Bahamas – 6 years of progress, 2013 to 2019

To read our Chairman’s statement of thanks, please follow this link.

31 January 2019
45596 Bahamas successfully completed its light and loaded test runs from Tyseley on Thursday 31 January.  It is due to return to the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway onTuesday 5th February when it will be readied for its first rail tour on 9th February from Oxenhope to Carlisle.

At Stratford upon Avon midway through its light engine test run from Tyseley, 31 January.

At Stratford upon Avon midway through its light engine test run from Tyseley, 31 January.

45596 Bahamas at Washwood Heath with the loaded test run on 31 January.   photo by John Barrance.

45596 Bahamas at Washwood Heath with the loaded test run on 31 January.
photo by John Barrance.

end of the day

Back at Tyseley after the successful loaded test run.

16 January 2019
Joint Statement by Tyseley Locomotive Works and the Bahamas Locomotive Society.
16 January 2019.
The main line testing of No. 45596 Bahamas began yesterday (Tuesday 15 January) with a series of successful light engine trips between Tyseley and Bordesley, before it hauled the BLS Support Coach to Stratford-upon-Avon and back.
The purpose of testing is to ensure everything is working correctly and the return journey revealed an issue with the TPWS equipment and also the fireman’s side rear driving axlebox which was running warmer than we would like.
As a result the loaded trial scheduled for Thursday 17th January will be rescheduled and it is likely this will mean a delay in the engine’s return to the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.

November 2018
Following the ‘launch’ of the engine over the weekend of 30 September, time was spent checking and rectifying various steam leaks that had been observed.  The engine performed quite well, apart from the exhaust injector, which refused to work, the steam-heat valve, which could not be regulated, and miscellaneous blows from piston rod glands.
The injector was stripped and several issues rectified as was the steam-heat valve.
Then followed a further steam test, with the day spent operating the engine in Tyseley yard as an initial ‘shakedown’ to reveal any further problems.  The results were encouraging – the steam blows were much reduced and the exhaust steam injector functioned, as it should.  In all about seven miles were run.
Excessive clearance between the engine tender was noticed and has been rectified by fitting a shorter drawbar.
Another discovery was that all the coupled-wheel springs has loose leaves in the buckle.  All six springs were removed and returned for rectification to the contractor who had previously undertaken their overhaul.  This set-back also caused the additional work and expense of hiring a vehicle to collect the pair of spare springs from Ingrow, and borrow a pair of springs from Carnforth, so that the engine could at least be supported on four springs.  It also caused the engine to miss its Vehicle Acceptance inspection scheduled on 16 November.
Further problems were encountered with the TPWS/OTMR equipment.  The delayed testing, commissioning and completion of the documentation for this equipment has prevented the scheduled mainline testing of the locomotive from going ahead as planned in early December.
This is now likely to be early in January.  Its first railtour is scheduled for 9 February 2019.

28 September 2018
45596 at Tyseley 45596 Bahamas moved for the first time under steam on Thursday 27 September at Tyseley Locomotive Works.  The following day it was ‘unveiled’ by the Lady Judy McAlpine, the Society’s Patron, in front of invited guests.
The engine subsequently starred in Tyseley’s 50th anniversary open weekend event of 29/30th September.

August 2018

Applying the undercoat on 3rd July. photo: Steve Allsop

Applying undercoat on 3rd July.

Assembling the footplate controls and piping is now almost complete following a number of hard days by a few of our lads at Tyseley.  Our team have thus relieved the Tyseley men to carry on with other work. This has included making up the smokebox main steam pipes, which we had bent to shape a while ago. These have been welded together with end pieces and flanges made at Ingrow, sent for X-ray, and finally fitted.
The smokebox door has been assembled and awaits fitting. The superheater elements are currently being hydro tested to 1000psi.
At Ingrow the cylinder and valve end cladding covers have been re-polished and painted, and will be fitted when valve setting has been done. Various pipe clips have been made as the pipe assembly at Tyseley has revealed the need. The number of remaining jobs is reducing, but there are still quite a few details to complete, including wiring up the TPWS equipment in the cab. The GSM-R radio equipment is complete and registered for use, and the OTMR data recorder is nearly complete. There have been delays to this work due to availability of the wire-man.
All the engine and tender (smokebox excepted) have been finish painted, lined, lettered and varnished by Heritage Painting.


