Thursday, 30 November 2017

Anticipated Llangollen operational dates

We're expecting 2807 to be in operation at Llangollen on these dates:

Santa Specials on 2/12, 3/12, 9/12, 10/12, 16/12, 17/12, 22/12, 23/12 and 24/12

Winter Warmer Specials on 30/12 and 31/12

As always, subject to availability.


Saturday, 18 November 2017

Maintenance Update (Victorian, Winchcombe, lead, rain)

News from LLangollen
There are no more services at Llangollen until the Santa trains begin, in December. So, 2807 ran on the weekend of 4th & 5th November, but there will be nothing more to report for four weeks!

Rather than go on and on about boot scrapers , I’ll take a break until something of greater interest occurs. However, we have 15 boot scrapers “on the shelf” and more in the pipeline; the Flag & Whistle have sold 94; John got fed up with painting them GWR green, so painted one in LNER Darlington Green; and I’ve just had a phone call from Germany ordering a September 1946 one!

Bruce pointed out on Saturday that in the last update, Tom Peacock called 2807 “the Victorian cart horse”. But Victoria died on 22 January 1901, which was nearly five years before 2807 came into service! Edward VII was on the throne (maybe not literally) when 2807 rolled out of Swindon works.

Fred, Gil, Ray and Bill were all at Winchcombe working inside the siphon. They have just bought and/or refurbished some “door furniture”.

The inside of the siphon is looking very smart. Still some cowls to paint and fit to the roof. Some boxes have been acquired as part of the museum feature (being for the fruit section).

Saturday 18th
Bill was first at the siphon; Fred and Gil shortly after. I spoke with Bill because I called in at Winchcombe to search for a 9-46 rail chair (q.v.) on my way to Todders. Unfortunately, by the time I reached Todders, it had decided to rain!

John T was first at Todders, soon followed by Rob. They had opened up, and started before the rain reached them. John had to abandon needle-gunning because the rain turns the rust into brown soup. Rob pressed on with painting inside the container, but much to his chagrin, the combination of cold and rain caused condensation on the rail chairs which brought that activity to a halt.

Bruce decided that the angle-grinder (which had previously only worked when you waggled the
cable and got it in the right spot) needed a new and longer lead. That occupied him for a while
(especially when removing the PAT tags from the old lead to the new).

I get on my high horse about people using the trolleys as work benches, and Rob and I brought a large pallet into the shed and removed the vacuum cylinder parts that have been sat on the trolley for weeks onto the pallet. With the trolley now free, we moved nine rail chairs (that I had brought from Winchcombe in my car) up to our pile near our compressor.

Fred, Bill & Gil joined us for lunch. Then after putting the world to rights, we decided that the rain
really had defeated us. So we went home!


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Maintenance Update (Llangollen, coal, GWR, paint)

News from LLangollen
Graham B reported:
“2807 was on today's [Saturday 4th] service train. I spoke to the crew before the 13:00 departure. The driver said his only problem was that the regulator was a bit tricky: he found it difficult to get just the right opening saying that it was not smooth. This was probably more noticeable because of a lot of slipping on Berwyn Bank - this is unusual, perhaps we had the wrong leaves on the line for that stretch today. The Fireman commented on her being a strong a loco, but how hungry she was for coal and was concerned that there would be enough for the extra evening trip. Llangollen use coal from Eastern Europe and I reckon that while it is cheaper than Welsh coal it may have about 20% lower calorific value. I have a vague recollection that when we changed from Welsh coal it was very apparent how much more shovelling I had to do on 3802.”

One has to remember that the crews tend to be different on each day. Lots of people get perhaps only one go on the footplate. So, they don’t get a chance to become accustomed to a visiting loco with which they are not familiar. The comments from this crew are, IMHO, out of character for 2807. Also, it is most unusual for 2807 to slip - viz the comments from the previous report about her sure-footedness!

Tom Peacock comments: “Top day on the Victorian cart horse yesterday. Great to fire and even nicer to drive! I still reckon the 28’s are possibly one of the best suited classes for preservation work. They’ll ride happily at 25 and has more than enough grunt to do what you want with it. Top machine. I even like the colour.”

Graham sent the following “pic of 2807 just before the 13:00 departure on 4th Nov.”

Wednesday 8th
A huge “Thank you” should go to Bob Underwood, without whose inspiration and inventiveness we would have nothing to do while 2807 is on holiday! It was he who thought up the idea of boot scrapers.

We sold two today - and the railway is not even open!

