Thursday, 27 August 2015

Maintenance Update (leak, tails, siphon)

Saturday 22nd
The day began with John T preparing rail chairs and me painting those in the production line.  John decided to clean the Southern Railway one ready for anyone who asks for one.  I pointed him at an LNER one, too, which could equally be readied.

Bruce & Gil decided to tackle the leaky underkeep on the left side of the pony truck.  It involved jacking up the front of the loco to separate part of the pony truck frame such that the underkeep could be slid out.  It has two straps brazed (badly) to its bottom, which are too wide for it to slide out on its own.  So, one thing we did (later) was to cut off the excess width and make it fit properly. Meanwhile, even the steam heating pipe had to be disconnected in order to get the thing out!

The objective of today's exercise was to see if we could find out where the leaks are.  It's a brass casting; a complete box, with a slot in the top for a felt pad.  The felt pad fits inside the slot on springs, and presses up against the pony axle.  Judging by the depth of the pad and that of the box, it appears that the box has to be absolutely full of oil for any to reach the pad!  If the oil level in the bottom of the box drops to about one inch deep, the pad would sit above it - high and dry!  Carpo suggested fitting 'tails' to the pad such that they sit in the oil and it rises by capillary action up into the felt pad.  Bruce duly did this and fitted the pad back in its slot, checking that it was still springy.

I cleaned out the box with kerosene; dried it; left it in the sun to finish off drying, and finally smeared silicone sealant all over its bottom!  We'd carried out a test to see where the leaks were by filling it with some kerosene and just watching the drips.  There were several!  We are under no illusion that this is a cure, but we hope that it reduces the leaking to tide us over the remaining 9 steaming days to Winter Maintenance.  Gil has already set in motion the procurement of new castings.

Dixie came along today and acted (mostly) as gopher.  He'd been to Winchcombe first, to fit electrical sockets in the siphon van.  Geof was there continuing with the restoration work.

We had to get the loco back together before the end of the day because she is acting as stand-by loco, and must be ready for service if needed.  So, it was all hands to the pony for the final hour or so!  Bruce, Gil & I were struggling to get the underkeep back in place; Dixie and John were providing "support services" (e.g. "fetch a needle" … "file the split pin end to a point" …).  Bruce and I really had fun with the split pins (meanwhile, Gil was tightening the pony frame nuts).  Why couldn't the person who drilled the holes drill them at 60 degrees from alignment?  As they are, the pin holes in two bolts are in line and hence you can't run a test needle through the one at the back because the one in front is directly in line with it (and hence blocking access)!

Anyway, we got it all back together; collected up all of the old split pins (so as not to cause a driver to panic if he found an old split pin by the loco [ask me sometime!]); cleaned the tools, and called it a day.  John had managed to prepare half-a-dozen rail chairs and cut off some stubborn bolts from others.

Tuesday 25th
I popped down during the afternoon to spread some paint around, but was intercepted by young Tom whom I had given lighting-up training only 3 weeks ago.  He was rostered to do a light-up under Carpo's supervision, but things were not entirely to plan.  4270 (which should have been the one to light up) had broken a spring or two!  So, 2807 was called into action.  Furthermore, the DMU had broken down, and Carpo had been called away to fix it.  So, I spent an enjoyable afternoon supervising young Tom lighting a warming fire in 2807.

While he was getting on with things, I noticed that the blower handle was at 60 degrees past the vertical when closed.  Little things like that irritate me, so I freed the handle and re-aligned it vertically (downwards).

It was also rather necessary to fill the pony left-hand axlebox with oil (as we had left it dry while the temporary fix set).  That was quite tricky, as we were not over a pit.  In fact, the pattern of oil on the ground is not exactly representative of any leaks that might still exist in the axlebox …  :-)

Wednesday 26th
Well, 2807 was on Train 2, so Bruce decided that it was too risky to run along behind trying to fit the steam heat hose.  Workshop Keith had finished cleaning up the faces of the valve section and the connector.  Bruce verified that they all fit together, and then made gaskets for their faces.