June 2018

Boiler almost there

On 8 June 2018 – the boiler, smokebox, ashpan assembly was lowered into the frames at Tyseley for the first time.  This excellent result follows a whole list of work undertaken, both at Tysley and Ingrow.  The previous couple of months can be summarised as follows.

At Ingrow – The doorplate shoulder-cladding was completed, as was support stays for both injectors and cab steps, a new water-valve hand wheel manufactures together with its support bracket and a new ashpan drench valve and bracket.  The live steam injector was stripped to check some dimensions and a new delivery cone of a slightly different design ordered, the exhaust injector has also been re-examined.
The spark arrestor frame has been modified and new stainless steel mesh fitted, a new smokebox door dart has been manufactured and the new take-off casting for the atomiser and blower has been machined with new nipples and union nuts.  All the copper pipework which resides in the smokebox has been annealed repaired or replaced.  A section of the cab roof was returned to Ingrow for repair.  New material was riveted in place, painted, and returned to Tyseley within a week.

At Tyseley – The middle big-end and most of the motion and running gear has been assembled.  The mechanical lubrication system has been checked and proved.  The sand boxes have been emptied and sand traps checked.
The exhaust injector and the new exhaust steam supply pipe has been assembled onto the engine.
The boiler has all the crinolines fitted and the firebox area has its insulation and cladding sheets fitted.  The door-plate cladding is complete and the rest of the cladding will be fitted when the boiler is in the frames.
Work progresses on the electrics for the  GSMR.
New laminated glass has been fitted to the cab windshields.
Painting the accessible parts of the loco steadily continues.

March 2018
Items for the new ashpan have been delivered to Tyseley, and the remaining parts for the superheater elements have been completed.  Progress has been made on reassembling the middle engine, and the big-end has been metalled, machined, and tried to place on the crankpin.  The repair to the middle cylinder steam-pipe connection is almost complete,
The new exhaust injector steam pipe has been manufactured, tested and fitted during three days of hard work by Steve Peach and Andy Hoyle.  This will be completed once the recently refurbished exhaust injector has been fitted to place.
The new live steam injector has been checked and the engine bracket modified ready for installation on the engine.
Smokebox auxiliary steam fittings have been returned to Ingrow for cleaning and checking, one was found to be cracked, and has been renewed.  Various corroded sections of the cab have been cut out and replaced or repaired as required
The throat plate cladding has bee returned to Ingrow for renewal.
New atomiser steam supply and steam-heat pipes have been formed and their connections have been recovered ready for re-use on installation.

December 2017
Following a successful hydraulic test the first fire was lit in the firebox of the completed boiler on Tuesday 12 December as a ‘warming fire’ only.

First fire

October 2017
At Ingrow – The boiler and firebox cladding sheets are undergoing repair, some of which have been returned to Tyseley.  The tender tank paintwork has been completed to grey undercoat and will be ‘glossed’ at Tyseley.  Other work includes sorting fire irons and tools.  The shelf in the tender tool locker has been removed ready for installing the GSMR equipment.
At Tyseley – The last of the middle engine valve motion has been returned to Tyseley for fitting in due course. That for the outside has already been re-fitted, with just the connecting rod small ends to couple up.

At Tyseley on 28 October 2017 with the smokebox in situ for a trial fitting.

At Tyseley on 28 October 2017 with the smokebox in situ for a trial fitting.

Work has continued on the boiler.  A problem was discovered in September, in that the internal main steam pipe (from the regulator valve in the dome to the superheater header) was found to be slightly too short.  However, a new connecting ring at the regulator end has had to be made and brazed on. The pipe is now fitted in the boiler, with dome cover and top feed housing also back in place.  The boiler has had water in it, revealing some ‘weeping’ stays, now caulked, and two front corner rivets have been changed to achieve a better seal.  The new live steam injector has been trial fitted to review pipe connections and ensure the installation will be rigid.  It has been returned to Ingrow for addition of a drain valve and other minor jobs.

