9351 blog

News and images about the restoration of 9351

9351 resting at Minehead after delivery ready to enter service after some more loaded test runs.

Ryan and Liam Pope with 9351 as they wait in Williton station to collect the token for the light engine return trip to Minehead, with driver Colin Henderson and fireman Liam Pope.


Regulator rod with handle removed to allow additional gland packing to be added behind the oval flange to cure the leak shown below flange

9351 being weighed on equipment provided by the South Devon Railway. This allows the whole engine to be “floated” on hydraulic load cells that are bearing on the rail head and lifting the wheels clear of the rail head (just). At this point reading the pressure gauges on pump units provides a pressure reading that as the bore of the load cells is known, the weight of each wheel on the rail head can be calculated. Thus the engine can be weighed, the spring bolts adjusted balance the weight across the locomotive on each axle as well as bringing axle loads for each wheel set to the required weight front to back.

Application of clear coat prior to delivery

Fire well alight over the grate, to bring 9351 to test pressure. Welsh steam coal giving a clean, bright smokeless fire.

Pressure climbing to the red line to provide steam for the boiler inspector’s safety valve accumulation test which checks that the safety valves lift at the correct pressure and will discharge excess steam effectively.

Ryan Pope adjusts the piston rod gland while his brother Liam takes a break from tending the fire prior to the initial test runs.

9351 waiting in Williton south yard for another short run inside station limits to check that everything is correct.

9351 running onto Williton down platform as part of the early proving tests.

Inspector Henderson checking all is shipshape with the valves and motion approaching Williton down platform during the station limits test run.


What comes next?
The next part of the testing program will be weighting the locomotive and tender to set the springs to provide correct loadings on all wheels.
Then some light engine runs Williton to Crowcombe and return will be undertaken between the service trains to prove the bearings, valves and lubrication are all doing what is expected. The firebox and tubes will be kept under close observation for any emerging leaks or fizzes.
Once 9351 has had a couple of days running with no issues, the brick arch will be installed and some further loaded ECS test runs will be conducted. Then if all is well, 9351 will be handed over to the Minehead loco and be back into front line service as part of the WSR home fleet, just in time for the peak summer season.

Outside in ex-showroom condition, awaiting the first steaming of 9351’s 2nd decade of preservation operation. WSR Inspector Colin Henderson has checked the boiler for plugs and fittings being all present and correct plus the oil boxes and pots have the correct trimmings in place.

Tender for 9351 on jacks, the old wheel sets have been removed. The underside of the tank has received patches. The main draw bar clevis with new pin and very large nut can be seen on the set of steps.

Tender wheel sets with axle boxes being prepared to be run under
the jacked up tender.

Tender being lowered onto the axle boxes.

WSR fireman Liam Pope has the honour of lighting the first fire.

The first fire takes hold.

Smoke from the chimney.

9351 with express headlamp code displayed.

9531’s completed front end, new chimney casting now with copper cap, old chimney casting in foreground acting as a donations box. The BR style cast smoke box door number plate provide a clue as to the finial livery 9351 will carry for the next 10 years.

An overview of 9351 ready to receive visitors over the 40th Anniversary celebrations weekend with viewing platform strapped to the rear of the locomotive, note the tender behind.
The boiler cladding is now with a flattened gloss coat to provide depth of colour when the final gloss coat is applied. Copper injector feed pipes to be fitted to the top feed/safety valve casting, then the covers can be fitted to allow for the final gloss coat to be applied. Brass bonnet under repair. Expansion link assembly on the bench to the rear of the locomotive to show visitors this normally hidden key item of steam locomotive engineering.

9351’s current tender being prepared to receive the overhauled wheel sets “donated” from the WSR plc spare tender chassis that was moved to Williton in January. The tender wheel sets on 9351 were at the end of their service life hence being swapped with those from the WSR plc spare tender. Tender brake rigging and pipework on floor as part of the preparation to lift the tender off it wheel sets.

Another view of the new tender wheel sets that are part of the final push to complete 9351. The collared ends to the axle journals are shown, as well as the large root radii where the journal meets the wheel. This arrangement reduces the stress raising aspect of the change in section of the axle but allowing the replaceable bearing bronzes (white metalled) to provide side control on the wheel sets via the axle box castings when installed in the frame.

9351’s footplate, new hardwood floor now fitted with just the boiler pressure gauge to fit. The displacement lubricator (bronze casting behind regulator handle) shown clearly. Sanding controls are below the reverser handle. Fire-hole “flap” and chain to flick it open or closed shown. With the tender attached, this wide view would not be so easy to obtain.

9351 is a vacuum braked locomotive. Shown here is the large vacuum brake cylinder located under the cab floor, together with the operating arm, cross shaft and the adjustable linkage that connects to the brake beams.

Fitting of Cab controls and pipe work almost complete, The Regulator handle and linkage to the ‘W’ valve below yet to be fitted. The W valve below the regulator boss controls the supply of “Atomised” oil from the displacement lubricator to the main steam pipes and regulator in the smokebox.

Firehole door, flap and lower backhead cladding showing the revised cladding arrangement due to the bottom washout plugs being relocated during the boiler overhaul.
Wooden cab floor to be made and fitted.

Tender drag box after cleaning with a needle gun prior to repainting. Tender intermediate buffers shown.

