Thursday, 14 December 2017

A few pictures from last weekend

On-Going Work

Just a few pictures of work that has been carried out.  These pictures were taken by Clive Emsley on Saturday and Sunday of last weekend.
The rear drag box plate with some of the angles temporarily attached
Many of the angles have been bolted on to the rear drag box plate prior to final drilling and riveting.  Once the angles are riveted on the vertical face of the angle will be milled to create a flush face with the plate.  The reason for doing it this way is to produce a tight joint between the two pieces.

A close up of the interface between the angle and the plate
All of the angles have now been cut from the stock material supplied by Tata Steel and are stored in the Villa. 
Angles of various sizes in the Villa
These angles are for many uses on the new frames, hence the different sizes and lengths! They range from angles to hold the buffer beams onto the frames to simple location brackets for various bits.  They will soon disappear once we start to set the frames up, early next year if all goes to plan.
Various plates waiting for processing
There are a number of plates for various purposes in store. These were part of the order from Tata steel and will require a minimum of work to finish them.
Three Horn wedges leaning against the blast pipe casting
The above picture shows three of the horn wedges cleaned up the previous weekend together with the blast pipe castings we obtained as part of an order for all three P class locos at the Bluebell Railway.  These castings will be machined only when they are required for assembly onto the locomotive.

Working Days

There is one more working day planned for 2017, and that is this coming Saturday 16th December.  We hope to be able to bring pictures of the work carried out early next week. 
Further working days have been planned throughout next year, on roughly monthly intervals. However, please check here for dates.  The first few for next year are on January 20th, February 10th and March 24th, which coincides with the Bluebell Railway Diesel Gala.  I will put a full list here after Christmas.

Sales and Information Stands

Below is a list of dates and locations for our sales and information stands for the next year, this is subject to alteration and will only happen if we can get people to run the stands.

Sat 10th March - Wealden Railway Group Annual Exhibition - Lancing Parish Rooms
Sat 24th / Sun 25th March - Bluebell railway Diesel Gala - Sheffield Park
Sat 19th / Sun 20th May - Bluebell Railway Branch Line Weekend - Sheffield Park
Sat 23rd / Sun 24th June - Bluebell Railway Model Railway Weekend - Horsted Keynes*
Sat 11th / Sun 12th August - Bluebell Railway - Steaming through the ages - Sheffield Park
Sat 1st September - Burgess Hill Model Railway Club Exhibition - Burgess Hill School for Girls
Sat 8th / Sun 9th September - Bluebell Railway Shareholders Weekend - Sheffield Park+
Sat 22nd / Sun 23rd September - Worthing Model Railway Exhibition - Durrington High School
Sat 13th / Sun 14th October - Bluebell Railway Autumn Steam Gala - Sheffield Park
Sat 3rd / Sun 4th November - West Sussex N Gauge Group Exhibition - Angmering School
* Location to be confirmed
+Worksite open for inspection (subject to agreement)

At some of the Model Railway Exhibitions, and some that are not listed above, it is possible that we will be represented by our supporting Model Shop, Harrison-Brown Models from who's web shop you can obtain a number of our items on line!

Appeal for Help

We are looking for a group of people to help to run the sales and information stands to enable us to cover as many as possible.  The only qualifications you will need are a good sense of humour, a willingness to stand on cold drafty and sometimes damp platforms and a keenness to see small locos working on the Bluebell Railway!

Full training will be given, and indeed we might even learn from you! in addition to the qualifications noted above you will need to be a paid up member of the Bluebell Railway and will be required to attend a short safety briefing given by the Bluebell Railway.

If you are in a position to help us, please email us at Thanks in anticipation.

Web Site (P27 page about to be updated):

Text Donations: To donate £10 text "FENC72 £10" to 70070

  • you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 just by changing the amount in the text massage.
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Monday, 11 December 2017

Wheel painting

An agreement has been made with the Works Manager to place the wheels inside the Works at Sheffield Park one set at a time for painting, subject to room being available.  The first set was placed on the track behind the Class 4 tank on Sunday afternoon.  They will be allowed to dry out before rubbing down and painting takes place.  Work will continue at weekends and during the week over the winter.

Waiting for the doors to open!

 The leading set of wheels were moved on Sunday afternoon ready to be put inside the works for drying, rubbing down and painting
In place ready for painting
The painting will be carried out by Matt Holloway, Jim Turtle and Steve Booth. Thanks are due to Chris Sheppard for allowing us space for the work and to Ben Dingley for arranging it.
Thanks for your continued interest and support, it makes it worthwhile!

