Monday 30 June 2014

Maintenance Update (Monday is the new Saturday, Wednesday cancelled)

Monday 30th
Saturday was cancelled because 2807 was in service, and Monday was allocated for doing what we could while she was standing still .. though a shade warm!  In fact, there was still 20 psi on the clock when we arrived this morning.

Bruce tackled the rear end covers of the injectors, which had been leaking steam slightly.  A bit of PTFE should solve that problem [cue: me to buy some more].

David took a look at the guard/brake whistle bracket, which had come adrift.  Below is a picky of the original (I didn't take one today!).  The whistle chain passes through the pipe, which is attached to the cab roof.  [Cue: me to buy a new ladder]   Over the Thomas weekend, someone got a bit enthusiastic with 2807's whistle and managed to pull the pipe away from its base bracket!  David took it home to fix - possibly to braze it on.

Another task for David concerned the regulator.  Through wear & tear, it was beginning to override its end stop.  So, David made a suitable lump of steel and welded it to the back of the regulator to make a sure stop.  Thereafter, I painted the regulator handle red.

Gil & John spent most of the day playing with the LHS cylinder valve.  Again, steam had been leaking past the rear gland.  To gain access, you have to remove one panel of the running board.  It is a filthy task, because oil gets thrown up all over the place underneath.  [Cue: me to buy more gloves] Despite the fact that they wished they'd never started, the two of them did finish the new packing.

I began by examining the baffle plate (that fits inside the top half of the fire hole).  It was reported as not fitting properly, and fouling the fire hole doors.  This was just wear & tear, again.  It has a rather primitive method of staying in place, which causes the front end of the bottom of the sides to wear down.  I had a Plan A (which had been in my mind for years) to fit a more substantial bar along each side to take the weight better.  Plan A failed because David couldn't weld a steel bar to the stainless steel baffle plate!  So, Plan B was simply to make the two sides' bottoms parallel again.  John gave me a hand during the "persuasion" phase, and then tested the fit: perfect!

2807 is in service all week, so Wednesday has been cancelled.  She's likely to be in service over the weekend, too, though there is no roster yet posted.  Anyway, Saturday is cancelled too!  When she stands down for a week, we can tackle some of the jobs that were not possible because of the residual pressure in the boiler (and as David will testify, the pipes were bloomin' hot!).


Sunday 29 June 2014

Photos taken at Winchcombe (2807, 4270, siphon)

Some photos, taken at Winchcombe, on Saturday 28th.

2807 arrives from the south (Cheltenham).

4270 arrives from the north (Toddington).

2807 departs towards Toddington.

The siphon in its new location in Winchcombe yard.

A view of the new siphon roof.

Geof sanding in preparation for some more painting.


Saturday 28 June 2014

Maintenance Update (Saturday cancelled, Monday special)

As is usual, there is a (short) list of issues that need attention on 2807:

- Condenser T-cock blowing by nut [this we knew about, anyway]
- Ejector reluctant to shut off
- Ejector blowing through
- Brake whistle bracket broken
- Vac pump spindle out of alignment

2807 is in service through the weekend, taking a well-earned rest on Monday.  She will still be very hot, and they will light a fire later in the day ready for Tuesday being in service again!

I bet there will still be enough pressure to move the loco (under its own steam) to align the vac pump on Monday.

Should be able to fix the whistle bracket. [I'm surprised that this isn't a loco failure]

Can't do the others - loco will be too hot.

Saturday 28th
I cancelled today!  However, Dixie turned up, and in between downpours we cleaned and prepared 11 rail chairs for boot scrapers!  Dixie had the pleasure of painting their bottoms.

There's a couple more issues logged, but due to the heavy rain, I didn't hang around long enough to make a note of them.  Some we can do on Monday, anyway.

Bruce popped in briefly.  Steve popped in briefly; had lunch; then poodled off to Winchcombe to take photos.

Geof reports that "Siphon G came out of the barn today.  The photo shows the recent painting and new roof to advantage."

Monday 30th
… will be a working party day because 2807 will be having a rest (she's been in service all week and is expected to be in service all of next week too!).


