Thursday, 19 May 2016

Maintenance Update (Winchcombe, doors, guillotine, innards)

Saturday 14th
With 2807 in service, it was not surprising that only John T and myself turned up at Todders. I had sprained my back doing gardening last week, so I was limited in what I could do. This amounted to some tweaking of the conduit and painting some brushes for boot scrapers. Bruce had commented that the one joining sleeve that we had fitted looked a bit cumbersome, and offered to “adjust” it with an angle grinder. However, I looked today and found that we have 5 of the original type of joining sleeve. So I replaced the one we’d fitted with an old one. I cleaned them all up, too, ready for use.

John T had already started cleaning rail chairs before I arrived. He pressed on with this on his own, completing five by end of play - including painting their bottoms black.

I nipped off to Winchcombe to get signatures on 100 Club winners’ cheques, but when I arrived at the siphon, there was no one there!

So, I thought I’d at least take a couple of photos of the doors. There’s the one that still needs refurbishing …

And there’s this one that is complete all but for a lick of paint …

Note the deliberate hole in the door. This is for putting one’s hand through. On the inside there’s a guillotine …

No, seriously, it’s a sliding plate to keep wind & rain out (though wind is a bit pointless as the van has slatted sides!) and allow the door to be opened (but the handle doesn’t seem to have been fitted yet). Either that, or it was intended for when the siphon was used as an ambulance train, and the hole is to pass food through to infectious patients …

Monday 16th
I had to pop down to Todders briefly. Coincidentally, it was the grand celebration of P&O finally hauling passengers. I figured that every photographer and his dog would be out snapping away. So, when I saw the zebra crossing, I thought that would be amusing - albeit nothing to do with 2807.

That incidental loco in the shot was only running on three cylinders, apparently. Sounded most odd!

Wednesday 18th
Confused? You will be ….

… Bruce told me that last Thursday something was playing up on the vacuum system. Mark Y had investigated, checking everything on the loco that was connected with vacuum, and could not find a cause. Judging by one small pipe below the cab floor appearing to be at an odd angle (i.e. not straight) MY assumed that to be a possible cause. He rang Gilbert to alert him, and Gil rang Bruce.

On Friday, Bruce & Gil went along to investigate. Search as they may, they could not find a leak. The only thing they found was that one lengthy pipe under the loco was clamped at one end but not at the other. Bruce used rubber and jubilee clip to clamp it to the train pipe to prevent it from oscillating. While under there, Bruce noticed that the piston beneath the vacuum cylinder on the tender was stuck right up at the top of its travel. The new brake blocks had obviously worn more, and so he & Gil adjusted the brakes on the tender and also on the loco.

Back to Wednesday: With 2807 still in service, and the weather being really teasing (you get the chair cleaning equipment out … then it rains … adjourn for cuppa … sun comes out … dash out and start cleaning … rain … inside for early lunch … sun … out for cleaning … Between Bruce & I, we managed to clean just one rail chair! In fairness, Bruce did manage to get to the loco to see if today’s crew had experienced any issues. They hadn’t.

John G had a more successful day, as he had been painting rail chairs inside the TPO!

Mike-the-Lamp popped in to check our loco lamps, as they will be needed for the gala in another week’s time. The three white loco lamps are all OK (though we don’t have a red screen for any of them … not that that should matter to the loco). However, the innards of our gauge frame lamp have gone AWOL. Mike seemed to recall that there had been a visiting loco whose lamp innards were faulty, and ours was “borrowed” to enable theirs to be used. It seems likely that our innards went back with their lamp … which is a bit of a bind.

Mike is now responsible (on behalf of the railway) to replace our missing innards.


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Maintenance Update (stamp, thread, align, action)

Wednesday 4th
Having made the special spanner for the top clack nuts, Bruce decided to stamp the size on it: ¾ AF. Not a problem, you would think. Well, the solidus (“slash”, to you) proved an issue - there wasn’t one in the kit. So, a number 1 had to suffice. But it was not happy at being used thus, and when Bruce hit it with the hammer, the stamp flew across the work bench, passing me (I was painting a boot scraper at the time) at infinite speed, smashed into the wall and dropped to the floor … behind the bench!

There was no way of getting to it other than reaching down the back. Even Gilbert’s arms were not long enough to do that, so I suggested dangling a magnet on a string. The stamp struggled hard to stay where it was, but eventually, Bruce managed to manipulate it into a position such that the magnet could take over, and the stamp was hauled up!

