Aware that much development has been going on in the background, but little has been seen in public, and also that the pace of development is gradually increasing, the 762 Club introduced this on-line update feature in early 2013. This page, updated around once a month, will provide brief news snippets, images and general "Lynformation" on our progress. Please come back regularly for the latest updates.
(just hover your mouse over images to see captions, click to see a larger version where available):
There is a rather unfortunate footnote to this process. During the last valve liner insert, it got stuck about 5 mm from the end. Sadly, once it is expanded in, there is no way to get it out. The only route open to Robert Frost is to cut it out and make a new one. Ouch! Still, it is nearly finished and we have snow sent the cylinder covers to Frost's to allow them to pressure test them.
Lowther's are a large steel stockist and fabricator who have done much work for AKL over the years, including a recent order for eight coach frames that AKL made for a Belgian customer.
We pored over the drawings and had long discussions as to who should do what and in what order. The conclusion was that the profiles will be delivered in the first instance to AKL at Lea. The principal reason for this is that many of the holes that need to be drilled have to be accurate and done BEFORE any of the parts are welded together. By getting them to AKL first, they can check the profiles for accuracy, do any fettling that may be necessary, remove any paint that could cause welding problems, and drill all of the necessary holes. AKL have promised that they will undertake this work before the end of July and will then deliver the parts to Lowther's for assembly.
Included when we deliver the frame profiles will be the saddle which will act as a jig. We will know that the frame holes will line up with the saddle and will also provide strength during the assembly process.
Lowther's will then set out the frames and start assembling them. Richard has a top welder who would be available to do this work, and it has been estimated that it will take some five weeks to complete. By adding an extra week on for luck, we expect the finished assembled frame to be back at AKL by mid-September, some ten weeks later than we had planned. Sorry!
Once the assembled frames are returned to AKL, they will be turned to allow for the bolt holes to retain the horn guides can be drilled and fitted. Then, the whole lot will be turned and assembly can start with the saddle, cylinders and wheel sets going in.
The transport is being done for us by Nick Sampson who is a friend and regular supplier to the L&B. It will go up as a part-load to save some money and I have just heard that a window may be emerging for delivery to AKL on Tuesday 23rd June.
Following on from the two water tanks and a coal bunker manufactured by Babcock apprentices in June 2014 for the 'Lyn', a narrow gauge locomotive, the shipyard at Appledore has further supported the North Devon charity by cutting parts for the replica engine. The original Lyn, named after a Devon river, was cut up for scrap in 1935.
Shipwright Roger Beal worked with apprentice Jesse Curtis to ensure all the precision cut parts exactly matched the specification of the replica, which was originally brought flat-packed to the UK in1898 from Philadelphia. The job was to be the last for Roger before he retired in June and one of the first for Jesse who is part of the latest intake of marine fabricator apprentices. They were assisted by Steven Robb who operated a plasma cutting machine to transform the CAD designed steel parts into essential components for the steam locomotive which will run from Woody Bay Station on Exmoor.
The first 'Lyn' was built with a 6" Crosby pressure gauge. We are fortunate that we were able to buy one in the USA of exactly the same type as originally fitted. This has been overhauled and calibrated. At the same time the operating pressure of 'Lyn' will be higher than the previous loco, so the dial has been replaced with a new one but in the same style as the original. In the overhaul and recalibration it was found perfectly possible to retain the original Bourdon tube and operating mechanism. A nice link with the past.
Managing Director Patrick Keef explains: "The culmination of a large project in Europe in conjunction with other major project work and the wonderful news that my fellow Director and sister Alice Basey will be having a baby around the same time as the Open Day, together with two family house moves, meant we had to review our priorities. The Open Day is a huge attraction for enthusiasts, customers, and friends alike, and we will of course miss seeing everyone, but we felt very strongly that if we couldn't commit to putting on the very best show we could, we'd rather postpone it and instead plan an even better event for 2016."
Patrick added: "The Alan Keef Steam-Up Open Day raises considerable sums for our local church and the superb St Michael's Hospice in Hereford and we plan to continue to support them throughout the year. Everyone we've spoken to has fully understood and supported our decision."
The company has recently completed the delivery of the first batch of four Decauville type KG replica carriages to Paira Daiza Zoo in Belgium as part of a project to redevelop their 600mm passenger railway. A further four carriages will be delivered during the Summer. The first set of carriages made a stunning addition to the Zoo's railway and the pictures below show them in service hauled by a re-built Polish LAS locomotive
That's about all for this month.
Thanks for your continuing support,