Thursday, 30 November 2017

Anticipated Llangollen operational dates

We're expecting 2807 to be in operation at Llangollen on these dates:

Santa Specials on 2/12, 3/12, 9/12, 10/12, 16/12, 17/12, 22/12, 23/12 and 24/12

Winter Warmer Specials on 30/12 and 31/12

As always, subject to availability.


Saturday, 18 November 2017

Maintenance Update (Victorian, Winchcombe, lead, rain)

News from LLangollen
There are no more services at Llangollen until the Santa trains begin, in December. So, 2807 ran on the weekend of 4th & 5th November, but there will be nothing more to report for four weeks!

Rather than go on and on about boot scrapers , I’ll take a break until something of greater interest occurs. However, we have 15 boot scrapers “on the shelf” and more in the pipeline; the Flag & Whistle have sold 94; John got fed up with painting them GWR green, so painted one in LNER Darlington Green; and I’ve just had a phone call from Germany ordering a September 1946 one!

Bruce pointed out on Saturday that in the last update, Tom Peacock called 2807 “the Victorian cart horse”. But Victoria died on 22 January 1901, which was nearly five years before 2807 came into service! Edward VII was on the throne (maybe not literally) when 2807 rolled out of Swindon works.

Fred, Gil, Ray and Bill were all at Winchcombe working inside the siphon. They have just bought and/or refurbished some “door furniture”.

The inside of the siphon is looking very smart. Still some cowls to paint and fit to the roof. Some boxes have been acquired as part of the museum feature (being for the fruit section).

Saturday 18th
Bill was first at the siphon; Fred and Gil shortly after. I spoke with Bill because I called in at Winchcombe to search for a 9-46 rail chair (q.v.) on my way to Todders. Unfortunately, by the time I reached Todders, it had decided to rain!

John T was first at Todders, soon followed by Rob. They had opened up, and started before the rain reached them. John had to abandon needle-gunning because the rain turns the rust into brown soup. Rob pressed on with painting inside the container, but much to his chagrin, the combination of cold and rain caused condensation on the rail chairs which brought that activity to a halt.

Bruce decided that the angle-grinder (which had previously only worked when you waggled the
cable and got it in the right spot) needed a new and longer lead. That occupied him for a while
(especially when removing the PAT tags from the old lead to the new).

I get on my high horse about people using the trolleys as work benches, and Rob and I brought a large pallet into the shed and removed the vacuum cylinder parts that have been sat on the trolley for weeks onto the pallet. With the trolley now free, we moved nine rail chairs (that I had brought from Winchcombe in my car) up to our pile near our compressor.

Fred, Bill & Gil joined us for lunch. Then after putting the world to rights, we decided that the rain
really had defeated us. So we went home!


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Maintenance Update (Llangollen, coal, GWR, paint)

News from LLangollen
Graham B reported:
“2807 was on today's [Saturday 4th] service train. I spoke to the crew before the 13:00 departure. The driver said his only problem was that the regulator was a bit tricky: he found it difficult to get just the right opening saying that it was not smooth. This was probably more noticeable because of a lot of slipping on Berwyn Bank - this is unusual, perhaps we had the wrong leaves on the line for that stretch today. The Fireman commented on her being a strong a loco, but how hungry she was for coal and was concerned that there would be enough for the extra evening trip. Llangollen use coal from Eastern Europe and I reckon that while it is cheaper than Welsh coal it may have about 20% lower calorific value. I have a vague recollection that when we changed from Welsh coal it was very apparent how much more shovelling I had to do on 3802.”

One has to remember that the crews tend to be different on each day. Lots of people get perhaps only one go on the footplate. So, they don’t get a chance to become accustomed to a visiting loco with which they are not familiar. The comments from this crew are, IMHO, out of character for 2807. Also, it is most unusual for 2807 to slip - viz the comments from the previous report about her sure-footedness!

Tom Peacock comments: “Top day on the Victorian cart horse yesterday. Great to fire and even nicer to drive! I still reckon the 28’s are possibly one of the best suited classes for preservation work. They’ll ride happily at 25 and has more than enough grunt to do what you want with it. Top machine. I even like the colour.”

Graham sent the following “pic of 2807 just before the 13:00 departure on 4th Nov.”

Wednesday 8th
A huge “Thank you” should go to Bob Underwood, without whose inspiration and inventiveness we would have nothing to do while 2807 is on holiday! It was he who thought up the idea of boot scrapers.

We sold two today - and the railway is not even open!

So, John G, Bruce and I pressed on with building up the stocks (in anticipation of a Christmas rush!). There are two on the floor plus two on the bench with black bottoms; four in green primer, and two in red primer.

There are four in the van awaiting their top coats, and we have two orders: a 1937 GWR and an 1885 Midland Railway.

