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]


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