Sunday 15 December 2013

2807 running at the GWSR Christmas Cracker - 29th & 30th December 2013

We had thought that 2807 might be on standby for the Christmas Cracker gala at the end of December.  But it now looks as though 2807 will be running on both days.

Details on the GWSR web site at:

And the detailed timetable is at:

Let's hope it stays that way!


Maintenance Update

Wednesday 11th
No new adverse comments against 2807, having operated on Saturday and Sunday last weekend.  I say "adverse", because there is a comment that the nuts remain tight on the tender brake hangers.  GWSR insist that the hangers must have split pins in the end of the suspension bolts such that there is no chance of the nuts coming loose and dropping off.  meanwhile, they have to be inspected weekly.  They're fine!

Gilbert, John-G, Colin & Ann were working on the siphon.  I was finishing off some boot scrapers.  Then I decided to attack some of the rail chairs that are heavily contaminated with ancient grease.  I managed to chisel it off 5 during the afternoon, and then apply the rotary wire brush to get rid of the last bits.  These, of course, got their own back on me by showering my face, coat and shoes with oily black specs.

Saturday 14th
Rain was threatened for the afternoon, so I started on cleaning rail chairs.  However, David was already underneath 2807 doing more welding to the new ashpan bottom.  The loco had been used last weekend, and all was well.  David wanted to add more weld to the new lower portion on the outside.  This is extremely unpleasant, because he had to stand in the pit beneath the loco and weld upwards.  Furthermore, he added a strengthening angle-iron across the edge of the damper door opening's bottom to reduce the likelihood of the base bowing (which it had before).  This was an all-day task for David, with Gilbert initially giving a helping had (or moral support).

Bruce joined me, and together we cleaned up 14 rail chairs ready to convert 12 of them into boot scrapers.  The other two?  Well, beneath the inch-thick grease on one of them was an 1899 Midland Railway chair which I thought we might sell as-is via eBay, or something; the other is a Swindon-made GWR chair of some age (not sure of date of manufacture, as it only says GWR & SN & 92).

There was a huge pile of "raw" chairs, some covered in grease and most with bolts through them (that needed cutting off).  John decided to tackle this pile, and with Gilbert helping, every one of the forty-plus chairs was de-bolted and stacked neatly ready for prepping.  What a fantastic effort.

We also did some tidying up around our TPO (and I half-inched a July 1942 LMS chair from a nearby sleeper!).

2807 is in service on Sunday - this is her last official service.  She may then be in service on 29 & 30 December, but might just be held as standby loco.  2014 timetable is available on GWSR web site:


Saturday 7 December 2013

Maintenance Update

Wednesday 4th
Geof has been taking it easy, helping Fred & Ray restoring the siphon van.  Geof has been painting (which is considerably better than panting, which he had been doing when working on the loco lately!).

There was a bit of a rush on, as 2807 was to be in service this weekend ... and the ash pan was not yet completed! So, David settled down inside the firebox and spent all day welding in the new sections, especially the damper door surround (when I left, the damper door was still not fitted).

Gilbert was under the loco (in the pit) assisting David, and preparing to refit the damper door.

Bruce began by acting as "gopher".  For example, he cut off part of the head of two bolts, which otherwise would not fit into their holes in the ash pan due to being too close to something that was in the way.  Thereafter, Bruce assisted the boot scraper cause by cutting off bolts from some of the chairs in the pile.

John Mayell popped in, just to buy another boot scraper (a black one, this time).  He was working on P-Way, so couldn't stay.

I applied an enamel coat to the stock of part-painted chairs, building up the supply while the going was good.

Sat 7th
I was delighted (relieved!) to see 2807 at the head of the coaching stock as I arrived at Todders this morning.  Also, she sounded great when she stormed off down the line at 10.30 (presumably straight through to Cheltenham to pick up the first load of Santa Special people).

Understandably, I was the only one working (in our group) at Toddington today.  Gilbert did pop in for a cuppa - he really wanted to speak to Rod in the workshop, but no sign of Rod.  Gil said that he, Fred, Colin & Ann were all working on the siphon at Winchcombe.  Later, Stu popped in to return sales stock, he having spent the morning at Toddington Village Hall for their Xmas sales day.

So, I painted the lettering on a multitude of chairs and then stained 9 brushes in anticipation.  Tim Pickthorn was using our TPO to show a couple of chaps how the buck-eye coupling works (I heard someone fiddling outside & went for a butcher's).  Mark Young was hurtling around in the fork-lift truck, clearing up anything that didn't look as though the owner would miss it - there is a small quantity of staging that belongs to us that could do with moving round the other side of the TPO and tidying.

2807 will be in service on Sunday 8th Dec, and then again on Sunday 15th Dec.


Sunday 1 December 2013

Maintenance Update

Sat 30th
I arrived earlier than normal, at around 9:30.  But still not early enough to beat David.  David was already setting up to start welding the ash pan.  Gilbert and Bruce arrived shortly afterwards, and a little later we were joined by Mike.

It was a beautiful sunny day, a little chilly, but still the sort of day when it's a pleasure to be outside.  Which is fortunate because 2807 is over the pit in front of the David Page shed.

For the first few hours we were all involved in work on the ash pan, but also periodically distracted by a yard shunt that was going on.  The crane that has been next to the TPO for some years is no longer there.  It has been replaced by the Cotswold Diesel (owners of the 45 and 26) coach.  Of course, while the crane required no specific access, we have become accustomed to storing our 'stuff' (mainly rail chairs awaiting processing into boot scrapers) against it.  This changes now because the diesel guys will need access to their coach, and so some of the chairs had to be moved, with possibly more to be moved at a later date.  In addition to this our water supply is shared with the diesel guys' coach, and so this had to be changed as well.

It seems that some of the reason for the move around is to make space for the arrival of un-restored 28XX no. 2874.  Apparently she will be taking up residence just about in the position that 2807 occupied for so many years.  That's going to be a bit odd for those of us who were involved at that time.  If we give them a blue plastic bag to put on the chimney, which was a 'feature' of 2807 for many years, then it will feel very weird.

Anyway, back to Saturday,Gilbert checked the loco roster and discovered that 2807 is due to be in service on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th.  This added an element of urgency to proceedings!

Bruce was preparing the ash pan plate for the front of the rear section - the plate that the damper door is attached to.

Mike and I turned our attention to completing the reinstatement of the valve cylinder front ends.  The RHS was pretty much there.  We'd fitted the front cover and rod cover a few weeks ago (16th).  Since then the LHS has been measured and rectified, and the front covers loosely fitted.  Mike and I fitted the RHS front cladding and insulation.  A tricky job in the confined space available.  Then we tightened the LHS front covers.  This brought us to lunch time.

After lunch, unfortunately Mike had to leave, as he'd been in early in his role as loco cleaner.  So I fitted the LHS cladding and insulation.  Then Bruce and I fitted the running plates, flap, and lamp bracket - two man jobs because of the round-headed bolts.

David and Gilbert continued with the ash pan work.  The rear plate was welded in and then the base lowered back into position. It had been lifted to the front part of the firebox, as it was felt if we removed it completely then it might not be possible to get it back in again with the back in place. The floor was welded across the back edge, securing it to the back section. It now remains to weld the sides of the base, then weld the door plate in position and reinstate the door and operating lever. David will be coming on Wednesday to complete the welding for the loco to be in service on Saturday. The air extraction system, purchased by us on behalf of the railway proved very effective.

And finally - Christmas is coming!


Thursday 21 November 2013

Maintenance Update

Monday 18th
I popped in to the TPO and slapped Deproma anti-rust on some bottoms, and GWR green enamel on 4 tops.

Tuesday 19th
Today the sun shone, and I could see what a pig's ear I'd made of the tops yesterday!  Had to re-paint them.  Had hoped to do the lettering with a view to finishing them off on Weds!

Wednesday 20th
The day began with rain and hail.  Geof pressed on for a while outside.  Bruce decided to paint some chairs inside!  Fred brought Gilbert, and tea break was declared.  Fred then returned to the siphon at Winchcombe, where he had abandoned Ray.

