Saturday, 25 January 2014

Maintenance Update

Wednesday 22nd
Fred and Ray were working on the Siphon van restoration at Winchcombe; Bruce and I worked on the tender at Todders.

Bruce was already cogitating on the tender brake hanger brackets when I arrived.  The one removed last Saturday had different sized holes [i.e. larger] in the hanger bracket to those in the cross-member to which it was bolted.  Hence the bolts used were really too small for the bracket.  Much discussion took place (with several people) and consumed half of the morning!

Meanwhile, I repaired our heater (both elements had died).  Then I painted some brushes for boot scrapers.  And it was probably time for a cuppa by then!

We decided to remove the other five brackets and see what the state is with those.  We managed to get them off, but access up between the frames is not easy.  In fact, one bolt on the right rear bracket fought hard not to be removed, even though we had managed to extract its nut.  It was apparent that it could only have been inserted in the first place by injudicious use of a persuader!  The holes in the bracket and cross-member where out of alignment!

Two of the brackets had had a washer inserted between the bracket and cross-member, apparently to act as a spacer!  The rear two had had proper spacers fitted and welded into position.  This was all to do with there not being quite enough room for the bracket, because of the angle iron to which the cross-member is attached. [If you can't picture it, don't worry!]

I reamed out the errant holes in the rear right.  Bruce & I then decided on the style of new bolts that need to have a spring washer plus split pin in their ends.

Alan Richards called in (all the way from Brecon) to buy a boot scraper.  We were not mean enough to tell him that we needed his help beneath the tender :-)

JC popped in to collect two half-inch bolts for the blow-down valve that he is finishing for us.  This will be ready for testing at the weekend.

Two tins of bitumen paint had been marked for our use inside the tender coal space.  One had already gone walkabout by Wednesday!  I collected two and showed them the way to our TPO.

Saturday 25th
Only Me, Bruce & Gil here today.

There was quite a bit of talking about spanners and hole-cutters; nuts bolts and holes.  So, what was physically achieved does not necessarily imply that little work was done!  Bruce & Gil drilled two holes.

OK, OK, so the holes were not exactly easy to access, and it was important to get the two sets of holes aligned such that the brake hanger pin was horizontal before reaming out the two holes together.  It transpired that on the front LHS, the three holes for the pin (one through the tender frame and two through the brake hanger bracket) were not holding the pin quite horizontally.  So, the hole through the frame will have to be opened up very slightly.

Bruce & Gil then fitted the front RHS hanger bracket, too.

Meanwhile, I decided to get back to rail chair cleaning and building up the stock of boot scrapers.  By the time the rain came (10 past 3) I had cleaned 5, of which two were extremely caked in solidified clay and/or thick solidified grease.  By chance, my wire brush (a wheel-type, attached to a drill) was expired, and I had just gone into the TPO to get a new one, and the heavens opened!  Apparently, the gale force wind was driving the rain straight past Gilbert, as he worked at wheel height on the right side of the tender (literally the RHS); but straight beneath the tender into the pit where Bruce was standing.  Even though the water level was steadily rising in the pit, Bruce struggled on manfully.

Blissfully unaware of the other two, I began painting rail chairs inside the lovely warm TPO - particularly warm since I repaired the halogen heater.  By end of play I had painted ten bottoms and three tops.


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Maintenance Update

Monday 13th
Apparently, the tractors and trailers were all in the wrong places on Monday morning, and it took Alleleys ages to shunt them into their right combinations before they could set off for Toddington.  As a consequence, they didn't arrive until 2 o'clock.
Fortunately, I gave up waiting at 11 o'clock and went back home - there was no word from them at that time (despite Gilbert ringing them).

Gil reported on Monday:
"I called in at Tyseley to re-assure them that the loco was coming.
I saw Bob Meanley and spoke to him about the need to keep to the agreed timescale, and that any delays could have a serious effect on our contract with GWSR.
I have emphasised the fact that we must be notified of any problems that occur and which can effect either time or cost. I have also said that we will work with them to solve any problems which are identified. Bob has said that is also his preference.
Once the loco actually arrives, and they are able to get a couple of wheel-sets out, he will ring us so that we can go up to Tyseley, and see what they have found."

