Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Maintenance Update (hose, Edward, pins, Oliver)

Wednesday 23rd
Today’s bit of fun was to change the leaking vacuum hose that was causing issue 23 - reservoir not building up to 23”.

The hose forms a U-bend horizontally, connecting vacuum cylinder (at the bottom) to the driver’s brake valve pipe. In the side-view photo, left, the hose goes away from you and turns back towards you. The yellow is sticky tape that had been applied to the hose as a temporary fix!

Main access is through the cab floor below the shovel plate. Bruce & Gil undid the clamp on the upper connection, but the lower one would not undo. I joined in and thrust a hacksaw through the side access and showed the clamp’s bolt who was boss!

When we attempted to bend a new hose into U-form, it kinked in the middle, destroying the profile of the internal metal wire. We had to bung up one end of a second new hose and fill it with boiling water to soften the rubber. Then we could gradually form the U-bend using anything to hand of a suitable diameter! It was still a challenge getting the hose onto the pipe ends, lying prone across the cab floor, but Bruce & I succeeded eventually.

Bruce also fixed issue 21 - the leaking condensing coil union. He’d been on the footplate last week and was shown exactly where the leak was. So, he dismantled the two unions, cleaned them, fettled one a little and reassembled it. It seems that one nut was being interfered with by the flared end of the pipe.

Gil tackled issue25 in which a driver had felt that the regulator was stiffer than usual. Gil greased the slide and oiled the plunger. It all seems to work absolutely fine.

Responding to a plea from Alex, John G spent the day working on King Edward II, getting it fit to view.

The pannier had arrived, and half of the Loco Dept seemed to be inside the smokebox (or watching from outside), where there was clearly water dripping from where it shouldn’t!

John P was beneath our loco, where there were some nuts & bolts that had worked loose. It had been reported that the rear frame stretcher was loose. It was yet another challenge getting a spanner onto these nuts, as they are bolting an angle to the frames and stretcher. The positioning of the bolt holes could have been better - staggered, for instance - because one set of nuts was interfering with the adjacent ones! All tucked away in a corner and with pipe work in the way.

It is pretty grotty under there - not only are the frames covered in oily muck, but you are standing in ash all of the time when the ashpan has just been emptied [again, thanks to Loco Dept chaps].

Saturday 26th
Gala: work day cancelled. Peter Todd took a couple of photos, though:-

Wednesday 30th
Today we were supposed to be preparing 2807 for her washout (scheduled for Saturday). Gil & Bruce liaised with MY to determine what has to be done - there’s a new document covering the boiler washout process - 9 pages thereof! They then commenced: Bruce opened the blow-down valve to let water out, and opened the blower valve to let air in; Gil began removing specific washout plugs, and spent the whole day doing this. Bruce then removed the upper mud hole doors.

John G and I decided to tackle the issue of two split pins missing from the tender spring hangers.

The hanger pins through which the split pins pass and secure, would not rotate with the weight of the tender on them. Having to release the weight on the springs necessitated jacking the tender up. Finding packing pieces (off-cuts of sleeper) for beneath the jacks all takes time. Once we had relieved sufficient weight, one of the hanger pins was able to be turned. We had to do this in order to line up the holes in the hanger ends and that in the hanger pin in order to get the split pin through. I measured the split pin diameter of the other end of the spring and acquired two new pins to fit. However, they didn’t fit! Try as we could, the holes would not line up sufficiently for the split pins to pass through! We adjourned for lunch!

After lunch there was a fire drill. [Something of a first, methinks.] Then JG found a couple of rail chairs in need of a primer coat on their tops, and took time out to do that before joining Gilbert at removing washout plugs.