Bruce completed 3 BR chairs in red Deproma, ready to become Crimson Lake.  Then he focussed on the vacuum retaining valve that Carpo thought was sticking up.  Bruce keeps making sealing rings for the valve piston, testing out ideas and trying to get the ring to be a perfect circle and not stick in its cylinder.  Also he has an idea of making a push rod for inside the cylinder so that you can demonstrate that the piston is stuck up ... or is not!  This is Bruce's homework.

Geof pointed out that, since the damper door is being lowered, but not increased in depth, could we please remove the angle iron welded across its inside face, because it makes it very awkward to get the ash rake in through the door, as the angle restricts the opening.  I'm sure I'd mentioned it before, but this time notice was taken!  Bruce cut it off.  He also found a smaller angle that could be welded in its place with considerably less interference for the fireman.  The point was expressed that some of our team would benefit from experiencing a day of firing and clearing out the ash, to learn some of the idiosyncrasies of our loco first-hand.

Gil & Geof re-measured the LHS cylinder valve rod, and decided that it is feasible just to re-bush the front cover.  All else is within tolerances.  This saves us removing the whole assembly - just the front cover.  Bruce joined in with the discussion about actual sizes versus sizes on the diagrams that we have.  As usual, the diagrams do not entirely reflect what we have on the loco.  G&G then replaced the running boards on the LHS and also took the remnants of the ash pan bottom to the skip.

I had busied myself with you-know-whats, painting 9 tops in Deproma, lettering the 4 that I re-painted yesterday, and finishing off one boot scraper that is ordered.

The loco has had 59 of its 60 steamings, so there is no guarantee she will be out during December, though rumour (i.e. Geof) had it that Adey is planning 5 steamings for her.  Oh, BTW, the Turk has two more broken springs, I hear!



Sunday 17 November 2013

Maintenance Update

Weds 13th
By the time I arrived, David, Gil & Bruce were hard at it.  GWSR Loco Dept had purchased a sucky/blowy-thing so that when David is welding inside the ash pan, it will maintain a supply of fresh air (and suck/blow out the welding fumes).  As with any new toy, the chaps had unwrapped it and had a play - Christmas came early!

David & Bruce worked on the damper door and its linkage.  The old door needed a bit more straightening, and then a bit more stiffening, followed by the cast steel bracing being bolted back on.  David had cut out various bits of metal for the new linkage - it needed lengthening and a minor diversion inserting.  This he welded up, cleaned and primed.  Which reminds me - we need new primer.

Gilbert, aided by Mike, concentrated on the ash pan.  Specifically, cutting out the bottom panel that once was the infamous hopper door.  The latter had been welded in place, having insisted on drooping during service and letting air in & hot ash out.  Finally, Gil & David were deciding how & where to make the "big cut" to remove the lower half of the rear section of ash pan.  Fred was last seen toddling round with a spirit level in his hand - serves him right for asking, probably!

Geof arrived after lunch (after the doctor's) and took many measurements of the cylinder valve rods and valve diameters.  He pronounced that the rod had worn 25 thou' (which is within the 30 thou' tolerance) and the valves themselves were also within tolerance limits.  Therefore, no work is required to be done on them (other than to fit them back on the loco!).

Me?  Well, you can probably guess: I cleaned 5 BR(W) rail chairs plus 2 rather filthy GNR chairs.  John Mayell (P.Way) popped in to collect (and pay for) a BR boot scraper in crimson that he had ordered.  My neighbour Dorothy has ordered one as a Christmas present; she doesn't know for whom, yet, but they are so unique that someone who thinks he has got everything is about to find out that he hadn't!

Sat 16th
Initially, John T, Gil & myself prepared the workspace for cutting off the base of the ash pan.  This was the proverbial situation of sitting on a branch and cutting it off !!!  Gil was to be inside the ash pan, cutting out the bottom ... while standing on it.   :-))
So, we acquired some pallets and built a base that supported the ash pan such that when it fell, it would not drop more than the odd millimetre.  It was also time to test the sucky/blowy thing, to try to maintain fresh air in the ash pan for Gilbert.  John got volunteered to be chief gopher and nurse maid (keeping an eye on Gil while he worked inside the firebox cutting off the lower portion of the ash pan).

Bruce came with some ideas about testing a valve in the braking system that Carpo was convinced was sticking.  Bruce is convinced that it isn't, and so devised some ways of testing it.  We can't do that unless in steam, though.

Geof and Steve tackled the cylinder valves, with Bruce joining them.  The RHS rod and valve heads are all within tolerances, so they simply fitted the whole shaft back in place.  In an effort to save effort (!) Geof attempted to measure the LHS without extracting the whole thing.  This appears to show that the LHS rod is well outside of tolerance.  However, it was not easy to measure, so it will have to come out next Wednesday and be checked properly.  Geof, Steve and Bruce started to dismantle the LHS valve assembly to give a 'flying start' to Wednesday.

Apart from assisting with pallets, and later with carrying the RHS valve assembly back to the loco, my focus was once more on building up a stock of boot scrapers in case anyone wants one (or two) for Christmas.  I aim to have enough to tide us through December, and thereafter we have three months in which the loco will be at Tyseley, so I hope then to have more help getting boot scrapers ready for next season.


Saturday 9 November 2013

Maintenance Update

Weds. 6th Nov
Gilbert attacked the ash pan, and Bruce initially offered help.  The first task was to remove the damper door so that it could be used to verify the new-cut metal.  This proved to be quite a challenge.  Two chaps from the Loco Dept joined in and helped Gil.  Fire bars had to be removed so that Gil could get inside the firebox, standing in the front section, leaning over where the axle passes beneath, and working (almost upside down) in the rear section.  It was impossible to undo nuts & bolts, so Gil attacked them with an angle grinder.

The portable lamp threw a wobbly, as two wires decided they'd had enough of being bent.  I examined the cable, and discovered that it had not been assembled "cleverly".  It was easy enough to cut off the dead wire, thread the cable properly and re-assemble it.

3/4 the way through the last bolt, and Gil's angle grinder died.  Raiding the Loco Dept tool store, he found another.  Plugged it in ... no sign of life!  Why do people put away dead tools, instead of informing someone and getting them fixed???  Gil found a third one, and that did work.

Meanwhile, I started cleaning rail chairs, but rain soon started.  This results in the rust & oil combining into a brown soup on the chairs as the needle gun pounds the mixture into a paste.  Also, Gilbert had nicked my angle grinder (see above) so I couldn't finish off the prep anyway.  As the rain increased, I decided to give up.

Bruce had wisely moved inside and was painting chairs prepared last weekend.  He could only spare the morning at Todders, and disappeared at lunchtime.  I painted brushes until lunch.  Thereafter, there was little I could do, so I went home, too.  In a way, it was lucky that I did because a courier arrived at my house with new wire brush discs for us.

Fri. 8th
I did lettering on rail chairs and then dismantled our dead angle grinder.  One of the carbon brushes had died.  I located spares on t'internet and order a set.

Sat. 9th
Lots of people responded to my email asking for help for Gilbert, as he was supposed to be replacing the lower rear section of the ash pan and remove the cylinder valve pistons - these need to be completed by end November.

Because rain was threatened, I arrived early and attacked some GWR rail chairs, cleaning three before the rain set in leading to me making more soup.

David arrived did a bit of welding. Later, he made a short section of rod for the new position of the damper door.  The door will be a couple of inches lower to make it easier to clear out ash.  Needless to say, the existing rod then fouled some pipe work, so this by-pass had to be made to divert the rod round the pipe.  Bruce, John G, John T, Geof soon followed.  Despite the rain, most people started tackling the ash pan and valves.  Fortunately, the rain stopped at lunchtime, which made it more pleasant to continue.

