Sunday, 31 January 2016

Maintenance Update (paint, pin, pony)

Wednesday 27th
Gilbert made a flat metal template to the same diameter as the new bush, such that when the pony frame is heated (to expand the hole) we can gauge the size vis-à-vis the actual bush (without having to risk getting it stuck in the hole).  He also removed the front cover from the LHS piston valve.

John G went round painting things.  Cleaning and painting the pony wheelset took all morning and some of the afternoon.  There is also a rail chair that we have made to be set between the tracks at Winchcombe to tell the Santa Special driver where to stop, and John painted that in Signal Red.  Finally, he touched up the numbers on the buffer beam.

Just before end-of-play, John helped Bruce lower the loco frames off the jacks.  The frame has to be raised for the reamer to get through the hole …

… that Bruce was reaming all day long!  Finally, he has reamed it out to the required size for the new pin to fit.  Below this hole is the one in the pony  frame that needs a new bush.  To fit the bush we think we will have to heat the frame to expand it, because it has to be a tight fit, of course.

I decided to tackle as many small jobs as I could, because we only have 4 weeks left to get the work done, loco steam tested and ready to run!  I refitted the section of running board to the rear of the LHS valve (Bruce had noticed two bolts missing from it);  fitted the LHS front cladding on the cylinder;  filed a shade off the RHS running board where the rocking shaft arm had been clobbering it;  fitted the vacuum gauge (but can't fit the pressure gauges until they have been tested);

Bruce reminded me of a suspected steam leak from  the pep pipe (aka slacking pipe - in the cab), so I inspected the pipe twixt pep valve (in the cab) and steam feed pipe (from injector to top clack) and discovered that the pipe had been rubbing against platework beneath the cab.  So, the pipe had to come off.  There appears to be a minute split in the pipe, but Carpo says to hydraulically test it to see how bad it is; it may be possible to simply silver-solder it up (and then move the pipe away from the side!).

Saturday 30th
Today was tremendously successful - we really felt we had achieved something.  Why?  Because the wheels are back on the pony!

There were two primary activities converging on assembling the pony: finishing off the underkeeps; and getting the pony frame together.  David and John T spent most of the day completing the straps that hold the underkeeps up.  David had already cut these (4 of) to correct width with neat edges at home, and now these needed cutting to length and holes drilling in them for the retaining T-bolts.  Inevitably this was not trivial, as the bolts turned out not to have long enough threads, and David had to die-cut them to length.  The straps have to butt up to the four tabs on the underkeeps (to prevent the underkeeps from moving sideways), so getting the holes positioned accurately took time, too.

When they had completed that work, we could press on with pony assembly; meanwhile David and John tackled the first of four fitted bolts on the RHS rocking shaft bracket.  The bolt hole was reamed to within 1 thou of the bolt diameter and the bolt was then persuaded to go home!  This turned out to be challenging, and David recommends not being quite so tight on the next three!

Bruce is concerned that the 1/32 inch freedom ("slop") allowed on the pony pivot pin will only allow the pony wheels to lift by about 1.5 inches, which is a problem when being loaded onto a lorry!  Bruce sought the opinion of various oracles, but didn't come to any conclusion.  Further investigation is required.

Gil had ordered oil pads to fit in the underkeeps.  These suck up oil by capillary action and rub it on the axle journals.  However, we think the ones delivered are the wrong sort!  Gil & Bruce to sort this out ASAP.

Alistair and I began the day by moving the A-frame down to position it above the pony frame.  Then Alistair raised the frame and we swung it round to give access to the pivot point where the new hardened bush had to be fitted.  We then had to wait until Carpo had time to act as Lucifer.  It took less than 5 minutes for him to heat up the frame; Bruce slipped the bush into the hole, and with very little persuasion it slid into place.

Meanwhile, much shunting was required in order to get the pony wheels from Road 6 onto Road 7.  With help from various Loco Dept chaps, chivvied on by Clive, 4270 and Foremarke's tender were shunted out, and then a few of us pushed out the wagon (which is under restoration) to free up the Road.  The wheels were shifted across from Road 6 by fork-lift; deposited on Road 7, and rolled carefully down to the frame.  Ray O'H was hovering around with his camera, so photos of this activity may appear on the Loco Dept Blog next week (see

Alistair and Mike cleaned and oiled various parts of the axle; boxes and frame.  The final parts of the axle boxes were assembled (i.e. top cover and rubbers).  Eventually, they were ready to fit.