Geof reported on Tuesday:
"I supervised the loading of the loco and it left Todders at 16.30 yesterday, stayed overnight at Allerley’s yard and was delivered and offloaded at Tyesley at 0745 today supervised by Dixie Dean."

Wednesday 15th
2874 was just being off-loaded at Toddington as I arrived.  It brought back (horrible) memories!  However, 2874 is in a far worse state than 2807 was when she arrived at Toddington back in 1981.  In fact, if it were mine, I would sell it all for scrap apart from the boiler; that does look restorable.

Anyway, Geof, Gil, Bruce, Dixie and Mike [Loco Dept] were all swearing underneath our tender, as they attempted to remove pipes and rods.  The purpose is to gain access to the bracket & bolts at the top of the brake hangers.  

By end of play all of the brakes were off - shoes and hangers; also the longitudinal operating rods.  The vacuum pipes were off, and the steam pipes were "loose".  All of this, apparently, so that the tender can be jacked up and let the wheels drop so that the holes can be accessed and bolts replaced (see Saturday).

Dixie had forgotten where the hard lumpy bits are beneath the tender, and located one using his head.  This led to a trip to the First Aider, who equipped Dixie with a turban.  The First Aider obviously recommended seeing a Second Aider, so Bruce drove Dixie to Winchcombe Medical Centre.  There they put the skin back in place, glued it down and stapled it together.  He returned to Todders wearing a kippah, no not a kipper! (look it up).  Anyway, after a cup of tea he was fine, and we let him go home.

I seized the opportunity to do some boot scraper work: painted 9 in GWR green top coat while it was raining, then cleaned up 4 chairs when the sun shone.

Saturday 18th
Gil, Bruce, John T and Dixie were working on the tender ... well, under the tender!  Removing the steam heating pipe.  It transpired that another group (who once borrowed our tender) finished off some bits for us.  In this instance, by welding a bracket to the rear section of steam heating pipe, and then welding the bracket to the drag box.  So, the only way to get the pipe off was to cut through it with an angle grinder.

The next task was to raise the tender body sufficient to allow access to the brackets from which the brake hangers are suspended.  These we had fitted many moons ago before the tender tank was fitted onto its chassis.  It was easy to fit them from above; not so easy to remove them from below!  It is the bolts that secure this bracket to the chassis that GWSR insist must have a spring washer and split pin through them (to ensure their nuts cannot drop off).  The bolts are not long enough to do that, so we have to make/procure new ones.  The top bolt of the three has a slotted countersunk head.  Bruce had to make a "screwdriver" to fit the slot and stop the bolt from turning.

I busied myself painting the lettering on boot scrapers; boxing them up, and then making some wedges for fitting the brushes.


Monday, 13 January 2014

Photos from Saturday 11th - 2807 to Tyseley

Here are a few photos taken on Saturday 11th.

2807 being shunted towards the loading / unloading road.

Standing on the loading / unloading road.

Separated from the tender.

The tender is 'shunted', by hand, onto a pit for some TLC.

The remaining coal is removed.

Awaiting departure.

Meanwhile, here is the new regulator.


Sunday, 12 January 2014

Maintenance Update

Sun 5th
I popped down for 5 mins, and there a poor lonely soul called Paul, from Brierley Hill, who had come to work in the steam loco dept.  The only problem was, there was absolutely no one there!  Well, we did discover that Tina was in the mess coach, cleaning up.  So, I stayed a while and set him (and me) on barrowing ballast into the puddles to make a land bridge through the lakes from the TPO to the loco shed.

Mon 6th
I spent an hour or two cleaning the tools that we'd used last Saturday.  They were filthy, mainly because of the grot beneath the loco and the puddles through which the extension cables had run.  I discovered that the big socket set box has got numbers (sizes) on it next to the socket holes ... and the sockets have corresponding numbers on them, too !!!  There are 3 sizes missing and two extra sockets that didn't come from this set.  The Draper spanners are all there (I think) though the roll that held them was so disgusting that I consigned it to the landfill bin.

