Saturday, 6 May 2017

Maintenance Update (clean, spring, oil, weights)

Wednesday 3rd
At last, the engine stood still long enough for us to address some of the issues!

Brian seemed to be in “management” role, as he supervised Tom, Alex and Gwen who were cleaning various bits on the loco.

Brian also gave a brief report on the recent visit to Llangollen, which is one of the places under consideration for the boiler overhaul in 2020. It was interesting to note that they are already booked up for boiler work until the beginning of 2020! Brian also examined the leaking ash pan sprinkler, where it became apparent that the delivery pipe had sheared where it passes into the ash pan. This may have been the result of expansion/contraction stress.

Gil told me that Tom and Roy from the Loco Dept had cleaned out the drain cocks (which had allegedly stuck at one point last week).

Bruce examined the spring that has been reported as possibly broken. Clive had also taken a look, and it does not appear to be broken, but we will keep an eye on it. Bruce also investigated the alleged oil leak from the pony truck. His view is that it was most likely over-filled, and it is designed to dribble oil down the horn guides, which may have triggered the report. The oil pot was full, and no sign of leakage.

Bruce had another bash (literally) at the balance weights on the driving wheel to make sure they are as tight as is possible.

Also, he’d been calculating the adjustment required on the safety valves to get blow-off closer to the 225 mark (as they currently lift at 210).

Clive replaced the broken spring in the flange lubricator.

John G was painting rail chairs all day: one blue (GER), one red (MR) and eight green.

I was also working on the boot scraper production line for much of the day, apart from assisting PWay with the cutting of some rail for a customer.

Here is the list of issues:
1 J cocks are stuck [A last-year’s issue: We never did find out which J cocks were stuck …
I decided to cross it off unless/until a clearer report is given in the future]
2 LH front & rear top mud hole doors & right-hand top blowing [Marked as “Monitor”]
7 Safety valves lift at 215 lbs [We will verify and adjust at next wash-out]
8 Top front left hand mud hole door weeping [Repeat of 2]
9 Top front right hand mud hole door weeping [Repeat of 2]
12 RH piston gland packing blowing [Gil reckons that this is not a significant leak]
13 LH pony axlebox losing oil but cool at the end of the day [Suspect driver mistaken]
14 Mud hole door RHS of firebox leaking [Repeat of 2]
16 Suspect broken leaf in LH trailing wheel [spring], 3rd or 4th leaf down. [Not broken, but will
17 RH trailing flange lubricator spring broken. [Repaired]

Saturday 6th
2807 was on the Fire & Drive on Friday, and continued in service today. Only John T and I were at
Todders, and there was little to do apart from boot scraper production.

Gilbert popped in, but toddled off to Winchcombe to help Fred on the siphon restoration.

Sunday is 2807’s last service until the gala (27th - 29th May). There are no new issues logged.


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Maintenance Update (numbers, chairs, stops, letters)

Wednesday 26th
Yet again 2807 was in service, and she is rostered to be in service over this weekend. There was a bit of a whoopsie on Sunday! When the locos were parked up at the end of the day, it appears that the rostered engine, Foremarke Hall, was left inside the shed, with the 42xx outside on the same track. When the lighter-uppers arrived on Monday afternoon to do the necessary, there was no one around to drive the shunter and get Foremarke out of the shed! A minor panic ensued, as nor was there any sign of a sheet with people’s contact details on. Eventually, someone was contacted and the decision was taken to run 2807 instead. Apparently, she still had 20 psi on the clock, anyway, from Sunday.

Out of the kindness of my heart, I printed off phone numbers, laminated them and pinned them up in the Ops office and in the mess coach for future reference.

So, back at the ranch today, Bruce, John G and I decided that there was little to do; similarly, there will be even less to do on Saturday. Gilbert & Brian had buzzed off to Llangollen for a chat to them.

There were three rail chairs awaiting wire-brushing (having been needle-gunned by John T last time), so Bruce did the brushing and John G painted their bottoms. I finished off some lettering on chairs in the production line, plus marked up a tool for JC.

