Maurice Burns and Ian Storey visited last week and inspected the back head and the smokebox, trying to decide how the longitudinal stays worked and were inserted into the boiler. They thought that the smokebox nuts ought to be removable and that the stay might then hammer or screw out. Maurice suggested applying some heat to the centre nut and trying removal.
After lunch the smoke box end nut on the central stay was heated and quite easily removed.
Hammering did not move the stay, but the whole stay could be turned using a socket on the back head end nut. Arthur continued twisting stay with the socket. Slowly, after 11 rotations, an inch of threaded stay had emerged. (Now we know why the nuts are welded at the back head end.) A little more turning and the stay narrowed, was free, and could be drawn out beyond the dome by hand. The weight of the stay is supported by a cross member towards the fire box end of the barrel.
Out went the shout for the Hartlepool monkey, but Roy was somewhat reluctant to squeeze between the stays.
On the assumption that all of the stays were fitted in the same way, Harry started to warm the next smokebox nut. Then, all ended in a damp squib as the Oxygen ran out. Too late in the day to fetch new cylinder. The new cylinder will have to wait until next week.
During the day the trap door in the tower was sealed. At one stage a rain of fresh firewood descended.
On Monday, several more stays were withdrawn.
After withdrawal of two more rather stubborn stays today, Arthur entered the boiler. He managed to remove the J pipe and in the process covered himself with dirt. We have yet to hear whether he was allowed onto the bus to make his way home.
Whilst access to the boiler was the big event, others continued with machining, servicing the brass bits, cutting up the supply of firewood, storing parts, cleaning the loco, painting components, cleaning the building, and of course, making our many cups of tea. Steve Johnson joined us for the first time for a few months today and remarked upon how much had changed. Let’s keep up the momentum.