After what seems forever we are back!!! On Wednesday morning I received a text from our project leader saying that Alrington had given us a couple of crane operators for the afternoon. Yes the day of the big lift has arrived.
When I arrived just after 12 the locomotive had already been pushed under the crane and the cab and regulator valve had been removed. We are working on her in the former boiler shop on tracks that Mid Hants Permanent Way gang put down so she needed to move 100 yards forward to get under the cranes. We had been preparing for this day for months so she was ready to move and despite not moving for 2 years she rolled gracefully forward being pushed by a large forklift truck.
My first job of the day (after making the tea of course) was a bit of track repair as when we moved CanPac forward it became obvious we would need to smooth it out a bit for the return trip. A quick bit of moving around some sleepers and drilling a few pins in gave us a nice smooth track once again. We also took the opportunity to give the bay a good clean as the amount of dust, ash, sand and rust that had come off the beast was impressive. Then it was time for the big lift – the boiler.
With a bit of a bang and a good amount of dust in the air the boiler lifted clear of the frames. We had a bit of trouble with some of the cladding brackets which we couldn’t remove with the boiler in place but they were quickly tided back and out of the way. My job during this time was simply getting the wood and the sleepers to go on the wagon ready, which the boiler was going to rest on. I got to admit it was quite a sight to see this huge boiler swing over your head. Getting the boiler off was the easy bit, getting it balanced on the wagon was a challenge which involved an array of different pieces of wood, lots of giggling and in the end a lot of patience.
The fourth and final lift of the day was the middle ash pan which still has the scars from the pipe explosion a few years ago. Whilst the ash pan was being lowered on the wagon I was back on the frames roping back all the cladding brackets which were in the way. Time for a couple more photos:
The boiler swinging over onto the wagon
Someones stole our boiler!
Something tells me if this fell on me my hardhat wouldnt of done much.
My attempt at a more arty shot
Not a bad days work.
Due to the popularity of the volunteer diaries it was decided to do a series of posts looking at the history of the locomotive from her construction as a spam can, rebuilding under British Railways and her life after withdrawal and preservation.
The Mid Hants volunteers on this project have dedicated an amazing amount of time and energy to Canadian Pacific’s stripping down, we just need to get the funding in place to get the restoration started. The quicker we get to £100,000 the quicker we can get this beast thundering up the Alps hauling passenger trains again. As I have mentioned before, the boiler work alone is expected to exceed £100,000; so anything you can give will be gratefully appreciated, no matter how small you think it might be.
Both links take you to the Mid Hants Railway Website which is where you can find out more information on how you can help. Thank you.
Don’t Forget to check out the Brookes Castle – Volunteer Diary to catch up on previous posts!
Thanks for reading.