Dixie and John T attacked rail chairs, and had cleaned eight by the time we called it a day, but John continued for a while, cutting bolts off chairs in the pile.  John G pressed on with painting those in the production line.  I fitted brushes to three that were near the end of the production line, and then had to stain another batch of brushes.

Gil & Ray came over from Winchcombe, where they had been assembling a new door for the siphon.  This is the final door on the north side.  The panelling (cladding) on the south side is complete, and only the doors to do, there.

Gil & Bruce went to see JC to inspect the set of expansion links that he has got.  They had been on Foremarke Hall, but the curvature is not correct for a Hall … because they came off of a 28xx !!!  So, we are planning on buying them from JC, refurbishing them, and fitting them to 2807 over winter.

Ray took over from John G, and finished painting green rail chairs.  John nipped off to see Malcolm R, and when he came back, he painted the final prepared chair in crimson lake.  This will cause purists to cringe, but there has been a run on the crimson lake coloured boot scrapers, and we have only 3 Midland Railway chairs left, and no LMS ones or plain BR ones … so, a few BR(W) chairs are going to leave the works in crimson!  Sorry!


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Maintenance Update (fire, ash, pony)

Saturday 15th
A warming fire had been lit in 2807 in anticipation of problems with 5542.  However, all was well with 5542, and 2807 was not required.

There was just me, a wasp and Joe Bonamassa.  So, we prepared a few rail chairs' bottoms and then buzzed off.

Sunday 16th
I noticed that the Coffee Pot had sold 4 boot scrapers, so I popped in at Todders and slapped some more paint on some of those in the production line (mainly because there were no crimson boot scrapers finished) and wood-stained some brushes.

Monday 17th
Second coat of stain on brushes; Primer coat on tops of two red (MR & LMS) and one black (LNWR) chair.

Noticed chimney cap was not on loco (should be, in case it rains). Noticed fire iron (bent pricker) laying on cab floor. Grate covered in ash. I was moved to say: Loco Dept to be made aware that any work carried out on our locomotive should be completed correctly and that at the end of the task all tools and redundant bits and pieces must be removed with nothing left that could cause uncertainty on the work carried out.

Wednesday 19th
Grate still contains ash from Saturday's warming fire.  Mike volunteered to clean it out.

John G was the most productive of us today.  He painted 8 chair tops and 3 bottoms.  He also assisted me in re-stocking the Flag & Whistle, they having sold 4 boot scrapers.  In fact, I had to hastily fit brushes to a couple of crimson chairs in order to provide same to both F&W and Coffee Pot at Winchcombe!

Gil passed through briefly, apparently checking data on flange wear (specifically concerning the pony wheels).  Bruce has some thoughts on how to re-bore the holes in the pony truck pivot point to ensure everything is the same diameter and in vertical alignment.

Keith (workshop) needed the steam heat valve in order to machine off the protruding ring around the joint seal.  We are having flat-face-to-flat-face, to make it simpler.  Bruce removed the valve and took to him.  In doing so, Bruce discovered that the fixing bolt has a split-pin hole … covered by its nut!  In anticipation, Bruce cut a couple of new split pins for when it is refitted.

2807 is not rostered any more this month, but is acting as standby loco.


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Maintenance Update (packing, exam, pony)

Friday 7th
I had to attend Todders to give lighting-up instructions to a new chap.  2807 was out in the yard, but it transpired that 4270 was due to be in service on Saturday … and it was in the shed!  So, we were able to "play trains" and shunt 2807 out of the way; pull 4270 out of the shed, couple up to 2807 again and push 2807 into the shed.  In doing all of this, I could hear a "clunk" each time the left-hand coupling rods neared bottom centre.  I couldn't tell exactly where the noise was coming from.

Saturday 8th
Having had Carpo's tool sharpened, David, assisted by John T, was able to finish cutting the blower valve's bottom.  It was so sharp, that David cut more in 5 minutes than he & I managed in a whole day previously!  He was so proud of the shiny smooth finish, that he insisted that I took a photo!

