Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Maintenance Update (stamp, thread, align, action)

Wednesday 4th
Having made the special spanner for the top clack nuts, Bruce decided to stamp the size on it: ¾ AF. Not a problem, you would think. Well, the solidus (“slash”, to you) proved an issue - there wasn’t one in the kit. So, a number 1 had to suffice. But it was not happy at being used thus, and when Bruce hit it with the hammer, the stamp flew across the work bench, passing me (I was painting a boot scraper at the time) at infinite speed, smashed into the wall and dropped to the floor … behind the bench!

There was no way of getting to it other than reaching down the back. Even Gilbert’s arms were not long enough to do that, so I suggested dangling a magnet on a string. The stamp struggled hard to stay where it was, but eventually, Bruce managed to manipulate it into a position such that the magnet could take over, and the stamp was hauled up!

For the rest of the day, Bruce and Gil seemed to hide beneath the loco, which was outside over a pit, as it required a warming fire during the afternoon ready for service on Thursday. They were comparing the loco ~ tender pipe connections. Having obtained a diagram of how they should have been, B+G were now trying to fathom out how they could be rearranged to fit the diagram as closely as possible. I’m not one for following drawings - our loco & tender fit together, and all of the pipes work, so what’s the problem? Bruce did point out that as things are, we would not be able to use anyone else’s tender if we had to take ours out of service, nor would anyone hire our tender if it wouldn’t fit their loco.

There were a number of boot scraper chairs in the production line that required the lettering painting on them, so I started the day by doing that.

Once John G had arrived, we decided to turn our attention to the ATC conduit once more. We fitted it all along the loco side, from the front as far as the cab. This enabled us to play with the front curved section and decide how to tackle it. In the original, the pipe bends under the running board at the front of the loco, to cross to the centre and reach the shoe mechanism that triggers the bell or horn. We don’t have that shoe - it is not feasible to fit them these days, because they prevent the loco from being loaded onto a lorry - they hit the ground! So, John suggested simply cutting our pipe off immediately after it turns left to head under the running board.

John is seen here forming a thread on one end of the front section, with Mike filing off the burr on
the other end. The loco is to be in service on all of our working days this month, so we shall now
check the joints in the conduit; clean and paint it, and then we can fit it on at the beginning of June.
Once the main run is in situ, we can see how the rear section that we do have can be modified to fit
our loco!

Friday 6th
I was volunteered to light a warming fire in 4270. The actual lighting of the fire takes just minutes …
it’s everything else that takes the time! Firstly, you verify that the loco is OK to be used. Then you
check things like water level in the boiler; that no leaks are visible (from plugs, stays, superheater);
that mudhole doors are secure; and the state of the grate and the smokebox. In 4270’s case, the
smokebox was full of ash and the firebox full of clinker! In each case, there’s no option but to
clamber inside and clear it out. That took an hour! Checking that all controls are ‘safe’ (e.g. reverser
in mid-gear; blower off; handbrake on; dampers closed; drain cocks open; etc., etc.) only takes a few
minutes, and finally you can lay a fire. A warming fire is relatively small - just in the centre of the
rear section of grate. A few small lumps of coal; a couple of pieces of wood, then rags suitably
soaked in paraffin or diesel. Dump the burning rags on top, and then pile on more wood plus a few
lumps of coal. Retire for tea and biscuits. Return to add more coal, and retire for more biscuits.
Once the coal has got going well, it is best to leave it for a while before finally banking it up with
anywhere between 20 and 40 shovels of coal - depending on things like: is the boiler already warm;
is the weather warm/cold; how big is the boiler/grate area.

MY [Loco Dept] did a spot of shunting, to arrange 2807 and 4270 over pits ready for the morning. The position of the coupling rods is quite critical to the driver being able to oil up the loco. The driver-side cranks should be at ‘bottom back angle’, i.e. a 45 degree angle between crank pin and wheel centre (green line in photo). Note the two corks (yellow arrows) that try to hide behind the slide bar mounting bracket and cause the driver to exclaim what a bother that is!

