Work on the bogies and the re-introduction of locomotive number 5
Work on the new carriage is well underway. The work on the original chassis has been completed by Garmendale. Onsite we have been working hard to restore the bogies for carriage 5 which is the chassis frames, suspension, axles and wheels. The downhill bogie on this carriage also contains the automatic safety braking mechanism and the pinions.
Firstly the original bogies were completely dismantled and inspected for any defect, bearing in mind they have been running for nearly 120 years they were in surprisingly good condition. New bogie cross members were manufactured in-house and installed by our own fitters. New suspension springs were installed and the automatic braking system was completely dismantled, inspected and serviced. The final job before reassembly was re-profiling of the wheels.
The other big area of work that is taking place this winter at SMR is the full restoration of locomotive number 5. Locomotive number 5, or Moel Siabod (named after the nearby mountain in the Moelwynion range), arrived onsite in 1896 when the railway opened to the public. In 2000 the boiler failed an inspection and it was withdrawn from service after 104 years of admirable work. Moel Siabod was placed in storage and it seemed unlikely it would be used operationally again at the railway. When the new fleet of carriages arrived in 2012/13 it quickly became apparent that the steam product was extremely popular and further capacity would be a big asset , and this is when the idea of restoring Moel Siabod was first mooted.
In 2014 it was decided that another heritage carriage was needed, but the likelihood of seeing Moel Siabod operational was still unlikely. However, as the year progressed and the order was placed for the 2nd heritage carriage, the possibility of Moel Siabod running again became a necessity as the other steam locomotives would not be able to cope with demand. Planning for number 5’s return began in May.
To restore a 119 year old steam locomotive to full operational order is no easy task; for one you cannot buy components off the shelf – they have to be specially made. As a result many of the components are original which include: chassis, running gear and cylinders. All other components are to be manufactured externally or made in house.
Over the coming weeks the blog will follow the progress of Locomotive number 5.