Bruce joined me and we attacked the spring hangers once more. The outcome was that the poor alignment of holes had led to the original split pins being sheared off. We found the end of one still in situ in the second hanger pin. There was nothing for it but to extract the hanger pins and sort them out. The first photo shows the end of the spring through which the hanger pin passes. In the second photo, Bruce is demonstrating where the split pin passes through the hanger link. The third photo shows the corresponding hanger pin. Note the groove along the length of the hanger pin. This was caused by the end of the spring (arrowed) wearing into the pin. It also explained why the pin would not rotate. Unfortunately, the end of the spring should be completely encasing the pin (full circle) - it had fractured and part of it has broken off!

We filed off the roughness on both pins and drilled slightly larger holes. It is fair to say that assembling them was by far the easiest task of the day! A touch of graphite grease, and all went together happily. We shall have to replace the spring, even though this particular break does not appear to present a danger in any way.

By now, it was 4 pm and it had taken the whole day to fit two split pins !!!

Here’s Olly reversing up to the shed at the end of the day.


Saturday, 19 May 2018

Maintenance Update (vacuum, Edward, wagons, ash)

Wednesday 16th
With 2807 in service today and until the weekend, and then again over the gala (26th - 28th May) we are limited mainly to boot scraper production. After the gala, visiting locos get the limelight, and 2807 is stood down until 26 June.

John G volunteered to go to Winchcombe to help out on the siphon painting. The proposed freight trains over the gala weekend (26 - 28 May) have been cancelled, so our siphon is not now required.

Bruce caught up with the crew at one point and checked the situation regarding maintaining vacuum and dripping condenser (still). He now has a better idea of what needs doing. The outstanding issues are:

6: Driver side under cab side - main steam pipe to injector leaking at joint/sleeve. {Hopefully there will be time to see to this after the gala}
22: Condensing coil left hand side, first union from T-cocks towards coil is leaking. {Bruce had tightened this, but it continues to drip. Probably needs taking apart and the fault determining.}
23: Reservoir not building up to 23 inches [of vacuum] staying around 20 inches. {Possibly a leak at the vacuum cylinder gland, or the brakes need adjusting}.

On the latter, Bruce thinks that the central shaft with the vacuum piston on it is worn, and in certain positions, vacuum could be leaking by. We may get a chance next Wednesday to have a look - if we can get over a pit. Being the time that the gala visitor locos will be undergoing their steam & mechanical checks, we may not get a look in!

King Edward II

John T arrived, treating today as a pseudo-Saturday. He kindly set-to with the needle gun and cleaned seven rail chairs by end of play. Bruce had applied Deproma to four red; five green, and two black chairs. I finished off half-a-dozen boot scrapers and re-stocked the cafés.

The following photo appeared in our 1997 book, Heavyweight Champion, with the caption: “2807 hauling a demonstration train of 20 ton mineral wagons. Severn Tunnel Junction, 26.8.24.”

Ken Shuard lent me the book GWR Reflections in which the same photo appears with the caption: “.. the train is heading west and the wagons are destined for delivery to North’s Navigation Colliery, Maesteg.” The book adds more information about these wagons - where they were built and where they were intended for.

You can pick up a copy for less than £5 from the internet.

John G reports that Gil painted the siphon end doors white, and cleaned & painted the steps to the siphon doors on the North side. Fred applied brown top coat to the north side doors. John worked with Fred, and that completes all external paintwork. One double door does need replacing, but is holding for now!

Saturday 19th
Not a lot of activity on the 2807 front - only John G and I were here working. John came principally for the board meeting, but wire-brushed and angle-ground two chairs, then painted their bottoms. I moved a lot around and applied top coat to four green ones.

The crew found the cause of the loss of vacuum - a hose to the reservoir has split. It’s temporarily wrapped up in tape until Wednesday, when we will have chance to replace the hose.

2807 has set fire to sleepers recently, so we need to improve the working of the ash pan sprinkler and also fit the spark guards to the damper doors.

There is some uncertainty about when the 10-year “ticket” expires - March or May 2020. Loco Dept has asked that 2807 be kept operational until the end of ticket, and will seek an extension to end of summer season 2020, if possible. They then want us back in service, after the Heavy General Overhaul, in time for the 2024 season.


Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Maintenance Update (LNER, spring, strawberry, power)

Saturday 5th
Gorgeous day. I met Fred at Winchcombe. He said that he was here on Friday doing some painting on the siphon. The whole of the south side is now in one colour! Today he had hoped to get Gilbert to join in and paint the north side.

There was a meeting of the HGO subgroup today, at which the design of the ashpan was talked through. The hope is to begin construction of it later this year. Young Rob was at that meeting, too, having been rostered for cleaner on the first train of the day … arriving at Toddington at 05:00. So, by the end of his meeting, he was whacked, and went home.

John T and I pressed on with the usual! Bruce is into his bowls season, so misses some Saturdays. He reported back on his footplate ride last Wednesday: “I had a good trip on the footplate on Wed although it was a tad wet and cold at times, particularly when running tender first.”

I found an interesting LNER chair from July 1945. At first glance it says “Stanton”, which was a major iron & steel works up Ilkeston way. However, close examination will show that the final “N” is actually an “H”.

So, it says “STANTOH.H”. Maybe the dot-H means the Hallam Plant?

Wednesday 9th
This is the one day that 2807 is resting! So, Bruce and Gilbert tackled some of the trivia that have been reported.

The first was a (tiny) drip from a union on the condenser coil. The nut needed tightening. The reporter of this issue has a reputation for taking longer to write down and describe the issue than the time it takes to fix it.

Allegedly, when a driver went to fill up the hydrostatic lubricator, there was a ‘gurgling’ sound.

Bruce checked it over, and tightened a couple of nuts. Gil fiddled with one of the glasses that kept getting oiled up.

John finally gained access to the one tender spring that had avoided being painted.

Water was seen running down a pipe underneath the cab side. This is a known problem - there is a break in the ashpan sprinkler pipe. Water runs down a noticeably rusty pipe if the injector is on and pressure is leaking past the on/off valve. We don’t aim to fix it, so it is turned off. Bruce (or maybe it was JP?) gave the valve wheel an extra twist.

Meanwhile, John G was painting bottoms while Steve was cutting bolts, angle-grinding and wire-brushing. I played with the needle gun, and by end of play there were 11 rail chairs with black bottoms in the production line.

I had started the day with a spot of gardening, having dug up numerous bulbs from what is now my strawberry patch at home. I figured that they should make a good display in the 2807 wild flower garden next spring.

Then, while I was pulling the trolley to restock the cafes with boot scrapers, some of the department chaps stopped for a chat, and one of them noticed that a tyre was splitting! It survived the trip to the Flag & Whistle, but then I had to replace the tyre. Fortunately, I had a spare, because when the previous tyre exploded, I bought two new ones. I suppose I better buy two more, pronto!

Alex & Chris [Dept] were cleaning 2807 during the afternoon. Chatting with Chris, he said that he had cleaned her the other week, gone for lunch, and she was covered in dust again when he returned! Something has to be done about the restoration work in the shed affecting the running locos!

Saturday’s work day is cancelled, as there is a Lego exhibition in the yard. Call us lazy, but we elect not to park in the field and walk all the way through the station and up into the yard! It’s worse at the end of the day, of course, walking back. So, we either don’t come at all, or go to Winchcombe.

2807 is rostered to be in service on 12th, 13th, then 15th to 20th inclusive. She will then have a boiler wash-out and a rest.

As there is not a lot of excitement with 2807 (fortunately), here are a couple of photos from today showing some other motive power that has arrived recently.

D2280 and 11230


Sunday, 22 April 2018

Maintenance Update (clack, gauge, fire, connector)

Wednesday 18th
Bruce tackled issue 14 (flange lubricator not contacting wheel). Paraphrasing Bruce’s comment, ‘It took less time to insert a new graphite block than it did for the driver to log this issue!’

