Update on progress of overhaul of steam locomotive, Stroudley Burrow No. 72, Fenchurch

The Bluebell Railway has released its latest information on the progress of the Stroudley Terrier No. 72 overhaul, Fenchurch.

The advancement of the boiler is now located at the front of the barrel.

With the new front ring in place, the replacement front tube plate can be seen next to the combustion chamber.

The tubesheet will be riveted in place, but will be carefully aligned to ensure that the tubesheets of the firebox and smokebox tubesheets are aligned.

Inside the barrel, the visible longitudinal stays will position themselves with the appropriate openings in the new tube sheet, providing suitable strength to withstand the pressure of the boiler.

Progress on the Fenchurch Boiler – new front ring and smoke box tube plate. // Credit: Bluebell Railway

Fenchurch was purchased by the Bluebell Railway in the spring of 1964 as a working engine, at 91 years old, the oldest engine to run on British railways. On the Bluebell it ran most years until 1970, then was overhauled for its centenary in 1972. In 1975 its inner combustion chamber was condemned and, after being replaced by a steel box, it returned to work in 1980.

The goal is to have Fenchurchprobably the first Terrier to enter service in 1872, for its 150th anniversary in 2022.

Work began in early December 2019 when ‘Fenchurch’ entered locomotive works, was dismantled to remove the boiler for evaluation, and the rest of the locomotive was reassembled for return to public display in the locomotive shed.

The hearth (an all-steel one made by Luggs of Billingshurst in the late 1970s) was removed. The outer casing of the boiler also requires a new foundation ring; new lower throat plate; new outer casing of the combustion chamber; 3/4 new rear head; new front tube plate and barrel extension. With the metal for it delivered, the inner combustion chamber is assembled by Israel Newton & Sons in Derbyshire.

To expedite the overhaul, following the loss of workshop time due to COVID-19, the locomotive frames left the Bluebell on 14 April 2021 for Statfold Engineering in Staffordshire for its low-end overhaul.

Jose P. Rogers