The frames – ready for inspection. And no – it’s not always this tidy!

At 08.00 on Thursday December 11th (and a cold, damp, dark morning it was), one of the Trust’s contractors – CAD Bureau Southern Ltd. from Essex – came to the workshop to measure our steam locomotive frames, buffer beams, stretchers, and motion brackets. This is one of the early stages in putting the loco project onto a more professional footing. We need to make totally sure that these parts, built several years ago, are “fit for purpose” – or, in other words, appropriate to be used as part of a public passenger train. Current regulations require that we have a complete set of paperwork for every part that we have made.
But – there’s another reason to do this. The measurements will be transferred onto a CAD drawing set which will be compatible with the CAD GA drawings under way, and the 3D CAD and design work for the rolling chassis, which will be done by another contractor. Thus, all parts manufactured in the future will be built from an industry-standard design, so we will know that everything will fit – and of course, in many cases, the CAD can be used directly to drive the machine tools.
We have no problems with the quality of the manufacture – quite the opposite – but we now need to show evidence of provenance – things like steel supplier, type, and batch, machining method, and so on. As soon as we can provide this evidence, we can get on with building the rest of the loco – and, inevitably, also with asking members, supporters and friends for large amounts of cash!

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