Saturday 7th
As 2807 was in service, no one but me turned up. So I went home again. Gil, Fred and Bill were
working on the siphon van restoration at Winchcombe. They have just one last double-door to
rebuild, and that appears to be all of the woodwork completed. The bogies need to be checked
over, though it is believed that they had been overhauled at Swindon shortly before we acquired the

Tuesday 10th
It rained, so I went to Todders to cut some wedges for the boot scrapers. I prefer to use the band
saw when no one else is around to accidentally nudge my elbow as they squeeze by!

Adey told me that the painters who are doing Foremarke Hall comment about how “tight” 2807’s
boiler is - that is to say: no leaks, drips or dribbles. Praise indeed from external professionals.

Wednesday 11th
2807 still in service. Only two reported issues:

08: L/H & R/H cylinder oil feed tap packing leaking. Nut at full adjustment. [This is on the hydrostatic
lubricator in the cab]. {Feed taps stripped down and cleaned; new gland packing fitted.}

09: LH leading tender brake shoe loose when handbrake on. [We were aware that the new brake

blocks did not all contact the wheels. The only way to adjust their fit is to heat and stretch the
appropriate brake rods - so we’re leaving them to bed themselves in on their own!]

Bruce continued his investigations into how best to align the loco ~ tender pipe connections to
match the various diagrams and actual locos in service. There is no single solution! Whatever way is
chosen, a large bracket will be required to run across the loco beneath the cab to support the pipe
ends. A length of angle iron was delivered today for that purpose. [A length of same rests at the
side of the scrap metal skip, too … and has been there for a couple of weeks!!!]

John G and I sanded and painted the conduit that was originally used to hold electricity cables for the ATC system.

Bruce later attempted to cure a leak in out drinking water supply - but failed. It is where
two hose pipes are connected by a short length of copper tube. The jubilee clips are not man enough to hold main water pressure.

Here are some shots of 2807 in action :


Monday, 2 May 2016

Maintenance Update (bolt, nuts, spanner)

Wednesday 27th
I decided to have another go at the centre left drain cock, which continues to let steam pass even when it is closed. I checked the operation and found no problem: the plunger works; the spring springs, and there remains a 1/8” gap between end of plunger and the operating rod when closed. So, I took the innards out and examined the plunger. There were a couple of shiny spots on the face; I did think there was a crack, too, but after cleaning, this appears to have been a surface scratch.

But there was one small section that was rough, whereas you would expect the face to be smooth all of the way around. So, I spent the rest of the morning lapping the spindle in.

That all went fine until I found that the spindle was in contact with the operating rod - there was no gap left! Bruce couldn’t understand how I could have lapped off 1/8”. I thought: “I wonder if anyone has fiddled with the drain cock lever in the cab?” Sure enough, a certain person (who shall remain Gilbert) had pulled the lever back to balance a tin can on top of it, catching oil dripping from the hydrostatic lubricator!

Gilbert had been taking out the sight glasses from the lubricator and cleaning them.

Later, Gil & Bruce took more measurements of the water hose flanges between loco and tender, with a view to David coming on Saturday to work on these.

Bruce’s first job was keeping his bottom warm measuring the spacing on the safety valves. Since Carpo had adjusted the valves such that they blow off somewhat closer to the 225 psi than they had been, the spacers need reducing. The rear ones (which had previously lifted at about 210 psi) need 80 thou removing; the front ones only need 25 thou removing.

John G was on chair painting duty during the morning, then he and I trail-fitted the conduit for the ATC. It did prove a challenge to cut a thread on these steel pipes, but we managed by about 4.30 pm. The conduit needs cleaning and painting, and then the main run can be completed. Still the two ends to do.

Saturday 30th
John T and Gilbert reamed and fitted the 4th fitted-bolt on the RHS rocking shaft mounting. The hole for the bolt has to be something like 1 thousandth of an inch less that the bolt itself. This means that it takes a lot of whacking to get the bolt into its hole.