So, John G, Bruce and I pressed on with building up the stocks (in anticipation of a Christmas rush!). There are two on the floor plus two on the bench with black bottoms; four in green primer, and two in red primer.

There are four in the van awaiting their top coats, and we have two orders: a 1937 GWR and an 1885 Midland Railway.

Meanwhile, Bruce had completed his homework, and brought the rail guards in for fitment. Of course, we can’t fit them because we haven’t got the engine!

Components, showing how the guard can be removed or pivoted easily

John “Green-Fingers” G demonstrates which way up it goes

… and where it goes, beneath the rear brake hanger on the tender

The purpose is to clear anything fouling the rails when the loco is running in reverse, to minimise the risk of derailment. In GWR/BR days, these engines rarely ran in reverse, so rail guards were only fitted at the front of the pony truck. Now that she goes backwards just as often as forwards, we are fitting bespoke guards to the brake hangers at the back of the tender.

Over at Winchcombe, there was a full complement of chaps working on the siphon: Bill, Gil, Fred & Ray. I’m not sure what they find to do, there. Isn’t it finished yet? 😊

Saturday 11th
Well, there’s little to do but press on with boot scrapers! Bruce, Rob and I took it easy, just moving the current ones forward in the production process.

Bruce is quite pleased with the success of mixing Deproma jelly with xylene to make paint again!

Our skill at applying paint to almost any object led to a request to paint the covers over the loco weighing equipment yellow. Doing this was spread over the week, to allow each coat to harden. There’s a black line through the middle, which shows the mid-point of the scales. This is the ideal point for the loco wheels to be positioned, though there is a tolerance of a few inches either side of this.

By end of play there was already a dirty footprint on the left one! 😒


Sunday, 29 October 2017

Maintenance Update (Coffee, Glenfarg, paint, welding)

Sunday 22nd
I had a message from the Coffee Pot café at Winchcombe to say that they only have one boot scraper left!

Monday 23rd
I had an email from Steam Railway to say that “Somebody has posted on National Preservation that she’s now due to stay there [at Llan] over the winter and will be taking part in their next gala”. Not so. She’s due back here at the beginning of January.

Popped down to Todders to pick up 5 boot scrapers ready to restock the Coffee Pot on Tuesday. Painted the gold lettering on four that are in production. Stuart was just packing himself up ready to go home, after spending the weekend at the Food Fayre, promoting 2807.

Tuesday 24th
Another email from Steam Railway asking if 2807 will be back from her Heavy General Overhaul in time for the Glenfarg Trials! Apparently, a 28xx went up to Scotland for trials in 1921.

(The content of external web sites linked to from this blog is not the responsibility of CSP Ltd.)
Another phone call from the Coffee Pot; They had sold the last one, so I had to zoom round and deliver the 5 boot scrapers to them.

Wednesday 25th
John G and I pressed on with boot scraper production. The Flag & Whistle only had two left so I restocked with 4 (of the 5 we had in stock!). Would you believe it? Some clever Dick had only tested one of the boot scrapers by cleaning his muddy boots on one while it was still on the display trolley!!! In any ordinary shop, he would be legally obliged to buy it! In this case, however, all I could do was remove it, clean it, and put it back on the shelf!

We had some paint delivered for use on the exterior of the siphon van. Although the paint was actually in the box, it wasn’t exactly all in the tins!

Bruce dressed our bench grinding wheel and adjusted the guard. Then he was giving advice to a group who are restoring the little Peckett. Its steps had been bent, and Bruce was recommending the best way to get them straight again. They probably need to cut them off, straighten using a press, and then weld them back on again. After lunch, Bruce went home to do more work on the guard iron components. They were cut for us, but need a bit of tidying up and the fixing holes need to be drilled.

By end of play, we had six rail chairs in green top coat and one in crimson, plus two waiting to be wire-brushed.

Here’s a test for you: One of the group of locos on the left is 2807. Which one is it? They are all GWR 2-8-0s

The photo comes from a 1980s publication called Heavy Freight, and the photo is credited to M Pope.

Thursday 26th
Gilbert received the following update from Llangollen:
“2807 has been running faultlessly whilst she has been with us. When she first arrived there was a small issue with the vacuum dropping off. We removed the pepper pots and retaining valve; cleaned them up and refitted. Since then we have not had a spot of bother from her.

All the crews have enjoyed being on it and I have already been asked numerous times do we have to send her back. She is a credit to you all."

Saturday 28th
John T & Graham B had gone to Llan to see/fire 2807 (respectively). Sadly, 2807 was not rostered because it was a supporters’ day for 5199.

