave Coates for giving us a progress report on no. 85 and I am sure contributions will come from others in due course. No-one doubts the great work that everybody does but we feel that their story does not get the exposure that it deserves, it is our task to put that right.

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