This is a bit of fun, because if we were to just balance the axlebox on top of the axle, it would (obviously) swing round and drop off!  So they had to have a pile of wood underneath to prevent them from rotating on the axle.  Alistair again was in charge of the lifting, as the frame took to the air.  I was steering at the sharp end, while Bruce and Mike were manipulating the wheel end. After much wiggling, jiggling and persuading, the frame did drop onto the axle.  Job done - almost!

Bruce compared the height of the top of the frame to axle centre with the drawing, and it appears to be 1.5 inches too high.  It has clearly been too high while in service for the past five years.  Nevertheless, we shall verify this measurement next time, and if appropriate we can lift the frame again and remove one or two rubbers.


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Maintenance Update (swage, reaming, rock)

Tuesday 19th
I popped down for a while to complete the four boot scrapers.

Wednesday 20th
Bruce brought in the piece of test pipe and the gadget he made to swage the end.  The new pipe has a much thicker wall than the original (top in the photo) so Bruce did two tests - one to swage out the pipe as is; and then he drilled out the other end to the same wall thickness as the old pipe before swaging that.  Needless to say, the latter was the easier to do!  However, The Oracle was not happy with the drilled out idea.  Bruce decided to make a Mk II (shiny silver) piece to make the opening out easier to do.

Bruce's other job for the day was to finish off the sides of the newly machines underkeep such that it slides smoothly in the axle box guide.  Basically, it was taking off the high spots.  Photo shows it in place beneath the axlebox.  We need the second one doing before we can fit the wheelset back in the pony.

Gil cleaned up the face of the RHS rocking shaft cradle - there appeared to be some minor high spots around the bolt holes.  Then he spent the rest of the day reaming out the one fixing bolt hole into which we are using a fitted bolt (to try to stop the unit from moving when the loco is in motion).  We don't have time to do all four bolts at the moment.

I removed the top cover of the LHS rocking shaft and inspected the cover.  With Gil watching carefully, I waggled the reverser to & fro to see what sort of movement there was in the brass bearings.  They only seemed to move up & down (caused by the lack of top cover plus the direction of force from the intermediate valve rod).  Dixie cleaned up the nuts, bolts and stud; I ran a flat file over the surfaces of the top piece and bottom piece to check for high spots, then Dixie and I reassembled it.  There had been no observed issue with this side in service, and nothing visibly amiss now.

Dixie has already extracted the studs from the RHS and cleaned those, which is why he was into cleaning the threads on that side .. and subsequently on my side.

John G was quite keen on painting the entire pony truck, but I persuaded him that the front buffer beam is more visible and in need of touching up.. John had a go at cleaning the paintwork but then decided that it really needed touching up .. which he did.

For a while, I had been 'bugged' by the fact that our AWS unit in the cab (kindly bought & donated by John G) is eye-catching, but not connected to anything.  We would like to have (had time to) fit some pipework to make it appear to be fully connected.  I had an inkling that the original pipework is on the ground beneath our TPO.  John had a look; then went looking at other locos, but found that no two are the same (surprise, surprise!).  So, he's going to look at the photos of 2807 in Barry to see if there is one showing the position of the pipes.

Thursday 21st
Gil & Geof went to Buckfastleigh (via Torquay to deliver a boot scraper) to collect the pony wheels.  Rob Le C had emailed:
"Hi Gilbert,
There is good news and bad, the good news is they are ready for collection unfortunately they went a bit over budget as the tyre width was way out of specification at over 6” so we have had to machine the front of the tyres as well as profile them therefore the final cost is £720.00
Hope this is ok".

They arrived back at Todders circa 5.20 pm, where Carpo and I were ready and waiting!  We unloaded the wheels (in the dark); packed up, and G&G drove the truck back to Winchcombe station yard.

Saturday 23rd
Lots of people here today (seven), all beavering away at something … apart from me!

John T cut the straps to width, for fitting beneath the pony underkeeps (i.e. to keep them up!).  David has taken them home to trim up the edge.

Later, John joined the team fitting the valve cover back on the RHS.

In the dark on Thursday, it was a 50-50 chance that the pony wheels were the right way round on the track … they weren't!  Adey S [Loco Dept] used the fork lift truck to turn them round for us.  Brian then cleaned up the pony wheels.  SDR had coated them with waxoil, which Brian removed.  He also removed flaking bits of paint from spokes and hubs; then he applied a primer to the outer face of tyres and the hub, ready for painting black next time.

