Sunday, 31 July 2016

Maintenance Update (siphon, files, heads, Dapol)

Sunday 24th
I nipped down to Winchcombe yard to take a couple of photos of the work inside the Siphon. As you can see, it is very much a work-in-progress environment:

Looking one way
Looking the other

The bench outside could do with some new drawers making for it.

Tuesday 26th
I was persuaded to do a warming fire in 2807 because she’s in service on Wednesday. Had to clamber inside the firebox and rake out the ash; ditto the smokebox. Lit a small fire and adjourned to the TPO for a cuppa. Packed lots of things in boxes while I was there, ready for the move. Our 20ft container is due to arrive on 3rd August. I have also found an alternative place as a temporary store (i.e. rather than the second-floor container!). It’s almost 8 pm, and I’ve finally got time for a shower!

Wednesday 27th
I briefly popped in at Winchcombe to discuss potential layout inside the siphon (when it is completed) and to pass on the good news: that I have found us a van in which to store items pending the completion of the siphon. Fred, John G and Alistair were all in painting mode.

At Toddington, Gilbert, Bruce and David were having a good clear out. They were sorting through
tool boxes and selectively ejecting duff equipment. David even took to testing every file on a lump
of metal! A bucket full of duff files subsequently bit the dust!

We had a discussion about the options facing us (re. the 20ft container and the van) and the
majority decision was that the container should be equipped as the workshop and the van as a store.
The container was preferred as a workshop because it will be closer to the loco shed.

I spent the day clearing rubbish out of the van, hoovering up the swarms of dead flies (actually, there
was one live one … plus a very fat spider), and rearranging the remaining contents to maximise

Loco Dept will provide a 240V single-phase power supply to the container. We may well ask them
to equip power points and light inside, for a fee. Our very own Dixie Dean will be busy removing the
wiring from the TPO (as we don’t want to let that go with the vehicle!).

Thursday 28th
I spent a couple more hours tidying up and disinfecting the van in readiness for a move of items for
storage out of the TPO and into here on Saturday.

Saturday 30th
Gil, Bruce, John T, Dixie and I dedicated the entire day to clearing stuff out of the TPO and preparing racking to be moved into the 20ft container.

Earlier this year, we had to buy 300 brush heads for use in boot scrapers - quite a lot of boxes to
move! There was a minimum order, you see. The FLA sales stock consists of quite a few boxes of
second-hand books. We discovered a large number of wagon plates and other railway related items.
Anyone live at house number 44? There’s a nice GWR-style house number open to offers! A couple
of large crates of model railway items were discovered. Dixie took one away to sort through for sale
at the next exhibition. We still have a few boxes of the 00 scale Dapol local coal merchant wagons
that we had specially made some years ago. Tombola prizes were moved, too. There was a pair of
boots, but the soles were obviously made of biodegradable plastic material, and they were all gooey
… Yuk!

Dixie and Gil removed all of the electrics from the TPO. Some of this will be reused in the 20ft
container. Bruce fitted a mortise lock to the van. John & I trudged up & down with trolley loads and
John also visited the skip on several occasions.

Everyone chipped in to clearing shelves and dismantling the shelving. We found lots of “spare” bits
of loco and tender.


Sunday, 17 July 2016

Maintenance Update (spring, skip, gas, wagon)

Wednesday 13th July
Today turned out to be a bit manic. You see, “our” TPO is only a loaned vehicle to enable us to restore the siphon van. The restoration has been taking place at Winchcombe, mainly by Fred, Bill, Geof and Ray. However, the owner of the TPO wants it back … in 4 weeks’ time! So, Gilbert had instructed Fred & Bill to come to Toddington and assist with clearing rubbish out of the TPO. All day, Gil, Fred, Bill and I dug into the “stuff” on and under the shelves. Much useless stuff was marched off down to the skip by Bill. Twice, my boot scraper making kit was seen heading towards the exit !!!