Sunday 22 June 2014

Siphon Update (roof, door post, plank, Thomas)

Saturday 21st
Went down to the siphon to help the move and after getting passed Roger's and Glyn's security net looked for the siphon in the yard but it seems Thomas had forbid it's move so it is still in the Barn.

Geoff, Gilbert and Fred were already busy. Geoff filling and painting the edge of the roof, Gilbert and Fred taking off the door to fit a new post.  Fred had cut all the grooves for the various tenons and slats and after 3-4 hours fettling fitted the post and everything seems to fit well.

I fitted one last plank on the south end side as it was an odd size, then cleaned up 11 slats and rot treated them.  Gave the place a much needed clean up and also assisted when needed.

A good steady progress day.  The roof look smashing and the finishing on the edge is a credit to the troops who did it.

A thanks must go to the Carriage and Wagon for the help they have given and for the use of the Barn which has really been a God-send and we should send a formal thank you from the Directors methinks.

2807 scuttled passed a couple of times and looked great! -- even with a Thomas face on it -- a credit to all that put it back together so quickly and I wished I had been there to help.  It must have been an incredible exercise and very rewarding.


Saturday 21 June 2014

Maintenance Update (testing, lapping, bonnet, and Thomas)

Sunday 15th
Brian came up to look after 2807, while the maintenance team took a well-deserved break!  Brian reported:

"Your efforts this week resulted in 2807 moving today under her own steam. A warming fire had been put into the loco the night before. I arrived at toddy @ 0815 to be told to put a fire in the loco after normal lighting up checks. Carpo then requested the loco be brought into steam very gently, checking the boiler at 20, 40  and 100psi.  While waiting for her to come up to pressure the loco was oiled as would be for a normal day's work. After lunch with sufficient steam on the clock the loco moved very gently out of the yard and around to the station to take on water. The tender was filled to the top and the loco returned to the yard for further checks.

Ian requested that the loco's pressure was brought around to lift the safety values. At 210psi they started to lightly feather, at 220 the first valve lifted and then the second at 223/4. The loco was then brought back to 200psi then the process repeated, the same results were seen. 

The loco was then taken back out of the yard on to road 2 and ran up and down 10 times, with checks on three occasions for boiler and bottom end. The loco then returned to the yard for further checks and I am happy to report all was very well!!!

She sounded great and moved well over these small distances.  On Monday she will have an inspection by the RSA inspector."

Monday 16th
Gil, Bruce and I spent a little time at Todders (riding up & down the line!).  All went extremely well, as Gil reports:

"The Boiler inspector arrived at 9.30 and carried out the 'working examination under normal pressures'. All went well and we are now certified for a further twelve months.

… there is a minor steam leak on the 3-way valve for the condenser coils. [This has been known for best part of a year]

… Jamie arrived to drive the loco on test runs and set about oiling up and Steve Oddy arrived to act as his fireman.

… some of the tender brake hanger tie-bar joints did not show significant traces of grease flow.  [Suspected bunged-up grease channel]

A series of light engine trials were carried out : Toddington - Winchcombe & return, Toddington - Gotherington & return, and then Toddington - Cheltenham & return.

At each station the loco was stopped and the motion components were checked for temperature and lubrication.

The return journey from Cheltenham Racecourse was carried out as a non-stop run and the loco was again examined on arrival at Toddington.

[Various components felt warm, but the temperature was stable, so no specific problem was encountered]

… Slight indications of temperature on air pump [sic: vacuum pump] operation rod.

… Steam leakage was seen from the Piston Rod Glands

… oil in the top reservoir of the crosshead appears emulsified

Overall verdict on the day is that we are back in business. We will be rostered for Saturday (21st)"

Wednesday 18th
Bruce spent almost the entire day sitting on top of the boiler!  I can confirm that it was a shade warm up there, having sat on top of the firebox to re-fit the nuts & bolts that Bruce & Gil took out of a small panel on the spectacle plate with a view to removing the 3-way valve (q.v.).  They decided it was not a trivial task, and not critical to operation, whereas other things were.

