Month: February 2019

Right hand side injector with delivery pipe (black) and overflow pipe installed

Left Hand side coupling rods installed awaiting Cross Head and connection rod to be fitted

Right Hand side coupling rods installed, connecting big end brass on middle crank pin to establish fit of Top hat washer that retains rods on the middle crank pin. The front crank pin shows special coupling rod retaining washer with recessed drive, the forerunner of a Hexagon socket drive. This is required on the leading crank pins due to restricted clearance behind the crosshead, yet to be installed

Valve gear connecting link on Left Hand side between the rocking arm (on left) the transmits the valve gear motion from inside the frame to outside the frames to the valve spindle (on right). The special castellated nuts (also called castle nuts) allow a split pin to lock the nut once tightened . These GWR special nuts have 4 slots unlike the normal propriety castle nuts that have 3 slots. Thus the GWR nut can have 8 positions per revolution rather than 6 for the standard nut. Split pins yet to be fitted.

All images on today’s update are © Liam Pope  and  licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.
Any re-use of the above images must conform to the requirements of the Creative Commons Licence

In the past few weeks the West Somerset Railway Association has launched funding appeals for the final work to put GWR Mogul locomotive 9351 back in service on the West Somerset Railway (£14,000) and to cast four replacements for historic Bristol and Exeter Railway cast iron station signs for the Railway (£3,200).  In each case the appeals are within sight of the finish line.

WSRA Manager Jacquie Green said:  “Supporters have been very generous.  We now only need £4,000 plus gift aid to reach our target for loco 9351 and only a further £800 plus gift aid for the station signs.  Remember that, as the principal supporting charity for the line, for every £1 donated by a UK tax payer, under the ‘Gift Aid’ scheme, the UK government adds 25 pence.

Work on loco 9351 can be followed on the blog HERE which is updated as the work progresses. Donations can be made by visiting THIS PAGE and either clicking through to make an online donation or following the instructions for cheque donations.




Locomotive 9351 in service on the West Somerset Railway






Locomotive 9361 being worked on the WS Restoration shed at Williton







Original Bristol & Exeter sign in place at Williton.





Further comment can be obtained from:

Jacquie Green
WSRA General Manager
T: 01823 433856

Smokebox door now hung on door ring.

Internal baffle plate has been installed and riveted in as shown by bright patches on the door where the riveted areas have been ground back flush.

Left hand coupling rods installed, they have been fitted with new felt pads that wipe the journal to keep a film of oil spread across the bearing faces but ensure control of oil used


Both injectors have been inspected and cleaned up. The LHS injector is shown mounted on footstep bracket with the overflow valve fitted.  Awaiting the feed pipes (steam and water), delivery pipe and overflow pipe (shown lying on the floor) to be fitted.


Both piston rods have been reground and polished ready to install. The dull areas are the wear limit indicators, the rods are scrap once this diameter is reached.


Connecting rod little ends (fits inside the crosshead) have side thrust plates  – 4 new ones have been fitted, 2 on each rod,  these are drilled with shallow holes to aid oil retention


Right hand coupling rods installed







Chimney casting showing the part located in the smoke box. The blower/ejector ring casting and the petticoat pipe are hung off the bolting holes shown additionally some of these are missing.

The casting is very thin and  requires repair.  Cast iron can be welded however building up  to restore the original thickness is a specialist process.  The security of the blower/ejector ring casting is very important as any derangement within the smoke box could  cause a blow back on the footplate from the firebox. A quote for this repair is expected in a few days time. This additional work may require an increase of the funding appeal

Fundraising update

A combination of online and offline fundraising and donations, together with associated Gift Aid, has so far yielded just over £4,500 towards this project.  Thank you very much.  We are determined to have this locomotive running on the West Somerset Railway for the Summer season.  Can you help?

The 2019 WSRA  AGM for members is to be held on Saturday 13th April at 2:00pm at Crowcombe village hall.

Nominations for Trustee are now open and the form is available HERE

Please note that the closing date is 14th March and all completed forms must be received by that date.

The requirements for serving as a WSRA Trustee can be found in the WSRA Articles of Association and also the Trustees Code of Conduct recently agreed by the current board.