Bruce fiddled with the knob on our pillar drill (it has always been the wrong-way-round: you turn it to the anti-clockwise symbol to effect the drilling of holes).

Then we decided to go home. Meanwhile, here is the list of outstanding issues with the loco:
1   J cocks are stuck [A last-year’s issue: We never did find out which J cocks were stuck …]
2   LH front & rear top mud hole doors & right-hand top blowing [Marked as “Monitor”]
7   Safety valves lift at 215 lbs [On Saturday, I checked them and they lifted at 210 psi]
8   Top front left hand mud hole door weeping [Repeat of 2]
9   Top front right hand mud hole door weeping [Repeat of 2]
12 RH piston gland packing blowing
13 LH pony axlebox losing oil but cool at the end of the day
14 Mud hole door RHS of firebox leaking [Repeat of 2]
16 Suspect broken leaf in LH trailing wheel [spring], 3rd or 4th leaf down.
17 RH trailing flange lubricator spring broken.

Saturday 29th
2807 was in service again today, so only John T and I went to play at Todders. Of course, there was little to do but prepare rail chairs. John was needle-gunning, and I was wire-brushing plus painting.

P-Way Rick has been after a Great Eastern boot scraper for years. I have not seen any GER chairs on our track, but managed to acquire one for him this week [thanks, Chris!].

Interestingly, John’s needle-gunning revealed the BSI kite mark on it - something I have not seen on any other chair.

We can also do door stops. This short piece of bullhead rail appears to have the date 1958 on it. See how the running surface has been rolled over by the weight of traffic. This end piece also had roll-over on its end - you can see where I ground it back.

Torquay Mike has ordered this, so I shall paint it, box it and pop it in the post.

JC (of Foremarke Hall) found another painting job for me to do for him. The chaps have constructed a bench on which to rest a valve rod, with the valve head roughly in the middle section. In the near end there goes a hydraulic jack which pushes the valve rod through to move or release the head.

It seems that people are not keen on turning their hand to lettering … except that the painted lettering on our boot scrapers is a bit obvious …

2807 is having a rest now, for a while, so we can tackle the issues list.

There were no new issues today (except that Driver Cliff told me that the drain cocks appeared to stick open at one point. They did right themselves and gave no further problems during the day).


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Maintenance Update (bootscrapers, ash, siphon, guard)

Wednesday 19th
Once again 2807 was in service, and she is rostered to be in service over this weekend - the GWSR Wartime event (including a Spitfire in the car park - can’t wait to see it land there!).

So, the team was dedicated to boot scraper production today!

John T needle-gunning

and John G wire-brushing.

Bruce dusting rust off before painting bottoms

and Roger painting the brushes.

Apart from this, Gil & Brian had been to visit Graham, who is a technical drawer, to design the new ash pan. Gil & Brian subsequently popped in to see us at lunch time.

Fred and Bill were at Winchcombe, working on our siphon van.

Bruce did hunt for a piece of metal (roughly 1” x 3” x 12”) but couldn’t find any. This is for making the tender guard irons. Here is Bruce’s drawing of the scheme, plus a cut-out for test purposes.

It was decided to cancel the working group’s next planned day (Saturday) because of it being the Wartime Weekend and the fact that 2807 should be in operation again. Hence the reason for this brief report on how we keep ourselves busy when 2807 won’t keep still.


Saturday, 15 April 2017

Maintenance Update (spacer, drawings, needle, puller)

Wednesday 12th
With 2807 in service, work was thin on the ground. John G painted rail chairs, completing 4 black bottoms and six tops. After lunch he cadged well-deserved a trip on the footplate.

I’m not sure what Bruce was doing, apart from repairing a chisel for me and making extra spacers (of different widths) in anticipation of future damper door problems.

Gilbert was appointed unofficial archivist for the Loco Dept, and spent the day filing diagrams … some in the bin! Such reckless destruction of paper is totally out of keeping for Gilbert. Goodness knows how he managed to get the unwanted drawing to drop off his fingers into the skip!

