September & October 2014 Report

Welcome to September and October's Report


Volunteers working on 25's boiler, note the access staging
Well the main summer running season passed and we're rapidly heading for winter (both weatherwise and traffic wise). The K&ESR slows down after August and runs fewer trains. This takes the pressure off a little though these 'quieter' months are our oppurtunity to catch up on work and ensure the fleet is ready for the Santa Specials.

Locos are coming out of traffic in quick succession, n.os 23 & 1638 have both been withdrawn from service upon expiry of their boiler tickets. This has reduced the pool of 'Class 5' locos quite substantially (the K&ESR rates locos according to how many MK1 carriages they can pull). With 6619 due out at the end of the year this will present challenges in 2015. However we're always up for a challenge!

So without further hesitation, deviation or repetition let's see what's been happening.


25 Northiam: 

Volunteer setting up a spring bush for machining
The Saturday Gang has continued to make progress with n.o 25 over the past few months. The frames were moved for the first time since their reassembly, this was part of a general re-org of the shed to allow 25's boiler to be brought back inside. The frames are currently sheeted and well protected from the elements, unfortunately under cover space is rather limited at Rolvenden so they may end up back outside at some point, hence the 'cover up'! The video report for September shows machining bushes for 25's springs and preparing the frames for movement (see below).

Removing rivet heads, with a powered chisel
As mentioned previously, 25's boiler has been brought back in. Remedial works had been identified some time before but only now are we in a position to address this. Time had to be spent setting up the lobo staging to give us a platform to work from. Work to replace failed rivets is underway, it's quite a laborious process.

DS238 Wainwright 

DS238 brought 'back down to earth'
Progress continues to be made on DS238's overhaul: the frames have been lowered back onto the wheels and motion reassembly is progressing. The firebox is coming along too, the cut out section of the outer firebox has been welded up and further works on the outer firebox are underway. Still a long way off returning to service but certainly encouraging signs. 

1638 Pannier 

1638's boiler, lifted from the frames by the steam crane
As mentioned in the introduction, 1638's boiler ticket has expired. The loco dept has wasted no time in lifting the boiler out of the frames and dismantling the motion. A full assessment of the works required to return 1638 to service will be done, then begins the process of repairs and reassembly. Although 1638 is in ok mechanical condition it will be few years until she steams again, though once DS238 is completed more attention can be given to 1638. 

In the works / news from Rolvenden

32670 Bodiam: Available for service.

32678 Knowle: Available for service. 

753 P Class: No progress to report.

P Class awaiting attention
12 Marcia: Stored in Orpins sidings awaiting remedial works to begin.

14 Charwelton: Available for service.

376 Norwegian: Available for service.

23 Holman F Stephens: Suffered a failure in service which lead to an early withdrawal for overhaul (only a week!). The current plan is to store n.o 23 until other overhauls are completed. During November the Saturday Gang will be stripping n.o 23 and preparing for her for storage. All the components such as ejectors, gauges, piping etc will be placed into secure storage. 

6619: Repairs / washout completed. Available for service.

6619 shortly before works completed
65 Maunsell: Available for service. 


Two video reports are available, covering both September & October. 

September 2014: 

October 2014:

Many thanks for reading, 

Saturday Gang 


July & August 2014 Report

Welcome to July & August's report


Saturday Gang enjoying a 1st class trip on the K&ESR
(on our day off, not a Saturday!)
First of an apology for the lack of updates, both on the blog and youtube. We try our best to keep things updated but sometimes we get a bit behind or other things are going on. 

The summer has been busy as always, the K&ESR has been running it's 'red' timetable during August. This requires two steam locos in service everyday and sometimes another for Pullman duties. This would in part explain why much of our attention has been on maintenance duties, more so than usual. However once the main running season is over we hope to return our focus to n.o 25 Northiam's overhaul.

We also used the Bank Holiday Monday to sample the rest of the K&ESR. It might seem strange but we don't get to see much of the railway we volunteer for other than our own 'bit' at Rolvenden. So we had a very enjoyable day out on 'our' railway. It was satisfying to see two locos we had worked on previously (23 HFS & 376 Norwegian) in service. It reminded us of why we do what we. It was also good to meet for some well earned fun! We are not just 'colleagues', rather friends in the Saturday Gang and one of the main reasons we volunteer is the social aspect. 

So let's go through what's been happening: 

25 Northiam

Needlegunning 25's boiler
As mentioned previously our attentions have been focused on maintenance works but that is not to say we didn't make any progress. 