Bruce then began to lap-in the steam safety valves.  He borrowed a cutter from JC (I think) and can be seen carefully turning it to flatten the valve seats (they appeared to have a ridge on their outer edge, due to a less-than-perfect previous lapping?).

He then re-assembled the safety valves.  Meanwhile, I Brasso-ed the bonnet, and Gil & I passed it to Carpo (half-way up the ladder) who passed it to Bruce.  So, she's looking beautiful again!

Gil had a butcher's at the vac pump rod, and decided to rotate it by 180 degrees to see if that had any effect on its warmth (q.v.).  He re-packed the piston rod glands (at the rear of both cylinders) to stem the steam leak.  He also went round everything that had been identified on Monday as "warm", but found nothing  visibly amiss with any of them.  It could just be running-in issues.

I had hoped to get back to my "normal" job of boot-scrapering; but I was requisitioned to fit four ferrules that had been removed in order to get inspection plugs out of the boiler … and refit the small panel (q.v.) … and polish the brass bonnet (q.v.) … and needle-gun two brackets from the siphon …

But I did manage to clean up three rail chairs (two very old GWR ones).

We discussed the sand boxes, and that they really ought to be tested, but we have no sand!  Bruce showed Carpo the stuff that had been used in our sand boxes while on another railway.  Carpo exclaimed that this was grit used in sand-blasting, and under no circumstances should be used for loco sand!  Luckily, Carpo has some samples of "real" sand, so I shall procure a couple of sackfulls.

Friday 20th
I popped down to paint some bottoms black.  Danny had lit a fire in 2807, and said how she was still very hot from Monday!  I think he said she's going to be "Henry's Friend" over the weekend - we're not allowed to called 2807 Henry, because she's not!

Saturday 21st
I re-stocked the Coffee Pot (they having sold 4 b/s recently).  2807 was in Platform 1, and Gil was walking back from chatting with the crew.  I gather that all was well.

I nipped down to Todders to paint 3 green tops.  Then sat out in the sun sipping tea & eating chocky biscuits, waiting for 2807 to pass by.  Aft a couple of hours, I gave up & went back to Winchcombe station … where 2807 was running round the stock.  It transpired that she was running between Winchcombe & Cheltenham … no wonder I didn't see her at Todders!  Anyway, I clambered through the undergrowth to take a picky for you of 2807 pulling away from Winchcombe heading back to Cheltenham.


Saturday 14 June 2014

Maintenance Update (2807 returns and is re-assembled very quickly)

Monday 9th

News from Tyseley:

"The boiler exam is due to take place any moment now today.
We should have reset the [driving wheel] springs but it is always wise to check and reset them after a journey on a low loader particularly when they have just been put back together as in this case"

"further to previous emails, Bob Garnett from RSA has visited today and inspected 2807’s boiler. He seemed happy with the condition of the boiler, but did question the location of the plugs, doors and safety valve components, which we believe are with you at Toddington. He may well be in contact with you to ascertain their condition."

No panics - the plugs, doors & safety valve bits are all on the table/workbench in the TPO at Toddington; mostly clean & shiny.

Tuesday 10th
Alleleys arrived at 1.40 pm.  Carpo extremely kindly dropped what he was doing in order to shunt us into the yard.  As there was only me (from our team) there, I began to do simple one-man jobs.  I removed the bucket from the pony truck pivot point and put the proper bell housing back in place.  Then I began to fit the "dials" in the cab.  I had to connect up the condensing coil, too (it had been disconnected to empty it of water to avoid any possible freezing damage over winter - yes, it's almost 6 months since she last steamed!)

Geof turned up, having had to take Morag to hospital this afternoon.  He acted as gopher for a while - mostly bringing every spanner that wouldn't fit to me in the cab.  :-).  I fitted the Mason's Valve, then the test cocks to the gauge frame.  There was little else I could do (and 5pm was approaching fast).  So, I put the cap on the chimney, and said goodnight to the old gal!

