9351 blog

News and progress updates on the final reassembling of 9351 at Williton

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.

An unusual view of the smoke box main steam pipe connected to the super heater header castings with the super heater elements attached.  The regulation housing would be fitted between the upper most flanges.

All of this is normally hidden in the smoke box and boiler flue tubes. It is assembled ready for hydraulic (water Pressure) test.

Items of note are the very convoluted main steam pipes, welded steel pipe fittings in this case however Swindon would form these from copper (somehow!)

The upper most ends have captive 3 bolt flanges and spherical olives that allow the joints to be accurately made against spherical seat rings on the regulator housing. The loose 3 bolt flanges have the same effect as a 3 legged stool.

The super heater header is a complex casting where “wet” steam from the boiler is kept separate from the superheated steam after passing through the super heating elements (the smaller tubes to the rear)

This is a single row, 6 element arrangement

Just waiting the chimney, regulator, main steam pipes and the superheating arrangement to be installed to complete.

Piston valves now all installed and clad. Shown here is the outer end of the valve spindle, the nut holds a replaceable ground sleeve on the valve rod on the exhaust (low pressure) side of the piston valve. There is one at both ends of the piston rod either side of the valve heads. The high pressure steam is between the 2 valve heads on the valve spindle within the piston valve assy.

The jumper ring on the blast pipe cleaned up ready for further service.
The jumper ring allows a sharp exhaust by the ring lifting under load to increasing the blast orifice but as the exhaust rate decreases, the ring drops back thus reducing the blast. This is a standard GWR fitting.

New Crank pin retaining washer being fitted, It is screwed onto the crank pin and “fitted” by machining the back face off until the tapered cotter pin (not shown) screws in correctly to lock the main washer onto the crank pin.

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

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?


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