The rear damper door (that Gil managed to get off on Wednesday) was bent in the centre of the top edge.  Because our ash pan had to be narrower than the original in order to accommodate the steam heating pipe (which was not fitted originally) the cast steel bracing piece from the original damper door had been cut through the middle.  This formed a weak point, and the doors tended to bend down the centre line.  So, Bruce & John T undid the nuts and bolts, and David subsequently welded up the centre.  Meanwhile, Andy W [Loco Dept] got the gas out and tortured the door, beating it back into more-or-less straightness.

When Bruce was in the pit under the loco, he moved a ladder and discovered a toad hiding behind it.  Feeling that the toad was truly in a hole (i.e. it couldn't climb out of the pit), I extricated it and deposited it in the hedge by the wood store - plenty of places for it to crawl and hide.

Removing the piston valves is one of those jobs that requires one to move half of the planet before being able to extract the valve rod.  Several sections of running board had to come off.  Then, at the rear end of the valve shaft, there is a taper that fits into a slidey-thing.  A cotter pin secures the tapered end in the slidey thing, but getting the rod out was a minor challenge.  You can't hit the end of the rod to free it.  The only thing to do was disconnect it from the connecting rod.  The connecting rod is secured to the slidey-thing (aka valve spindle cross-head) also with a tapered gudgeon pin, which has a castellated nut on the inside (not visible in the photo).

It took four of us to remove the pin, separate the parts, slide the valve rod in a bit, and then belt the end of it with a sledge hammer!  I was a tad concerned, since it was I who was holding the brass drift against the rod end, while Geof was wielding the sledge hammer - frequently hitting the connecting rod and bouncing into the wheel.  But we got there in the end!

During all of the excitement, John G was acting as general assistant and gopher; John T was undoing nuts & things in support of the valve removal.  Underneath the loco, Gilbert was removing more bits of the lower ash pan, assisted by David at times, and Ray O'H [Loco Dept] and Andy W, with his gas bottles.

All in all, much fun was had, and many things achieved.


Saturday 2 November 2013

Maintenance Update

On Wednesday (30 Oct), Gilbert was alone at Toddington, cutting out steel plate to fabricate a new bottom half for the front section of the ash pan.

On Saturday (2 Nov), Gilbert continued, making sure the two side sections were identical in size and shape.  He then cut the damper door section (including the hole for the door).

Bruce inspected the "pep" pipe tap, but it seemed to be OK.  People will just have to live with the fact that it dribbles.  If one of us is around the next time 2807 steams (possibly not until after Christmas) we could test the effect of opening the LHS injector feed side, and then the RHS injector feed side (without the injectors on).  Whichever one squirts water out at a significant rate must be the side with the top clack that leaks.

Dodging showers, Bruce and I prepared 9 rail chairs to try to build up boot scraper stocks (we have just two completed ones in stock).


Monday 28 October 2013

Maintenance Update

Sunday 20th
John had cleaned up 8 rail chairs on Saturday, so I spent a couple of hours applying the first coat of anti-rust (Deproma) to their tops, today.  An email arrived on Friday ordering a GWR boot scraper; another email yesterday - so that's orders for eight (6 x GWR + 2 x GNR) in the space of a few days!  Plus Alan wanting to collect two at our AGM.

Weds 23rd
By the time I arrived, Bruce (aided by Loco Dept chaps) had fixed the outstanding things in preparation for 2807 to steam over the weekend.  In particular, he (they)  re-fitted the brass bonnet over the safety valves.  Bruce then spent much time removing and lapping in the "pep" pipe on/off valve, which had been seen to dribble during the steam test - more of which, below!
I (of course) pressed on to meet the 8 extant orders for boot scrapers!  This included an hour or more on the following days, too, applying paint and lettering in order to also have enough stock to re-supply the F&W for the final week of normal running.

Sat 26th
This was our AGM.  Nothing exciting happened.  We did go for a ride behind 2807 from Toddington up to Laverton, back to Cheltenham, and return to Toddington.  A group of 7 of us managed to sit together (the train was amazingly full).  Nattering, as we were, a chap in the seats behind us suddenly stood up, saying, "I couldn't help overhearing you taking about 2807. I am one of the chaps who rescued her from Barry in 1981."

Sun 27th
2807 was on luncheon train duty, and I was lucky enough to catch her at Winchcombe, and took a photo of the "pep" pipe system (see attached).  The "pep" pipe was still dribbling!

The on/off handle is a two-way tap.  In the "off" position it points outwards (as in the photo).  The pep pipe (aka "slacking" pipe - possibly because it is used to wet down the coal slack to stop it blowing into the cab when travelling backwards **) operates when the injectors are used.  The two feeds are one from each injector.  When the injector is on, the pep pipe can be used - to clean coal, clean the cab, etc.  However, it is clearly dribbling still when the injectors are not being used.  This means that there is pressure (potentially up to 200 psi) in at least one of the feed pipes.  This occurs because the top clack valve (that feeds water into the boiler) leaks, and back pressure builds up in the pipe.

The "wheel" valve turns on the sprinkler in the ash pan, intended to damp down ash and also cool down cinders and prevent fires burning in the ash pan.  It is most useful when cleaning out the ash, which flies everywhere!  But it is easier to stuff a hose up the ash pan and wet it that way!

Having talked it through with Andy Webber (the fireman) on Sunday, he decided to crack the wheel open and let the pressure damp the ash continually, rather than have a copper pipe with 200 psi in it next to his left leg!  I'd be interested to know how that went.

** In the old days, of course, it was used by firemen to spray train spotters who were sitting along the line-side.  However, H&S won't allow that these days.

Mon 28th
Finished off the 8 ordered boot scrapers.  Couldn't see 2807 - wanted to take a photo of the springs & compensating beam.  She must have been hiding somewhere (else blown along the line).


Sunday 20 October 2013

Maintenance Update

Weds 16th
It was a tad damp this morning. Bruce had started painting rail chairs by the time I arrived. Together, we painted and lettered quite a few. By lunchtime, there were about six ready for restocking. On the way to Todders, I called in at Winchcombe and they had sold 2 boot scrapers. When I got home, there was a message saying they'd sold two more! Carpo had been too busy to set a warming fire on Tuesday, so was unable to do a steam test today. However, WSR-Mike volunteered to do one under my supervision (thus saving me the hard work .. mostly). Carpo agreed. I took Mike through the routine, with Bruce tagging along as a refresher. The newly fitted (LH lower) mudhole door was weeping slightly, and will no doubt "hiss" tomorrow, but it should then bed itself in. Bruce checked the nuts on the tender brake hangers. We are under instruction that these be checked weekly in case they come loose. GWSR has requested that the bolts be made longer and split pins fitted to prevent the nuts dropping off.

Thurs 17th
I had to go to Gloucester Royal Hospital, so could not assist Carpo. Luckily, no one else went to assist Carpo, because he got way-laid, and didn't do the steam test! He agreed that I should do another warming fire on Friday, and he would do the steam test (i.e. set the safety valves) on Saturday.

Fri 18th
Lit another warming fire!

Sat 19th
Still 10 psi on the clock when I arrived at 10.30, and the Loco Dept were stoking up the fire ready to spread it over the whole grate. John had already started on needle-gunning and wire-brushing rail chairs. During the week, I had a phone call ordering 4 GWR in brown, to which the gentleman added two GNR, making a total order of six!

Bruce went round the tender checking that the nuts and bolts holding the brake hangers were all tight. The only one that he has detected as being loose at all was the rear LHS which we had removed to rectify the pivot pin. There is no sign of any others working loose.

Bruce also assisted with the steam testing. Gil was cutting up sheets of metal ready to fabricate a new lower half for the rear section of the ash pan. I was painting rail chairs (but you might have guessed that).

Meanwhile, Carpo kept popping up the ladder and tightening the safety valves each time she blew off. I had been a tad concerned about leaving the loco with a warming fire over night, because the springs had not been tensioned at all. We had no idea at what pressure they would blow off. It turn out that they blew at about 30 psi, If they had blown at, say, 10 psi, the boiler could have lost a lot of water over night. Photos attached show the pressure gauge reading 220 psi and the safety valves just "feathering" (it's not a cloud!) as Carpo completed the testing.