Wednesday 11th
Much gratitude to the host of folks who rallied to put 2807 back together: Geof, Gil, Bruce, John, Ray, David and myself.  Sadly, Geof came to grief when removing a chock (aka "scotch"), apparently causing his back to go into spasm.  Several of the chaps offered to drive him home, but he struggled slowly and painfully back to his car, and adjourned.  Those of you of a certain persuasion might like to offer a prayer to Geof and his wife, Morag, as they really are going through a physically rough patch at the moment.

Meanwhile, several informal teams gelled to tackle different assembly tasks beneath the loco.  The steam heating pipes went on reasonably easily.  There were a couple of obstinate nuts, but David showed them who's boss.  The vacuum pipes were relatively straightforward, too.  A couple of bolts put up some minor resistance to going through their holes.  At worst we needed three people to subdue them.  The little vacuum pipe linking to the vacuum pump went on easily.

I think that the drain cocks linkages were on by the time I arrived (the Tesco  run always delays me on a Wednesday).  Brown liquid ran out of the left-hand drain cocks when David tested them!

I started fitting the two front sand delivery pipes (these had been removed to allow the front axle to be dropped, of course).  It was fun feeding the pipe through the gaps between the metalwork around the pony truck: a bit like a 3-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.  The RHS sand box was known not to work properly - you put sand in; the sand comes out!  There is a conical plunger that blocks a hole leading down into the delivery pipe.  Well, it should block the hole.  But it doesn't …quite. David and I had a play with it and finally removed the bottom panel from the sandbox .. getting sand (well, I say "sand", it appears to be some fine black grit, a bit like the stuff used in sand-blasting) mostly down our sleeves, and occasionally in our mouths. Bruce joined in, as we thought about possible solutions.  However, it is not critical to running at GWSR, so we parked it on one side, and pressed on.

Most of the chaps then tackled fitting brake blocks.  These are a touch on the heavy side, and require at least three people to get each one positioned … and often a fourth person then has to insert the pivot pin. We think the LHS ones are correct (i.e. in the same position as when they came off).  However, the RHS ones were going to be discarded and replaced with new ones.  The railway later said that there was sufficient "meat" on them to continue in use for this year … but we hadn't marked which one came off from where! So, at end of play, there was still considerable discussion about which looked the most likely to fit where, and how we should best proceed tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I was busying myself fitting the damper door linkages.  This all seemed to be going well until I tested the levers in the cab.  The centre and rear linkages jam - one rests on top of some bolts on the other, and refuses to budge.  This didn't used to happen, so I must have done something wrong.  Everyone decided that we'd done amazingly well, and we better leave these so we have something to do tomorrow!

Thursday 12th
David, Gil, John and Bruce pressed on.  They fitted the RHS brake linkages which allowed Bruce to measure the space between each hanger (brake block pivot point) and the wheel.  This enabled them to do a best fit between the thickness of brake block to space available for it!  Needless to say, the one brake block fitted on Wednesday had to come off!  Then there are the "bottle screws" that adjust each set of brakes on each side.  These are a fiddle to do.  You have to rotate the bit in the middle, which screws in/out both ends. Then there's a little wedge to jam in to stop it rotating while in service.

The errant centre damper linkage was removed.  David will weld the two sections together (they are currently bolted together, which is what is causing it to jam against the right-hand damper linkage).  Gil suggests the cause is that the recent changes to the ash pan lowered the damper position, and hence the two linkage rods now collide.

The connections twixt loco and tender were all joined up.  So, good progress again!

Friday 13th
John & Gil concentrated on the eccentric straps on the LHS.  They'd got those fitted by about lunchtime [see photo].  Then they tackled the RHS.  This needed the expansion link fitting first, which is a tad heavy, so it did take the three of us to persuade it to go on.  This is the one with the newly riveted die block.  After all that hard work in the heat of the day, we felt it was only fair to leave the rest for the Saturday gang - otherwise they'd have nothing to do!

I spent much of the day inside the firebox.  Firstly, I managed to stretch the aluminium paint to cover all of the rivet heats around the foundation ring.  This is heat resistant to 400 degrees, and is supposed to afford some protection to the metal.  Then I fitted the grate - with the help of John initially, and Jamie [Loco Dept] later.