Meanwhile, Bruce had completed his homework, and brought the rail guards in for fitment. Of course, we can’t fit them because we haven’t got the engine!

Components, showing how the guard can be removed or pivoted easily

John “Green-Fingers” G demonstrates which way up it goes

… and where it goes, beneath the rear brake hanger on the tender

The purpose is to clear anything fouling the rails when the loco is running in reverse, to minimise the risk of derailment. In GWR/BR days, these engines rarely ran in reverse, so rail guards were only fitted at the front of the pony truck. Now that she goes backwards just as often as forwards, we are fitting bespoke guards to the brake hangers at the back of the tender.

Over at Winchcombe, there was a full complement of chaps working on the siphon: Bill, Gil, Fred & Ray. I’m not sure what they find to do, there. Isn’t it finished yet? 😊

Saturday 11th
Well, there’s little to do but press on with boot scrapers! Bruce, Rob and I took it easy, just moving the current ones forward in the production process.

Bruce is quite pleased with the success of mixing Deproma jelly with xylene to make paint again!

Our skill at applying paint to almost any object led to a request to paint the covers over the loco weighing equipment yellow. Doing this was spread over the week, to allow each coat to harden. There’s a black line through the middle, which shows the mid-point of the scales. This is the ideal point for the loco wheels to be positioned, though there is a tolerance of a few inches either side of this.

By end of play there was already a dirty footprint on the left one! 😒


Sunday, 29 October 2017

Maintenance Update (Coffee, Glenfarg, paint, welding)

Sunday 22nd
I had a message from the Coffee Pot café at Winchcombe to say that they only have one boot scraper left!

Monday 23rd
I had an email from Steam Railway to say that “Somebody has posted on National Preservation that she’s now due to stay there [at Llan] over the winter and will be taking part in their next gala”. Not so. She’s due back here at the beginning of January.

Popped down to Todders to pick up 5 boot scrapers ready to restock the Coffee Pot on Tuesday. Painted the gold lettering on four that are in production. Stuart was just packing himself up ready to go home, after spending the weekend at the Food Fayre, promoting 2807.

Tuesday 24th
Another email from Steam Railway asking if 2807 will be back from her Heavy General Overhaul in time for the Glenfarg Trials! Apparently, a 28xx went up to Scotland for trials in 1921.

(The content of external web sites linked to from this blog is not the responsibility of CSP Ltd.)
Another phone call from the Coffee Pot; They had sold the last one, so I had to zoom round and deliver the 5 boot scrapers to them.

Wednesday 25th
John G and I pressed on with boot scraper production. The Flag & Whistle only had two left so I restocked with 4 (of the 5 we had in stock!). Would you believe it? Some clever Dick had only tested one of the boot scrapers by cleaning his muddy boots on one while it was still on the display trolley!!! In any ordinary shop, he would be legally obliged to buy it! In this case, however, all I could do was remove it, clean it, and put it back on the shelf!

We had some paint delivered for use on the exterior of the siphon van. Although the paint was actually in the box, it wasn’t exactly all in the tins!

Bruce dressed our bench grinding wheel and adjusted the guard. Then he was giving advice to a group who are restoring the little Peckett. Its steps had been bent, and Bruce was recommending the best way to get them straight again. They probably need to cut them off, straighten using a press, and then weld them back on again. After lunch, Bruce went home to do more work on the guard iron components. They were cut for us, but need a bit of tidying up and the fixing holes need to be drilled.

By end of play, we had six rail chairs in green top coat and one in crimson, plus two waiting to be wire-brushed.

Here’s a test for you: One of the group of locos on the left is 2807. Which one is it? They are all GWR 2-8-0s

The photo comes from a 1980s publication called Heavy Freight, and the photo is credited to M Pope.

Thursday 26th
Gilbert received the following update from Llangollen:
“2807 has been running faultlessly whilst she has been with us. When she first arrived there was a small issue with the vacuum dropping off. We removed the pepper pots and retaining valve; cleaned them up and refitted. Since then we have not had a spot of bother from her.

All the crews have enjoyed being on it and I have already been asked numerous times do we have to send her back. She is a credit to you all."

Saturday 28th
John T & Graham B had gone to Llan to see/fire 2807 (respectively). Sadly, 2807 was not rostered because it was a supporters’ day for 5199.

At Todders we only had Bruce in action. During the day he progressed various rail chairs: moved six that had been top-coated from container to van for lettering; nail-gunned three; wire-brushed five, and gave black bottoms to those five.

Briefly, Rob (our new recruit) popped in to say that Gilbert had purloined him to work on the siphon van at Winchcombe, and then he buzzed off there. Later, he and Gilbert returned to pick up our welding kit. Apparently, he did some welding on the chains that hold up the shelving inside the siphon. Fred and Bill were also at Winchcombe, working on the siphon.