Whacking the bolt from outside the frames is a problem, as lots of things are in the way. So, David made a gadget that slips over the bolt head and allows the bolt to be bashed on the head from outside the frames. Washers hold it in place on the bolt head.

David was in welding-mode today. The first task was to weld the nuts that hold the cabside number plates onto the cab sides. This makes it considerably easier to remove the number plate when one needs to. Otherwise it is a two-man job!

It is particularly troublesome on the driver’s side, because a panel has to be removed from the reverser to be able to access these nuts! David very professionally lined up the slotted screw heads (on the outside) such that the slots are all horizontal when tightened up. The reason for going to this trouble may become clear at the GWSR Gala, 20-30 May.

David also welded up Bruce’s special spanner (for fitting the top clacks). Once more, most professionally, David tidied up the weld to make it look the part.

Bruce felt that he’d been the gopher to David during the morning, and did a few minor jobs thereafter. Some days are like that - time goes and you wonder what you’ve achieved!

On the way to the railway, I called in at the local blacksmith and collected the short front section of the trunking for the ATC equipment pipe that he’d shaped for us. It needed its end thread cleaning up. Thereafter, I applied top coats to 4 crimson plus one LNER (Darlington Green) boot scrapers.

Other interesting things around the yard included the arrival of a class 20 diesel to be broken up. Very odd colour scheme.

[it's been working in France - - Steve]

Plus work on the yard water tower is nearing completion.


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Maintenance Update (clack, scraper, klinger)

Sunday  17th 
I took my grandson for a ride on the train on Sunday and on the way back from Cheltenham, 2807 ground to a halt … twice … out in the wilds between Gotherington and Greet.  Imagine my concern!  As soon as we arrived at Winchcombe, we went up to the engine and I asked what had happened?  It transpired that one of the crew’s hat flew off on the way down, and they were looking for it on the way back!  Panic over.

Wednesday 20th
Bruce checked the special spanner that he’s making to tighten the top clack valves against the clacks on Foremarke Hall and Dinmore Manor.  Although those on the latter had seen some rough treatment in the past, Bruce’s spanner head does fit them all OK.

It wasn’t practical to check those on 2807, as she was in service.  However, he did manage to clamber under and measure the diameter of the flanges on the water pipe connection between loco and tender. They are bigger than on the drawing (not much of a surprise there): 5” as opposed to 4¾”.

Thereafter, Bruce move on to boot scraper production … as did Steve.

John G started by applying a top coat to the 4 green and 2 black rail chairs in the production line.  He then moved on to tapping the new sleeves for the AWS conduit.  These fittings are a shade tight on the pipe ends, possibly because they are galvanised, which has coated the threads.  So, they needed a tap running through them to make them fit.  At the end of the afternoon, John moved back into boot scraper production, applying black to fresh bottoms.

I messed around with rail chairs, too: needle gunned a couple; wire-brushed a couple; cuts bolts of several chairs.  P-Way had delivered another pile recently - mostly GWR ones.  Some, however, are “ought-ought” chairs for 97½ lb rail, which are really too heavy for boot scrapers.  So, unfortunately I had to dump those in the skip.  I did notice that one GWR chair seemed to have a date in 1900 and a manufacturer of PNB.  I’ll be able to confirm once it’s cleaned up.  This acronym means nothing to me - does it to you?

2807 is resting on Thursday and Friday, and back in service for the weekend.  She is out of use then to the end of April; Thereafter there is no loco roster posted.

On the Issues Log, the following are recorded:

06: Tender and Loco brakes adjusted.  We did that and we logged it as done.
07: Top gauge frame klinger blowing. No adjustment left.  I had noted a fizz from the top valve of the gauge frame when lighting the warming fire last week.
08: Left-hand/right-hand cylinder oil feed tap passing, leaking. Not at full adjustment.  That’s on top of the hydrostatic lubricator; it’s a selector for which condensing coil to use.

Clive [Loco Dept] also mentioned that the centre left drain cock is still leaking steam.  Gilbert thinks the spring might be too weak.  We’ll have to take another look.

