Sunday, 11 March 2018

Maintenance Update (ejector, injector, split, valve)

Last week’s conundrum
Several people (Gil, Andy B, John G, Stu F, Peter T) commented on the hole in the smokebox. The short answer is that it is for a large (4-cone) ejector.

The long answer is: 2807 has a Standard No.1 boiler and hence a standard smokebox to fit. This type of boiler is also used on certain passenger locos (Hall and Manor in particular). Passenger stock is vacuum fitted for braking, whereas in GWR days, most freight wagons were not. Passenger locos therefore had to create enough vacuum quickly enough to cause all the brakes to be pulled off on every coach. Freight trains probably only had brakes on the engine. This was no big deal, because they would rarely go above 30 mph. In the passenger loco cab, the small ejector (used just to maintain vacuum when stationary) was supplemented by a large ejector which could create vacuum much more rapidly. The steam used in creating the vacuum is exhausted into the smokebox via a pipe that runs alongside the boiler, below the handrail. Inside the Smokebox, the exhaust from the ejector is connected into the blower ring.

Two theories emerge: Our boiler (numbered 8270) had previously been used on Toddington Grange, Highnam Grange and Bostock Hall. Therefore, there would have been a large ejector and hence the hole would have been used for the ejector pipe (assuming the same smokebox was retained). Also, it is likely that Swindon would have made all smokeboxes for No.1 boilers with a hole, in anticipation of the boiler/smokebox being used on a passenger loco at some stage in its lifetime.

Tuesday 6th March
Mark Y spent time going round the plugs and mudhole doors, nipping them up for us.

Wednesday 7th
* Steam Feed to RH Injector leak (Collar joint)
The pipe from cab to injector is an awkward beggar to get out. Bruce and Nigel are in the cab with a huge spanner; Gil and John G are removing the nuts at the injector end.

The collar is towards the bottom of the pipe. Gil & John cleaned up the pipe but could see no sign of a leak. Gil is working out how to seal the pipe and make an adapter such that we can pressurise it (with air) and look for a leak. Gil found a drawing of the top nut from which to make an adapter.

John P finished his mechanical exam of our loco, and found a couple of missing split pins; a loose bolt, and a loose rivet on a die block.

Regarding the groan from the cylinder when 2807 was last shunted, by pushing the reverser into full forward, it opened up the exhaust steam port on the LHS valve, so it was possible to dribble oil down the port into the cylinder. Later, as 2807 was shunted up & down prior to going back into the shed, there was no further groaning … and rusty oil dripped out of the drain cocks!

* Back Safety Valve lifts at 220 psi
We decided to take no immediate action, as it is sensible to wait until she is properly in service before verifying the pressure at which a valve lifts. Experience has shown that it varies.

* Weld broken on smokebox door handle (inner handle for dart).
Someone removed the handle and took it away to be welded. Last seen in a queue awaiting its turn.

* LHS J-cock leaking.
Bruce tightened up the J-cock. He’ll monitor it when in service to see exactly where the steam is leaking from (or if he has fixed it).

I fixed the exploded tyre on the grotty trolley. Even this wasn’t easy - as I removed the wheel to
start work on it, several ball bearings made a run for it! Only found one.

Saturday 10th
Missing split pin from a spring was deemed a “red card”. A bar passes through the top of the spring connecting it to the axlebox (white arrow, right). The split pin passes through sideways to prevent the rod from rotating or dropping out.

It is a challenge to reach, and even more of a challenge to extract the bar. We could not simply push another split pin through - the bar had rotated! To release the bar, we had to jack up the loco frames sufficient that there was room to extract it; then jack up the spring to take the force off the bar. Believe it or not, doing this took Gil, Bruce, John T and me all morning! After lunch we then searched for a new split pin that was the right diameter and the right length. Bruce cut a slot in the end of the bar, parallel to the split pin hole, such that we can see it to line up the holes. Most of this task involved me laying on the ground between the frames; Bruce lying on the ground outside the frames; Gil kneeling down, and John trotting to & fro with tools!