Re. the brown paint (see Wednesday) destined for the siphon exterior, Williamsons (the paint supplier) kindly sent us another tin of paint to make up for that lost in transit.


Saturday, 21 October 2017

Maintenance Update (Llangollen, grate, fayre, Carrog)

Wednesday 18th
Bruce helped Mike S and JC [Loco dept] in clearing some bits of rubbish into the skips. It had been piled up by the skips, so presumably it was meant to go in them!

John G, Bruce & I started up the boot scraper production line. The F&W had sold two, so they were restocked. Roger B [Loco Dept] came along to enquire about buying a boot scraper before he leaves - he’s moving house over to Lincolnshire. John sold him one!

I was needle-gunning. Many of the rail chairs are covered in a mixture of mud and grease that has solidified. It’s easier to chisel it off than needle-gun it! Bruce was wire brushing and grinding off rough edges. John was painting. At end of play, there were 9 chairs in the container: three are primed on top; six have been bottomed - some in green, just for a change from black! A tenth one is awaiting the brush & grind phase.

News from Llangollen can be found on the web:
There are 89 photos here:
A video at Berwyn station:

(The content of external web sites linked to from this blog is not the responsibility of CSP Ltd.)

As an aside: I train newies to light up locos. I tell them that even if there are burning embers from the previous day when you come to do a light-up ALWAYS rake it all out and start with a fresh fire. It is not always possible to get a super-clean grate under these circumstances, but you MUST get out the ash and any clinker as best you can. Vis. I quote from the GWSR blog:

“I was the rostered fireman on Wednesday and when I found 2807 on one of the pits, the fire from the steam test the day before was still burning on the back of the grate. The instructions for firemen say that you should always rake it all out regardless, don't try lighting up on it. I took the view that you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, and after a rudimentary clean of the dead ash, left it where it was and carried on from there. Needless to say, the back half of the grate stayed blacked out for the whole of the first trip and stubbornly refused to catch the fresh coal placed on top. I raked it through at the end of the first trip, lesson learnt!”

Thursday 19th
Rained all day, so I popped down to do a spot of painting. Paint still tacky from Wednesday, so couldn’t! Nor could I cut wooden wedges because of the sawdust it creates sticking to the tacky paint! Not a productive day.

Saturday 21st
As it was the Food Fayre at Todders, no one but me turned up! You see, we are supposed to park on the field adjacent to the station, and no one likes walking all the way from there down to the yard …

So, I was able to cut some wedges for boot scrapers using the band saw, without fear of being nudged or bumped! Once the sawdust had settled (i.e. after elevenses), I was able to slap a primer coat on six chairs and a top coat on a further three. The green primer was like treacle, and the red was mostly skin, so I popped over to the paint shop in Tewkesbury and bought a couple of tins.

During the morning, there were brief interferences from Gil & Stuart, who were manning a stall in the marquee. Stu bought two shrubs for the new flower garden.

New volunteer Rob was being induced today. He popped down the yard afterwards, but everyone had gone home by then (4.30). The weather was a bit grim!

Two photos of 2807 at Carrog on the Sunday gala from Graham Bondi:


2807 at Llangollen

No. 2807 is visiting the Llangollen railway for a few months.  There are videos on YouTube, and to find some of them, try this link:

YouTube 2807 Llangollen

Please remember, "The content of external web sites linked to from this blog is not the responsibility of CSP Ltd."


Sunday, 8 October 2017

Maintenance Update (coal, examination, compress, blocked)

Monday 2nd October
Rowan and I went down to prepare the loco. Andy Turner kindly cleared the grate of copious piles of ash & clinker.

Rowan gathered wood from the wood store; passed tools to and from Andy, and then set about sorting lumps of coal into the right sizes … by hand!

I carried out the “standard” checks - everything was looking very good. One mudhole door nut slightly loose; No sign of dampness anywhere. I cleared the ash out of the smokebox and finally laid the fire. Retired at 18.40 hrs with fire looking healthy and well banked up.

Tuesday 3rd
Gilbert reports:
“The boiler Inspector carried out his hot examination at working temperatures this morning and has passed the loco for another 12 months of operation.

Safety Valves were tested, the firebox interior was scrutinised, and the smokebox interior was examined. No faults were identified.

The inspector has amended the written scheme of examination in respect of the super-heater and steam pipework.

Plug no 33 which had been fizzing on Saturday morning showed no visible or audible sign of leakage.

The bottom mud-hole doors were all sound.”

Wednesday 4th
2807 was in service - last public service day for her here at Todders. Thursday is a Fire & Drive.

