Friday, 14 October 2016

A little stream reverser update

A couple more pictures from Ben Dingley

Ben has completed the manufacture of the studs which hold the hydraulic valve to the cylinder on the steam reverser.  This has allowed a trial fitting of the valve to the cylinder.

The studs fitted and the valve trial located upon them to check clearances and fit (Pictures by Ben Dingley)
With the majority of the major machining work now done it is a matter of time before the reverser can be reassembled properly and tested for the fit and resistance of the moving parts.

Amongst the bits still to do, or get, before a "proper" reassembly can take place include the delivery of a new set of piston rings from an external source and a new piston cover casting which will need to be machined to tolerance once it has arrived and seasoned.

A new Hydraulic seal is required to be manufactured from leather. This will hopefully be made in the Loco Workshop at Sheffield Park in the near future.  

We need to source a new brass oiler, which sits on the top of the cylinder, but unfortunately has been lost, or used on one of the other SECR steam reversers. Whilst this is a small and relatively inexpensive part, it is vital to the restoration of the loco.

A new link rod, which is part of the operating linkage will have to be manufactured or the original one located.  Again it is possible that this could have been used on one of the other steam reversers.

Once these parts are located or made, it will be a case of re-assembly and testing.

The Valve and cylinder assembly on the test bench.
Please keep popping back and taking a look at the progress as the blog is constantly changing as work proceeds.

We are still concentrating on creating a set of cylinders for 27 (and 178) and this will be our main thrust for a while.  We are always grateful to receive help with paying for parts, minor or major, and a set of cylinders is certainly one of the major parts of the loco!

There will be a project 27 stand at the Giants of Steam Weekend where, hopefully, we will be in a position to show you the progress on the loco in the last 21 months.  We will be setting up the stand close to the frames and on the way to Atlantic House, which is also open during the weekend.

Thanks for reading this far!

Clive D. Emsley
Chairman - The Fenchurch Fund
Project Manager - PROJECT 27
A Sub-Committee of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society

Why not support us by making a donation at
Or for Text donations Simply text "FENC72 £10" to 70070 to donate £10
    - you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10;
    - you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
    - your operator's standard text charge applies.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Update 12th October 2016


it is the aim of Project 27 to return the loco to it's Southern condition as A27 in lined Maunsell Green.  As part of this we are aiming on replacing the existing SR buffers which were put on the loco as it passed through Ashford Works in 1960.  The new ones will be a set of SECR "bottle" buffers as seen on H Class 263 and in the picture below.  Unfortunately we do not have enough spare buffers of the right style to use, so we will have to have at least one new set made.
27 in the Maunsell era with the SECR Bottle buffers (photo from the internet)
Matt has been busy surveying one of the spare buffers and producing a set of drawings and rendered 3d CAD models.  These are truly stunning!

One of the spare SECR buffers stripped for measuring and surveying (Photo Clive Emsley)
The spare buffer was stripped to its component parts and accurate measurements taken of each components. As can be seen in the photograph there is over 100 years of wear on the components especially the buffer shank.  

With these measurements and other research a design drawing was produced of the buffer components and these were added to a general arrangement drawing.  Matt then worked his usual magic on these drawings and has produced some stunning 3d CAD models of the buffer.  They almost look like photographs of a real buffer!

Rendered 3d models of the buffer components (Image by Matthew Holloway)
When the CAD image is compared with the photograph of the original buffer it is possible to see the amount of wear the shank has suffered over the last 100 years or so.

A cutaway of the assembled buffer showing how the parts fit together (Image by Matthew Holloway)
The cutaway model proves that the parts fit and in which order.  This is most invaluable when planning the assembly (if we get that far!) 

3d model of the assembled parts fully rendered. (Image by Matthew Holloway)
The final image shows the fully rendered 3d CAD model of the assembled buffer. A fantastic effort by Matt to produce such a professional result!  A true taste of things to come.

In my opinion, it would be good to see these buffers on all three P class locos on the Bluebell (and  on 753 on the KESR!).

Whilst we expect to recreate these buffers it is a little way down the list at present, the current main priority for parts manufacture is the set of cylinders.  This is expected to cost in the region of £15,000 for a "ready to fit" set.  this is made up of having the rough castings produced and the machining to size within tolerances.  We still need to raise the majority of this amount to be able to go ahead and order the castings.  If you are able to help with the cost please feel free to donate to Project 27 for more details of how to help please go to the Project 27 page on the Bluebell Railway website or E Mail the fund at then address below.

Thank you for reading this far and for taking interest in the project.

Clive D. Emsley
Chairman - The Fenchurch Fund
Project Manager - PROJECT 27
A Sub-Committee of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society
Why not support us by making a donation at
Or for Text donations Simply text "FENC72 £10" to 70070 to donate £10
    - you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10;
    - you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
    - your operator's standard text charge applies.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

News of the Steam Reverser overhaul

An update from Ben Dingley

Ben has been busy but has found time to let us know what he has been up to with the overhaul of the Steam Reverser.  In a previous post it was seen that a new steam side piston was being turned.  Since that post Ben has turned up the top cap which sits on top of this piston to retain the rings.  The piston rings have been ordered with help from Sheffield Park Loco workshop.

