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Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri
Welsh Highland Railway Society

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The Project:

The K1 group are responsible for the general upkeep of the locomotive. They look after winter maintenance and any improvements to its operation.

Archived K1 Working Party Reports

July 28th & 29th 2012 K1 Working Party Report. - John Startin

Thanks to John, Martin, Nobby and new volunteer Rob Bushill for their work and company. Thanks to Andy and Tony we had K1 ready over the pit for the weekend.

Solving the steam leaks at the rear of the engine was the main preoccupation. We did though check the blast and pendulum pie clearances with a torch from below confirming a big gap. Is the stainless steel of the blast pipe casing too hard for the material of the pendulum pipe? A consideration when this is attended too.The completed ball joint assembly (Photo John Startin)

The completed ball joint assembly, just awaiting three springs, was returned to site. The J pipe was offered up and fits very nicely, as per the photo on the right. The screws for the J pipe are metric as stainless types are not available easily in BSW. The screws holding the clamp are also stainless requiring an 8 mm Allen key.

The first item taken down was the main steam pipe from the Return Bend to the Y Pipe. We tried this without releasing any other bolts to see how tight it was against the frame. We were able to drop this down without force showing that its length is not far out. The bolts securing the HP steam pipes were checked for tightness and to see if this allowed any movement of the pipes once the Y Pipe was removed. No movement found though the bolts were not properly tight. (The flanges show marks indicating that the bolt faces are not true and this will prevent proper tightening.) The HP pipes were then taken down for examination. The corresponding cylinder faces were found to be in good order and to drawing with graphite cord used as the gasket medium. The spigots of the HP pipes though give concern. They are short on depth (recess) and are of differing inner and outer diameters and not good fits in the cylinders. The flanges have cracks in the brazing to the pipes, as per the photo below. The front faces of the tongues however did subsequently clean up. The use of copper ring gaskets will be used here and perhaps the only answer and deciding how such a ring shall be shaped I shall look for some suitable copper to make the rings required.

Cracked flange brazingIn removing the pipes the gaskets were recovered to estimate their compressed thickness. The use of copper rings of sufficient thickness to absorb the error in the tongue height has a knock on effect to the Y pipe and thus to the steam pipe. I have worked this out from the measurements taken but need the conclusion of my discussions with James Walkers for the choice of gasket material. Some work has been done to prepare the flanges faces but this is far from complete. On the last occasion this was never properly finished and that was not appreciated when others carried on with the re-assembly.

This is the third occasion at which these joints have given trouble. I think it is imperative for the future of the engine, the reputation of the Railway and the K1 Group that this is right this time. 

The return bend from the ball joint to the main steam pipe is not to drawing. The drawing shows the frame stretcher though which it passes at 9/16” and the flange face protruding to the front by an eighth of an inch. This is not so. This affects the main steam pipe in that the gasket at this point is difficult to insert uncompressed into the gap. The flange face needs to be relieved by a sixteenth or so to leave a circular flange face of diameter to match the return bend. With the return bend not fully secured to the stretcher and before the ball join housing is fitted it will then be possible to slide the gasket in place. The gasket will need to be square to include the fixing holes to ensure correct location. We should though prefer proper expansion provision to be added as per the NGG16 trombone type joint. Discussions with Andy Shaw suggested a simpler smaller version might be made using ‘Clupit’ type rings.

We added some pipe to the run to feed steam to the turbo-generator but could not get far as there were no fittings available on site. We need two railroad joints to replace the ones previously supplied at the wrong size and a reducer to enter the generator, which must be from the side and not from above. A control valve is needed too.

April 21st/22nd K1 Working Party Report..

The usual two of the team were on site, John Startin and Nobby Clark, Nobby having travelled over in the early Saturday morning from Cambridge.

K1 has a huge following once again illustrated at this Working Party.  An American from New Jersey came to see K1, preferably in steam.  He has been all over the world including the Dundas Tramway in Tasmania and has a strong interest in the Garratt locomotive type not adopted in the States.  We did all that was possible by way of a tour of the engine.

With K1 in the back of the carriage shed we set about the two chosen objectives,  the floor and the steam feed route for the generator.