Photo courtesy of Steve Price


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Maintenance Update (snow, TPO, BSP, AWS)

Wednesday 13th
With 2807 still in service, there was little to do but boot scrapers (again). There was only Bruce, Gilbert and myself here, today. Gil spent some time searching through drawings. I think he was looking for pipe arrangements twixt loco & tender.

4270 had broken a spring. The new one didn’t quite fit at the ends. There’s a hanger that fits between two forks, and it didn’t quite go in its slot correctly. Bruce lent the guys our large angle-grinder, for them to widen the gap.

Apart from that, we all worked on boot scrapers. I did some painting and finishing; Bruce set about cleaning more rail chairs; and Gil had the privilege of painting bottoms black.

Gil then dashed off and cadged a ride on the footplate down to Cheltenham and back. Bruce & I wrapped up and went home.

Friday 15th
I was on light-up duty. I arrived at Todders just after 3pm, and 2807 still had 15 psi “on the clock” after the Fire & Drive on Thursday. The pre-light-up checks went OK. A couple of mud-hole door nuts were loose (which is commonplace). There’s a fizz from the top of the gauge frame, which we were aware of - the valve needs re-packing. There is also a fizz, gurgle and drip from the blower ring (in the smokebox). This implies that the blower valve is letting steam by, which is surprising because Bruce put a lot of effort into getting the seat near perfect.

It was a tad warm inside the firebox, as I raked out the clinker and ash. Indeed, there was still 10 psi as I lit the fire at 4pm. I tentatively banked up the fire at 6.30 pm, hoping to get a balance of keeping the boiler hot, but not raising steam in the middle of the night.

Saturday 16th
We had a snow storm during the morning, between 7am and 9 am.

And my fire was clearly OK, because 2807 was making her usual storming departure from Todders.

Gilbert spent the morning searching through drawings, particularly looking for anything showing the water connection between loco and tender. Together with Bruce, a butcher’s at other locos on shed simply showed that no two are the same! So, they are aiming to get as close as possible to a fit that would probably enable our loco or tender to connect to another tender/loco (as appropriate).

The snow soon melted, and left a few lakes around our TPO, so Bruce & I barrowed heaps of ash round and spread over the low spots.

It was great to have John T back with us, after a painful period of having a trapped nerve. He soon got back into the routine of painting rail chairs, though admitted having forgotten how heavy they are!

I had bought a bag of ¾” BSP connections for the AWS system pipework. They proved to be a tad tight on the old pipes, and though I did clean up the threads on the pipe ends with a die (bottom of photo), the new sleeves all need the tap running through them.

We all agreed that there was little we could do; it was not warm, today, and there is a reasonable stock of boot scrapers, so John & I toddled off; Bruce went to watch 2807 depart (again), and Gil cadged a lift to Winchcombe on her … again!


Saturday, 9 April 2016

Maintenance Update (heating, conduit, block)

Wednesday 6th
With 2807 still in service, there was little to do but boot scrapers. But Bruce did take advantage of the lunch-time lay-over at Toddington, and check out a few things:

We were convinced that no one had set the Mason’s Valve (for steam heating) to a correct pressure. After fitting a new diaphragm within it, it does need testing & setting (which can only be done when in steam). So, Bruce checked that. Sure enough, crews had been ignoring the valve and just turning steam on/up/down using the on/off handle! Bruce set that to roughly 35 psi. The relief valve blows at 40 psi, anyway.

Concerning the audible hum from the pony wheels, Bruce examined the axleboxes - barely warm; underkeeps - not moved & not rubbing on anything; tyres are shiny down the centre (so pony is no longer drifting sideways). What he could see, was faint score lines across the width of the tyres. Almost certainly caused by “chatter” when they were machined. This could well be the cause of the hum. We listened as 2807 passed by, and Bruce reckons that the hum is still there, but fainter than it was. The net conclusion being that no action is necessary. The imperfections in the tyre surface will wear away on their own.