Bruce spotted a couple of minor steam leaks - the "pep" pipe (aka slacking pipe) was dribbling, indicating that the tap was leaking (and also that there was pressure in the steam feed to the injectors, which in turn implies a leak in one of the clack valves). However, Neil Carr said clacks often leak; and Carpo was happy enough. One of the injector covers also has a slight steam leak. A union on top of the "steam fountain" in the cab also had a whisp of steam. Jobs for Wednesday! So, it all looks "go" for 2807 in service on Saturday for our AGM.


Sunday 13 October 2013

Maintenance Update

Weds 9th
Bruce removed the front left lower mudhole door, which has never been a brilliant fit.  It has always needed a lead gasket to seal it.  From the old gasket, you could see where the fit was not good.  Carpo was going to have a go at gently improving the fit.  Of course, we have no idea if these were the original doors, nor if they were in their original holes!

After playing with that, Bruce decided that the drain pipe from the gauge glass was not passing through its slot in the cab floor.  It was running down between the floor and the back of the backhead cladding.  When the boiler is at full pressure, the expansion of the steel moves the firebox some 3/4" backwards into the cab.  As a result, the drain pipe could be crushed between backhead and cab floor.

When Bruce came to undo the nut on the pipe, he found that the whole of the drain cock assembly turned round!  So, as so often is the case,  things are never quite as simple ....

Saturday 12th
Report submitted by Gil:
Bruce and Brian helped JC to shunt the loco round to "The parlour road" to get the boiler filled with treated water so that Carpo can see about a steam test on Wednesday (16th).

The loco was then shunted onto the ash pit so that the redundant operating shaft for the ash-doors could be removed. Much to John's dismay, this was not an instant job as somebody had fixed an empty metal box over the top of some of the fixing bolts. Despite this the gang persevered, they removed the box, and then the support plates. After re-fixing the bolts in the brake shaft bearing brackets, the ATC box was re-instated and the loco was fit to be moved again. So JC promptly shunted it back to the apron outside the shed.

John Tyler spent a large chunk of the day removing grot and rust from the stock of rail chairs, he then made up for that by applying paint to a number of part-finished ones, and finished his day by carrying out a stock check on the railway wagon models.

Gilbert carried out a check on the available materials for bearing bushes to suit the new valve spindles. Bruce found a couple of old bushes which are capable of being re-worked to suit the new spindles, Arrangements have been made with Rod for this work to be done in the GWR Machine Shop. Gilbert will order new material for the remaining outstanding items.


Sunday 6 October 2013

Maintenance Update

Weds 2nd
I was only able to do a limited amount of painting, due to my current state of health.  However, Bruce was full of energy, and said he'd try to complete the painting during the day.

Carpo has not be thrilled with the fit of two of our mud hole doors, and asked for the boiler to be drained to enable him to address the seats.

To do so, we use the blow-down valve.  GWSR no longer carry out blow-downs (because the Reverse-Osmosis plant clears salts out of the water delivered to the tenders).  The valve should be turned to exhaust downwards (into a pit).  While based at Winchcombe during the slippage era, there was no pit!  So we adjusted the valve to blow-down out sideways.  When an attempt was made to disconnect the pipe fittings which form the blow down pipe, the thread on the elbow adjacent to the blow down valve failed. Examination of the fitting showed that it was a fabricated elbow which had been put in because of the restricted space available to accommodate the “Everlasting” Blow down valve specified to us by GWSR.  The cause of the failure was a combination of corrosion and erosion of the steel pipe work used.

GWSR has advised us to replace the current "Everlasting" valve (which they encouraged us to get in the first place) with a standard GWR style (which we originally had, but subsequently sold!).

Thurs 3rd
I nipped in for an hour and painted 4 of the chairs.

Fri 4th
I nipped down to paint the other chairs, only to find Bruce there already painting them!  Because he'd not had time on Weds, after all the trouble with the pipes, he kindly thought to pop in and move the chairs along the conveyor belt for me!

Sat 5th
John attacked a pile of rail chairs with the needle-gun and wire brush.  Bruce replaced the steam safety valves in readiness for Carpo to adjust them.

However, Carpo has to re-seat the mud hole doors before we can do any steam testing of the valves.

We had some discussion about the blow-down valve, notably how to prevent the spanner (used to open & close the valve) from dropping beneath the loco into a cloud of 300 degree steam - it's a shade too warm to pop under and pick the spanner up again!  To help you understand the valves (a little) two pics are attached - one of a GWR pattern, sideways on; you can see the nut and the retaining bracket.

The other is ours under the cab floor (hence less clear).  Operating it is a doddle - you just move the lever (with your foot).

Steve wanted to help Bruce, but that proved difficult, so he tackled some rail chairs, firstly cutting off bolts and then helping John prepare them.  Some bottoms then got painted!


Sunday 29 September 2013

Maintenance Update

Weds 25th
Bruce decided to tackle the leaking steam heat valve.  This is an on/off valve that admits steam into the Mason's Valve.  The latter adjusts the steam pressure, taking it down from 225 psi to 40 psi max, to feed this steam into the coaching stock.  Because the on/off valve was leaking slightly, the pressure was gradually building up in the Mason's Valve.  It didn't matter when steam heating was in use.

So, Bruce removed the handle and plunger part and cleaned up the face of the plunger.

Then he examined the seat inside the valve body and discovered that it was this that was pitted.  To re-grind the face, the valve would have to come off.  It was a challenge to get a (large) spanner onto the retaining nut in a confined space near the cab roof!

Also, it was a double-threaded nut, and we didn't know for sure which way to turn it to undo it. Nevertheless, the two of us managed to persuade it to come off.  Bruce was then contemplating how best to hold the body and tidy up the seat.

Most of the time, I was fiddling around with boot scrapers.  Three immediate (staff) sales; plus: two to top up the trolley in the F&W and 4 to top up the trolley at Winchcombe!

Gil was floating about, too, though I'm not at all sure what he was up to!  I think he was cleaning up the thread on a bolt for the Siphon van.  He also arranged for Neil to fit a hose connector to the ash pan sprinkler system, so that we can hook up a hose and observe the spray pattern.  Crews do not use it, because water pours out of the ash pan when they do!  It might be a tad over enthusiastic in its spraying!  Fred plus Colin & Ann Bennett were all working on the Siphon.

Saturday 28th
Although I went to Todders, my state of unwellness caused me to to have to abandon it.  At that stage, Bruce had spoken with Carpo about the steam safety valves, and Carpo agreed to let Bruce do some lapping on them.  At best, this would show that no cutting was necessary; at worst it would highlight where cutting was needed.  Gilbert supplied the folowing:

Bruce got Rod to machine the seat of the steam heat valve to Carpo's satisfaction, The valve was then re-assembled and re-fitted to the locomotive.

He then got Carpo to let him have a look at the safety valve seats. He gave them a light clean-up and could not see any obvious fault which required them to be re-cut.  Carpo took a further look at them, and agreed that there was no obvious fault.

The concern had been that one of the valves feathers a lot more easily than the other one suggesting that it is not correctly seated. Because of this the valve plugs have been interchanged, and the problem has persisted.  (The valve plug is a loose piece that goes into the orifice of the valve and is held down by the spring and the spindle against the fixed seat)

Since the seats were considered satisfactory the valve plugs were scrutinised carefully and compared against the spare units. It was found that one of the existing plugs had been machined eccentric. This was seen by examination of the top of the plug where the land on the top surface appeared uneven at opposite sides of the plug.

Further scrutiny revealed that the centre bore which locates the bottom of the valve spindle was off-centre by approx. 1/16". The plug and spindle were set up in a lathe and the eccentricity was confirmed. The four guide vanes on the underside showed rub marks on two but not on the others, indicating that the plug was not lifting vertically. The conclusion was that the machining error was causing the plug to tilt when it tried to lift.

After discussions with Carpo, Bruce made arrangements with Rod to re-drill the centre in the top of the plug in its correct alignment.

On completion of this work it should be possible to re-assemble the safety valves.


