Since finishing the build, I have been getting ready for the steam test. This is all scheduled for Tuesday 5th November – I hope an auspicious day for a fire!

I have made a planking floor out of a ply base with mahogany strips. It will help to protect the painted floor from dropped coal etc.

I have put 4 coats of varnish on now.

I have also been preparing the transporting board for the back of the car and the top of the hydraulic truck that I have bought for storing the locomotive once she has been used. The transporting board anchors the front of the loco via the coupling chain and, for the rear, has a “peg” through the draw bar. It also chocks the wheels.

Finally, I have put some fire cement around the blast pipe and steam pipe holes in the smoke box. I took Polly’s advice and cut open some large washers to make a sort of collar around the pipes to help the cement bind and to make the gaps narrower. The cement I bought said it would cure at room temperature and then improve on heating. Fingers crossed.

I am all good to go but I am quite nervous. So many things could go wrong now either in transit or during the hydraulic and steam tests. One thing I can count on is support from my friends at SCMES.