Bruce had dug out some new top clack castings from our spares pile. They needed quite a lot of work doing on them to bring them up to spec, apparently. So, Bruce machined the parts at home and on Wednesday replaced the existing top clacks with these new ones. [Photo depicts path of water from injector up to the top clacks (red arrow)]

John G got stuck into boot scraper work. He noticed that the F&W had none left to sell, so re-stocked them with three more.

Gil climbed into the waterproof gear and cleaned some of the underneath of the loco. Bearing in mind the ambient temperature (~25°C) that was brave of him! Thereafter, he played with the hydrostatic lubricator. There was a problem with a rubber seal and also the regulator tap needed re-packing.

A Loco Dept chap cleaned the running boards during the morning, but then had to do it again after lunch … this is a problem of the shed being both a running shed and a restoration shed, methinks!

Saturday 21st
David tackled issue 15. He changed the glass and rubbers in the gauge frame, and replaced the Klinger seal in the drain tap. It appears that there are two types of Klinger sleeve - one with oval eyelets and one with round eyelets. Some of the eyelets are loose, and David thinks one was actually missing from the sleeve in our gauge frame drain tap.

David later adjusted the ejector handle to make it vertical when in the “off” position. It is normal practice to have handles vertically aligned when “off” (apart from said gauge frame drain tap!). However, they are mostly on taper shanks and after having a few hefty bashes by the crew, tend to slip round a little.

Finally, David cleaned the running board yet again! [Photo: just look at the crap that settled on our loco today!]

Bruce was measuring the blow-down valve pipe. We plan to fit a ‘standard’ fire-hose connector to make it an easy and speedy method of filling the boiler. Needless to say, the pipe and the hose connector have different diameters! The pipe is quite low to the ground, too, because it would normally discharge steam into a pit. So, the pipe will need shortening.

Blow-down valve pipe
fire-hose connector
diagram of fixing hose connector to pipe

Bruce, John T, Rob and I turned to boot scraper production, because the cafes had sold 7 during the week, so we need to build up stocks once again. Bruce was on painting; John angle-grinding, wirebrushing and bolt cutting; Rob manned the needlegun; and I was painting the lettering and fitting brushes. The production line had 9 black bottoms; 4 primed tops, plus 6 finished articles. P-Way delivered us a pile more rail chairs, fortunately.

All issues are now resolved apart from the pin-hole in the injector steam pipe, which we shall tackle in due course. It is not a serious leak, and the pipe is “fun” to remove, and even more fun to align the top & bottom pieces either side of the leaking sleeve!

Sunday: F&W sold 4 more boot scrapers! I popped down to restock both cafes (once again). I also applied a top coat to the four that Bruce primed on Saturday.


Saturday, 14 April 2018

Maintenance Update (token, frost, graphite, frame)

Tuesday 10th
I felt the urge to go to Todders and stock up both cafés with boot scrapers. It just happened that 2807 passed by …

Note that token exchange is the fireman’s most fun task. (S)he has to hand over the token for the section just traversed and simultaneously collect the token for the section ahead … without dropping either! Dropping that which you are handing in is mildly embarrassing, but the signalman will only mutter under his breath. Dropping the one you are supposed to have collected is grossly embarrassing, because the driver has to stop the train while you walk back and find it!

Wednesday 11th
With 2807 in service, there was only one thing to do … and it was not warm! Frost crept over my needle gun, Bruce was smartening up chairs with the angle grinder and wire brush, while John G was painting in the warm!

Six black bottoms & five green tops completed.

Saturday 14th
Loco roster is all changed (again); 2807 now in service: April 14th & 15th; 23rd to 26th, 28th & 29th.

Bruce, John T and I pressed on with boot scraper production (the F&W had sold 3). Fred & Gil popped in for lunch then buzzed off again! They had been doing some painting on the siphon van.

