Saturday 22 February 2014

Maintenance Update (siphon, tender, bootscrapers, Manor)

Colin provides an update on siphon van restoration:

" Sat 15 - at the Siphon:

We went down to the coach to inspect what the weather had done to the sheets.

I had brought Ann as extra hands in case of any problems, in the event the coverings were ok. I thought we would have no power but Fred had fixed up a lead from a socket nearby so we had another go at the slats as Fred had done some more  work on the post and bit by bit we inserted all 22 slats for the two windows.

Each of the windows have different fittings, one side just slid in with a plain shoulders although they had been painted so we had to fettle each one, the other frame had lugs to fit in holes either side and so we had to fettle these as well as well as checking that they were straight to the eye and fitting into the post holes. very time consuming. finally just one slat was holding out and was 1/8" out but we had to leave then as the dog was at home and must have been crossing his legs. so that is for next time.

Ann meanwhile had been scraping paint off the internal walls - very boring but will look good when finished.

All in all a good day and some progress and no water through the roof but a bit through the holes in the sides.

I would just like to thank Fred for all the work he puts in at the siphon and a lot done at home and without which we would not be going anywhere.

We had fun in the form of coaches being shunted back and forth by an 02 Shunter by C/W guys who admired what we have done so far ."

Weds 19th

Gil, Dixie and Bruce continued with fitting the brackets, hangers, brake shoes and rigging to the tender.  By end of day, all of the brakes are fitted and fully operational.  Bruce had moved on to making gaskets for the tender's vacuum pipes.

We had anticipated having to push the tender, today, such that the shunter could couple up to the rear and move the tender.  It was planned that on Friday, when Dinmore Manor arrives, our tender will be turned.  This involves it going up onto the lorry; the lorry doing a U-turn in the car park, and dropping the tender off facing the opposite direction.  I was armed with a pinch-bar (a duff one as it turned out) and ready to get the tender rolling, when Mark Y called a halt to it all.  There was some doubt about Dinmore arriving on Friday.  As we need to be over a pit to fit the remaining pieces (vacuum and steam heating pipework), we might as well stay put!

Meanwhile, I'd been working on rail chairs all day.  Painted 16, cleaned a further 3 and sold 2.

Thursday 20th

I nipped down and painted 14 LNWR in enamel black.  Washed the brush out, and then noticed two more hiding!  Went home anyway.

On the way out, discovered that Dinmore Manor had arrived.  I asked Mark (who was shunting her into the shed) if he wanted our tender moving, but he said that the move & turn-around is now to be carried out on Monday.

Friday 21st

Popped in at Winchcombe and discovered a new pile of rail chairs for us.  I picked out 2 LMS, 2 GWR and 2 BR(W), and took them to Todders.

Painted the lettering on the 14 LNWR chairs.

Saturday 22nd

I went via Winchcombe to pick up 6 more rail chairs to take to Todders.  Bruce arrived and we decided to start on finishing the tender.  Gil arrived and we began refitting the vacuum pipes under the tender.  Then Geof arrived, saying that the weather was good enough (just) for him to join in.  So he took over from me, and I went back to chair painting.

The chaps fitted the vacuum pipes (two of them) and started on the steam heating pipes.  But this could not be completed because we need David to do some welding where we had to cut the pipe free to take it off.

Steve was around, and did chip in when it was time to move the tender.  We had to push the tender (by hand, as it were) along past the points, so that the 08 shunter could couple up to the rear of the tender and take it round into the yard.  Steve & Geof demonstrated how to push the tender [not], with Bruce acting as brakeman.

The shunter deposited the tender in the yard, with Geof applying the handbrake.


Saturday 15 February 2014

Maintenance Update

Saturday 8th - update

Colin sent photos of the siphon - you can see the slats and the general state of repair before Fred's restoration group get at it.  It's a long haul going all the way round it!

