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Keeping 26043 alive.....fiddly bits...



Dave the welder has run out of big bits to weld.....


We are now at the stage of where we now have lots and lots and lots of fiddly small parts that need to be sorted out, and if you watch something like car SOS this is where the time gets eaten up.....




The drivers side window getting much attention after more rot was found in the corner, the lower window frame and shelf have been replaced with metal.




Another view of the shelf, some quite complex fabrication was required to recreate this.




towards the side the shelf has to curve in correctly




Awaiting final cutting the whole area of new metal is etched primed to protect it from corrosion.




There have also been significant issues found with the door frames and at no1 end the corrosion was so bad it would have prevented proper fitment of the doors, so it has been cut away and replaced with fresh steel. The steel here is 6mm thick so it can be tapped to hold the hinge bolts for the cab doors.




Similarly on the other side the door frame was completely rotten its and the cab grab rail recess have been replaced with new steel.




below that the door threshold has been replaced and this will form part of the outer skin of the locomotive. this is prior to having the side skirt fitted.




on the other side the side skirt has been bent to shape and fitted giving an idea of how things are being achieved, towards the front original side skirt deemed suitable for re-use has been re-attached, it awaits final welding to close up the join, you cant weld too much too quickly as during welding the metal expands and distorts. the cab grabrail recess base awaits cutting and replacing.IMG-20240327-WA0009.jpg.511b7ffd105475c50ca318ce943889cb.jpg


the drivers side getting the same treatment, as you can see, if you don't protect the steel with primer...it very very quickly starts to rust.





At no2 end the cab desk refurbishment is underway we see the absolute rats nest of pipe work below the desk, the cab desk has been removed as the Formica is life expired, and needs replacing.





the Formica has been removed (it didn't take much effort) and this leaves behind the contact adhesive we can see the aluminium desk is pretty badly butchered with years of modifications evident. a solvent has been applied to "clean" the old glue off.




the desk has been re-covered with tufnol, which is similar to formica but a lot cheaper and less brittle, the only problem is, that its more susceptible to scratches, and isn't as hard wearing as Formica, the desk is being trial fitted, to determine its correct position.




the desk in its final position with the fittings attached, the instrument panel will be thoroughly cleaned, and the gauges given a good clean as well after years of dirt ingress, the gauges themselves were comprehensively overhauled, by a group member many years ago and as a result need no attention and are in perfect working order. The brass plunger behind the locomotive air brake is the brake overcharge valve, as 26s had a yellow band FV4 (valve on the left) they didn't overcharge the brake valve in the release position.




Back to the exterior....the part we have been really dreading is the front skirts...they are an extremely complicated part of the bodywork and many discussions have been had with other 26 owners on ways to fabricate these correctly.... the one problem we do have is none of us have legible original drawings....so we are going to have to compromise.


the skirt itself is a is a curve on 3 planes....and this is something a skilled panel beater could probably achieve with an incredible amount of time....on an English wheel, but the labour costs quoted would be in the region of 5 to 6k per end.


Another way of creating it would be with press, but we would need to create the tooling....which for such a limited amount of panels required wouldn't be viable.


the way you see above is actually the way BRCW created them individual sections profiled to create the curve along the base and the front to the middle.....but since we don't have the drawings...and neither do the NRM...we will have to use our gut.....and go with what we think looks right from photos....but every other 26 has the same issue....none of them are the original front skirt....they were all repaired and bodged over the years.


above we have the plates tack welded into place...to do some trial and error....fitting




after we were happy with the result....they were finally welded....






the welds ground and primed...




the process completed for the other side.....




and finally the front.....is complete.... the windows have been cut to roughly the correct shape, no doubt some work will be required when the screens go back in, there is also some remedial work needed to the "eyebrows" as well. only 15% of the steel in the whole front end of the locomotive is original steel!




the original front end.....nice paint....but its hiding a lot of issues....





the July gala approaches......time is of the essence.. and an old friend is coming back....and there's only one thing better than one 26..........










Edited by pheaton

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