Thursday, 22 September 2016

Maintenance Update (welder, plant, Grosmont, Pickering)

Wednesday 21st
With 2807 in Yorkshire, you might think that there was very little to do at Toddington.

However, boot scraper production has to continue! John G spent the entire day painting rail chairs and brushes for them. The only positive thing you can say about the boot scraper production facility (i.e. a 20ft shipping container) is that it’s dry!

In fairness, we did let him out on a couple of occasions.

Bruce and I decided that needle-gunning just outside the contained was not good. The noise bounces off the loco shed, the diesel shed and the row of containers, making it very unpleasant as a work area. Furthermore, Joe Public might be standing just round the corner, trying to read the display boards that give information about some of the locos.

We hit on the idea of throwing away an ancient welder and using its cabinet to house the compressor. We had used it in the distant past, but more modern equipment has really rendered this 3-phase device obsolete. Guess where it is [was]? Just outside the TPO! This is where our boot scraper production used to take place, and the noise is kept well away from other workers and the public.

So, we heaved the old transformer out and wheeled it down to the skip. JC was passing by with the fork-lift, and kindly deposited the transformer in the skip. Bruce & I played with the cabinet; made a level base for it; tipped it over (to suit the shape of the compressor), and then (with assistance from John G on one of his outings from the container) moved the compressor from container to cabinet.

A test showed that it worked fine, there. It’s not perfect - you have to fling the mains cable across between a couple of wagons to reach the power source, which is shared with two more containers! The door opens upwards and its hinges are pretty pathetic! These really need replacing with more substantial ones. Nevertheless, it works!

Andy Bryne visited on Saturday 17th. He reports:
“I was privileged to represent CSP today on the NYMR with a footplate pass all day on 2807. We were first off as the S160 was needing a bit of attention, much to the relief of my crew who much prefer 2807 it seems! A great day and the weather was good too. Lots of attention from visitors/passengers ands also from NYMR staff. I did my best to keep the loco tidy and clean with an oily rag. All being well I'll be going next Wednesday too and hopefully will be available to assist when 2807 is packed up ready to come home. Getting sufficient vacuum took a little time early on today but then seemed OK on the 2nd run. I was impressed with the NYMR's coaling plant. “

Coaling stage at Grosmont and 2807 at Grosmont - photos from Andy Bryne.

John Plowman emailed on Saturday 17th to say: “watched her leaving Grosmont on the 1130 to Pickering this morning, she looked and sounded wonderful, I know that Beth (the driver) had been looking forward to her arrival.”

John T has been glued to the webcam, which caused him concern at times:

Re. Monday: “Consternation in the Tyler household yesterday! 2807 only did the first run out of
Pickering and apparently then stayed at Grosmont. Tuesday, she's rostered for the last service back
from Grosmont, with "if available" and an alternate diesel listed. Perhaps routine work? She looked
OK on the webcam.”

Tuesday: “Panic over!
2807 has done, or will do, 3 runs today. It started as the 13.30 from Grosmont, did the 15.00 from
Pickering and is booked for the 17.15 return from Grosmont.
Having the webcam, running schedule and timetable leads to anxiety when changes are made! The
timetable has been changed since this morning to allow for 2807 back in service. Hooray!”


Sunday, 18 September 2016

Maintenance Update (Pickering, siphon, Grosmont, chairs)

Tuesday 13th
Brian and Carpo confirmed that 2807 did head north. The Allely’s lorry arrived about 15 mins after Bruce & I left. All was loaded and on its way by 2.25 pm.

Photo: Nigel Black [P-Way]

Photo: Neil Carr
Bruce says: “Both low loaders left at about 2.25pm. They looked quite impressive in convoy.”

From NYMR Facebook: “Here she is on her way through Pickering - thanks to Kelvin Whitwell of
[NYMR] Motive Power department for the photos!”

Wednesday 14th
At Toddington, there was not a lot to do. Bruce, John G and I fiddled around a bit. John did most -
painting five rail chairs. Due to the heat, we all adjourned at lunch time.

John G went to Winchcombe to help Gil, Fred and Ray on the siphon work.

Brian confirmed by email, that 2807 was “put together” and a Fitness-To-Run check was carried out
successfully. A warming fire was lit with a view to steaming her on Thursday. She was then off to 
Grosmont for further checks, coaling and watering. NYMR asked to put her into service right away for one week.

Thursday 15th
Bruce reported, “She is rostered for two round trips starting and finishing at Pickering so it looks like
she will be stabled at Newbridge.

Interestingly they have put 6046 (USA S160) behind her for the first trip, probably for insurance.”

Saturday 17th
David & Bruce fiddled with the pillar drill, in particular making the platform stable. Another 5 minute job that took all morning! John T repaired the “Panther” trolley whose plywood top was disintegrating.

After lunch, John & I worked on cleaning up rail chairs - we prepared five by end of play. Because of the noise that we were making, Bruce & David disappeared down the yard and started tidying up the bits of scrap that had accumulated around the TPO over the years that we had been working there.

