Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Maintenance Update (wiring, metal, storm, tender)

Monday 22nd
Six hours overtime! Nigel BH came to install the electrics in the container. Surprisingly, the easy part was feeding the 21 yard armoured cable underneath the six containers. Yes, the power comes in at container #1, and we are container #6. Nigel has some rods for cleaning drains, and these fed through. Then the cable was fixed to the end, and the rods pulled out. We had to do it in two stages because of the length. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get into container #1 to connect up the power because the keys to #1 were in South Devon. So, we pressed on mounting fitments and designing the conduit & cable runs inside our container. Most of our cable was illegal - being the sensible red/black pairing rather than the blue/brown that was forced upon us by the EU. So I had to bin that. Sadly, all of the fluorescent tubes from the TPO had been tossed in the skip, so I’ll have to buy some new ones. By end-of-play, we had not got as far as I had hoped.

Tuesday 23rd
Nigel was again toiling away in the container. He assured me that it gets a touch warm inside when the sun is beaming down. There’s no air flow. Nevertheless, he continued by fixing up conduit for a ring main and then threading the cables through. He put up two 5ft lights over the benches because our old 4ft ones don’t adapt to conduit.

I put in 3 hours overtime, and lent a hand. All I could show for it was the battens for the third light which will be along the centre line towards the back. Inside the van (turns out to be a tool van, converted from a Toad brake van) I struggled to clamber over the piled-up boxes of tombola prizes, FLA books and Dapol 00 wagons to reach the packs of fluorescent tubes. Guess what? They are 3ft and 4ft. No 5ft at all.

Wednesday 24th
Much discussion took place between Gilbert, Bruce and Carpo - all about the cross-head and the oil that rapidly disappears. A simple outline of the situation is depicted below.

There’s a reservoir of oil that is filled through the hole that has a cork in it. There is also a feed down to a felt pad that restricts the flow of oil onto the slide bar below it. In theory, when oil is poured into the hole, some goes down to the felt pad, but most will flow into the reservoir. When the loco is in motion, oil splashes out of the reservoir, over a barrier and down the feed tube.

Gil noticed that the filler tube has been replaced - don’t know by whom, or exactly when (but since she has been operational). It used to be broken at the rim, and corks may have been flung out; hence someone “fixed” it for us, by removing the old filler and welding in a new one.

If you look carefully down the filler, it looks as though there may be spurious bits of metal. It does not look to be a clean tube. Is the filler tube too long; or is it fouling the entrance to the reservoir? Bruce adds: “It is not obvious where the tube ends so I could not measure it.”

Bruce did a test fill of the reservoir, and discovered that “it only took about two tablespoon full's of oil”. This suggests that there is no oil getting into the reservoir; it just goes down onto the pad. This will rapidly soak through the pad, and then there is no more to continue the lubrication (which ought to last all day!).

Meanwhile, Nigel pressed on with connecting the circuit up to the power source. John G painted some brushes and the bottom of the one rail chair that is in the boot scraper production line!

Saturday 27th
Do we open up the oil reservoir, or do we not? That was the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to send 2807 to NYMR and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against this sea of troubles …

In the end, we decided to bite the bullet and cut into the reservoir. First, we cut the filler tube off.

Then we cut a rectangle in the top of the reservoir and bent the flap up. {I say “we”; actually, John T and I were trying to get the boot scraper production line going again}. With the reservoir exposed, it was instantly obvious what the problem was. When the cross-heads were last white-metalled, the white metal was allowed to flow through the oil feed tube {bear in mind the crosshead would be upside down to do this} and into the reservoir, thereby blocking the reservoir completely.

David and Bruce, assisted also by Steve [Loco Dept], and watched by many {I’ll avoid their embarrassment by not publishing the photo} drilled this white metal out. It took all afternoon.

There were masses of metal shavings. We broke two drill bits doing it. The reservoir was absolutely full of white metal shavings.

I brought the hoover and John T brought 240V cable, and we used the hoover to suck/blow white metal out of the reservoir.

Finally (after 4.30 pm) the reservoir was clean and the oil ways clear. Bruce dropped some oil into the filler tube and we noticed that it did soak through the felt, slowly.

So, on Wednesday, David will weld up the flap and weld the filler tube back on, and we shall all feel a lot happier about 2807’s lubrication of the slide bars!