I’d had an order for rail, fishplates, chairs, etc., from a chap who has a small display in his garden and wants to build an extension. After finding old fishplates and cleaning those, I needle-gunned four more chairs.

Saturday 15th
Only Bruce and I were at Todders - mainly because 2807 was in service; possibly because it was Easter weekend. However, Gilbert and Bill were at Winchcombe, working inside the siphon van. Gil did pop up to have lunch with us. They were hoping to have Richard Johnson (C&W) take a look at the siphon, and in particular recommend an approach to restoring the “concertina” corridor connections.

Bruce and I took it easy, cleaning and painting rail chairs. I had some fun with the needle-gun: It spat
out two of the needles, and began to run slowly. I suspected that the heads of the needles were
inside the piston part, and probably jamming it. So, I took it apart. Anyway, it would benefit from a
couple of new needles. The “new” needles (already second-hand from a dead needle-gun) turned
out to be an inch-and-a-half longer than these ones, so I swapped the whole set (there’s 19 in a set).

Still the gun was on a go-slow, so I took it apart for a second time and discovered that one of the
heads had indeed jammed down the side of the piston, thereby virtually stopping it from moving.
Fixing this and reassembling it, the needle-gun worked rather a lot better! However, it had taken a
chunk of the morning just doing this!

Bruce wire-brushed and applied a primer coat to the chairs in the production line. He then forced me to take a photo of the puller that he and Gilbert had made for removing cylinder covers.

The previous method of persuading a cylinder cover to come off is demonstrated by Brian (below).

The puller is simple enough. You remove the central bolt that holds the cladding to the front of the
cylinder cover. Place the puller against four studs (fit nuts to the studs, if necessary, to ensure they
provide a level surface). Then screw the central bolt through the boss in the puller, and hey-presto!
It pulls the cover away from the cylinder. This is obviously a lot safer than using brute force to break
the seal between the cover and the cylinder block.

If 2807 is given a day off, on Wednesday, we can have a go at fixing the steam leak from the RHS


Saturday, 8 April 2017

Maintenance Update (paint, water, Jack, jack)

Wednesday 5th
I spent the day playing with boot scrapers (so, my apologies for things missed or messed up). There was only one left in the F&W, so I had to deliver the three that were ready, and then hastily complete some more to restock the café.

John G was also in painting mode. I believe that he touched up various black bits on the tender frames and the wheels. He then applied black enamel to the RHS cylinder cladding.

It’s a bit annoying how metal particles settle all over the loco, after we’d painted it all, and turn to rust.

I wish people would do their cutting outside or in the workshop, and not in the running shed!

David & Gil dedicated their day to the second damper door. They removed it (with a little help from Brian, I think) and then straightened it up using the press. Bruce made some fresh spacers for the hinges, having discovered that two of the spacers had been made of mesh!

Brian refilled the boiler (it having been drained in anticipation of going to Didcot) and the Loco Dept filled the tender with water.

Now that it was full of water, Bruce measured the height of the tender to see how level it was after our fiddling with the springs. Near enough level. Slightly up at the front (but there’s no coal on yet). He decided not to play any more with the springs!

Bruce had some thoughts about fitting rail guards to the tender rear. However, Carpo joined in, and it is now on Plan C. Plan A had guards attached to the steps (see blue arrows). Plan C has much smaller ones attached to the rear brake hangers (yellow arrow). A bonus is that if they should hit something, the tender brakes will go on!

2807 is currently rostered to be in service from 12th to 17th April inclusive.

Saturday 8th
There’s a bit of a lowatus, really, since we’ve nowhere to go. Bruce and Gilbert we so stuck for
something to do that they even went and helped Dinmore Manor. The Manor chaps were having
trouble getting their cylinder cover off, so B+G made them a puller. It was easy enough to get the
cover off, really; it’s just that it didn’t want to come off.