I also fitted the rear sanding pipes, after inspecting the mechanism and ensuring that the mechanics of it do work correctly.

Meanwhile, Carpo and Jamie were "boxing up" the boiler.  Having fitted the lower mudhole doors and wash-out plugs, Carpo decided to put the hose in one of the upper mud holes to begin filling the boiler with water [see photo].  He had hopes of lighting a fire on Saturday.  A steam test is planned for Monday.  However, the safety valves need fitting first!

Saturday 14th
Bruce, David, John, Ray and I pressed on with the work.  Fred popped in at lunchtime, having felt lonely at Winchcombe, working on the siphon van alone.  Geof tottered in gingerly, just as we had finished - good to see him mobile.

Bruce and I tackled the RHS eccentrics.  We'd done the straps and rods by tea break.

David welded the centre damper operating rod, where the existing bolts were fouling another rod.  Bruce and I later fitted it and checked the operation of the dampers.

I messed around with the front sanding mechanism.  In the end, thought we might have originally fitted two of the operating rods the wrong way round, so I swopped them over.  That did appear to improve things, though we'll have to wait and see if they do work properly now.

David had to remove the RHS expansion link (that we fitted yesterday, and to which Bruce & I had fitted the eccentric rods this morning) because the locknut was fouling an adjacent rod.  He shaved a few thou off and reassembled it.  David and Ray went round double-checking nuts (which is how he found that problem). They also fitted R-clips onto the brakes in place of ordinary split pins.

John claimed to be gopher, but actually assisted people all day on many items of work.  He finished by cutting bolts from a dozen rail chairs; p-way having delivered another pile for our use.

David went round oiling all of the motion.

Towards the end of the day, Carpo fitted the safety valves, and then said, "Light a fire, then".  So I did.  By now, we were all well nadgered.  Ray and John drifted off homewards, while we three sat absorbing the smoke in the cab.  Carpo was going to get the loco shunted round to fill up the tender with water.  Luckily we remembered, only just in time, that there are drain cocks in the tender tank which are left open all winter to avoid any water standing in the tank and freezing.  Bruce climbed down and shut three, but David remembered a fourth, and climbed down to shut that one!

Since there was no sign of a shunter (or Carpo) and we all had homes to go to … we went!

The plan:

Carpo will do some testing of the safety valves on Sunday.

Monday will be a formal steam test plus running-in trials up and down between Todders and Cheltenham.

Wednesday we need the brass bonnet fitting on top.

Thursday she's back in service!


Sunday 8 June 2014

Maintenance Update (boot scrapers, Tyseley, and rain)

Wednesday 4th
It rained all day, so I was not surprised that no one else turned up at Toddington.  I did a spot of painting for an hour, then adjourned.

After tea, an email arrived from Tyseley:
" the intermediate wheels have literally just been fitted ten minutes ago and the leaders are standing ready with their boxes to be fitted first thing in the morning. That then only leaves the assembly of springs, motion etc, and as such we consider that it should be ready for a lorry to collect first thing next Tuesday, leaving Monday to get it shunted out of the shed etc."

Friday 6th
Finally got through to Moveright, who could no longer do the transporting on Tuesday.  However, Alleleys could.  So, much phoning & emailing during the morning [so much for my Plan A for the day!] cancelling one and contracting the other!

I popped down to Todders to finish off a couple of ordered boot scrapers.  Discovered I'd run out of painted brushes.  Applied a first coat to a dozen brushes, then went for an hour's bike ride over the top of the hills.  By the time I got back, the brushes were ready for a second coat.  I'd also run out of 12mm wedges for them, so carved up some wood to fill in time!

Message from Tyseley:
"We now have the rods back on 2807 and it has been for its first trip outside the workshop. All appears fine, the engine rolls very well so all we need to do now is to refit the connecting rods and various small details and it will be ready for collection."

Saturday 7th
I needed to do some finishing off of boot scrapers.  It threw it down with rain just as I loaded them onto a trolley to take to the F&W and Coffee Pot.

Bruce popped in for a brief chat … then we both went home.