Issues recently logged:
38: [vacuum] retaining valve occasionally sticks with res[ervoir] @19”. Sorts itself out & returns
to normal. {Cliff mentioned this last week; JC has fed graphite into it to see if that unsticks it}
40: Wear mark on rear driving axle centre between ashpan doors. Ashpan rubbing on axle?
{Inspected. Nothing in contact with axle}
41: Ejector valve needs repacking as soon as practical.
42: Whistle deflector plate/cab shroud missing; whistle painfully loud in cab. {2807 has never had a shroud behind the whistle}
43: Vac[uum] retaining valve playing up - Res[ervoir] varies between 19-24. {This is a repeat of
38, above. Bruce suspects that it is not the retaining valve but possibly an intermittent leak on the
vacuum cylinder gland itself.}
44: Both piston rod felts slow to feed. Rod drier than preferred.
45: Left leading coupling rod catching on wheel @ crank pin boss.

Bruce and Gil spent the day getting ready for Saturday, which is also the only opportunity to split loco from tender and address any issues.

John G was wire-brushing chairs, a couple of which are most interesting. The photo shows a narrow 00 BR Swindon. His son, Jon, had brought these along for us.

Some paint was also applied. I, too, was painting the six in the production line.

I called in at Winchcombe on the way to Todders. Bill was painting in our siphon van, all on his own! The café had sold four boot scrapers. At the end of the day, I took four down to restock, and they had sold another one during the day!

Saturday 7th
Loco Dept chaps had immediately begun clearing out the grate, smokebox and ashpan. Furthermore, Luke, Stuart and Graham assisted us throughout the day.

Gil removed the ejector handle and inserted two more turns of packing - issue 41 fixed.

Gil, Bruce, Graham and Luke tackled the right-hand injector steam valve that had been seen to leak steam (though not a reported issue). It took them all morning to re-cut the seat, and even then it still had a couple of marks that they could not get out … the cutter by now being a tad blunt! Nevertheless, it was judged greatly improved, and was repacked and reassembled.

Bruce disconnected the water, heating and vacuum pipes between loco and tender, and I tied them up out of the way.

John T assisted Gil making an inventory of equipment that is going with the loco and which isn’t.

John, Bruce, Stuart and I loaded two spare fire bars and two spare springs (one loco; one tender) onto the back of the tender. JC lifted the springs using the JCB.

JC fired up the 04 shunter and squeezed us up against Foremarke Hall in order to compress the buffers between loco and tender, which is the only way to be able to pull the main pin out from the main linkage. The two safety links are easy to free, which will wait until Monday during the loading process.

After lunch, we decided to clear a blocked tube that the external examiner had spotted on Tuesday. This uses a flexible hose with brass digger in the end, all attached to our vacuum cleaner. I was inside the firebox probing the blockage, while at various times, Gil, Graham, Bruce and John manned the vacuum cleaner. You can hear the ash being sucked along the hose, but then every so often the end gets blocked. Sometimes it can be cleared by turning the vacuum cleaner to “blow”, whereupon a cloud of dust explodes from the end; otherwise a large piece of ash may be lodged in the end of the digger. In the midst of doing this, JC shunted us out of the yard and onto the loading road. The tube was blocked end-to-end, and it took all afternoon to suck out all of the ash.

Finally, Graham unbolted the bell housing beneath the smokebox (because it can get damaged as the loco climbs up the lorry’s ramp), and Gil was left to sweep the cab floor!

All in all, an excellent day’s work! She’s now fit to be collected 9.00 Monday morning.


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Great news on the steam test

Some excellent news today.  Gilbert reports:

"The boiler Inspector carried out his hot examination at working temperatures this morning and has passed the loco for another 12 months of operation.

Safety Valves were tested, the firebox interior was scrutinised, and the smokebox interior was examined. No faults were identified."


Saturday, 30 September 2017

Maintenance Update (boxing, equalising, weeping, going)

Wednesday 27th
Gilbert reports:
“Today the locomotive was boxed up and steam tested to 223psi.

JC & JH supervised the boxing up process with JH re-fitting the washout plugs. When it came to No 24 they found an old broken stay had been dislodged during the wash-out and unsuccessful attempts were made to remove it through the plug aperture. Because of the ferrule there was not enough space to turn it and extract it, and the ferrule could not be removed from the cladding sheet despite strenuous efforts.

Between JC & JH they re-installed the mud-hole doors and then they commenced filling the boiler via the blowdown pipe.

The fire-grate was replaced (the side bars had been removed to allow access for the Boiler Inspector to the foundation ring rivets) and JC re-fixed the fusible plugs in the firebox crown.

Bruce re-assembled the safety valves and the feed-water clacks.

The gauge frame was put back together by Gilbert under the supervision of Jeff Lacey.

Jamie undertook greasing of brake pivots, brake cylinder mountings, and equalising beams.

Alex had her gang busy cleaning and polishing everything they could touch.