One bit of nostalgia was uncovered:

Sadly, this has now gone onto the pile of loco springs for actual use in due course. Dead paint brushes, empty boxes, filthy old boiler insulation, a huge length of unsuitable rubber hose (probably purchased for vacuum connections), nuts with no threads in, a coach seat bottom (used for laying on, on the ground under the loco) … they all went into the skip.

Amidst all of the chaos, only John G did any actual “work”. Somehow, he managed to cut, thread and paint the next bit of the conduit for the ATC. (The arrow is pointing at it, not at John!)

The item below didn’t go into the skip. But what is it? It has a brass bush; there’s a nut on the left side (as viewed); a sticking-out bit on the other side with a hexagon on the end; and it is stamped “L1 825”. Any guesses?

Saturday 16th
2807 was in service, again.
Only David and I were able to come, today. David spent much of the morning working on the lathe - that is to say, improving its performance: tightening, loosening, fixing; by the end, it was able to carry out a reasonable cut. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, David took away one small component to fix that. There would have been a possibility of a gear cog sliding out of position and making one of those noises that you cringe to hear!

I decided to finish the boot scrapers in the production line. We don’t know what the situation is going to be over the next couple of months, while we vacate the faithful old TPO and become entombed within a 20ft tin box.

Apart from that, we spent the afternoon clearing out more junk; donating welding items to the Loco Dept, and trying to organise material into boxes for moving. David decided that our 3-phase welder was past its prime, and unsalable, so that’s going in the skip (when we can move it - it weighs a ton!). We don’t do gas welding, so that equipment went to the Loco Dept workshop, too.

Following up John G’s remark that we (Cotswold Steam) own an open wagon, I explored the Toddington north headshunt - it’s not there.

Then on the way home, Geof and I scoured the yard at Winchcombe. Not there either. That means it’s in Hunting Butts tunnel! I feared as much.


Saturday, 9 July 2016

Maintenance Update (rivets, wheels, oscillation, conduit)

Wednesday 6th July
Let’s start by looking at the new issues that arose out of the mechanical check and steam test last week:
29: Boiler moves relative to footplate. {This issue we added because it had been spotted; and we played with the wedges last time to fix it}.
30: Bottom right hand superheater element blowing.
31: J cocks stuck. {They usually are!}
32: Left Hand leading brake block on tender loose on wheel when handbrake on. {It’s the new brake blocks - they’ve not all worn in to the same extent. No action will be taken.}
33: Left hand trailing axlebox underkeep bolt loose on tender. Bolt tightened.
34: Balance weight rivets loose on left hand driver / left hand trailing driver; right hand driving wheel. {See below.}
35: Additional weights on right hand & left hand driving wheels loose. {See below.}
36: Loco brake cylinder gland sticking; Tender brakes need adjusting. {We raised this because Bruce noticed it.}

So, Gilbert & I tackled the most serious issue - the leaking superheater element. At first we were not sure if “right hand” meant “as you look at it” (through the smokebox door) or “of the loco” (i.e. “driver’s side”). Carpo confirm that it was as you look at it. We could not see any sign of a leak. However, Carpo insisted that there was, so I belted the nut with a suitable mallet and spanner. One can’t tell if it did any good until steam is raised and the element pressurised.

Bruce investigated the loose rivets.

Sure enough, a couple are loose. Not as many as are loose on 4270, though! Quite how you can tighten these rivets is a challenge! It looks as though we’d have to remove the leaf spring completely to gain access to the back. Then heat the rivet head up, and use a rivet gun to hammer it tight! We opted to defer doing this for … ages!

But Bruce did notice that the small balancing lead weights were also loose. He was able to caulk these up. They do work loose with use.

It was Bruce who spotted that the piston in the vacuum cylinder does not fall down under its own weight, which implies that the gland is too tight. So Bruce reported it as an issue, and then loosened the gland a tad.

He also noticed that the tender brakes could do with adjusting again, as the new brake blocks wear in. Something that we spotted was that the brake blocks do not fit the wheel rims very closely. Whilst the blocks touch in the centre, they leave a gap at the edge.

