Museum News 2008

(Back to Archive News Page)

January 2008
'Reliant' - Steam Paddle Tug - Steering Engine

Work on this engine has progressed well. The valve gear, which incorporates an interesting reversing system, has been completely overhauled. Cylinder pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft components etc. have been refurbished and reassembled with all bearings and slides adjusted to working conditions. A cylinder pre-heating system has been designed and fitted, which it is hoped, will keep condensate down to a minimum whilst the engine is stationary.
The engine had a test run, under steam, on Wednesday 16th Jan 2008. The engine ran lovely and the steering mechanism worked very smoothly - a credit to those who have worked on it.

First test run of the 'Reliant' steering engine The 'Reliant' steering engine, during a test run, under steam.

October 2008
Farmer Bros. Engine

Upon inspection, the piston rod was found to be badly worn around the gland area so a new rod was machined and fitted.
Some wear was detected between the trunk guide and cross-head and since there isn't any means of adjustment it will have to remain.
Dismantling also revealed an unusual slide valve. There are two extra ports in the centre of the valve, which are connected to each other internally. Part way through the stroke these ports connect both ends of the cylinder, thus balancing the pressure on both sides of the piston. It's not clear what the advantage of this might be. Maybe the valve is not the original and is from another engine!!
There was no provision for cylinder drains, which might have been thought unessessary since the end cover and cylinder have a steam jacket passage cast in them, which would reduce the amount of condensation. Because our steam is quite wet, suitable holes have been drilled and tapped and drain cocks fitted, just to play safe.
The engine has now been assembled and temporarily run on compressed air.
There are some lubricators missing, so suitable replacements will have to be found or made. Also some form of fabricated frame will have to be constructed to enable the engine to be properly displayed.

Partly assembled Farmer Engine, after painting Farmer Engine - after painting
Farmer Engine - after painting Partly assembled Farmer Engine, after painting

'Reliant' Steering Engine

Quite a lot of work has been done to this project. The restored engine is now mounted on a steel structure, which will house a fully working display of a steam steering engine controlling a demonstration ships rudder.
It will use Reliant's original chains and steering engine, which will have a ships wheel aquired from elsewhere. The rest of the construction will have been designed and made 'in house'.
This unique project is well underway and, all being well, should be completed in the near future.

Steering simulation under construction, showing the chains and quadrant which will control the rudder. Steering simulation under construction

Robey Twin Cylinder Engine (from Derbyshire brick works)

For a while now the left hand engine has had an annoying knock at the outer end of the stroke. During the boiler shut down the opportunity was taken to investigate it.
Two significant things were found:
The clearance between the cross-head and the trunk guide was excessive.
The alignment of the cylinder centre line and the centre of the crankpin journal was not quite right. This, together with the cross-head clearance, was causing the cross-head to move sideways at the outer end of the stroke, hence the knock.
The clearance was adjusted by inserting shims under the cross-head slippers, but this had to be a compromise because of the uneven wear. There was nothing we could do about the misalignment without major modifications to the foundations.
Although not 100% successful the overall situation is somewhat better.

Thornewill & Warham Engine

Repairs to the right hand engine are progessing steadily. Most of the new rods and bushes have been machined and assembly has now started.

Rhoda Mill Engine

Work is still continuing on the mamoth task of cleaning and examining the many parts to this engine.

November 2008
'Reliant' Steering Engine

The pulley and chain arrangement has been covered with varnished boards to give an area which simulates the deck of the tug. A restored ships wheel has been fitted to the engine to complete the picture.

Steering engine decking Steering engine decking.
Steering engine with a restored ships wheel fitted. Steering Engine, with ships wheel

Top of Page