John T noted the boot scraper stock situation and immediately set to, needle-gunning rail chairs. He
dedicated the entire day to this task, completing 10 by end of play.

I subsequently wire-brushed six of John’s chairs. By this time, Gil was so stuck for something to do
that he volunteered to paint their bottoms black! He’d already painted the cylinder puller in yellow.

Bruce had wandered off looking at the guard irons on the tenders of the other locos. He also took
numerous measurements in order to produce a scale drawing of the proposed solution for our
tender. He’s going to print off the iron (if he’d got a 3D printer, he could print off the whole thing!)
for a test viewing.

This must be visiting season, because on Wednesday we’d had Ken S. and his mate visit for a cuppa, and today we had the granddaughter of Jack Humphries come to see the engine that her granddad had worked on.

This photo, taken by Mark Taft in 1996, shows Gilbert, Bruce and Jack when the frames where being lowered onto the wheels in Toddington yard. The team achieved this major milestone using just brain & brawn - no crane involved: just Jack and a jack!


Sunday, 2 April 2017

Maintenance Update (wax, loose, copper, Didcot)

Wednesday 29th
With assistance from several Loco depot chaps, the boiler and tender were drained of water and the ash pan emptied of ash.

Brian waxed the remaining lower RHS of the tender, but because of some steam-cleaning that was taking place in the shed, the whole of the tender became covered with condensation! This made polishing an impossibility.

Somebody discovered that the bolts holding the smokebox stays onto the front running board were all loose. Furthermore, because of their round heads it was a challenge too far to tighten them up. So, Gil got a Loco Dept chap to tack weld the heads down!

This ruined John G’s paintwork, so he had to clean up the mess and repaint the bolts.

John had spent the morning painting rail chairs, so was well positioned to touch up the loco.

I applied a top coat to some chairs before having a go at polishing. The cab side wasn’t a great success. That is to say, rather than the dull 7-year-old paint coming up like new, the new (patched up bits) became dulled down to match the old!

So, I gave up and polished copper and brass in the cab instead.

Bruce disappeared before I had chance to find out what he’d been doing!

Saturday 1st April
Disappointing news: the trip to Didcot is off! I quote:
“As you perhaps know we have no road access and rely on rail transport for getting larger items onto site, which includes coal, materials, rubbish (going out) and locos. … we are experiencing tremendous problems in just getting our day to day requirements sorted.

In trying to get 2807 into and back out again is proving really difficult and I may not even have space to off load her onto our “pad” let alone couple her up and move her...

So it is with great regret that I am having to cancel the hire of 2807 for our Gala.”

Bruce reports on the day at Toddington:
“As Saturday was the first day of the Volunteer Recruitment Fair there was not much 'actual' work done. 2807 and Foremarke Hall were on display in the shed and both had been set up with steps to allow access to the footplate. Brian put a light into our firebox so that visitors could see what it was like in there.

Several departments had information tables and Stuart set ours up next to the loco. He then manned it for most of the day, giving out information and selling raffle tickets.

John T spent the morning cutting bolts off some of the rail chairs and John G did some painting on the side of the loco away from the visitors.

The rest of us were busy talking to the visitors and spreading the word about the railway and in particular 2807 and its history.

It was noticeable how interested they were in the exhibits and how readily they entered into conversation with the various departments.

At lunchtime the CSP directors had a board meeting so John T and Bruce manned the stall in Stuart's absence.”


Saturday, 25 March 2017

Maintenance Update (axle, weight, damper, tender)

Monday 20th
As the weather was pretty grim, I spent the day in the dry - inside the shed at Toddington, painting the left & right running boards.

Wednesday 22nd
When 2807 goes to Didcot (April 10th) she has to be towed over Network rail tracks. They insist on all axles being sonically tested, so they arranged for a chap to come and do that. He has reported that all axles passed the test. The photo shows Pete G [Loco Dept] fitting the axlebox covers back on.

John G initially painted three black bottoms, but then volunteered to finish off painting the front running board. Just look at the shine on it! After that, he went round touching up anything and everything black.