It was as though the radius of the block is larger than the radius of the wheel! The blocks are marked 4ft 1½ inches; back to the drawings: well, according to our drawing, the tender wheels should be four foot one-and-a-half inches. Not convinced, I armed myself with a measuring stick and headed back out to the tender. Guess what? Well, Bruce & David checked on Saturday, and they are 3ft 11 ins!

No wonder the brake blocks don’t fit as snug as a bug! This is due to tyre wear, of course; but they are not ready for scrapping yet! 

Gilbert adjusted the slack on the tender brake system.

Apart from all of this, I painted some rail chairs and drained water out of our compressor (something
that gets forgotten until the compressor struggles!).

Saturday 9th
We had a Board Meeting, which took me, Gil & John G away from work all day. However, Bruce and David managed to do a couple of jobs.

Both whistles have now been lapped and fitted with new springs. David welded up a piece of
conduit that runs down from cab to running board. Bruce was told that the reverser rod (from lever
to links) oscillates up & down during motion - we had a complaint last year that the driver could not 
get into full-forward.

We determined that the reason was that the end of the slot in the rod hit up against the roller that’s inside the support mid-way bracket. So, we took the roller out! That worked, except that there is now scope for the whole rod to oscillate up & down. So, Bruce put the roller back in. Wait for the obvious complaint! To fix it properly means repositioning that support bracket, moving it forward by about ½ inch - which is a pain, because of drilling holes through the running board and welding up the old holes.

I finally found out “which” J-cocks: The ones in the cab on top of the steam fountain …

Here’s a J-cock :-

 … and here’s the welded & painted conduit:-

Guess what? Someone had a spot of trouble with P&O. As I understand it, while trying to set the
wheels at the correct position for the driver to oil up on the next day, a bit too much regulator was
applied, and not enough braking power available … so, P&O went through the shed door (without
opening it) and came to within inches of saying “Hello” to 2807.

Due to the fact that the doors won’t open until they are mended, we couldn’t move 2807 out of the
shed and over a pit, so that David was (yet again) unable to fix the damper door’s spark arrester.


Oh, and it looks as though 2807 will depart for the NYMR on 12th September; returning mid-
November. So, it will not be down here for our AGM (though the option of holding our AGM in
Pickering was mentioned!).


Sunday, 3 July 2016

Maintenance Update (wedge, shim, arrester, washer)

Wednesday 29th June
Pleased to see 7903 Foremarke Hall on the head of today’s train (rather than 2807!). In fact, 7903
and P&O are rostered for the week and weekend. Carpo did remind us that 2807 is on standby still
and hence must be left in a state fit to run.

Gil decided that we should investigate the apparent sideways rocking of the boiler, which is visible in
the cab when chuffing along. Suspicion was that the wedges that hold the firebox steady have
worked loose.

OK, so where are these wedges? … below cab floor level to the rear of the firebox, between firebox
and loco frames. By removing a floor plate in the corner (1), it was possible to see the wedge (2). It
couldn’t be lifted because it was obstructed by the corner cladding piece (3). There are four visible
bolts fixing this cladding to the backhead cladding. With these removed … it wouldn’t budge! There
is a fifth bolt (4) beneath the floor plate through which the damper levers (5) pass. The levers each
have a handle … which has to be removed before the floor plate can be lifted over the levers. Also,
to remove the bolts retaining the floor panel necessitates getting a spanner underneath on the nut
(6). That’s not hard - you just have to remove the shovel plate (7).

With all of these bits & pieces removed, this bolt (4) could be removed … however, the cladding
wouldn’t budge! It is wedged in behind the backhead cladding, but there is also an angle down the
front of the cab holding it in place, so it would have to slide upwards and outwards at the same time.
This was difficult because the ferrules around the washout plugs (8) prevented the cladding moving.
So, the ferrules had to come off. Finally, with much levering of screwdrivers (and the occasional
curse) out came the cladding piece. With access to the wedge, it was clearly loose. Bruce estimated that there was 1/8 inch gap. We gained access to the wedge on the right-hand side, and this was loose too, but by no means as loose as the left one. These don’t have to be hammered in very hard, as the boiler needs to move as it expands/contracts, but they should be tight.

