At the Statfold Barn Railway's workshops, work has got underway overhauling the late Adrian Shooter's 1889-built Darjeeling No. 19.
Its new owners, The Darjeeling Tank Locomotive Trust, were hoping that there was no need for a new boiler, but resigned to the fact that there was a chance a new one was going to be needed at a cost of £150,000.
The boiler is 135 years old, but when boiler smith John Glaze examined the boiler, he found only routine repairs were needed and has declared it fit for another 10 years – and should assist the trust in getting '19' back in action by June.
The engineering team at Statfold dismantled 19B on the 8th and 9th January 2024 with the boiler tubes now removed.
The only non-original boiler parts are the front tube-plate, tubes, some stays, washout bosses and some patches in the firebox. Everything else is 135 years old, and the remains of the studs of the original boiler makers can still be seen when the boiler was removed.
As of early February 2024, no major work is planned during the overhaul, the usual shot-blasting and NDT testing will be carried out to check for any cracks, but boiler smith John Glaze told Mr Davey that “I'm confident we can give this boiler another 10 years.”
The DTLT has a Supporters Day planned for early April, with invitations being sent out to supporters only.
However, if you want to get your hands dirty, the DTLT are looking to bolster its volunteer team. If you are interested, please get in touch via the Darjeeling Tank Locomotive Trust website.
DTLT Chair Jeremy Davey commented. “The great fear was that we would find a catastrophic fault requiring a new boiler and this 1889 boiler could not have had a replacement barrel or inner firebox fitted as it would simply be wrong to Triggers broom it!”
Mr Davey commented, “This locomotive has patina and history in spades. What a privilege to work with and care for it.”
“Obviously there will be some work to do which should not be too expensive” said ‘Fuzz' Jordan, the Treasurer adding “We need to replace pieces of plating on the lower sides of the outer firebox where it has sat between the frames and the outside has suffered corrosion.”