Cylinder manufacture time line

I thought it would be worth putting together a short time line of the cylinder production for interest. starting with the original set and finishing with the castings as delivered to Sheffield Park last Friday.
The original 1909 castings
 As you can probably see in the picture above, the original cylinders were in such a state there really was no other option other than to replace them.  you may be able to just make out a perforation in the exhaust steam passage towards the centre top of the block.
CAD model produced from the Ashford Drawings
Matt Holloway took on the job of researching the original Ashford drawings for the cylinders and converting them to CAD and going onto producing a 3D CAD model which can be seen above.  
one eighth scale 3D print.
From the CAD model we decided to have a 3D print manufactured. This was done partly for reference to see what they would look like as a tangible piece of material. A by product of this was that we have a model to display on our sales and information stands.
Polypatterns manufactured by Premier Patterns
From the CAD information a set of polystyrene patterns were manufactured this was done using a computer controlled robot with a rotary file attached.  A by-product of this was a quantity of fake snow! 
The castings having been removed from the moulds
 The castings were removed from the sand moulds and fettling took place to remove the runners and risers and vents that had been put into  allow the gasses to be dissipated as the polystyrene burns off as the molten iron is poured in.
Delivered to Sheffield Park
 once the castings were cold they were put on a palate and shrink wrapped for delivery.  They can be seen in the yard at Sheffield Park following delivery.
The Cylinders unwrapped!
 The cylinders were unwrapped to allow seasoning to start to take place.  This allowed us to see the quality of the castings. 
The next step is to season the castings, either by leaving it so that the stresses are relieved naturally over a period of time, or by heat treating.
Once the seasoning has taken place machining can start
For further information please contact us using the email address below. 
Web Site (P27 page infrequently updated):
Text Donations: To donate £10 text "FENC72 £10" to 70070
·         you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 just by changing the amount in the text massage.
·         you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
·         your operator's standard text charge applies.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017


Cylinder News

Ben Dingley has just sent me a message to say that the Cylinders have been cast!
This casting occurred last week and the first sand mould was broken open on Monday of this week (it is assumed that the second has been opened by the time you read this).  Following removal from the sand moulds the castings will be dressed to remove the runners and risers and vents.

It is hoped that they will be delivered to Sheffield Park at the end of this week, possibly Friday, but this is to be confirmed.  The castings as delivered will still require seasoning and machining, so it will be a while before they are installed between the frames!

News updates Project 27 Blogspot:
Web Site (P27 shortly to be updated):
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  • you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 just by changing the amount in the text massage.
  • you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
  • your operator's standard text charge applies.

Frames - An Update

Frame Progress

I have received a series of pictures from the restoration team showing progress on the frames and associated parts. These show the progress over the past couple of weeks or so.

The first hole being cut (all photos Matt Holloway)
The first few pictures show works being carried out on the rear drag box plate. this was the first of the plates to be machined as this could be done indoors during less clement weather!
A few holes later!
The first two angle irons were then bolted onto the drag box plate. This is so that the remaining rivet holes can be drilled through from the drag box plate side, the holes already drilled in the plate being used as a guide.  The angle iron will then be finish riveted onto the plate. Following this it is planned to machine square the outside faces of the angle irons to the plates edge which should result in a good square datum point at the rear form setting up the frames square and parallel.  This will be the first part of the rebuilt chassis done!
The rear drag box plate with the angles bolted on.
The frame plates have been levelled and clamped together outside the villa.  This has been done to facilitate final marking out and drilling.  This is dependant on a dry day!
The frames sett up ready to be marked out and drilled
The plates have been clamped together and levelled so that the holes cut in them will align perfectly in both frame plates. This process can only be carried out when the weather is favourable.
Centre line passing through one of the horn openings
Horizontal centre line through the centre of the driving axle
The above three photos show a string line (piano string) which has been set up from front to back of the frames. This line passes through the centre line of the designed  centres of each of the wheel centres.
From this straight line a series of "alignment buttons" can be struck from which all the vital holes can be accurately marked out. The alignment buttons are extremely important as the centre of the driving axle can be determined from them. following this, the cylinder block position and all the other valve gear and motion positions are attained.
The driving axle position and angle to the cylinders marked
This final photo above shows the centre of the driving axle being marked with a centre punch mark (to the right of the picture).  From this the scribed lines for the 1 in 9 incline of the cylinder block have been marked.  the cylinders will need to be aligned to this mark when they are installed.