Skip to Saturday: Photo shows the LHS pony wheel. The jitter in the cutting is now clearly visible. It is largely worn away down the centre, which shows that the pony is running centrally now (thank goodness!).

Back to Wednesday: Bruce and I cleaned up 5 rail chairs (including an LMS and an LNER), whose bottoms John G subsequently painted black. John also applied Deproma (primer) to the top of three chairs from last Saturday.

John & I examined the AWS conduit at the front of 2874. We found that the front section is consistent with 2807’s. We don’t have the very front part, between detector shoe and the side conduit, but we were able to make a template from 2874’s. We have a spare piece of conduit that can be bent to shape, so I popped in at Dan (the blacksmith) to see if he can do that for us.

Over lunch, we mused about 2807 possibly being the longest serving GWR loco that is still extant. Running from October 1905 until March 1963 (nearly 58 years), is there any other GWR loco that could have been in service for longer? We thought not! It would have to have been “born” pre-1909 … but it turns out we were not quite right:-

  • 2516: Dean Goods, built at Swindon in March 1897, withdrawn in May 1956 = 59 years!
  • 2818: built December 1905, withdrawn October 1963 = 58 years;
  • 3440: City of Truro, built May 1903, withdrawn June 1948 = only 45 in GWR/BR service;
  • 4003: Lode Star, from 1907 to 1951;
  • 9017: Earl of Berkeley was not actually (re-)built as such until 1938, so that doesn’t count!

Saturday 9th
2807 was out of service so that we could have a play. Bruce & Gil decided to examine the brakes. Those on the loco needed adjusting a little - which they did. The tender then took up the rest of the day! Two problems: The centre LHS brake block was jammed in its hanger, and not free to swing (as it should); the new brake blocks appeared to be scoring the tyres.

Gil ground off some of the heel of the errant brake block, to make it fit freely in its hanger. Our tender has 3 different sorts of hanger, the middle ones (both sides) are narrower than the rest.

There is a visible score line which we thought might have been caused by the new brake blocks not having been profiled to match the tyres. The blocks came square; tyres are not! However, we cannot prove that this is the cause. It would really make sense to ensure that blocks are profiled in future. It is impractical to profile them by hand - using an angle-grinder, for example!

How many people does it take to fix a brake problem?

Meanwhile, I busied myself with boot scraper manufacture most of the day. I did take a butcher’s at the AWS conduit, again.

The curved section ahead of the pony we do not have. I have asked the blacksmith to make us one.

The bit that we do have for connecting to the bell in the cab … is clearly not from 2807! It doesn’t reach.

2807 is now scheduled to be in service Tuesday 12th to Thurs 14th; then Sat & Sun 16/17; and then for the 40s weekend on 23/24th April.


Saturday, 2 April 2016

Maintenance Update (valves, damper, hum)

Wednesday 30th
Graham B [Loco Dept] volunteered to raise & tend 2807’s fire. I thought it was to be a warming fire, but Carpo wanted to set the safety valves to something closer to 225 psi than the 200 at which they have been lifting. So, late afternoon, there was considerable noise, as the valves were lifted followed by Carpo tightening them down; then they lifted again and he tightened them down; etc. Finally, they are now set to lift at 222 psi (though they do ‘feather’ from about 210 psi).

Carpo removed the spacers from the safety valves. They will need reducing to match the actual settings.

During the calmer periods, Graham was assisted by Alex [Loco Dept] in cleaning various parts - the tender, while I was fiddling with it!

Gil started by removing the panel on the side of the reversing lever frame, to see how easy it is to access the nuts that hold the number plate on (on the driver’s side). It’s easy!

Then Gil & I looked at the tender grease nipples, which had caused some concern. I removed all six nipples; cleaned them, and refitted them. In doing so, I discovered that the driver-side rear one had stripped its thread, and cannot be tightened. As a short-term solution, I wrapped some PTFE around the thread. Still not tight, but will have to do for now. The alternative is to drill & re-tap the hole to a larger size and either fit a sleeve or an adapter to bring it back to standard size.

