Well it’s now been one year since work on 996 began, and among the other projects in hand, this one certainly has begun to show its value. The added sense of relief from the pleasing increase in volunteer numbers from just the occasional two or three, to a grateful seven plus on a regular basis has further encouraged the rate of restoration to a point where a noticeable difference in the engines appearance has begun to show.
Over the past few months, work has covered more distance with the engine’s tender. The frames, bogies, and most of the tender tank has been needle gunned, wire brushed, and painted in the protective coats it deserved. Using the built up layers of rust treatment, primer, undercoat, and eventually topcoat does prove a slow, but it acts as an important job in up keeping the quality of the surface. Whilst undertaking this work, we’ve taken opportunity to assess certain areas to check their current state, and what attention would be needed in the future. These investigations have been largely focused on the structural condition inside the water tank. This tank is said to intentionally have intended to be fitted with mechanical firing, hence it’s extraordinary shape, yet although the idea for mechanical firing was rejected, the shape remains, which added to the interest what state the interior was in. After a brief look, since this space has been undisturbed by even rainwater, it’s in a pleasingly sound condition, with not so much excess rusting as first expected.
Alongside this, removable fittings are also being seen to, with the process of removing, examining, restoring, and eventually refitting them being formed. So far this process has crossed the tool chests that sat on the frames, and the tender tank lids and mechanisms. All with the satisfying result that all these so far have been within reason of restoration, with next to no additional attention needed given excluding painting.
Although the impressive transformation after a considerably short timescale is incredibly encouraging, we do urge anyone willing to help come along too. There is still plenty of work ahead, so any extra hands, no matter how often, would be greatly appreciated!