Interestingly, the wheels have things stamped on them: 90T 75DG and PA4027.  The latter is probably a part number, and the former may be 70 tons pressure required to fit wheels to axle.  What's the 75DG, then?

Alistair measured the coupling rods again, as Gilbert had brought a diagram with dimensions on that were legible.  Alistair's measurements confirmed that there is too much play, and our rods are not quite (!) to diagram.  JC advised us to re-bush the inner rod end when we have time - not urgent.  Alistair went on to assist with the valve cover (it is a shade heavy and awkward to fit into place).  Finally, he assisted Bruce, fitting the little cross-head thingy for the RHS valve rod to fit in to.

Bruce began by fettling the underkeeps to ensure that their bottoms were not proud of the axlebox itself.  The straps must not be tight enough to force the underkeep to press upwards onto the axle, but must not be loose enough to let it waggle about.  There is also the need to make the "hole" the same size as the axle.

Later in the day, Bruce moved on to the RHS valve; in particular fitting new packing in the gland.

David spent much of the day with Gilbert reaming out the one hole for the rocking shaft bracket.  David had skimmed a shade from the rocking shaft cover, and these and their brasses now fit tightly together.  We decided to get four new bolts made for this bracket, such that in due course it will have fully-fitted bolts to ensure that it cannot move at all.  David finally made a jig for the loco-to-tender steam heating connection.  New connectors are being delivered (of a diameter that suits BR hoses) next time, and David will cut & weld the pipework to fit these.

I did little things, to little effect!  The electrical conduits on GWR locos for connecting the ATC shoe to the battery box and in-cab equipment seem to vary from one to another.  Gil thought there might be some of our conduit in the siphon, so I zoomed off to Winchcombe for a search.  There is one piece, about 10 ft long!  However, it gave me a chance to say "Hello" to Fred and Bill, who were busy painting pieces of wood inside the siphon.  Fred introduced me to Horace and Doris, the resident robins, who were generally keeping an eye on what Fred & Bill were up to!  Unfortunately, I hadn't taken my camera along …

David Moore writes:
" Fancy a private reg for your car?

‘2807 JB’ is being auctioned on-line by the DVLA but the reserve is £1500! Pass on if you think anyone else interested.

Check out to view."


Sunday, 10 January 2016

Maintenance Update (sand, spindle, bonnet)

Monday 4th Jan
Having failed to complete the sand box on Saturday, it irritated me so much that on Monday I trotted off to Todders and fixed the thing!  I drilled through the split-pin hole and got that fixed.  Then there was a linkage from there to the operating lever - again, a split-pin played up!  I got a new pin, cut it down to size and fitted that, too.  The delivery pipe was the last bit to fit.  Then I tested the whole mechanism, and it works (well, it left a little pile of sand on the rail when I turned it to 'open').  Enough for today!

Wednesday 6th
I didn't see much of Bruce today - he spent all day (apart from tea break & lunch) in between the frames, reaming out the holes in the pony truck bridge piece.  By end of play he has got the top hole to within 2 thou' of being perfectly circular.  We now need the new to-be-manufactured pin to be completed and delivered so that great care can be taken in matching the hole to the pin.

Gilbert & Dixie worked on removing the RHS valve and link rod to the rocking shaft.  The whole rocking shaft unit appears to move when the loco is in service.  This might be due to the securing bolts not being of the "fitted" kind; or it might be due to play in the pin that connects link to rocker arm; or play in the brass bearing of the rocker; or a combination of some/all these things!  So, it has to come apart.  Separating the valve spindle from its little cross-head was the first challenge.  That took all morning (because of a taper).  Then there was not enough room to release the link from the cross-head (because the slidebar bracket is in the way); which meant that the spindle had to be pushed through (and that meant belting it with a 'persuader'!), to push the link back to the frame and pull its tapered pin free at the other end!  All was achieved by end of play.

Bruce mentioned that the brass bonnet was only held on by a couple of bolts.  It had been fitted in a hurry by the loco crew - I can't quite remember why we hadn't had time to replace it.  I speculated on why all bolts had not been fitted … and I leave it to you to work it out from the photo!  :-)

While up there, I remembered that the safety valves have been reported as blowing off at 215 (instead of the correct 225 psi).  John had noticed that it is the rear one that blows at 215, so we aim to adjust the spacer before she goes back into service.

