I have acquired a large scale Bagnall Sipat. When I say large scale I mean 7.25 inch gauge, 4 inch to the foot scale, live steam and approximately a quarter of a ton.
20190330_155714 by 47845, on Flickr
The loco was built in 1989 to a design by MJ Engineering and serialised in Engineering in miniature. I believe this was one of the first to be completed to this design and the loco sees very little deviation from the drawings. The engine was run around the north west of England for about 10 years until 2000 when its boiler was retubed (more of this later). it was used until (officially) 2003 when its most recent boiler ticket expired, whether it has been steamed in the meantime is pure speculation as the previous owner was not around to ask. For an engine with 15 years of storage under its belt I felt it was in incredibly good condition, nothing more than a light surface rust on some of the motion, nothing was seized and it made all the right noises when being hand shunted about meaning the steam circuit was still tight.
I bought the engine with my eyes open. obviously storing a loco for so long in unknown conditions could take its toll, and there was the case of the last retube to consider. In 2000 the then owner felt it appropriate to install stainless steel tubes in place of the more standard steel or copper. The loco was inspected and passed consecutive years after this with apparently stainless steel tubes fitted even though it was always my understanding that stainless was a no-go in live steam. 'How could his club have certified it?' I wondered... 'It must be a mistake'.
Speaking to my boiler inspector we concluded that everyone would be happiest if, prior to recertification, the boiler could be examined 'naked' and out of the frames. This would also give me chance to go over all the hard to reach places and investigate the stainless tubes better. work started immediately
20190409_194710 by 47845, on Flickr
I was working in a bit of a mess since I collected the loco as the garage had been accumulating all manner of wares to do a car boot sale (the fall out from re-decorating the house), The car boot came and went on Sunday giving me opportunity to clear some sort of work space. Just need to sell the bogie coach now as it too is in the way! The locos you can see in the picture below are obviously the Sipat taking centre stage. The small 5 inch gauge yellow diesel is in fact a Maxitrack battery electric 'Planet' sat on top of its driving truck and the loco on the bench is my 7.25 gauge Jessie which is awaiting its new owner coming to collect it. As you can see the boiler has now parted company with the frames. the steam raising blower can bee seen on top of the chimney also.
20190415_080017 by 47845, on Flickr
The chassis has been cleaned a bit to get some of the 15 year old oil off. the brightwork will be cleaned up next and any paint touching up will happen soon so I can re-oil and protect everything on the bottom end. So far no shockers, everything adds up to show a very well made engine in the first place.
20190415_080029 by 47845, on Flickr
The boiler took a little more persuasion to get off. The inside is a bit nasty but that was to be expected. I have cycled some descaler through the boiler a couple of times to break up some of the crap and flushed it clear. on Saturday I took it to the local garage to pressure wash it from every angle and in every opening. It now runs clear. I have my concerns about the inner firebox but I am having it ultrasonically tested for plate thickness on Sunday. This will determine its fate as to whether a new one is required or not.
20190415_080034 by 47845, on Flickr
Back to the saga of the tubes, it turns out they re in fact stainless. I have heard conflicting reports about their suitability ranging from 'they are fine, leave them be' to 'take them out it is illegal' and most things in between. I will not be making any rash decisions until the thickness test is complete but currently the options are:
Thickness test fails - new boiler required
Thickness test fails on firebox - possibly new firebox or boiler
Thickness test passes - replace tubes for steel or copper
Thickness test passes - test code rewritten and stainless tubes are accepted!
20190412_131432 by 47845, on Flickr
Its a seemingly long wait until Sunday now!