It is not ideal using a needle gun in close proximity to the car park (and hence visitors), but unless we have a base down in the yard (i.e. to replace the TPO) with power and room for the compressor, there is not a lot of choice.

Gilbert, apparently, has abandoned home and headed north for a few days. Can’t imagine why …


Monday, 12 September 2016

Maintenance Update (grease, barn, NYMR, tender)

Monday 5th
I spent a couple of hours in the Container applying primer coat to rail chairs: 3 red; 3 black and 5 green. Hunting for a 1946 chair at Winchcombe (for an order), I discovered two from December 1946, plus a January 1947; and two GNR chairs from 1913!

Wednesday 7th
John G arrived earlier than usual because he had to leave early. He was in the thick of applying enamel paint to my Monday’s work. By the time he had to leave, he had enamelled all 11 chairs plus a couple of black bottoms. I continued with cleaning up rail chairs, but only managed five today.

A couple of weeks ago, Bruce had discovered tell-tale signs of (red) grease having been applied to the piston valve front lubrication points. The lubrication feeds the front end of the valve rods, which we had previously found are subject to wear. So, the lubrication idea was ours. However, there is hot steam inside the valves, and ordinary oil or grease may break down under the temperature and pressure; so steam oil should be used. Someone (presumably a driver when oiling up one morning) had spotted the nipples and assume grease should be applied. So, I made some little stickers to remind drivers that steam oil should be used!

Bruce began the day by fixing up our new washing facility. The hosepipe and tap (formerly used inside the TPO) has been rigged up outside of the van that we are camping in, to save a walk down the track to the nearest standpipe. Anyway, the water out of said standpipe comes out a worrying shade of brown!

Most of the day, Bruce (aided by Gilbert) was preparing 2807 for her journey North. They disconnected the hoses between loco and tender, and then took the pins out of two of the three linkages between loco and tender. To do this necessitates lifting the cab floor; reaching into the dark abyss beneath it; and grasping for something long, round, thin and heavy.

We were asked to drain most of the water out of the tender, but to leave water in the boiler. When 2807 is off-loaded at NYMR, she needs to have a fire lit and steam raised, to be able to move under her own steam up to Grosmont. The facilities at the loading point do not include the ability to load coal, and I’m not sure what the watering facilities are like, either.

As we had expected to demonstrate a steaming test here last week, coal had been loaded and water topped up. Bruce rigged up a pallet across the tender to prevent coal from escaping during the climb onto/off the lorry.

Ray popped in to say “Hello”. He and Bill had spent the day working on the last set of louvers on the siphon. Over time, they have had nails driven in (who knows what for!) which were extracted. The wood was then sanded and prepared for painting. The siphon has been returned to its usual place in the siding at Winchcombe, but as soon as a slot is available, it will go back into the “barn” (Carriage & Wagon) for the second bogey to be inspected, cleaned up and painted. Ray said that the first bogey looks really smart!

Thursday 8th
I spent a couple of hours at Todders painting the lettering on boot scrapers. The lighting in the container is not good; difficult to pick out the embossed lettering & dates. Also, dust had made a mess of the paint job on one rail chair. Not overly happy about the situation.

Saturday 10th
Report from John T:
“Gil, Brian & John T were making the final preparations for 2807 to be loaded for transport to NYMR, including providing lamps, and removing fixing nuts from the pony truck pivot cover (policeman's helmet). Aide S. [Loco Dept] wrapped up and placed in the cab the refractory bricks of the final 3 rows of the brick arch (being sent just in case). Alex & Ian (Steam Dept) were doing a good job on the final cleaning of the loco.

Later, Brian & John cut 10 pieces of spare lighting-up timber to repair the large Panther. The Panther was in fairly constant use, so that they were unable to replace the damaged plywood with these new planks.

John primed 3 railchairs and painted 2 bottoms.

The engine was shunted onto the loading line, awaiting final uncoupling and moving to the car park for Monday morning loading on to transport, hopefully avoiding the new rail delivery scheduled for Monday afternoon.”

Monday 12th
I arrived at Todders at 9 am, expecting to see a hive of activity … no, I was the first one there! I had planned to finish the current boot scrapers off ready to restock the shops, so I was able to get on with that. Carpo arrived, equally surprised at the lack of activity. He fired up the diesel shunter and rolled loco and tender into the car park.

Bruce came, too. Three surprised people! Bruce (and also Danny [Loco Dept]) assisted in shunting the loco out and splitting loco and tender.

Rather than do nothing, Bruce cleaned coal dust off the tender, where it falls down between loco and tender and collects amid a certain amount of grime, largely out of sight … except when the loco and tender are split.

We had a cup of tea. Neil Carr contacted Allely’s. They were just setting off … at half past eleven! As it was my two-year old grandson’s birthday, I had not planned on staying for long anyway, so at 12.00 Bruce and I signed off!

Bruce cleaned off a barrow full of slack and bucket full of lumps!