John G helped me take our display board down (from the car park), ready for it to be cleaned and re-done for the 2016 season.  Then John tackled the surface rust that had formed on all of the coupling and connecting rods.  He used wire wool plus oil to clean them and give some protection.

Saturday 9th
We set Brian on steam-cleaning things.  There were a couple of sections of running board that were really grotty, and I unbolted two more for Brian to clean.  Funny, though, there seemed to be more to clean than we had removed … the Dinmore Manor group spotted Brian with the steam cleaner, and started adding their own bits to his pile!

David brought two "dishes" to fit on the lubricators for the pony.  The original ones were of the wrong type- too small.  Bruce assembled one, but we didn't fit them on.

Bruce and John T spent much of the day examining the pony axleboxes.  John checked the bearing lubrication, and then assessed what material is required for two strips per box to hold them in position.  Bruce measured various components to work out exactly what needs to be done.

Adey [Loco Dept] removed all of the tender brake blocks with a view to machining up the new ones to fit.

Gilbert & David concentrated on the RHS valve, finally getting it out by the end of the day.

I began by removing one of the bolts that fixes the rocking shaft unit to the frames.  We think these should be fitted bolts, and they are not.  David & Gil discussed the best way to make new bolts to suit.  Brian removed the top cover from the rocking shaft so that the bearing shells can be examined for wear.

Finally, I went inside the firebox to inspect the nuts & rivets around the grate area.  All seem OK.  I cleaned these up and applied aluminium paint (750 degree heat tolerant), though there was no sign of the paint that I applied last year, so whether it does any good …

There is now a list of outstanding issues from the loco report card, most of which we shall address in the next six weeks.


Sunday, 3 January 2016

Maintenance Update (pony, bridge, valve)

Wednesday 23rd Dec
John G and I spent an hour or so at Todders.  John finished off painting the rail chairs in the boot scraper production line.  All I did was retrieve our socket set (that had been left out on the loco) and squirt penetrating oil over the nuts on the pony bridge piece (in the vain hope that it would ease them enough to be undone!).  Mind you, this entailed clambering up onto the loco and down between the frames … and then clambering back out and then crawling underneath!

Received a bill for fuel from Gilbert - so we know the wheelset arrived safely at Buckfastleigh!  :-)

Feedback from SDR on Pony Wheels.
Geof reports: "My understanding is as follows.

Rob Le Chevalier had a quick look at them and was intrigued; they are profiled to a non-standard, possibly an old T profile. The inside wheel-to-wheel flange measurement is slightly in excess of tolerance for main line running.  "They are scrap" were his exact words!  Just as well we have no aspirations in that direction.

SDR will work their magic to optimise what we've got.  They may not be exactly P profile wheel when they are finished but they will be perfectly matched.  We expect them to be ready for collection end 2nd/beginning 3rd week of Jan."

Now, I'm pretty sure that we have never removed the wheels from their axle, so back-to-back they are exactly as they ran in BR days!  We did have the tyres re-profiled, though, by someone who was operating out of the old Swindon works … in the early 1990s?

Sunday 27th
Both the Flag & Whistle and the Coffee Pot café had almost sold out of their boot scrapers, so I did a restock.  While at Todders, I painted the lettering on the four rail chairs in the production line.  I think we'll have just enough boot scrapers to get us to the end of the week.

Wednesday 30th
It felt like "one of those days …", seeming busy but not a lot to show for it!

Gil & Bruce pondered over the bridge section on the pony frame, and decided that it was not going to come off!  It would be too dangerous to have a flame under there heating the nuts - no easy escape route in case of emergency when laying on your back under the loco!  So, they attacked the oval hole with an expandable reamer.  Gil thus spent most of the day reaming away.  Progress was visible, but not completed by end of play.

Similarly, I played with the sand box mechanism, testing whether sand was escaping from the slackness of the inner rod, or from a poor fit in the bottom of the box.  Possible both!  Definitely getting between rod and tube.  I thought I'd try squeezing the tube across where the slots are in it, thereby reducing the gap at the critical point.  That appeared to be better, but the sand test was not conclusive at going-home-time; so it had to wait for the next time!

Saturday 2nd Jan 2016
One of those days where a lot of effort and not a lot to show for it!

