The Steam Tug Kerne Preservation Society Ltd


December 2016

Posted by Allan Hickson (Mod) on January 9, 2017 at 9:55 AM

Happy New Year to All.

December’s workload carried on where November’s left off – bilges. This month we added Aft Cabin and Boiler Room to the list. The former is suffering from seepage from the Engine Room,  we had lying oily water instead of salt water, so it appears that the plug in the lower section of the bulkhead is not watertight, or the gland is leaking. Nothing critical, but another job to add to the list. In the Boiler Room, the bilges have been cleaned and dried out, and vacuumed clean of ash and other dust and soot from the tube and furnace cleaning to prepare for painting. Whilst grovelling behind the boiler it was noticed that the portside steering chain was twisted, so this has been rectified. Much easier to do when out of steam and cold – not pleasant at all when we are in steam, unless you like being drenched in sweat and acquiring the colour and complexion of a boiled lobster!

Also in the Boiler Room, we took the decision to tidy up the pipe runs of the Boiler Room and Engine Room pressure gauges, which have been a little untidy for some time. This also gives us the opportunity to encase these in the lagging for the main steam line, but to achieve this we have to lengthen both pipes by cutting and inserting extra lengths and this is now work in progress. Above the Boiler Room are the large trumpet ventilators, which are very prominent in giving Kerne her distinctive period appearance. These were rebuilt some 15 years or so ago by Bob Stead and the late Geoff Johnson and are now very much in need of some TLC. They were duly removed and temporarily replaced by two rather fetching blue plastic drums. Once Bob got them home to his workshop, it quickly became apparent that beneath the 15 or so layers of paint, the rust-moths have been very active to such an extent that major reconstruction is now required. Also atop the Boiler Room casing is the removable cover plate giving access to the boiler top door, this plate being secured by approximately 45 bolts, which unfortunately allow water to penetrate the threads and run down the boiler sides. Not something we want to continue, so the threaded holes in the casing have been drilled out as required, and rethreaded to take new tight-fitting studs to cure the leakage problem.

To the after end of the Boiler Room casing we have Kerne’s two main towing hooks. These are of the ‘Liverpool’ type fitted in the late 1940’s when the vessel came to the Mersey. The important feature of these hooks is that they can be quickly released in emergency, to detach Kerne from her tow. These have not been used in anger for some years and the numerous layers of paint have seized the working components. Stuart has taken on the task of stripping the hooks down and machining new pivots and pins so we are able to demonstrate the very important function of the hooks to our visitors.

Moving forward, quotes have been obtained for the supply of timber to facilitate the re-flooring of the Forward Cabin. We are keen to get on with this job if for no other reason than the Aft Cabin can become somewhat crowded on a cold day when there are eight or more souls trying to get seated and the ship’s dog (Max, Roger Dibnah’s lurcher) insisting on being in prime position sprawled in front of the lovely warm range.

Away from the vessel, we are very pleased to see that the Canal & River Trust are carrying out major works on the Weaver Navigation, which includes refurbishment to Marsh Lock (which gives access to the Manchester Ship Canal) and dredging to the shallower stretches. As Kerne followers will be aware, we have sailed up the Navigation on very many occasions over the last 40 years, but in recent times we have gone aground due to silting and other obstructions, making it necessary for us to rig an auxiliary pump to circulate the condenser. We have, on occasions, also needed the assistance of the C&RT’s tug to pull us free. It would be fantastic if we could, once again, sail up to Anderton and beyond unhindered.

That is all for the future, but in the meantime, plenty to do, so must press on. Who’s pinched my spanner!!!??









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