May 2017
At Tyseley – The boiler is getting nearer to having water in it, but there remains plenty of detail work to complete.  Various stays and rivets are still to be fitted, but much of the internal pipework is now assembled.  The completed superheater flues were have retuned from x-ray and the elements are almost ready.  The boiler will soon be moved onto the pit to enable the foundation ring to be caulked, and a start to fitting the small tubes. The longitudinal stays are in and nutted up.

Tyseley on 7 July 2017 and progress includes installation of the fire tubes and the superheater flues into the boiler. - photo: John Hillier

Tyseley on 7 July 2017 and progress includes installation of the fire tubes and the superheater flues into the boiler. – photo: John Hillier

The superheater header has been machined to true up the various facings and the seats where the elements fit.
The TPWS/GSM-R/OTMR electronics packages are on order.

At Ingrow.
From March onwards, working continued towards completing the tender ready for despatch to Tyseley.  Mechanically this has been achieved, with the refurbishment and fitting of the various hose connections, steam heat, steam brake, vacuum, and water feed connections which pass between the engine and tender.  The paintwork on the tender tank is now almost complete, with some final flatting down on the left side and rear.
New bearing bushes have been made and fitted to the engine valve gear, and a new middle union link been made at CMS Cepcor.  Once complete the valve gear, now fitted with new lubrication trimmings, will be shipped down to Tyseley for fitting to the loco.
New pins and other parts have been made for the firedoor mechanism and guide rails. The rails have been returned to Tyseley, the doors and levers will follow when they are needed for the boiler steam test.
New side firebars, and two sets of engine brake blocks are on order.
Work has started on the parts for the smokebox steam pipe end connections. Blanks have been obtained for the new flanges which have been machined and drilled. Material is on order for the end collars and joint rings. This is part of work originally intended to be done at Tyseley, but bringing it back to Ingrow will save time and some cost.  The pipes themselves are to be bent at Atlas Tube Bending in Oldham.

November 2016

At Ingrow:
Tender – work on the tender frames has included overhaul of the buffers, steam brake cylinder and operating gear, drawhook, steps, etc.
The wheels have had all their journals, bearing, tyres machined.  New tyres have been fitted to the leading wheelset.  The horn clips have been cleaned and painted and new nuts fitted to all the bolts.  New wood packers which sit between the frames and the tender tank were made and set to place to allow for fitting of the new tender tank, which took place on.  On the same day the wheelsets were reunited with the chassis. The whole job was completed in just the one day using the 50T crane.  Since then the tank has been bolted down, the spring hangars levelled and a start made on the pipework.
Engine – the gudgeon pins have been checked and nuts and cotters made, all the valve motion has had the old bronze bushes removed and the holes bored true. These are now awaiting new bushes. Cleaning of the coupling and connecting rods is complete and will soon be sent to Tyseley for the bearings to be remetalled.
Fittings – the boiler clacks, snifting valves, the regulator stuffing box and gland follower have been overhauled, as have both safety valves and the AWS air admission valve.  The regulator rod has been machined and a start made on the rear safety valve.  New copper pipework has been made up for the injector steam supply, the brake steam supply, and the atomiser and tube cleaner steam supply.
The chimney has had all the casting core holes plugged and welded.

At Tyseley:
Engine – the piston valves have been repaired and assembled into the valve chests.  The slidebars have been re-assembled and set, and the crossheads whitemetalled and machined to suit.  The piston castings have been machined, re-assembled to the piston rods, and attached to the crossheads.
Boiler – the new front barrel-ring has had the front tubeplate riveted into place.  Work on the second barrel-ring insert is complete.  The new steel doorplate is also complete,  has been riveted into the boiler, together with an insert in the rear of the crown plate. All the stayholes have been drilled and tapped, and the firedoor ring has been bolted up ready for riveting.  New pads for water gauges, blower, and blowdown valve have been fitted; the washout-plug holes have been drilled, all the stay holes have been drilled and tapped, and the fire-door frame fitted to locate the fixing-stud holes.  A new manifold pad casting has been made and machined to replace the original, which was cracked and beyond economical repair.

Firebox doorplate 22 November 2016.

Firebox doorplate 22 November 2016.

The new steel throatplate has been fitted to place, all the stay holes drilled and tapped, and is awaiting the wrapper side plates to be welded in before riveting.  Preparation for fitting new rivets in the copper tubeplate is in hand.
There was a meeting with the Insurance Co’s engineer in November who reported that  he was pleased with the work done so far.

