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Every winter, Talyllyn Railway volunteers take the engines apart ready for the annual boiler inspection. Once that’s over, they put the engines back together again ready for the start of the season. Read on to find out what work was carried out over this winter.

This year, we decided to try a different format for the working parties to cut down on travel. Two weekends before Christmas and two afterwards, each working party concentrating on two locos. The first weekend was spent taking the chosen engines apart ready for the boiler inspector’s visit, then the second weekend was spent putting them back together. This format worked really well. A core team of regulars were ready to teach new attendees the different tasks so everyone had something useful to get on with.

16 & 17 November

The first weekend started well, with No 2 Dolgoch and No 6 Douglas being the first two engines to get stripped down. Tasks included removing the ashpans, gauge glasses, pressure gauges, smokebox bits, taking out the boiler plugs and checking and cleaning them up, removing the safety valves and starting to give the engine a good clean. We also cleaned out and painted the bunkers.

A person cleaning out plug holes on No 6.
No 6 Douglas


Once the locos were stripped down we gave the boilers a good washout to get rid of the accumulated scale. One of the more ‘glamorous’ jobs is to clean out the fireboxes – No 6 can be done with an electric wire brush, however No 2’s has to be done by hand as it’s a copper box. The gang took it in turns to do ‘firebox duty’, helped immensely by tea and a lovely homemade cake brought by one of the regulars.

Firebox duty on No 2 Dolgoch and No 6 Douglas: