3850 Heavy Overhaul

More pictures of the process of splitting the frame stretchers and cylinders from the mainframes – January 2019


Blocks and accommodation bogies ready to take the weight.


Frame stretcher moving away from the frames

K Smith (2)

Hydraulic power keeps it moving

K Smith


Now we need to get the new cylinders fitted and put it all back together!

IMG_2015  One of the pair of new cylinders when just cast.


The overhaul is coming on – the boiler is de-tubed, out of the frames and being needle-gunned ready for Non Destructive Testing to establish the extent of work required to get it back to work.

p1000120 p1000121

The primed sections have been “done” – since these shots were taken quite a lot more has been completed. The smoke box and door have been sent away for shot blasting – as has the chimney.

On the 27th October 2016 the loco was suspended on jacks (first lift for the newly refurbished loco jacks at the GWSR) – the wheels were removed – the wheel set from 3850 is being transferred to loco 2874 as these are historically accurate for that while the set from 2874 are the “correct” pattern for 3850.  The wheels will shortly be sent away for turning – the axle boxes will require some work – one of the photos below shows them cleaned up and ready to go into our container (and I can confirm that they are very, very heavy!!!)


Pony truck – wheel set for 3850 – loco on accommodation bogies (in the background is the pony truck for 2874 – that loco is in the shed with the wheel set from 3850 already in place – excellent progress over a very intensive 3 days – many thanks to all the volunteers involved.



The Story begins….

3850 had its last day in service on 30th September 2015 before beginning a heavy overhaul.  The loco has run for 1202 days in traffic and covered 81,988 miles since entering service in March 2006  – all but 46 days of the service were on the West Somerset Railway, the other days being a visit to the Great Central Railway in 2011, a brief visit to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire (GWSR)  for a Gala in 2014 and a final few days back there in September to allow the volunteers some running time – plus the opportunity for some of our shareholders to have a short drive! The picture shows 3850  at Minehead in 2011 shortly after its repaint into black – photo by John Sparks

3850 in 2011 John Sparks

Pictured here is the “final fire” before withdrawal – appropriately this was lit and tended by the Vice Chairman of the Company (Mike Solloway) –  Mike was on the footplate for the first run back in 2006 and to make the day even more special he passed out as a qualified Fireman on the GWSR during his shift.

3850 Final Fire


The work of stripping her down has started in earnest and the parts are coming off thick and fast – superheater elements came out on 8th November and the last of the cladding was also removed that day – along with the cab roof.


Overhaul Starts  October 2015This photo from October 2015 shows stripping activity – Mark Young is NOT running round the running-board despite appearances!

All boiler tubes have been removed and the boiler itself was lifted from the frames in early May.  Unfortunately we have found a fairly serious crack in our cylinder block and think it most likely that a replacement is  needed – we have already done some of the preparatory work to source a new casting.


A close up of the problem!

Preparation of the boiler for non-destructive testing and scoping of the works required is well underway with needle gunning at every opportunity – both inside and out


A view up the barrel – since this photo was taken the smoke box has been removed (though it was a struggle!)