While this was taking place, Brian was assisted by Sean [Loco Dept] in fitting the spark arrester into the smokebox. The cinder arresters were fitted to the damper doors, too.

Fred popped up from Winchcombe to seek assistance with the axleboxes on the siphon van. Brian was despatched to help there.

There was an incredible storm just after 2pm. Three of us were inside the container at the time, as rain lashed down and lightening flashed around us. Power went off, briefly. But we thought that we were safe inside the container, because it should act like a Faraday Cage; and anyway, it is earthed!

Eventually, the rain subsided and play resumed.

Gilbert and Jamie [Loco Dept] weighed the loco and tender - something that NYMR had asked to be done.

That’s Jamie on the floor reading the weight - it looks to be about 9 tons. Gilbert is in the pit beneath the loco. His task is to insert a feeler gauge between wheel and rail, which shows that the whole wheel is being lifted (and hence weighed correctly).

When I get the weights, I’ll let you know what they are.

Verbal feedback from Winchcombe is that an inspection of the axleboxes on the siphon van showed that they are looking good. Hopefully some photos next time


Monday, 22 August 2016

Maintenance Update (sorting, reservoir, lathe, rail)

Wednesday 17th
Well: Fred, John G and Bruce finished removing bits & bobs from the TPO. Bill came after lunch and joined in. Gil sorted through the filing cabinet and binned most of it - it was old paperwork. I pottered about during the morning, but decided it was time to begin the boot scraper production once more, as my visit to Winchcombe station on Tuesday revealed that they only had one left to sell!

Gil spent many happy hours sorting out the container and putting things in “familiar” places - that is, to replicate the layout as it had been in the TPO as far as possible.

2807 was in service because … well, I’m not sure. Foremarke was having a wash-out, 4270 was also in service, but why P&O was not in service I don’t know. Speaking with Andrew M [of P&O] he seemed to think that they had fixed their injector problem.

Bruce & Gil were discussing our issue with the rapid loss of oil from the cross-heads. Their feeling is that this is not causing the slide bars to become excessively hot. However, Carpo chipped in and suggested that the lower oil reservoir should not sit, unrestricted, directly over the felt pads.

See the lower cork? Oil in here sits in a small reservoir which simply has a hole in the bottom, beneath which is a felt pad that rubs on the slide bar. You can see oil dribbling down where it has been filled. You can also see a large amount already on the slide bar. Carpo thinks that there should be a vertical tube inside the reservoir, such that oil splashes into it and down to the felt pad. That would restrict the flow; in fact, it does make sense for when the loco is not in motion: no oil would flow. Technical drawing needed, to see what Swindon had in mind.

During the afternoon, I had rigged up a power supply and cleaned up seven rail chairs. When it came to figuring out where to put them to paint, the only sensible place was … inside the TPO! So, the chaps moved a table back in there, and put the rail chairs in, and then I went in search of the paint brushes … and the keys to the paint store … and my little painting turntable …
It took a while, but I found them all, and by 5pm had painted 7 black bottoms!

Thursday 18th
I decided that I had to put in some overtime, as the Coffee Pot at Winchcombe had only one boot scraper for sale on Tuesday, and the Flag & Whistle only have three left today! So, I popped down for an hour or so to apply the first (primer) coat to the rail chairs. While there, I thought I better take a photo of 2807 just so that you know we still have got her! She was just lounging in the sunshine, still cooling down after yesterday’s work schedule.

Friday 19th
Another hour-and-a-half overtime! Enamel coats applied to the seven boot scrapers.

Saturday 20th
John T arrived first and opened up. P&O’s injector had failed again, but fortunately Foremarke Hall and 4270 were fit, so 2807 languished in the yard.

David spent the entire day working on the lathe - not making things; improving things like its gears. At one point he dropped a locking pin on the floor. Three of us were down on hands & knees looking for this bit of metal that’s just 2mm x 2mm x 2mm. Even using a magnet, we couldn’t find it! David made a new one. David also mended the top drawer of the tool cabinet. A rivet had fallen out of one of the roller wheels, and the drawer would not close.

John spent most of the day cutting bolts off rail chairs in the pile. Also, there were a lot of “00” chairs, which are heavier than the standard 95 lb/yd ones, and these were relegated to the skip. Mike W gave a hand in heaving these off the trolley and into the skip. John finally cleaned up one rail chair before rain stopped play.

