Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Maintenance Update (guards, wet, valve, gauge)

Hayles Abbey Halt
For those of you who are not volunteers at the GWSR, you might like to know that as of 6th June 2017 Hayles Abbey Halt is open for passengers as a request stop. For 2017 the only trains allowed to stop there (except where special arrangements have been made) are DMUs up to three cars in length (and the steam auto train when it’s here … which it isn’t, now).

Wednesday 7th
First of all, I must apologise to David S for not crediting him on the photos of the drain cocks last time. Mea culpa.

With 2807 yet again in service, Bruce Gil & I ran out of things to do. John G, however, got stuck in to wire-brushing the rail chairs that John T had needle-gunned last weekend. By end of play, he had also painted their bottoms!

The “Manor” was off on its travels, and BG&I took the opportunity to watch as the tender was winched up onto the lorry. We are interested to see how close the guard irons come to the rails when it begins to climb the ramp.

As you can see, they come close. Bruce estimated that the one on the far side of the photo was only ½” above the rail. I tried to argue that if the tender was the other way round (i.e. pulled up “forwards”) the guard irons would be even closer … but B&G were not convinced.

Bruce had his prototype for our guard iron, and went round other locos to see how theirs were fitted. However, on the way back into the yard, he had commented about the tatty fence that had been pulled up when our container had arrived. The fence had never been put back. Now it is covered in brambles! So, spurred on by Bruce, Gil & I decided to do something about it. We found the fence post; prepared it for reuse, and then dug a hole to plant it in. This took most of the afternoon, as the ground is compacted and stony. We were even struggling to remove what turned out to be a bolt from a rail chair complete with its fixing plate. However, by end of play the hole was deep enough and we have a plan for setting it in concrete and reinstating the wire fencing.

Cotswold Steam & Wildlife Preservation Corner
We have seen a pair of pied wagtails taking nesting material into the sandbox on the rusting hulk of 2874. If they truly are nesting, then their nest is deep within the sandbox; you certainly can’t see it
from up on the chassis, or even by lowering a camera inside to take a photo. This would keep their family well-and-truly dry, of course. I will try to capture them in pixels, but they are cautious and wary of being seen entering.

The gales and heavy rain on Monday took their toll on the more exposed part of the garden. As you can see, the hypochoeris glabra (“cat’s ear”) flower succumbed, though the plant probably appreciated the rain. The basal leaves look healthy enough.

Saturday 10th
Everyone apart from Gilbert was busy elsewhere, so he chopped down some of the undergrowth next to the fence and left a bag of postcrete for us to concrete the post in place. Then he went for a ride on the footplate!

Wednesday 14th
Thomas arrived; 1450 + Chaffinch were readied for departure. For 2807 it was boiler washout day:

Brian assisted Bruce to begin with, and then assisted with shunting locos around; but once 2807 was out over the pit he was on the wet end of the hose! Carpo was on the dry end.

Bruce spent much of the day on top of the boiler - which was hot, but not because of steam, it was just the sun beating down on it. Following the reported leaking of water from the pep (“slacking”) pipe, Bruce suspected the top clack was leaking. He removed it and replaced the Taylor Ring inside. He suspects that the clack had not been tightened sufficiently onto the ring, which may have caused a leak. So, he decided to tighten the RHS clack .. and broke the spanner in doing so!

Thereafter, Bruce removed the spacers on the safety valves (blue arrow) and replaced them with his “adjustable solution” of nut (yellow) and locknut (green). He has deliberately set the valves to a slightly lower pressure as they can be adjusted correctly during the steam test (Friday).

John G was wielding his paintbrush again, applying the primer/undercoat to the six rail chairs in the container. He said he’s getting fed up with painting green ones, so one is now black and one red! I’m sure I saw him painting the skip at one point, too!

I concreted in the fence post; restocked the Flag & Whistle with boot scrapers, and then took a look at a reported loose stud on the firehole door mechanism. The stud is a tad loose in its seat, and there is no shoulder to tighten up against, so I was a bit perplexed as to how to better secure it. After discussion, it was decided to just tighten it as before using mole-grips.

Bruce removed the (water) gauge frame to clean it, and then we all mucked in at cleaning the mudhole doors and washout plugs. Carpo wants to get 2807 serviceable again quickly, because there is a shortage of working locos. Foremarke Hall has been failed, which only leaves P&O, 4270 and 2807. This is generally the minimum requirement for operating a two-train timetable (i.e. with one loco as standby).


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