Wednesday 25 September 2013

Aerial Views

There's an interesting video here showing the GWSR, including some views of No. 2807 at various locations on the railway.

(note our disclaimer that "The content of external web sites linked to from this blog is not the responsibility of CSP Ltd.")


Sunday 22 September 2013

Maintenance Update

Wednesday 18th
Bruce & Gilbert removed the centre damper door.  These doors have always warped badly.  Part of the problem was that the cast steel stiffening bar across them had to be cut down to fit our narrower firebox.  It was cut in the centre, and this formed a weak spot. The door tended to bend on a line through that cut. Today, Carpo welded the two halves together.  Let's see if that helps!

Meanwhile, Bruce removed the steam safety valves.  We've had these new springs acting as paperweights for months.  Finally, we are fitting them.  Naturally enough, the hole through the centre of the springs is not the same as the originals - nor is it quite the same on the two new springs!  So, Bruce is making a shim for each one, so that they fit properly.
I just pottered about doing some boot scrapering - but we had run out of brushes, which limits progress.  However, the Coffee Pot had sold 6 last week and the F&W sold 4.

Thurs 19th
Stuart & I met up to examine the emergency supply of brushes.  They will tide us over for 3 weeks, I hope!

Saturday 21st
Bruce brought his shims, and the picture is them on the table in the TPO.

It wasn't clear if Carpo had re-ground the valve seats or not.  I hope we get the steam valves fitted next week.
Carpo welded an angle-iron on the bottom of the damper door to give it additional strength.  Later, Bruce & Gil re-fitted the door to the loco.

Steve & I did a bit more towards boot scrapers - me completing four orders and Steve painting brushes.


Thursday 19 September 2013

Maintenance Update

Tuesday 10th
Did a spot of painting!

Wednesday 11th
Gilbert, Colin & Ann Bennett were at Winchcombe working on the siphon van restoration.
Bruce & I mainly continues preparing rail chairs.  Having run out of brushes, it was all I could do to re-stock the F&W.
A punter saw me heaving the trolley of boot scrapers to the F&W and commented, "Oh, you do them too!".  It transpires that he has seen similar boot scrapers at other railways - including at Llangollen !!!
Another chap commented that there was no GWR one, so I explained why I do not put them out on display, but could have one for him within 20 minutes.  He accepted the offer.  At end of day, I collected money for 6 boot scrapers from the F&W.

Friday 13th
John decided to while away the hours at Toddington.  I quote:
"Not the best of weather, but I managed to:-

Clean 6 BR(W) and paint their bottoms
Paint 5 with green undercoat
Place 4 undercover on the bench
Cut off bolts on some GWR and BR(W)

There seems to be a few interesting chairs in the recent PW delivery, amongst all the BR(W), e.g. BR(S)."

Saturday 14th
Report from Bruce:
"I was on my own today except when Gilbert turned up for a brief spell. (we had lunch together)

I Painted top coat on 5 chairs and undercoated 6 others.

I then tackled several items reported on the loco defect sheets, all boiler related, so it was under Carpo's supervision.

!     Replaced the gland packing on the right side injector steam valve.
2    The 'Y' splitter for the lubricator condensing coils (on steam fountain) was leaking, so the 'Klinger sleeve' retaining nuts were nipped up to hopefully stop the leak.
3    The steam heat isolating valve is leaking internally so I tried to dismantle it, unfortunately it resisted all attempts to remove the cover. Carpo suggested leaving for now as the steam heating will be needed from now on.

The operating lever on the left side tender water valve had worked loose (not reported) so it was tightened.

There is no roster yet for next week but the loco is serviceable if required."

Sunday 15th
Glyn rang to say he'd sold the last boot scraper at the Coffee Pot!

Monday 16th
The roster is now posted up to 28 Sept.  2807 is not required.


Monday 9 September 2013

Maintenance Update

Monday 2nd
Just a bit of boot scraper painting (again).

Bruce & I continued with cleaning and painting rail chairs.  P-Way delivered about 40 more BR(W) ones, so I diverted to cutting off bolts.  I must take a photo and explain the drawback of these through-bolted two-hole chairs.
I went to grab a wodge of brushes for Bruce to paint, only to discover we only have 4 left!  A quick e to Stu was in order (i.e. Stu does the ordering and collects from Cheltenham when he's there on business).
I noticed several people working on the siphon restoration at Winchcombe.

I was on my own at Todders, doing the lettering on chairs painted during the week.
Gil was on his own at Winchcombe tinkering about inside the siphon (playing at furniture removals, it seemed).
Feeling lonely, Gil came up to Todders for morning tea break!

It was good to hear 2807 chuffing by - you get used to the slight difference in whistles but most noticeable is the beat.  Foremarke Hall almost sounds as though it is straining, because of the longer time between beats - ours just seems to storm away from Todders box!

I had a phone call during the afternoon enquiring about a Southern boot scraper.  Luckily, over the months, I had discovered two and squirreled them away!

Our loco headboard (Heavyweight Champion) had gone AWOL after the Supporters' Special.  Gil had done a search, so I did one too.  No sign.

Sunday 8th
Found Carpo and enquired about the headboard.  He thought he'd seen one on top of the cupboards in the Loco Dept Mess Coach (but couldn't say which headboard it was).  Sure enough, it was ours!  Thanks, Ian!

Painted the bottom of an SR rail chair.

2807 is not in service this week.  The roster is only showing one week at time, so no info beyond next weekend.

Outstanding issues on 2807's log are:
28: RH middle brake block not touching wheel (I think this is the tender, and we know the new brake blocks need to wear-in).
29: Top test cock on gauge frame faulty.
30: RH injector steam valve spindle needs re-packing.
31: Rear packing nut on Y-splitter on top of steam manifold leaking. [Category 2 = fix ASAP]
35: RH trailing spring striking forward hornstay stud. (Bruce figured this out, and I did a diagram to explain the problem).
38: RH injector steam feed pipe leaking at a joint.
39: Steam heating valve is leaking by.  There's a build up of pressure and evidence of water in the steam pipes.
Memo: Loose brake hanger - all need split pins in bolts.  Weekly inspection enforced.

We wish Geof a speedy recovery from his recurring lung problem.  It flared up while he was on holiday, and he's landed in Cheltenham General Hospital.

Commiserations also to Dixie, whose back is playing him up (many of us suffer from back complaints - it being a design flaw at the pre-upright perambulatory period in our evolution).


Sunday 1 September 2013

Maintenance Update

Monday 26th:
Eleven black bottoms.

Eleven primed tops.

Carpo had told me that he wanted to work on boiler-related issues on 2807, including change over the steam valves and fir the new square-section springs.  Carpo was actually driving.  Breweries sprang to mind.

Gil & Fred took the opportunity to pack up the spare scaffolding and cart it off to Winchcombe, where they played with the siphon restoration.  Also there were, Ann & Colin, John Tyler (the roofing material had been delivered) and John Giles.

Meanwhile, Bruce applied top coat to 7 of the 11 chairs, having mistakenly assumed the four lighter green (GNR & LNER) were in top coat already.  Then the two of us cleaned up a further 8 chairs, and Bruce blacked their bottoms, too.

John Mayell was working with P-Way replacing rotten sleepers on the main line, so he popped in to collect a black boot scraper that he had ordered.  Casually, he mentioned that if ever we came across a January 1947 one, he'd like it.  I searched the GWR pile (1947 would be GWR, or possibly LMS/LNER but we have very few of those) and found none.  However, Bruce checked the unsorted pile of recent deliveries and ... ;-)

Upon the point of departing, we had a visit and a further request for a 1944 boot scraper.  I laughed (expecting to get a specific year is a tad hopeful).  Bruce checked the stock in the TPO, and there was no 1944 ready.  I said it would be GWR if we had one, and once more began sorting through the pile of ("raw") GWR chairs.  Would you believe it?  The very last one that I turned over was 1944!  Lucky old David Mansfield!

