Thursday, 29 September 2011

Taking apart the Jigsaw Puzzle

After the successful removal of the cab, we had another challenge for our forklift drivers.  We had more parts of Woolwich to remove to get even closer to the boiler.

The offside and nearside tanks flank the cylindrical boiler that runs horizontal through the loco.  Removing one of these tanks is necessary at this stage to assess the condition of many working parts.

View all the photos!  Find the link at the bottom of this post!
Unsurprisingly, these original tanks are rusty and currently incapable of holding water.  To restore the loco to full running order, we can either replace or restore the tanks.  The cheapest option is a replacement, but we'll re-use the original castings still fit for purpose.

Unseen parts are exposed as the tank is lifted away:  the footplate is in very good condition, and at a glance the balanced wheels might be in a reasonable condition as well.

Now we are able to get the boiler properly inspected, and we'll start to have an indication of the true scale of this unique restoration project.  Woolwich is 96 years old and has been in the elements for most of her life.

This completely changes the external shape of the loco.  Return visitors to Crossness Engines on Open House Day (Sunday 18 September) could have assumed they were looking at a different loco!

View the process in pictures here.