Then came the news that we are needed on Tuesday as standby loco! The usual last-minute panic ensued. Valve covers needed fitting; running boards putting back; the injector pipe refitting …

Valves at 3pm

3.30 pm

4.45 pm

Gil, John and I attacked the valves: fitting the covers, then the “nose”, then the cladding. Followed by the running boards, inspection flaps and lamp irons.

Meanwhile, Gil abandoned me and John to help Bruce. John also helped them by making a joint (aka gasket) for the end of the injector pipe. It was decided to ignore the leak, as it was not that serious, so Bruce annealed a copper joint for the top end. As John and I departed after completing our work, Bruce and Gil were still desperately trying to persuade the injector pipe to go back where it came from. Since Gil took it out, he ought to know how to get it back … without taking the entire cab apart.

At 11.25 pm, Gil reported:
“The RH Injector steam supply pipe has been re-instated. It still requires testing to determine the extent of reported leakage. The brake valve exhaust pipe has been put back in place and the cylinder drain cock linkage re-connected.

It is recommended that a steam test be carried out to check the integrity of the newly made joints and check the condition of the injector steam pipe.”

For those of you who would like to see 2807 in action, she is rostered for:
(Train 3 on:) March 30 & 31; April 1, 2; then from 17 to 26 inclusive, 28, 29.


Saturday, 3 March 2018

Maintenance Update (hoses, snowing, inside, test)

Wednesday 28th
In case you have forgotten already, it was a tad cold. Minus three at start of play. Nevertheless, we had 2807 hauled outside. First of all, it was necessary to squeeze up the loco and tender in order to connect the main drag link. P&O came in handy as a buffer stop! Then we rolled over a pit so that we could connect the hoses between loco and tender. While that was going on, Clive was filling the boiler, initially via the blow-down valve (which is a large orifice), but at times via the injectors (which only have a 10 mm hole).

Mostly, there was Bruce and myself underneath pushing on hoses and doing up nuts, with John T acting as gopher and Gil chipping in. All of this took until lunchtime - partly because of the cold, and partly because the clamps and the nuts didn’t always want to play ball!

By 1.30 pm, the view from our van looked like this:

… and the view inside the shed looked like this!

Yes, not only was it snowing outside, but it was also snowing inside. So the consensus was to call it a day. There was no enthusiasm to light a warming fire for a steam test on Thursday, as the forecast for Thursday was worse than for today.

By the way, I was wondering why there’s a patched-up hole in 2807’s smokebox. It is as if something either was there, or might have been there in another life. Anyone know what it was intended for?

Outside, on RHS of smokebox.

Inside the smokebox.

Thursday 1st March
After a Herculean effort by Mark Young, Mike Solloway, Clive Norton, Chris Smith and Dan Wigg and the BES insurance inspector they managed to get 7820, 7903, and 35006 through their annual steam exams today.

Friday 2nd
Apparently, having warmed things up already, Mark carried out a steam test on 2807 on Friday. The following defects are reported for our attention:-

(1) Top row LHS plugs wisping steam
(2) Slight seepage from mudhole doors: Front & back middle (Bottom), LHS Top Rear
(3) Steam Feed to RH Injector leak (Collar joint)
(4) Back Safety Valve lifts at 220 psi
(5) Weld broken on smokebox door handle (inner handle for dart).

Bearing in mind the appalling conditions (Winchcombe was cut off for most of the day) this was well above and beyond the call of duty.

Saturday 3rd
Only three people arrived at the railway today, and we all left at 11.30. Apart from rabbit tracks, mine were the only footprints leading round to our van! I applied an enamel top coat to six rail chairs and then decided enough was enough! The side door to the loco shed had not been closed (due to a build up of snow), so I freed that and closed it.

Thank goodness for traction control! It was a struggle getting out of the car park. Stanway Hill was closed. There were large drifts on the road between Winchcombe and Toddington, though passable as one lane at the worst point. The road from Toddington towards Tewkesbury was closed due to a fallen tree.

