1014 The G.W. County Project
May - October

The first half of 2017 has been pretty awful for 1014. Next to nothing that has been done to progress the Project as suppliers for both locomotive and tender parts have been dilatory or have failed to deliver altogether.

The biggest set-back has been the firebox and boiler work. During the Spring, L&NWR Crewe decided to cease work on all external projects, so they could concentrate on their own. As a result work stopped on both the Patriot and County Projects, despite Richard Croucher being told in March that there was only a few weeks work left to do, with completion due in June. Meanwhile the new boiler barrel sections had been rolled. Worse still, Crewe handed the Project an invoice requiring a payment considerably in excess of that expected, consequently the funding cupboard is bare.

In August the Project team were delighted to welcome Keith Gilbert, who made a brief visit to view progress. Sadly, Keith's death was announced in late September, thus another of the founder members of the Project Team, our Engineer no less, had been taken from us.

Keiths last visit

12/08/2017 Keith Gilbert's last visit to the Project.

Locomotive Progress:

The firebox/boiler issues have dominated throughout the summer. There are three issues causing concern:
1) Richard Croucher reports that significant attempts are being made to get the firebox alterations at Crewe finished before they move works. Crewe have said they do not want to do the barrel and smokebox, thus David Bradshaw is looking into finding alternative suppliers.
2) Funding - David Bradshaw is also giving Richard Croucher a hand with fund raising and as part of this is planning an article in Railway Magazine shortly to re-launch the Project to the wider audience.
3) The insurers will also be contacted to confirm they will approve a small reduction in the safety valve base plate with a corresponding increase to the doubling plate.

There have been some positive developments:

1) The vacuum pump rod has arrived, so Gary has been tasked to fit it. Thereafter, the body will be painted and then fitted to the locomotive.

Following that, the vacuum cylinder will be painted. Having obtained a reasonable quote new seal will be ordered when funds are available.

Gary measuring to fit vac pump

06/09/2017 - Gary measuring-up to fit the vacuum pump to the County's chassis.

Spring links

05/10/2017 - arrival of the spring links.

2) The spring links coupling the loco springs to the axleboxes. Keith Gilbert ordered some from a firm last November, but with nothing to show but excuses they were 'sacked' in July and re-ordered from Fabtech Ltd. in Stockbridge. They took about 3 weeks.
When the wheel-drop is available the wheels can be removed and the springs fitted.

An injector casing has also been completed (ordered by Mike Cooper!) and, in July, awaited collection.
Tender Progress:
Progress was limited to painting and cleaning until relatively recently, but there have been a couple of developments which should help to move things along:
1) Painting - especially brake gear.

La Donna painting

06/09/2017 La Donna painting brake-gear

Fitting lubrication pads

06/09/2017 - fitting lubrication pads to tender axleboxes.

2) Fitting the worsted lubrication pads to tender axleboxes has started - these assist essential lubrication of the tender axles.
3) A major step-forward was the tender base-plate has been placed on the chassis and is now being drilled and bolted. Once that has been done, construction of the tank can be planned.
The base-plate etc. will have to be removed again in due course, so that the vacuum reservoir and brake linkage can be fitted and tested.
The vacuum tank seals were ordered in January, but despite regular phone calls nothing was forthcoming. The majority of the seals have been found in-house and a quote for the remaining seal has been received, thus a new one will soon be ordered.

Fitting tender base plate

06/09/2017 - fitting the tender base-plate onto the tender chassis.


Hopefully, by the time there is sufficient information for the next update, more positive progress can be reported.