At Todders we only had Bruce in action. During the day he progressed various rail chairs: moved six that had been top-coated from container to van for lettering; nail-gunned three; wire-brushed five, and gave black bottoms to those five.

Briefly, Rob (our new recruit) popped in to say that Gilbert had purloined him to work on the siphon van at Winchcombe, and then he buzzed off there. Later, he and Gilbert returned to pick up our welding kit. Apparently, he did some welding on the chains that hold up the shelving inside the siphon. Fred and Bill were also at Winchcombe, working on the siphon.

Re. the brown paint (see Wednesday) destined for the siphon exterior, Williamsons (the paint supplier) kindly sent us another tin of paint to make up for that lost in transit.


Saturday, 21 October 2017

Maintenance Update (Llangollen, grate, fayre, Carrog)

Wednesday 18th
Bruce helped Mike S and JC [Loco dept] in clearing some bits of rubbish into the skips. It had been piled up by the skips, so presumably it was meant to go in them!

John G, Bruce & I started up the boot scraper production line. The F&W had sold two, so they were restocked. Roger B [Loco Dept] came along to enquire about buying a boot scraper before he leaves - he’s moving house over to Lincolnshire. John sold him one!

I was needle-gunning. Many of the rail chairs are covered in a mixture of mud and grease that has solidified. It’s easier to chisel it off than needle-gun it! Bruce was wire brushing and grinding off rough edges. John was painting. At end of play, there were 9 chairs in the container: three are primed on top; six have been bottomed - some in green, just for a change from black! A tenth one is awaiting the brush & grind phase.

News from Llangollen can be found on the web:
There are 89 photos here:
A video at Berwyn station:

(The content of external web sites linked to from this blog is not the responsibility of CSP Ltd.)

As an aside: I train newies to light up locos. I tell them that even if there are burning embers from the previous day when you come to do a light-up ALWAYS rake it all out and start with a fresh fire. It is not always possible to get a super-clean grate under these circumstances, but you MUST get out the ash and any clinker as best you can. Vis. I quote from the GWSR blog:

“I was the rostered fireman on Wednesday and when I found 2807 on one of the pits, the fire from the steam test the day before was still burning on the back of the grate. The instructions for firemen say that you should always rake it all out regardless, don't try lighting up on it. I took the view that you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, and after a rudimentary clean of the dead ash, left it where it was and carried on from there. Needless to say, the back half of the grate stayed blacked out for the whole of the first trip and stubbornly refused to catch the fresh coal placed on top. I raked it through at the end of the first trip, lesson learnt!”

Thursday 19th
Rained all day, so I popped down to do a spot of painting. Paint still tacky from Wednesday, so couldn’t! Nor could I cut wooden wedges because of the sawdust it creates sticking to the tacky paint! Not a productive day.

Saturday 21st
As it was the Food Fayre at Todders, no one but me turned up! You see, we are supposed to park on the field adjacent to the station, and no one likes walking all the way from there down to the yard …

So, I was able to cut some wedges for boot scrapers using the band saw, without fear of being nudged or bumped! Once the sawdust had settled (i.e. after elevenses), I was able to slap a primer coat on six chairs and a top coat on a further three. The green primer was like treacle, and the red was mostly skin, so I popped over to the paint shop in Tewkesbury and bought a couple of tins.

During the morning, there were brief interferences from Gil & Stuart, who were manning a stall in the marquee. Stu bought two shrubs for the new flower garden.

New volunteer Rob was being induced today. He popped down the yard afterwards, but everyone had gone home by then (4.30). The weather was a bit grim!

Two photos of 2807 at Carrog on the Sunday gala from Graham Bondi:


2807 at Llangollen

No. 2807 is visiting the Llangollen railway for a few months.  There are videos on YouTube, and to find some of them, try this link:

YouTube 2807 Llangollen

Please remember, "The content of external web sites linked to from this blog is not the responsibility of CSP Ltd."


Sunday, 8 October 2017

Maintenance Update (coal, examination, compress, blocked)

Monday 2nd October
Rowan and I went down to prepare the loco. Andy Turner kindly cleared the grate of copious piles of ash & clinker.

Rowan gathered wood from the wood store; passed tools to and from Andy, and then set about sorting lumps of coal into the right sizes … by hand!

I carried out the “standard” checks - everything was looking very good. One mudhole door nut slightly loose; No sign of dampness anywhere. I cleared the ash out of the smokebox and finally laid the fire. Retired at 18.40 hrs with fire looking healthy and well banked up.