October 2015

At Tyseley:  Since the engine was put back on its wheels in August, the brake rigging has been overhauled; re-bushed and fitted with new pins where required and re-assembled. This includes the steam-brake cylinder and bell-crank bracket, which have also been overhauled. Work on the engine frames is thus substantially complete.
The piston rods have been machined parallel and polished, and new piston securing nuts have been made. The threads on the piston rods have been re-cut, so the new nuts are individually matched to the rods.  One piston casting has been received, but the other two are awaiting delivery from the foundry.
The new bottom-half throatplate had been set-up for forming the flange into the boiler barrel. Once complete, it will be mounted on a second forming block to make the flanges into the firebox wrapper plates.
At Ingrow: Tender – the tool tunnel has been extended further into the water space to accommodate the length of the rake.  The water shutoffs have been overhauled and the tank level gauge linkage connected. The access panels have been welded into place and the intermediate buffers have been assembled with new springs and refitted back into the dragbox.
The brake crosshafts and hangars have been refitted and new cotters made. The handbrake bridle has been welded up and machined. The new front frame stretcher has been primed drilled and bolted into position ready for riveting.
The horn faces have been checked against the axleboxes and all axleboxes are being built-up with whitemetal ready for machining.
The tender springs and spare driving springs have been made ready for sending away, and the spring hangar bolts shot blasted ready for crack detection.

May 2015

Engine – The new piston-valve rings have been manufactured, and await assembly with the valve heads and repaired spindles.
The bogie has been reassembled.  The driving wheels and journal work are complete, and the driving axleboxes have been bored and new bronze liners fitted.  The slidebars have been dimensionally checked and the bottom outside bars sent for grinding, while the top outside bars are being set to position.  The middle cylinder slidebars are acceptable. The crossheads will be machined to size when this exercise is complete.
The engine and bogie springs have been received, but their repair is not wholly acceptable and some remedial action is required.  The intention is to re-wheel the engine in mid May.

Boiler – The new front boiler barrel ring is on site. The second barrel ring has been crack checked and is acceptable, and the ‘D’ insert has been made, and ready to be welded in place. The new front tubeplate has been machined. The flanging block for the new doorplate has been fettled to form the upper section of the new plate. This will be made first and riveted into the boiler before the lower three quarter section, so to improve access.
The removal of the crown stays continues to indicate those remaining are badly necked. The decision has been made, therefore to have them all removed and renewed.  Fortunately there is some contingency funding available to cover this extra work

Tender – New brake-adjusting nuts have been manufactured and the threads restored in the pull rods. New bushes have been made and fitted in the pull rods where necessary and the cross-shafts built up with weld. The draw gear has been removed and the rear dragbox has been cleaned and repainted.
The right front tender steps have been riveted into place and the left side bolted up and drilled ready to rivet. The leading frame stretcher has been removed and a new one is being manufactured.
The axleboxes have been stripped and cleaned and all the spring pillars cleaned ready for crack detection. The intermediate buffer housings have been drilled for the retaining screws and these have also been manufactured. The spring retaining brackets have been removed, straightened and are ready for painting.  The warming valve is almost completed.
The tender wheelsets have all been measured prior to have the tyres machined at Tyseley.


January 2015

Engine.  Grinding of the hornblocks true is now complete, as is boring of the valve chests, for which new valve heads have been manufactured.  The former front heads have been reduced in size to enable them to be used in the rear liners.  The valve spindles have been straightened and machined true.  Machining of the bogie wheels has been completed.  Final assembly of the bogie will now depend on refurbishment of the springs.
The driving wheels are currently being profiled and the driving axleboxes have been machined to accept the new bronze liners. The slidebars are currently being measured and assessed.

Boiler.  The new boiler front barrel ring is awaited. The second barrel ring has been crack checked and found to be acceptable.  The new wrapper sides have been pilot drilled and now await first fitting. The new front tubeplate has been welded, NDT checked, annealed and flattened, and now awaits machining.  The former-blocks for the new door and throatplates are available, that for the doorplate has been sent out to have the new plate precision bent to match before flanging takes place – expected to start in mid-February.
Investigation continues as to the acceptability of the crown stays, many of which are to be renewed.

