An update on Steam Locomotive 45596 Bahamas

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The Bahamas Locomotive Society has released a short update on LMS Jubilee No. 45596 Bahamas after a busy 2021.

2021 included a visit to the Nene Valley Railway, and once all the trains had been hauled on the popular heritage railway, the locomotive headed onto the main line carrying the Welsh Dragon Tour, which was the first test of louder TPWS annunciator – this turned out to be much improved, so there shouldn’t be any future issues in missing warning sounds.

The remainder of the tour schedule was completed with the locomotive running flawlessly. Frequent water changes had to be made to keep solids in the boiler and avoid the risk of priming.

On a trip to Plymouth, the Bahamas was dropped off at Laira Depot, which meant running up against modern health and safety rules, including a ban on working at height. This meant the support crew couldn’t walk along the running frame to attend to the grease fittings.

Finally, in October, the Bahamas celebrated the end of their tour log by returning the locomotive to Oxenhope, with the locomotive celebrating with a stuck open cylinder drain valve.

After a busy touring period, there have been three final days of steam on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway during their beer and music festival. Sadly, the locomotive was in rather need of a rest, with the brick arch partially collapsed, the piston rod stuffing boxes blowing, the center cylinder breather refusing to sit, and the engine straining the feed pipe in bursting vapor.

In early November, the BLS had a working weekend and saw the removal of the self-cleaning plates, the brick vault demolished, the grate removed, the combustion chamber cleaned with the smoke box and tubes, and finally a wash has been carried out on the boiler.

Also during the working weekend, the firebox crown sheet was removed to take the next size fusible plugs, and a crown retainer nut in the firebox was removed. This involved caulking the forestay before fitting a new nut. A section of the door plate overlay has been removed to allow for the removal of a lock nut. This was also caulked and the nut, siding and piping were reassembled.

A good portion of the side stays in the firebox were also caulked and weeping.

The BLS team was notified of a steam leak under the exterior combustion chamber liner. Generally, small leaks from seams and stays in the water space tend to repair as seeps draw salt into the gaps. However, anything in the vapor space can get worse because the escaping vapor can erode the leaking point. A thermal camera was used to try to find the leak, it was found and the two rear parts of the liner were removed. One stay below the whistle had been blown, this was caulked but the team could not identify the other stays so the liner was left on until the boiler was then steamed out.

The locomotive is now ready for the boiler inspector, bricks for a new arch are being supplied, as well as new brake hoses.

The Bahamas managed to cover 4,802 miles in 2021 – will you see it in 2022? Let us know in the comments below.

If you would like to donate for the maintenance of 45596 Bahamas, please consult the company JustGiving page.

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