Amidst all the controlled chaos JP was busy carrying out the A examination. He found loose fixings on the damper door linkages and on the frame stretcher adjacent to the locomotive brake cylinder. All were tightened up.

By late morning the fire was ready for lighting and Jeff and Jamie managed the warming of the boiler. In view of our previous experience Bruce regularly checked the mud-hole doors and tightened them gradually to keep them sealed and seated. The boiler was warmed up steadily throughout the afternoon until the safety valves lifted at 223 psi.

During the test a slight weepage was noted from plugs 28 and 33. Once pressure has been released these will be sealed.

Whilst the testing was being carried out Bruce investigated the reported leakage on the LH Injector flange. This revealed that the flanged joints were sound but that leakage was occurring at the joint of the injector steam cap. Further investigation showed that the steam cone within the injector had come loose. The unit was re-sealed and re-assembled correctly.

The j-cocks were investigated and it was found that the LHS one was stuck, it was dosed with WD40 but it failed to unstick it and the unit will have to be stripped down during Winter Maintenance. The RHS one was moveable, this was also dosed with WD40 and was considered satisfactory.”

Bruce added:
“Good work today by everyone with a massive amount of jobs being done. Just a quick update at close of play.

The steam test was successful with all mudhole doors dry, but there were three plugs weeping slightly. (Two of them were the new ones) These plugs may be fixed early Friday morning, I think by Mark if he is available.

The safety valves blew off at 223psi first time and 221psi second time but did not go above 225psi
Interestingly at the end we were still producing too much steam to put the loco in the shed so we chuffed up and down the siding to use some of it up.”

This was far greater progress than one could possibly have dreamed! Great thanks go to the Loco Dept chaps & chapess.

Saturday 30th
Today was our AGM.

These interesting things came up :
  • 2807 is definitely going to Llan on 9 Oct for 16 steamings over their gala, weekends, school holidays and Santa Specials. We’ll give details as & when we get them.
  • GWSR is planning for Armistice Day 2018, and 2807 is the loco of choice.

Afterwards, some of the chaps went for a ride behind 2807 (which had been re-rostered to Train 2, which was more convenient time-wise).

Does anyone know if rabbits dig up and eat bulbs? There seemed to be a lot of holes in our “garden”, where I had previously planted some bulbs !!!


Monday, 25 September 2017

Maintenance Update (Severn, exam, hose, gland)

David Moore and Andy Bryne identified the location of the photo (see previous post) as Severn Tunnel Junction shed.

There is a plan for the forthcoming few weeks, leading up to potentially going to Llangollen:
Weds 20: Unbox & washout
Sat 23: clean & fix issues [if anyone attends!]
Tues 26: Cold exam (external examiner) - Gilbert in attendance
Wed 27: Box up & fix issues
Fri 29: Warming fire
Sat 30: Steam test (Loco Dept)
Sun 1 Oct: Cooling
Mon 2: Fix anything detected & light warming fire - Roger
Tues 3: Hot exam (external examiner, 9.30 am) - Roger light fire, etc.
Sat 7: Drain ready for transport to Llangollen.

Wednesday 20th
Much assistance from Loco Dept chaps: Much gratitude & thanks to JC, John H, Tim P, Ian G, Richard, Martin, Mike (and apologies to anyone whom I’ve missed off).

Bruce & Dixie worked on removing the brass bonnet, safety valves and clack valves. Bruce later lapped the safety valves in and replaced the bonnet.

Loco Dept chaps were removing mud-hole doors and wash-out plugs. John G and Ian G were cleaning all the plugs up. I cleaned the mud-hole doors. John also checked the threads on them and made sure they were pukka.

Gilbert removed the last mud-hole door (under the cab floor) after assisting with the removal of the gauge frame and the wash-out plugs in the firebox backhead.

In spare moments, John G managed to wire-brush and paint two chair tops & one bottom. I finished two boot scrapers and then restocked both the Flag & Whistle and the Coffee Pot cafés.

Gil & Dixie started doing the washout, but got soaked! Loco Dept chaps finished the job. Actually, anyone in the vicinity got wet - partly because of the leaks in the hose:

Loco Dept chaps removing wash-out plugs

Bruce & Dixie removing clacks & safety valves

Is anybody in there?

Yes - Martin removing wash-out plugs!

Bruce thought he was safe from getting wet …

Washing out the top

Washing out the front

Mud-hole door

Thursday 21st
It rained, so I popped down and painted some chairs because there are no completed boot scrapers. Being Thomas Weekend, it is not likely that the cafés will sell out, but …!

