Joffre update

What does the Moseley Railway Trust’s Joffre and most steam roller have in common? The answer, of course, is that they both have only one cylinder. In the case of a roller, this is the design condition, and a huge flywheel overcomes the difficulties. In the case of the Joffre locomotive, this situation is considered to be 50% of the optimal condition. You may recall that we last saw the Joffre back in July having the problematic cylinder removed. Cracks had been noted in the offending article, and this led to the loco being stood down from service – and also missing a much anticipated visit to the Golden Valley Light Railway. Various avenues were explored for a repair to the cylinder, but in the end the bullet was bitten and a new cylinder is to be cast. Of course, the first step for an iron casting is a pattern. Thought was given to producing a pattern using a 3d printer or similar technology, but in the end a Very Clever Man called Alan Frodsham was commisioned to produce a wooden pattern. Alan is a stalwart of the West Lancashire Light Railway. This is a project of quite fiendish complexity, since the casting contains a valve chest, a cylinder bore and various internal passages allowing steam to flow and move the loco. The picture shows Alan with his handiwork. The next step is to produce a casting, have it machined and refit to the loco. Sounds easy when said quickly. All being well, the loco should be back in business for Easter 2014. In the meantime, should you own a Joffre and want to cast a RH cylinder off the pattern, get in touch here.