The top cap for the steam side piston (all pictures by Ben Dingley)
Den and Ian Furguson have lapped in the steam valve using engineers blue to show high or low spots.  This follows the machining of the valve and grinding of the port face sometime ago.
Starting to lap in the steam valve
The steam valve and faces having been tried using "Engineers Blue"

The steam valve has now been reassembled and the control links fitted onto the new valve rod. This controls the flow of steam and whether the piston goes up or down which in turn sets the engine in forward or back gear. 
The reassembled steam vale (minus a couple of nuts!)

The cover box you can see in the picture below in red oxide will now be returned to the railway for painting into top coat in the same manner and to the same standard as the cylinder covers seen in an earlier post.
The assembled steam valve with a test fitting of the cover prior to being painted
Ben has cleaned up all the screws which hold the cylinder cladding covers that have been seen in earlier posts.
The screws cleaned up and trial fitted to the cylinders

Over the summer Ben was lucky enough to find the valve which controls the hydraulic cylinder. This had been missing since the project began and was an important find, thanks to the workshop for helping with this. This was cleaned in the shot blaster and reunited with the rest of the reverser.
The control valve from the hydraulic cylinder having been cleaned and reassembled
The dismantled valve showing the thread which needed to be restored
The valve had a damaged thread which was gently filed using a thread file to restore its profile. This took time and was a carefully done so as not to damage the thread further and to ensure it fitted together well.
The screw thread file used the number "11" refers to the "teeth per inch"
Having got the thread sorted, attention was turned to checking the valve was seated probably using more engineers blue. We were lucky here and there was no excessive wear the valve seated well and this has now been reassembled.  
The valve having been tried using engineers blue
The studs which hold the hydraulic valve onto the cylinder were missing, owing to the valve being removed many years ago so Ben is now turning up 4 new studs to replace these.
the four studs being tried in the cylinder casting
Please look out for more updates and other posts on the blog and on Facebook

Thanks for reading this far.

Clive D. Emsley
Chairman - The Fenchurch Fund
Project Manager - PROJECT 27
A Sub-Committee of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society

Why not support us by making a donation at
Or for Text donations Simply text "FENC72 £10" to 70070 to donate £10
    - you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10;
    - you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
    - your operator's standard text charge applies.

Monday, 3 October 2016


Fareham Model Railway Weekend

Due to the generosity of Adrian Harrison of Harrison-Brown Models and the kindness of the organisers, PROJECT 27 had a presence at the Fareham Model Railway Exhibition last weekend!

Adrian had taken a selection of our stock to sell on his own stand, but owing to another trader having to pull out he negotiated with the organiser to fill the hole.

The Project 27 stand at the Fareham Model Railway Weekend (Photo Adrian Harrison)
Our thanks and gratitude go to Adrian from Harrison-Brown Models and the organiser of the show for letting us fill the gap!

For more details on the goods and services offered by Harrison-Brown Models please go to:

Clive D. Emsley
Chairman - The Fenchurch Fund
Project Manager - PROJECT 27
A Sub-Committee of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society
Why not support us by making a donation at
Or for Text donations Simply text "FENC72 £10" to 70070 to donate £10
    - you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10;
    - you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
    - your operator's standard text charge applies.

First of October Update

More work on the frames

Work has started on the small patch repair of the right hand frame.  Our welding expert, Ian Collins has made a start on the weld repair of the frame.  The pictures below give an idea of the progress to date. 
The new patch to replace the poor quality weld (All pictures by Clive Emsley)
The work is far from complete and the weld will be built up in the remaining grove around the patch.  Monitoring of the area around the repair of the frame is constant and is carried out following each weld. Hopefully this will not show up anything of great worry.

Another angle (from the rear of the frames)
The work will be progressing as Ian is available hopefully this can be done fairly quickly and attention can be turned to the other crack which requires less repair.

Other Works

Work has continued on the smaller parts that have been removed from the frames and are in the Villa's painting and storage area.  The first set of steps have been given their first coat of protective paint on the back and the front is awaiting rubbing down, priming and undercoat before applying a gloss green coat.  This work, and work on other small items is progressing well.

The back of the first set of steps to be worked on
Of course, we are a totally self funded group, and every penny we spend on the loco we need to raise ourselves from sales or by receiving donations.  If you feel that you would be able to help our project, please feel free to donate anything large or small to the fund. Details of how you can do this are listed below.

For "Gift Aid" donations please see the Loco 27 web page on the Bluebell Railway site or E mail for a form to donate to us via the Bluebell Railway Trust (E mail address below)

Donations that cannot be gift aided can be made by cheque (payable to the Bluebell Railway) and sent to: Project 27 (The Fenchurch Fund), Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex. TN22 3QL

We also have a just giving page and text giving is also available:
Or for Text donations Simply text "FENC72 £10" to 70070 to donate £10
    - you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10;
    - you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
    - your operator's standard text charge applies.