Weds 8th
There was an excellent turn-out today, and a substantial amount of the remaining work was completed - helped by being inside the loco shed!

When I arrived (after the Tesco run) Geof was removing brake blocks, with the assistance of Dixie [Roger Dean] and Mike [Loco Dept].  These were covered in filthy grease [not the chaps, the bake blocks!  ... no, the chaps, too!!!), and the split pins retaining the blocks' pivot pins proved rather obstinate.  By lunch time, they had finished the RHS.  After lunch I joined them, and we removed the RHS brake blocks, which (luckily for me) had R-clips instead of split pins; these simply pull out ... I say "simply" ...

Gil & David spent most of the time between the frames removing the RHS internal motion parts and the expansion link.  This took them right up to 3.30, at which time the rain had set in outside, and other Loco Dept chaps working out there decided to pack in.

Dixie removed the operating rod that works the vacuum pump, though one bolt made a dash for it on the floor, and managed to escape.

At one point, the position of the coupling rods prevented Dixie from removing said nut, and also prevented Geof et al from accessing the brake block pins, so we had to move the loco by hand - it only took 3 of us with "pinch-bars" to move her back about 2 feet.

Oh, back to "when I arrived": since everyone seemed busy, I put the kettle on!  After a cuppa, I volunteered to get inside the firebox to remove the fire bars.  The two fusible plugs were still in the top of the firebox, and I was privileged to be permitted to remove these, though Carpo [Loco Dept's "Boiler Responsible Person"] did keep an eye on me while pretending to hold the torch!  Getting the fire bars out of the grate is a two-man job - one to lift each bar and pass it through the fire-hole door, while a second person needs to grab it and move it to somewhere safe.  In this case, Pete [Loco Dept] was the catcher, and he then passed each out of the cab to Bruce, who was stacking them neatly at the side of the shed.  The grate has to be out so that the boiler inspector can inspect all of the rivets round the foundation ring.

After lunch, Pete was forced (by Carpo) to dismantle the gauge frame (as a training exercise).  Carpo said, 'If you're on the footplate and the gauge glass breaks ...', striking said glass violently with a spanner, 'there's a cloud of steam.  What do you do?'  Luckily, Pete only had to imagine the cloud of steam, of course.

Sat 11th
Loco Dept pulled 2807 out of the shed over the pit.  I had bought some Denso tape, which David & John T used to wrap round the eccentrics to protect the bearing surfaces from rusting.  Aided by Gilbert, David & John then began to remove the one remaining linkage – the drain cocks operating rod.

Bruce removed the delivery pipes from the front sand boxes (which could also only be done from beneath.

Bruce and I then tackled the rubber hoses between loco and tender, disconnecting them at the loco side, and at the same time removing the securing pins from the two auxiliary coupling bars, such that only the main one remained in situ.

Geof began to steam clean the drain cocks rod and sand pipes.  Afterwards, he carried the brass bonnet from the shed into the TPO for safety (and in the hopes that someone (i.e. me) will clean it).

Stu arrived and prepared some boxes ready for holding boot scrapers.  Thereafter, he acted as Tea Lady and Washer-up.

Bruce and John moved on to hopefully resolving a vacuum leak issue.  We have had reports of rapid vacuum loss under certain conditions.  This led to the inspection, dismantling, remantling and head scratching about components in the system (most notably the vacuum relief valve).  However, Bruce figured that a leak in the packing around the vacuum cylinder piston could explain the issue.  Bruce and I released the necessary bolts, and then after lunch Bruce and John T fitted fresh packing.  Here’s hoping!

By lunchtime, John G, Steve and Ingo all turned up to help.

Geof initially set John G on cleaning out the remaining 5 or 6 blocked tubes, but they gave up, because I had removed the fire grate, so Geof couldn’t get on top of the brick arch to access the tube ends in the firebox!  However, John G was then set on to cleaning out the smokebox.  This turned out to be much filthier than at first looked – much muck was hiding in obscure places.  In fact, John was still cleaning up outside the smokebox by the time the loco had been shunted out into the car park at the end of the day!