Colin adds:

"Went down to help on the Siphon Sat 7 We first fixed the light which had not worked for a long time. We then tried the slats for the windows in the new post Fred had made they were quite a way out so we took the post off again and moved it up a bit and the slats looked great we were just  thinking what to do next when Carriage and Wagon guys came and could we be ready to move in an hour ok so we strapped everything down and within the time frame the coach was moved it was quite strange to see the steps still there with no coach we spent the rest of the day tying down the sheeting in a gale force wind then I took Fred and some chairs down to Toddington quite a day!.

Attached are some phone photos of the move. I have some more and Fred took some as well

The only thing we forgot to secure in the move was the table  with the Microwave on it on castors so it went walkabout no damage done."

Weds 12th

Bruce & Gilbert began by playing with the tender - Bruce attempted to open up the hole in the frame for the final pin to pass through horizontally.  He gave up.  The driving wind & rain were just too much.  However, this is the last one to be done.

Talking of bolts (which we almost were), Gil bought two different lengths (because of two different thicknesses of plate to pass through) and the shorter ones were fully threaded.  The longer ones are only part threaded and have an unthreaded portion inside the bracket casting and supporting cross-member. Indeed Bruce is having to extend some of the threads otherwise the threads will not even reach through.  The railway is not happy about us using the fully threaded bolts.  Mark Y came and discussed the situation with Gil & Bruce.  Gil explained that it is not possible to buy what the Railway say, off-the-shelf.  Mark Y stated that if such is the case, then the Railway (workshop) will do whatever is necessary to form bolts to the Railway's specification .. as a priority!  Mark Y (and Carpo) also confirmed that using the R-clips rather than split pins is acceptable to the Railway.  Gil has gone away with a new shopping list!

Anyway, Bruce continued to extend threads and drill holes for R-clips on those bolts that are acceptable.

Being consigned to inside the TPO due to the weather, Dixie began sorting through model railway bric-a-brac with a view to rationalising the stock.  I "rationalised" some boxes of "Admin" stuff … except that Gil stopped me from donating the projector and set of slides to the skip.  Goodness knows when they were last used for a talk.  They might just go walkies when Gil's not around.   ;-)

Just after tea break, we had a power loss.  Dixie went to investigate (him being an electrician) and it was the whole site dead.  Lucky it was after tea break!  It did occur to me that if the power was off for an extended period, we were stuck there because the gate wouldn't have opened!

After 15 minutes, the Grand Universal Provided let there be light, and we pressed on.  Dixie and I painted rail chairs.  Dixie had the pleasure of doing six black bottoms, three black tops and 3 GNR green.  I did lettering on 3; 4 BR(W) green top coats plus 2 BR(W) red undercoats.

The sun began to shine at 3 o'clock, but we went home anyway.  As we left the yard, a wheelbarrow was hurtling in an easterly direction, all on its own.  As it was heading for our tender, I though it prudent to chase after it and return it to the wheelbarrow stable .. and make it stable.  We had discussed pushing the tender close up to the workshop door in case that made it less likely to go ride-about on its own.  But we didn't bother.

Oh, and The Railway agreed that we can have 2807 facing south when she comes back.  This will mean also turning the tender around, of course, otherwise it would be a struggle for the fireman to get at the coal!

Saturday 15th

Gilbert, Bruce & David pressed on with the tender.  It's amazing how much time it is taking to get these bolts done to spec.  Bruce spent most of the day lining up each individual bolt in his jig and drilling the hole through it for the split pin.  David spent much of the day with a die, cutting the thread just about three more turns on each bolt.  Gil was under the tender.  Mike [Loco Dept] joined him after lunch, and they worked on fitting the brackets, the hangers and the brake shoes.  The front pair are completed and functional (so the tender won't blow away).  The rear ones are fitted but not yet functional because they need the operating rod fitting that connects all of the brakes.  The centre pair are not yet fitted.

Next Weds we need to fit the centre ones, and get the whole brake system functional.  Reason?  Because next Friday the railway is going to turn our tender round … when Dinmore Manor arrives. 

