Thursday, 17 February 2011

Bahamas and Furness Brickworks

Jack Hardman has sent the following story of the maintenance of the locomotive "  Bahamas"   at Dinting Railway Centre: 

In the early 1970's, it was decided that 5596 Bahamas (the loco that was the "cause" of the Dinting Railway Centre) needed a new brick or concrete arch in the firebox. The purpose of this is to ensure more complete combustion, which improves efficiency, and reduces smoke. Obviously in the firebox, ordinary bricks or concrete cannot be used, and so refractory materials are used. The proper materials were therefore acquired from R E Knowles at Furness. I can't remember the names of all the stuff, but Ganister was definnitely one, and I think, something called Grog.

My Dad, and a chap called Cliff Barnes put the concrete arch in, and I laboured for them, so I know this to be true. As the refactory material "went off" quickly, and generated lots of heat, it was mixed in small batches, and carried to my Dad & Cliff in the firebox in buckets small enough to fit through the firehole door,  I know I had to run with the buckets, in order to get it to them in a still workable state.

Knowing my Dad, he had probably persuaded the manager at Knowles to sell the stuff to the Loco Society at cost price (or even gratis!) as some sort of goodwill gesture!

I spoke to my dad, he can't remember what the payment arrangements were, but he knows that he got the fire cement, and the grog from Knowles's.
Grog is crushed-up firebricks, used as the aggregate in making refractory concrete, much as limestone chippings are used in normal concrete.