25's ashpan has been finished off, the linkeage has been fitted and painted. The coupling rods have also been burnished . We continued to needle gun the boiler (as reported last month), this was completed and then we completed painting the smokebox in appexia paint. We have also greased the frames in preparation for them to be moved outside, quite literally we now have a 'rolling frame'. Once works on the boiler are complete the frames and boiler can be re-united though this is a little way off yet. We also took the opportunity to examine the spare austerity springs we have. The ones already on the frames have been checked but a ready supply of spares is always helpful.

Frames prepared to move
As is so often the case with loco overhauls, each week is a small step and one day it all suddenly comes together. During the winter season we will be making a concerted push on n.o 25. However as with all good things they come to those that wait. 

DS238 Wainwright

Building up the firebox on DS238
Work on the boiler is ongoing. The firebox has been 'built up' to increase the thickness of the plate, especially round the foundation ring. 

In the works / news from Rolvenden 

32670 Bodiam: In service

32678 Knowle: In service 

753 P Class: No progress to report

P Class awaiting further attention (we will get there eventually!)

12 Marcia: Stored in Orpins sidings awaiting remedial works to begin.

14 Charwelton: Repairs have been completed and the loco has been tested. The new bearings had not bedded in before the loco needed to be moved. This made some interesting noises during the shunt! See August's report for a listen.

Remedial works complete on n.o 14
376 Norwegian: In service

23 Holman F Stephens: 

1638: In service

6619: Under maintenance. The Saturday Gang has carried out much on this loco. We started with rodding the tubes and prep for washout work. Then we did some work on the tubeplate, this was so encrusted with dirt that a needle gun was required to clean the tubeplate. A thorough test of the lubrication system has also been undertaken. As 6619 approaches the end of her ticket it is even more important to undertaken this work. 

Saturday Gang working to repair 6619's tubeplate / blaspipe

65 Maunsell: In service


Two video reports to cover this period: 

July 2014:

August 2014: 

Many thanks for reading, 

Saturday Gang 


June 2014 Report

Welcome to June 2014's report.


Team photo! - Not everybody was here though

It's been a busy month down at Rolvenden for the Saturday Gang (yes we say that every month!). Progress on n.o 25 has been continuous and  we have done a good share of running repairs / maintenance too. 

We have also had some new starters which is very encouraging, they are most welcome. Perhaps unusually we have had two new female starters, just goes to show the girls can get stuck in just as much as the lads! We had quite a large group in one Saturday (though it doesn't show all of our members) so we took an opportunity to take a group photo. We hope that is shows us as we are, happy and proud of the work we do. 

Sadly 24 Rolvenden has left us (see feature below) but there is much to be positive about. The Saturday Gang continues onward, striving to return n.o 25 Northiam to service and keeping the other locos in service. New members always give us encouragement and it is people that are important above machines. 

25 Northiam 

Progress on 25 Northiam's frames

Last month we showed the ashpan being constructed. During June the remaining sections were welded up and we commenced painting. The linkeage for the door mechanism on the ashpan has also been completed. The con rods have been burnished making them gleam in the light. 

We have begun work on n.o 25's boiler again. There are various items of work to be carried out before the boiler can be tested or reunited with the frames. Naturally a period outside in the elements will have its effects. So our first job has been to needle gun off surface rust and do some more painting. The smokebox requires a thick and rather gooey apexia paint which is heat proof. We have been attending to the smokebox, the door is needlegunned and painted but the sides and front ring will be completed in July. The foundation ring has also been cleaned in preparation for the non destructive testing. The washout plugs have also been removed, cleaned and reinstalled. This process is known as 'boxing up'. 

Painting the smokebox door
Currently the boiler is waiting on NDT testing and an ultrasound scan to check for cracks. 

Goodbye old friend - 24 Rolvenden 

24 Rolvenden on day of depature (Bradley Bottomley)

As some of our readers may be aware - n.o 24 Rolvenden has been sold to the Colne Valley Railway. N.o 24 was moved down to Wittersham Rd loading point and departed the railway on Friday 20th of June. A team from the Colne Valley also came back to pick up some spares we had for sale. 

N.o 24 Rolvenden has been part of the furniture of the K&ESR since 1971 and has been almost continuously in service (in between overhauls). A particular memory of the author's is a few Christmases ago. We only had n.o 24 and n.o 23 in service, nothing else was operational - one failure could have caused disaster for the K&ESR Santa Specials. Fortunately both n.o 24 and n.o 23 were magnificent and ran continuously between the first weekend in December till Christmas eve. A tribute to the robustness of the Hunslet Austerity. 

The Colne Valley have a feature on their website: http://www.colnevalleyrailway.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/a-new-arrival.html 

In tribute, here's a few pictures on n.o 24 through the years. 

