While the main focus of the Strathspey Railway is running steam trains for the paying public, a small but dedicated group of volunteers has been restoring other items of heritage interest in spare moments between working on the loco fleet and improving locoshed infrastructure and facilities.

The current project is a Ruston Hornsby 48DS diesel shunter of 1948 which worked at Longmorn distillery until 1980 (even though Dr Beeching had closed the adjacent main line in 1967). Because it was presented to the Strathspey Railway repainted with advertisements for Queen Anne blended scotch whisky, it is known to most people as “Queen Anne”.

To find out more about our aims, follow this link or click the [About] button above.

This Blog was started over 5 years after the project began, so most of the initial blog entries are retrospective.

Tuesday 5 September 2017

Recycling of Materials

Recycling at Longmorn

Until about 1949, Ruston 48DS shunters had no doors on the side of the cab.  So driving Queen Anne in winter with a cold east wind blowing across the fields of Morayshire must have been a bit chilly.

When dismantling the cab, we noticed that a curtain rod with curtain rings had been fitted to each side of the cab.  There was however no trace of the curtain.  It looked as though this might have been a modification by the staff at Longmorn.  When the curtain rings were cleaned up on the grit blaster, they were found to be made of copper.

Recently Jim, who works for Forsyth’s (they make most of the copper stills and fittings for Scottish distilleries) caught sight of the rings and recognised what they originally were.  Apparently they are made by winding copper wire onto a former and then slitting lengthwise to produce the rings.  The rings are then linked together to form a piece of “chain mail” about 1 metre square.  This is then fitted inside the copper still and rotated to knock back any foam generated by the boiling wort.
Some of the foam-busting curtain rings
Because the rings form a link with the locomotive’s whisky heritage, the curtains will be reinstated when the cab is rebuilt.

Recycling at Aviemore

A lot of riveting is currently taking place on Aviemore’s Black 5, 5025.  The running boards are mainly held on by 5/8 inch rivets.  These rivets as supplied are about 4 inches long, and have to be shortened to the thickness of the plates plus an allowance for forming the rivet head.  As a result, there are a lot of 2 inch lengths of 5/8 inch diameter rivet-grade steel left over.

These leftovers have been machined into 3/8 inch dome head rivets suitable for Queen Anne’s cab.  Tests have been carried out, and they can satisfactorily be cold riveted.  The original rivets were simply flattened to a “pancake” shaped head on the reverse side, and suitable rivet dollies to do this have now been machined.  Riveting will be done using the hydraulic riveter, which is basically a big G-Clamp with a power-operated hydraulic ram.
Bolts on the left, rivets on the right
The other cab fasteners were 3/8 inch Whitworth bolts with a domed and slotted head.  Whitworth bolts are now very expensive, and almost impossible to get with this type of head.  So new bolts have been machined out of EN316 stainless steel for this purpose.

Other News

Cab Steel

The steel to join together the water-jet-cut steel cab sheets has now arrived.  This consists of angle, flat bar and “half-round feather edging”.  As it will be  a while before we have time to start rebuilding the cab, to prevent the steel from corroding, the angles and flat bars have been cut to length, rubbed down and painted with red oxide primer.  The feather edging has been rubbed down and treated with an oil-based preservative.
Cab strip and angle sections painted

Feather-edge strips with protective oil coating

Battery Box

Here are some pictures of the battery box, which was restored some time ago.  It is currently used to store nuts bolts and other small parts for the locomotive.
Battery Box after cleaning up a bit
The box consists of a compartment for tools etc. on top and a compartment for the 12 Volt battery underneath.  The bottom and lower sides of the box were rotten, the battery compartment door was missing, and the lowest section of T&G board at the back was missing.  The decay was mainly due to the fact that the bottom of the box sits on the cab floor, although it is also bolted to the cab sides.  It is intended to mount the repaired box 1 inch above the floor, possibly with rubber feet to help support the weight of the battery.

The toolbox had been repainted with beige paint, which was removed using a hot air gun, revealing the original “Ruston Green” colour.  The toolbox lid was warped, and was flattened using clamps and a hot air gun.  The rotten lower halves of each side were cut off and new sections attached using a half-lap joint and Gorilla Glue.  A new bottom board was made and reinforced with steel angle brackets so that the box could be fixed slightly above the floor.  All original screws and nails were removed and replaced by brass screws.  A new battery compartment door was made from wood reclaimed from an old T&G door and fitted with new hinges and a catch.  The many holes and imperfections were filled with two-part wood filler and the whole box painted in grey undercoat.

New bottom sections and battery door fitted

The restored Battery Box
Another view of the box

Engine News

Although the engine runs, it produces a lot of white smoke (unburnt fuel) and this has been traced to cylinder no. 1, which is suffering from low compression.  More details will be given in a future blog.