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Hidden problems add months to Scotsman project
 
Boiler troubles on world-famous locomotive prompt engineers to seek a copper-bottomed solution

 
IT IS undergoing the biggest restoration in almost a decade – and the job has just got that little bit bigger.
Flying Scotsman, the world's most famous railway locomotive, is off the tracks and undergoing a comprehensive 700,000 programme of repair works at the National Railway Museum in York which is expected to last almost two years.
But inspections of a replacement boiler for the steam engine revealed a catalogue of hidden problems and engineers had to turn to the copper mines of Africa to find a solution.
Several tonnes of the highest grade of copper found in Zambia and Zimbabwe have now been imported to Britain and will be used to shape the replacement boiler – a rebuild of a unit initially used to power Flying Scotsman up until 1975, when the current boiler was installed.
Cracks in the joints of the recycled boiler are worse than first thought, which has pushed the restoration programme back by at least three months.
Flying Scotsman is now not expected to return to service until the end of next year as a select team of engineers attempts to prolong the life of the 83-year-old locomotive.
The chief engineer at the National Railway Museum, Rod Lytton, said: "We have worked on a lot of engines, many of which most people would never have heard of.
"But it is a little different with Flying Scotsman, there is so much interest. We get phone calls from the public pretty much every day to the workshops at the National Railway Museum asking how things are going.
"There is that bit of added pressure, because you don't want anything to come back to haunt you. We decided to spend more money and take that bit more time on the repairs because, hopefully, it will mean things last longer.
"Things have already been pushed back by three months, but we are hoping not to find any other major problems."
African copper has been selected because it can stand very high temperatures. It is currently in the south-west of England where specially made templates will press it into shape. The metal will then be sent to a boiler manufacturer in Bury, Lancashire, and the replacement unit is expected to finally arrive in York next summer.
This major overhaul of Flying Scotsman is being carried out after a series of recent mechanical problems. The last repair programme was carried out seven years ago.
The locomotive was saved from being sold abroad when the rail museum bought it for 2.2m two years ago following a high profile campaign backed by Virgin entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and the Yorkshire Post.
But the locomotive, officially known as No 4472, suffered a boiler fault which scuppered a trip from Doncaster to York in May 2004 to mark its arrival in York. A subsequent fault with the firebox led the National Railway Museum to abandon an eagerly awaited excursion between York and Scarborough in June last year.
The restoration work, which began in January, will replace both the inner and outer fireboxes, which it is hoped will preserve the replacement boiler for several decades of service.
The existing boiler will be placed into storage and could be restored at a later date to be used again.
An exhibition dedicated to Flying Scotsman opened at the National Railway Museum last month, charting the history of the locomotive and telling the stories of people who built the engine and travelled and worked on the London-Edinburgh express service.
The Doncaster-built locomotive found global fame in 1934 when it became the first steam engine in Britain to be officially timed travelling at more than 100mph.
Summer excursions organised by the National Railway Museum which would normally have used Flying Scotsman are now employing the Green Arrow steam engine, which celebrates its 70th birthday this year.
The News Article is owned by Paul Jeeves and Article courtesy of YORKSHIRE POST Today