Back to today:  Mike refilled the axle boxes with oil.  They didn't need a changing particularly, but Bruce had drained them when the thought was that we would need to jack the tender up to carry out this work on the brakes and that meant that the underkeeps would have to be removed .. whereupon the oil would escape on its own.

I pressed on with chair cleaning.  I have been sorting out pre-World War One chairs to do a special one-off offer for the May gala (all because of the WWI theme).  Being 100+ years old, these chairs are generally a tad filthy.  See attached before & after photos.  They'll get a couple of coats of paint and the lettering will be picked out, of course. 

I found some GWR in addition to the GNR and LNWR ones.  Having exhausted the supply of these oldies, I had the usual delight of painting their black bottoms and black holes.


Sunday 9 February 2014

Maintenance Update

Monday 3rd
Following complaints about the state of our files and the wearing out of all of our metal saw blades, I bought some more NEW items!!!  The chaps will be thinking it's their birthday!

Wednesday 5th
Foul weather - strong winds & driving rain.  Hardly fit for working outside.  Nevertheless, Gilbert did venture out to the tender.  The pit over which it is standing was filling up with water, and the pump had seized.  Bruce said the only thing to do was stand on a sleeper rather than in the water.  Gil removed the front two brake hanger brackets so that Bruce would fit bolts in the warm & dry TPO, and drill the bolts for a split pin.

While it was not raining hard, Gil also cleaned the tie bars, links and brake hangers ready for refitting them.  Mike also assisted Gil.

Each bracket has to be fitted with its bolts and they are drilled to take a split pin as close to the nut as possible.  Minor differences in the brackets necessitate this action individually.  Bruce was doing this all day.

Having built up a stock of cleaned rail chairs (in anticipation of such a day) I was able to paint 9 black bottoms, 3 Darlington Green GNR 1913, 4 BR(W); do lettering on 3 crimson ones, and fit 14 painted chairs with their brushes. 

JC had delivered our new blow-down valve.  This is a bit of a sore point, because we had one of these; were advised to get an "Everlasting Blow-Down Valve" instead; and we sold our GWR one.  Now the railway has insisted that we get the Everlasting one replaced with a GWR one.  The problem was that the Everlasting valve did not match the face on the boiler, hence a joining section had to be fabricated … and it corroded.  Bad news, because a failure in that would emit water at maybe 300 degrees C, just below the cab.

Saturday 8th
David, Bruce and Gil continued working on the tender brakes.  By rain-stopped-play, the front two brackets were completed, pins secured, hangers hanging, tie-bar tying the two hangers together and brake blocks fitted.  Bruce applied the tender handbrake, just to get the brakes to go on this one axle - it'll stop the tender from blowing away!

Gil disappeared to an FLA meeting after lunch, while Bruce and David attacked the rear two brackets.  As usual, two out of three holes aligned perfectly.

David also marked a template for the securing holes on the pony truck bearing cover (AKA bell housing; AKA policeman's helmet) ready to machine the new one to fit.

Steve popped in for a cuppa and a biscuit before attending the FLA meeting.

While it was dry (cold and blowy, but not raining) I tackled some more disgustingly filthy rail chairs.  These are all pre-WWI that we plan on selling without brushes at suitably themed events.  I was just de-greasing the 7th one when the rain set in.

At Tyseley:
The centre wheels have been dropped for the horn guides to be examined.


Sunday 2 February 2014

Maintenance Update

Wednesday 29 Jan
Gil, Bruce Dixie & myself today.  The latter being devoted to boot scrapering, while the rest attended the tender.

Gil b(r)ought some NEW bolts for attaching the brake hanger brackets to the frame cross-members.  Guess how much this box of 3/4 inch x 3 inch Whitworth nuts bolts washers & split pins cost?  Answer at the bottom of the post!