For the rest of the day, Bruce and Gil seemed to hide beneath the loco, which was outside over a pit, as it required a warming fire during the afternoon ready for service on Thursday. They were comparing the loco ~ tender pipe connections. Having obtained a diagram of how they should have been, B+G were now trying to fathom out how they could be rearranged to fit the diagram as closely as possible. I’m not one for following drawings - our loco & tender fit together, and all of the pipes work, so what’s the problem? Bruce did point out that as things are, we would not be able to use anyone else’s tender if we had to take ours out of service, nor would anyone hire our tender if it wouldn’t fit their loco.

There were a number of boot scraper chairs in the production line that required the lettering painting on them, so I started the day by doing that.

Once John G had arrived, we decided to turn our attention to the ATC conduit once more. We fitted it all along the loco side, from the front as far as the cab. This enabled us to play with the front curved section and decide how to tackle it. In the original, the pipe bends under the running board at the front of the loco, to cross to the centre and reach the shoe mechanism that triggers the bell or horn. We don’t have that shoe - it is not feasible to fit them these days, because they prevent the loco from being loaded onto a lorry - they hit the ground! So, John suggested simply cutting our pipe off immediately after it turns left to head under the running board.

John is seen here forming a thread on one end of the front section, with Mike filing off the burr on
the other end. The loco is to be in service on all of our working days this month, so we shall now
check the joints in the conduit; clean and paint it, and then we can fit it on at the beginning of June.
Once the main run is in situ, we can see how the rear section that we do have can be modified to fit
our loco!

Friday 6th
I was volunteered to light a warming fire in 4270. The actual lighting of the fire takes just minutes …
it’s everything else that takes the time! Firstly, you verify that the loco is OK to be used. Then you
check things like water level in the boiler; that no leaks are visible (from plugs, stays, superheater);
that mudhole doors are secure; and the state of the grate and the smokebox. In 4270’s case, the
smokebox was full of ash and the firebox full of clinker! In each case, there’s no option but to
clamber inside and clear it out. That took an hour! Checking that all controls are ‘safe’ (e.g. reverser
in mid-gear; blower off; handbrake on; dampers closed; drain cocks open; etc., etc.) only takes a few
minutes, and finally you can lay a fire. A warming fire is relatively small - just in the centre of the
rear section of grate. A few small lumps of coal; a couple of pieces of wood, then rags suitably
soaked in paraffin or diesel. Dump the burning rags on top, and then pile on more wood plus a few
lumps of coal. Retire for tea and biscuits. Return to add more coal, and retire for more biscuits.
Once the coal has got going well, it is best to leave it for a while before finally banking it up with
anywhere between 20 and 40 shovels of coal - depending on things like: is the boiler already warm;
is the weather warm/cold; how big is the boiler/grate area.

MY [Loco Dept] did a spot of shunting, to arrange 2807 and 4270 over pits ready for the morning. The position of the coupling rods is quite critical to the driver being able to oil up the loco. The driver-side cranks should be at ‘bottom back angle’, i.e. a 45 degree angle between crank pin and wheel centre (green line in photo). Note the two corks (yellow arrows) that try to hide behind the slide bar mounting bracket and cause the driver to exclaim what a bother that is!

Saturday 7th
As 2807 was in service, no one but me turned up. So I went home again. Gil, Fred and Bill were
working on the siphon van restoration at Winchcombe. They have just one last double-door to
rebuild, and that appears to be all of the woodwork completed. The bogies need to be checked
over, though it is believed that they had been overhauled at Swindon shortly before we acquired the

Tuesday 10th
It rained, so I went to Todders to cut some wedges for the boot scrapers. I prefer to use the band
saw when no one else is around to accidentally nudge my elbow as they squeeze by!

Adey told me that the painters who are doing Foremarke Hall comment about how “tight” 2807’s
boiler is - that is to say: no leaks, drips or dribbles. Praise indeed from external professionals.

Wednesday 11th
2807 still in service. Only two reported issues:

08: L/H & R/H cylinder oil feed tap packing leaking. Nut at full adjustment. [This is on the hydrostatic
lubricator in the cab]. {Feed taps stripped down and cleaned; new gland packing fitted.}

09: LH leading tender brake shoe loose when handbrake on. [We were aware that the new brake

blocks did not all contact the wheels. The only way to adjust their fit is to heat and stretch the
appropriate brake rods - so we’re leaving them to bed themselves in on their own!]

