Thursday, 30 July 2015

Maintenance Update (eccentrics, bag, pipe)

Sunday 26th
It was dreadful weather.  I popped down to apply a top coat to the four rail chairs that were in the production line.

Monday 27th
I managed to find an hour to apply the lettering to the rail chairs and then fit the brushes to them.

While there, I took a look at 2807.  The spacers had been fitted to the LHS eccentric straps, but the straps had been left "upside down" such that the oil in their reservoirs had run out.  So I turned them right way up and topped them up.

Wednesday 29th
Getting the two LHS eccentrics rods back on was the priority of the day.  Gilbert was assisted by John P [Loco Dept].  Apparently, John is fireman on Friday and quite keen on our loco being available!

Gavin [new recruit] joined us and was shepherded round by Bruce.  The eccentrics and motion are a bit of a 'deep end' for a beginner, but Bruce did his best to explain it all, as they joined in with Gil & John.

Clive [Loco Dept] provided a new steam heat hose ("bag"), and John G attempted to fit it.  However, it became apparent that the old hose was a thicker material, and the new hose was rather loose on the fitting.  It was a struggle to find a clamp that would tighten it enough.  This needs further investigation, because it has to be able to take the steam pressure of the heating system (normally 40 psi).

John also helped with the eccentrics by cutting split pins to size.  Thereafter, John got out the brasso and started polishing the drain cocks.

Dixie came and fixed the failed electrical circuit to the compressor.  He fitted a switch that can better cope with the surge in juice when the compressor starts up.  Then he and I turned our attention to … rail chairs!  I switched on the compressor and … nothing!  "Dixie!"  Dixie threatened the board with his screwdriver and the compressor burst into life.  No idea why it initially refused to start, as Dixie had tested the circuit and checked that everything was working after fitting the new switch.

I pointed Bruce and Gavin at a loose oil feed pipe.  No crew had noticed or reported it, but I spotted it while playing with the RHS eccentrics the other week.  Bruce & Gavin took the pipe off, cleaned up the thread and eventually persuaded it to fit back tightly.

I tidied the top shelf in the TPO where sales items used to be kept.  Then Dixie & I moved copper pipes up there out of the way.  Gil seized the opportunity and put more pipework up there, too.  Catching the 'bug', Bruce started tidying up the workbench!  He'd already cleaned the lathe and swept the floor.  The place has never looked so tidy.

2807 is in service on Fire & Drive on Friday.  It is likely, therefore, to be in service over the weekend.


Sunday, 26 July 2015

Maintenance Update (felt, Hymek, rivet)

Wednesday 22nd
First of all, there are two new issues logged from the last steaming days:

46 [MY]: Rear steam heat bag missing.  {I'm glad they noticed!  :-)  Let's hope there isn't a sudden downturn in the weather before we find out where to get new hoses from!}

47 [MY]: [steam] Leak to top rear of manifold.  Poss rear of Y-splitter to condensing coils.  {I took a photo so that you knew what he's talking about}

Gil was in between the frames when I arrived, fitting spacers to all of the bolts on the eccentrics.  I had deliberately left the RHS nuts loose after taking off and refitting the rods & straps last Saturday when fitting felt pads into the straps.  We are still totally perplexed as to how/why the metal dishes had been inserted in the lubrication points but not the felt pads.  The metal dishes (with lots of holes in) are designed to hold the pad away from the bottom such that oil dribbling down the delivery pipe can spread over the whole pad surface.  Why insert the metal bits and not the pads?  What happened to the pads that Bruce cut?  We have (well, had) a box of spares .. but where did the actual felt pads go (if not in their holes)???  Total mystery.

Anyway, Gil grovelled underneath and in between, fitting spacers, then nuts, then split pins to the ten bolts of the RHS eccentrics.  I think he also fitted the two on the LHS straps (but the rods are still off until the expansion link is back on, which can only be done when the die block comes back and is riveted into its cheeks inside the expansion link.  {Need a diagram?}

John G was gopher to Gil nearly all day.  This even included cutting split pins down to size!

Bruce helped, from time to time, but also investigated a few things.  The blower (that we were trying to cut its bottom to make smooth, some weeks ago, now) … Bruce felt that it would be best to remove it and do the work on a lathe (or something) in the workshop.  However, when he & David attempted to get it off, they could not undo one of the nuts.  Wisely, they tackled the most difficult nuts first .. and it was too difficult!  There's not enough room to get a spanner on it properly; and not enough leverage.  So, Bruce decided we would have to press on doing it by hand in situ.  Then the sharpness of the cutter came into question.  Then Neil said that his air drill works the cutter better than an electric drill (as we had been using).  But the air drill has a 1/2" square end, not a chuck. Could Bruce find anything to fit the end and also fit the cutter?  {Rhetorical question}.