For those of you who would like to see 2807 in action, she is rostered for:
March 30 & 31; April 1, 2, 17 to 26 inclusive, 28, 29.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Maintenance Update (mudhole, gauge, rods, pins)

Wednesday 21st
Lots of people here today - luckily John G and Fred did not join us, otherwise they would have had to sit outside for lunch! It is time we got the siphon moved back here and vacated our squat for a permanent home.

David and Bruce fitted the mudhole doors back in place. This requires hot water to soften the gaskets on the doors. But, having experienced the difficult removal of the one door, David decided to mildly modify the surrounding boiler cladding! All eight doors are now back in place. We still can’t fill the boiler because lots of inspection plugs are still out. They were removed primarily to enable the Riley’s chap (Colin) to inspect the boiler prior to quoting for its overhaul. We can’t fit the plugs without authorisation and supervision from the Boiler responsible Person.

John T reassembled the gauge frame. Three sides are heavy grade glass that is held in with brackets and bolts. Some clearing of the holes was necessary, where paint was where it was not needed. Doesn’t it look smart? Actually, it kind of shows up the rest of the backhead paintwork, doesn’t it!

John fitted the lubricating felts into the newly-metalled rod bearings. Then he spent the afternoon slapping paint on rail chairs (7 tops and 2 bottoms).

The rods occupied much time from most people during the day. Gil and David M began by emerying the final bush and its pin to get a good fit.

By 12:45 they matched!

After lunch, it was everyone to the rod fitting!

Working from rearmost to front, each coupling rod was lifted up and slid into place. Typically, the rod to its rear had to be raised while this was in progress and then lowered to be connected. Note the brass spacer to reduce sideway knock in this one.

When the coupling rods were on, the connecting rod completed the set. This one is a shade heavier, but it behaved well. Thereafter, securing nuts and pins had to be fitted and tightened. Some have to be inserted from back-to-front, and wheel spokes tend to get in the way! The solution is to roll the loco until there is sufficient room to insert the pins. So, Graham manned the tender brake (for safety) while David, Bruce, Steve and I manned the pinch-bars to roll the loco (with tender, of course) firstly about 3 feet backwards, and then about 3½ feet forwards again!

By end of play, everything was together except that some bolts require split pins fitting (as a safety measure against their nuts dropping off).

Thursday 22nd
Minor amusement: I went to Todders to cut some wedges for boot scrapers. Our feeble trolley had a tyre a bit low, so I decided to pump it up. The tyre said maximum 30 psi; the gauge said that it was down below 10. So, I started pumping. Just as it reached 20 psi, there was a ripping sound, reminiscent of The Hulk when he gets very angry! Then the tyre tore open and a balloon of inner tube oozed out, culminating in the inevitable “BANG!” Whoops!

Saturday 24th
The major task of today was to refit all of the inspection plugs. This largely fell to Gilbert, with some assistance from me, and both John T and Rob joining in from time to time. Each plug hole has a tapered thread. This needs a brief clean-up to get rid of rust, using a suitable tapered tap. Each plug had already been cleaned. One was rejected because the square head had become twisted. The rest were good. A thin smear of graphite grease is applied to the thread before fitting.

The top row on the firebox and the four on top of the boiler are easy to access. Others present a challenge to the knees!

In the cab, for example, various levers get in the way;

and in the smokebox, you just have to pretend to be Houdini.

Meanwhile, Bruce was fitting split-pins to the nuts on the rods. Some of these even presented a challenge. We had to push the loco up & down a few times in order to get rods into positions that allowed access to some of the nuts.

Amazingly, it only took three of us to move the loco: Bruce, Rob and myself.

John T fitted seals to the valve cylinder front covers in anticipation of these going back on.

Rob refitted the Mason’s Valve in the cab and also oiled-up all of the rods.

Stuart had come all the way from Lancashire, just to paint the number on the front buffer beam!

Next jobs: connect loco & tender hoses; connect main drag link between loco and tender; complete the mechanical exam (by John P); warming fire (Wednesday) and steam test (Thursday).


