Shiny domes and safety valve covers

Oooh… shiny! This is the dome belonging to SECR No. 592 on the Bluebell Railway….

…and this was the dome on my ageing GWR Buffalo class loco, painted brass on a whitemetal casting. Not a very favourable comparison, and my loco crews were in uproar.

It was time for drastic measures. The whitemetal dome was removed by drilling from underneath. The safety valve cover caused more trouble, and had to be sawn off and filed down.

I bought some brass castings from Alan Gibson…

…and polished them by hand, using progressively finer grades of wet and dry to get that shiny look (other methods are available). The mould lines can be tricky to get rid of, but as Gareth kindly pointed out, if you just keep at it they will eventually disappear.

So here is my “Buffalo” after a good clean and sporting her new fittings. She could do with a new chimney and various other mods, but for the time being I’m happy with this.

My 517 class loco got a similar treatment, although in this case the existing fittings were unpolished brass beneath the paint, and were fixed very firmly to the loco. So I had to rub down and polish the dome and safety valve “in situ”. A bit fiddly and not quite perfect, but at least I managed to avoid major damage to the paintwork.

So that’s it, the new fittings are in place and the footplate men are content again…

… and feeling slightly superior about the SECR’s approach to safety valve covers.