I began by painting some brushes for boot scrapers, but Gil spotted me and forced me to do an inventory of our portable electric appliances.  The railway is about to do PAT (testing), so need a list of everything we've got.  Well, that took me all morning.  Including everything from fridge to cordless screwdriver; six lamps (various); 13 cables (various lengths, voltages & fitments); 4 hand drills; microwave, kettle & sandwich toaster; and so on.

Later I cleaned four rail chairs, and John painted their bottoms.  Gil buzzed off to Stroud to collect the die block from his pet machinist.  On Saturday [which happens to be diesel gala day] the plan is to assemble the die block and its cheeks in the expansion link and rivet them together.

I nipped down during the morning and painted the four chairs' tops.  Gil & Bruce were playing with the newly machined die block and cheeks.  Bruce was sceptical about the rivets being too loose, but Carpo said to go ahead anyway, so they did.  Bruce made a widget to fit in the fly-press and squash the rivet heads. At the point where they were lining up the expansion link plus die block on the press I had to leave, as I was on crossing duty at Winchcombe station (it was Diesel Gala Day and I had volunteered).

As I departed, John T was cutting off bolts from the recently delivered pile of rail chairs.  He subsequently reported:

" Whilst cutting bolts off rail chairs today, I found an SR one, dated 12-1947 (The last month of Southern Region?).  I have put it "under the counter"."

John then assisted Bruce & Gil with the die block work: "I cleaned the 5 fitted bolts and sourced split pins for them. The die block was riveted, with help from Mark Young, with Bruce cleaning up (grinding) the rivet heads afterwards. Later on I helped Bruce and Gil to fit the die block/expansion link thingy. They were inside the frames and I was gopher.

You remember me dropping a bolt through the running board water feed pipe cut-out on the RHS? Gil did almost the same on the LHS, except it was a small hammer which got dreadfully wedged between frame and wheel. What a job I had getting it out.

Wednesday is now the day for fitting the LHS links from the eccentrics. At least people will have our efforts on the RHS to guide them !"

… too true, John.  So, the rods will be on before coffee break, and then Gil will spend the rest of the day fitting spacers, nuts, locknuts and split pins?   :-)


Sunday, 19 July 2015

Maintenance Update (hammer, felt, block)

Saturday 11th
Board Meeting, so no work done!

Sunday 12th
Stuart held a tombola stall at the bus rally.

Wednesday 15th
I had a boot scraper order to fulfil.  Uniquely, the purchaser wanted one unpainted.  "Rustic", she said.  As it was being collected on Friday, I had to tackle this first.

Gil, John G and Howard [Loco Dept] attacked issue 36: "Rivets to die blocks loose".  They started by removing the Left-hand side radius rod (that connects the lifting link to the combination lever, and ultimately to the valve spindle).  This didn't appear to be too difficult .. and then it was elevenses time.

Shareholder Ken and his mate Rob popped in to say "Hello".  They were using their free GWSR tickets and took a break.  Much nattering ensued.

Tim [Loco Dept] joined in when they attempted to remove the expansion link.  It is held in place by a tapered pin, and you know what they are like!  Gil was between the frames, bashing away, while the others were giving moral support (plus handing him spanners, lump hammers, etc. as appropriate).

I figured that there was room for me (just) and I could tackle issue 28: "All eccentric straps loosing oil via felt pads".  So, I began removing split pins and lock nuts and took off the first strap.  Gil assisted me by holding the lower one up when I removed the upper one (else when the two halves split I need 4 arms).  Well, blow me!  It was plain to see …. no felt pads at all !!!  Whoever assembled them forgot to fit the felt pads in.  Felt pads lovingly created by Bruce, who had the foresight to make spares.  So, we fitted pads, oiled up and reassembled.  Ditto the second strap.

Meanwhile, the tapered pin was refusing to budge for Gil.  So, I assisted him … but to no avail.  Obviously the pin was beginning to get worried by all of our forcing and bashing because when JC [Loco Dept] came along with his great big lead hammer, the pin gave up immediately.  However, by now it was almost teatime.  So, the expansion link came off and was moved into the TPO.