The boiler from 'Bahamas' undergoes major 'surgery' at Tyseley Loco Works, 27 January 2015.

The boiler from ‘Bahamas’ undergoes major ‘surgery’ at Tyseley Loco Works, 27 January 2015.

Tender.  The tender frames have been lifted to allow removal of the axle boxes and wheelsets.  The frames are now in the shed at Ingrow and all the brake hangars, cross shaft and the draw gear have been removed. The axle boxes have been degreased and a small team is making good progress on painting the inside frames.  The wheels are to be sent away for machining.  The new tender tank has been delivered to Ingrow.

Miscellaneous.  Progress is being made on the refurbishment of boiler steam fittings, and the annealing/cleaning of copper pipework at Ingrow.


October 2014

Progress at TLW continues as follows:
Locomotive – The mainframe repairs are complete and work has started on grinding the hornblocks true. The LH valve chest has been bored, and the RH is almost completed. Refurbishment of the various parts of the bogie is well advanced.
Boiler – The front barrel ring of the boiler has been removed.  As a consequence of cracks discovered in the seal welds of the butt strap, some of which pass into the parent material, and other cracks adjacent and within rivet holes where the front tubeplate was attached, a new replacement ring has been ordered, as this is the only viable option for repair.  The new front tubeplate blank is on site and work was in hand preparing the flange for welding. It is anticipated that the forming of the new doorplate should start by about end November.
The new tender tank ordered from Hill & Webster is almost complete and is due for delivery to Ingrow in early December.
Work continues at Ingrow on the the tender frames, refurbishing of various boiler fittings, and annealing/cleaning of copper pipework

July 2014_MG_3782

Progress continues at the workshop of the South Devon Railway, where new tyres were fitted to the driving and bogie wheel sets – as seen in the view here (photo: John Hillier).

Meanwhile further progress on the engine and boiler continues at Tyseley, and on the tender and footplate fittings at Ingrow.


22 March 2014
Progress at TLW continues as follows:
Mechanical works: The pistons have been separated from their rods; the steam brake cylinder has been removed, stripped and examined; the new axlebox-crown brass castings have been delivered, and the horn cheek liners are on order.  The engine frames have been lifted from the wheels.

Boiler: The smokebox, superheater header, and all tubes, have been removed. Work has started on removing stays and rivets to enable the corroded plates to be cut out and allow a thorough survey to take place.
Meanwhile, work at Ingrow continues on the repair of small boiler fittings.  New material has been obtained to complete the repair of the tender intermediate buffers; the water-pick-up gear has been removed from the tender frames, and the steps are under repair.

The Learning Coach – this former breakdown riding and tool van is now undergoing internal repair and conversion to become an education facility as part of the whole Bahamas overhaul project.  The kitchen stove and associated piping has been removed, and a contractor has been appointed to remove the heat protective asbestos from the kitchen compartment.

22 January 2014

boiler lift

An important milestone in dismantling Bahamas occurred on 16 January, at TLW, when the boiler was lifted from the frames.  For further details please see the 45596 Boiler Lift – Press Release.


6 January 2014

To date, the boiler has been disconnected and is ready for removal, the valves and pistons have been removed from the cylinders, and the brake gear has been removed from the chassis.

10 December 2013

Following the delivery of the engine to TLW on 27th November, by 9th December the following tasks have been undertaken.
The main steam pipes, superheater elements and blastpipe have been removed, the cab is ready for removal, the footplate boiler cladding has been removed, boiler expansion angle clamps removed, and work is in hand removing the ejector exhaust pipe, handrails etc.

31 October 2013

Contract signingThe contract between the Society and Tyseley Locomotive Works (TLW) for the overhaul and repair of the locomotive’s boiler, wheels and frames was signed today.  Tysley’s Bob Meanley watches as BLS Chief Engineer, Steve Allsop, signs the contract document.

28 July 2013Whistle removal 2

Progress continues in stripping the locomotive of those parts that are to be retained at Ingrow, and which will be refurbished by Society volunteers.  Here the whistle is being removed.

18 May 2013
This day was the last opportunity to see Bahamas as a complete locomotive before the process of dis-assembly began.Night shot