I tackled issue 50 (RH rear cylinder relief valve was "popping" as the loco pulled away from stationary).  All I could do was apply a quarter-turn and hope it was enough.  You can only tell when in steam and pulling away under load.

Then I turned to issue 48 (LH injector steam valve needs repacking).  I hadn't actually packed anything before, so I was time that I learned how.  There was just one turn of 3/16" packing in there, and it gets compressed to the point of having to be dug out with a pointed needle.  The packing in there was silver coloured but the one I was about to put in was white, so I checked that this was OK.  It was.  Again, you can only tell if the packing is squeezed enough when the valve is in use, so here's hoping!

John moved in to helping Gil carry out an A Exam on the loco.  This consists of going round checking a list of items.  I pointed out that when "playing trains" on Friday, there was a slight knock from the LH intermediate driving wheel area, so Gil took a look during the exam.  Nuts clamping the horn guides to the frames were not fully tight on the said axle and also on the RH driving wheel.  So, Gil & John applied spanner and persuader to get them really tight.

David investigated issues 47 (leak near manifold, could be Y-splitter) and 45 (pin-hole in condensing coil).  Since the two are connected (the Y-splitter routes steam to both of the two concentric coils) it is possible that the visible steam escaping could be from either.  David thinks that there is just one problem, and it could simply be the connection itself between copper pipe and Y-splitter.

John & I spent the rest of the afternoon playing with rail chairs.  John tidied up the heap recently delivered by P-Way, then cut bolts off a number of them.  I needle-gunned and wire-brushed three chairs (one being Midland Railway 1900).

Wednesday 12th
We had pretty much decided that there are no outstanding issues that we could tackle confidently within the day, and 2807 may be in service on Saturday.  So, John G set to with the paint brush and painted four tops and four bottoms.  Dixie and I cleaned 4 rail chairs (i.e. John's 4 bottoms) during the morning and then Dixie went to Winchcombe to fix some 240V sockets in the siphon van.

Keith (not Graham) was machining the steam heat connection, so that was not ready to be fitted.  Holding it fast to machine it is the problem - it's such an awkward shape.  Bruce noticed the front steam heating hose (AKA "bag") is flared out at the ends.  Typical of 2807 - different both ends (often different both sides!).

Bruce & Gilbert spent much of the morning poring over (or under) the pony truck, trying to figure out how best to remove the truck and also see if there are any clues as to why the left-hand pony wheel is wearing its flange.  The fact that Gil's weighing had the right-hand pony wheel carrying half-a-ton more than the left is illogical.  The weight of the loco bears down centrally on the pony truck pivot.  There should not be a difference between the weight on each side.  In fact, Bruce calculated that for there are really be 1/2 ton difference, the central pivot would have to be over an inch-and-a-half off-centre (which it clearly isn't!).  The holes (there are two vertically aligned) for the pivot pin are somewhat oval, and B&G were figuring out how to machine them true.  Bruce suggested, too, that we might turn the pony axle round and see if that affects the wear - not something we could do today!

During the afternoon, I continued cleaning a further four chairs and Bruce dug out some gasket material in readiness for the steam heating connection (which should be ready next week).

Oh, B&G also measured the expansion links to see how much life there might be left in them, as we have an opportunity to buy a set.

It's not clear if 2807 will be in service this weekend - Carpo had planned with us that she would be in service on Saturday & Sunday, but the roster sheet says "TBC". So, I don't know.


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Maintenance Update (condenser, underkeep, injector)

Friday 31st
Message received from Steve Oddy:

"The loco was fine today on the fire & drive – the motion was cool at the end of the day and nothing was loose.

There is a new snagette. There’s a pin-hole leak in the left hand condenser pipe above the ‘T’ cock on the first bend. I’ve isolated that condenser by turning the ‘T’ cock (it moved remarkably freely) and made a note on the defect card. Carpo is aware and has a plan for fixing it sometime in the future."