Thursday 16th
I popped down to make a few wooden wedges for boot scrapers while no one was about.  I won't use the band saw when folks might be trotting in & out focussed entirely on finding a one-and-thirteen-sixteenths Whitworth spanner!  An accidental nudge of my elbow could break the saw blade!

Saturday 18th
The main objective of today was to extract the rivets from the die block so that it can be freed from the expansion link.  Bruce and David tackled that.  The rivets did seem to be fairly hard, so David attacked them with an angle grinder.  Of course, that knackered the side plate, but luckily we have two new ones.

David & Bruce took a million measurements such that the block can be skimmed to best fit the expansion link, and the holes all made to suit the rivets.  This was left in a box for Gilbert to collect and take to his "man" who does things.

Meanwhile, John T and I disassembled the right-hand eccentrics rods, which allowed the eccentrics to rotate.  We could then access the split pins, lock nuts and finally the nuts to remove the eccentric straps (two semi-circles clamped onto the eccentric sheaves that are attached to the loco driving wheel axles).

Sure enough, there were no felt pads in these, either!  We fitted pads and reassembled the eccentrics.  Fitting the rods back was highly amusing, as we had forgotten which came of which!  By trial and error (i.e. 3rd time lucky) we got one right.  The inside rod (marked only as "R1") connects to the bottom of the expansions link and is the backward gear.  The outside rod ("R2") connects to the top of the expansion link and is the forward gear.  We confirmed this from a diagram.  It could have been fun if we'd got them the wrong way round!

Other little jobs took place from time to time: David painted "2807" on his newly-built & painted chimney cap.

Bruce and David both examined the blower in the cab with a view to removing it and thence to skim the internal face in the workshop, rather than the previous attempt at cutting the face in situ.

John cut off some bolts from a few rail chairs that had mysteriously appeared (P-Way were working in  the yard, so it was not really that mysterious!).  I finished off the three boot scrapers in the production line.

We have about 10 days in which to get the die block machined, riveted and reassembled.  2807 is next due in service on 31st July.

Next weekend is the diesel gala.  If Gil gets the work done during the week, the chaps can do the riveting and assembly on Saturday.  I'm on duty at Winchcombe station (someone has to volunteer to assist these diesel chaps!).


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Maintenance Update (cap, steam, reverser, pony)

Saturday 4th July
David and John T were first to arrive.  David immediately tackled the chimney cap that had lost its handle.  The square-section handle was too thin to rescue, so David found a length of hollow tubing to replace the handle.  Once he'd welded it and tested it, he figured that it would be good to give it a coat of paint.  Then, he hung it up outside to dry [see photo].  Sadly, as I was snapping it, I spotted a bit he'd missed!  So, David got the paint out again … Then, he asked: 'Does it need to have this rope attached?'  Well, it does - to tie it down & stop the cap from flying off the chimney when it's windy!  So, David fashioned a loop from the original, and welded it onto the handle … and out came the paint again!

I had arrived with half a dozen rail chairs from Winchcombe, and John set to, cutting off the bolts.  It was a bit like firework night watching him.

Then we had a look at the remaining issues list to see what to tackle.  John took on issue 10 (LH intermediate underkeep retaining bolts too short.  Lock nuts not fully on thread).  Grovelling in the grime under the loco, we could see that, indeed, the lock nut on one was only half onto the bolt thread.  After John had removed it and examined the situation, it became apparent that there was an ill-fitting washer.  John gave it a shave with a file, and that fixed the problem totally.

When John & I clambered down into the pit to suss out this issue, I noticed a huge hole in the steam heating hose on the tender.  So big that I could get a finger into it.  Now, how come someone can raise an issue to say that the leaves of a spring are not perfectly in line, and yet there is no report of this religious hose???  Steam would have gushed out if the heating was used!  I wonder if it relates to issue 22 (Rear steam heat connector blowing.  Replaced seal, still blowing steam)?  Perhaps the blowing of steam was from a small hole, that has subsequently got bigger?  Certainly, replacing the seal would have had no effect …

John tackled this issue next.  In due course he had stripped the old hose of its connections & clasps.  After looking for a new hose, and not finding one, we did find a 10ft length of hose that appears to be identical to the old one, so John cut off 25" and it is ready to assemble (but time ran out today).

Bruce drilled and fitted the new pin for the reverser lever handle.  David painted that part of the handle in signal red [pin arrowed in photo].