With the centre section of the floor already completed we repaired the existing battens, an additional batten added across the front, and two more behind the rising sections to stop them moving outwards. The reinstated Cab floor battens. (Photo John Startin)The existing front batten was replaced such that it reaches the rising sections to reduce the gaps through which coal dust can travel.  This was shortened for the oil firing controls. The extra batten at the front is because the main floor section is shorter to allow the fire box door to be removed without having to lift the whole floor.  The edge at the back head would benefit from some angle iron flush horizontally with an up stand that allows spilt coal and dust to be shovelled up without it going down onto the frame below. There is a copper pipe here that is badly crushed and requires replacement.  Some considerable contortions were needed for some of the fixings as we were not over a pit. The threads below were “painted” to prevent nuts from coming off.  The battens behind the risers make a huge difference to the stability of the whole floor.

The new steam pipe for the generator (Photo: Nobby Clark)Ahead of replacing the floor, previous working parties had expended much effort in removing the redundant injector drains both to tidy up and because the left hand (fireman's) side is to provide a route for the generator steam supply.  Previous trials with pipe and elbows showed the steam sander pipe to be in the way.  This pipe has been adapted but time did not permit a proper job though the connection remains and will take little to finish. That done the steam pipe sections and elbows were offered up to prove the route and the assembly of same. Three sections of pipe remain loosely in place. From the front of the fire box the pipe must go across the engine angled downwards before turning parallel to the frame and cross member to go forward to connect to the side entry on top of the generator.  A railroad joint is needed here as there will have to be in the vertical section in the cab to reach the control valve.  A reducer will be needed at the entry to the generator.  This then showed no further changes were required to the floor before it was put back into position. The floor will be prevented from moving back and forth by the section to be fixed just behind the back head.

We have sent three sets of suggestions to the Railway Workshops for machining the pivot brass casting that has replaced the Delrin liner.  The original base has tell-tale marks as to where the lubrication grooves are in the base and on the spigot.   It also shows a distinct lack of lubrication.

The Delrin Liner Side (Photo: Nobby Clark)The Delrin Liner Base (Photo: Nobby Clark)

At the time of writing the next two working parties in May & June may not go ahead as John is not available for both, and Nobby not in June.  We will advise via this website of any changes.

March 19/20th K1 Working Party Report.

John Startin writes.   My thanks to Nobby Clark for his help and company.  Nobby is a stalwart volunteer traveling over from Cambridge regularly since 2000 to work on K1 as well as volunteering with the East Anglia Group.  With just the two of us a great deal was not going to be accomplished.  We did have another look at the generator steam pipe run which will have an awkward run to reach the supply point.  This must be done ahead of fixing the cab floor battens and further work on the floor.  We had been specifically asked by Tony to trial fit the new ball joint and our attention was applied largely to that alone.

The ball joint assembly was waiting for us at Dinas!   K1's new ball joint fitted into plese (Photo: Nobby Clark)It looks very good so far but work remains to be done particularly the length of the pipe to the J pipe and the flange to the Return (U) Bend.  Therefore we set about removing the existing joint and the J pipe.  These are complex and awkward to put up and take down requiring it all to be loosened off before any part can be released.  The old ball joint was taken down revealing yet another steam leak behind the flange face.  We noted quite a number of fixings that were not really tight particularly those in awkward places.  The new joint does relieve this a little.  The use of sockets is essential here along with a torque wrench.  From what we found the gasket arrangements here have not been properly understood.  The J pipe will have to be disconnected to lift the engine when the rear pivot requires attention.  The main steam pipe remains a concern.  Looking at the NGG16s they all have the Y pipe fixed to a chassis cross member with short steam pipes to the cylinders.  The main steam entry pipes to the Y pipe all have an expansion/position provision.  Expansion for the front engine on K1 is provided by the receiver pipe but there is none for the hind engine.  The main steam pipe from the regulator by virtue of its route and length is readily displaced to absorb some of the forces.  The steam pipe on from the return bend to the Y pipe has no such accommodation.  The length of this pipe requires confirming once the pipes into the cylinders have been properly seated.  

