Sunday 17 August 2014

Maintenance Update (chairs, weights, fire, extra Monday)

Wednesday 13th
Gil & Bruce were there first.  2807 was in service, so there was little for us to do.  Gil disappeared after a cuppa.

We discussed what might be possible on Monday, and what might not.  Gil has made a list (in the TPO) of things to be worked on on Monday.

I painted the bottoms of the rail chairs, and finished off one that is an order (for a Mike who lives in Bristol).  Bruce went in search of a spring for the steam heating relief valve (several had been bought previously, I believe).

Bruce & I examined the wheel weights on the ex-Barry 2874 in the yard, and came to the conclusion that it would be close to impossible for a weight to fall out; and clearly weights are inserted to balance individual wheels; hence a "missing one" is simply where no weight was needed in the first place!  So the issue raised by a certain GWSR driver about one missing on 2807 is a load of ….… and allegedly, regarding the "black oil" in the tender axleboxes, it was suggested that we change the driver rather than the oil.  ;-))

Friday 15th
One new issue logged:
29 : Y-splitter isolation cock to lube coil on top of fountain back nut leaking.
{This is actually a repeat of issue 3}

I popped down to check on the fire in 2807.  Dan had done a splendid job in the morning!  However, there was no sign of a fireman or fire lighter for the 42xx.  So, I "volunteered" to light that. since I was there!  It was already quite hot, but I had to clamber through the fire hole and into the firebox to scrape out the ash & clinker.  You have to lift out a couple of fire bars to do this, then scrape the ash into the ashpan.  Carrying out the standard pre-light-up checks, I discovered that the nuts on four of the mud-hole doors were able to be undone by hand; not good, because they could (in theory) work loose and drop off.  So, I nipped those up, and lit a small fire.  Just enough to keep her warm over night.

Saturday 16th
As today was cancelled, I expected to be alone … and I was.

Yesterday's fireman (who should have been lighting up 4270) thanked me for doing his job for him - he had been on hols, and forgot that he should have been putting in a warming fire!

2807 was chuffing up & down, sounding wonderful.  There is a real 'spit' to the vacuum relief valve as she coasts into Todders station (must be the over-efficient vacuum pump!).

I slapped some paint on the tops of the rail chairs, and topped up the stock of boot scrapers in the two cafes.  I also moved our spark arrester into an obvious position, as this is required to be fitted before toddling off to Yorkshire.

Unfortunately, I shall not be able to join the gang on Monday.  The weather looks OK; though it could rain about lunchtime.  Hopefully, someone will let us know how they get on.



Monday 11 August 2014

Maintenance Update (sand, chairs, video, headboard)

Monday 4th
Have I mentioned sand, by any chance???  We believe that NYMR use sanding equipment on their locos, so we need to ensure ours is fully functional.  You can only test using the correct grade of sand; Mansfield Sand Co Ltd do it, and it's only £2.50 per 25kg bag;  except that they only delivery it by the ton.  We could buy a ton and hopefully sell-on some to other users.  Loco Dept suggested that perhaps they should buy it for use within all groups.  However, Loco Dept decided that they don't actually use sand(ing equipment) so wouldn't buy any.  But the diesel guys have a light-weight shunter that could benefit from improved grip, so they might buy some sand ….  Forgive my scepticism, but we need time to test, and rectify issues if necessary, before going to NYMR.  Diesel guys might not be too bothered until the frosts come.

By sheer chance, my cousin had organised a get-together while her brother was over here from Oz.  Guess where she lives?  No - but close!  Mansfield is only 12 miles from her house.  I Googled the sand co and dropped them an e to say I was coming.  When I arrived at Nottingham, I checked Mary's mobile (I still use her phone if I need one - which can be disconcerting for anyone who leaves a voice message) and they had replied "Go to Ratchet Hill Quarry on Southwell Lane".

Neither my cousins nor their various family members had heard of it.  Obviously (!) Southwell Lane would run from Mansfield to Southwell, so off I set.  Having spotted no road sign saying "Southwell" before reaching Mansfield, I decided to call in at the office that Google had shown me.  It is a small, mildly ornate building on the edge of an abandoned and overgrown quarry, in the middle of a housing area.  In front of the low building is a concrete apron … but no cars.  The building looked distinctly uninhabited.  Cautiously, I tested the front door, and sure enough it opened .. to reveal a second door with "buzzer".  I buzzed, and asked how to get to Ratchet Quarry.  A very kind lady nipped out and gave me a piece of paper with directions on it.  She said that she couldn't direct me, but she believed that it was easy to find!

Left out of the gate; right at the T-junction; past two sets of traffic lights and a garage; left at the roundabout … sure enough, a Ratchet Hill Quarry sign.   Now, imagine a quarry, and you have the picture!  Massive sand cliff to my left.  Bits of machinery ahead, some portacabins, and … ah, "visitors car park".  I parked.  Next sign: Visitors must report to reception.  The first portacabin was labelled "Reception", but was in total darkness.  The second turned out to be the loos … which was handy!  Crossing the road, I spotted a cabin with a light on, and in it was a chap leaning back in his chair, hands behind his head.  Obviously hard at work thinking about his next task.

I explained that I had come to buy 2 bags of sand, and mentioned the name of the guy with whom I have email correspondence.  He looked positively amazed, and asked what I wanted it for!  So, I explained … Gloucester .. trains … slippy rails …etc.  He was still mildly bemused, and said "It's hardly worth the paperwork!"  Methinks: Don't say I've come all this way and he won't sell me two bags!!!   "Where's your car?"  "In the car park".  "Go and wait by it".  I did, and a few moments later he arrived with bags.  So, I was able to turn up back at cousin's with a broad grin, after a successful mission accomplished!

