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.