50022 Concerns over maintenance of one steam locomotive
May 2011 in Heritage Rail
Knowledge Skills and experience
Method of working
Concerns over the maintenance of steam locomotive 'Calbourn 24'
have been expressed by a reporter.
This locomotive is believed to have several defects which
- The eight spring hangers on this engine do not pivot backwards
and forwards as they should. This could lead to damage to the
spring ends or to the spring hangers themselves, resulting in a
stress fracture which could cause them to break.
- The brake shoes are wearing the wheels on this engine down
below 'scrappage' level. They are flanging on the edge of the wheel
instead of on the surface of the wheel. This is making the brake
shoes less efficient.
- The brake pump was not checked or overhauled before it was put
into the engine, even though the reporter believes the pump had sat
unused in someone's garden for over a decade. The pump has been
seen leaking oil and steam from various places.
- The buffer is broken and can be moved by hand. The reporter is
under the assumption that it should only move under the weight of
The reporter is aware that individually these defects are not
serious. However, if they were to fail at the same time, or if one
was to initiate a chain of events that led to the rest failing,
this could cause a derailment.
Could the Isle of Wight Steam Railway please:
- Inspect the locomotive?
- Repair and overhaul it where necessary?
Response from Isle of Wight Steam Railway
It is company policy that the locomotive 'Calbourne' numbered 24
is maintained and repaired in accordance with standards, outlined
in the current Company's Safety Management System. These standards
are largely based on the those of the former 'British Railways'
(MPII), and current 'Rail Track' (MT276), where appropriate. The
defects causing concern listed in your report have been inspected
and the following points are noted.
- The eight spring hangers on this engine allow sufficient pivot
movementbackwards and forward to allow the springs to deflect
without putting strainon the hangers, brackets or springs. This
movement is very small and as faras can be determined, the design
has not been modified since the engine wasbuilt in 1891. Spring
breakages are rare on this engine andwould be very unlikely to
cause a derailment.
- The driving wheel tyre thicknesses are between 42.1 mm and 41.9
mm andtherefore not below the scrapping thickness allowed by
Railtrack StandardMT276 for steam locomotives on the Main Line. The
brake blocks areoverhanging the outside edge of the tyre but
surface contact with the tread ismore than adequate for brake
forces to be unaffected. The braking system is examined at
13-15 day intervals for defects in this area, and corrective
actionwill be taken as and when necessary.
- The brake compressor was checked for condition and re-fitted
major boiler work to engine in 20I0. It had previously been
2003, following years of covered storage since being sold to the
the 1960s. Minor steam leakage from spindle glands and oil leakage
displacement lubricator drain do not affect the reliability or
efficiency of the
compressor, which performs in accordance with the manufacturer's
- The buffers are of the self-contained type and are bolted on to
beam with a wooden packing piece of approximately 25mm thickness to
as a shock absorber. On the rear buffers, this packing piece shows
signs of movement i.e. cracking of the paint around the edge, and
monitored for any further deterioration. One buffer spring is
of weakness in that it is unloaded when the buffer is fully
extended, allowingthe head to be moved by hand, but it remains in a
secure condition. Theoperation of all buffers on the engine was
checked in normal serviceconditions and was found to be
satisfactory. The situation will be monitoredat normal scheduled
examination intervals, and corrective action taken where