Gil spent the entire day using the expandable reamer to open out the hole in the top bridge piece.  The reamer passes through the hole and starts then to work on the hole below it (at the same time).  It then passes through that hole and hit a beam underneath, stopping further progress!  We had to raise the loco chassis on the jacks, to increase the room between bottom of bridge piece and the beam.

Bruce acted as Gil's gopher, and chief expander of the reamer.  Gil thinks he's got two more days of this, yet!

Gil set John T on removing bits in preparation for extracting the RHS valve to measure its wear.  The diagram attached shows how un-straightforward this is!  At one point, I had to assist John by standing on a molegrip that was clutching the head of a round-headed bolt, to stop it from turning while John was undoing the nut underneath.

I messed around with the sandbox again.  It seems to me that the tube is not quite long enough to form a decent seal at the bottom.  So, after much experimenting & testing, I applied a dollop of silicone beading around its bottom.  With assistance from John, I got the sandbox back in place … but could I get the split pin through the hole in one of the linkages?  [Rhetorical question!]  Gave up and went home in the end!


Thursday, 29 October 2015

Maintenance Update (painting, lapping, braking)

Wednesday 21st
John T reports:
" I'll admit it, since next time you are in the TPO you will suspect it, that I was at Toddington today. I managed to clean 6 chairs, paint 8 bottoms and cut some bolts.
I felt I owed a visit, especially as I can't attend on Saturday next."

Saturday 24th
Fred, Dixie and Gil passed through Todders, but went on to Winchcombe to play in the siphon.  Bruce painted the rail chairs that John had prepared.  We're still a bit stymied regarding doing any work on the loco while she is on stand-by.

Wednesday 28th
There are three new issues raised (probably while on the Friday Fire & Drive):
58 [MY]: Steam heat safety valve blowing @ 30 psi.
74 [MY]: Handbrake 8-9 turns; needs adjusting.
75 [MY]: LH clack passing to pep pipe live when off.  {Sorry if I misread the shorthand!}

There is a valve on the steam heating pipe at the back of the tender, which is designed to prevent excessive pressure passing into the coaching stock.  Generally, GWSR limits this to 40 psi.  Bruce decided to tackle this.  He extracted its innards and lapped-in the internal valve, and then reassembled it.  Of course, there is no way of verifying the pressure-relief point when there's no pressure, so Bruce just tightened it a shade, and we'll see what happens when we next have steam up.

Bruce was going to help Gil with the tender brakes, but I arrived and took over.  There's a "bottle screw" under the tender that has to be turned to shorten the brake linkages.  It requires the use of a BIG spanner.  It take you all your effort to lift the spanner, let alone turn it!  Nevertheless, Gil & I managed to rotate the bottle-screw one whole turn, which reduced the number of turns on the handbrake to five (to apply the brakes).

Dixie passed by, having already been at Winchcombe.  He picked up a couple of electrical sockets for the siphon; sanded ten brushes for boot scrapers; and then buzzed off again.  Bill, Geof and Ray were all working on the siphon at Winchcombe.

Gil & I sorted through a pile of technical drawings, trying to put them into some sort of order and file them in Carpo's drawers.  A few of these drawings are not on the GWSR system, so Gil has taken them to get them scanned.

Finally, I applied stain to the brushes that Dixie had sanded.

2807 is on stand-by over this weekend.  Next Wednesday and also Saturday, we have to unbox the boiler and give it a wash-out.  The Boiler Inspector comes on Monday 9th.  Wednesday will be boxing-up the boiler again, and lighting a warming fire.  Bruce wants to get the safety valve off and lap that in before the steam test … on Thursday (12th).  We may then be in use on Race Trains that Friday & Saturday.  THEN we should be free to begin winter maintenance!


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Maintenance Update (reverser, shackle, meeting)

Saturday 10th
Bruce checked the issues log, and there were no issues from Friday's Fire & Drive.  So, there was not a lot to do.  However, Bruce did remind me that various crews had felt some sort of knocking from the loco.  I had heard a knock once, when walking along side as she was being shunted in the yard.  So, John T and I decided to clamber over her looking for "shiny bits" (i.e. where something might have been knocking or rubbing against something that it shouldn't).

