Jurassic - Performance Enhancements for the 2022 season

By John Raby

Jurassic, the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railways Peckett 0-6-0ST 1008 of 1903 ex-Southam Cement Works, is receiving some attention to enhance her performance for the 2022 season. Although Jurassic now leads an easy life on our short and level track at the Skegness Water Leisure Park and is only asked to perform for around three hours a day for ten days a year, the old girl is 119 years old and in 2022 we will be asking her to haul three-coach trains rather than the previous one or two coaches.

To get her ready for this, winter work is taking place involving the chimney and steam pipes, the regulator and the air compressor.

Chimney, main steam pipes and blower pipe

Peter Balderston one of the volunteer engineers working on Jurassic gives the background. The chimney had a crack on the bottom flange. Upon inspection a weld had been attempted in the 1980's to ensure the chimney was secure. Over time a crack in the weld had got worse, and a piece of the flange was now virtually broken away from the base. The old weld was removed, cleaned up and the piece welded back in. Welding cast iron is a skilled task, and takes time and patience, hence the use of a specialist who did a very nice job. The chimney has now been returned from the welder, and now looks much more secure. Before refitting we have taken the opportunity to tighten the bolts holding down the main steam pipes. Hopefully, this will improve steaming as the smokebox vacuum should be maintained.

The Regulator

Mick Allen who has been working with Peter on the improvements said, 'The regulator was causing speed control problems so the slackness in the linkage is being remedied and the valve repositioned.' Drivers have found it difficult to adjust speed smoothly using the regulator handle and after careful inspection, volunteers Peter and Mick have made a new linkage and according to Peter, 'The revised regulator linkage has been trial fitted. We can now alter the position of the regulator handle relative to the position of the valve. It may take a couple of steamings to determine the best position.'

Air compressor

Jurassic as built only had a hand brake but to meet modern passenger train standards it requires air braking. To do this a pinion was placed on the rear axle which drives a compressor via a chain to built up air pressure in the tank. This only works when the loco is in motion so it is important that air pressure is built up quickly and maintained while the loco is hauling an air-braked train. The repair work has involved overhauling the compressor, fitting a tensioner and a new chain and improving the fit of the pinion to the rear axle. It is hoped that these improvement will mean that Jurassic can maintain air pressure while operating three coach trains.

Return to service

Peter Balderston comments that once the work on Jurassic is completed, she will be test steamed to see whether the modifications have been successful. This steaming is likely to be in late February or March but we want to do this after the danger of frosts has receded so that we don't need to drain down the boiler after the test.

Jurassic should be back in use for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee long weekend on Saturday 4 June 2022 and then every Saturday from 16 July - 3 September. (See http://www.lclr.co.uk for details.) We try to light up by 9 am, have steam up between 11 and 12 and then replace the diesel loco on the passenger train and operate around 10 return trips before Jurassic retires to shed around 3:30.

If you would like to know the date of the test steaming, please leave a message via our contact form and we will be in touch once a date is set. Please note that it will not be possible to have visitors on site until the Skegness Water Leisure Park is open to the public again on 1 March and although we will try to let anyone interested know in good time, the decision to steam Jurassic for testing purposed might be made at short notice.