The Ravenglass & Eskdale RPS has taken delivery of a new boiler for the locomotive River Mite. The original boiler was ordered in 1963 and delivered in time to be steamed in late 1965 for the commisioning of the locomotive. Since then it has been in use each season for 37 years.
At the last hydraulic examination a confirmatory ultrasonic survey of part of the boiler was undertaken which caused the boiler inspector to forecast a life of between four and seven years. In March this year, soon after the fourth year commenced, the barrel failed and the boiler was condemned. This advanced notice had enabled the society to order a new boiler from Israel Newton’s of Idle and work on this was expedited for an earlier delivery than had been planned.
The boiler has been paid for from a bequest from the estate of the late Harold Bowtell who had during his working life been connected with boiler insurance. It will thus be known as the Bowtell Boiler.
The boiler is to the same basic design as that created by Henry Greenly in 1923 for the River Esk and the original boilers on the RH&DR. Since 1970 5 other boilers to this design have built. The new boiler differs in detail from previous boilers, the most obvious change is to the injectors which now inject just behind the front tube plate, in the same way as the RH&DR boilers, instead of into the water legs at the side of the firebox. This is to try to extend stay life.
The locomotive is expected to return to front line duty by the end of August.