There was much discussion about the springs, and it was decided not to change the tender spring. So, Bruce & I began by tightening the RHS tender springs to try to balance up the weight. The last reading from last time had 19.9 tons on the left hand side and only 13.1 tons on the right. We
screwed the adjusters up on all three springs, but it didn’t seem to make a great deal of difference -
but it did defy logic! Jeff L [Loco Dept] shunted us to & fro, and we weighed the loco again and the
tender three times. We decided to give up!

Later on, Brian & I played games on the weighing machine. We put 112lb weights on the RHS (red)
and they registered 45 kilos. We put the same weights on the LHS (blue) and they registered 50
kilos. Eventually, we discovered that a slight sideways movement on the short length of rail that
does the weighing caused a 5 kilo change. Whether this represents a fixed 5 kilos, or a percentage
7% of whatever weight, goodness only knows!

Brian started cleaning the tender RHS. Pete Y [Loco Dept] and I continued with that, but didn’t get
as far as applying wax polish.

John P [Loco Dept] was carrying out a mechanical inspection (while the loco was stationary) and had
pointed out a taper pin securing part of the drain cock actuation mechanism could do with being
replaced. Bruce attended to that.

Gil, Brian and Steve had a meeting to progress planning issues for the Heavy General Overhaul.

Saturday 25th
David tackled the rear damper door, which was not closing fully. Even if it had closed, it was so distorted that it would let tons of air through! It’s quite heavy, and particularly awkward to remove. So, David was assisted by Gilbert and also Bruce from time to time.

The hinges have got spacers behind them, and new spacers were made to assist the closing. However, the door continued to refuse to close because the top edge was so bent. It’s the heat that does it. David had to grind off quite slice from the top edge.

They won in the end, but it took all day to do the one damper door. Two more to go!

John T began the day with repairing some of the insulation around part of the steam heating pipe. Unfortunately, these pipes beneath the loco tend to be used to stand on (rather useful when the loco is parked over a pit, for example). So, the insulation, which comes as a tape, gets worn and eventually breaks. So, John was replacing a section. To hold it in place, he stripped the copper earthing wire from some cable and used that to secure the ends of the tape.

Thereafter, John nobly volunteered to needle-gun rail chairs to get the boot scraper production line going again.

Dixie turned up, though principally for paperwork reasons. However, while here, he slapped some paint on the four chairs that were in the production line. I applied a primer to three tops, which dried in the glorious sunshine.

Bruce spent all morning worrying about the tender weight distribution. The tender seems to be level to within a few milligrommets. Bruce argued that increasing the weight on one spring raises the tender at that point, which causes the water to move its centre of gravity away from that point thereby increasing the weight on the opposite side! After tea break, his brain hurt and he disappeared into the workshop!

Loco Dept chaps cleaned the cinders from the grate and discovered that two fire bars had welded themselves together with clinker.

I wire-brushed rail chairs after John had gunned them with needles, in an attempt to avoid waxing the RHS of the tender. As Bruce said, “I don’t spend this much effort on my car!” Finally, I relented (i.e. ran out of chairs to clean) and waxed the top section. The bottom section looks quite smart, so I don’t know if someone had waxed that already? Certainly, at one point during the morning there was a Loco Dept chap standing on the running board cleaning the boiler barrel.

By end of play, one damper door fixed; six chairs needled; lots of black bottoms; three green tops.

We understand that 2807 will be on display in the car park during the Recruitment Fair next
weekend: 1st & 2nd April.


Saturday, 18 March 2017

Maintenance Update (board, handbrake, weight, spring)

Wednesday 15th
For several days, I have been selecting photos and preparing them for a total refresh of our display board that stands in the car park at Todders. I took it down there today, but forgot to take the silicone sealant!

David arrived bright and early. He spent the entire day welding! There was one small nut on John T’s valve cladding that needed tacking in place, but that was trivial compared to making the bracket for the handbrake column. Bruce had already cut a steel bar and set angles in it ready for welding. However, there is a bit of trial-and-error to ensure that the bend does line up with the collar on the column. Much welding, checking and grinding took place as David welded up the cuts. Then the second piece of bar (needed to gain the correct height) was welded onto the tender tank surface.

