Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Pipe Dream Come True

Back in April 2013, in a previous article, I wrote about the curved main steam pipe which was to be remade by Mendip Steam Restorations. It was to replace the original one which had been badly damaged by corrosion and pitting of the outer surface.
Original Main Steam Pipe
The replacement finally arrived on Monday 25th November 2013. It had been delivered earlier but found to not quite fit correctly. In the days when 7109 was constructed, there was not such a thing as flexible pipe. As such, the ends to which the curved steam pipe has to fit are fixed in space very precisely; hence the difficulty with making the item. However, on the brighter side, by igniting the first fire in 7109 for many decades, an oxy-propane torch was able to provide the heat to shape the pipe to fit.

Unfortunately, this was not the end of the story. Being a main steam pipe wrapping around the boiler in the cab, it's very close to the driver. Hence it's not a nice thing to have fail at an inappropriate time!

Problems were found with the end fittings such that they could not be examined by X-ray to check the soundness of the welded end flanges. Complete new ends were machined from solid to avoid the necessity for any weld at the mating faces. The new section then had to be welded to the rest of the pipe to a high standard.
Brand-New Main Steam Pipe
It looks in shape very like the old one - which is lucky really!

The original fittings have been salvaged for the new pipe.
End section and flange machined from solid
Sections have been welded to pressure vessel standards.
One of the very tidy coded welds
My apologies for such a long time since the last blog article - the reason being that I have recently been heavily entrenched in the arrangements and running of the two December steam weekends at Midsomer Norton. We haven't had any steam for some years so it was bound to be a taxing time.
Bristol Harbour Railway's Peckett 0-6-0 'Henbury'
tucked up in Midsomer Norton's Goods' Shed
Much has still been going on behind the scenes with 7109 and I've now received the vacuum brake ejector from the USA (ironically stamped with the word 'China'!). More of that to follow.

Wishing you Seasons' Greetings for Christmas and the new year. 7109 didn't quite steam in 2013 but I have high hopes for 2014.

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