Saturday, 16 June 2018

Maintenance Update (fire, leak, fountain, operational)

Saturday 9th
The busiest people on 2807 today seemed to be the two Johns - Cruxon & Hancock [Loco Dept}.
There were just a couple of plugs left to be fitted, so the hose was hooked up to the blow-down valve and water fed into the boiler while Gil shinned up the ladder (with John T standing on its bottom rung) to fit them. One plug was failed and had to be replaced with a new one. Basically, it fitted too deeply into its hole.

The two Johns lit a fire, but (IMHO) there was not sufficient time to do a steam test. White waiting for some pressure on the gauge, the Johns repacked various glands (the ejector valve, regulator, and blower) and straightened the shut-off tap on the hydrostatic lubricator. It appears that it had suffered a blow - apparently a similar thing happened on Foremarke Hall.

Most of the day, John T and I played with rail chairs - cutting off bolts, grinding their bottoms flat, needle-gunning and finally slapping a bit of paint around.

Not a very exciting day, and by 4 pm there was no sign of any pressure on the ‘clock’, so the three of us poodled off home.

Sunday 10th
Bruce reported: “I arrived at about 9.45 to find that Mike S (dept) and Rob had put a fire in but then found that the paperwork was not complete. During the boiler inspection the stay test had not been done or the results had not been recorded, this put a question mark on the steam test.

It then got worse! There was about 20 psi on the clock and the plugs all seemed OK but there was a small amount of damp around one of the mudhole doors. Mike suggested we nip them up so Rob, wielding spanner, went round them all. Unfortunately, on tightening two of them (rear bottom and bottom right front) the seal blew and water poured out.

This put a stop to any test so the fire was raked down and the boiler topped up to compensate for the leaks. Yes, the injectors worked at 20 psi.”

Wednesday 13th
Mark Y had replaced the two mudhole doors’ seals and was in the process of carrying out the steam test this morning. Sadly, another mudhole door sprang a leak. A couple of washout plugs also appear to have a wisp of steam emanating from them. Steam test abandoned! But she did get up to 200 psi today with no other problems.

Bruce decided that it was judicious to assist MY by working on Dinmore Manor’s washout. Bruce dismantled the (water) gauge frame and cleaned its innards before reassembling it. Then he removed the mudhole doors and cleaned them ready for refitting.

With loco hot and fire in, it was not feasible to attempt any other maintenance. However, I spent a few moments examining the ashpan sprinkler pipe. The pipe has broken on the RHS, so we intend blanking it off. There’s an elbow at which this can be done. The LHS will still work.

Thereafter, the two Johns & I reverted to boot scrapers. The Flag & Whistle had sold six this week.

Bruce was dismayed to discover that the new clacks (that he fitted only a couple of weeks ago) are leaking! Having refurbished the old ones, they are going back on as soon as she’s cool enough! One effect not seen until Saturday was a fountain erupting from the top of the pep pipe cock once pressure had built up. This cock is a constant source of trouble and needs to be replaced with an improved design.

Friday 15th
I arranged with Bruce to spend a short time to drain the boiler and remove four of the mudhole doors yet again. However, Mike S had drained down, so Bruce removed the doors and cleaned them before I’d arrived! Mark refitted them circa 4.30. A warming fire was then lit (circa 11 pm, I understand).

Saturday 16th
Someone (probably Mike S) had lit a fire by the time we arrived. The tender was a tad low on coal but well full of coal dust! So, we spent the first hour shovelling it out into the JCB bucket!

Thereafter, we were largely tending the fire and gently bringing pressure up. Mark Y had managed to find some instructions regarding the fitting of the mudhole door seals. This is the first time we’d seen any guidance from the manufacturer. It looks as though we were not entirely doing things correctly. Firstly, don’t warm the gaskets before fitting because this may start the rubber to cure too soon. Then, don’t tighten the newly fitted doors more than half-a-turn. The guidance then says that some leakage is “not uncommon” during the initial steam raising stage - don’t panic! When everything has cooled down, apply a specific force using a torque wrench.

By mid-afternoon, things were going swimmingly …

The first safety valve lifted at 215 psi; the second at 219 psi. Vacuum was just a tad high. We carried out various scheduled tests: both injectors work fine; gauge frame operates correctly; nothing leaking in the smokebox; whistles both work; and so on. A couple of hissing doors, but according to the guidelines … don’t panic! Mark signed her off as operational. Yippee!!!


Thursday, 7 June 2018

Maintenance Update (doors, plugs, pump, gopher)

Saturday 2nd
As forewarned - it was washout day! David and Gilbert spent the morning (and some time after lunch) getting out a selection of washout plugs (as arrows: yellow = in; green = out).

Mud hole door, old seal, bridge & nuts; plus its hole in the background

Draining the boiler through the blow-down valve

David is assisting Gil washing out through the smokebox plug holes, with me holding up the hose for them

John T didn’t manage to get into a picture.  John managed to start cleaning up some plugs before lunch, but thereafter he was in charge of the water pump all afternoon.

Thanks also go to JC and Stuart C [Loco dept] for their assistance - both shunting, and playing with the hose & water tap.

Wednesday 6th
Now we have to put it all back together again! Mark had a good look round - inside & out!

Would you believe that there was still an ancient stay inside the boiler? There was also a blockage in the left side that had to be washed out again. A couple of stay nuts in the firebox will need replacing soon. The ones closes to the firebed burn away, and must be replaced before the stay’s thread gets damaged.

Also, the side double fire bar in which a break had previously been temporarily welded pending delivery of a new one had broken again. New front side bars were fitted.

Yellowness is fresh surface rust!

Bruce mainly concentrated on fitting mud-hole doors.

Gil began refitting washout plugs.

John G acted as general support engineer (aka gopher) and - here is seen cleaning the threads on a washout plug. In spare moments he managed to paint four black bottoms, too.

I began by refitting the (water) gauge frame assembly. Then I snook off to wire-brush three chairs that had been needle-gunned and then abandoned.

P-Way made three deliveries of further rail chairs (predominantly GWR ones) during the day. Most are “through-bolted”, which means that they still have their rusted bolts in situ. Much cutting-off thereof lies ahead!

Later, I assisted Gil by tightening the plus in the cab. Bruce called it a day at 5 pm. I abandoned Gil at 5.30. He was quite keen to get all but the highest of plugs back in their holes to enable the boiler to be  filled ASAP. Mark had hoped to do a steam test on Saturday, but unless someone can finish off the plugs and fill the boiler, there won’t be time to light a warming fire on Friday.

Off-line, I have been having an email exchange with Alan G. who bought a Midland railway boot scraper. We have a few MR rail chairs dating between 1885 and 1901 (plus some 1921 of less excitement). Most have no manufacturer’s name. However, the 1901 has “TBS” which is Taylor Brothers (Sandiacre) Ltd; and the 1899 says “ES&Co”. This latter has me perplexed. There was a company of iron founders called Edward Sheldon & Co during the 19th century, based at Coseley (north of Dudley) who did use the ES&Co logo. However, they appear to have focussed upon domestic ware, in due course being manufacturers of Cannon cookers, for example. Curious!


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 caf├ęs.

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.