Bruce was investigating issue 33 (Vacuum pump release valves (both ends) hot.).  We could not understand how these could get hot, as they only allow air to escape from the vacuum pump.  So, he met 4270 as it came back into Toddington and examined its vacuum pump.  It was almost too hot to handle!  David gave a second opinion, and Bruce estimated it to be about 50 deg.C.  So, it would appear that they do get rather warm!

Bruce's brain was almost continuously trying to work out what might cause the pony axle to get hot (issue 33).  He didn't solve that mystery!

David had another go at the blower's seat (issue 24 Blower blowing by).  He & I had had a go before, but spent all day getting nowhere fast.  David and Bruce had another go, using hand tools (as opposed to the electric drill that we had previously used).  Whilst this had some effect, their view is that the blower needs taking off and machining in the workshop.

Mostly, I seemed to paint chairs & assemble boot scrapers.  The F&W sold two today.

Tony Soughton came to Todders to the P&O AGM.  Tony used to be 1/3rd of the Sunday Gang restoring 2807 during the final years.  Now he works at the Dean Forest Railway.

Wednesday 8th

The pony truck axlebox came under scrutiny,  Bruce's brain was still trying to fathom out how the axle could get hot.  So, he and Gil, aided by Graham [Loco dept] in the morning and John G late in the day messed around with it all day.  The underkeep could not be removed.  There was some debate about the design of it - it differs slightly from that on the 42xx, which can be removed.

At one point, Bruce was blowing through a length of hose pipe into the axlebox.  I'm not sure that this proved anything (other than his puff also came out of the axlebox).  The final decision was that the pony will have to come off completely over winter and the axle and boxes be removed for thorough examination.

John G spent the morning playing with the holey steam heat hose.  Firstly we couldn't find any decent clamps to hold it on; secondly Carpo said it was the wrong sort of hose!  Well, it was identical to that which came off!  Hopefully Gil will buy a correct one.

After this, John painted the three remaining rail chairs in the production line.

I began by painting the lettering and fitting brushes to half-a-dozen boot scrapers.  Then got sucked into the hose issue.  I dug out a pile of (old) hoses that we had squirrelled away, and decided to chuck the lot of them!  So, I cut the fitments off (where there were any) and Mike [Loco Dept] disposed of the rubbers.

We have been informed by the railway that … " there is a considerable amount of movement of the cheek plates caused by the rivets being loose" [in the LH die block].  We are going to have to attend to this immediately after the weekend's running.

2807 is in service this coming weekend, but then not until 31st July.  Note that it is a bus rally at Todders on Sunday.  On Saturday we are having a board meeting (so not much work would have got done, even if 2807 were sat idle!).


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Maintenance Update (flat, pony, damper, lubricator)

Friday 26th
Woe, and thrice woe! Carpo's message says:

"… on the second trip out of Cheltenham Racecourse on today's F&D course the crew failed to fully release the tender handbrake before departure. They did not realise their mistake until approaching the foot crossing at Bishop Cleeve when, having shut off, the rate of deceleration indicated the problem."

Carpo carried out a detailed examination of the tender wheelset and there appears to be no major problem: 

" I am relieved to be able to tell you that no major flat spot developed and that there is no evidence of the tyres having shifted on their wheels."

However, some damage was caused to the tyres on the rear wheels.  He put 2807 out on Saturday, and will examine the tyres again at the end of the day.

Saturday 27th
I popped down first thing and examined the rear tender wheels.  They were quite noticeably scoured, especially the RHS.  Furthermore, when 2807 left the yard, there was a very audible thump-thump-thump.  Methinks there is a flat!

Sunday 28th
Sitting on Winchcombe station as 2807 pulled (and then out), I could not hear any thumping sounds at all.  Later, I spoke with Jon W (driving) who said that the tender flat had more or less rounded itself.  It was only noticeable at speed.  Similarly, there is an occasional "thunk" from the rods, but not a consistent knocking.

New issues raised:
39 [JC]: Excessive side play in all gradient pins.  Serviceable until all rods overhauled. {I have to admit that I don't know what a "gradient pin" is!}

40 [IW]: Flat on rear tender wheelset.

41 [IW]: Front damper door linkage bracket loose. {Driver obviously has not passed his spanner operating exam}.

42 [IW]: LT {left trailing} spring leaves out of alignment.

43 [IW]: Lub{ricator} shut off on lubricator not working. Operates in mid position.

44 [IW]: Lub{ricator} sight glass leaking oil, left glass R/H cyl feed.  {Presumably he tried tightening it?}

Wednesday 1 July
Bloomin' warm today!  The workshop was the coolest place.