Someone mentioned to Bruce that it is possible for the stretcher between the frames to fracture, which would cause the boiler to move sideways when the loco is in motion. Yours truly slid under the loco (it was not over a pit!) and examined the stretcher - no problems, there.

Back in the cab, it was time to extract the wedge for a close inspection … but we couldn’t get it out because it hit the floor plate support frame (9). After attempting to undo the frame nuts & bolts, and finding this an impossible task … angle grinder required!

With the frame cut away, finally, the wedge was extracted!

The decision was taken that a shim would be welded onto the wedge to fill the 1/8 inch gap. Gil & Bruce did the measuring, cutting and filing; John P [Loco Dept] welded it in place. Having just cut the floor plate frame, I shortened it a tad such that the wedge can now be removed/inserted more easily (!), and John P welded that back together for us.

As 2807 is still acting as standby loco, we had to leave it serviceable, which meant putting everything back together … except that time marched on, and the cladding didn’t get put back on!

While all of this was going on, John G was having a relaxing day applying paint to the tops of 11 boot scrapers.

Saturday 2 July
Carpo had performed a washout on 2807’s boiler. Apparently it had a fair amount of sludge - probably due to being filled at Winchcombe (which is not treated water). He took the opportunity to inspect the foundation ring (which is situated just below the fire bars in the firebox. There is still some of the heat-resistant silver paint on the rivets, and they all look in good condition.

When I arrived, 2807 already had smoke emanating from her chimney. “Blow!” I said [or some such]. I had a lighting-up training to give, and ours is the only loco in a fit state. Also, David was coming today to carry out some work on the dampers, which will not be possible.

David had brought the damper door spark arrester down, which he had modified at home. There is a box-shape within the mesh, and this used to get jammed up with ash, preventing its removal to clean out the ash! So, the Mk II version has a sloping box-section that should avoid getting jammed. He couldn’t fit it, of course, because of red hot cinders constantly or randomly dropping into the ashpan (and hence potentially out of the open damper door … onto him). Bruce demonstrates [left] the locating holes; it is because you have to lift the mesh off the lugs that caused the square box-section to jam with ash.

Bruce & Gilbert aided by David fitted the corner cladding back in the cab. Gil then decided to buzz off to Winchcombe and work on the siphon van restoration.

Phil Grange [Loco Dept] was carrying out an “A Exam” on 2807 after the washout. A couple of other guys were cleaning various bits, and Gil had shown one where & how to apply grease.

Mostly minor tasks followed. Bruce stamped “2807” on a couple of new spanners. David played with our lathe in an attempt to improve its quality of operation. He took a piece home to fix. Bruce & David decided that the levers operating the firehole doors needed better washers to reduce the play in the linkage.

I managed to give Roger T a light-up training session, though some of the checks were not possible to do with a fire in the firebox - it’s a tad too warm to stick your head in and inspect it. Thereafter, Roger T and Clive N [Loco Dept] changed the oil in the tender underkeeps.

Mostly, I finished off a few boot scrapers. We ran through the list of outstanding issues, but there was nothing else that we could do today.

We are very grateful for the help that the Loco Dept chaps give us.


Sunday, 19 June 2016

Maintenance Update (hot, whistle, arch, boiler)

Wednesday 15th June
Bruce, John G and myself in attendance today. With 2807 still in service there was a limit to what we could do. It seems that Foremarke Hall’s superheater troubles necessitate removal of the s/h header and sending it back to Tyseley for more machining. That puts 7903 out of service for a while longer, so what does that mean for 2807?

There were 4 more issues reported (though it is apparent that at the end of the day, the driver simply lists the things that he’s spotted, regardless of them having already been reported!).