Only two new issues raised during the week (both by Driver IB on 8th):

14: Driver’s side flange lubricator loose / no contact with flange.
{This is probably that the graphite block has worn out and needs a new one inserting}

15: Gauge frame intermittent leak from bottom nut.
{Normally this is cured by tightening the nut a little bit! It compresses a rubber seal.}

2807 should be having a rest now until wartime weekend, so Bruce may be able to get on with replacing the clack valves. We want to fit a standard fire hose connector to the blow-down valve for faster filling of the boiler (when cold!). Also the leaking injector pipe could do with mending.


Saturday, 7 April 2018

Maintenance Update (brakes, rail, seats, faces)

Wednesday 4th
Bruce had barely arrived before he was asked to release the brakes on 2807 because they wanted to move it (and couldn’t!). Apparently, the piston in the vacuum cylinder had stuck up at the top, holding the loco brakes on! Bruce found a suitable length of wood; wedged it above the actuating bar and heaved the piston back down. Once started, it dropped easily.

The loco was then hauled out and the ashpan was cleaned by Loco dept chaps. We needed her over a pit, anyway, to tackle the jobs on the issues list:

5 pep pipe leaking - Bruce had fixed this last Wednesday, but not signed-off. So that was easy.

6 Driver side, under cab side, main steam pipe to injector leaking at joint/sleeve. Can’t fix it until the loco is not required, or on standby, because of having to remove the pipe, re-braze the sleeve, and fit it back together. This might be more than a one-day job.

8 Gauge frame drain-down tap out of line (vertical) when closed. Bruce & Gil tested this, but it seems OK now. It is possible that Mark Y fixed it. It required a new Klinger sleeve within the tap, and Mark had said that he had some and that he also has a gadget for fitting them.

10 Both clack valves passing-by steam. Bruce’s homework was to play with a new pair that we had in our spares pile. He measured then against the drawing and adjusted them for clearances. He also made a groove in the surface, which seems to give a better seal. All that remains is a hole to be drilled for the fitting of a c-spanner. Then he can replace the clack valves.

11 Fireman’s side flange lubricator spring broken. New coil spring required. JC supplied a new coil spring and Bruce fitted it. Arrows point to the graphite lubricator rubbing on the wheel flange and the other end where the spring goes in.

12 Loco brakes now require adjustment. Gilbert and Nigel [Loco Dept] were left to adjust the loco brakes. There’s a “bottle screw” with a “left-hand” thread on one end, and a proper thread on the other. By turning the “bottle” it lengthens/shortens the brake rods. That’s Nigel wielding the King Dick.

13 Tender brakes now require adjustment. More than 8 turns on handbrake. Bruce examined the brake handle and found that it only requires 6 turns to apply the brakes. A second opinion was sought, and the result was that the tender brakes are declared fine! Issue rejected.

Since folks were busily fixing problems, and the cafés have been selling boot scrapers like mad over Easter, John G and I dodged the showers to progress some of the chairs in the production line.

Saturday 7th
2807 was in service, so nothing to do but boot scrapers!

Well, apart from Stefan coming to collect the rail, chairs, keys, nuts & bolts that he has acquired from the P-Way Dept for his back garden! Luckily, Stefan had been able to borrow a flat-bed truck, because it is a three-man job lifting each rail. Today, we had Brian and Dixie join Bruce, John T, Gil and myself here, so we easily loaded Stefan’s truck. Except, where was Gil? Gone for a ride!

While waiting for Stefan to arrive, Bruce had spotted that the bottom hinge of the gate leading into the yard had been “modified”, causing the gates not to close properly. Here he is removing the four bolts that hold the hinge to the sleepers. That’s Dixie, John, Brian, and Bruce in the orange with the spanner. 😊 Bruce took it away, prep’ed it and got it welded back together.

Bruce brought his homework in for marking. He has prepared the clack valves, their seats and faces. Note the groove which experience has shown improves the seal. There is also a small hole (almost not visible) into which a c-spanner can be hooked to tighten the pieces.

The weather was not a wet as the Met Office had promised, so boot scraper work commenced! Dixie was painting rail chairs. By end of play, there were six black bottoms plus three green tops.