Lettering completed on GWR & BR (crimson) chairs.  Chairs with (dry) black bottoms inverted & sorted in case the Saturday chaps have chance to paint some tops.

Report from David:
We had a team working to repair the crack in the left hand running board support angle. This had been noted by one of the crews some time ago. I arrived and began removing the dome headed bolts and nuts which I had previously loosened and re-tightened. I was joined by Ray, who offered to assist and then by Matthew. Gilbert and Bruce also arrived and joined in.

The bolts were all removed, including some stubborn ones, which succumbed to a pair of mole grips with someone standing on them, whilst someone else turned the nut beneath. One particularly awkward one was half hidden by the firebox cladding, so this had its head removed with an angle grinder and then knocked through. Needless to say, this one was not replaced, but there are plenty others to fasten the plate. The oiling box and lamp support were also removed to release the plate completely. Unfortunately it could not be removed completely, as the splasher was caught by the wheel flange, so we had to settle for lifting it up as far as possible and supporting it with blocks of wood. Shaun, who hovered off and on all day, assisted with this part, as it was quite heavy.

Bruce then settled down to renovate all the nuts and bolts so they would refit easily. Ray and Matthew went to do other things and Gilbert did some work on the tender, not quite sure what. I ground out the crack and welded it, finally grinding it back to the original profile. Ray took some pictures for the blog. The strange thing about the crack is that it went from the edge of the angle to the bolt hole, then continued on the same line from the other side of the hole. Holes are usually drilled to stop cracks, and they don’t usually continue across holes. I have a suspicion that the crack might have been there in the original plate in some form, then opened up more subsequently – we will never know!

The welding complete, a coat of black paint was applied and a green dab where I caught the bottom of the firebox with the angle grinder (sorry Geof). It was all put together again, with Ray and Matthew helping. We put copper grease on the bolt threads in case it has to come off again in the future. The bolt heads were painted black and all was cleared up. Gilbert left before the rest of us to rejoin Fred at Winchcombe, where he had been working on the Siphon.

Took the last 6 chairs from Winchcombe to Todders.  Had to remove two loco buffers blocking the path to the TPO before I could get there with the trolley!  Noted that no one had had time to paint any chairs on Saturday.  Fitted brushes to 4 BR(W) and 3 BR (crimson).  Fed the mouse.  Collected money for 4 boot scrapers from the F&W.

2807 is rostered to be in service on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday this week.



Monday 26 August 2013

Blocked Tubes

Roger's maintenance update from Saturday mentions the blocked boiler tubes, and attempts to unblock them. Geof and I spent a couple of hours on this task, but the job is not yet complete. Here's what we're up against.

This view is taken inside the firebox and over the top of the brick arch.  You can see that most of the tubes appear to be clear, except for six in the top right hand area, and two in the top left hand.  For interest, you can also see the ends of the superheater elements in some of the 14 flues.

This closer look at the top right shows the six blocked tubes, but also others that may be partially blocked.

And on the top left, two tubes that appear blocked, but again others that may also be blocked.  Also note the lump of clinker stuck in the end of one of the tubes, in the lower middle of the shot.  This is probably the sort of thing that starts a blockage, with smaller pieces then getting stuck behind, etc. etc. until the tube is completely blocked.

The problem with cleaning out the tubes is illustrated in this view from the smokebox.  When we last cleaned out the tubes, we used an air supply attached to a metal lance.  While this is great for cleaning out the majority of the tubes, the length of the lance, which is greater than the length of the tubes, means that it is only possible to use it from the smokebox end.  It is also only possible to get into the tubes that have a straight access and that are not obscured by other fittings in the smokebox.

In the photo it's easy to see that the blast pipe, at the bottom of the photo, obscures a straight access to the tubes in the lower centre.  The superheater header and fingers obscure many of the higher tubes, and the steam pipes cover others.

This view shows more clearly how the superheater header and steam pipes obscure tubes.

And again, another closer view showing inaccessible tubes.  Some of these appear blocked at this end.  For interest you can also see the superheater elements where they enter the flues.

The solution tried out yesterday is a flexible pipe, a little smaller than the tubes, and connected to the compressed air supply.  This piece of kit allowed better access to the obscured tubes, and with some trial and error it was possible to clear out some of the blocked tubes.  Indeed, some of the lumps of material blocking the tubes shot out at least ten feet from the front of the loco when the compressed air was used to 'persuade' them to move.  So it's pretty dramatic, but it's effective!  Not so much fun for the person in the smokebox though.

In a few days time we'll methodically work our way around the blocked tubes to make sure they're all clear.  Some may have to be accessed from the firebox end, but at least the flexible pipe makes that possible.


Saturday 24 August 2013

Maintenance Update

Sunday 18th
I opened a new tin of Deproma black paint ready to do some 1939 rail chairs, only to discover an inch-thick rubbery skin on it!  (OK, it was actually 3/8" thick).  Fed the mouse; changed its water.  Went home.

Monday 19th
Took the paint back to the shop in Tewkesbury.  I noted the shelf life is 1 year, and we'd had it for less than 3 months.  They exchanged it, no quibble.  Checked the new tin for sloshing about inside  :-)

Tuesday 20th
Collected 6 chairs from Winchcombe.  Painted three 1939 chairs black, five BR/GWR green.  Fed the mouse (he only eats chocolate digestives).

Wednesday 21st
Bruce was painting brushes when I arrived.  After elevenses Bruce checked the band saw over and took reference numbers to get a spare blade and elastic band (drive belt).  Carpo popped in for a discussion with Bruce about W-valves.  He's probably got a problem with the 4270 restoration.  Anyway, they must be quite hopeful, because John Cruxon loaded up its coal bunker today.
I pressed on with the lettering on the batch of chairs.  Unfortunately, the gold paint came out matt, so I threw that tin away and resorted to re-painting them all using an old tin which has a thin paint, but shiny!
After lunch, Bruce & I tackled the outstanding issues logged against the two injectors - their back nuts were leaking.  It was a struggle to remove the RHS one, but the LHS came off easily.  Bruce cleaned them up, applied suitable packing, and we reassembled them.
While under the loco, I noticed that the ash pan is in a dreadful state.  Much rust is flaking off; 2 of the 3 the damper doors are badly deformed; the rear of the pan is positively grotesquely deformed.  I don't think it will last another season without serious patching up.

Friday 23rd
Made some smaller wedges for securing brushes in rail chairs.  Used them all up fitting brushes to 12 boot scrapers ready for the weekend re-stock; plus a black one for John Mayell.
Spoke to Carpo, as I believe there are outstanding issues of a boiler-related nature on 2807 that only the "Boiler Responsible Person" (i.e. Carpo) is permitted to fix.  He has agreed to spend next Wednesday working on 2807's (boiler-related) issues.  He wants to fit the new pressure relief valve springs, too.

Saturday 24th
David arrived just before me, and had started painting brushes for boot scrapers.  I'd brought 6 chairs from Winchcombe, and needed to re-stock the F&W (4 sold this week) and take some for the Coffee Pot (3 sold this week).  I also had to deliver a share certificate and 2807 print to Jane Johnson, who is "curator" of the museum on Platform 2.  There's lots of stuff in there, and not all railway related.  David finished the painting and moved on to cleaning up rail chairs.

I took over the chair cleaning and David decided to tackle the logged issue about a fracture in the angle iron below the LHS running board on 2807.  I might have mentioned it before, but it is a hairline fracture in the bit below the running board, that's extremely hard to spot (indeed, Bruce & I couldn't find it on the first time we looked).  To repair it (i.e. weld) we have to remove at least one running board.  These are bolted down with round-headed bolts.  They are a pig to undo!  David decided to attempt to loosen them all, such that when he can do the welding, removing the plate will not be such a big deal.  He constructed a gadget for clamping the bolt - which works fine for those close to the outer edge, but ...

Gilbert arrived, but despite being around much of the day, no one could quite remember what he'd done!  I definitely saw him drill a hole in a bracket for the siphon (and he later adjourned to Winchcombe to take said bracket to Fred).  Steve said that Gil had passed him a lamp, while Steve was in the firebox, and he was involved generally with the tube cleaning.

