A few weeks ago I sent an email to the County project at Didcot volunteering (while noting I don’t live anywhere near Didcot and am very busy) but noting that as a York resident I may be able to help with trips to the archive at the NRM.
Straight away came back a reply saying yes please and can you go and look if they have drawing 59919 smokebox door.
Interestingly, as I replied in my emailing confirming that I would, 59919 was in a batch of drawings drawn between Jan 1914 and Feb 1921 and thus must be a standard part. I suggested it could be the door for a Castle.
Anyway my trip to the museum happened yesterday. The NRM doesn’t have drawing 59919 but do have a subsequent drawing from 1954 which superseded 59919 and is described as smokebox front plate for standard boilers 7, 8, 12, and 15, or to put it another way 47xx, Castle, King, and County proving it is a standard part and therefore is probably fairly easy to source someone who can make one.
While I was there I requested to see the development sketches for the County drawn in 1943-4. These are fascinating.
Sketch 4 has had the wheels printed and then the rest of the loco sketched. Note the Churchward bar frame front end, curved splashers, and Collett tender.
Sketch 6 has by now got the Hawksworth plate frame front end with a high running plate so no need for splashers (note the double drop, one behind the smokebox, and one at the front of the smokebox, outside Walchaearts valve gear, and a modified cab with no side window and a Collett tender.
Sketch 10 has the straight splashers, but this time with a concept tender looking almost like a cross between a Bulleid Spam Cam and S15 tender and the modified cab.
Sketch 13 looks very much like the finished article including the Hawksworth tender and includes a scribbled remark of what number the final design drawing is, but interestingly is still classified as 99xx as the change to 10xx was made very late.
I also had a look through some test reports from tests done by County no 1000 County of Middlesex and no 1009 County of Carmarthen.
What was clear from all this is a) they were rough riders when first introduced and this was fixed, and b) when on dynamometer car trials they ragged the locos trying different things. The log that states “recaulked firebox seams” suggests the blast pipe modifications they did must have had an adverse effect at some point. Also interesting that many of the tests included removing firebars to increase the primary air flow and thus primary combustion.
Indicator card from a test run presumably from WR dynamometer car W7W (GWR 790) which was of Churchward vintage:
Report into the balancing issues and scribbled response.
Report into loco oil consumption:
Hand written log of test runs:
And finally, on the back of a test report letter I found this pro-forma letter to respond to requests to visit the works.
Finally I’d just to wish everyone a Happy New Year and thanks for reading my meanderings over the last year. With the stats showing 50 odd countries reading this stuff I am often astonished at how widespread my writing gets. Thank you all.