The chaps were aligning the brackets and suspension pins of the front two brake hangers on the tender.  Getting the bracket in place such that the brake hanger suspension pin was horizontal proved a challenge.  Clearly, they had not been horizontal before!  The pin has to be horizontal for the hanger to dangle vertically.  There's not much movement in fixing the bracket, but just enough to do the aligning.  Then guess what?  The pin wouldn't go through its hole in the tender frame.  You can argue that they must have done originally, so ... ???  Well, maybe the brackets are not in their original sequence?  In any case, there are at least two different patterns to the hanger brackets!  In fact, two of them had to have one edge gently angle-ground back slightly, to enable it to fit in place at all.  Otherwise it was being fouled by an angle on the tender frame.  Also, two of the (NEW!!!) bolts had to have their heads "modified" for them to fit within the space where this angle is otherwise fouling them.

A couple of weeks back, (note the carefully chosen text:) "it was decided" that the tender would have to be jacked up in order to gain access to these hanger brackets.  Jacks were put in place at the front.  The horn ties (i.e. bars across the bottom of the bit in which the axle boxes rise & fall) were removed from the front two wheel sets to allow the wheels to drop.  Of course, when we set to and began to remove the hanger brackets (was that Bruce & me? I quite forget!) we didn't need to jack up the tender at all.  So, the horn ties were fitted back on today ... except that Dixie came into the TPO just as we were packing away, declaring that someone had put the bolts in the wrong way round!

I was oblivious to all of this fun that the chaps were having.  I was cleaning up three absolutely caked-with-mud GNR 1913 rail chairs until the rain set in, and then I painted nine tops (3 red ready for Crimson Lake; 3 black; and 3 grass green ready for Darlington Green).

Saturday 1 Feb
Bruce procured a set of hole punches for us, as we are forever making gaskets and never have the right tool for the job.  Two lots of new things in one week!  Wow!

Gil & John busied themselves with fitting the brackets on the centre.  Again, this meant quite a bit of fiddling to get the bracket lined up, the suspender pin horizontal and the holes all in line.  Some fettling of the holes through the frame was inevitable.

Bruce made a jig for drilling a hole through each bolt into which an R-clip will be fitted to prevent the nut from falling off if ever it should work loose.

  To get the hole spot-on, Bruce used a piece of plate the same thickness as the cross-member to which the bracket is bolted; used a spacer to represent a spring washer; assembled the plate, bracket, washer and bolt, and then drilled through the bolt immediately behind the nut.  This should be tight up to the nut, so that it can't work very loose even if it tries to!  To finish each off to look neat and tidy, Bruce tried cutting off the excess thread ... but only managed to do one before knackering the saw blade.  He's going to use the angle-grinder next time.

I braved the cold and wind to continue cleaning rail chairs.  My needle-gun froze up*.  Found an LNWR chair dating from 1896.

Next Weds we need to clean the brake hangers so that we can start to assemble each of them (properly - with the correct bolts and R-clips).

* The air expands as it operates the needles and in doing so cools down (I thought it might be Boyle's Law, appropriately, but it turns out to be Gay-Lussac's Law (boring)).  Due to the outside air temperature being only 3 degrees, water vapour in the compressed air was freezing as it coughed out of the needle-gun.

Info from Fred re. our Siphon van:
"I have been informed by Richard Johnson that the C& W dept. can take our Siphon into the barn for re-roofing on March 1st.

However as they are moving stock around in a fortnight's time we will have to be ready to move to a new outside location prior to that.

We will obviously have help in the re-roofing as the siphon cannot be in the barn for too long.

We have requested that we do not return to our present spot which is increasingly impinging on the S&T area as we progress down the length of the carriage so we will probably swap places with the coach behind us on the same track.  Power will still be available  via our existing cable.  We will now have to purchase some white masonry paint asap to go with the adhesive and canvas we have in hand.  Help in making edge securing strips has also been offered by C& W.

We will obviously need a reasonable team of workers at that time.

Things are looking up.



Answer to bolts: A total of 18 bolts, with nuts, spring washers and 25 split pins came to £109.76p