Monday, 19 February 2018

Maintenance Update (stripes, bushes, dust, spacers)

Wednesday 14th
Not many people about today (including Bruce & myself!). John T relayed much of the happenings; Gilbert’s camera produced some photos, and Graham was the one who took them!

John G painted white diagonal stripes on the back of the gauge frame. These look distorted through the water in the glass, which helps see the water level in the boiler. Later he appeared to be cleaning the tender. Fred also joined in cleaning the tender.

Colin, the chap from Riley’s, who came to check out our boiler before quoting for the Heavy General Overhaul, mentioned that the front tube plate needed descaling. So, Graham and Alex tackled that (inside the smokebox - not sure exactly what they got up to) and hoovered it out afterwards.

Most of the gang appeared to be involved in fitting the bushes into the coupling rods. I gather that once pressed in, it must have been squeezed a bit, and the old pin won’t fit. But the coupling rod bearings have not yet been delivered.

Pressing in the first gradient pin bush. Testing the fit of the gradient pin afterwards.

Gradient pin bushes in middle & front rods. Gil & John refitted the rearmost coupling rod.

Saturday 17th
Gil had had a new dust cover cast to replace the broken one. David spent nearly all day making it fit! Even when he made a template to work out where the holes are to go, it took an age to get them right. In future, it would be more sensible to have them made out of aluminium alloy rather than cast iron.

The re-metalled bushes arrived. Bruce and David adjusted the leading bush, which was a few thou proud.

Graham assisted in press-fitting the bushes. Then Gil had to carefully apply some emery, to get the pins to fit. The bushes were then secured into the rods.

David had brought two spacers (brass discs) because where one of the rods fits into a fork on the adjacent rod, there is too much side-play. These spacers will overcome the problem in the short term.

Rob went round all 8 of the mudhole doors, emerying the internal faces to ensure a good fit for the gaskets.

Fred joined us for lunch; he and Graham cleaned and painted the water feed pipes beneath the running boards, where the paint had flaked off. We had probably used Deproma paint originally, but the water is rather hot, so they used heat-resistant paint this time!

John T began with needle-gunning rail chairs until an opportunity arose … then moved on to cutting felts for the bushes. These are now soaking in oil prior to being fitted. John also assisted in lining up the bushes’ securing holes to those in the rods, and in the pressing-in of the two new bushes.

Bruce cleaned the inner parts of the injectors and fitted them all back in place.

Stuart emailed: “I just found this;
It is a 50 minute compilation of 2807 during its 3 months stay at Llangollen.”

[A little reminder, the content of external web sites linked to from this blog is not the responsibility of CSP Ltd.]


Saturday, 10 February 2018

Maintenance Update (cleaning, bush, garden, grease)

Wednesday 7th
Quite a full house at Todders, as Fred & Ray had abandoned the siphon and come to see if they could help here. They were set on cleaning the rods on the RHS. Tricky doing the LHS, as they are all off. In fact, John G was painting the backs of these rods. There was such a shine on the gloss black, that my eyeballs got confused, and thought he’d painted the entire rod! But he hadn’t, it was just the reflection. So, Fred & Ray continued cleaning up the wheels, painting the rims and the bosses, in particular. The slide bar hanging bracket had a coat of paint, too.

John G moved on to cleaning and gloss painting the tender rear brake hangers with their new guard irons. Then the gauge frame received a coat of gloss. Finally, John found a boot scraper that needed a top coat (of green, for a change!).

Gil, Bruce and David spent quite some time investigating options for improving the lubrication at the front of the valves. There are several options - this valve rod has sleeves at each end, for example.

The workshop was not able to make new brass bushes for our gradient pins, so Gil has arranged to get them made externally.

Bruce made a start on cleaning the injectors’ internal parts. He also found in our container what appear to be the open-ended alternative style of valve rod covers as seen last time on the 38xx. Why have we got these, I wonder? Did we just “randomly” acquire them? Did someone plan on modifying 2807’s valve rod covers at one time?