So: Tuesday is a goer for 2807 being back at Toddington;  Wednesday will be the first of several days dedicated to reassembling the bits.  We have to be in service for Thomas on 21st June - and I would hope we are in service sooner than that!


Sunday 1 June 2014

Maintenance Update (chairs, snake, die block, siphon and Tyseley)

Tues 27th
I called in at the Coffee Pot, to discover that they had just two boot scrapers left … and that two chaps in the BBC crew (who were wandering around the station) had bought those!

Weds 28th
If you've ever wrestled with a 98 ft snake, you'll know how Gilbert & I struggled on Wednesday.  The water supply to out TPO is a hosepipe from a stand pipe.  The hose is (was) actually four sections, and the joints often leaked; sometimes blew apart.  The hose itself tended to spring leaks … in fact, I don't think it was up to holding mains pressure!  So, we splashed out on a new 30 metre hose (10 year guarantee!).  It came coiled, didn't it!  We want it straight, don't we?  Unwinding it and feeding it through pipes, under rails, over the TPO buffers, behind the coupling, and up through a hole in the floor while the thing persisted in tying itself in knots …

Anyway, we finished the job; tested for leaks; fixed them, and buzzed off.

On the way out, I spoke with JC who conveyed the news from Tyseley, that they were not going to be finished by Friday … but probably by next Friday!

Just time, between showers, to replenish the boot scraper stock at the Coffee Pot.

Thurs 29th
I had an email from one of the BBC chaps, asking for a 1934 or 1964 boot scraper.  There was no such in the pile at Toddington, so I had a rummage around the yard at Winchcombe.  Pile after pile had mainly 1950s.  Then I found a 1964 (2-hole, "00" type).  No sign of any from the 1930s.  Finally, I clambered over to the very back, to the very last pile, and found some 1932 … which might suggest others from that period lurked nearby …  Hey, Presto!  One from 1934!

Friday 30th
Happily needle-gunning rail chairs, when Carpo came up to inform me that the hose had blown apart!  These bloomin' plastic connectors are just not up to holding mains pressure!  I had to insert a length of copper pipe plus four jubilee clips!  That appears to have sorted it … I hope !!!

Apart from that, two orders prepared and their bottoms blacked - 1934 for Alan Beech and October 1946 for Alan Tuggey.

Saturday 31st
David, Bruce and I all arrived within minutes of each other.  John T arrived shortly afterwards, having been to Winchcombe to work on the siphon van, but finding nobody there came to Todders.

David, Bruce and I played with the rivets on the die block.  David had made sure the block would slide freely when the side plate were riveted on.  He'd made the rivets, and now had the pleasure of bashing their heads.  Bruce played at Lucifer, and I just held things steady while the two of them did the hard work.  John played at being David Bailey.

David then ground off the protruding dome heads of the rivets, which is fine because they are counter-sunk.  They can't accidentally catch on anything in motion, then.

Various small jobs took our attention during the day: the hose sprang another leak at the join, but Bruce fixed that;  Someone had marked the right-hand eccentric rods as R1 and R2, but that didn't help identify which was the inside one, and which was the outside.  There followed some discussion over a diagram or two.  Then Bruce confirmed with … I can't remember who (JC? Carpo? John H?).  Anyway, the rods are now marked inner/outer and upper/lower!

John and Bruce tackled some rail chairs.  I fitted brushes to some that were already painted, then ran out of wedges.  So, I made a few more wedges, and David and John watched to see how it is done.

Bruce played with the largest of our R-clips.  The last ones that he bought turned out to be a tad hard to fit - requiring the use of a mallet to get them to clip on.  We decided that such strength was not necessary.  Bruce will probably get some of the easier-to-use ones.

David had been asked to make, and weld up, some brackets for the siphon woodwork, which he duly did.

There's no more news on progress at Tyseley.  David will chase them during the week.  My guess (hope?) is that the will complete the work by Friday 6th June.  We then have to see when the haulier can fit us in to return 2807 to Toddington.  With luck it might be Tuesday 10th?  I'll let people know as soon as I know myself!