Overhaul News

Keep up to date with The Duke’s second heavy overhaul in preservation here. Trust volunteers are attending Tyseley Locomotive Works on a Wednesday and Saturday to assist the professional staff with this work.

We are allowed to take photographs these working parties and our Engineering Principal, Dave Oliver provides a monthly report on progress. It is only right that Trust members should be informed and kept up to date so please return here regularly.

Emails will be sent out when new material is published.

As we approach the final phase of this overhaul the pace at which information is disseminated may increase.

Working Party Report June 2021

Hope you are all still safe and well This is a short update on what has been happening with The Duke.

The cleaning and painting of parts from No.3 container continues.

The cab roof is now painted and the sliding roof panels repaired. The floor and lower sides have been taken apart, rust treated and re assembled. Currently, the gutter sections have been removed for rust treatment as can be seen in the photographs attached. the cut off mechanism has all been stripped, overhauled and is ready to go back on.

The Mk2 support coach has gone to its new owner, the Mk1 should be in its place by next week.

TLW have machined the new pistons and tapped them for the core plugs. The new cylinder covers are almost finished – they just need threads cutting for the safety valves and a small amount of machining. The piston rods are finished. The centre cylinder big end is with them for remetalling. Blanking plates for the boiler are being made.

Bearing assembly has started at South Devon Railway Engineering. Currently, the drive and trailing cannon boxes are assembled, (see photographs attached) greased and ready for the wheels. The crank axle has had its final machining of the axles to size. Bearing assembly is due to take place in a few soon and then all the wheels can be assembled onto the axles and tyres fitted.

Working parties are every Wednesday and Saturday. We are restricted to 4 on Wednesdays and 6 on Saturdays. Wednesdays are booked up with the regular guys. If you would like to come on a Saturday please book in with me, I have not needed to set up a rota system as we have not yet been over-subscribed.

Dave Oliver
Engineering Principal

More images of the work going on at Tyseley can be found in our online photograph archive here.

Working Party Report July 2021


Working parties have concentrated on the cab this month. This is work is mostly completed as far as we can proceed at present.

  • seat bases need extending for the electrical components
  • another coat of paint on the lower half.

We have been working our way through the parts stored in No.3 container, this has included cleaning and painting brackets and copper pipework ready for annealing.

The new support coach hasn’t quite made it to where the old one was since the turntable is undergoing some more work. When in position the old goods compartment will need to be stripped in preparation for the workshop area and kitchen.

We have stripped, cleaned the compression relief valves as TLW want to recut the seats in them.

TLW have been busy with the new pistons, their rods and cylinder covers being almost finished. These will then be fitted followed by the slidebars. At this point the crossheads can be remetalled and machined to size. New bushes are being made for the Caprotti cam boxes. TLW have the centre big end bearing for remetalling.

With thanks to Mark Watts a workbench has been installed in No.3 container, this is to create a clean work area for electrical work and assembly.

Bearings and Drive Wheel Assembly

I have spent a couple of days at South Devon Railway Engineering (SDRE)to witness and assist with bearing and wheel assembly. All the driving axles are now assembled without issue. This is a major step forward. SDRE are now having the crank pins machined before tyre fitting. Please keep this news confidential until it is released in the press.

As soon as the wheelsets are back at TLW (probably in 6 to 7 weeks) we need to get them painted before they can go back under the locomotive frames.

Going Forward

After a meeting with TLW and in the light of COVID still spreading (at time of writing) we have agreed to continue the same safe working practices we are currently using. This means

  • no access to TLW workshop
  • confine ourselves to the top end of the site
  • continue to use our own portaloo and
  • social distanced working wherever practical.

Working parties are every Wednesday and Saturday. We are restricted to 4 on Wednesdays and 6 on Saturdays. Wednesdays are booked up with the regular guys. If you would like to come on a Saturday please book in with me, I have not needed to set up a rota system as we have not yet been over subscribed.

Dave Oliver

Engineering Principal

Interested in our new Support Coach? Click here to see a Gallery on Flickr of photographs by other people.

August 2021

Another milestone for The Duke during his second heavy overhaul in preservation was reached this month with the fitting of all 6 driving wheels onto their respective axles.

This has taken some time for various reasons. Having decided to rebuild the crank axle which is unique to The Duke the Trust had to source the correct steel for the stub axles. Eventually a supplier of a steel with a specification very close to that needed was found in South Africa. The steel for the stub axles eventually arrived in South Devon earlier this year and work commenced.

All 6 driving wheels from the Duke were transported from Tyseley to SDRE and inspected. These wheels are the originals cast in 1954 for The Duke.

SDRE have a press capable of pushing the wheels onto their axles. They are an interference fit and need up to 100 tons of pressure to get them all the way (approximately 160mm) onto the axle. A video of this has been uploaded to the Trust’s video channel on YouTube.

The photos below were taken in mid-July and show the wheels on axles now awaiting their tyres.

August 2021

Whilst driving axles were being assembled in South Devon the volunteer Trust members Working Parties were concentrating on the new (to us) Support Coach.

This vehicle is scheduled to go to Rampart Rail for refurbishment quite soon but the opportunity has been taken to start the kitchen refit and electrical installation before it goes. To this end the Guard’s compartment has been gutted and new walls installed for the electrical control boxes to be fixed to whilst on the other side of the wall installation of the kitchen is being done to a very high standard.

When the coach is completely refurbished we will bring to you a full set of images. The coach should move to Rampart in September.

We will be holding a Trust members only event at Tyseley Locomotive Works it is hoped before the end of the year with supervised viewings of The Duke. The proviso on this is that the driving wheels must be under the frames for it to happen. We will give you as much notice as possible.