David replaced one of the driving wheel axle dust covers and fitted new felts. However, the felts are not large enough, and will drop out when the wheel rotates! So, he’s not happy about the way these (don’t) work, and will cogitate upon it. Another little job was to flatten the gradient pin end caps, which had become dished. I think there might be a need for a spacing washer in the rod forks.

John T pressed out the bush from one of the valve cylinder end covers for inspection. He refitted plate-work on the front running board, in anticipation of feet needing to tread on them on Saturday. After doing these, John decided to needle-gun another four rail chairs, to keep the production line moving.

Saturday 10th Feb
John T was ‘into’ gardening today, beginning by trimming dead leaves from the hellebores in the 2807 Flower Garden. Apart from the small shrubs (hellebores and azaleas) there is a variety of bulbs popping up - snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells in particular.

Later in the day, John, Fred and I played with the poppy. Well, you possibly fit a poppy to your car in November, so why shouldn’t we fit one to 2807? After all, 2807 was working on Armistice Day 1918 and had been hauling coal from South Wales to Warrington (on its way to the fleet anchored at Scapa Flow).

Chaps in the Loco Dept had fabricated a frame, so we tested it all out today. Hardly a streamlined, airsmoothed front end, but hey-ho! I suppose we ought to test it out by going out for a surreptitious run when no one is looking!

Note the strange “face” visible to the right. That is actually the blank reverse of one of those Thomas style faces … so what caused it to reflect light in that weird way? Spooky!

John and Fred spent much of the day cleaning the running boards. Fred managed to find a few loose bolts. However, being round-headed they are a challenge to tighten. Gripping their head firmly in the mole grips is your only hope.

Gilbert had one of the brass bushes for the coupling rod. It seems to be a good fit for the rod, but the old gradient pin was too tight a fit. The new pin has not arrived yet.

Gil & Bruce spent even more time debating the options for improving the lubrication of the front of the valve rods. Will Naylor joined in, with his experience of other locos and modifications he’s seen. I think Gil has enough info now, to go away and detail the options.

Colin from Riley & Son (E) Ltd came down from Bury to examine our boiler with a view to quoting for its overhaul in two years’ time. It was extremely interesting to hear some of his tales over tea break, not to mention his company’s track (pun intended) record. Amusingly, while probing inside the lower centre (throatplate) mud-hole, Colin found three old stays! Two of them look to have been inside there for a very long time! The recent wash-out must have dislodged them.

Colin also had a look at the piece of boiler tube that blew a hole the other year. He said that he’d seen something like it before, and that it may have been caused by a drop of grease falling onto the tube through the steam valve assembly opening during its fitting. This made sense in that it was a tube from a top row and close to the centre. Grease could have created a hot spot, for example, and gradually caused the tube metal to fatigue.

Bruce managed to do a little more cleaning on the injector internals, but was assisting with Colin for much of the morning. The insides of the injector bodies remain to be cleaned.

Loco Dept coaled and watered our tender. We then pushed it up to the loco and (using our unique and not-patented gadget) lined up and connected the outer two links. It was surprising how easy it is to move our tender. Bruce started it with a pinch-bar, but once static friction had been overcome, it was easy for a couple of us to keep it rolling.

One boot scraper sold; one parcelled up for collection on Sunday, and Graham’s one finished ready for his next visit.


Saturday, 3 February 2018

Maintenance Update (vice, studs, lubricator, sleeve)

Wednesday 31st
JP was carrying out a mechanical exam, which turned up a couple of minor issues. The first was that a split pin on one coupling link was not long enough. Now, you might think that it is a five-minute job to replace a split pin, wouldn’t you?

Right! There’s a solid block with a threaded hole through the centre (for the coupling screw) and a protruding bar each side. The only way to get this block in or out of the coupling link is by springing the arms of the link. They are sprung so tight up against the split pin through the bar that the link had to be taken off and put in a vice in order to squeeze the arms together and release the split pin.