Other Work

Other work carried out during last weeks working day involved our newest volunteer, Sean Smeeth, who helped to remove the final fitted bolts on the frames. As well as this he made a start on cleaning up the horn wedges.  Stuart Marks completed the wiring for a 240 volt supply which will allow the much needed heating in the villa to be connected.  Finally, the recovered axlebox white metal has been melted down into ingots and stored for future use.

How to Help

Web Site (P27 page shortly to be updated):

Text Donations: To donate £10 text "FENC72 £10" to 70070
  • you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 just by changing the amount in the text massage.
  • you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
  • your operator's standard text charge applies.
Thank you for your interest and support

Clive Emsley

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Machining of parts for the frames

Machining parts

Over last weekend, Ben Dingley machined the angles that were previously cut to length on the power hacksaw. 

The angles set up and being machined at Sheffield Park (Ben Dingley)
These were reduced in size from 8 inch to 3.5 inches.  The reason for the machining was that to get the right thickness in the angle, they had to be ordered oversize as the correct size and thickness was not available.  The process began with the angles being flame cut down to reduce the amount of machining that needed to be carried out, and thus save wear, and time, on the milling machine. 
Plenty of swarf produced by the milling operation (Ben Dingley)
Ben managed to machine all 12 of the required angles over the weekend.

Two of the completed angles (Ben Dingley)
There will plenty more machining to be done in the next year or so! and thanks must go to Ben Dingley for machining the angles and Ian Fergusson for overseeing and checking the set up.


Matt Holloway is well on his way through measuring and checking the frame plates.  He is doing this to ensure that the hole centres marked on the plates by the factory are correct.  As part of this check he is centre popping ready for the holes to be cut.  Once all the checks have been carried out, hole cutting will commence.  Remember - Check (at least) twice cut once!

Other Work

Work is continuing on the smaller parts this includes cleaning and painting of all the parts removed from the original frames ready for placing on the new frames when the time comes.  There is also plenty of measuring and drawing going on for the bunker and tank drawings this work is of a lower priority at the moment but is being done as and when time is available so that the drawings are ready at the right time.


The sales stand is taking a short rest over the dark months.  Apart, that is, for a small stand on Saturday 9th December, at Sheffield Park, when yours truly is in the Signal Box.  We are always trying to devise new and exciting ways of making money for the project and hope to launch a new scheme in the new year.  Don't Forget, Watch this space for details!

Information and How to help

Web Site (P27 page about to be re-launched):

Text Donations: To donate £10 text "FENC72 £10" to 70070

  • you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 just by changing the amount in the text massage.
  • you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
  • your operator's standard text charge applies.
Thank you for your continued support and interest in the project.

Clive Emsley

Friday, 17 November 2017

Drag Box Rebuild Update

The fixing holes have been drilled in the rear drag box plate.  This was carried out last weekend by Matt and Ben inside the Villa due to inclement weather outside.  The plate had been set up on trestles previously for such a possibility.
The rear dragbox plate fixed securely to the trestles (Ben Dingley)
The mag drill was set up to cut holes of the correct diameter in the correct place as marked out during the material cutting at Tata Steel. This position was checked and centre popped before any drilling took place. this ensures that the holes are correctly positioned.

Set up and ready to cut the first hole (Ben Dingley)
Once the setup and hole positions were thoroughly checked, drilling commenced.  the drill is not a centre drill of the sort found in your average drill set.  It is more akin to a milling cutter but with the helix of a drill.  This gives a much better chance of a vertical parallel hole.  Whilst the cutters are much more expensive that the centre drill, the results by far outweigh this.
All holes cut (Ben Dingley)
This shows the holes having been cut in the correct places and the plate ready for final reaming prior to assembly into the frames at the right time.

It is expected that work will continue on the frames for the next few weeks with plenty of drilling to be done!  Other jobs coming up is the flat packing of the old frames once we are sure all the donor parts have been removed. Once the old frames are out of the way, it will be possible for then engineering team to commence the erection of the new ones, leading to the production of a rolling chassis.

Thank you for your continued support and interest in the project.  Without the support and donations we get we would not be in a position to carry on with the restoration.

Please keep popping back and seeing what we are up to. 

If you would like to donate to help the restoration of the loco, the details are below.  Please donate responsibly and only give what you can afford


Clive Emsley
Chairman Fenchurch Fund and Project Manager Project 27

Web Site (P27 page infrequently updated):

Text Donations: To donate £10 text "FENC72 £10" to 70070

  • you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 just by changing the amount in the text massage.
  • you can also elect to Gift Aid your donation;
your operator's standard text charge applies