At the beginning of April we took Lilian out of use for a full overhaul of her boiler – details of the first stages in the overhaul can be found here.
Following a thorough inspection by our boiler inspector, it was decided that the boiler was in remarkably good condition eight years after its last overhaul, and only required a small number of jobs before returning to service – namely the replacement of a number of stays in the firebox, which were welded in place. A new ‘mudhole’ was also cut at the bottom front of the firebox, to aid washing out the inside of the boiler. The boiler was then refitted to the chassis and subject to a hydraulic test for our boiler inspector.
One part of a steam locomotive which most people do not realise is frequently replaced is the smokebox. During the working day ash collects in the smokebox, and being corrosive the ash causes a mild steel smokebox to gradually rust away. Lilian’s smokebox had become very thin and the decision was taken to manufacture a new smokebox as part of her overhaul. The sides for the new smokebox are stainless steel, chosen in an attempt to make this smokebox last longer than the previous one, whilst the front of the smokebox is actually a sheet steel chequer plate which happened to be in stock and of a suitable size and thickness (we’re firm believers in reusing suitable materials and items we have rather than always buying new material). The door itself is ‘original’ – although even then it is a replacement fitted when Lilian was at Penryhn Quarry.
By the beginning of June – so two months after work had started – Lilian was largely back in one piece, but required a number of small jobs completing, such as reconnecting all the pipework.
An interesting final job related to her saddle tank. For many years Lilian’stank has actually been 3/8″ lower at the back than it is at the front – not that many people had noticed! When refitted the opportunity was taken to manufacture new supports which would raise the height of the tank at the rear.
Lilian reentered service in mid-June, ready for the peak summer season. Subject to some good weather she will be in regular use throughout the summer.