After that, David assisted John T to remove the valve covers. The main objective being to press their bushes out and rotate them 180°. This is to even out wear. If GJC had designed it properly, the valve cover would have been able to be rotated, rather than having to press the bush out! But it’s not - there’s a cut-out towards the bottom to accommodate the main cylinder cover.

John T cleaned the threads on the studs (one of which came out - which they sometimes do) and the faces of the covers and valve cylinder ends in readiness for them to be refitted. The covers will remain off for a while so that we can set the timing … which we can’t do until the coupling rods are back on … which won’t be until their new bushes have been fabricated … which should be in two weeks time.

David, meanwhile, was onto another JP defect: There is a dust cover over the felts on each driving axle, bolted to the frames. These covers are cast, and as a result suffer badly. This one has broken into three; plus half of the side part is missing, and one of the bolt holes isn’t round. Gil is getting quotes for a couple of new ones to be cast.

Bruce spent much of the day playing with that awkward left-hand J-cock in the cab. The copper pipes did not appear to fit well into the cock, so Bruce had to remove the pipe and adjust it a little. Then the ends and the nuts & threads all needed cleaning up. However, by end-of-play, Bruce had persuaded it all to go back together.

John G was wielding his paint brush. He gave the gauge frame a second coat of black. Gil then pointed him at the coupling rods, and John painted the reverse side of them black.

This simply helps stop them getting rusty. Then the rail guard irons on the rear tender brake hangers had a coat of black.

Finally, I had been busy on the production line (with four boot scraper orders to fulfil) and John blacked their bottoms.

Saturday 3rd Feb
The first task was to fit the brake hangers back onto the tender. They are heavy, and lifting them upwards to be able to locate the pin did take three of us.

We started with the left hanger. Rob and I were lifting and Bruce was aligning the top hole for the pin to go through. Gil was chief pin pusher. It took quite some effort to align everything, and then Gil managed to start the pin. However, it was difficult to slide the pin in because of the weight of the hanger. Using a wooden block, Gil gave it a hefty whack! “Ping!” What fell off? Rob retrieve the bush from the floor… the pin must have caught on the edge of the bush and the whack had pushed it out.

Needless to say, it took more time and trouble to get the bush back in than it had getting it out! Bruce took the bush away and rounded one edge before he managed to persuade it to go home. It was now tea break time!

After tea, Rob, Bruce and I got the right-hand hanger back in place in no time at all.
John T was cleaning the valve faces and making new gaskets for the sticking-out-bit (see below).

Rob cleaned the “inside” of the connecting rod, removing the grimes and grease so that it can be painted. We only paint the non-visible side because it otherwise doesn’t get cleaned when in service, and may begin to rust. Then Rob moved on to refitting cab pressure gauges and connecting up the condensing coil in the cab roof.

Towards the end of day, Rob was still in the cab, trying to reconnect the pipe from the coil to the hydrostatic lubricator. Would it go on? The angle of the pipe was making it difficult to line up the nut on the pipe with the thread on the lubricator. Gil had a go - he couldn’t do it. I had a go - I couldn’t do it. Bruce had a go - and finally he persuaded it to fit! But he’d had previous practice with his J-cock!

Gil and Bruce played around exploring possible options regarding the lubrication of the front of the valve spindles. On a 28xx there is no lubrication - well, it relies entirely upon the oil that is emulsified within the steam. So, the rod and the bush wears, which is why we just rotated the bushes on 2807.

The method on the later 2884 series had an oil pot feeding a sleeve. This necessitates a pressure seal in the valve cover (else pressure in the sleeve would blast the oil back out!).

If we were to do this, we would have to modify the curved plate to clear the sleeve, as well as fit an oil pot.

Would this upset the purists? Would they cough up for replacing the valve rods if we don’t do this?


Saturday, 27 January 2018

Maintenance Update (measuring, welding, willing, lighting)

Wednesday 24th
Bruce brought his homework in. The tricky pin that was supposed to prevent the ring from turning in the gradient pin turned out to be trickier than expected. When Bruce made a replacement pin to fit the original hole (O), he discovered that the hole was not in line with the corresponding hole (H) in the gradient pin. No wonder the old pin did not work. So, Bruce had to drill a new hole (N) for a new pin. Now it does work!