Our E Mail address for any enquiries (including invitations to attend model railway exhibitions) is

We are also on Face book look out for Project 27

Thank you for reading this far and please come back for another look later!

Clive D. Emsley
Chairman - The Fenchurch Fund
Project Manager - PROJECT 27
A Sub-Committee of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society

Friday, 30 September 2016

Good weekend at the Worthing Model Railway Exhibition

27 meets 72

The new Dapol "O" gauge model of 32636 (Fenchurch) was on display on the Fenchurch Fund-Project 27 stand
(along with 1027!)
We had a good weekend at the Worthing Model Railway Club's annual exhibition last weekend, both financially and in goodwill.

The display included the new "O" gauge model of BR 32636 (Fenchurch) with the assistance of Brian Jackson at Morris Models of Lancing ( Brian is a long time supporter of the Bluebell and the Fenchurch Fund.

We put on a display showing the work so far carried out and also one showing the reasons behind having to have a set of cylinders cast.  These created a lot of interest as did the power point display, which was different on each day!
The display showing some of the things we have achieved and on the end panel some of those who have achieved it!
The display showing the cylinder drawings

We also put on a display of models (which was enhanced as the weekend went on) and included a selection of locomotives that would have been seen on the Central division of British Railways Southern Region.  These included a line up of P class locos awaiting their turn for overhaul, terriers up to Standard class 4 and Ivatt class 2 and also included the C and E4 locos.  Even a B4 and USA slipped in!
75H loco shed "somewhere on the Central Division"
Also on display was the small diorama of the cuckoo line featuring 32636 and a short goods train as seen in a photo held in the Bluebell Railway picture archive.  A great place for inspiration for modellers!
32636 on a short freight train on the Cuckoo Line

A great amount of interest was shown in our 1/8th scale model cylinders especially the process used to create them.  A great feather in the cap of Matthew Holloway who designed and drew the 3D computer model.  Maybe we will get a set of 1/8th scale frames to add to the display!

The Cylinders on display
We had the usual selection of items for sale on the stand and a few new lines in the preserves range.  A selection of our merchandising will be available at a couple of exhibitions in the next couple of weeks due to the generosity of Harrison-Brown Models ( If you are at one of the exhibitions (Including this weekend, the Fareham Rail Ex) please pop along and say hello. Adrian Harrison is a "resting" working member of the Bluebell Railway.

The sales stand and display (a frontage of 20 feet!
Our next display will be at the Giants of Steam Weekend at Sheffield Park where you will be able to see the latest progress with the restoration as well as seeing the displays and sales stand.  We hope to have as many of the team on hand as possible to give you the assistance needed.  Also open during the weekend will be the Standard Class 2 project and Atlantic House, so please come along it will be a good opportunity to see the progress on these three projects.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

A few pictures from today

A quick picture round up from a short visit to the Park today

(All pictures by Clive Emsley)
Three of the four footstep waiting to be stripped, cleaned and painted
The footsteps are all inside the Villa and are in generally good condition.  Three are waiting to be stripped of paint and corrosion prior to being given a coat of rust inhibiting primer. the fourth one is in the painting area.
Right side front footstep undergoing painting
Also to be seen inside the Villa are the Guard Irons, which were given a coat of filling primer to restore a smooth appearance.
The guard irons which have been prepared for painting by Jim Turtle
The original pitted surface has been improved greatly by applying a couple of coats of filling primer  and rubbing down between them.  This fills the imperfections and pitting on the metal, leading to a smooth top coat of paint (a few weeks away!).

From the buffer bean, the hook used to stow the coupling when not in use
Even small items like the hook in the picture above need to be thoroughly cleaned and painted. This is one of the hooks used to stow the screw coupling when it is not being used. it will be repainted in Red where it is located on the buffer beam and black elsewhere.

The round piece of metal has been prepared to fit in the frames
The repair to the Right side frames will be carried out shortly by welding the round plug into the hole previously cut out of the frames.  this is situated just behind the middle axle. once this is done, the shallow weld on the left side can be attended to.

The anatomy of an SECR Bottle Buffer
One of the spare bottle buffers has been stripped down and is currently being surveyed by Matt Holloway with a view to creating a set for 27.  From the measurements and pictures a asset of 3D drawings will be produced with a view to having a set made. The buffers that the loco arrived on the railway with in 1961 were SR standard buffers, which in all honesty are too strong for such a small loco. In a way it is a pity that they were changed at Ashford just before delivery to the Bluebell as the loco up to that point had always (except for a short time on the SW division) carried the SECR buffers!  It will be good to be able to return the correct pattern ones to the loco.  The body is cast whilst the shaft and head are forged in one piece.  This may be a challenge to reproduce, but we aim to succeed!

Thanks for your continued interest and with your support we will get the loco working as soon as humanly possible.