Thursday 27 November 2014

Maintenance Update (valves, rings, lake)

Saturday 22nd
Graham joined us to work on 2807.  Several other people from the Loco Dept also joined in because it was so exciting!  There were enough people to work on both sides simultaneously - removing running boards, inspection flaps, valve covers, and finally the valves themselves.

The RHS came out first, and did not seem to be in a bad way.  The rear valve head was as dry as a bone, which supported Bruce's theory that the current lubrication method at the rear is ineffective. The liner does not appear to be scored at all, and only the smallest faults exist on the valve head rings.

When the LHS came out, you could see immediately the huge area of the front head's ring that had disintegrated (see photo).   Gilbert adds: "Subsequently, further examination revealed that the valve head was loose on the spindle and that the location nut had a crack adjacent to the taper pin hole."

Furthermore, there was a lake inside the valve chest.  There should not be standing water in here!  It transpired that the drain (down to the middle drain cock) was completely blocked.  It could have been the presence of this water that contributed to the head failure.

Gilbert continues: "The back cover was removed from the valve cylinder to enable the rear liner to be inspected, and to allow internal measurements to be taken for the back liner. As before, it was necessary to remove the auxiliary crosshead slide rails and the piston rod lubricator from the top of the Slide-bars in order to remove this cover."

Since we are half-way though the 10-year ticket (near enough) the decision was taken to get new rings and fit the new valve spindles (that we have already purchased).  The new spindles are case hardened to reduce wear - wear that we had discovered on the existing spindles a year ago.

Sunday 23rd
I popped down to paint some of the lettering on the chairs in the boot scraper production line. Maurice had pinched one of my cardboard notices (that says what colour to paint rail chairs) and had attempted to drag it into his hole!  It won't go in.  I left it - it will keep him amused.

Monday 24th
Gil, Bruce & I arrived at Todders circa 09.30, to load up the old valves plus the new valve spindles into Gil's car for taking to Tyseley.  Gil reports that after a brief consultation with Carpo and a chap from 5542 about wear and ovality, and if a re-bore is required, "the clear advice which emerged was to fit new rings to suit the existing measured bores. In view of the fact that we have run approx. 20,000 miles on the rings which have now failed, it was predicted that a set of replacement rings might well last until the expiry of the current boiler ticket".

Gil, Bruce & I loaded the old valves plus the new spindles into Gil's car, and he & Bruce set off for Tyseley.  David joined them at Tyseley.  Bob & Alistair Meanly (Tyseley) examined the valves and Gil says, "that they expected to be able to rebuild the valves onto our new valve spindles within a period of about two weeks.  David will collect the two auxiliary crossheads from Toddington on Wednesday and deliver them to Tyseley so that they can be fitted to the new valve spindles. This will help to position the valves relative to the crossheads and maintain the existing valve timing".

Tuesday 25th
Rain curtailed my gardening, so I popped down to fit brushes to chairs, and ensure we have enough ready to restock Winchcombe and Toddington for the Santa period - which starts this weekend!

Wednesday 26th
Bruce & David arrived first.  Bruce spent much of the morning with the chaps who were inspecting and approving (or not) all the lifting gear.  Pete [Loco Dept] joined us and started steam-cleaning various bits of the loco.  David had a go at cleaning the valve convers, cladding and the valve links - some of the paint went AWOL on the cladding as he did it!

I arrive mid-day, but seemed to do little before we broke for lunch.  The bits that David cleaned were moved into the TPO for safe keeping (and/or re-painting).  Bruce pored over diagrams and measured the seals in the valve covers.

Tyseley had asked for the valve spindle crossheads to be sent up to enable them to align the new valves exactly to the old ones, thereby maintaining the existing valve settings.  We figured that they might also need the corresponding valve slide bars for the crossheads, so David & Bruce took them all into David's car for transporting to Tyseley.

Mike & I tackled the LHS cylinder cover retaining nuts.  We want to inspect the cylinder liner to ensure no damage has been caused by the fragments of valve ring.  However, we couldn't remove the cylinder cover because it needs some lifting tackle.  Whilst our tackle is good for lifting, the release mechanism was seized, so it wouldn't lower!  David decided to have a go at unseizing it, and I assisted him (mainly by holding things as he hit them or squirted Plus Gas at them!).  It took some puzzling, but he did it!  And the Tackle Inspector was most impressed!