Friday 22nd
Department Management Meeting - Decision taken over 2807’s plan and departure for Llangollen, which now looks like this:
Tues 26: Cold exam (external examiner) - Gilbert in attendance
Wed 27: Box up & fix issues
Thurs 28: Warming fire
Fri 29: Steam test (by Loco Dept)
Sat & Sun: In service
Mon 2: Fix anything detected & light warming fire - Roger
Tues 3: Roger light fire, etc. (6 am) - Hot exam (external examiner, 9.30 am)
Weds & Thurs: In service (Thursday 5th is a Fire & Drive, not a public service)
Sat 7: Drain and ready for transport to Llangollen
Mon 9: Transported to Llangollen.

Saturday 23rd
Bruce reports: “Only three of us today, in fact the whole department was quiet, probably the Thomas effect.

David had brought the new grinding wheels for the bench grinder which he duly fitted.
He also brought the laser cut parts for the tender guard irons, these to be finished later ready for fitting during the winter maintenance period.

Gilbert and David then removed the handles on the Blower and the Ejector Valves, which had been reported as leaking, and replaced the gland packing.

I, meanwhile, spent some time in my favourite place, on top of the boiler, cleaning the safety valve and clack housings ready for reassembly on Wednesday.

I also gathered all of the top Clack Valve parts together to take home and machine/refurbish them there.

We had suspected that the fireman's side injector steam valve had been leaking so Gilbert and David, assisted by Stuart [Loco Dept.], removed the cover to investigate. Sure enough the seat was pitted so we decided to re-cut the seat and, while it was apart, replace the gland packing.

We noticed that the grate was still in place so Stuart removed several fire bars on each side so that the boiler inspector can examine the nuts around the bottom of the firebox."

Monday 25th
Bruce continues: "After machining and refurbishing the various parts for the top Clack Valves at home I returned them to our container ready for the boiler inspector’s visit on Tuesday.”


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Maintenance Update (cycle, raffle, wedges, fish)

2807 was in service on: 8th - 10th & 12th - 17th September.

Saturday 9th
2807 was in service so only John T and I were at Toddington - well, actually, Stuart had come down from Lancashire to do some fund-raising at the station over this weekend, too.

The weather was dubious, but during the morning we managed to clean four rail chairs (between showers) and paint a few. We then took a break to watch the Tour of Britain cycle race pass through Toddington. Much rain then threatened, so we called it a day.

I was a little concerned at issue 31: “LH big end warm at end of day. Oil level in reservoir had not gone down since being filled at start of day.” On Friday, I spoke with John P at the end of the day. He was driving 2807 on Fire & Drive duty. He had not noticed any undue heat in the bearings. Then on Saturday I bumped into Cliff, who had been driving 2807 during the week. He was full of praise! No sign of hot bearings.

Cliff did mention the brake vacuum, which seems to stick at 20 Hg and then jumps up to 25 after a few mo’s. It sounds like something could be sticky; or a leaky spot in the vacuum cylinder?

Monday 11th
Stuart asked if there was some painting that he could do because the railway is closed on Mondays, and he was bored! So, I set him on! He reports:
“At 16.30 hrs, finished lettering the 4 chairs, painted black bottoms on the 4 in the container, painted top coats on the 4 in the van (2 green, 2 black) and stained 20 brush heads. OH! and had an hour for lunch.”

Len Young was sifting through some photos at a model “do” and spotted these of 2807:

Anyone know where the first was taken?  The second is marked as being at Shrewsbury MPD.

Wednesday 13th
With 2807 still chuffing up & down, there was nothing for it but to set all hands on making boot scrapers (again!). It was good to have Dixie back after a spell of not being 100%. He spent the day needle-gunning ten rail chairs. Bruce then trimmed off the rough edges and any protruding bolt ends with the angle grinder. John G was on wire brush duty, plus applying paint to four tops and four bottoms. I finished off those in the production line and restocked the Flag & Whistle.

Stuart was on the station handing out leaflets and persuading people to part with money for his raffle. Bruce broke off from grinding to check if there was still any sign of steam from the centre drain cock that he had lapped last week - no sign at all!

A pile of interesting rail chairs was left outside our container. We don’t know who they are from, but we are very grateful. One chair is from a GWR + GC joint line. This one has been put in our museum pile. Not that we have a museum yet, but one day there will be a museum depicting various aspects of Permanent Way, and we are putting aside any interesting pieces.

Which reminds me: Regarding the chair with “LNEC” embossed upon it, Peter Todd advises, “the LNE is for the London North Eastern Rly. but the C stands for the area it was made for, in this case the old Great Central Rly. As advised by the LNER Forum on these matters.”

Clive Hawkins came across an auction item: An LNER (Great Central Railway) pattern Hand Lamp clearly stamped “LNEC” and “HELMDON No.19707” a location on the GCR line between Woodford & Brackley. From which he deduces that “LNEC must in effect stand for London and North Eastern Railway (Central Division).”

