Museum News 2011

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January 2011

Clapham Road Beam Engine - Update

Most of the engine parts have now been dismantled and as was expected 45 years outdoors had taken its toll.
The inner bearing journal, on the crankshaft, (between the flywheel and the crank) was found to be badly corroded and deeply pitted. It is the Museum's intention to steam the engine, so this serious problem will have to be resolved.

Corroded journal. Corroded journal image

The outer main bearing surface is also corroded, but not as bad as the inner. A simple solution is available, whereby the bearing and pedestal can be relocated to a good surface further along the shaft.

A lot of ‘needle gunning’ has been done to remove old paint and rust from the flywheel, bed-plate columns, rods and shafts etc.. Many of the rods have been cleaned and polished back to bright metal ready for refitting. Bearing surfaces have been the most affected because they have been sitting in their bearings in all weathers for a long time. A lot of the shafts have had to be machined back to a good surface and consequently new bearing shells/bushes have had to be made to suit.

Beam engine parts Various rods and shafts, which have been cleaned up or machined, ready for when re-building starts

At the beginning of June, work started to prepare the area in the museum where the engine is to be installed. This meant temporarily moving the beam, cylinders, bed-plate and columns to available space elsewhere in the museum, which has caused some disruption to the display and access to the existing engines.

A large pit, approximately 30ft. x 12ft. x 7ft deep, was excavated in order to lay down a steel reinforced concrete base, some 17 ins. thick. The depth of excavation was necessary to accommodate the 16ft. diameter flywheel. On this concrete base, columns of concrete blocks have been built to support a steel sub-frame,
made from 12ins. x 6ins. RSJs, on which the bed-plate will rest.

Excavating the large pit to take the depth of the flywheel. Excavation
Steel reinforcing Steel reinforcing in place, read for concrete to be poured.
Concrete block columns partly built. These will support the RSJ subframe. Concrete block walls

The bed-plate itself has two major cracks in it (these were discovered on site at Bedford) and these will have to be repaired/strengthened once the bed-plate is in position on the sub-frame.

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