Finally, I assembled the last 5 boot scrapers before it was time to go.

Next Saturday, we should be able to remove the cylinder front cover; also the centre drain cock pipe needs cleaning out.  The old bushes need removing from the valve covers and the new ones fitting. So, there's still plenty to do!


Sunday 23 November 2014

Maintenance Update (chairs, rings)

Sunday 16th
I picked up half-a-dozen rail chairs from Winchcombe and took them to Todders.  Stumbled upon a 1940 one and recalled Jane mentioning getting a 1940 one for her father's birthday.  Painted six undercoats; fed the mouse, and buzzed off home.

Monday 17th
Toddled off to the surgery to drop a letter in, and on the way back happened to pass Jane's house.  So, I thought I might as well pop in and mention the 1940 rail chair.  Jane was quite excited about it. However, she's already got her father a Christmas prezzie, so could give it to him for his birthday in February. "Well, well", quoth I …. that 1940 chair happens to be February 1940 !!!  Jane exclaimed, "It was obviously meant to be!"

Todders was like the Marie Celeste!

One fresh issue raised, but is almost a repeat of Issue 37:  "Left rear drain cock not always closing" [IW];  (37 was left front drain cock sticking).  All drain cocks ought to be cleaned out, as it is likely to be grot inside jamming the valve.

Slapped a top coat on the six and then, joy-of-joys, had eleven black bottoms to paint!  Fed the mouse, and buzzed off home.

Tuesday 18th
Lovely day - sun shone; would have gone for a bike ride, but came down with a cold & sore throat on Monday.  Popped down to paint the lettering on the six, instead.  F&W was open, so I restocked the boot scraper trolley.  Fed the mouse. It started to rain, so buzzed off home.

Wednesday 19th
John tackled an issue whereby the ejector in the cab was sometimes leaking-by.  It was decided to remove the ejector front and examine the internals.  Removing the handle proved to be a something of a challenge, as it refused to come off!  Eventually (after lunch, I think) John won, and then once the thing was apart, it became obvious that the valve inside was not seating properly.  In fact, two high spots were visible, meaning that it was possibly only ever about half shut.

Bruce was concerned about 2807's beat, as it had chuffed up & down recently.  He puzzled over what might cause the beat to vary, and began examining all of the links and components in the valve gear. He discovered a loose nut, which led to the discovery of a loose taper pin connecting to the rocking shaft.

Bruce and Gilbert dismantled the links and mused over what the pin ought to look like (as opposed to what it does look like!).  It became clear that the taper part of the pin was loose in its tapered hole such that it was going in right tight up to the shoulder.  While the errant nut was tight, the shoulder was holding the pin OK, but the strain of the motion must have gradually loosened the nut.  Then the taper was not holding it rigid.

I decided that, since there had been two reports of cylinder drain cocks failing to close properly, the drain cocks needed to be cleaned out.  It is likely that grot inside the body is jamming the plunger.

Starting with the left rear (which was the most recent report) it became clear what had caused the problem - fragments of a piston ring (probably from the piston valve) were inside the body!  Not good news.  Even more not-good news was that I found a further fragment in the right-hand side … and the fragments could not migrate from one side to the other, which means there's a broken ring in both sides!

As B&G were already playing with the RHS valve gear, we decided to start by taking that valve out, so I started to remove the front cladding followed by the nuts securing the valve cover.  That's the easy part.  The rear cladding can only be removed after taking off an oil pot.  Meanwhile, B&G had removed the link between rocking shaft and valve rod.  By now it was 3.15 pm, and there was no way we would get the valve piston out before dark.  So, we decided to pack away and restart on Saturday.

However, this does mean that 2807 will not be in service for a few weeks (at best) … depending on what we find and what is needed to fix it.  We will not be in service again this year, so we might as well start on winter maintenance.