Further evidence for concern over these is that the flanges securing the pipe to the cylinders are splitting the weld to the pipe on both sides. (Andy Shaw spotted this while having a look at the Ball Joint.)  These pipes have to come down anyway making the repair a simple matter.  With the parts removed the new casing was positioned to explore its fit and to identify problems that might arise.  Our attention then turned to the problem of securing the ball pipe to the J pipe.  The existing arrangement might just have fitted but it does not.  The use of four springs instead of three would have eliminated this but meant the cover would then not be the same and the springs too would be different from the later engines.  I considered that the commonality of parts was more important.  The three stud arrangement is easier for maintenance as the access to the springs is easier, they can be removed in situ, the top two cannot as it is.  The clamps used have remained the same from K1 right through to the NGG16s.  The pipe is much shorter on K1 hence the problem.  Nobby and I considered several ideas before finding a suitable one and had the spring studs been right required only that they be shortened and castellated nuts be used to secure them.    A different design of flange coupling has been devised to be drawn up to be made.  Various gasket material has to be researched for refitting of the pipes, etc.  And the 'Y' pipes and others have to be removed before the main re-assembly with new gaskets. 

January 21/22nd 2012 K1 Working Party Report. 

The upper pivot separated and lifted out of the lower bearing mounted on the front engine unit. (John Startin)

John Startin reports: The weekend’s work objective was to remove the pivot base, assess the repair required and fit a temporary pivot base, without dismantling a lot of the motion, etc, so that K1 could be moved around or from the running shed without hindering other loco’ work. Access to lift the engine under the ends of the cross member required the expansion links to be disconnected and laid back out of the way. The reversing rod required releasing and to do this the hind expansion links were blocked up, balancing the weight of the front gear. This was done without the need to move the power unit out from under the frames. After lunch on the Saturday the lift was made. The pivot bolts which are “fitted”, had to be driven out and considerable careful leverage applied to the base as it has lugs around the cross member. The temporary pivot base was then offered up and once shown to fit,Lifting the pivot base off the engine unit. (John Startin) greased and bolted in place. The engine was lowered requiring the minimum of re-positioning to engage. The bulk of the disconnected pipes and linkages were put back to allow the engine to be moved. There is some historic wear on the upper pivot from K1’s working life in Tasmania, but by repairing the liner now this should not be an issue. The rear pivot will require similar attention in the future. 

Sunday was spent cleaning up the nuts and bolts ready for re-assembly, looking at steam leaks and the pivot on the NGG16 for comparison. The Delrin liner in K1’s pivot base had to be cut in situ to release it. It is in two parts - most of the base as one, and the edge and sides as a second piece. Lack of grease caused by the grease channels in the upper face being partly blocked as the Delrin became deformed. Compared with the NGG16 brass base liner, it is the same thickness as K1’s but the question now is how to make the base and edge by fabrication or as a casting. The edge will have to The temporary pivot greased and in place to receive the upper pivot. (John Startin)be a ready push fit to allow future removal and will need to be fixed to prevent rotation. The NGG16 pivot is a much more substantial affair with provision for adjustment. The historic nature of K1 rules such a change as a non-option. The [NGG16] brass sections lining the edge are more substantial allowing the brass to be threaded. K1’s edge liner will be some 7/32” thick and will have to be fixed the other way about with brass countersunk screws tapped into the cast base. A single mechanical feed of steam oil introduced through the centre of the casting from below should suffice to flood the whole assembly. Also the team looked for steam leaks and possible causes. What is happening at the front remains something of an enigma. The operating rod from the change valve cylinder shows no steam scouring and is not the real cause. We remain concerned about the joint, a push fit, between the change valve and the exhaust manifold above it, and the fit of the pendulum pipe within the blast pipe casing. There is a 1/16” clearance here. The drawing asks for a “rolling fit” and clarification as to what this means will be looked into. This is quite a gap through which the smoke-box vacuum might be reduced or steam might leak back below the engine. 

