Monday, September 5, 2011

Wheely good news

For sometime now, we've been chasing around trying to get the cracks in 1210s wheels fixed so it can head out on trains again.  A stumbling block has been that no one quiet really knows what the things were made of and in what fashion, which rendered any attempt at repair useless from the paperwork and bureaucratic point of view.

Fortunately, thanks to some good intergroup co-operation, we've been able to discover that the wheels are steel.  A sample of wheel material was sent to a company in Melbourne who provided an analysis which, somewhat unpromisingly on first glance, was headlined "We have not been able to match this to any alloy in our database!".

The reason, of course, is that the company database doesn't extend to items made over 100 years before!  However, its fairly clear from the analysis that the wheels are made of a steel typical of the early 1800s and late 1900s, with a high phosphorus content.  The refining methods of the time were obviously less refined (excuse the pun) then those of today and there was little in the way of quality control (Again, compared with todays standards).  Of course, a slightly more famous example of this is RMS Titanic, which was in the news in recent times for being made of 'substandard' steel.  For the reasons already listed above, this is utter bull and according to the company that did our analysis, the same 'substandard' steel turns up in items like bridges and buildings that date back to the turn of the 19th century.