News from Tyseley:
"The boiler exam is due to take place any moment now today.
We should have reset the [driving wheel] springs but it is always wise to check and reset them after a journey on a low loader particularly when they have just been put back together as in this case"
"further to previous emails, Bob Garnett from RSA has visited today and inspected 2807’s boiler. He seemed happy with the condition of the boiler, but did question the location of the plugs, doors and safety valve components, which we believe are with you at Toddington. He may well be in contact with you to ascertain their condition."
No panics - the plugs, doors & safety valve bits are all on the table/workbench in the TPO at Toddington; mostly clean & shiny.
Alleleys arrived at 1.40 pm. Carpo extremely kindly dropped what he was doing in order to shunt us into the yard. As there was only me (from our team) there, I began to do simple one-man jobs. I removed the bucket from the pony truck pivot point and put the proper bell housing back in place. Then I began to fit the "dials" in the cab. I had to connect up the condensing coil, too (it had been disconnected to empty it of water to avoid any possible freezing damage over winter - yes, it's almost 6 months since she last steamed!)
Geof turned up, having had to take Morag to hospital this afternoon. He acted as gopher for a while - mostly bringing every spanner that wouldn't fit to me in the cab. :-). I fitted the Mason's Valve, then the test cocks to the gauge frame. There was little else I could do (and 5pm was approaching fast). So, I put the cap on the chimney, and said goodnight to the old gal!
Much gratitude to the host of folks who rallied to put 2807 back together: Geof, Gil, Bruce, John, Ray, David and myself. Sadly, Geof came to grief when removing a chock (aka "scotch"), apparently causing his back to go into spasm. Several of the chaps offered to drive him home, but he struggled slowly and painfully back to his car, and adjourned. Those of you of a certain persuasion might like to offer a prayer to Geof and his wife, Morag, as they really are going through a physically rough patch at the moment.
Meanwhile, several informal teams gelled to tackle different assembly tasks beneath the loco. The steam heating pipes went on reasonably easily. There were a couple of obstinate nuts, but David showed them who's boss. The vacuum pipes were relatively straightforward, too. A couple of bolts put up some minor resistance to going through their holes. At worst we needed three people to subdue them. The little vacuum pipe linking to the vacuum pump went on easily.
I think that the drain cocks linkages were on by the time I arrived (the Tesco run always delays me on a Wednesday). Brown liquid ran out of the left-hand drain cocks when David tested them!
I started fitting the two front sand delivery pipes (these had been removed to allow the front axle to be dropped, of course). It was fun feeding the pipe through the gaps between the metalwork around the pony truck: a bit like a 3-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. The RHS sand box was known not to work properly - you put sand in; the sand comes out! There is a conical plunger that blocks a hole leading down into the delivery pipe. Well, it should block the hole. But it doesn't …quite. David and I had a play with it and finally removed the bottom panel from the sandbox .. getting sand (well, I say "sand", it appears to be some fine black grit, a bit like the stuff used in sand-blasting) mostly down our sleeves, and occasionally in our mouths. Bruce joined in, as we thought about possible solutions. However, it is not critical to running at GWSR, so we parked it on one side, and pressed on.
Most of the chaps then tackled fitting brake blocks. These are a touch on the heavy side, and require at least three people to get each one positioned … and often a fourth person then has to insert the pivot pin. We think the LHS ones are correct (i.e. in the same position as when they came off). However, the RHS ones were going to be discarded and replaced with new ones. The railway later said that there was sufficient "meat" on them to continue in use for this year … but we hadn't marked which one came off from where! So, at end of play, there was still considerable discussion about which looked the most likely to fit where, and how we should best proceed tomorrow.
Meanwhile, I was busying myself fitting the damper door linkages. This all seemed to be going well until I tested the levers in the cab. The centre and rear linkages jam - one rests on top of some bolts on the other, and refuses to budge. This didn't used to happen, so I must have done something wrong. Everyone decided that we'd done amazingly well, and we better leave these so we have something to do tomorrow!