Wednesday 6th
Loco was in service, so we couldn't play with our sand!

Bruce had arrived first, and very kindly began painting chairs with their top coats.  He completed 10 today.

I felt a bit spare.  I did the lettering on 4 chairs; escorted a Scottish couple (volunteers at Bo'ness) around the yard - they appeared to be "doing" as many of our preserved railways as possible before the border closes.  ;-)

Two new issues recorded:

23 Hydrostatic lubricator feeding when regulator closed. W-valve leaking by?
{In my & Bruce's view, this is not a bad thing!  It means lubrication is heading towards the cylinders all of the time!}

24 After light brake application, vac pump takes reservoir to 25, and then ejector won't bring train pipe to more than 24.
{apparently suggested that our vac pump is too effective!  It's easy to overcome by opening the relief valve (in the cab) momentarily and dropping the vacuum to 22, say.}

Popped in at Winchcombe in search of a May 1946 rail chair … no luck.  Had to show the chaps working on our siphon van how to use a chisel.

Saturday 9th
John T was busying himself cleaning rail chairs when I arrived.  As 2807 was still chuffing up & down, boot scrapering is about all we could do.  I replenished stocks at cafes (2 @ Winchcombe & 4 @ Toddington).  John cleaned 8 chairs, while I painted lettering and fitted brushes to the 10 that Bruce had top-coated on Wednesday.  Discovered a May 1946 in amongst them!

Sunday  10th
I forgot to note new issues, so popped down to see if/what was recorded:

25: This number has been missed out

26 Tender is sitting low at front (was checked at various places on line and on new pits).

27 RHS brake blocks have worn approx 1/2 as much more than LH side.
{This is because there are new ones on one side and the old ones remain on the other}

28 All tender boxes are full of very black oil.

For those who have not yet seen this, here's 2807 storming out of Winchcombe station:
courtesy of Steve P.

00 Scale Nameboard
Stuart has commissioned some Heavyweight Champion headboards for 2807 models (see photo attached).

He says:
" I have a very limited stock, so if you would like one, let me know a.s.a.p. They are £7 inclusive of P&p. They will come with full information about attaching to a loco. … It has taken nearly 5 months to get these made so a re-stock may also take as long, I have to wait until Fox are doing an etching re-order for their own items and they fit my small order in accordingly."

[btw you can see the 'real' headboard in the video - Steve]


Sunday 3 August 2014

Maintenance Update (supporters' day, boot scrapers, pep, caulk)

Saturday 26 July
I hadn't expected anyone to go playing on the Saturday before the Supporters' Special (anyway, it was my birthday), but John T did:

"As a result of your recent plea for help with rail chair cleaning, I went to Toddington today, despite it being a gala and parking in the field...

I managed to clean 8 chairs and remove bolts from as many more, before dehydration set in. It weren't half hot out there!

A chap called Bob Mason of P & O group called in and purchased a GWR chair that seemed spare. After deliberating over his purchase he asked if the year '46' could be painted to look like '48'. Gill and I agreed, but said we would leave to 'our artist', who would do a better job than either of us. So the chair is left on the bench with a note. Bob also asked for us to look out for a further 1948 GWR, so I've noted that on the board."

Ah-hah!  GWR 1948, eh?  Doesn't he know that on 1st January 1948 GWR was nationalised???

Sunday 27th
I toddled down mid-afternoon to light a fire.  Stuart arrived to touch up the numbers on the front buffer beam.

Monday 28th (28/07)
Supporters' Special Day!  The weather was fantastic, the food was exceptional (albeit that 200+ people came …. rather more than ever before, or that we were catering for!), the staff were brilliant, the crew were amazing, the events seemed to work well (apparently it was difficult dragging my granddaughter away from the model railway, where she was racing trains against my son, I gather!).  There were a couple of niggles that we can bear in mind for next time.  We've had lots of positive feedback.  I'll quote just one, from Dave Gill:

" I would like to pass on my own and my wife's  appreciation of all of your efforts yesterday. it was the first of the supporters days that we have been able to attend, and I can honestly say that we both enjoyed the day. I was privileged to enjoy a footplate ride and would like to say how friendly the crew and group members were. Many thanks for an enjoyable day."

The photos are courtesy of Peter Todd and Michael Howard.

Wednesday 30th
Two new issues logged by Jamie (the driver on Monday):
21 [JC]: Pep pipe valve leaking by.
22 [JC]: Balance weight sections trailing intermediate RHS loose.  LHS one section missing.

No.21 is caused by issue 10 (clack valves leaking back) which causes pressure in the pep pipe.  Normally, this hose  is only used for wetting coal (dust); though in my youth it was also used by firemen to squirt train spotters at the line side!  H&S won't allow that today.

No.22 is something we have known about and done nothing about … until today!  Bruce and Gilbert have been round all of the balance weights and caulked them, to make them tight.

Gil then painted them black (to match the wheels).  [He then forgot to clean the brush afterwards!]

The one missing may never have been there.  It has never been there while we've owned the loco.  It is possible that it was never needed .. but more likely BR lost it!

I busied myself painting four chair tops and the eight bottoms that John prepared for me on Saturday.  Begrudgingly, I painted the 1946 GWR boot scraper into a 1948 one.

Saturday 2nd August [John G's birthday]
'Twas a tad damp today.  I was on my own during the morning, and painted undercoat on the chairs that John T had so kindly prepared for me last week.  We now have 14 in the production line.

Gil & Fred joined me for lunch (having spent the morning at Winchcombe, moving steps about, to make safe access to the siphon in its new position.  2807 was storming away in the background!

After lunch, we were joined by others for a Board Meeting.

After scoffing a couple of fairy cakes, we all toddled off home.