The locomotive is at repair company Leaky Finders' premises in Brixham in Devon. With the loco now fully dismantled, work is proceeding on the boiler, frames and tender.
Work has been focusing on the boiler, with good progress made. Workers have gutted the boiler, cleaned both inside and outside, and carried out a full non-destructive testing (NDT) analysis. Bluebell Railway Plc, Bluebell's boiler inspector and Leaky Finders agreed the full scope of repairs to the boiler on 19 October. Work is continuing, including rolling the boiler and beginning to cut out the life-expired platework on the outer firebox wrapper.
Workers have also fully dismantled 541's frames, removing components including the wheelsets, which have travelled to South Devon Railway Engineering (SDRE) for ultrasonic testing of the axles and tyre measurements. Equipped with the results of the tests and measurements, engineers will then decide whether they need to fit new tyres or whether the existing tyres can undergo one more turning.
The Bluebell Railway had been storing 541's tender behind locomotive 31618, creating the impression of a U class with two tenders, looking like the Flying Scotsman in its two-tender days. The railway has now moved the tender into its maintenance shed at Sheffield Park. At the time of Bluebell's update, work was about to start to free up the tender tank, dismantle the brake gear, remove the wheelsets and examine the condition of the dragboxes.
Bluebell is asking for donations to fund the overhaul, declaring that THE Q NEEDS YOU!
The Maunsell Locomotive Society has agreed to try to raise forty thousand pounds towards the cost of overhauling the tender and providing a new tender tank.
The Bluebell Railway sees the Q Class, which was Richard Maunsell's last locomotive design, as an ideal sized and economical loco for its operations. It suits the Railway's ‘Southern' image, and actually operated in the vicinity.
You can donate towards the appeal online, by clicking the DONATE button on the Bluebell website and following payment instructions: select Q Class 541 Overhaul in the drop-down box'
The appeal has already raised over £26,000 in place towards the £40,000 target, and the Bluebell Railway has offered a very warm ‘thank you' to all who have contributed so far.