Issue 22: Driver-side whistle valve blowing past. {we assume this means the Emergency / Guard Brake whistle … which was raised as issue 14 already}.
Issue 23: Gauge glass blowing by. Glass replaced. {Much appreciated that remedial action was taken by the crew}.
Issue 24: Driver-side cross-head bottom slider hot.
Issue 25: All tender underkeeps have black/grey oil.

Regarding Issue 24, it was reported in Issue 12 that the fireman-side slide bar was hot. I had inspected the slide bar last week, and though it was warm, it was not too hot to touch. So, when 2807 arrived at Toddington circa noon, Bruce and John went to check her over. Bruce reported similarly, that the bottom slide bar was warm but not hot. We think that it is likely that the bottom slider will be warmer than the top because the weight of the cross-head bears down onto it. We don’t agree that either is “Hot”, and we are not concerned.

Bruce examined the whistles and feels that the one that he and Gil played with last week is probably still leaking steam (as well as the emergency whistle). The seal in the valve seat appears to be copper wire, but Bruce believes that a copper washer would be more reliable. So, he’s ordered some copper and will manufacture some washers.

John spent all morning painting boot scrapers with their enamel top coats - 4 GWR green; 2 black, and 1 BR in crimson.

I continued with the pieces of conduit for the ATC. We now have three sections to be welded
together for the down-piece from cab to runningboard. We can do no more until 2807 stands still!

Friday 17th
Bruce’s copper was delivered by David. David took away the welding equipment and the ash pan
meshes (that stop large embers from dropping through onto the wooden sleepers) to work on those
at home.

Saturday 18th
As 2807 was in service, Bruce and John T set about cleaning rail chairs. I arrived just before lunch,
and painted the lettering on the chairs that were in the production line. By end of play, Bruce &
John had cleaned 7 chairs, and I painted their bottoms.

More importantly: A few problems arose with 2807. They are hoping to nurse her through Sunday,
and then we have Wednesday to fix what we can. She is required for the Thomas weekend 25/26
June to play at being Henry.

As I said, Foremarke has to send its superheater header and elements back to Tyseley for remedial
action; so 7903 will be OOS for a couple of weeks! P&O has tender brake issues that have not yet
been resolved. Also, its steam brake works, but requires attention - some parts are apparently not
machined to spec.

So, back to 2807: Three keystone bricks in the brick arch have started to crumble. Part of each has
dropped off, which means that the arch is not as safe as it needs to be. JC has ordered us a new
arch, which should be despatched on Monday. It ought to be at Todders by Wednesday. On
Monday and Tuesday the firebox will be too hot to spend time inside, anyway, so the brick arch will
have to be replaced on Wednesday.

The crossheads and lower slide bars are running hot. Today’s crew have been filling up the
crosshead oil reservoirs on every trip. Both sides appear to be losing oil, which probably means that
their felt pads are worn. I called in at Winchcombe on the way home and inspected the crossheads
and slide bars. On both sides, the crossheads were too hot to hold; the bottom slide bars were
warm and holdable. The RHS was hotter than the LHS. The loco was stationary awaiting the diesel’s
arrival. There was a film of oil on the bars, but not as much as I had seen on 4270 which I examined
as I left Todders. Oil was dripping out of the RHS crosshead and forming a pool on the ground. I
didn't have time to examine the LHS as thoroughly as the RHS, as the diesel was approaching, and
then 2807 was leaving.

The consensus is that we remove the LHS crosshead on Wednesday and replace the pad. To do this
necessitates the removal of the con rod! However, to do the RHS would mean additionally removing
the vacuum pump rod. You can’t do both at the same time, because the wheels (and rods) have to
be specifically positioned to extract the con rod from the crosshead.

Hopefully, 2807 will then soldier on for another week whereupon we shall have to tackle the RHS

Apart from that, the crew say that the whole boiler rocks from side-to-side relative to the cab. This
is a bit alarming! Gil thinks that the wedges at the back of the firebox, between it and the frames,
might have worked loose. You can’t get to them without removing some cladding! Whether there
will be enough people available on Wednesday to explore that issue remains to be seen. Any

Sunday 19th
Well, she made it to the end of the day OK.
If I can make an hour or two free on Tuesday afternoon, I shall clean out the clinker, cinders & ash
from the firebox so that work on the brick arch can commence immediately on Wednesday.