Friday 15th
I was planning on going for a bike ride - put the mudguards on; bottle of juice; mobile into saddlebag;  and then it started raining! So, there was nothing for it but to go to Todders and saw up a pile of wedges (for securing brushes in boot scrapers).

I was about to have a cuppa but noticed the milk had turned into a solid lump! Never mind, there’s a new bottle. But that was solid, too! It was a solid block of milk ice. Now, has the weather turned that cold? Had someone turned the thermostat up (it was set at maximum)? It was a bit difficult to judge, but four lumps seemed to be about right!

While there, I dumped several “00” size rail chairs. They are too big (see nearest in photo, above).

Saturday 16th
2807’s final weekend in service at Todders. So, John T, Bruce and I pressed on with boot scraper production while the opportunity is here. I finished off six, and delivered two to the Flag & Whistle. John needle gunned eight. Bruce wire brushed eight. Then in the final moments, Bruce & John slapped paint on, and I managed to wire-brush two more. Final tally: 16 chairs in the container - 4 x fully primed; 9 x black bottomed; 2 x needle-gunned, and 1 x wire brushed.

Steve called in because he had found a new recruit - a young chap called Rob, who lives not a million miles away. It turned out that he had previously lived in Winchcombe, which became a talking point between us.

There is a plan for the forthcoming few weeks, leading up to going away to Llangollen:
Sun 17 Sept: Final steaming day
Mon & Tues: cooling down
Weds 20: Unbox & clean
Sat 23: washout & clean
Tues 26: Cold exam (external examiner)
Wed 27: Box up
Fri 29: Warming fire
Sat 30: Steam test (Loco Dept)
Sun 1 Oct: Cooling
Mon 2: Fix anything detected & light warming fire
Tues 3: Hot exam (external examiner)
Sat 7: Drain ready for transport to Llangollen.

There are a few reported issues that will need attending to during this period, as and when resources available. Latest reported issues are:
34: Hydrostatic lubricator leak - which was fixed by JC [Loco dept]
35: Tender brakes needed adjusting - also fixed by JC.
36: Fireman “lost” the copper end off the pep pie! - replaced by JC.
37: Left hand steam injector feed joint blowing top of injector body.
38: [vacuum] retaining valve occasionally sticks with res[ervoir] @19”. Sorts itself out & returns to
normal. {Cliff mentioned this last week; JC has fed graphite into it to see if that unsticks it}
39: slack pipe continuously blows, may be clack passing {= duplicate of issue 29}

Wildflower Conservation Corner
I dug up a random selection of bulbs from my garden and planted them in our corner at Todders.
You see, last year I’d had this marvellous idea of planting bulbs in my strawberry patch. I figured
that it would give colour in the spring before the strawbs came into their own. It didn’t work. The
daffs and bluebells’ leaves swamped the strawberry plants and inhibited their spring growth. Hence the digging up thereof.


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Maintenance Update (responsible, power, grinding, safety)

Wednesday 30th
2807 was in service so Bruce & Gil took the opportunity to check with the crew how things were (apart from wet!). In particular, they closely watched the pressure creep up. Steam began feathering from the safety valves at around 215 psi, then they suddenly lifted at 219 psi. This confirms what earlier crews had reported. It gives us a good feel for how much the spacers can be reduced per psi, if GWSR’s Boiler Responsible Person insists on them lifting closer to the maximum of 225 psi. We are not keen on going higher. She doesn’t need every ounce of pressure - she has power to spare.

Bruce also commented that the pep pipe still has steam leaking from it (despite his efforts at lapping-in the valve). Also, the centre left-hand drain cock has steam wisping from it, too.

Ken S. popped in (again) to deliver a selection of spanners. Then he went for a ride behind 2807 of course).

Bruce wire-brushed the rail chairs in the container and then blacked their bottoms. I painted some lettering and then top-coated four chairs. The Flag & Whistle had sold two boot scrapers, so I restocked them; the Coffee pot (Winchcombe) had sold four boot scrapers, but they had to make do with just two more from stock.

Amongst the chairs that Bruce brushed today, there is one with most unusual inscriptions upon it. It says “46 lb”, which is a very light rail. It also says “LNEC”, which isn’t a railway that I recognise. The date is 1938. Has anyone any ideas as to whom this LNEC was?

I needed Gil’s autograph on a couple of cheques, so I had to call in at the siphon. Fred, Bill & Gil were there. Much of the day they had been adjusting the doors so that they close properly. Bill had been painting the running boards by each door.

Gil noticed something black jammed between the slats in one of the siphon widows and gave it a poke. It moved! We have a new pet!

Saturday 2nd Sept
I was away holidaying in Scotland, and only David came to play at Todders, though Fred, Gil & Bill were working in the siphon at Winchcombe. David has been trying to get quotes for laser cutting the tender guard irons, but it seems the metal is too thick! He’s now trying quotes for cutting by water jet.