Once the angle was completed, that bar was tack-welded onto the collar around the brake column. In order to weld it properly, the collar had to be removed. This necessitated the whole brake shaft being taken out (upwards), which meant undoing things down below, too! This kept Bruce & David occupied all day, but the job is finished at last.

You recall that gadget John T (et al.) made for aligning the links between loco and tender when coupling them up, well I painted instructions on how to use it in bright yellow. One can but hope …

Gilbert has been keen to have the loco and tender weighed, particularly since we turned the compensating beam the right way round on the rear springs!

There’s a set of pressure pads built into the rails over one of the shed roads. Then these record the weight on each side of an axle - in kilograms. It’s clear that our loco is heavier on the LHS than the right, but I’ll await Gilbert’s deliberations before reporting on the findings.

Anyway, Ben had fun shunting the wheels into the central position, aided by JC’s hand signals (not always ones from the manual). Lots of people watched. Mike S recorded the weights for the Loco Dept’s record.

Once the loco (and specifically the tender) was stationary again, I continued polishing the tender side. Lee joined in, and by end of play we had completed the one side. I hope Didcot run 2807 the right way round or else no one will see the one side that we have cleaned!

Gilbert was unable to muster his own, or anyone else’s, strength to play with the damper door. It needs removing and some packing fitting behind one of the hinges. It almost shuts …

Saturday 18th
There were a couple of minor jobs to get out of the way first. Bruce & John T assisted me in erecting the revamped display board in the car park at Toddington. John then fitted the remaining one piece of cylinder valve cladding. This took him more than the five minutes that one expects, because the cladding, which fits on the front of the valve chest, flatly refused to go behind the inspection flap on the front running board. In fact, John had to take that off before he could persuade the cladding that this was a nice place to be! Then he had to fit it back on again, of course.

Meanwhile, I happened to notice how badly chipped the tender buffer beam had become. So, I intended touching up the chips … but ended up painting the entire beam!

The main task of the day, however, was adjusting springs and weighing the loco and tender.

As you may be able to judge, the nuts on the spring hangers put up a good fight. Whilst there was room by the tender to get a long lever onto the spanner, this was not possible in the pit under the loco.

Our thanks definitely go to Phil G. [Loco Dept] for driving the shunter and for heaving on the spanner.

It is extremely tricky to get each wheel to stop dead on the centre line on the weighing pads, as the reaction time of shunter, driver and brakes seemed to be different for each wheel. Nevertheless, we weighed, adjusted and shunted three times (not necessarily in that order) until we were all fairly well whacked! There are some anomalies, inevitably, that caused Bruce to go round with a spirit level seeking explanations. In fact, somehow we appeared to have made the loco ¾ ton lighter by end of play … and the left-hand side of the loco seems to be 2.9 tons heavier than the right; while the left-hand side of the tender seems to be 6.8 tons heavier than the right! Also, the LH pony wheel is taking 3.9 tons whereas the RH wheel is taking 3.6 tons. How can that be, since the tender is fairly symmetrical (and no coal on at the moment) and there is no way of changing the pony truck’s weight distribution?

However, it did reveal a probable “tired” spring at the right-hand front of the tender. We don’t know yet (a) if we have a spare tender spring; and (b) whether we have time to fit it before the trip to Didcot.

Carpo reviewed the end results and did suggest that there is a suspicion that the weighing mechanism has got a bias to the left of about 7%. Great! When 2807 comes back from Didcot, we’ll turn her round and re-weigh. We can then take an average!

While all of this was going on, John T had retired to the boot scraper production facility, and was needle-gunning rail chairs.

Painting the running boards is now top of the priority list. The right-hand side of the tender tank would greatly benefit from a clean & wax polish. The cab sides would also benefit greatly from a clean & wax polish, too. All of this in two working days???