Saturday, 11 June 2016

Maintenance Update (whistle, conduit, rods, 2808)

Wednesday 8th
Gil & Bruce spent the day playing with a whistle. Intending to tackle Issue 14 (Brake whistle valve blowing past), they removed the main whistle and dismantled it. Bruce then lapped in the whistle valve, and they reassembled it. This is not as easy as you might think, because of the strong spring that returns the lever arm. Even fitting it back on top of the firebox is not trivial, as there is very little scope for the angles of pipework, and not much room where the lever passes through the cab spectacle plate.

I pressed on with the ATC conduit just ahead of the cab. I had drilled a pilot hole last week, and now used that to drill a hole 1¼“ diameter right through the running board. That took a good hour, as the hole passed through a plate and then a supporting angle-iron. Total thickness was about ¾“. Thereafter, I could offer up the existing (but alien) conduit to assess how to modify it to suit our loco. The conduit had an angle of about 120°, which did not suit 2807, so Carpo very kindly heated it up and I persuaded it to become closer to 90°. That is where it passes up the front of the cab and inside through a hole. I then had to cut the conduit in order to insert a 9” length - again, to make it suit our loco. There’s more fun to be had inside the cab as well as beneath the running board.

2807 was only scheduled to be in service during the weekend of 18/19 June. Apart from that, she was just acting as standby loco. But as a result of 7903 having great trouble with leaks in its superheater, 2807 was called into service this weekend; and all next week, up to the 19th.

Saturday 11th
As 2807 was in service, no one (apart from me) turned up at Toddington! Fortunately, there was plenty to do on the boot scraper front. By mid-afternoon, I had picked out the writing and fitted brushes to 7 boot scrapers, and applied a primer coat to the top of a further 7.

GWR locos have two whistles, each with a different tone. The high-pitched whistle is primarily to warn bystanders that the loco is about to move, or is approaching them. The lower-pitched whistle is used in emergencies, calling for the guard to apply his brake. The whistle that Bruce & Gil had serviced on Wednesday was the warning whistle. Unfortunately, it is the guard whistle that leaks! I tested the springs on both, and they are both fine.

I had a chat with the crew on 2807. Sean explained, also, that the rods make quite a ‘clanking’ noise when the loco is pulling a load in reverse. The noise can be reduced by easing off the regulator. I suggested that there is nothing that we can do until winter maintenance period, as it means removing the rods and probably replacing bearing surfaces and/or bushes. Bruce did pop in and make tea (which was very noble of him), but he had a bowls match to go to. During the afternoon, Ian Bromley came for a flying visit (from Jersey). We squeezed in a short run up & down the line into the ash pit road for him. That was it for today!

There are some lovely shots of 2807 in this video:

Photo of 2808 pulling the longest freight that we could muster, by Pete Young


Saturday, 4 June 2016

Maintenance Update (bracket, police, relief, supporters)

Saturday 21st
I was a tad concerned that there might not be enough milk in the fridge for everyone who came to polish the loco today. I needn’t have worried.

There’s quite a list of issues raised by drivers during May. Some say tha the new drivers have to make their mark …

