The Lavender Line
Here is the latest report for the railways privately owned Belgium Cockerill steam engine Yvonne as written by her owner Colin Healey.
Yvonne’s ten year boiler overhaul continues to progress. Since the last update, I have removed the last 52 tubes from the boiler to leave the tube plate fully exposed and provide clear access to the firebox inner wrapper as well as the main flue tube. I have removed all the bolts which hold the cab roof and side supports onto the rest of the loco and have lifted the cab up by about 15mm to ensure that there is nothing left preventing its separation. The cab is now held by just a few loose bolts which can be quickly be removed when the time comes to lift the cab off. The regulator valve has been removed and all the boiler cladding and insulation have now been removed to reveal the bare steel boiler barrel.
On Thursday, I headed up to Suffolk with my trailer to collect the new boiler tubes. Each tube is 36” long by 2.25” diameter and has a welded cap on one end with a widened opening at the other end – a specialist design not regularly found on railway locos, so they couldn’t just be purchased “off the shelf”. The 125 tubes are around 4kg each; about half a tonne of tubes in total, which were stacked on a pallet and brought back round the M25 behind my car - the photo shows them in transit on my trailer at South Mimms Services. On Saturday, I undertook the somewhat messy job of jet washing the interior of the firebox, flue tube and chimney as well giving the inside of the boiler shell a good washout. Jet washing a sooty firebox above one’s head is not a great experience as the sooty water rains down from above – it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it!
The last remaining job to do prior to the boiler lift is to remove the 15 bolts which hold the boiler into the frames. Five of them are nice and easy – being just below the firebox door, but the others are tucked up between the boiler and the water tank, which will make them a bit of a challenge to access.
The boiler lift is planned for 9th February thanks to a kind offer of assistance from L&W who will have a suitable machine available on that day. The boiler is booked in with Bicknells boiler makers, who will attend to any repairs required by the inspector and then install the new boiler tubes.