December 31st, 2023

Engineering End of Year Report 2023

Wheelsets Update

All the materials have been ordered and 80% have arrived at Riley & Sons workshop in Heywood. Once the tyre’s have a arrived assembly can commence on the assembly of firstly the leading and trailing wheelsets and then on to the driving wheels. Although this is later than we’d have liked, getting the right materials in from the right businesses worldwide takes time and we’d rather get the right materials in now and be confident the engineered items will stand the test of time, especially giving the environment they have to work in.

Crank Axle. 

As from the March update, we were using the J15 crank drawing as a baseline for the design for our axle. The original locomotives ran with 1 piece forged crank axles that, although manufacturable still today (see the superb job the G5 Locomotive Group did with theirs) we preferred the built up type so Bob Meanley kindly drew up the necessary drawings for getting the individual part materials ordered for the axle component, crank pins and webs.


Radial Guides and Ancillary Parts

Costings for main castings were procured in September but these were turning out to be prohibitively expensive, so an alternative approach has had to be employed. I’ve been redesigning the casting to a hybrid casting/fabrication design (similar to that employed by the P2 trust to manufacture their cylinders). This means that there’ll be one small pattern required for the axle box sections for which we can cast 4 identical patterns from, these will then have basic machining added to the castings to allow the rolled centre sections to be added and the complete design welded. Once completed then welded assembly will have its finishing machining added and ready for fitting. The radial guides, sadly, are still to be finished machined. Being a specialist machining process there are few companies out there who can accommodate us and sadly, the supplier chosen has since stopped trading so we’re currently on the hunt for a new machinist who can complete the job for us.



Patterns have been put out for quotation and the castings should be well underway in the first half of 2024, these along with the front and rear radial guides are the last pieces of the fixed frame jigsaw and, once fitted means that they’re ready to receive and fit the new wheelsets from Rileys.



The front and rear wheelset axleboxes are built into the large castings but the main wheelsets require their own. There are two of each the driving and trailing axleboxes required (the driven wheelset has a larger design to cope with the extra forces exerted), the CAD work for which is about 80% completed, once finished the 4 bronze axlebox patterns and castings will be put out for tender early in 2024. Below shows the drawing for the larger axlebox required.

Springs & Spring Gear

TLW have been diligently working through the manufacture of all the additional spring gear required to get the loco on its feet. As of the end of 2023 about 85% of these parts have been manufactured and all hanging bracketry has been bolted/riveted to the frames to accept them.


Suspension components manufactured by TSLW. Image courtesy of Elliot Powick CME

The springs themselves require specialist manufacture and we will be getting quotations from Owen Springs in the new year for quotation for all the main springs (seen below)



Along with the main wheel springs, the radial trucks require special side control springs, we will need to of these manufactured for both front and rear trucks (shown below.)


These along with the addition parts needed for the radial trucks and keeps should give us everything needed for when the wheelsets are ready for fitting.


Pistons, Rods & Crossheads 

TLW are currently putting together a quotation for the manufacture of the piston heads and rods, the CAD model for the crossheads is complete and patterns and castings will be put out for quotation early in the new year. TLW are in receipt the front cylinder cover pattern, they will be cast at the same time as the crossheads. The rear cylinder covers have been manufactured and all the glands are currently been made for it. Once all these are in place with the slide bars, the “motor” side of the locomotive will completed and fitted.



2023 hasn’t been as advancing as I’d have liked due to many factors, one of which is my own current workload and personal life. I can only apolgise for this but things have been moving along even if at a speed less than I would’ve liked. 2024 is looking a lot brighter though and things should be more than back on track progress wise and we look forward to exciting times to come.

Elliot Powick CME.