24 Rolvenden at Northiam in 1994

Undertaking works in the motion

The Saturday Gang assisted in reboring 24's cylinders in 2009

Photo of Saturday Gang with 24 upon completion of works

24 Rolvenden on Santa Special duty, Christmas 2009

In the works / news from Rolvenden 

32670 Bodiam: In service after a successful steam test.  

32670 under steam test
32678 Knowle: In service

12 Marcia: No progress since last report 

14 Charwelton: Repairs are ongoing, works have begun on the firebox. 

14 Charwelton repairs ongoing

376 Norwegian: As of end of June / early July loco under maintenance. 

23 Holman F Stephens: 23 was under washout and routine maintenance but as of beginning of July is available for traffic.  

Saturday Gang working to refit the spark arrestor

1638: In service 

6619: Failed in traffic with a broken spring so was under repair for most of June. 

65 Maunsell: In service. 


June 2014 video report: 

Many thanks for reading, 

Saturday Gang 


March, April & May 2014 Report

Welcome to the report, covering March, April & May 2014.


Volunteer drilling bolt holes in a new section of plate for 25's ashpan

Although the blog has been quiet and hasn't been updated since February this doesn't mean the Saturday Gang haven't made any progress, quite the opposite! The editor has had his exams / end of year exams recently so hasn't had time to sit down and update. Hopefully this latest blog post will put that right. 

The K&ESR has begun to run trains again and because the DMU has been out of action for essential repairs, a second steam loco has been required. Normally on our quieter times of year we only use one steam loco with the MK1 set. Though it increases the amount of running maintenance it is good to see our smaller locos getting a run out. 

The Saturday Gang has been kept occupied with various items of running maintenance and of course progressing n.o 25 Northiam ever closer to completion: 

25 Northiam

Saturday Gang discussing further works on 25's ashpan
The overhaul has taken some quite big steps forward since the last report. The big ends were retrieved from the storage container (and made quite a lengthy journey on a trolley into the workshop, see the video report). The conrods have been refitted and the motion is now fully reassembled. We barred the loco backward and forward to check that everything moves freely. We have also begun to fit some of the other non motion components such as the sand pipes. This is a large milestone in the overhaul as we can now start the final preparations to reunite the boiler and frames.

A major task that has been occupying us for the past couple of months is the repair of the ashpan. This box sits underneath the firebox and collects the ask from the fire. As you can imagine the heat and ashes corrode and distort it over time. Much wasted platework has had to be replaced, a new lid and bracket have been manufactured. Perhaps this doesn't sound much but it has taken much careful and time consuming effort. The ashpan will ultimately be fitted beneath the boiler. It's another piece in a very large jigsaw puzzle. The series of photos below shows the various different works / skills that have been used in this project. 

Measuring and squaring off platework

Marking out holes to be drilled

Grinding off weld excess

Cutting slots for the door mechanism to fit

Smoothing out the slots with an angle grinder

Works on 25's ashpan so far!

DS238 Wainwright

DS238 - note the lobo staging in front of the loco
The overhaul continues, repairs on the boiler are ongoing. To facilitate the works required on the cylinders and motion some lobo staging has been erected. This creates a safe platform from which to work. 

753 P Class

753 P Class - note needle gunned front frames
A little progress has been made, some needle gunning has been carried out on the frames (as you can see from the photo). Some more of the P's many components have been cleaned and stored. As has been written before though, this project is a low priority and most of the loco dept's attention is focused elsewhere. 

In the works / news at Rolvenden

32670 Bodiam: In service

32670 Bodiam in the yard
32678 Knowle: In service

32678 Knowle - receiving repairs prior to a return to traffic

12 Marcia: The boiler has now been lifted out of the frames so remedial work can take place on the firebox.

12 Marcia's boiler - now removed from the frames

14 Charwelton: Charwelton has been receiving a number of repairs over the past few months, we have assisted in the program of repairs. Tasks such as renewing firebars, rebuilding the brick arch and refitting the firehole door guard have been undertaken.

14 Charwelton under repair
376 Norwegian: In service 

376 Norwegian - running up to Tenterden for the evening Pullman

23 Holman F Stephens: The Saturday Gang has carried out a number of repairs to n.o 23 over the past month. The sand boxes were heavily corroded so were removed, repaired and refitted. N.o 23 has also had a bit of a bend in the running plate for a while (where it came from we're not quite sure!) so whilst she was out of traffic we took the opportunity to straighten the plate. A new injector valve had been procured and the Saturday Gang assisted in installing the joints and fitting the new injector in place.