Thursday 20th
Nipped in to fit brushes to the six completed chairs.  We now have a few in case of late Christmas present requests.  Fed Maurice, of course.

Friday 21st
Slapped a primer coat on 7 green (GWR) chairs plus 4 red (BR. LMS & MR).

Saturday 22nd
We had heaps of help from Loco Dept guys, and removed both valves.  The LHS was badly disintegrated!  Also, it revealed that the LHS centre drain cock (drains the steam chest of the valve) was totally blocked.  I'll explain more + photos in a subsequent post, as there is already lots in this one.

Gil is going to contact Tyseley to see about getting new valves assembled.


Sunday 16 November 2014

Maintenance Update (welding, cleaning, painting)

Wednesday 12th
The major task of today was to patch up the gap in the ash pan.  Second to that was to couple the loco and tender, because she was due for service on Friday.

In order to do other things, the loco had to be over the pit, so Gil, Bruce & John helped to align the three links between loco and tender as the loco was pressed up against the tender buffers and the links engaged.

Once the loco was over the pit, carefully positioned so that there was room to clamber down the front of the pit and the water was drained out of the pit, Bruce & John were able to go underneath.  They hooked up the hoses (vacuum, water & steam heat) between loco and tender.

David had come down to do the welding on the ash pan.  To fill the width-wise gap needed several pieces of metal 17" wide and a couple of inches broad.  Because the split was on an angle above the damper door, this mean welding one piece vertically, one of the top (kind-of horizontal, and then more to bridge the uneven gap between them  Poor David spent most of the day inside the firebox doing the welding!

At some point, David found time to check the weld on the smokebox door handle.  It seemed that the handle had simple come apart from its boss, rather than having broken.  So, he tidied that up.

Meanwhile, Gil was on the footplate keeping an eye on David (in the firebox) and acting as gopher. In the attached, you can see that all of the rear fire bars had to be removed, and David was standing in the bottom of the ash pan to do the welding.  Because of the fumes, a big orange sucker had to be inserted, and Gil was in charge of the sucking.

Bruce and John sought out the marks that we had painted on the wheels & their tyres before going to NYMR to check that the tyres had not slipped on the wheels while up there.  Eventually, the marks were found (under the muck) and all is well.

Clive (Loco Dept) was so ashamed of the filthy state of the loco that he set to with brush and cleaner, and smartened up the wheels, cross-head and motion.

Where was I while this going on?  Ah, well, as it was not raining I decided to clean six rail chairs ….

As David was finishing welding and putting the fire bars back in, I was able to carry out the "standard" pre-light-up checks - Carpo was to do a steam test on Thursday, in readiness for operational use on Friday; this meant a warming fire was needed today!  Several nuts on mudhole doors were loose (as is commonplace), and there is a bit of damp in two corners of the firebox, but nothing else to worry about.

So, as soon as David was out, I laid a small fire in the centre of the rear section and set it alight.  The Yorkshire coal (still some in the tender) caught rapidly.  While the fire took hold, I went for a cuppa.  It was nearly 5pm by now.  While sitting in our TPO supping my tea and munching a couple of Chocolate Digestives, guess who should visit?  Maurice!  I've never actually seen Maurice before - only left out food for him.  He popped up through a hole in the floor; scurried behind the bucket (that catches rain ingress) and behind the radiator; and straight up to his food.  I'd left water plus two x quarters of Chocolate Digestive.  He didn't seem to be interested in the water, but grabbed a quarter biscuit in his mouth and scurried off out again!  He looked so funny carrying this relatively huge piece of biscuit as he scampered across the floor.  If only I'd got the camera ready … By the way, he's a field mouse.

By 5.30, the fire was settling down nicely, so I banked it up (though this coal contains an awful lot of slack); carried out the final checks, and left 2807 (and Maurice) for the night.

Friday 14th
The weather after noon was superb, so I pedalled off round the Cotswold hills; flew down Stanway Hill (touched 31 mph at one point), and called in at Toddington to feed Maurice.

2807 was sat over the pit, simmering away.  In the TPO, I put down some more biscuit, and then set to at my favourite job - painting black bottoms!