Here is what David reported:
“I have ordered two new grinding wheels for the bench grinder in the container - grades 80 and 120, which should be satisfactory for what we do. I have removed the old ones and left a note to that effect.

I have left the end covers by the machine with the screws sitting on them. Please take care not to knock this on the floor. If you have the misfortune to do so, there are 10 small screws that will need finding!

I have now finished and fitted the new pulley guard on the drilling machine.”

Wednesday 6th
Although 2807 was having a rest day, only Bruce tackled an issue - and not one reported by the crew! Bruce had seen that the centre drain cock has been leaking, so he took it apart, skimmed the central spindle’s sealing face and reassembled it.

John G, Bruce and I then pressed on with more boot scraper production. Bruce ground off rough edges.

There are four reported issues outstanding:
29: Safety valve clacks blowing by, as pep pipe cock passing steam & getting hot.
30: Hydrostatic lub[ricator] 3rd feed leaking oil. Risk of losing oil before end of day. Also, drain needs a tap to seal.
31: LH big end warm at end of day. Oil level in reservoir had not gone down since being filled at start of day.
32: Steam valves need repacking, e.g. ejector and blower.

Wildflower Conservation Corner
On Wednesday 30th, I planted a few bluebell bulbs out of my garden. I’ll pop a few more bulbs in, in due course.

On Saturday, I threatened some baby brambles with Resolva, and Clive donated a box of poppy and sunflower seeds to the cause. I’ll save these until next Spring, otherwise the local birds will think it’s their birthday!


Sunday, 27 August 2017

Maintenance Update (pressure, primer, nature, rabbits)

Wednesday 23rd
2807 was in service yesterday, and so there was little for us to do. Bruce spoke with today’s crew to try to find out how well he had machined the spacers on the safety valves. He had calculated that they should lift at 220 or 221 psi. The crew didn’t seem to be sure, but thought it was between 218 and 220. Obviously it couldn’t be far off the “red line” (225 psi) otherwise they would have noticed!

Bruce was disappointed to see that, despite having lapped-in the slacking (aka “pep”) pipe valve, there is still a dribble from the pipe. This implies that a clack valve is leaking steam, slightly(1).

Gilbert joined us for a while, but then went off to represent us at John Cocks’ funeral. While here, he and Bruce had a rummage in our box of non-ferrous spares looking for bits of cylinder pressure-release valves. JC is planning on ordering a quantity of springs for them, but has neither drawing nor spare one to work from.

Ken Shuard popped in for a natter and a cuppa at elevenses time. It’s nice to have a visitor (especially when there’s not a lot to do).

John G wire-brushed the three rail chairs that I had previously needle-gunned. Bruce ground off a bolt that was protruding from the underside of the LNWR chair and then applied primer coat to a couple of tops, while John blacked up some bottoms.

I’d had an emailed order for a 1947 boot scraper, so I clambered over the pile of chairs at Winchcombe, and found two: February and November 1947. Back at Todders, I discovered that in amongst those that I had painted recently, there were also a January and December 1947! The customer has gone for the latter - it being the final month & year of the GWR. So, I finished off 10 boot scrapers and then re-stocked the two cafes.

Saturday 26th
I popped down early to organise some boot scrapers in the production line. I had decided to take the day off and go train spotting with my Grandson, Rowan.

I had sorted out which required painting in what colour; painted silver lettering on the black LNWR boot scraper; wrapped up a December 1947 GWR one for an emailed order, and was just about to skive off, when Bruce arrived. Before I had chance to escape, John T arrived. Then as I was trying to escape, Gilbert arrived!

John reports: “Bruce and John T worked on boot scrapers today, whilst 2807 was in service. Bruce painted undercoat on 3 in the container, and top coated 4 in the van. John needle-gunned 5 chairs, which now await further wire brushing and painting (in the container).

Both Bruce and John each cut bolts off 2 chairs.

Bruce was also asking our engine crews about the safety valve lifting pressures whenever 2807 returned to Toddington. He needs to be sure of the current lifting pressure before adjusting the safety valve spacers.

John brought in some plants, a sort of yellow flowered rudbeckia, for our Nature Conservation Area.”

Bloomin’ rabbits dug up and ate the grasses that I had planted!

General consensus is that the safety valves are lifting at around 218 - 220 psi, and the crew cannot get pressure higher than 220. There is a question about the nominal maximum pressure (225 psi): Is that the point at which the valves lift, or should they lift before this such that the pressure does not go above it?

I spoke with Paul G, who was driving today, and he said that she is running beautifully. That’s Paul walking back with the single-line token at Winchcombe.

(1) A well-rehearsed saying of mine is: “Seek perfection and you are sure to be disappointed”.