The piston rod glands are lubricated with “swabs” held in these castings located on the stuffing box covers. These castings are new as the original ones have still to be discovered at Minehead after being put into storage when 9351 was dismantled some 5 years ago.

Fireman’s side (left hand) cylinder/piston rod/crosshead complete after bump test. Just awaiting fitting of the connecting rod.

Liam Pope applying gloss top coat to cab side sheets in reflective mood!

Finishing touches of Red gloss being applied to the buffer beam.

A fine example of the ingenuity required to machine some locomotive components on normal machine tools when in the past the railway works had bespoke machines for this type of work. Seen here is the crosshead being set up for machining the white-metalled sliding surfaces that run on the slide bars so that they are square and true to the attached piston rod. The whole crosshead/piston rod assembly then has to be turned over to machine the other sliding face to complete. All heavy work.

Expansion links for the Stephenson’s valve gear fitted with the new die blocks and side plates complete ready side plates to be riveted on, then painting and installation.

Front end view, hand rails fitted with new cast smoke box number plate fitted – 4561 plate used for bolt trial fitting while correct 9351 plate is awaited.

An unusual view of the locomotive end of the tender that will run with 9351 when initially out shopped, not normally seen when in service and close-coupled to locomotive. The intermediate buffers are shown, their job is to keep the engine/tender coupling tight to reduce “surging” when the locomotive is pulling hard.The “modern” GWR tenders were interchangeable to a degree thus tender swaps are possible.

This tender needs more work before it’s ready to run.


Cylinder looking down the bore to the piston head. As everything is newly machined, everything has been coated with cylinder oil to help bed everything in.





New blower ring ready to fit on the bottom of the new chimney. The small holes are for the blower used to control the draw on the fire. The larger hole are for the exhaust steam from the vacuum ejector.




An unusual view of the smoke box arrangement before the chimney, blower ring and chimney bell is fitted. This shows the complete regulator to cylinder steam pipe layout with the pipe work into and out of the super heater header. Also in view is the regulator valve and the end of the regulator rod as the cover plate has yet to be installed.



The next three photos show the almost complete drivers side motion with connecting rod being set up to carry out the bump test. This is to check how much clearance there is at each end of the stroke between the piston head face and the covers. The slide bars are marked with a centre punch at each end the cross head travel, the connection rod is then taken down and the extra travel of the cross head past the centre dot shows the clearance at each end. Adjustments can then be made.





















Cab fittings almost complete, copper pipe work is annealed prior to fitting  to reduce the possibility of cracking in the future, then polished.





Brake adjustment turnbuckles, 4 new lock nuts have been made, 2 off with a left hand thread and 2 off with a normal right hand thread. These lock the turnbuckle and hold a captive sliding key in place. All part of the railway belt and braces approach to engineering design.




The new iron chimney casting, fresh from the foundry, awaiting machining for the mounting bolts and the attachment holes for the blower ring.The recess for the fitment of the spun copper chimney cap is shown.

Drivers side of loco showing the reach rod fitted as well as the covers on the side of the smoke box that cover the oil feed fittings to the steam pipe in the smokebox and the regulator valve (also in the smokebox)

Crosshead being trial fitted to check alignment and fit prior to painting plus the fitting of the felt pads that spread the oil across the flat surfaces.
The drive arm to the vacuum (air) pump will be fitted to this crosshead on the rear face.

Boiler barrel and firebox fully clad ready for Injector delivery pipes to be fitted.
Front cylinder cover removed to allow piston and piston rod to be trial fitted.

Boiler back head cladding plates fitted (an oversized jigsaw of separate pieces that can be removed without taking the boiler fittings off to allow access to boiler stays) Boiler fitting being trial fitted. The Hydrostatic lubricator for oil to the cylinders is lying on the footplate.

Die block that drives the piston valve rod runs in the curved expansion link is being set up for machining an oil reservoir in the top.

Once the reservoir has been machined out, it will be closed off with a cover plate that is pressed in as sample alongside

Overview of reassembly work. Outside steam pipes to cylinders shown without cladding. The bolted joints are evident. Also in view is the safety valve/top feed casting on the top of the boiler barrel, feed pipes to be installed, normally this is hidden under the brass bonnet.

Crossheads have been fitted to piston rods, crossheads now being cleaned for painting then they will be split from rods again until piston/rod assembly is in the cylinder bore with the rod passing through the rear cylinder cover. Then the cross head is attached to the piston rod with a tapered key pulling the tapers on the piston rod and crosshead together.

Pipe work for the injector. Pipe work on every engine will be different. Curves in the pipe work allow for expansion as they heat up in use.

The boiler feed delivery pipes that curve around the side of the boiler barrel and connect to the safety valve and clack valve casting on the top of the boiler, normally covered by the brass bonnet.

Eccentric rods and the lifting link for the Stephenson’s valve gear awaiting fitting.

New Bronze Die block being machined for fitting into the valve gear expansion link. Ultimately it will be machined with a pair of curved faces to fit the curve of the expansion link.






Boiler cladding sheets in position to be fasten onto the crinoline framing and then held in place by screws and the boiler bands yet to be added.

In the dark interior of the smoke box, the Super heater header casting has been mounted with the super heater flues fitted and the steam pipes to the cylinders installed.
The fitting on the right hand pipe is the inlet for the steam oil feed to lubricate the piston valve and cylinder.
The regulator body casting plus the steam pipes between it and the super heater header are yet to be fitted.