Steve and Geoff tackled the awesome job of clearing the blocked tubes - the ones that I failed to clear ages ago.  The photo shows Steve inside the smokebox with the air line.  This was an attempt at blasting out the ash, rather than sucking it out (as I tried ... using a hoover, of course).

I cleaned 7 rail chairs (in addition to David's 4) and played with the band saw, making a jig for narrower wedges.  The jaws on rail chairs do vary quite a bit, and I frequently have to cut 3/4" off the "standard" size wedges.

GWSR want 2807 to remain at Todders until end of season, because they have no other standby loco.  This is unfortunate, as we were going to send her to Tyseley in October to drop the wheels and attend to the slack in the horn guides.  Tyseley are OK with us deferring until January, but it will hit our steaming next year.  Tyseley suggest 4 months to complete the task, which would give us 6 months at best to do our 60 steamings.  This would be a squeeze, because of necessary wash-outs and potential down-time (e.g. due to minor faults).


Sunday 18 August 2013

Maintenance Update

After I left, last Saturday (10th), what I didn't know was ...

Geof was at Winchcombe working on the siphon.  Gilbert may have joined him for a while.

Steve was at Toddington and cleaned up five chairs ready for painting.  It was the five that were on the bench outside.  These had been carefully placed there as a hint for cleaning !  Anyway, they're cleaned now and ready for the next stage.

Last week's railway work was thwarted due to my Mum having been taken into hospital after suffering a mild heart attack.  She came out on Monday and is recuperating at home, so ...

Tuesday 13th
Message from Winchcombe station: "Only one boot scraper left!".   I nipped down to Todders, picked up the remaining three completed boot scrapers and refreshed the Coffee Pot Cafe.

Wednesday 14th
My first port of call was Winchcombe, where there was a positive host of helpers crawling all over the siphon.  John Tyler (most appropriately was working on the roof); John Giles, Colin & Ann Bennett, Fred (laying down on the job - fitting a replacement lump of wood just above the sole bar), Ray and Gilbert.  I needed the use of Gil's right hand (signatures on cheques).

C&W had not had time to make me any wedges for boot scrapers, which was a blow.  Nevertheless, I poodled off to Todders, where Bruce was just about to pack up and go home.  He's pranged his rib again, so couldn't do a lot ... but somehow had managed to lift 6 rail chairs onto the workbench to paint their bottoms!

P.Way were working nearby, and dropped off a couple of barrow-loads of rail chairs.  I duly presented them with a cheque in payment for the last 32 thereof.  This led to discussion about the lack of wedges being a problem.  Eddie (C&W) usually makes them for us, but he's had an op on his back and is OOS for 6 weeks.  Since I hate pestering the other C&W guys all of the time, I mentioned "Plan B" to Bruce - get a wood-turner to make some for us.  Bruce said that the chap I had in mind has retired, but .... Bruce just happens to have a band saw that he rarely uses.  Bruce nipped home (it was lunchtime anyway) and reappeared later with band saw (for long-term loan)!  All we need now is some hardwood, of which there might just be some in C&W.

Back at C&W, I discovered that (i) whist Steve had no time to made wedges on Saturday, he had left a note asking Dave to do so today; (ii) Dave is on holiday!  However, Mike offered to make a couple of dozen for me there and then!  Most kind ... and the boot scraper business is back in operation!

Friday 16th
I had an enjoyable day lighting up 5542 and assisting with a bit of shunting in the yard.  I heard that 2807 is not in service for the next two weeks, but will be required to be available through to end December.

Having acquired some hardwood, I made a jig for cutting boot scraper wedges, and then ran off a dozen to test it.  Seems OK so far, but the proof of the pudding will be when I (try to) fit some brushes into rail chairs!

Saturday 17th
Fred & Gilbert passed through, but retired to Winchcombe to work on the siphon van.
David came to do maintenance on the loco.  It had been recorded that both injectors were leaking from the rear. There appeared to be two hexagons at the rear and David was uncertain as to which was causing the leak.  After deliberations, he decided to leave if for Bruce, who has more experience on injectors.
Gil wanted a new bracket making for the work on the siphon, and David cut, drilled, welded and painted one for him.  While wielding a (black) paint brush, David painted the bottoms of 8 rail chairs that I had prepared during the morning.  I painted 5 tops plus 10 brushes ready for assembly when dry.
The two of us had separate goes at tidying and reorganising parts of the TPO.  Some "stuff" that had been sat idle for months now has a new home (one such home being the skip).  The table is tidier.  The end of the workbench is tidier, and now houses the band saw.

The excitement of the day, however, was the crane (that lives on the adjacent track to the TPO).  Loco Dept chaps unwrapped it, and played around with jacks trying to raise its jib.  The problem with it has been that the crane consists of 3 trucks.  That beneath the end of the jib is the wrong sort for this crane.  However, a correct wagon has been acquired.  But with the wrong one, the crane cannot safely negotiate curves.  Of course, the right one is at the wrong end of the crane, so some shunting is required.  The chaps tried to allow the jib to move sideways (i.e. for cornering) but this was not safe.  So, having shunted all of the other vehicles out of the way and hauled the crane 200 yards along the track, they had to shunt it back again.  This time, they lifted the jib high enough to get two sheets of metal under the end of it and put rollers between the sheets.  In theory, this will allow the jib to move sideways when negotiating curves.  The pudding proof will be next Wednesday!

2807 to year end.
As I said above, she is not going to be in service for the next two weeks.  In fact, she has done about 50 days running, which is approaching the contractual limit.  Therefore, she may not do much running during September or October.  There are NO SERVICES at all during November (apart from a race train or two, I believe).  She is required as a standby loco right through to end December.
Having taken delivery of new valve spindles, we would be well advised to fit them during November, methinks.


Sunday 11 August 2013

Maintenance Update

Weds 7th.
Gil arrived first with the new valve rods, which he stashed away safely in the TPO.

I pressed on with painting rail chairs because I had limited time, as my Mum had been taken into hospital on Tuesday following a mild heart-attack.

Bruce came next, and then we discussed some of the issues on 2807's log.  Some we are not allowed to tackle (anything attached to the boiler) and Carpo has to do those.

  • We know the middle brake block does not make contact with the wheel - they are all new blocks and have to wear in.
  • Regarding the spring hitting the horn stay stud, we had been puzzled by that.  However, Bruce had walked alongside the loco while she was being shunted and he spotted what the problem is.  It only happens when the loco goes over a bad rail joint.

    Unlike other locos, whose leaf spring is only attached to one wheel, our suspension has got a compensating beam between pairs of adjacent leaf spring.

    When one wheel gets a thump from a bad rail joint (for example) part of the force is transmitted across the beam and "shared" by the adjacent leaf spring.  So the first spring doesn't get hit with the full force.  Bruce speculated that this could be why the Turk (and Foremarke Hall to a lesser extent) breaks springs every few weeks, whereas we soldier on almost regardless.

John ("Daily") Mayell arrived as I left, and he and Bruce painted all the prepared rail chairs in the TPO.

Friday 9th
Foremarke was on Fire & Drive duty.  Kevin H was under the Turk complaining about the spring manufacturer!  'Nuff said!

I completed 6 boot scrapers ready for the weekend sales by the two cafes.

Sat. 10th
2807 was in service (and should be tomorrow, too).  Stuart & Gilbert were manning a stall at Winchcombe because it is [was] Carriage & Wagon Open Day.  There was no one at Toddington.  I restocked the F&W with 3 more boot scrapers, one of which had been sold before I'd left!  I set off the alarm in the railway's store cabin (next to the Admin cabin) while trying to get some more fliers for the railway!  Mildly embarrassing.  But at least I know the code, now!


Update from Steve
Geof was at Winchcombe working on the siphon.  Gilbert may have joined him for a while.

Steve was at Toddington and cleaned up five chairs ready for painting.  It was the five that were on the bench outside.  Hopefully these had been carefully placed there for cleaning up and not for scrapping!  Anyway, they're cleaned now and ready for the next stage.