John G began by applying a top coat to the 8 rail chairs that I had cleaned last Saturday (and subsequently applied a primer coat on Monday). I moved on to cleaning 3 more chairs, as the F&W had sold 5 boot scrapers over Easter. By the end of play, John had painted 5 green, 3 crimson and 3 black bottoms.

I had acquired a tad more conduit, and during the afternoon, John G persuaded John H [Loco dept] to apply some heat to the seized connections. This was 100% successful, and all of the sections are separated and the sleeves & nuts freed.

Gil clambered underneath (we’re over a pit) and checked the front damper, that he had noticed cinders falling from last week. The damper closes properly. It would have been open when in use, and you can’t stop cinders dropping out then. Whilst below, Gil checked the taper pin in the drain cock mechanism. David had well and truly persuaded that to stay in place … and it has. He also looked at the water connection twixt loco & tender, as we have a “proper” connection (as opposed to a plain pipe) that we shall fit when time permits. Finally, back up on top, Gil noticed that a patch of bitumen had been worn off the back section of the tender, possibly through coal falling onto it, so he patched that up.

No 5542 has performed her last duty of its present contract for the GWR today. She’ll be collected on Sunday evening.

Thursday 31st
Some of us just couldn’t keep away!

2807 approaching Winchcombe station

Rolling into Platform 1 at Winchcombe

“Right Away” and 2807 eases away from Winchcombe station beneath Greet road bridge

Friday 1st April
I was out for a bike ride (touched 45.7 mph down Snowshill!) and passed through Didbrook. There is a blacksmith, here, who has made a couple of brackets for the AWS conduit, so I picked them up. Didbrook is close to where Hailes Halt will be built later this year.

When 2807 first came into service, we had a full set of fireman’s irons made by this blacksmith. They must have been well made because several of them have mysteriously disappeared!

Anyway, his name is Dan Prendergast:
0798 308 1708; or 01 242 621 290.

Saturday 2nd
Not a great deal to do, with 2807 not standing still for long. However, on Wednesday, John G had heard a hum that sounded as though it might be coming from the pony truck. It was reported quite independently, that a “squeal” appeared to come from the pony. So, as 2807 pulled away from Toddington this morning, Bruce, Gil & I all stood listening intently. No squeal, though Bruce detected a hum. We listened again the next time, and even Neil (signalman) heard the hum. It sounds almost like a harmonic caused by marks or dips on the wheels. Curious! Hopefully it will cure itself. Brian visited us, and so went on the footplate to see if he could find out any more about the hum. Negative - but there was nothing warm that shouldn’t be.

Gil & Bruce had a butcher’s under various tenders to see how they had arranged their water connections twixt loco & tender. All different! We have the connectors, so will replace our straight-fit pipe ends with a correct one.

Gil buzzed off to Winchcombe, and Bruce decided to look at other locos’ clacks. He’s making a special spanner to fit the square nuts; one that can be whacked to tighten them. Guess what … here are the sizes of the across-flats of the nuts:

2807: 0.820 inch
5542: 0.835
7820: 0.750
7903: 0.745
4270: 0.687

So Bruce has decided to make one for ¾” and then reduce those on 2807 to match. That way, his spanner will at least fit three engines!

I played with boot scrapers, again.

2807 is now in service this weekend plus Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week. Nothing is rostered beyond that yet.

On Monday 4th April P&O is scheduled to run up & down between Toddington and Winchcombe (provided someone remembers to tell the Winchcombe signalman!) for running-in trials.


Saturday, 26 March 2016

Maintenance Update (blow down, AWS, flange, paint)

Wednesday 23rd
Not a lot to do today. Gil has made a short list of things to look at when we’re over a pit … which we were not. The more important thing that we could do was to test-fit the exhaust pipe from the blow-down valve. Blow-downs are only performed when untreated water is used in the boiler, so we have no need to do one at GWSR. But if we go to other railways, we may have to blow out the salt-laden water.

