34010 Sidmouth - restoration
34010 Sidmouth was the tenth Light Pacific to be built, in September 1945, and ran on BR until withdrawn in March 1965 when it was moved to Barry scrap yard. There it lay until 1982 when it was bought by Mr Graeme Walton-Binns and moved to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The plan was that the NYMR would restore the loco and use it on the line, however the resources to do this proved to be unavailable. After 15 years at Grosmont it was offered to two SLL supporters, Norman Taylor and Peter Wood, though it was finally acquired by SLL and moved to Sellindge in 1997 where work commenced.
34010 Sidmouth at Woodham's scrap yard, Barry, 11th January 1981. Photo: M Garner.
Sidmouth's boiler is currently at Bridgnorth station on the Severn Valley Railway. Photo: N Thompson
Subsequently Sidmouth was leapfrogged in the restoration queue by Sir Keith Park because of the strong historic associations of this loco, which led to generous support being offered towards its restoration.
SLL concentrated its operations at Herston and Sidmouth moved there in 2006. Today the frames are at Norden, the boiler is at Bridgnorth, and many components (in various stages of restoration) are at the Herston works. Given SLL's need to overhaul its operational fleet little work was done on Sidmouth, though it had a steady band of supporters - not least in the town of Sidmouth - and attracted interest from the wider community.
In November 2015 SLL announced that it would start work on Sidmouth early in 2016, when the overhaul of 257 Squadron was completed. The project will cost ~£500,000 and take around four years; an appeal to raise funds has been launched.
During 2017 work continued in procuring components for Sidmouth including various castings which will require machining. The boiler finally moved from Bridgnorth station to the Weybourne site of North Norfolk Railway Engineering Ltd. There it will examined for metal thickness, etc, and a schedule of work prepared.
It's hoped to bring the frames into the workshop in 2019 when Eddystone's overhaul is complete, and to have as many parts ready to assemble the loco relatively quickly. However the likely cost of the boiler work and other missing components will be substantial, and the work can only proceed at a rate determined by funding of the project.
Continuing delays to the completion of 34072, and an unplanned bottom end overhaul of 80104 have slowed progress on Sidmouth. However two sets of driving wheels and those for the front bogie and rear truck have been re-tyred at Buckfastleigh and returned to Herston in January 2017. Work on collecting and repairing components has continued; notably a Bulleid chimney was located by chance and agreement was reached to repair and use it.
Two driving wheel sets needed to be re-tyred. The middle set were re-tyred but not used some years ago.
The Bulleid chimney was found beneath an overgrown shrub in a Devon garden. It is now at the workshop awaiting minor repairs and restoration.
With the delayed completion of 34072 and the need for 34028 to come into the workshop to be stripped so that its overhaul could be started, work on Sidmouth has stayed in the background. However there has been plenty going on both on and off-site. To summarise:
The frames are stored at Norden. They were shot-blasted and painted in 1999, so while they will need a clean up and repaint they are otherwise ready for use. We expect them to be moved to the workshop in 2017.
The boiler is at Bridgnorth station. It will need major repairs which we are discussing with sub-contractors.
Driving wheels Sidmouth will use the leading and trailing sets originally used by 257 Squadron. The middle set are those originally used by Sir Keith Park. (These changes are the result of Eddystone slipping its tyres some years ago). The middle set have new tyres but the leading and trailing set need new tyres and have been moved to SDR Engineering at Buckfastleigh for this work to be done during 2017.
Sidmouth came with some missing parts to its motion, notably the inside connecting rod. Some years ago a new connecting rod was ordered, along with steel blanks for new coupling rods. The connecting rod was fully machined, but the coupling rods still await machining. We are gathering missing parts from other Bulleid loco groups and from private owners, though we will probably have to remake some items.
Sidmouth's name centre connecting rod, and the steel blanks for coupling rods
The eccentric to drive the inside motion is being overhauled.
Tender We currently have four tenders suitable to run with Sidmouth, and that should suffice as it's unlikely that all five of our Bulleid locos will ever be in service simultaneously - that would be a nice problem to have. However many people would like to see a high-sided tender running with Manston or 257 Squadron and that aspiration may become reality one day.
Cylinder and valve covers - a combination of new castings and originals - are being machined and overhauled. The original crossheads and slidebars have been gathered and cleaned up.
New axle box bearings and trays are being made. Castings for the covers have been ordered. It is planned to complete the overhaul of the front bogie and rear truck relatively soon, so that the frames can be moved within the workshop if required.
We will need to build a new cab, running boards and cladding.
New buffer castings have been bought and machined. A new front hook has been machined.
New safety valves will be made in the workshop. These have been sponsored by one of our shareholders who also volunteers in the workshop.
We have all of the components for the lubricators, now awaiting assembly.
We have one clack valve casting, but need to obtain the second.
Some of the vacuum brake ejector and injector components are available; other parts must be bought or made.
We have the reverser mechanism, in need of repair. Likewise drain cocks and cylinder relief valves.
So, lots of preliminary work is being done while the huge task of assembling the loco still faces us.
Earlier restoration work
The bogie and trailing trucks were moved to Herston for overhaul. The frames were moved to Swanage and remain adjacent to the railway. During the year the tyres on Eddystone slipped while in use on the NYMR; Sidmouth's were fitted to Eddystone temporarily, and were then sent to Buckfastleigh for re-tyring. Subsequently these were used on Sir Keith Park, whose will be used on Sidmouth.
A crane was hired to do more heavy lifting, and on 17th July 1999 the frames were lifted from the wheels. The frames, boiler, front and rear trucks were grit blasted and painted.
Removal of a Valve (May 1999)
The wheels after grit blasting and painting
All remaining motion, brake and sanding gear was removed. The chassis was jacked up for the difficult task of freeing the axle boxes and the wheelsets removed. Bulleid Pacifics use steel axle boxes rather than brass or bronze; there's nothing inherently wrong with that, though after 30 years of neglect they do tend to seize in the horn-guides.
The frames ready for cleaning and painting
Sidmouth after removal of the boiler and the front bogie and rear trailing truck
The first part of any restoration is to dismantle the loco, starting with the boiler, the largest and heaviest component. A small team spent a weekend removing countless rusty nuts, bolts and other fittings that either held the boiler in place or were attached to it. A crane was used to remove the boiler, and also to lift the frames so that the bogie could be removed. The front bogie was then dismantled and the boiler tubes were removed. The boiler was needle-gunned and painted to prevent further deterioration.