10: Steel res[ervoir] pipe at rear of ash pan loose into one-way valve by reservoir. {Bruce & Gil inspected the pipework, tightened joints and added extra clips to the hose}.
11: Top isolating cock on gauge frame blowing. {This is a duplicate of issue 7}.
12: Fireman-side crosshead (bottom of) hot. {No one else has commented about this. We suspect the definition of “hot” is ill defined. We’ll keep an eye on it, but don’t believe there is a problem}.
13: Fireman-side injector steam valve nut on pipe leaking.
14: Brake whistle valve blowing past. {The springs on both whistles are not strong enough to fully return the valve to shut-off and always have been}.
15: Tender rear RH brake grease nipple loose; replaced but cannot tighten up. {A few weeks back, I discovered that the thread had gone in the hole. Still debating how this can be fixed}.
16: LHS injector steam valve leaking by nut on pipe to steam inlet. {Duplicate of issue 13}.
17: Gauge frame blowing top, drain, both nuts. {Duplicate of 11 which is a duplicate of 7. We have reported this to Boiler Responsible Person (because we are not supposed to fix this ourselves) several times}.
18: Driver-side injector front cap leaking. {Fixed by Bruce today}.
19: Clamp holding driver-side injector steam pipe loose. Needs spring washer? {Fixed by Bruce today}.

Gilbert joined us up until tea break then adjourned to Winchcombe to play with the siphon. He looked through the issues log (q.v.) and together with Bruce they fixed the clamp on the injector steam feed pipe [16]. The nuts were not fully tight.

Bruce tackled 18 & 19. Extra PTFE should stop the cap from leaking, but you can’t tell until there is steam up. At the other end of the same bracket, Bruce found that the steam heating pipe was also loose in its clamp. He bunged a rubber in to make it tight.

Stuart had emailed me to ask me to paint some of the cab sides where the number plates have worn away the paint. Getting the plates off is much easier now that the nuts are welded onto the inside of the cab. It is now (just about) a one-man job. It’s a challenge removing the last bolt and not dropping the number plate, though! I ran a die through the bolt holes, because a couple of them were very stiff to undo.

The railway has been approached by the Winchcombe Police Museum to have a small stand in there about the railway. Dave Staniforth got Stu to dig out a 1904 rail chair. Dave would like it cleaning & painting … plus a section of rail … for the display. So, Bruce & I tidied up the chair and found a two-foot length of rail. I surreptitiously replaced a wooden key from a siding with a metal one, such that the display would be more authentic date-wise. The use of wooden keys ceased in the 1930s.

Oh, back to the cleaning of the loco. New recruit Ian Boskett studiously crawled over the running boards with scraper, cloths and buckets of diesel, removing grit & grime. He said that he had to leave at 4pm, so wouldn’t get as far as cleaning the boiler and smokebox …

Ian has only been a volunteer here for a few months, but said that he is thoroughly enjoying it.

Sunday 22nd
Brian and Stuart put the finishing touches to the paintwork on 2807 ready for Monday.

Monday 23rd
See colour supplement (below).

Wednesday 25th
Well, there was just John G and myself here today. There was a lot of activity in the yard as locos were arriving for the gala this coming weekend.

Four boots scrapers had been sold by the cafes over the weekend, so it was important to restock them and get some more into the production line. I painted the lettering on five that were almost complete, and later fitted the brushes to them. Following an idea from John G, two BR(W) boot scrapers are painted in BR Green (commonly called Brunswick green). It seems to be the crimson and black ones that are selling at the moment, so I moved on to preparing half-a-dozen chairs and John primed the one already in the production line in black.

John commented on how shiny 2807 was on Monday … apart from the drain cocks. So, he went out armed with Brasso and polished the copper drain cock pipes and also the brass cylinder relief valves.

Next to John was … Hey, Guys! Guys! You’re supposed to light the fire in the other end!

Ron [workshop] had finished off the bronze flanges for the new “standardised” loco ~ tender water connections.

No workday on Saturday 28th May because it is GWSR Gala Weekend.

Monday Supplement
Just a few snaps of the Supporters and the Special:

Peter Todd took this one of Jeff Lacey shunting stock out of platform 2 at Toddington.

There was quite a throng on Platform 1. Bob Mack is looking happy!

Lots of people wanted a photo of 2807 carrying The Cornishman headboard, so she pulled back for people to get a good photo:

Here she is leaving Toddington station with almost 150 supporters on board:

Note the Express Passenger headlamp code, appropriate to The Cornishman!

