As reported last summer the overhaul of 2 ft gauge Port class Hunslet no 316 Gwynedd (built 1883) is making steady progress. A partnership of Bressingham Steam Museum and Penrhyn Quarry Railway volunteers have together been working on the engine since Spring 2014. The restoration is a collaborative project that will see Gwynedd visiting Felin Fawr on a regular basis once restored.
The loco had a large amount of work undertaken on her disassembly during this winter. The frames and most of the motion have been cleaned, needle gunned and repainted, mainly by volunteers who jointly work for the Penrhyn Railway.
The boiler has had its inner firebox, tubes and tube plates removed; the outer wrapper has had the stays removed and the holes reground. Also the foundation ring was removed and reground. Most of this time consuming, fiddly, dirty work has been undertaken by John Riley, a stalwart Bressingham volunteer. An external contractor is currently manufacturing a new firebox.
A setback occurred when the wheels were being reprofiled. One of the tyres shattered on the lathe whilst with another contractor. This necessitated the purchase of new tyres and a 20-week wait for them to be manufactured. In February 2015 they are due to be fitted to the wheels and profiled.
The project is currently on hold whilst winter work is completed on Bressingham’s operational fleet. Hopefully the spring and summer will see the wheels back under the frames and a new firebox fitted.
Robert Ellis (Gwynedd Restoration Group chairman) stated he would like to offer a big thank you to everyone that has contributed so far. Robert is a long term volunteer at Bressingham. In addition to having many years experience as a driver and being a previous chairman of the Bressingham Steam Society, he is now a trustee of Bressingham Steam Museum. He sees Bressingham’s future success being based on its heritage steam values, capitalising on its diverse steam collection, ultimately telling the story of steam and its contribution to the industrial revolution and the development of modern society. He believes that this can be achieved through more joint projects between preservation centres and their volunteers.