While there have been three major developments in 2968’s overhaul, some have not resulted in any change in its appearance so do not show up on photos. Firstly, the trailing coupled axle was removed on the wheel drop and the axlebox studs damaged when the boiler was dropped in replaced; the wheels and coupling rods are now back in place. Secondly, this allowed the engine and tender to be weighed and their heights set; and thirdly the valves have been set, so most of the ‘technical’ stuff is done.
The almost complete engine in the workshop, the boiler cladding having been rubbed down prior to a coat of undercoat.
The superheater elements have been delivered from Tyseley...
...and so far nine have been fitted in the dark cavern that is the smokebox.
The left side valve chest, still with some of the valve setting equipment bolted on.
The firebox backplate has a more complete look. Work on the injector steam pipes was ongoing. The three ‘pipes’ to the sanders valve are, in fact, tape to mark their eventual positions and avoid conflict with other fittings.
Unlike other Stanier engines, the snifting valves are remote and connected by this pipe to their place inside and ahead of the valve chests. It was at this point that 2968 showed that she wasn’t going to co-operate fully in her build up.
The front end of the pipe with the errant vacuum brake pipe beyond it. This latter had been fitted by the SMF working party a long time previously, when it was realised that it wasn’t sitting flush against the frames, although at the time, not the consequences. All attempts at then to make it fit properly failed.
At this point, the SVR staff took over and soon found the same thing: it would not sit flush against the frames. Brian decided that a more fundamental adjustment was needed.
This allowed the pipe to sit correctly and the top part of the valve to be trial fitted.
Although dark, we can see the very close proximity of the valve and the pipe behind. They were both in these places in the engine’s last tour of duty; why they would no longer tolerate each other remains a mystery, but an indication of why promises of completion dates are hazardous affairs.