The high-pressure steam pipes to the cylinders have given way twice now, once on each side, so a detailed look and measurements have revealed errors. The choice of gasket material may relieve some of the problems, as on the NG15’s it is round section copper, that does not require chiseling out unlike flat section. This is difficult to fit on the Y pipe used on K1, as this requires the exhaust manifolds to be removed. The steam supply pipes have been a cause of concern right from the beginning, as the bends from the Y pipe to the cylinders have to be fitted first. The pipe from the Y pipe to the return U bend onto the ball joint has always been awkward to fit. It is tight against the frame stretcher. Careful attention to the drawing shows the assembly of the pipe, return bend and ball joint is not as it should be. The design allows the pipes and ball joint to be fitted to an auxiliary plate that is in turn retained to the rear stretcher. The auxiliary plate is too thick and the steam pipe from the Y pipe to the U bend is too long, hence a mis-alignment. The proper length for the steam pipe may The newly machined new high pressure steam ball joint and casting. (Tony Williams)only be determined once the Y pipe and connections to the cylinder are in place. This also affects the ball joint (the new one and casting is now machined at Boston Lodge, as per Tony Williams’ photo left) and its alignment with the main steam pipe and that too has been noted as incorrect. Other joints are being assessed. 

As well as John the other team members were, Nobby Clark & Martin Page with Andy & Tesni assisting during the lifts.

For the rescheduled working party on April 21st/22nd, the route for the steam supply to the generator was examined. Two steam pipes for the sanding and steam brakes run inside the frame and these have been repositioned upwards at a joint to give the supply pipe a straighter run. One of these pipes has an extra section inside the cab now not required with the removal of the oil firing. Repositioning of these pipes will tidy up inside the cab and perhaps allow a much simpler run from the generator supply. And the new cab floor may well get fitted up with battens, etc.

K1 at Rhyd Ddu on the 21st August 2011 (Photo S.Melhiush)Autumn 2011 Working Parties Report

 Working parties on K1 this Autumn have been tackling jobs that hopefully will remedy reliability issues that have prevented the locomotive being used on shorter service trains.

A problem has arisen with the front engine unit pivot and it was planned on Nov 19/20th to lift the main frame so that the pivot bearing could be reached and removed and replaced temporarily with an ambulance Front tank removal during the November working party (Photo: Andy Rutter)pivot made out of a steel frame and wood core bearing so that K1 could be moved slowly within the running shed area. With access difficult within the confines of the engine frames it was decided to remove the front tank, which is not a huge task in itself as the fixings and water connection are quite quickly released. And as can be seen from the photo, the tank can be slung off by a large fork lift with the appropriate slings.

Close up of the errant front engine pivot, the inner liner can just be seen, the engine unit bearing (top) is riding too high. (Photo: Andy Rutter)The close up of the bearing shows the inner liner suffering from distortion and it will have to be replaced with a new brass bearing liner, assuming there are no other problems. The casting itself looks o.k, The new centre section of cab floor in place, but not yet fixed, to assess if any more remedial work is needed on the remaining timbers. (Photo: Andy Rutter)so hopefully that will cure the clanking and some of the oscillation from the front engine unit. Work will proceed on removing this casting now access is better. The centre section of cab floor has been made, and offered-up into position to assess the remainder of the timber that will be re-used. Extra battens will support the new floor that is tied together to prevent coal dust building up on the steel footplate beneath, and drifting down over the lubrication pipes beneath. The original centre section had been altered over the years with oil firing equipment removed and alterations to the injector drains creating a battered section of woodwork. A steel plate will be placed in front of the fire hole door to run crossways to help with protecting that area of wood.With the front tank removed Martin Page is seen steam cleaning the innards. (Photo: Andy Rutter)

The previous working party in October prepared K1's boiler for inspection and wash down, removed and measured the flooring. Also the team of John, Nobby, Martin and Andy did preparatory work with the new ball joint castings, and investigated the reported steam leak areas for visual signs. We were helped by Andy Williamson and Andie Shaw with shunting and lifting, etc.