Meanwhile, Geof drained the water out of the glasses in the hydrostatic lubricator, to avoid ice damage.

Since there was little more to do, I set to cleaning rail chairs.  I completed 5 by end of play.

Ben [Loco Dept] fired up the 08 shunter and hauled 2807 off the pit, round the yard, down the loading line and into the car park, ready for Allelys to collect her on Monday morning.  Gil, David, John T and Ingo were all involved in parting the loco and tender.

Then Ben moved the tender round to the old pit by the coal staithe.  Because of the track layout, the shunter had to abandon the tender such that points could be switched and the tender moved by hand over the old pit.

Once there, the remaining coal in the tender was shovelled out into the JCB’s bucket, so that we can clean and paint the tender coal space.

David examined the old bell cover and the new one, and will take the new one home to finish off.  It needs a lubrication hole in the top, and its “skirt” needs shortening by about ½”.  Temporarily, a bucket is being used to protect the pony truck bearing.


Sunday, 5 January 2014

Maintenance Update

Wednesday 1st.
Bruce & Gilbert were able to attend, and made a good start on stripping off things in readiness to go to Tyseley (the loco, that is, not themselves).
Gil spent much of his time removing the internal motion parts, assisted by Bruce at times.
Bruce preferred to be sat on top of the boiler removing the safety valves.  Apparently it was quite warm up there, and even once the the valves were off, steam was drifting out of the holes that was left behind.  There was no steam pressure (please note) just quite warm water in an otherwise cold atmosphere.
Gil also removed the gauges from the cab, because these have to be re-calibrated every year.
Bruce somehow managed to paint 9 rail chairs as a first step towards re-stocking boot scrapers (Winchcombe station and the F&W at Toddington having sold all that we had prepared in anticipation of building up stock - some 24 were sold during December).

Geof found himself with free time, and toddled down to Todders to start upon steam-cleaning the underside of the loco.  Before getting himself well and truly wet, he removed the innards of the two injectors and also the Mason's (steam heating) valve - to avoid frost damage.

After couriering my Mary's daughter and granddaughter off to the bus station in Cheltenham, I made time to pop down to Todders to see what the situation was.  I happen to have perloined a bucket, many moons ago, which we had previously used to cover the bearing of the pony truck - normally secured from weather by a bell-housing, or "policeman's helmet".  I intended removing the latter and replacing it with the bucket.  Gil (I believe) loosened its nuts, so it made my task simple.  However, it was quite oily, so before stashing it away in our TPO, I decided to clean it up a bit.  Some diesel and some Gunk got the grot off, and then the rain washed off the Gunk.
The loco cab's "tarpaulin" was wafting about in the breeze [typical English understatement] so I removed that and put it in the TPO to dry off.

Saturday 4th
We were working in the pit beneath the loco to remove various bits of rod and pipe.

Before I had arrived, Gilbert, Geof and Bruce had removed all of the vacuum pipes.

Geof, Gilbert and Mike [Loco Dept] then removed all of the links between the loco brakes.  Gil went on to remove the links that operate the damper doors.

Bruce, John, myself and Ray [Loco Dept] removed the steam heating pipe sections.  The last section proved a tad problematic, because the nuts on the flange that connects it to the pipe that runs between the ash pan and the frames are extremely difficult to get at.  And, of course, they refused to turn!  In the end, Ray & I had to angle-grind two off, and drill out the third, before the fourth one surrendered!

While all of this was going on, the weather tried its best to rain.  The rain water hitting the boiler barrel was running round underneath and dripping down ... mainly down necks!

Then, Carpo [and someone else from the loco dept] chose to wash out the boiler!  With all of the plugs and mud-hole-doors out, all of the water being flushed into the boiler was flushing out of the boiler ... especially out of the mud-hole doors by the last section of steam heating pipe!  At one point, there was such as cascade of water, that we had to abandon what we were doing, and surface for air!