Saturday, 3 December 2016

Maintenance Update (test, beam, arch, grease)

Sunday 27th
Brian drove over from Sunbury on Thames to help light warming fires. Silly boy asked Carpo if he needed help on Monday too: “Brian, The warming fires (2807 and 7820) are now in and Clive Norton is due in tomorrow morning at 7. Please assist him as required.”

Carpo also commented on the bent spring hanger: “From a mechanical point of view the engine is a fail until such time as this is replaced … It is now too weak for purpose and will have to be replaced.”

Monday 28th
Carpo reported: “I'm pleased to be able report that 2807 passed her steam test today with no issues as far the boiler was concerned. My thanks to Clive Norton and Brian who looked after the fire and made sure that she was ready for inspection despite the late arrival of the boiler inspector.”

We have a spare hanger that could be fitted on Wednesday. Gil has requested we are put over a pit this coming Wednesday to look at the issue with the spring hanger link. However, methinks there’s little point in replacing it if we have not identified and fixed the fault.

As a reward for their dedication, Gil & Brian went for a gentle run up and down road one for 20mins.

Wednesday 30th
Lots of help from the Loco Dept chaps today. Several of them were shovelling coal out of our tender and into the JCB bucket. This coal creates such a black smoke that the Dept decided to mix it in with our normal coal to minimise its effect. Anyone who has any doubts about this dreadfully filthy coal should take a look at the photo on page 42 of the December Steam Railway magazine! I’m sure that it would take too long to track down Phil Metcalfe and obtain his permission to reproduce his photo, so you’ll have to use your imagination!

Bruce verified that the rear compensating beam is ¾” longer on one side than the other ... and that we fitted it the wrong way round! The RHS one is OK (I guess it was a 50-50 chance anyway if we didn’t realise the beams were asymmetric). Bruce also calculated the effect of ¾” in the wrong direction, and it works out at approx. 0.4 ton weight on the wheel. This explains an anomaly that Gil had with the weights. The RHS trailing and driving wheels were equal weights, but the LHS ones differ by 0.9 ton! Now we know why. So, Bruce, Gil, Brian plus Carpo and John The Flame [Loco Dept] spent all day trying to disassemble the two spring hangers and the beam. Much flame throwing ensued:

At one point, the oil on the insulation around the steam heating pipe caught fire and Bruce had to man the hose. Mostly, though, the nuts on the hangers and the beam’s pivot pin were objecting strongly to being removed.

By end of play the nuts were all (relatively) loose, but the pivot pin through the compensating beam was firmly seized within the beam. Much heating and bashing failed to budge it. So, the loco was gently rolled back into the shed and we shall try again on Saturday.

Numerous Loco Dept chaps (and chapess Alex) cleaned out the ash from the grate and the ash pan. Clive then began to assemble the brick arch. Inevitably the bricks do not quite fit together and the keystone needs a shade slicing off each of the sides. Again, it was late in the day and completion of this task is another Saturday job.

Meanwhile, John G and I almost froze to death inside the container progressing boot scrapers. There was frost on the rail chairs in there (which didn’t help with the painting). We never managed to get the place warm. Nevertheless, John painted five bottoms plus many brushes; I completed the lettering on the 11 in the production line.

Saturday 3rd
The first thing that I did was to fit a new halogen heater bar in the fire in the container, replacing a bar that had died! Double the heat makes a dramatic difference!

Apart from me finishing off some boot scrapers and restocking the F&W, everyone tackled the obstinate compensating beam pin: Gil, Bruce, John T and Carpo.

In fairness, there was also a team of Loco Dept chaps, under the guidance of Clive, continuing with fitting the brick arch. By end of play, this was complete. The keystones all seemed to have to be adjusted (using a diamond cutting disc). Our thanks go to all of these chaps.

Note the pristine condition! You may also just see the ends of the metal rods that run along each side of the firebox (resting on pins as explained a couple of weeks ago) and you can see how these rods provide support for the bricks at the sides.

Back to the compensating beam:
Much heating and bashing ensued, made difficult by parts of the brake rigging getting in the way. Ditto the ash pan, but that’s a shade harder to remove! So, not only was the brake shoe and hanger taken off, but the stretcher between the hangers on this and the other side; and the actuation rods that fit onto the stretcher were all removed. Finally, you could get a good swing at the pin (though the ash pan took a hit from time to time, too!).

Believe it or not, it was mid-afternoon before the blighter moved! Bruce was chief flame thrower; Gil & I took turns with the mallet from within the pit; John T used the lump hammer outside the pit. Once we had persuaded the pin to move outwards, Andy [P&O] suggested knocking it back in, and then out/in, out/in, to try to free the rust that was gripping it. This worked, and finally the pin flew out in John’s direction.

Gil decided that was enough for today, so he, John & I reassembled the brake rigging to enable the loco to be pushed back into the shed.

Bruce took the pin into the workshop and tidied it up. The thread had taken some damage through having its end bashed for two days; the centre (where it had jammed) had a couple of thou shaved off; and then Bruce decided to cut a shallow channel round the centre to enable grease to flow more easily onto and around the pin. It is likely that grease has blocked the existing hole and been unable to reach the pin - hence it jamming.

On Wednesday we shall remove the beam; clean it up, turn it round and refit it. We shall replace the bent hanger, and all will be hunky dory!


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