So here goes...
I've put Geoff's comments in white quote boxes - my comments are normal text. I've also edited the photography comments out.
Good news indeed. Yes I'd seen the bent con-rod - there's a picture on the V2 page on my site.There were some rumours going around that GA wouldn't be running again (don't know if you'd heard?). Anyway, I got the photogs I wanted of GA's tender detail - and met one of the guy's working on GA and who is part of the support crew when it's running (he's currently building a 5" gauge one so he had all the drawings and measurements) and he tells me that GA will definitely be running again in the summer on the Scarboro runs and is scheduled to run at least to the end of it's boiler ticket - for the next 2-1/2 yrs. They did find a crack in the cylinder block casting - a long time ago - which has been stitched and was not damaged any more in the conrod bending escapade (you should see the rod - it's a wow!! - or probably you have if it was out when you were there) so it will be business as usual, apparently.
And, since they now have a new Chief Mech Engineer at the NRM, there is new thinking and talk of GA continuing after the current tick et runs out, with a new ticket, so who knows?
I'd hear rumours that it wouldn't run - but they were the usual newsgroup rumblings. No doubt the same people who say that Flying Scotsman doesn't exist (all the bits have been replaced, alledgedly), should be stuffed, but really are jealous of the publicity it gets and just like being armchair naysayers!
I'd heard about the crack - and it all comes down to cost and philosophy of originality. In BR days, the solution would have been simple - replace the monobloc with three castings. But now she's a museum piece, it isn't quite so simple.
You say the D17 has gone? Over the past 8 months, I've been really impressed by how much they've been moving stuff around!
Eg. photos people have posted on the forums, pictures of engines elsewhere,etc.
Again, people complain about everything being up in York, but in reality a good proportion of the static collection seems to be on the road...
Yes I guess its true about them getting older and eventually won't be able to run. Already we seem to be seeing less of the very old engines in running condition - the Stirling Single, the Ivatt Atlantics, the D11, etc.I did take a close up of the conrod if you're interested - I'll send it anyway so that you can do what you wish with it.
When I was talking to Ian Sparks (the guy who works with GA) he was saying that, like you said - replacing with individual castings would be a way to do it - but, as there are no cylinder castings left (even if the purists would allow the original to be changed!!??), there are three ways of repairing the cylind er block problem:- 1) to cast three individual ones - problem machining patterns and the like - Mega expensive; 2) Cast a single three cyl block like the one on GA - problem same as No1; 3) repair existing block - modern technology and methods could get around this problem - still expensive but not anyway near as bad as the first two. The other problem there apparently is the eating away at the outlets from the cylinders into the smoke box with sulphuric acid (which of course comes from the sulphur content in the coal) and they do have a lot of problem with this.
There will come a time when the problem will be how long can these machines be kept running and how far do we go to do it. They must ultimately decide that they will have to have so many runners and whatever it takes to keep them running - I'm thinking on the replacing parts with non standard ones (three cyl block with individual ones for example), not cost wise - they will have to go down that road irrespective of the purists.
The museum do shift a lot around the country now, which is good - keeps interest alive.
It is good to hear that the guy you spoke to, talking sense - so many enthusiasts criticise everything the NRM do, they must wonder why they do it!