Just for the excitement of it, I also tackled a coil spring.  Now, how do you paint the inner surface of the coils?  That was a challenge set by JC.  I might just have cracked it - let's see how it looks tomorrow!

2807 whistled a couple of times (so it was on the move).  Word has spread around the yard that we have some feeler gauges, and a chap called Len, from the Manor group, popped his head in the TPO and asked for a borrow!  Maybe we should instigate a lending system - card operated, like libraries used to do some decades ago?  Also need to weld the symbols "2807" onto everything that's moveable!

Saturday 15th
There were no new issues listed on the log following yesterday's race train, and 2807 was again in service on Saturday.  Bruce kept an ear out as she went by, just to make sure that everything sounded OK.

As there was nothing else for us to do and the weather was fine, we tackled a few more rail chairs.  We forced ourselves to stop at eleven chairs - mustn't set expectations too high!

Apart from that, I completed painting the spring in red primer.  JC delivered some pipe couplings to fit the tender/loco water/vacuum connections and make it easier to disconnect (and connect up) when parting the loco from tender.  Len returned the feeler gauges plus gave us a photo of 2807 taken at Shrewsbury and suggested we go to the SVR's photo/postcard event in January.

Just as I was leaving, Cliff mentioned that since we had the Tyseley work done on 2807 she is the best engine in the Toddington fleet to drive!  Praise indeed.


Monday 10 November 2014

Maintenance Update (NYMR, ash pan, link, Maurice,

Anyone notice how the only references to NYMR's gala in Steam Railway magazine featured 2807?  See page 109 in November's edition.

Defects recorded (by NYMR) when she arrived back at Toddington were:
- Cab step bent due to winching loco & tender together.
- Brake blocks thin.
- Fire bars badly burned & warped.
- RHS piston packing blowing.
- Rear ash pan screen heat damaged.
- Slacker pipe (AKA "pep" pipe) blowing by.
- Vacuum brake sometimes draws 25/25 instead of 22/25.
- Sounding off beat at times.

Saturday 8th
It rained.  2807 was over a pit, but you couldn't get into the pit because 2807 was over it.  In due course, Mark Young came and did some shunting for us.  Plan A was to squeeze loco & tender together using the shunter to push and handbrake + chocks to hold the tender.  The whole thing just slid along the wet & greasy rails!  Plan B then pushed loco & tender up to coaches in the siding and use them to squeeze up against.  That worked, then loco was pulled back over the pit, leaving room to clamber down the steps into the pit … which was full of water.

Before this I had slid into the firebox to check out the fire bars and clean out the ash.  I had to get out and assist with the shunting, but then scrambled back inside again (at least it was dry in there!).  There were two bars missing and one too badly worn to use, so we had to replace these three.  There were two suitable ones at the side of the pit and the third was on the tender … down the siding.

While in there, I could see that the rear section of the ash pan had gone all religious.  Gil got underneath to confirm that there is an enormous hole running the width of the rear section.

The excitement of the day, however, was unbending the bent link.  Bruce The Sleuth figured out that NYMR had failed to get the pin through the slot in this linkage, resulting in the link becoming jammed against the pin and as the loco traversed pointwork, the link was bent .. first one way, and then the other.  So, 2807 had run the whole time without this link in place between loco and tender.  Clive acted as Lucifer, while Bruce (after training from myself) was pyrotechnician (i.e. lit the flame).  We ran out of oxygen … took the empty cylinder back to the cage … there was no new full cylinder there!  Clive found one from someone who had been using it but had gone to lunch, so heating recommenced.  Well, once he (or was it John) found the reset switch on the gas blow-back-prevention-valve, that had triggered when the flame exploded because of the oxygen problem.

Anyway, the three of them managed to straighten the link and also open out the slot at the one end where the damage had caused it to close up a shade.

Meanwhile, feeling a tad spare, John & I retired for lunch.  While make the drinks, I noticed that the three pieces of chocky biscuit that I put down for Maurice first thing this morning had disappeared!  While we were in the workshop, Maurice had taken his biscuits.