Bill called in (from Winchcombe) looking for some bitumen paint to apply to the siphon frames. Gilbert found him some.

Geof called in (from Winchcombe) looking for bodies to remove, check and fix the axleboxes on the siphon bogies. Not only did no one volunteer, but he was told to go away until mid-September! The loco gets priority.

Gil, however, spent most of the day contemplating the cross-head conundrum. He poked around in the oil feed hole to little avail. Apparently, corks have been popping out of the filler recently. This is a puzzle. Possibly the cross--head gets hot enough to cause expansion of oil (or air) in the pot and blows the cork out? Odd, though, because corks have breathers (canes) through them. With no suitably detailed technical drawing, Gil is lost. Anyway, Gil decided that the LHS cross-head is coming off again on Wednesday!

I began by cleaning up a pair of rails, three rail chairs and four clips - an order from a chap who wants to make a short length of track as a feature in his garden. He collected them by lunchtime, saying that his wife had finally agreed to it … but not to him erecting a signal post in the garden!

Why only three chairs? Because he’s already got one.

After this, I pressed on with boot scrapers, completing the seven by end of play. As some of the paint was not dry, they couldn’t go into the cafés yet.

Sunday 21st
Now the paint on them was dry, I could deliver boot scrapers to the cafés.

Andrew M [P&O] said that he thinks they have solved their injector problem. It’s all to do with a replaceable face in a clack valve. This face screws in … and it had been screwing itself out!

Shunting in the yard has moved the van that we are squatting in closer to the action. Thanks, Carpo!


Sunday, 14 August 2016

Maintenance Update (felt, rod, oil, hole)

Tuesday 9th
I had an email from the railway to say that someone had rung in seeking two 1.5 metre lengths of rail, and could I help provide same? I rang the chap and discussed his requirements.

Wednesday 10th
More people than chairs! It was a bit of a squash in the van at tea break! Gil, Bruce and John T dedicated themselves to removing and inspecting the LHS cross-head.

Bruce had filled the cross-head bottom pot with oil on Saturday, and it had all run out by today. This implies that the pad is letting it through too quickly. Upon inspection, Bruce said that the felt pad was loose - not very loose, but enough. So, he cut a new pad for the bottom, and then added extra packing to the top pad (which can’t pour out as the bottom one can).

It’s a 4-man job removing or refitting the con rod. John G is assisting by placing wooden blocks beneath the small end, as the other three lift it.

The big end is at least as problematic. Then the whole rod has to be slid across, keeping it parallel (or else one end or the other jams!).

Gil & Bruce (with support from others, of course) have now examined both cross-heads; could find
no obvious problem with the oil flow, and replaced felts. However, Gil did detect wear in the big
end bushes, and this will need to be remedied over winter.

Meanwhile, the removal army consisted of John G, Dixie, Fred, Bill and myself. We shifted dozens of crates of bits & pieces out of the TPO and into the container. The shelves are beginning to get
reasonably full; but with luck we’ll get it all in. There’s still some to go into the van, too, which is
now becoming crowded. In fact, at lunch time, Bruce was being “Mum” and making the tea … which
was a bit malfortuitous, because there were eight of us and only seven chairs  … and Bruce was
standing up, making the tea! Luckily, I spotted a fold-up chair on top of the tombola boxes which
was retrieved for him.

Nigel BH [Loco Dept] is going to fit the electrics. He came and made some suggestions (having
electrified the other containers). This he hopes to be able to undertake in a couple of weeks’ time.

After lunch, Fred popped over to Winchcombe, where the siphon van frames & bogies were being
grit-blasted. The men discovered that the frames are coated in bitumen (or something very similar)
which was proving hard to get off. Also, when they had got through a patch, they discovered that
the metal underneath was in perfect condition. So, they decided to stop.

During the afternoon, P-Way were busy around the yard, and very kindly cut two lengths of rail for
the caller, Stephan. He’s got one chair and two pretend-sleepers already, so he needs three more
chairs plus four clips; then he will have a short section of railway as a feature in his garden!

I wonder if he realises how heavy these are. 95 lb/yd. Plus three chairs at about 45 lb each.