Bruce had fabricated a template thin pipe for Carpo to use as a guide. Carpo has now configured the real pipe to match the template. John G and I tested its fit. It has to meander through various linkages and pipes, and avoid the vacuum cylinder ... and not foul the damper mechanism …

We bolted the flange in place; arranged the pipe in its best position, and marked the pipe and flange. Carpo came and inspected our efforts, and we all decided that it was as good as it could get!

The flange will now be brazed on, and the tail of the pipe will need angling at about 30 degrees to ensure that the exhaust steam is directed into a pit. A jet of water squirting out with 200 psi behind it, and instantly flashing to steam, would be a tad too exciting if it were not directed into a (clean) pit!

Thereafter, John & I played with some conduit, test fitting it on the loco.

We have a few pieces (two long pieces that do appear to be off 2807), but some is missing and others are not from our loco! There’s a ten-foot gap to fill (but I think I know where there is such a length sitting idle); plus the front section that turns under the front of the loco, and a jigsaw at the back. We have a rear section, but it is clearly not from 2807. It has a useful bend to match our frames, but then goes too far backwards, and misses the battery box by almost two feet. However, it can be modified to suit. There’s a pipe comes down from the AWS box in the cab and T’s into the long conduit. The conduit then feeds down into the battery box. So, I think we can complete it!

Mike W joined us at lunchtime, and he cleaned up some of the conduit sections. John spotted where someone had chipped his beloved paintwork, and touched up a few places on the loco. A couple of handles in the cab then received treatment to polish them up and brush off the rust.

Gil, Fred and Bill were working in the siphon van at Winchcombe. There is another pair of doors that they are overhauling. One of the pair is in relatively good condition, but the other … well, it looked to me as though it would be a throw-away job! But they are happy in their work.

Saturday 26th

The weathermen promised rain, particularly for the afternoon, but boot scraper stocks are very low. No option but to soldier on and clean up some rail chairs despite the weather. Actually, there was no serious rain until 3.30, by which time I had cleaned 8 chairs. Black bottoms abound!

Bruce & Gil spent the day playing with the blow-down pipe. Somehow, my markings on the pipe to line the flange up correctly had disappeared. So, it had to be done again. As I was the most flexible of us, I stuck my head down the hole (under the shovel plate in the cab) and marked the flange and pipe again (in a different colour). Bruce brazed the flange in place, and the subsequent test-fit was spot on. There’s not exactly a wealth of room below the cab - photos will perhaps demonstrate:

Bruce fluxing the end

Flange brazed in place

This photo is peering down through the hole in the cab floor, directly below the firehole. See how the pipe has to bend sharp left to avoid the vacuum cylinder.

This one is taken just in front of the cab steps.

Subsequently, the pipe was shortened by about 2” and bent inwards slightly to be sure to eject steam into a pit.

When the boiler is empty, the blow-down valve pipe can be used to fill the boiler, so we needed to cut a bit more off the end, as it almost touched the ground.

On Wednesday, 2807 should be out and over a pit, as she is scheduled to enter service on Thursday 31st. That will give us a (brief) chance to look underneath. There are a couple of minor things that require attention. Gil has made a list, thus:

  • Front damper: cinders had been seen to have fallen through during last week’s trials;
  • Tender nipples: grease does not appear to have been applied to the nipples on the tender for quite some time; *
  • Number plate fixing: it would make life easier if nuts were welded on the inside of the cab, otherwise it’s a two-man job just fitting/removing cabside number plates;
  • Rocking shaft fitted bolt: there’s one left to do;
  • Taper pin in drain cock linkage: the loose pin needs replacing with a new one.
* I believe that we should take responsibility for greasing (and possibly some oiling) of places that are not necessarily common to other locos. The drivers will happily fill up oil pots, on a day-to-day basis, but may not think to grease bearings that maybe only need doing periodically. I believe that we should undertake a routine oil/grease on a monthly basis, because we have experience of knowing what needs doing, where, and how often.