David, Gil, John and Bruce pressed on. They fitted the RHS brake linkages which allowed Bruce to measure the space between each hanger (brake block pivot point) and the wheel. This enabled them to do a best fit between the thickness of brake block to space available for it! Needless to say, the one brake block fitted on Wednesday had to come off! Then there are the "bottle screws" that adjust each set of brakes on each side. These are a fiddle to do. You have to rotate the bit in the middle, which screws in/out both ends. Then there's a little wedge to jam in to stop it rotating while in service.
The errant centre damper linkage was removed. David will weld the two sections together (they are currently bolted together, which is what is causing it to jam against the right-hand damper linkage). Gil suggests the cause is that the recent changes to the ash pan lowered the damper position, and hence the two linkage rods now collide.
The connections twixt loco and tender were all joined up. So, good progress again!
John & Gil concentrated on the eccentric straps on the LHS. They'd got those fitted by about lunchtime [see photo]. Then they tackled the RHS. This needed the expansion link fitting first, which is a tad heavy, so it did take the three of us to persuade it to go on. This is the one with the newly riveted die block. After all that hard work in the heat of the day, we felt it was only fair to leave the rest for the Saturday gang - otherwise they'd have nothing to do!
I spent much of the day inside the firebox. Firstly, I managed to stretch the aluminium paint to cover all of the rivet heats around the foundation ring. This is heat resistant to 400 degrees, and is supposed to afford some protection to the metal. Then I fitted the grate - with the help of John initially, and Jamie [Loco Dept] later.
I also fitted the rear sanding pipes, after inspecting the mechanism and ensuring that the mechanics of it do work correctly.
Meanwhile, Carpo and Jamie were "boxing up" the boiler. Having fitted the lower mudhole doors and wash-out plugs, Carpo decided to put the hose in one of the upper mud holes to begin filling the boiler with water [see photo]. He had hopes of lighting a fire on Saturday. A steam test is planned for Monday. However, the safety valves need fitting first!
Bruce, David, John, Ray and I pressed on with the work. Fred popped in at lunchtime, having felt lonely at Winchcombe, working on the siphon van alone. Geof tottered in gingerly, just as we had finished - good to see him mobile.
Bruce and I tackled the RHS eccentrics. We'd done the straps and rods by tea break.
David welded the centre damper operating rod, where the existing bolts were fouling another rod. Bruce and I later fitted it and checked the operation of the dampers.
I messed around with the front sanding mechanism. In the end, thought we might have originally fitted two of the operating rods the wrong way round, so I swopped them over. That did appear to improve things, though we'll have to wait and see if they do work properly now.
David had to remove the RHS expansion link (that we fitted yesterday, and to which Bruce & I had fitted the eccentric rods this morning) because the locknut was fouling an adjacent rod. He shaved a few thou off and reassembled it. David and Ray went round double-checking nuts (which is how he found that problem). They also fitted R-clips onto the brakes in place of ordinary split pins.
John claimed to be gopher, but actually assisted people all day on many items of work. He finished by cutting bolts from a dozen rail chairs; p-way having delivered another pile for our use.
David went round oiling all of the motion.
Towards the end of the day, Carpo fitted the safety valves, and then said, "Light a fire, then". So I did. By now, we were all well nadgered. Ray and John drifted off homewards, while we three sat absorbing the smoke in the cab. Carpo was going to get the loco shunted round to fill up the tender with water. Luckily we remembered, only just in time, that there are drain cocks in the tender tank which are left open all winter to avoid any water standing in the tank and freezing. Bruce climbed down and shut three, but David remembered a fourth, and climbed down to shut that one!
Since there was no sign of a shunter (or Carpo) and we all had homes to go to … we went!
Carpo will do some testing of the safety valves on Sunday.
Monday will be a formal steam test plus running-in trials up and down between Todders and Cheltenham.
Wednesday we need the brass bonnet fitting on top.
Thursday she's back in service!