Saturday 1st August
Only Gil and myself turned up today, and Gil buzzed off to Winchcombe before tea break!

So, I cleaned five more rail chairs.  I chose some interesting ones today (L to R): GWR Swindon 92 lb/yd, dating from 1894; Midland Railway, 1885; LMS S2-type (85 lb/yd) of July 1930; GWR July 1925 made by GKN (the bolt head at the bottom has "GWR" engraved on it!); and finally a bulk-standard BR from March 1958, made at Swindon.  The redness (as opposed to rustiness) is caused by them being in a bonfire to burn off the old sleepers.

Sunday 2nd
Carefully arranging a bike ride via Todders, I was able to slap a coat of Deproma (primer) on 6 of the 11 chairs currently in the production line, and then pedal off over the hills and far away.

Message received from GWSR:
" When your engine came on shed yesterday … the left hand pony axlebox and axle were warmer than they should be. … it appeared low on oil again.

Stephen Burnett had a look whilst Jeff Lacey refilled the axlebox and discovered some of the fresh oil dripping out of the axlebox. It would appear where the underkeep has been repaired, we suspect in BR days, the bronze welding/brazing is failing and allowing oil to creep out.

"The view is that the underkeep needs to be taken out and examined. Ian C has access to the pattern for the underkeep so if as we suspect you may need to replace it then he can arrange the loan of the pattern. It may be a short term fix can be done so as the replacement underkeep is done at the end of your operational season."

Monday 3rd
I had to go to Todders to give a Lighting-Up Course training to John H [Loco Dept], so took the opportunity to have a butcher's at the underkeep.  It was still dripping oil, leaving a large puddle thereof on the ground!  Clearly there is a serious leak.  The underkeep has very visibly been bodge-mended at some stage in its life.  Maybe it leaked before?  Maybe someone tried to fix it by brazing strips on its bottom?  Whatever; it looks a mess and is operationally not acceptable.

Wednesday 5th
I arrived to see 2807 chuffing down to the coaching stock … bit of a disappointment.  Why?  Because, once again we've come to fix some issues and can't as she's in use.  Three new issues have been logged:

48 [PG]: Fireman side injector steam valve needs repacking.
49 [JL]: LH pony axlebox excessively hot due to oil loss from u'side of keep.
50 [IC]: RH rear cover cyl relief valve blowing at less than 225 lb.

Bruce & Gilbert spent the day trying to sort out the problem of our steam heating hose.  The new hose is wider internal diameter (believed to be BR standard) than the old one that burst (believed to be GWR standard).  However, 2807's coupling that connects to that on the coaching stock appears to be of the larger internal diameter.  Quite how the thicker hose was ever managed to be fitted onto the coupling defies us!

The main problem is the incompatibility of the connectors.  Not only do they require different diameter hoses, but the bolt holes are slightly differently spaced, and the GWR style is recessed for a seal, whereas the BR style has a raised ring (and the recess must be on the on/off valve).  B&G buzzed off to C&W to look for a part that is a hybrid of GWR & BR.  Not unsurprisingly, they couldn't find one.  In the end, Rod [workshop] has offered to modify a BR one to fit our GWR valve.  Thereafter, we can use BR standard hoses!

Meanwhile, Dixie and I took down our noticeboard (from in the car park) because lots of the photos had become unstuck.  I think that the double-sided sticky tape that I had used must have become life expired.  So, we re-attached the photos and replaced the noticeboard.

John G painted a number of BR(W) and GWR rail chairs in Deproma (primer/undercoat) ready for the next coat.

We were anxious to know when we could gain access to our engine (!) and start upon some of the outstanding niggles.  Carpo very kindly put his mind to a plan and worked out a schedule for the use of 2807, and hence when we could get at it!

The plan is to run 2807 on the following dates:
   15 & 16 August;
   11, 12 & 13 September
   17, 18 & 19 September
   26 & 27 September.

2807 will have to act as standby loco (in case of another failing) until end of September, but then we can have a hooley.