Anyway, 2807 was standing still all day, so we decided to tackle some of the issues on the list:

18: Cannot always engage full forward gear.  This is first on the list, but was almost last of the day!  We had discovered that the central support bracket was the cause, preventing the operating rod from moving fully forward.  So, Gil & I removed the bracket, and then worked out where it ought to be when the reverser is full forward … about 1/4" further forward!  What were our options?  Drill out the holes (they'd become oval, of course) to suit; Fit skinny bolts and hope no one notices; file down the end of the  slot in the rod; or simply remove the roller in the bracket, thereby yielding a good 1/4" extra space.  We played with the reverser while watching the roller, and it didn't seem to be doing a lot of good, so it is now deposited in the box in our TPO which is marked "A Safe Place".  No probs now in engaging full forward!

27: Pony truck pivot pin very loose; & 32: Pony truck axle hot. 
Gil & Bruce spent a lot of time watching the pony as JC pulled us to & fro with his diesel shunter.  I'm not sure if that helped, but the two of them then removed the pivot pin and measured its diameters.  Either it is oval or the hole it goes into is, or maybe both are!  It does allow sideways play.  Also, Bruce recalled that when we weighed the loco, one side appeared to be 5 tons heavier than the other.  Could that cause the pony to veer sideways? If so, could that cause friction (e.g. on the flange) and heat up the axle?  The only decision was to carry on to end of season and then bore out the bush and make a new pin to suit.

34: Pin through reverser lever handle had dropped out {and been replace with a nut & bolt}.  John G and I played with this.  The pin came flush with the handle body - nothing to hold it in place, seemingly!  So, we decided to make a new pin, 3/8" longer and with a split-pin hole through it!  John asked Rod (in the workshop) who machined one for us by end of day.  I checked the fit (and adjusted the handle's hole to suit the pin!).  It still needs the split-pin hole drilling, and then Gil will get it hardened.

36: Rivets in both die blocks loose.  Bruce checked them both and whilst we knew those in the LHS are loose, those in the RHS are not!  We only had that remade over winter.  There is some play between the die block and the slot that it runs in, but the rivets are fine!

39: Excessive play in gradient pins.  These pins join the sections of the coupling rods together.  Gil confirmed that there is play in them, but no action proposed until winter maintenance.

40: Flat on rear tender wheelset.  While JC was shunting Bruce up & down, I watched & listened to the tender wheel.  There was no sound of a flat at this speed.  However, the pitting in the tyre surface was noticeable.  Speaking with Carpo, the decision is to run the tender to end of season and then assess the tyre wear and decide what action is appropriate.

41: Front damper doo linkage loose.  Actually, UI noticed it was loose during winter maintenance.  However, the nuts are "welded" onto the bolts and I could not tighten them.  Today, Bruce and I had another go.  We could not budge them.  So, yes they are loose, but there is no chance of them coming off!  We could cut them off and replace them, but I argued (successfully) that in doing so we would be fitting nuts & bolts that could come loose!  :-)  No action currently proposed.

42: Left trailing driver spring leaves out of alignment.  Gil & I inspected the spring, and we agree that the leaves are not neatly stacked - they could have been assembled better.  But there is no sign of a broken leaf nor the central pin being broken.  Bashing the leaves just to get them perfectly aligned didn't seem to be a good idea - what if we broke one in doing so?  No action proposed.

43: [Hydrostatic] Lubricator shut-off not working; operates in mid position.  This is puzzling.  The shut-off is a simple screw-it-shut device.  There is a 3-position lever on top of the lubricator that opens one or other of the condensing coils (on the cab ceiling).  This must be what was meant.  I tightened it.  Don't know if it will do any good!

44: Lubricator sight glass leaking oil.  John G and I removed the offending sight glass regulator valve, and could see that the packing in it was in a poor state.  John took it away, thoroughly cleaned the valve and discovered a brass ring inside.  This is supposed to compress the packing.  Gil found the right sort of packing and John wrapped some round the thread and then reassembled it.  Let's hope it works - you can't tell until in steam!

Apart from these, John also fitted the ferrules in the cab (which he's been wanting to do ever since the wash-out, but 2807 didn't stand still long enough); he also painted the rail chairs in the boot scraper production line; oh, and he was brakeman during the rolling inspection.

Gil tightened up the clips on the steam heat hose.  A wisp of steam had been seen emanating from the loco end of the hose twixt loco & tender.


The roster now has 2807 having a rest, and then in service on Friday 10th through to Sunday 12th; and then a BIG rest until 31st July.