Another hive of activity round the J27 today as every effort was being made to prepare the engine for a warming fire to be lit tonight, ready for a first steam test tomorrow.
The steam pipe was successfully NDT'd, then hydraulic'd and was being refitted as we left this evening. The chimney was then to be refitted, centred and bolted down. The blower ring had been repaired and was also ready to go on. The ashpan sprays were successfully dealt with to enable the damper doors to operate, and the two small pieces of cladding to fit round the firebox had been made and attached. The handrails, now in place on both sides, will be trimmed slightly to end nearer the middle of the smokebox, and round ends be manufactured to go on the end of the handrail. The cab floor has been installed following delivery of the parts from Deviation Shed on Saturday. The tender has been coupled back up to the engine using the old drawbar pins on a temporary basis while waiting the delivery of the material to make the replacement ones, ready for the move into the running shed. Joining up the tender however, also allowed Roy Marshal to check his final measurements for the replacement storm sheet which will now be ordered. Once the locomotive is in the running shed and on the pit, the hopper door will be fitted and a complete check of pins, cotters etc carried out underneath.
On the cosmetic side, John Furness was painting the left hand side cladding in undercoat - the right side will be started once the ejector pipe has been securely fitted and no more fitting work is required. He has also put a first coat of heat resistant paint on the smokebox and door. Up at Deviation Shed, the BR style dome was retrieved from the upstairs store and Nigel Hall stripped off the old paint and gave it a coat of primer. For the moment however, the NER style dome which was delivered from Hopetown and painted by John Furness, has been attached to the J27, and will continue in use during running in.
Although Mark O'Brien was still hard at work in the smokebox this evening, he was determined that the work would be finished tonight to enable the locomotive to be moved into the running shed and a warming fire lit as planned. On that assumption, the steam test will be tomorrow, followed by the fixing of any leaks and then weighing. After that, it will be case of getting the boiler inspector in for the official steam test - attempts continue to contact him and agree a date.
Once that has been successfully carried out, running in can begin.
So we are very nearly there - reports of further progress will follow as soon as I hear of it.
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