Engine Team Progress Report for February 2020

Work to clean and lubricate the metalwork parts in the cataract chamber (this is the chamber immediately beneath the engine controls) is almost complete, and steelguard rust preventative has been liberally applied. The strategy has been to clean the metal parts of rust, but not to finish them to the standard adopted for the more visible parts of the engine, as this will take a long and it is more important that the parts are protected from corrosion and deterioration than to look “shiny”. The initial results from adopting this strategy have shown pleasing results

Team members have been working on the water-return pump (which returned cooling water from the condenser tank to the adjacent canal), in an attempt to “free-up” as many elements of the engine before we attempt to move it again. The cover on the pump was seized solid with corrosion. A gas torch was used to heat the cylinder body and with some “gentle” persuasion by driving wedges around the rim of the pump body we were able to break the bond and lift the cover clear.

Not surprisingly the pump was full of water, which we syphoned out. The internal bore of the pump body was badly corroded. After cleaning out lumps of corroded cast iron and other debris we were able to expose the upper face of the piston, complete with valve.


We should consider the application of a black bituminous-type paint to preserve the iron castings which form part of the cataract units, and other iron castings (such as pipework) in the cataract chamber (these have previously been painted in a black bituminous-type paint in order to protect them).

Working in the chamber in which the water-return pump is located, it is obvious that repairs are required to the brickwork (bricks need replacing & pointing is required). Work has started to replace the missing brickwork and consolidate the walls.
During the wet weather that we have experienced lately, sheets of water have been running down the wall in the water pump chamber. We should investigate to see if there is anything we can do to reduce/eliminate this problem of water seepage into this area, as it has a detrimental effect on the metalwork and brickwork in the immediate vicinity.

Cleaning and lacquering of the teak lagging, and polishing of the brass bands at the top of the steam cylinder continues. When this work, and the cleaning of the remaining area of outstanding chequer plate flooring is completed, the cylinder head floor should then be finished.

On the ground floor level in the engine house the floor plates are being cleaned around the base of the two columns which support the entablature, and work to clean the valve gear continues.


Alan Hill, 29-2-2020

About morturn

Historian – Photographer – Filmmaker Retired construction professional with a passion for public, social and industrial history. I believe in equality, dignity and integrity for all. Don’t like people who try to belittle the ambitions of others. I am of the opinion that my now life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.
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