Volunteer curing the bend in the running plate!

24 Rolvenden: Readers may or may not be aware that for some time n.o 24 Rolvenden has been up for sale. The latest news is that the loco is close to being sold, the deal may be confirmed shortly. Though currently we know little more than you do! 

24 Rolvenden - in slightly happier settings than it's current location

1638: In service

1638 in the yard

6619: In service

6619 ready for traffic

65 Maunsell: The loco is currently being prepared for another spell on loan away from the K&ESR. Location is to be confirmed.

65 Maunsell & 23 Holman F Stephens in the yard

Videos / Photos 

March 2014 Report:

April 2014 Report: 

If you haven't already please 'like' us on facebook: Saturday Gang Facebook page

Many thanks for reading, 

Saturday Gang 


January & February 2014 Report

Welcome to the joint reports for January and February 2014:


Two volunteers preparing components for fitting
January and February have continued to be busy for the Saturday Gang. The K&ESR shut down after Christmas for a much needed winter break. When not running trains it allows the loco dept to catch it's breath and get on top of a long maintenance list. We are somewhat fortunate in 2014 that the K&ESR is closed longer than usual to facilitate the major P-Way works that are ongoing just beyond the depot down by the sewage works. 

The Saturday Gang returned from our various Christmas and New Year celebrations in high spirits and we didn't waste any time in getting back to work! Naturally our works continued on 25 Northiam but we have also been assisting in DS238 Wainwright's overhaul. Ontop of that we have been doing our part to carry out repairs on heavy maintenance on the operational loco fleet. 

So let's get started: 

25 Northiam: 

25 Northiam's frames - lowered onto wheels once more
Various works have been undertaken in direct continuation from our efforts before Christmas. 25's frames have been fully lowered and reunited with her wheels. So the good news is we have rolling frames to work with. This has lead us into the next stage of the frame overhaul, adding all of the associated linkeage and components to get the motion inside the frames to work with the wheels. 
Kalmar digger with 25's conrods,
brake rods and rear buffers in the bucket. 
In order to do that we had to clear up and go and get the required components (a day's work in itself!). The timber which we used to support the loco's frames was put back into store and more components were retrieved from store. We retrieved and placed alongside 25 the conrods, brake rods and rear buffers. We also went down the line and retrieved the flange lubricators from sister loco n.o 24 Rolvenden. Work has begun to prepare these components and the frames for fitting. Every job we undertake requires careful preparation We were aided part of the way by the kalmar digger (normally used for coaling up) by placing components in the bucket. However the kalmar can't fit into the shed so we had to make the final part of the journey by hand, quite a heavy and labour intensive process. 
Conrods laid out, waiting for us to finish the frames! 
We have fitted the rear buffers and flange lubricators. The guard irons too have been extensively refurbished and refitted. They look rather smart at the moment but that won't last long in service! Other smaller components have been reinstalled such as the rear cab steps. This does make climbing ontop of the frames easier and safer. 
Volunteer fitting 24's flange lubricators to 25

DS238 Wainwright

DS238 Wainwright under overhaul
The overhaul continues and the lengthy process of de-rusting and repairing components is continuing. Works have also been taking place on the boiler, welding is taking place on the backhead where a access hole was cut previously. The task of removing all of the old boiler tubes is complete. One example of the Saturday Gang's contribution to the overhaul is shown below where a volunteer is de-rusting a steam pipe. 

De-rusting DS238 steam pipe

753 P Class

No progress to report 

In the works / news at Rolvenden: 

Winterised = In boiler ticket and is available for service if required. 
Stored = Out of boiler ticket / in need of major overhaul or repairs

32670 Bodiam: Winterised. 

32678 Knowle: Winterised. 

12 Marcia: Stored. 

14 Charwelton: Receiving some light repairs and long term maintenance

14 Charwelton in the shed
376 Norwegian: Winterised. 

23 Holman F Stephens: Winterised. 

24 Rolvenden: Stored. 

1638: Winterised. 

6619: The boiler ticket has been extended. It will expire at the end of the current year. 

65 Maunsell: Currently under routine maintenance. 

DS238 (left) under overhaul with sister loco n.o 65
 (right) receiving maintenance 
5668: This loco is currently at Rolvenden with preventative work being undertaken to protect the loco from further corrosion. Once complete the loco will be stored, awaiting for restoration work to begin. 

5668 at Rolvenden

Videos / Photos 

January's video Report: 

February's video Report:

If you haven't already please "like" us on Facebook: Saturday Gang Facebook Page

Many thanks for reading. 

Saturday Gang.