Saturday, 19 March 2016

Maintenance Update (grease, valve, clack)

Wednesday 16th
I’d had this great idea to give volunteers, especially the newer ones and those who have helped with 2807 over the winter, a free ride on the footplate. You see, we have race trains this week, and 2807 is on standby (i.e. in light steam). Also, there is nothing happening between about 1pm and 3pm while races are on and our trains are idle. So, I spoke with all of the key people at GWSR and obtained authorisation to operate 2807 between Toddington and Winchcombe. Jeff and Ben volunteered to crew the engine, and we did most of the prep. Roger Tipton [Loco Dept] lit & tended the fire.

Not everything went to plan! There were not many volunteers at Toddington - whether they figured little would be there for them to work on, or whether they were working on race trains/marshalling/etc., I know not. Furthermore, by virtue of assumptions made, no one actually advised the signalmen … so he at Winchcombe knocked off and closed the box!

Nevertheless, half a dozen chaps did get a number of rides up & down the running line at Todders - including the two chaps (Keith & Graham) in the workshop, who only see the light of day when they arrive & go home!

Gil, aided by Phil [Loco Dept], dug through the muck and uncovered the grease points - which look as though they had not been greased for many a month! This raises a concern, that crews may not all be familiar with grease points (or perhaps even oiling points) on all locos that they may be asked to work on. I think that we would be well advised to undertake an all-round greasing once per month, regardless of whether crews have or have not.

Bruce oiled up. He was delighted to see that the pony underkeeps were still full to the brim! He checked the injectors - no leaks; he checked the pep pipe - no leaks; and he was most happy about the clack valve.

John G was painting the chairs in the boot scraper production line. He did get a ride on the loco, but also took an unnecessary walk to Hailes … hoping to video the loco between Todders and Winchcombe … that was before we discovered that Winchcombe box was switched out!

Later, he had another go at polishing the driver-side number plate to get the last bits of varnish off.

We checked the pony wheels, and they have a lovely shiny stripe right round the middle of the tyre (phew!). We checked the rocking shaft and nothing amiss there. The crew applied the tender brakes gently, in order to bed-in the new brake blocks.

During the preparation stage, we tested the steam heating relief valve and that blows at 40 psi, as it should (even though the glass has a red line at 60 psi). Unfortunately, the main safety valve blows at 200 psi instead of 225. We shall have to fix that, because it will confuse the crew if they expect 225 and only get 190 before the valve begins ‘feathering’. There is a very minor steam leak at the tender-side flange of the steam heating connection. It could be the weld, or possibly the gasket.

Alan came and carried out Portable Appliance Testing (on electrical apparatus) during the day. A couple of items failed because of poor cables; and I gave up trying to fix the inspection lamp.

Saturday 19th
We appear to have run out of things to do … so Bruce & Gil tidied up the workbench and table in the TPO. Things had been ‘dumped’ thereupon (as they do) … tins of nuts & bolts; tins liberally coated with oil; oil in a tray with a brush stuck in it; a nut that was going to be used …

Bruce is going to make a spanner to fit the clack’s set screw. These have a square head, and when you tighten them (hard) you tend to use an open-ended spanner and a mallet. But these spring and can also sprain. A ring spanner, however, is not designed to fit a square head; so Bruce will make a ring spanner to fit the square head.

He measured the width of ours (0.82”) and also that on 4290. Guess what …. Anyway, Bruce decided to make the spanner to standard size (11/16”), and (in due course) reduce ours to standard, too!

For those of you who have given up wondering what on earth a “clack” is, here’s a quick intro: It’s purpose is to deliver water into the boiler and not let steam out. The injectors force water up pipes around the boiler and into the clack box which is at the side of the safety valve mounting. The clack valve is circular and sits in a cage in the clack box. Steam pressure holds it down on a seat (that Bruce keeps lapping to get a very close fit). When the injector forces water through, the water passes into the steam space of the boiler and onto a sequence of trays that slope towards the front of the boiler. This allows the water to heat up and also for any air or solids to be released, before it is scattered off the trays into the water towards the front of the barrel, which is the coolest part.

Anyway, it was too cold to play on the loco, so I just painted the boot scrapers!