Blue Peter’s fourth cylinder

We think it’s pretty unlikely that when designing the A2s, Arthur Peppercorn ever thought that Blue Peter and her sisters would gain an extra cylinder.

Yet just before Christmas that’s exactly what happened. When the team at H Downs foundry cast a new cylinder for Blue Peter.

A new cylinder for Blue Peter

Of course, we’re joking. We aren’t going to add a fourth cylinder to Blue Peter. This new cylinder has been cast to replace her current inside cylinder block, which is no longer fit for use.

The cylinder being extracted from the cast

This was made all the easier thanks to the kind assistance of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. The A1SLT already have experience with castings of this nature, having had to cast very similar equipment for Tornado.

The design similarities between the two Peppercorn classes meant that we were able to work with the them to modify an existing design. This saved considerable time, money and effort compared to creating a whole a new one from scratch!

Shiny metal showing through

This casting, which weighs in at more than a ton, will be fitted between Blue Peter’s two frames. The inside cylinder then drives a piston which in turn rotates the driving wheels, just as the more visible outside cylinders do.

These behind the scenes photos show just how large the new cylinder is, well and truly dwarfing humans! Allowing a real appreciation of just how heavy duty engineering steam locomotives are.

Tending to the details on Blue Peter’s new cylinder

While the team from Blue Peter were unable to capture this event, we are looking forward to welcoming them back to Crewe very soon to see what more progress is being made on our A2.

Photos by kind courtesy Nigel Downs of H Downs Foundry, Huddersfield.