Despite a good crawl inside & out, the shiniest thing we found was a rubbing wear on the right-hand lifting link.  It is clear that the bolt through the forward eccentric rod does catch on the lifting link.  However, there appeared to be a gap of about 1/8 inch.  We waggled the reverser; we heaved on the rods; but we couldn't move anything significantly.  There is a gap at each end of the reversing shaft, where there is a collar to limit the sideways movement.  Could this possibly move enough to cause the bolt & link to collide?  Bruce didn't think so.  Maybe it's just one of those things - when hurtling along at 25 mph, things oscillate and sometimes do 'high fives' with one another?  Either ways, when she's near to a power supply, we'll grind a bit off the end of the bolt.

We think that there is a need to walk along side (as I had done previously) and listen to where this knock is coming from.

Eleanor (not my daughter) had cleaned out the smokebox and the grate.  It was too hot to get inside the firebox and clean the grate properly.  The Wednesday gang will have to do that.

Bruce was giving Eleanor a lesson in vacuums as I clambered into the cab.  I distracted him, and we took a look at the copper pipe with a crack in it.  There was no pressure on the 'clock', though some steam would pull through the whistle.  Guess what?  There were drops of water oozing out of the crack in that pipe!  This despite that coil being closed off.  The consensus view is that the packing in the Y-splitter expands/contracts dependent upon steam pressure, and under little pressure it allows steam to squeeze past the on/off cock.  Once pressure rises, it seals.

Bruce investigated making a new pipe.  There is no point in trying to silver-solder the outside of a pipe that is under boiler pressure.  The ends of the pipe are formed (swaged).  We have the technology, but not the pipe.  I asked Gil to order some 1/2 inch thick-walled copper pipe.  He things it comes in ten-foot lengths.

In odd moments, John cleaned up a couple of rail chairs and chopped the bolts of many more.  I applied a top coat to 7 in the production line, and then did some tidying up of the pile of rail chairs awaiting attention.

Fred, Gil, Geof and Bill were all working in the siphon.  Geof & Gil were forming the joints (tenons) in the new door frame.  Bill was painting the metalwork of the ceiling.  Fred was doing something on the outside!  I was only calling in to get Gil's autograph on the cheque for our 100 Club winners.  But guess what I spotted … two LMS chairs and one LNER ….

Sunday 11th
… which are now in the pile at Todders.

Down there on crossing duty at the Diseasel Gala, I realised that (yet again) no one had put the cap on the chimney!  So, I did, of course.

Wednesday 14th
There was only Bruce & myself today.  We decided to try to fix the bolt (strictly, it's a tapered pin with a castellated nut on the end) that is making the shiny mark on the hanging link.  Bruce connected up the power - we had to run the 110V from the end of the pit down to the loco, which was well past the pit.  Then he read the notice that says not to use the 110V in road 8, so he had to move it to road 9's pit.  Finally, after covering everything with cloths, I was able to angle-grind a smidgeon off the end.  Bruce, being today's gopher, brought the red paint, and I applied a little to the end of the bolt and to the hanging link.  We'll find out on Saturday (after Friday's Fire & Drive session) if they still have a spatial coincidence problem.

Gil arrived, partly to deliver an invoice to me and partly to bring the newly-purchased adjustable reamer … and then discuss with Bruce the plan of attack.

Meanwhile, I painted lettering on seven boot scrapers and fitted a brush to each of six.

Gil buzzed off to Winchcombe, so Bruce & I decided to wend our ways, too.  Bruce went home … to do some homework; I boxed up the six boot scrapers and adjourned.

Today we had to say 'farewell' to a faithful friend, who has faultlessly carried out its duties for some 30-odd years.  Someone noticed that the shackle that has helped heave many an item up, in & out of 2807 is marked "for recovery use only", so we are banned from using it to lift anything!  So? … We were only "recovering" the valve rods from the cylinders …

Saturday 17th
Today was a 2807 Board Meeting (which means that little work gets done!).

Bruce & David struggled past us in order to get some jobs done.  They began by preparing and welding the seam of the toolboxes on the tender.  These had been coming apart for a while.  Having been spotted wielding a welder, David was then co-opted into doing some welding for Dinmore Manor!

Bruce move on to removing the flange from the out-flow side of our blow-down valve.  JC had asked to borrow this in order to make a pattern for it.

There will be a period of silence on the 2807 updates, because I am otherwise engaged for a bit.  Rest assured that I have not forgotten about you!


Friday, 9 October 2015

Maintenance Update (condenser, copper, breather)

Thursday 1st Oct
I popped in to Todders just to finish off the boot scraper ordered by Dame Janet Trotter.  John P [Loco Dept] was lighting up 2807 ready for the Fire & Drive on Friday.  We had a chat about the oil level in the RH big end, and he said he'd keep watch.

