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Tony Clare from Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society wrote:

My interest in the (Nine Elms) depot is the fact that I started the Society that preserved 35028 and when she was transferred from Weymouth depot in March 1967. I went to see the shed master Edwin Richardson in the January to start finding out if 28 was the best Merchant left to save given that we wanted to keep her in ‘working order’. He kindly let me visit whenever I wished. Incidentally I invited Edwin, the last shed master, out with 28 on a trip last year not having seen him since 1967. I visited Nine Elms many times in 1967 and got to know the mechanical staff especially Jim Cook very well and the boilersmith Percy...? quite well. Jim gave us his copy of MP11 the ‘bible’ for loco maintenance, which was used until recently for scheduling maintenance. I only knew a few drivers, but over the years got know Fred Prickett very well and he used to come and stay with my wife and I when we lived in Wales. I shall do an article about Fred for your website in due course, which will contain some interesting tales. He was ‘on the shovel’ until he was 41, which was quite late even in the 1940’s. I also got to know Bert Hooker well another fine engineman together with Jim Evans, who I haven’t seen for quite a few years and Gordon Porter and Gordon Hooper. We also had as members of the MNLPS, John Silvester, who was at Nine Elms in the 1950’s and Terry Potter, who was a fireman at Nine Elms in the 1960’s. I have a photo of Terry that should suffice for your collection. Until he died a few years ago we had Jack Finch as a member, who up until his retirement was regional boiler maker, but for many years was the boilermaker at Nine Elms.

35028 had a problem in June when the injectors both failed and she dropped several fusible plugs in the firebox and had to drop the fire out on the main line. Since then, despite exhaustive tests and renewal of steam, combining and delivery cones in the injectors, we have not been able to get to the bottom as to why they failed. I am hoping that some of your ex colleagues might be able to bring out a bit of their wisdom and experience on this matter, because I cannot believe this is the only time this problem has ever occurred. It is by far the most difficult problem we have had with the loco since it was bought from BR all those years ago.

Email from Alan Newman :
In response to Tony Clare I can only recollect one incident of both injectors suffering a problem. The problem I have I am not sure what I am going to say next is any better than a old wife's tale. The incident I recall was at Branksome we had worked the Down Bournemouth Belle. It was a very warm Sunday and while we stood in the yard we had problems with both injectors. My Driver was Jim Robinson (Senior) he thought the problem was the feed water had become very warm due to standing still for for over one hour. Jim opened both water feeds and let the water run for several minutes until it ran cold and the injectors had cooled down. The strange thing is they both worked perfectly after this. Sadly I cannot be sure which engine it was for certain, but I think it was 35016. We did not have any problems on the return to Waterloo.

Email from Ron Petrie :
This is the short answer I can give the long one if it is required. No steam locomotives injectors will work with a feed water temperature of 38c / 100f or above. If water had been taken from a road tanker that had been sitting out in the sun for hours this problem does not surprise me. I can remember this problem with the condensing locomotives the N2s at Kings Cross. I think all locomotive owners that use road tankers when out on the main line in summer should be made aware of this.
Please pass on to Tony Clare MNLPS. Regards Ron Petrie C&GLI (Boilers) 70A Engineman.

Email from Bob Cartwright :
One idea that came up in conversation was that the delivery pipes may be scaled up. If this be the case they would need uncoupling, one end bunging up and then filling with an acid to dissolve the scale. It would also be an idea to check that the clacks have uninterupted movement. One can only assume that the tender and sieves have been cleared, a filthy job that I remember doing once when I was a cleaner boy.

Jim Lester commented:
Personally I never had any problems at all with them and actually found them to be extremely good performers!

Tony Clare from Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society has written again:

The air pump compressor exhausts outside the tender. Several experiments took place over a period of time to condense the exhaust and lose the affect of steam discharging from the back of the tender after the pump was fitted in 1992. One such attempt involved running a loop through the tender water tank and while this was successful in largely eliminating the appearance of steam outside the pump it did on several occasions warm the water in the tank too much and caused some limited malfunctioning of the injectors and consequently the loop was removed. The present defects appeared in the last year or so long after the steam compressor has been satisfactorily been working. Thus the problems have not been associated with the fitting of the air braking equipment. In fact Clan Line was the first main line locomotive to have been fitted with air braking and has been able to work Pullman stock owned by VSOE that worked in the Brighton Belle train that it could never have worked before. In fact the VSOE train also includes stock from the Bournemouth Belle and the Golden Arrow, both of which have been worked by Clan Line in service days. One of the VSOE cars, Perseus was of course in the set marshalled for Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral train.

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