The six of us were assisted at times by several Loco Dept chaps. Most notably, two chaps applied a second coat of bitumen paint to the rear section of the tender top. They couldn’t do the main coal space because Bruce and I were getting in their way!
What we were trying to do was to remove the nut on the end of the draw bar to check the quality of the thread. Access is below a removable panel in the tender, at the bottom of the coal chute. It’s a big nut! There is a key through the bar to prevent the nut from undoing and falling off. Between key and nut there is one large washer. The key has a split pin through it to prevent it from falling out.
It took Bruce & me the best part of an hour to remove the split pin. We had to break it off and punch it out, in the end. Then the key flatly refused to budge. Even if we had managed to remove it, how were we going to get a spanner on that nut? Anyone got a socket that large? We removed the inspection panel (labelled) but all you can see beneath it is a cup housing rubber shock absorbers! Going up from beneath, Bruce didn’t think there was room to fit a spanner on the nut. How on earth did we fit it in the first place?
Carpo suggested that we would probably have to remove the vacuum cylinder. John P [Loco Dept] inspected what he could see, and the agreed stance was that it looks sound and will remain a task to tackle at the 10-year overhaul!
John G spent the day painting: Cab edges, handrails; then cladding pieces. Brian also assisted painting the cladding from the main steam pipes.
Bruce and Brian had earlier shinned up to the top and removed the clack valves. After cleaning up there, Bruce took the clacks away for homework.
Bruce & I had been thinking about making the coupling up of loco and tender foolproof, and John T joined in on the discussion. After several ideas were bounced around, John set to on making a prototype out of wood.
The idea is to fit a gadget to hold the three links on the tender at the correct height and in line with their holes in the loco. Thus ensuring that they engage instead of bashing the drag box; and the securing pins in the cab can be dropped through their holes instead of down the side of the links (which causes them to get bent when going round a curve).
Several of us gave the tender a heave to test the effectiveness, and the Mk 1 prototype was deemed rather successful. A minor adjustment will be required to the slot for the RHS link (nearest camera on left), but the LHS pin dropped in easily! The idea is that the gadget is removed once the loco and tender are coupled. Best not make the final one out of wood, though, else someone will light a fire with it.
Gilbert repacked the gland in the LHS valve, so that is now ready for the front cover and the rest of the valve motion to be refitted.
My first task was to remove the RHS rear tender brake hanger so that the greasing point can be attended to. The thread inside the hanger has been stripped; so the nipple won’t stay in place, and you can’t get grease in.
Meanwhile, Bruce had been investigating the safety links (between loco and tender) with a view to making it impossible to jam the securing pin down the side of the link (which happened two years ago). He cut two “ears” from a length of pipe, and David welded these onto the links at the loco end, on either side.
Now, when the link is in place, it cannot be pushed far enough across for the pin to drop down the side of the link.
David did a little bit of “domestic” welding: Gil is having difficulty climbing up into the van where we have tea breaks, so Bruce and I move a set of steps there for him. To make them easily removable and yet stable, David made a pair of brackets to fit to them, which hook on and secure the steps to the van.
David’s main job was the LHS rocking shaft bearing. He had skimmed a couple of thou off the housing to make sure it clamped the brass bearings tightly. Further minor dressing was required to the upper brass bearing to make it a good fit inside the housing. Gil was assisting David with this. David also reamed out one of the bushes in the valve link (which connects the rocking shaft to the valve spindle). Gil had bought a new reamer!
Paul and Cliff [Loco Dept] were trying to fix the 50 ton press that we need for straightening the main drag link. I joined in, but it still took us 4 hours (according to Cliff) to get the hydraulic pump in the right position and working!
Once that was fixed, Gil applied heat to the link. When he ran out of gas, we decided to try the press anyway - and sure enough, it managed to get the bend out of the link! This will undergo an NDT on Monday to ensure that it has no internal fractures.
Alex and Graham [Loco dept] cleaned up more of the cylinder cladding and front running boards. They get covered in greasy, oily muck underneath. We intend painting the whole of the running boards once the mechanical work is completed, and before going back into service.