More general information is available from the Charity Governance Website


One Eccentric strap installed, lock nuts and split pins to complete, then install the adjacent strap, then ready for the eccentric rods. Photo:Josh Chivers









Preparations being made in the firebox to install the much-praised and appreciated by loco crews, Minehead-pattern drop grate. Photo:Josh Chivers

Rear Right hand coupling rod on crank pin with retaining collar fitted. Eccentric strap on the floor awaiting fitting


Front buffer beam. New shackle forgings closed onto trunions after threading through draw hook forging


Smoke box drilled for hand rails, oil feed pipes and the banjo cover


Rear Left hand coupling rod on crank pin, retaining collar not yet screwed on. 2 pairs of eccentric straps on floor awaiting fitting

Lovely surprise today – A cheque for £1000, plus gift aid, arrived in the office this morning, to be put towards reassembling 9351.


Another week’s progress…..

New coupling shackle ready to be closed onto threaded trunnion


Expansion link being finished on surface grinder


Smokebox bolted down onto saddle casting


Stay bars set up for drilling bolt holes in smokebox


Ground expansion link and finished die block side plates


Coupling rods with machined white metal bearings pressed in. Now waiting for felt pads.


Some folk have been asking about the 9351 appeal

West Somerset Restorations had originally quoted the WSR plc £14,000 for the work to get 9351 back into traffic. Given the difficult financial situation the WSR plc finds itself in this winter, there was a risk that the WSR plc would not be able to afford this work and so 9351 would not be back in traffic for the season. At their January Board meeting the WSRA Trustees decided to fund this work themselves, as it is important to strengthen the home fleet for the 2019 season and reduce the loco hire charges that were part of the WSR plc’s difficulties in 2018. The Trustees also decided to appeal for assistance with these funds as paying the whole cost from the limited WSRA central, unreserved funds will deplete the Charity’s reserves.

If you are enjoying these updates and would like to support 9351’s return to traffic, please donate via the link at the top of this post or for offline donations please follow the instructions HERE. Remember, if you are a UK tax payer and make a gift aid declaration, for every £1 you donate, the UK government adds 25p.


It is with regret that we have to announce that even with the 3 organisations working closely together we have been unable to find a way to keep 4110 on the WSR. As late as 25th January 2019 we were still in joint discussions to try to find a way to deliver this objective.

The WSR plc finds itself in a position where it needs cash immediately and its Directors have no choice but to maximise the return to the company in such a circumstance. The Directors of GWR4110 Ltd and the WSRA Trustees understand this is the reason the locomotive cannot be made available at a lower price.

The internal bid, led by GWR 4110 Ltd and supported by the WSRA (who would have taken a shareholding) worked hard in a short period of time to secure sufficient funds but in the end for a number of reasons, including the actual cash sum that might have been raised, were unable to make a competitive bid within the required and limited timescale.

We encourage WSR supporters including many loco crew and others who pledged financial assistance not so see this as a defeat. Everybody involved in the bid was greatly encouraged by the passion, commitment and enthusiasm shown. Although not obvious, it was always a moving target as other bidders were involved.

As part of the sale it has been agreed with the Paignton and Dartmouth Railway that 4110 will make a return to the West Somerset Railway to appear at a future gala at no cost to the WSR.
There is still plenty to do on the WSR before the start of the operating season, 9351 nears completion at Williton and more help is always welcome. Minehead are busy preparing other members of the locomotive fleet including 53808, and there much work to do in all areas.

Paul Orrells, Chair of GWR 4110 Ltd said “To all our friends and colleagues, on the WSR and further afield, who took the trouble to offer their encouragement and support we offer our thanks”

Jonathan Jones Pratt, Chair of WSR plc said “It was with regret that the decision had to be made to dispose of 4110 but such was done in the best interests of the overall Railway and where we stand today. The collective buy in has been tremendous and I wish to thank every one of you who have tried to help, sadly the decision had to be made as we were unable to bridge the gap between offers.”

Paul Whitehouse Chair of WSRA said “It was hugely encouraging to see so many WSR supporters come together to try to keep 4110 on the railway”


The WSRA has  received over  £13,000 in donations towards the purchase of 4110.  Any donor who would like their money refunded should advise Jacquie Green of their bank details.  Alternatively you could ask for it to be put towards the refurbishment of 9351 or 4561, which would be a great help to the whole railway.