Saturday 13th
P&O had failed on Thursday with an injector problem. 4270 is unserviceable, which meant that
Foremarke Hall and 2807 held the fort over the weekend. Whilst 2807 continues to provide a
reliable service, this loss of oil on the cross-heads and slide bars remains an issue. Today’s driver
explained that he filled the cross-head lower oil pot at Winchcombe, and it was empty when he
arrived at Toddington. We have no explanation for this. Also, David agrees with Bruce that the
event timing is out of true. This has happened since we used fitted bolts to stop the rock-shaft
mounting from “rocking”. Perhaps having stopped the ‘sloppiness’ in the shaft motion (to the
valves) it has altered the timing?

As 2807 was in service, all hands were to the move from 60 ft TPO to 20 ft container (again). David,
John T, Bill, Gill, Colin and I spent the day heaving trolley loads up & down the yard. The first
challenge was the pillar drill. This is extremely heavy. Fortunately, it separates into several components which are manageable. Nevertheless, it took four of us to get it out of the TPO, onto a trolley and then off the trolley into the container.

Gil spent most of the day inside the container trying to apply some sort of order to what we were
piling into it. Sometimes someone would have a specific little task to do. For example, Bill took
down the notice board from inside the TPO, and then John cut it down for use as a backing board for the electrics. John also drilled a hole in the floor for the mains cable to come up. The container has a wooden floor. John queried if it was just wood, so I stuck my hand up underneath (outside) and felt wood, so … But then the drill hit metal! It would seem that there are some metal struts across, side-to-side (sensible, really!) and John measured their spacing before drilling hole number two.

Bill had called in at Winchcombe on his way to us, and related that the siphon was up on jacks ready
for the bogies to be overhauled. I’m not sure who is supposed to be doing that?

By end of play, there were still oddments inside the TPO but all useful things had been transferred to
the container (which is looking rather full, now).

TPO - almost empty!

Container - almost full.


Sunday, 7 August 2016

Maintenance Update (lorry, bogies, grit, bench)

Tuesday 2nd August
I nipped down to Todders at 7 pm to put out some cones to keep the area clear where the lorry might need to stand when dropping off the container.

Wednesday 3rd
Lorry broke down. Not coming today after all.

Bruce, Gil & David M. seized the opportunity to play with the loco. Gil wanted to remove a cross-head to see if anything could be gleaned as to why the oil flow is too fast (hence warming up the slide bars).

John G arrived, but Gil sent him off to Winchcombe to assist Fred on the siphon. C&W had advised us that they can shunt the siphon out on Saturday, and into their workshop. The firm who do the shot-blasting can do that next Wednesday, apparently; hence the need to make safe everything in and around the siphon. Mike W came and helped during the afternoon. Carpo lent a hand, too. Nothing found amiss. Bruce wonders if it is the piston rod getting too hot (which then heats up the cross-head).

Fred reported:
Today I cleared all the rubbish from under the siphon - nothing should foul during shunting. All our material which was leaning on the siphon is now leaning on the entrance scaffold. The white steps when removed will mean the scaffold can stay where it is - they might just go past anyway if it was moved an inch or so.

I think that we should maybe wait until we know when [roof] painting can take place before buying the paint.

Thursday 4th
Container started out on one lorry and had to be transferred to a second for delivery. First lorry got held up trying to get round London, causing the driver to have to take an enforced break. So, the ETA of 15.30 turned out to be 16.45. Nevertheless, the driver clearly knew what he was doing, and worked most efficiently. There was nothing that Neil C and I could do to help. Mind you, if I was the owner of that little white BMW, I’d have been having a fit!!!

Saturday 6th
Fred and Bill finished making the siphon safe to move. Fred says: “The pic I sent shows the siphon without the white "running boards", they have been removed by Geof and myself to enable access to the frame and pipework behind, for the grit blasting.” So the siphon was last seen parked outside Carriage & Wagon, waiting to go in and be lifted from the bogies.

Fred and Bill later came to help out at Toddington.

Gil, Bruce, John T, Steve and I spent a hot and dirty day moving shelving and work bench out of the TPO and into the container. It meant moving everything of shelves, dismantling them, carrying them down to the container and then re-mantling them. Similarly for the work bench, about 20 drawers had to be taken out and moved to the container before we could play with the bench. The bench is rather heavy, and 7ft 9ins long. Getting it out of the TPO doors and down the steps was fun!

By the end of the day, we had erected three shelving units, moved two filing cabinets plus two work benches (the second one is only 4ft) into the container. We were shattered!

My thanks go to Steve for the above shots of moving the bench from TPO to container.