The Lavender Line
Our resident steam engine Kitson ‘Austin 1’ is enjoying a well earn break over the winter months as the 81 year old locomotive is being prepared to have its annual winter maintenance which will ensure the engine is fit and ready for the new steam season ahead.
All steam locomotives need large amounts of TLC throughout the year which can include a number of boiler washouts and services. Austin 1 is on long term loan to the Lavender line and therefore it is the railways responsibility to keep her maintained and fit for traffic. In January a team of our working members will be carrying out the annual winter maintenance on Austin 1 which will include a full boiler washout, motion clean and degreased, hand brake service, full firebox clean, gland repacking, gauge glass repack and baffle plate welding. All these tasks have to be undertaken to ensure Austin 1 is fit and ready for the steamings which start in March. Being 81 years old she needs all the TLC she can get!
January also brings about Austin 1’s annual boiler exam, this consists of two parts. The first part of the exam is a cold test where the boiler examiner will carry out a full cold exam on the engine which includes checking all the stays, plugs and tubes in the firebox, tubes in the smokebox and the outer firebox. After the cold exam the inspector will examine the loco in full steam, a safety valve lift is required and a full inspection of the boiler is carried out which includes a full top to tail inspection. This exam is very much like an MOT on a car, you have a 10 year overhaul every 10 years where the loco is spripped down and you have annual cold and steam exams which take place every 12 to 15 months.
If you would like to help out at all on the winter maintenance on Austin 1 just turn up on any Wednesday or Sunday and ask one of our members, or if you fancy helping out on any part of the railway we are always welcoming new members whether its on our locomotives department, guards or kitchen we are very keen to see new faces at the Lavender line.