Bruce continued his investigations into how best to align the loco ~ tender pipe connections to
match the various diagrams and actual locos in service. There is no single solution! Whatever way is
chosen, a large bracket will be required to run across the loco beneath the cab to support the pipe
ends. A length of angle iron was delivered today for that purpose. [A length of same rests at the
side of the scrap metal skip, too … and has been there for a couple of weeks!!!]

John G and I sanded and painted the conduit that was originally used to hold electricity cables for the ATC system.

Bruce later attempted to cure a leak in out drinking water supply - but failed. It is where
two hose pipes are connected by a short length of copper tube. The jubilee clips are not man enough to hold main water pressure.

Here are some shots of 2807 in action :


Monday, 2 May 2016

Maintenance Update (bolt, nuts, spanner)

Wednesday 27th
I decided to have another go at the centre left drain cock, which continues to let steam pass even when it is closed. I checked the operation and found no problem: the plunger works; the spring springs, and there remains a 1/8” gap between end of plunger and the operating rod when closed. So, I took the innards out and examined the plunger. There were a couple of shiny spots on the face; I did think there was a crack, too, but after cleaning, this appears to have been a surface scratch.

But there was one small section that was rough, whereas you would expect the face to be smooth all of the way around. So, I spent the rest of the morning lapping the spindle in.

That all went fine until I found that the spindle was in contact with the operating rod - there was no gap left! Bruce couldn’t understand how I could have lapped off 1/8”. I thought: “I wonder if anyone has fiddled with the drain cock lever in the cab?” Sure enough, a certain person (who shall remain Gilbert) had pulled the lever back to balance a tin can on top of it, catching oil dripping from the hydrostatic lubricator!

Gilbert had been taking out the sight glasses from the lubricator and cleaning them.

Later, Gil & Bruce took more measurements of the water hose flanges between loco and tender, with a view to David coming on Saturday to work on these.

Bruce’s first job was keeping his bottom warm measuring the spacing on the safety valves. Since Carpo had adjusted the valves such that they blow off somewhat closer to the 225 psi than they had been, the spacers need reducing. The rear ones (which had previously lifted at about 210 psi) need 80 thou removing; the front ones only need 25 thou removing.

John G was on chair painting duty during the morning, then he and I trail-fitted the conduit for the ATC. It did prove a challenge to cut a thread on these steel pipes, but we managed by about 4.30 pm. The conduit needs cleaning and painting, and then the main run can be completed. Still the two ends to do.

Saturday 30th
John T and Gilbert reamed and fitted the 4th fitted-bolt on the RHS rocking shaft mounting. The hole for the bolt has to be something like 1 thousandth of an inch less that the bolt itself. This means that it takes a lot of whacking to get the bolt into its hole.

Whacking the bolt from outside the frames is a problem, as lots of things are in the way. So, David made a gadget that slips over the bolt head and allows the bolt to be bashed on the head from outside the frames. Washers hold it in place on the bolt head.

David was in welding-mode today. The first task was to weld the nuts that hold the cabside number plates onto the cab sides. This makes it considerably easier to remove the number plate when one needs to. Otherwise it is a two-man job!

It is particularly troublesome on the driver’s side, because a panel has to be removed from the reverser to be able to access these nuts! David very professionally lined up the slotted screw heads (on the outside) such that the slots are all horizontal when tightened up. The reason for going to this trouble may become clear at the GWSR Gala, 20-30 May.

David also welded up Bruce’s special spanner (for fitting the top clacks). Once more, most professionally, David tidied up the weld to make it look the part.

Bruce felt that he’d been the gopher to David during the morning, and did a few minor jobs thereafter. Some days are like that - time goes and you wonder what you’ve achieved!

On the way to the railway, I called in at the local blacksmith and collected the short front section of the trunking for the ATC equipment pipe that he’d shaped for us. It needed its end thread cleaning up. Thereafter, I applied top coats to 4 crimson plus one LNER (Darlington Green) boot scrapers.

Other interesting things around the yard included the arrival of a class 20 diesel to be broken up. Very odd colour scheme.

[it's been working in France - - Steve]

Plus work on the yard water tower is nearing completion.