Progress Report – September 2018

It’s been a while! We’re looking to reintroduce regular updates of our work – for starters, here’s what we’ve been working on over the summer…

Small Prairie No. 5541
Due to the exceptional fire risk, No. 5541 has recently had a break from DFR service, with the exception of a Branch Line Experience duty. No. 5541 returned to service at the start of September, with WD152 ‘Rennes’ taking a well-earned break.

Pannier No. 9681
Work on No. 9681 has continued apace, with the further sections of the new running plate, cab floor and rear drag box being riveted into place. Further work has seen machining on the brake shaft, steam brake cylinder and piston rods.

Collett BCK No. 7362
The sourcing of missing parts continues in advance of the main restoration. We were grateful for the invitation to meet the GW(SVR)A, owners of several GWR coaches based on the Severn Valley Railway, to discuss techniques and methods of restoration which has assisted our planning for the upcoming restoration.

Collett TK No. 5813
Our Fundraising Shop continues to raise funds through the sale of donated items such as books, jigsaws and bric-a-brac. If any readers have any items they would be willing to donate to help us raise funds for the DFLG, please let us know.

Mink G No. 112857
Work to complete the restoration of the underframe has continued, & the delivery of the floor boards ready for fitting.

The above represents a brief overview of the DFLG’s current project. We’re always looking for volunteers to join our dedicated team, so if you’re interested please get in touch!


Austerity ‘Rennes’
Rennes has borne the brunt of the DFR service trains in recent weeks, due to the fire risk & the fitting of spark arresting equipment. Rennes has been taking a well-earned break since the end of August for some routine maintenance, with No. 5541 taking over.

Mk1 BSK No. 34742
Volunteers from a variety of departments have been assisting our colleagues in C&W as No. 34742 nears completion. We’re all looking forward to seeing this coach in traffic for the first time on the DFR.

Pannier Progress – November 2017

The overhaul of our Pannier 9681 is progressing well. The cylinder block has been removed and the bores skimmed. The next step is for cylinder liners to be fitted and the ‘block split for work on the valve post faces. The reason for all this work is down to wear over the years. After several years of use the cylinder bores – which should be perfectly round – start to become oval. The cylinders get to a point where they no longer form a seal around the piston and start leaking steam. This reduces the amount of power available to the driver and causes even more wear and tear. The solution is to skim the bores of the cylinder – only just enough so that they clean up, and fit new liners. The liners are a little like sleeves. However, the liners are larger in diameter than the cylinder bores that they need to fit into. They are fitted by freezing them so that they shrink. Once slid into place they slowly thaw and expand into their new home, good as new and ready for several years of service.

The brake gear for the loco has been refurbished. This involved complete disassembly and replacement of many, many wear bushes, and the manufacture of replacement pins. Where possible we use CNC technology for the manufacture of “batches” of pins etc.

The frames are being painted and filled. We have learned through experience on 5541 that pits and holes caused by corrosion over the years are a trap for dirt. Oil, grease and dust fill these holes and it is a horrid and dirty job keeping it clean. This time we have gone to town on filling all these pits and making the frames – inside and out as flat as possible. The spokes on the wheels will receive the same treatment, as will anything else we can find which is a trap for dirt.

Meanwhile the air pump has also been receiving attention. GWR engines are, with a couple of exceptions, fitted with air pumps. These pumps are fitted to the frames and operate via the loco’s cross head – which in turn is attached to the piston and piston rod – while the engine is on the move. The pump sucks air out of the train’s vacuum braking system. This is more efficient than using the engine’s brake ejector which creates vacuum by blasting a jet of steam through the ejector, then out through the chimney. A waste of coal and water if it is left on for long periods. A new piston head is being made for the pump, and it will be re – bushed throughout.

More on 9681 can be found here. Details on how you can help towards getting 9681 back into steam by joining us can be found here.

Progress Report – February 2017

Mink G No. W112857 has now been moved into the shed at Norchard for restoration to continue undercover. Previously some 430 hours of work had been carried out by our volunteers at Lydney Junction station yard. A small amount of the iron work on the vehicle will now be replaced, before a complete body re-plank will take place. More on the Mink G can be found here.

The overhaul of Pannier 9681 continues with the clearing of scale, muck and rust off the frames. The big news is ‘that the cylinder block is nearly ready to come out’ with just five bolts remaining in the frames holding the block in place.

The wheel sets have returned from the South Devon Railway where the tyres were re-profiled and the axle journals and thrust faces were turned and polished. Also arrived back from the SDR are two new bunker corner pressings.