Saturday Gang 2014 Review

Another year has passed us by so in order to continue this blog's short traditions, let's look back on 2014.

25 Northiam's overhaul 

Unsurprisingly we will start by looking at the progress made throughout 2014 on n.o 25 Northiam. 

25 Northiam - frames finished off
It was in March / April 2014 that we completed rewheeling 25 and achieved the status of 'rolling frame'. We refitted the conrods, big ends and various ancillaries such as the sanding pipes. This essentially completed our work on the frames so we moved back to the boiler. 

The boiler required some remedial works which were made apparent by our NDT (non destructive testing) techniques. We also proceeded with further works to prepare the boiler to be reunited back with the frames. Extensive repair and modification work was carried out to the ashpan and it's linkeage connecting it to the motion. We proceeded to 'clean' up the boiler after a considerable period of time outside in the elements. This involved considerable manual labour with the needle gun, followed by painting sessions. During later 2014 our efforts turned to the firebox works, after a comprehensive set up various rivets have been replaced. The Saturday Gang is currently working on the foundation ring and preparing for that to be fitted. 

Saturday Gang working on 25's boiler

As you can read there (and throughout the year) the Saturday Gang has made good solid progress on 25's overhaul. It will be satisfying when it's over as this will be our toughest and longest challenge to date. 

Maintenance / Running repairs 

Recent work on 23 HFS
Throughout the year the Saturday Gang has been involved in routine maintenance and running repairs. This work is essential in ensuring the locos which have boiler tickets are available for service when required. This work brings variety to our task list and is quite different in nature to overhaul work. This variety of tasks keeps things interesting and ensures we're not doing the same things over and over again every week. 

During 2014 we have carried out maintenance on virtually all of the K&ESR's locos and this essential work will continue in 2015. 

24 Rolvenden 

24 Rolvenden - on her way to the CVR
Readers of our blog will know that this is not new news, however sadly during 2014 we had to say goodbye to 24 Rolvenden. This was poignant for us as the Saturday Gang had the privilege of 'having a go' at driving 24 on her last day of service. We also stripped 24 and prepared her for storage, at that time, pending overhaul. However circumstances changed and it was decided to sell 24 to a suitable bidder. The positive side of this is that the Colne Valley Railway are taking good care of her. Nontheless, 24 Rolvenden will be missed. 


Some of the Saturday Gang!
As is tradition we close with a section about 'us'. The Saturday Gang is it's people, all of us make us what we are. Railway preservation tends to be very focused on the locos rather than the people behind them. Of course being part of the dept responsible for overhaul / maintenance we don't expect the spotlight to be on us. We get satisfaction from being the unnoticed guys and girls who make our customers happy, and make running steam trains possible. 

As always the Saturday Gang is an incredibly happy and joyful place to be. We have had a couple of new starters in late 2014 who are most welcome. One member remarked how much fun it is to be involved and that we make something that is normally associated with 'boring old farts' fun. We gathered for a few social events outside our normal workshop duties throughout the year, showing we're as much a group of friends as 'colleagues'. 

Saturday Gang day out during August
We'd like to take the arrival of a new year to launch a new appeal for volunteers. Our work is entirely dependent on us (or potentially you!). Therefore we invite anybody with an interest in engineering, railways or just needing something to occupy them on a Saturday to come and join us. Absolutely no experience is required, even one saturday afternoon every few months would be such a help. Not only would you be helping to preserve the K&ESR locos but you'd be gaining new friends and practical skills. Don't be afraid to get in touch. If you're not sure but would like to know more please get in touch at saturdaygang@gmail.com

Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2015, 

Saturday Gang.  

November & December 2014 Report

Welcome to November & December's report.


Persuading 23 to dismantle!

November is a quiet month for the K&ESR, trains don't run (with the exception of the special on the 11th). December is entirely different, the Santa Specials are an integral part of the K&ESR's business each year. These trains require two 4-5 coach sets and two locos capable of pulling them. Thus November was busy in the loco dept, getting locos prepared for the busy December period. When much of the K&ESR goes into hibernation the loco dept and Saturday Gang keep busy!

It's certainly becoming a challenge supplying enough motive power for K&ESR needs: With only 6619, 65 & 376 capable of hauling the Santa Special trains it certainly is important to ensure the locos are well prepared. This issue becomes even tougher in 2015 as 6619 is due out for overhaul. Still, it would be boring if it wasn't a challenge - wouldn't it?


25 Northiam

Work on the boiler has continued apace, attention has shifted to fitting the foundation ring to the firebox. The chimney has also been returned to the shed to be fitted. Although it doesn't sound like much the work on the foundation ring has taken up many of our Saturdays in December. Please see December's video report (linked below) for more information. 

Note inner and outerfirebox stays. 

Preparing the foundation ring for fitting. 

DS238 Wainwright

DS238 Wainwright is slowly coming back together, the motion reassembly is continuing (as you can see in the photo). The pistons and valve gear are being repaired and put back together. Boiler repairs are ongoing, the patching being done on the firebox is getting close to completion. Reassembly of DS238 may be completed in 2015 though that depends on further progress and satisfying various inspectors.


1638 stripped, note centre driving wheels removed
1638 has been stripped down further since the last report. The frames afre currently residing in the shed, safe from the elements. The centre set of driving wheels have been removed for further dismantling.

In the works / news from Rolvenden

65 Maunsell: In service.

65 Maunsell on the New Year's Pullman
- photo courtesy Elliott Waters

32670 Bodiam: Winterised.

32678: Winterised.

753 P Class: No progress to report.

12 Marcia: No progress to report.

14 Charwelton: Winterised.

376 Norwegian: In service.

23 Holman F Stephens:

Two volunteers removing 23's ejectors

The Saturday Gang worked through most of November on stripping n.o 23 for storage. Removing key components such as the ejectors, gauges etc protect them from elemental damage. Dismantling a loco is in many ways easier than rebuilding it but nontheless some components haven't been disturbed since the previous overhaul, this can make it difficult to remove them. Indeed some components were well 'cemented' into position, still as ever we enjoy a challenge.

Removing the firebars, no fire in 23 for a little while.
We had great fun dismantling 23 as on occasion it involved a little DIY (destroy it yourself) using a hammer! Some components such as the brick arch can be recycled but cannot be reused, so we assure you it's not needless destruction! Of course where components can be reused we remove them with care and ensure they're stored correctly.

Doing this sort of preventative work is so important because it minimises the costs / effort required to return the loco to service. Roughly speaking, it will probably be at least 12-24 months before 23 is put through an overhaul. Thus the work we do now is ensuring the loco is stored in the best possible condition. One of the Saturday Gang members wrote an article in the Summer 2011 edition of the Tenterden Terrier detailing the process for storing a locomotive. So for further details please purchase a copy!

Returning re-usable firebars to the stores.

6619: Available for service until end of December.


November 2014 (for some reason blogger can't find this so below is the hyperlink):


December 2014:

The Saturday Gang hope you had a merry Christmas and wish you a happy new year.

Saturday Gang