Regular visitors will have noticed that Lilian did not make an appearance when we opened at Easter. Â Every 10 years or so it is necessary to remove the boiler from a steam locomotive and subject it to a thorough inspection and overhaul. Â Lilian’s boiler was last removed for overhaul in the winter of 2007/8. Â Therefore although not ‘due’ for another two years, it was decided to bring the overhaul forwards slightly.
As soon as Easter was out of the way work started on dismantling Lilian in our yard. Â Although many smaller parts could be removed by hand, obviously many parts are too large and heavy to remove by hand. Â Here our Unipower tractor with winch becomes indispensable – designed for use in forestry, it has proved very useful for moving and dismantling railway equipment over the past 50 years!
With the boiler removed and stood on its side in our yard, a thorough inspection could be undertaken. Â The boiler itself is just over 20 years old, and was constructed in house to replace her previous boiler, which dated from 1885 (it had previously been fitted to her sister ‘Winifred’ and we still have it in store). Â Initial inspection showed that the barrel and tubes of the boiler remained in good condition, with the tubes suitable for several more years use. However some of the firebox stays required replacing.