Sunday, 20 June 2010

New locomotive Bevan roaring ahead

Bevan really is coming on well
Progress on Bevan seems to be moving along quite rapidly, and it's interesting to see just how far things have come on in the last six weeks. Once completed and operational, a lot of interesting things are hidden from general view so it's great to be able to get a look at what is underneath.

In common with Bressingham's three other narrow gauge trains, one of the braking systems (there are several on each train) on Bevan is driven by compressed air. Underneath the tender and hidden from view is a compressor and air tanks. The compressor sits on a special bogie and is driven by the wheels via a chain and belts. As the train moves forward, the compressor maintains pressure in the air tanks. This is distributed to each carriage which has its own braking system, under control of the guard. For normal running a certain pressure is required to hold off the brakes. This fail-safe measure means that if pressure is lost because of a fault for example, the brakes are automatically applied. One of the first tasks of the day when coupling the carriages is to ensure that there is sufficient pressure in the system, and if not, then charging the tanks via a compressed air line, otherwise the carriages will not move.

Compressor and pipework

Compressor with driving chain visible

Although Bevan was donated as a boiler, axles, chassis and various bits, a lot of parts such as the regulator handle, linkages, pipework and valves have all been fabricated in Bressingham's workshops.

Regulator (in red), pipework and pressure gauge

Body for the tender

The tender body is very nearly finished, and this will sit on the tender wagon hiding the compressor and associated gear. Sadly I suspect that it won't take very long for its gleaming paintwork to be covered in dirt and dust from the coal, but at least it will give the drivers a sense of pride when it's been polished first thing in the morning.

Left hand saddle tank completed
and fitted
The saddle tanks that Brian was painting last time have been completed and fitted either side of the boiler, along with the driver's cab.

I am desperately hoping that I can be there when Bevan has its first run out following completion. Watch this space!

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