Working Party reports for Feb 5/6th & Mar 5/6th 2011

A considerable effort has been achieved resetting the valve timing on K1 with an excellent improvement in performance. Thanks are due to Llyr ap Iolo for his work on this.  Following on from K1's first few days of service in 2011, the team have tackled lubrication issues, both greasing and oiling motion parts, assessing pipes for chafing, and replacing trimmings.  The axleboxes flexible pipes were cleaned and inspected with notes for replacements made.  Some tidying of cab fittings, including a replacement soft cover for the fireman's seat, and assessing the wooden cab floor for partial replacement and repair.  The redundant fireman's side injector drain piper was removed so that a steam pipe can be run to the turbo generator.  Work continues on these electrics and tests have been made with led's (light emitting diodes) for cab and water gauge illumination.  We know now the type of illumination to use, but we have to encompass those led's used on the water gauges in heat resistant shrouds with heat resistant wiring.New illuminated gauge glass in K1's cab (Photo: Andy Rutter)

K1's new rear lamp temporarally fixed in place. (Photo: Andy Rutter) While the rear bunker is being left as it is, the reproduction Acetylene lamp will not be fitted so an SAR style lamp has been made to fit the coal rails quite neatly.  This has been offered up nearly finished, as seen in the accompanying image, as is the lit up gauge glass with led's.  Further work will continue on the lighting project away from the locomotive.  

The next regular working parties will be held in 2012, to be advised, and the regular K1 AGM will take place on the same weekend as the WHRS AGM, a flyer and e-notice will be sent later in the year.

K1 working party in the cariage shed at DinasK1 working party report from March 6th & 7th 2010.

We had a team of 5 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday working on K1 in the carriage shed at Dinas, all in glorious sunny weather.

Work continued on the motion parts, general refurbishment of cab fittings such as the seats, and checking underneath the locomotive for lubrication and steam leaks.

Working on K1's motion Progress was also made on how a rear lamp could be fitted.

K1 is now in service after again after much work by the volunteers and workshop staff throughout the Spring and early Summer of this year. Refurbishing the interior of the cab, such as a new fireman's seat cushion, handbrake gaiter, leather window straps, etc, have been fitted. A new stainless steel blast-pipe has been fabricated and fitted, the boiler pressure has been reduced to 190 psi, pipe-work and motion dealt with. This is quite a long list but more details are in the K1 2010 Summer Newsletter published for members. If you would like to be kept informed of K1's progress then why not joing the K1 group. Details on the membership page.

K1 working party report for Feb 13/14th 2010.

They had a productive weekend, ( 7 members on Saturday, 6 on Sunday) and completed the following jobs:-

K1's firebars after a year on the Beddgelert to Rhyd Ddu climb!  Matthew Wilding The firebars were removed and the ashpan was cleaned, but the team couldn't move the dropping grate bars as these seem to be quite warped.

Most boiler tubes were rodded through, apart from the two on the right hand side at the bottom, that defied getting the brush in a couple of feet in the first tube and about half way for the second tube. At least a dozen tubes were blocked, mainly behind the blast pipe.

The team removed, cleaned and refitted all 4 sanding pipes and nozzles. They found that the fireman's side rear pipe and nozzle was not standard and is missing a locating spigot in the flange which might be causing a sand trap.
Front drivers side stone guard refitted & the fireman's cab handrail tightened.
The low pressure engine crosshead and the connecting rod, union link and other motion parts were removed. But the other associated motion parts were put back so K1 can be moved.

White metal loss on bearing  Matthew Wilding The coupling rod appears to be pressing on the back of the big end bearing and there is evidence of white metal wearing away. Further work required on this.

The two low pressure engine snifting valves were removed and lapped in. One gasket had clearly blown out, and so these require remaking at or before the next working party.

They also investigated the low pressure right hand side coupling rod little end bush which appears to be loose. A more detailed report on this will follow. Cab gauges were fitted up but not connected.

The big end and crosshead oil pots were removed to be used as patterns for replacements.

Early 2010
2010 did not get off to a good start with the working parties as the first one in January was canceled due to the bad weather that swept the UK at that time. The next one was therefore held on February 13th & 14th.

Note: More details about earlier work on the locomotive are to be found on the WHR Project's K1 pages.

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All content webmasters or as indicated - This page updated 18th November 2013 by Laurence Armstrong