John was cutting off bolts, angle-grinding off rough edges and wire-brushing chairs during the morning, and then moved on to needle-gunning more chairs during the afternoon.

Bruce joined in, angle-grinding and wire-brushing during the afternoon.

I started the morning with needle-gunning, moving on to fitting brushes and painting after lunch. Four BR(W) / GWR boot scrapers completed plus four LMS / BR top-coated.

Hang on, where was Brian? Gone for a ride!

Typical! Here’s John beavering away with the needle gun, and where is everyone else? Standing looking at the engine!


Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Maintenance Update (polishing, connecting, outstanding, Broadway)

Wednesday 27th
Alex and her happy band had already cleaned much of the loco, but there was still some brass and copper than could do with a shine. The trouble was, we had been moved out of the shed into the rain for work to be carried out on the shed lighting! Furthermore, they were pouring concrete all morning just by the track that we were on, which stopped us from moving. Eventually, we were shunted back inside and work began.

Fred started by wiping the rain water off the boiler top so that he could sit up there and polish the brass bonnet.

John G, Bruce and Gilbert all crammed into the cab.

John started around the gauges, polishing everything that would shine. Having moved across the cab, he finally attacked the condensing coil in the cab roof, which appeared to have been painted. If it was paint, it had flaked off (due to the heat, of course) and looked a right mess! So, that had the John-G treatment, too.

Gil fitted extra packing into all five of the sight glass taps on the hydrostatic lubricator. This had been making a mess with its oil, which might have been leaks or it might have been duff glass (too thick walled). In due course, Gil became gopher for Bruce.

Initially, however, Bruce tackled the pep pipe tap that had been dribbling. He lapped that in. Once that was done, he moved on to the next issue - oil feed pipes loose. People had tried tightening their nuts, but to no avail, so Bruce had them off and inserted some copper wire as packing.

Being stuck between the frames beneath the boiler, it is at this point that it is quite handy having a gopher on the outside!

John G ended up finishing the cleaning of the connecting rods.

John T and I were on boot scraper production (in high hopes of flogging a few over Easter). John wire-brushed and angle-ground a couple and then slapped black paint on the bottoms of five.

I attempted to needle-gun one, but there wasn’t enough time between showers to finish it! Rain + rust = brown soup.

Being concerned about the top clack (waterfeed) valves passing steam by, Bruce and Gil went in  search of spares in our pile of pieces. Two were found, and Bruce has taken them home to examine and determine if it is more sensible to replace ours rather than lap them in yet again. He has an idea that the gap within the valve gets larger the more you lap them in and it might by now exceed the specification. That might explain why they don’t last long before passing steam again.

Saturday 31st
Awful weather plus loco in service meant that there was no point in coming to Todders. However, I did paint primer onto eight rail chairs. Gilbert was on PR duty at our stand in Winchcombe.

2807 performed almost faultlessly (well, you can argue that she performed faultlessly, it’s just that things wore out! Issues logged to date and outstanding are:

5 pep pipe leaking - was fixed last Wednesday, but not signed-off.
6 Driver side, under cab side, main steam pipe to injector leaking at joint/sleeve.
8 Gauge frame drain-down tap out of line (vertical) when closed.
10 Both clack valves passing-by steam.
11 Fireman’s side flange lubricator spring broken. New coil spring required.
12 Loco brakes now require adjustment.
13 Tender brakes now require adjustment

For those of you who would like to see 2807 in action, she is currently rostered for 19 to 26 inclusive, plus 28 & 29.

Friday 30th
At 13.03 (three minutes early) 2807 approaches Broadway for the very first time … and the heavens opened up! Fortunately, the weather had managed to stay dry for the morning, but BBC weather said it would rain at 1 o’clock … and it did!

Timeline Photos posted the following on Facebook, of 2807 as she arrived for this first visit.

See also
(2807 appears at 4min 40secs).

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