There are three links that connect loco to tender. The centre one is the main one, and there are one either side of this.

The last time 2807 went to NYMR, someone up there didn’t get the link lined up in the hole. It is possible to get the link to sit to the side of the hole through which the pin drops. Then the link is not effective, but worse: when the loco takes a curve, the link jams between frame and pin, and bends!

We have a potential solution, but have had no time to implement it.

Outstanding Issues. 2807 went North with the following unresolved reported issues:
15: Tender rear RH brake grease nipple loose. {The thread has “gone” - winter maintenance job}
31: J cocks stuck {Don’t know which J cocks this refers to, so have ignored it for now}
34: Balance weights rivets loose on LH driver, LH trailing driver, RH driving wheel. {Deferred to winter maintenance; not in danger of flying off!}
37: Tender brakes dragging rear two axles. {New brake blocks wearing in; No adjustment on individual axles}
41: Top valve on gauge frame blowing. {We are not allowed to fix this - only the Boiler Responsible Person can [authorise someone to] do it.}

Lonesome tender! Awaiting arrival of Allely’s


Sunday, 4 September 2016

Maintenance Update (spark, felt, panther, moss)

The following from Brian (after I’d sent last week’s update):
“With the Loco due to travel to the NYMR in September we have to fit the various spark arresters, 1 on the smoke box and three attached to the ash pan. Brian G volunteered to fit them and set to work transporting them to the loco, Dave S offered to help and this was gratefully accepted. The Smoke box arrester had not been fitted for a while so the was some cleaning that had to be done to the fixing brackets, also the jumper ring had not been cleaned for a while so this was dealt with also. The jumper ring cannot be accessed once the arrester is fitted. Cleaning completed, the arrester was fitted with little issue, additionally the three ash pan arresters were fitted with no issues in readiness for the move north.

Brian G then went to Winchcombe at the request of Gil K to help Fred L with the removal and cleaning of the Siphon G underkeeps. Brian G arrived to find that they had all been removed, and set about cleaning them with Fred. By the end of the day, two of the 8 still needed cleaning and will need to be put back on the axles on Wednesday.”

Wednesday 31st
Because of the need for a mechanical test on Friday and a test run on Saturday, David came in today to weld up the ‘flap’ on the top of the oil reservoir. It was a bit tricky, but he managed it. Then David had to dash off. Bruce tidied it up and slapped some paint on. Later, he filled the reservoir with oil. Whereas previously it took about two tablespoons full to fill it (i.e. 30 ml), now it took something like 200 ml. We’re all feeling a bit happier about that!

After lunch, Bruce replaced a felt pad in the RHS piston rod lubricator. The felt appears to have more-or-less disintegrated!

Gil popped in briefly before adjourning to Winchcombe to work on the siphon van bogies. John G
went to Winchcombe, too, where he, Gil, Fred & Bill pressed on with cleaning, assembling and oiling
the axleboxes on one bogey. The siphon body was then lowered onto its bogies and shunted out
into the yard. The second bogey will have to wait for a free slot in C&W; it has been shot-blasted,
plus the axleboxes have been inspected, so it may just be a case of applying bitumen paint.

Saturday 3rd September
See what a fantastic welding job David did, and Bruce’s paintwork is immaculate! You can even
see the oil …

… and today the oil level had dropped by an inch or so, as one would expect - as it very slowly filters through the felt pad.

Today was “bitty”. For example, Bruce fitted a bolt on the tender - he discovered that it was missing just as we left on Wednesday.

He and I later dismantled the remaining table from the TPO and stowed it inside the van. Gilbert (and Bruce) had the loco weighed on the new scales. The results were compared against those obtained by Gil & Jamie. Hmm. Interesting! After lunch, Gil fixed an issue whereby one of the taps on the hydrostatic lubricator was leaking and needed a fresh seal.

John T and I spent most of the day preparing rail chairs, as the boot scraper stock level is still zero.
The trolley had a puncture, which (with my cycling expertise) I was ideally suited to fix. Incidentally,
there are two trolleys, formerly known as Panther One and Panther Two. This is Panther One
(though the writing is almost illegible). In addition to its name, it also says “Return to …” and the
destination is no longer legible. Does any reader know the history behind these trolleys?

As the day drew to a close, Bruce slapped black paint all over the bottoms of the rail chairs that John
& I had cleaned. Rain failed to stop play, because John moved inside the loco shed to continue wirebrushing the chairs.

Some new rails had been delivered for the Broadway Extension. You know what flat-bottom rails
look like, so here’s a photo of the brake van attached to the flat wagons:

This is the guard’s front garden. As you can see, it is tastefully sown with a cascade of moss, contrasting beautifully with the brown of the naturalised wooden finish on the brake van.

Over here we have the back garden which centres on a sycamore that provides height, with a balanced arrangement of shrubs to the left and right. The old tail lamp injects an element of interest, as does the telltale compound palmate leaf of the cannabis plant growing behind it. (not really)

NYMR chap came & went on Thursday - “Plan C” meant no test steaming today!