Peter took this one of 2807 approaching Hailes:

And here she is arriving at Winchcombe:

There were 10-minute footplate rides for the lucky few who got their requests in early:

Many thanks go to Jeff Lacey (Driver) and John Pedley (Fireman).

Back at Todders at the end of the day, there was additional interest for people, as Erlestoke Manor was being off-loaded. What’s that odd-looking loco in the background, I wonder?


Thursday, 19 May 2016

Maintenance Update (Winchcombe, doors, guillotine, innards)

Saturday 14th
With 2807 in service, it was not surprising that only John T and myself turned up at Todders. I had sprained my back doing gardening last week, so I was limited in what I could do. This amounted to some tweaking of the conduit and painting some brushes for boot scrapers. Bruce had commented that the one joining sleeve that we had fitted looked a bit cumbersome, and offered to “adjust” it with an angle grinder. However, I looked today and found that we have 5 of the original type of joining sleeve. So I replaced the one we’d fitted with an old one. I cleaned them all up, too, ready for use.

John T had already started cleaning rail chairs before I arrived. He pressed on with this on his own, completing five by end of play - including painting their bottoms black.

I nipped off to Winchcombe to get signatures on 100 Club winners’ cheques, but when I arrived at the siphon, there was no one there!

So, I thought I’d at least take a couple of photos of the doors. There’s the one that still needs refurbishing …

And there’s this one that is complete all but for a lick of paint …

Note the deliberate hole in the door. This is for putting one’s hand through. On the inside there’s a guillotine …

No, seriously, it’s a sliding plate to keep wind & rain out (though wind is a bit pointless as the van has slatted sides!) and allow the door to be opened (but the handle doesn’t seem to have been fitted yet). Either that, or it was intended for when the siphon was used as an ambulance train, and the hole is to pass food through to infectious patients …

Monday 16th
I had to pop down to Todders briefly. Coincidentally, it was the grand celebration of P&O finally hauling passengers. I figured that every photographer and his dog would be out snapping away. So, when I saw the zebra crossing, I thought that would be amusing - albeit nothing to do with 2807.

That incidental loco in the shot was only running on three cylinders, apparently. Sounded most odd!

Wednesday 18th
Confused? You will be ….

… Bruce told me that last Thursday something was playing up on the vacuum system. Mark Y had investigated, checking everything on the loco that was connected with vacuum, and could not find a cause. Judging by one small pipe below the cab floor appearing to be at an odd angle (i.e. not straight) MY assumed that to be a possible cause. He rang Gilbert to alert him, and Gil rang Bruce.

On Friday, Bruce & Gil went along to investigate. Search as they may, they could not find a leak. The only thing they found was that one lengthy pipe under the loco was clamped at one end but not at the other. Bruce used rubber and jubilee clip to clamp it to the train pipe to prevent it from oscillating. While under there, Bruce noticed that the piston beneath the vacuum cylinder on the tender was stuck right up at the top of its travel. The new brake blocks had obviously worn more, and so he & Gil adjusted the brakes on the tender and also on the loco.

Back to Wednesday: With 2807 still in service, and the weather being really teasing (you get the chair cleaning equipment out … then it rains … adjourn for cuppa … sun comes out … dash out and start cleaning … rain … inside for early lunch … sun … out for cleaning … Between Bruce & I, we managed to clean just one rail chair! In fairness, Bruce did manage to get to the loco to see if today’s crew had experienced any issues. They hadn’t.

John G had a more successful day, as he had been painting rail chairs inside the TPO!

Mike-the-Lamp popped in to check our loco lamps, as they will be needed for the gala in another week’s time. The three white loco lamps are all OK (though we don’t have a red screen for any of them … not that that should matter to the loco). However, the innards of our gauge frame lamp have gone AWOL. Mike seemed to recall that there had been a visiting loco whose lamp innards were faulty, and ours was “borrowed” to enable theirs to be used. It seems likely that our innards went back with their lamp … which is a bit of a bind.

Mike is now responsible (on behalf of the railway) to replace our missing innards.