Tuesday 3rd
Gilbert reports:
“The boiler Inspector carried out his hot examination at working temperatures this morning and has passed the loco for another 12 months of operation.

Safety Valves were tested, the firebox interior was scrutinised, and the smokebox interior was examined. No faults were identified.

The inspector has amended the written scheme of examination in respect of the super-heater and steam pipework.

Plug no 33 which had been fizzing on Saturday morning showed no visible or audible sign of leakage.

The bottom mud-hole doors were all sound.”

Wednesday 4th
2807 was in service - last public service day for her here at Todders. Thursday is a Fire & Drive.

Issues recently logged:
38: [vacuum] retaining valve occasionally sticks with res[ervoir] @19”. Sorts itself out & returns
to normal. {Cliff mentioned this last week; JC has fed graphite into it to see if that unsticks it}
40: Wear mark on rear driving axle centre between ashpan doors. Ashpan rubbing on axle?
{Inspected. Nothing in contact with axle}
41: Ejector valve needs repacking as soon as practical.
42: Whistle deflector plate/cab shroud missing; whistle painfully loud in cab. {2807 has never had a shroud behind the whistle}
43: Vac[uum] retaining valve playing up - Res[ervoir] varies between 19-24. {This is a repeat of
38, above. Bruce suspects that it is not the retaining valve but possibly an intermittent leak on the
vacuum cylinder gland itself.}
44: Both piston rod felts slow to feed. Rod drier than preferred.
45: Left leading coupling rod catching on wheel @ crank pin boss.

Bruce and Gil spent the day getting ready for Saturday, which is also the only opportunity to split loco from tender and address any issues.

John G was wire-brushing chairs, a couple of which are most interesting. The photo shows a narrow 00 BR Swindon. His son, Jon, had brought these along for us.

Some paint was also applied. I, too, was painting the six in the production line.

I called in at Winchcombe on the way to Todders. Bill was painting in our siphon van, all on his own! The café had sold four boot scrapers. At the end of the day, I took four down to restock, and they had sold another one during the day!

Saturday 7th
Loco Dept chaps had immediately begun clearing out the grate, smokebox and ashpan. Furthermore, Luke, Stuart and Graham assisted us throughout the day.

Gil removed the ejector handle and inserted two more turns of packing - issue 41 fixed.

Gil, Bruce, Graham and Luke tackled the right-hand injector steam valve that had been seen to leak steam (though not a reported issue). It took them all morning to re-cut the seat, and even then it still had a couple of marks that they could not get out … the cutter by now being a tad blunt! Nevertheless, it was judged greatly improved, and was repacked and reassembled.

Bruce disconnected the water, heating and vacuum pipes between loco and tender, and I tied them up out of the way.

John T assisted Gil making an inventory of equipment that is going with the loco and which isn’t.

John, Bruce, Stuart and I loaded two spare fire bars and two spare springs (one loco; one tender) onto the back of the tender. JC lifted the springs using the JCB.

JC fired up the 04 shunter and squeezed us up against Foremarke Hall in order to compress the buffers between loco and tender, which is the only way to be able to pull the main pin out from the main linkage. The two safety links are easy to free, which will wait until Monday during the loading process.

After lunch, we decided to clear a blocked tube that the external examiner had spotted on Tuesday. This uses a flexible hose with brass digger in the end, all attached to our vacuum cleaner. I was inside the firebox probing the blockage, while at various times, Gil, Graham, Bruce and John manned the vacuum cleaner. You can hear the ash being sucked along the hose, but then every so often the end gets blocked. Sometimes it can be cleared by turning the vacuum cleaner to “blow”, whereupon a cloud of dust explodes from the end; otherwise a large piece of ash may be lodged in the end of the digger. In the midst of doing this, JC shunted us out of the yard and onto the loading road. The tube was blocked end-to-end, and it took all afternoon to suck out all of the ash.

Finally, Graham unbolted the bell housing beneath the smokebox (because it can get damaged as the loco climbs up the lorry’s ramp), and Gil was left to sweep the cab floor!

All in all, an excellent day’s work! She’s now fit to be collected 9.00 Monday morning.


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Great news on the steam test

Some excellent news today.  Gilbert reports:

"The boiler Inspector carried out his hot examination at working temperatures this morning and has passed the loco for another 12 months of operation.

Safety Valves were tested, the firebox interior was scrutinised, and the smokebox interior was examined. No faults were identified."