Surprising though it may seem, John T (henceforth known as John-Le-Measurer), Bruce, Gil and David spent all morning and some of the afternoon measuring again! Gil was quite keen that the measurement that he gives to Andrew for machining new bushes are absolutely complete and correct.

John G began by cleaning up the covers for the ends of the valve rods. After stripping the remains of paint that was beneath the grime, John repainted them both.

David removed the glasses from the gauge frame for John to clean and repaint. It was showing its age - I imagine that the heat and steam attack the inside more than the outside.

Loco department chaps set-to, applying bitumen paint to the coal bunker on the tender.

Clive also organised a gang plus the fork-lift to get the spare springs and fire bars off the back of the tender. We normally send spares away when 2807 goes visiting. They are heavy beggars to get up & down from the tender!

Then Clive, Jeff, Pete, et al., gave me a hand to remove the rear brake hangers. I cleaned up their bottoms ready for welding on rail guards. You can see what a pretty rough fabrication they were to begin with!

From the re-measuring, Bruce discovered that the front left gradient pin (the one where the wheel hub has an unexplained recess) was longer than it should have been. Not that that was the cause for the recess. Bruce moved on to refit the J-cock, but could not persuade the pipe connections to line up! He gave up in the end and will retry on Saturday.

At the end of the day, P-Way delivered two 8ft lengths of rail for a customer. Stefan is turning his garden into a railway museum! He’s extending his track now - probably got the idea from GWSR extending to Broadway!

Saturday 27th
Rob was keen to get inside the firebox, so he and Alistair removed all of the fire bars to gain access to the foundation ring rivets. They then cleaned the surface around the rivets and first row of stay nuts. Then they applied a coat of heat-resistant paint. This product can cope with up to 750°, and they said that you could still see traces of that which was applied last year.

Steve assisted Rob in getting the bars back in, later in the day when the paint was dry. They then discovered that one of the side double-bars had a fracture. Clive will order us a replacement.

Stuart [Loco Dept] finished applying bitumen to the tender;

Meanwhile, Steve repelled all boarders …… while preparing the rear section for bitumen.

John T cleaned up the gauge frame, de-rusting the innards, in particular. The components then had a coat of black Deproma, and the glasses had a wipe over.

While in the mood, John went on to clean various other bits that we had recently taken off the loco.

Finally, he re-fitted the vacuum gauge in the cab. It was not safe to fit the pressure gauges, because Bruce has not fixed his J-cock yet!

Bruce spent most of the day working on the guard irons. It took a while to carefully fettle the ends of the brake hangers such that their radii matched that of the newly fabricated guard irons.

Once they were a good fit, Rob (having a break from being inside the firebox) welded the holding bracket onto the hangers.

Gil & I (independently) seemed to spend time organising people. Gil discovered that the new bush material dropped straight through the end of the rod, so needs to procure a larger diameter piece. He has set in motion the fabrication of a smaller bush.

Fred finished fitting the LED lighting inside the siphon van at Winchcombe, and then joined us for lunch. Having an additional pair of willing hands, I set him on painting brushes in readiness for more boot scrapers.

I’d had an email order for a boot scraper, originally saying, “I was looking to get one of your upcycled boot scrapers - ideally with 1948 date.” After an email exchange with GWSR (rather than me) she added, “I think Southern would be great - any colour is fine.” I replied that SR rail chairs are rarer than hens’ teeth around here, so I would go in search of 1948. Today, P-Way were working down by the head-shunt, so I popped along for a butcher’s. Blow me, there on a pallet of chairs was an SR albeit from 1923! So, I advised the lady of my find, but she replied, “I'd ideally prefer the year, rather than the region.” Back to searching through the pile of chairs!

Oh, and embarrassment of all embarrassments: Graham came along hoping to collect his 1949 boot scraper. I’d forgotten that he’d ordered one … and had sold it to someone else! 😞