2807 Fireman's report from Friday 2nd Oct.
"Right Hand Connecting rod big end oil reservoir.
I spoke to Steve Oddy about the supposed problem prior to leaving the shed. We checked the reservoir at Cheltenham on the first trip and again at Toddington when stopped for lunch. There had been no excessive oil loss and the connecting rod temperature was normal i.e. slightly warmer than the coupling rod journals. This was the situation throughout the remaining Fire and Drive service. I checked the Connecting Rod oil reservoir during disposal and found that the level had changed very little. The big end temperature had also remained as normal. Looking through the drivers report cards I suspect a faulty cork had caused the oil loss problem.

Steam Condenser Coil.
This was interesting as it behaved exactly as it had done the previous time I reported it when on duty with Steve. In that case, as with on Friday the engine was "cold" and had not been in service the previous day. Anyway, overnight the boiler pressure was about 10psi from my warming fire. As the pressure reached 40-50psi a well-defined steam leak on the first bend in that coil could be seen. As boiler pressure increased further to normal working pressure the leak slowly disappeared and remained so throughout the day. I suspect the "T" cock is passing a little when cold. The lubricator working on the other coil functioned normally throughout the day."

Saturday 3rd
Bruce checked the oil level and it was roughly at the top of the restriction pipe (i.e. still plenty in the reservoir below it).

No new issues logged from the Friday outing.

Gil was here briefly, and painted a few bottoms…  Thereafter he scurried off to Winchcombe (as is his wont).

Bruce had been concerned about the lack of lock-nuts on the loco's vacuum reservoir (beneath the cab).  The studs are a tad short, but Bruce made one lock nut and fitted it.  There has been no hint of the nuts working loose.

Later, Bruce was diverted onto a 5542 problem.  Someone (not knowing their own strength) had broken part of its steam heating valve.  It had been silver-soldered back together, and Bruce got the job of cleaning up the carrot (i.e. the tapered internal plug).  Although he made a good job of this, when the valve was assembled and tested, the repair fell apart (at which point Bruce handed it back!).

As we have 2 orders plus a potential order for ten more boot scrapers, Dixie and I set to on cleaning some.  By 3.30 pm we were exhausted, having prepared 13 rail chairs.  Gil painted the first four's bottoms before dashing off to Winchcombe to play with the siphon.  Dixie finished them off, so we have 13 shiny black bottoms pointing skywards.

Sunday 4th
Bruce (who lives a stone's throw from the station) heard a familiar whistle!  It transpires that the 5542 had a bit of an issue: "Cab floor broken in two places", hence it was "red-carded" and 2807 came to the rescue.  This explained the puzzle of Malcolm R's photo of 2807 on the Sunday service!

Monday 5th
I popped in to complete a couple of boot scraper orders.  I checked the oil in the big end, and it was fine - not even dropped down to the level of the top of the restrictor pipe.  I also fitted the chimney cap - we'll have to have a word with the Loco Dept.  That's the 2nd time I've had to fit the chimney cap (that the crew should do at the end of the day).  Meanwhile, it had rained during the night (and the cap is partly there to prevent rain ingress to the smokebox, where ash + rain = acid).

Wednesday 7th
Gil & Bruce discussed plans for the winter maintenance … then Gil disappeared to Winchcombe (again).  Bruce then tightened up the balance weights on the driving wheels.  They are lead, and do work loose over time.  It's easy enough to threaten them with a hammer and force them to tighten.  They are not loose enough to fall off!

John G painted about 10 chair tops in Deproma (primer/undercoat); David M joined us after lunch and completed the final few.  I, too, worked on boot scrapers for the day (surprise, surprise).

During the afternoon, Bruce removed the section of copper pipe between Y-splitter and coil to see if we could see a split in it.  People have been recording issues about it since July.  Yes indeed, there are signs of splits on the rather sharp bend where it turns to fit onto the Y-splitter.

Following on from the above, there was one new (!) issue recorded in the crew's log:

73 [AM]: Suspect split in LH condensing pipe, where it enters T cock.  {This is the same as issues 54 and 47, and that Bruce verified today.  We can do nothing now; it will need a new pipe making.}

Thursday 8th
I spoke with SO today about our big end problem.  He's on 2807 for the Fire & Drive on Friday.  It seems there was a misunderstanding (a mild ambiguity, in fact).  It was he who discovered the cork with no breather in it, which he replaced … and the oil-loss problem went away.  The full fact is that the cork had a hole in it where there should have been a cane breather!  No one had noticed!  That's why it was losing oil.  We assumed that the issue 72 report "cork had no core" meant that it was a solid cork … but no!  The core had fallen out.  Doh !!!