Sunday 4 August 2013

Maintenance Update

Back from hols last night, to find message on answer phone ... from the Coffee Pot Cafe on Winchcombe station: Down to 3 boot scrapers.  I popped round today, and they had sold 4 during the week.  At Toddington, the F&W had sold 5 during the week.  In the TPO there was a line of rail chairs with their bottoms in the air, all painted black - so, thank you, someone!

Foremarke Hall drew into Winchcombe hauling the BR stock while I was restocking; 2807 pulled out of Todders hauling the GWR stock.  The 55xx tank was on Elephant & Sturgeon duty.

Roster: 2807 is out of service this week.  Next Saturday and Sunday (10/11th) she is booked to haul the second train.

I noted that the Turk (8274) is marked as "unserviceable", but further investigation showed that she had broken a right-hand driving wheel spring on 20th July, though it has now been replaced.  It was only 29 June (just 3 weeks earlier) that it had broken a spring on the left-hand side!  Both of its injectors are marked as being "wet" (i.e. dribbling too much) and one axle box ran dry.

On 2807, I checked the issues log and the following are outstanding:
  • RH intermediate tender brake block is not touching the wheel when the brake is on.
  • Top gauge frame test cock is rotating with its nut & spindle.
  • RH injector steam valve spindle needs repacking.
  • Y-splitter on top of the manifold is blowing.
  • LH training (axle box) underkeep retaining bolt loose.
  • Front RH mud hole door is hissing.
  • RH training spring is striking the forward hornstay stud (this is a recurrence of a fault from 11 May).
  • All tender brake hangers need better fixing (one almost fell off due to a loose nut).
  • LH injector rear cap is leaking steam.
So, there's a few things to keep our chaps happy on Wednesday.

I assume that we had yet more problems with our water supply?  My green garden hose between standpipe and TPO has been replaced with a yellow-looking one.  It suffered in the sun when it also had mains pressure in it.  The Hoselock connections are not exactly reliable, either - they tend to blow apart at random intervals.



Saturday 3 August 2013

Maintenance Update

As Roger is on holiday, here's a brief update on maintenance etc.

Wednesday 31st
Gilbert, Ann and Colin were at Winchcombe working on the siphon. We have a supply of wood boards for the sides of the siphon and these are gradually being fitted.

Saturday 3rd
David was doing some maintenance on the lathe - not using the lathe to do maintenance, but maintaining the lathe itself.

Bruce fixed the water supply to the TPO, which keeps leaking.  A new length of hose has done the trick - we hope.

John was working on rail chairs, preparing them for painting (on their way to becoming boot scrapers).

Geof and Gilbert discussed some engineering bits and bobs, and then Geof headed off to Winchcombe to work on the siphon.

Gilbert, David and Steve cleared up the remains of the old wooden staging by the TPO.

Steve then joined John preparing rail chairs, with Bruce in the TPO painting them.

Gilbert went to Winchcombe to join Geof working on the siphon.

By the end of the day two rail chairs had a second top coat applied, and a further 9 had been prepared and had their bottoms painted black.

Generally it was a hot and sunny day and the sweat was pouring off us.  Lovely.

Meanwhile 2807 was running up and down the line past us, which is always nice.

And in the loco shed, two of the roads are being taken up in preparation for the concrete laying. This will transform the shed, and is a very positive step forward.


Sunday 28 July 2013

Maintenance Update

Mon 22nd
I had to visit the BIG railway to take my son, Tim, to Kingham to catch the train home (Baldock, Herts).  Train due at 12.53, we arrived 20 mins early.  By 12.40 the announcer said that the train was running 23 minutes late.  At 13.18 they announced it had been cancelled!  Next one was at 14.55.  So, I said, I'll drive you to Oxford.  En route, the temperature was around 34C (93F).  Thank goodness for air con!  In the centre of Oxford, the car was saying that it was 37C (99F) outside!  I don't recall it being that hot ... ever!  Anyway, despite catching a train immediately upon arrival, it was a slow one, and the one out from London was also slow, so Tim got home just 10 mins earlier than if we'd gone in the pub and waited the 2 hours!

Tues 23
Sorted through brushes for boot scrapers - this batch comes in 3 widths, one of which is useless!  Painted some ready for fitting (did one coat at 08.40 and another coat at 18.30).  Saw 2807 chuffing round its stock - all seems to be well.
Following Sunday's phone call from The Coffee Pot to say they'd sold all of the boot scrapers, I was able to re-stock.

Weds 24
As far as I can assess, no one from our group attended Todders.  I was off Roman snail hunting at Chedworth with daughter & granddaughter.

Thurs 25
2807 still storming away from Todders while I was fitting brushes to rail chairs.  Trying to get enough ready to re-stock C.Pot and F&W on Saturday.  Called in to C.Pot for a slice of cake - 2 boot scrapers had gone, and a chap was looking over the remaining four, trying to decide whether to buy one or not.

A huge consignment of hardwood arrived at Winchcombe destined for the restoration work that is ongoing on our siphon van by Fred, Gilbert & Ray (and Colin & Anne on alternate weeks).

Fri 26
Restocked the F&W with boot scrapers.  Completed half a dozen more. 

Sat 27
Diesel weekend, so no steam in service.  2807 is back in service on Tuesday for the whole week and the first weekend of August.  I couldn't see any new issues on the loco's log.

"Peak" diesel, 45149 (aka Phaeton or D135) is in service after an eventful inaugural run on Thursday evening.  Speaking with their crew, it is reminiscent of 2807's early days in action - little things keep going wrong, dropping off, etc.  But it's not yet done 100 miles, and we are only too aware of teething problems!

F&W sold 3 b/s during the week, and C.Pot sold 2.


Saturday 13 July 2013

Maintenance Update (buckle, bootscrapers, supporters')

Tuesday 9th
2807 back in service.  Rails buckled in the heat, close to Hailes Abbey.  Luckily crew spotted it & took it steady.  Ops notice posted:

The hot weather has caused a small track buckle to appear at a joint approximately 50 yards north of the Winchcombe Down Distant Signal. (On the curve between Hailes Bridge and New Farmer’s Bridge.)

Early this morning the buckle was straightened out using the tele-handler but given the extended period of warm weather it has been decided to put a temporary speed restrictions of 10mph over the area of the buckle until further notice.

The temporary speed restriction is marked out with yellow speed boards.

All drivers are to obey this restriction and keep a good lookout ahead when approaching this area. If there is any sign of deflection in the track then drivers must stop and examine the line before proceeding and must also report their findings to the signalman when they leave the section.

Drivers should also keep a good lookout on all other areas of the line during this exceptionally warm weather.

Weds 10th
Bruce valiantly painted more rail chairs.  I could only spend a short while there because it was granddaughter's school sports day.  Carol B came to collect her boot scraper - she rang me Tuesday to say she didn't like the ones in the F&W or at Winchcombe.  Today she explained that she wants one that says "GKN" as manufacturer (because she used to go past their factory in days of yore); and not one saying "BR" because of what's happened over nationalisation and de-nationalisation.  So, I found her a GWR + GKN.  The lengths I go to for customers!

2807 passed the school playing field twice during sports day - seems to be going well.

Saturday 13th - Supporters' Day.
Well, my thermometer said 30 deg on the way to Toddington, and it said 30 deg on the way back!  It must have been warm on the footplate.  Very many thanks to Stuart for organising the day, and to the helpers - both on the train (David, Sue, Fred and others) and on the stall (Gil, Richard, Dixie, and more).

2807 ran beautifully, (tempted to say "of course").  After being out of service for June (basically, being delayed during boiler wash-out), it is good to see her running again.

Fred has just placed an order for miles of timber to start replacing the sides of the siphon van.  I was talking to Ian Chilton about a box van that he's working on at Toddington.  The wooden sides rotted in exactly the same way as our siphon - bottom up!  So, even when 2807 is happily chuffing up & down, we still have things to do: the siphon, and boot scrapers!