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Maintenance Update (felt, small end, nut)

Saturday 26th
This was our AGM day.  It was good to see so many (mostly familiar) faces.  After the AGM, many of us took a trip behind 2807.

There was some discussion (in the TPO) about the loss of oil from the RH big end.  It really is a puzzle.  The oil pot has a vertical pipe within it that has a restriction through it.  Oil should splash around as the loco moves, and some will go down the pipe.  At the bottom of the pipe is a felt pad.  This should restrict the flow of oil and make the pot full last all day.  So, why doesn't it?  The decision was to remove the con rod on Wednesday and have a look at the pad.

I did suggest that replacing the cork (a plug in the top of the oil pot, which has a cane breather through the middle) with a solid one should create a partial vacuum and thereby restrict the oil flow.  This purely as a temporary measure until we could remove the rod.

Monday 28th
I went over to Todders to do some chair painting - we have two or three boot scraper orders that need progressing.  2807 was in the yard, and the RH side con rod was positioned exactly at the angle that it has to be when being removed.  The position is fairly critical, because the step gets in the way, and also the small end has to be backwards of the slide bar bracket.  This was either a stroke of luck, or a deliberate act by the driver - who knows?!  So, I took the decision to fit a Not To Be Moved board on the loco!

In this low position, the oil pot is easily accessible, so I filled it up.  Let's see how much runs out over the two day period.  The oil level can be expected to fall to that of the top of the pipe (but no motion = no splashing, so the level should not drop below that … unless there's a serious problem in the pot!).

I checked the Issues Log for new reported issues from Saturday.  Two:

57 [JC] LH lifting link top pin loose.  Pin tightened & new split pin fitted.  {Thank you, JC}

72 [anon] @ cork had no core.  Refitted cork.  Oil usage decreased.  Continue to monitor.  {so much for the solid cork test - driver spotted it and replaced it with a breathable one!}

The numbering is up the creek .. it was young Jon W's fault!  ;-)

Wednesday 30th
Gil, Bruce, John G & I (aided from time to time by Loco Dept chaps) tackled the removal of the RH con rod.  The oil level had dropped to the top of the restrictor tube (as one would have expected), so that gave no clue about why it loses so much so quickly.  It transpired that the wheels were not 100% perfectly lined up … we had to push the loco back by about 2".  This wasn't too difficult, once the three of us were pushing in the same direction.

The vacuum pump has to be disconnected first (because it is linked to the cross-head).  The big end came off easily.  The little end is always a challenge, and needs an extractor.  So, it took Bruce & Gil a bit longer to get that free.

Sliding the rod off was easy.  We then turned it over to be able to see the felt pad.  It was in place and intact.  We could see nothing wrong at all.  Nevertheless, it was decided to replace the felt in both ends.  I ran a wire through the constrictor, just to be sure it was not blocked.  It was fine.

Today was 3850's last day in service before its Heavy General Overhaul, and John G took the opportunity to ride behind as far as Winchcombe.  He was able to report that Fred, Ray and Bill were working on the siphon restoration.  They had completed the construction of a new pair of doors and were just making minor adjustments to its fit.  They have the wood ready for constructing the other doors, but will test this one in each place first, just to verify that the doors are all exactly the same size!

Bruce cut new felt pads.  These were inserted and then the con rod was fitted back.  Once again, it was the small end that caused trouble.  Getting the castellated nut lined up with the split pin hole took for ever.  It was either the nut being too slack, or too tight.  Some fiddling of the washer, nut, its castellations and the split pin finally got it all to fit together.

We are none the wiser as to why the oil should have run out so quickly (i.e. after each single trip), unless … did the driver realise that the level will fall rapidly to the level of the top of the constrictor, and then very slowly thereafter?  Maybe he thought that the pot always needed to be full above the constrictor top?  Who knows?!

During a couple of slack periods, John G and I managed to restock the Flag & Whistle (they having sold five boot scrapers) and do a little more on the production line.

2807 is on Fire & Drive duty on Fridays during October.  She's not rostered to be in public service now until next year.