When the link cooled down, Bruce discovered that the slot was still not wide enough on its full length, so while he & Gil & John went back to check underneath the loco, I opened out the gap and then slapped black paint on the link.  BG&J reported back that they could see nothing amiss.  One NYMR comment about the leaves of one spring being out of alignment didn't seem to be a problem.  They couldn't see the marks that they had painted on the wheels & tyres before going to NYMR - this had been done to check that the tyres had not slipped round the wheels due to the heavy haulage while at NYMR.

I remembered that I had only loosely fitted the nuts to hold the bell cover in place, so went and tightened those.  And that was about it for the day.

At the Winchcombe end, Colin reports:

" I thought that we would go and help Fred at the siphon today as everyone might be getting 2807 back to working order after its holiday, and right I was - Fred was on his own, outside with rain running on him trying to fit a strip of wood by the recently fitted door post.  In the end he gave up as it was raining so hard, so he started measuring up the first of the new door frames ready for cutting.

Ann had a very bad cough.  Although willing, she thought it would be better not to breath in the paint fumes and the dust that Fred created working on the door frames so she sat in the car with the dog.

I started painting in the corner nearest Toddington that had first been repaired with an off-white paint which will be close to the finish we want unless someone knows that it should be a different colour -- rose pink perhaps!

Anyway it took two, sometimes three, coats to cover the dark brown and dark grey we had put on as undercoat.  In the event it now looks pretty neat; it's all one colour and amazingly light and is really beginning to look the part .

It did dry up later and Fred carried on outside and I  finished early to take the patient home into the warm.  How the guys on the engine handled the rain I cannot imagine: it was horrible well done them!"

Sunday 9th
Before the Remembrance Day Parade in Winchcombe, I nipped down to Todders to paint the other side of the missing link.  The loco had been pushed up against the tender, but not coupled.  She was also being drained of the remaining Yorkshire water.

We will press on on Wednesday, and get her ready for service on the race day trains.


Wednesday 5 November 2014

2807 comes home!

Monday 3rd
I popped down for an hour to complete our stock-taking.  Our Teddy Bears were disguised as FLA books, hidden in boxes on the FLA shelf!

While there, I painted lettering on the chairs and then assembled some of the boot scrapers.  With the railway closed for November, I would not expect to sell many boot scrapers …..

Tuesday 4th
Brian received news plus a message from NYMR:

Brian comments: " I think the email below is an amazing acknowledgement of what CSPL has done, and continues to do, to keep GWR2807 in service.

Feeling  proud, very proud!"

The message from NYMR: " I have to say we are sorry to see 2807 leave, it has been a big hit with all concerned, from crews to shed staff and to our ops people as a model of reliability and a real horse for our demanding course. I believe Clive and others have extended the invitation to make another visit in the future. You will be very welcome."

Shortly followed by:

Brian (again): " I have just heard that Allelys have turned up today to pick up 2807. Clive and I have delayed them from loading the loco until after 3pm today. she will be back at the GWSR sometime tomorrow 5th Nov!"

Wednesday 5th
GWSR has asked that 2807 be positioned facing south when she returns.

I arrived circa 10.30, and 2807 was already tucked up in the yard.  I resisted the temptation to go and have a look, because brushes needed sanding and painting for boot scrapers.

By 12.30, being on my own, I figured I might as well go home, so switched everything off and headed for the car park …. whereupon I spied a tender with Clive clambering all over it, doing an inventory; So, I felt obliged to join in!

We searched all the nooks & crannies and found most of the things that went up to NYMR with 2807, but we couldn't find: chimney cap, short rake, coal pick, hand brushes, broom.  It transpired that Brian had already brought the coal pick back (possibly too dangerous to leave one with a Yorkshireman .. dunno?)

The only visible damage is to one of the links that connect the tender and loco.  It would appear that a heavy bit of shunting once the loco and tender had been separated caused the one link to get jammed up against the buffer, and become mildly modified in profile.

There's quite a list of issues found, but many of them were trivial and  fixed at NYMR.  They bent the RHS cab step by using a winch to pull the tender and loco together to couple them up when she arrived there.  You wouldn't notice unless it was pointed out.  Quite how they managed to break the handle on the smokebox door is a mystery, as it is the handle that locks the dart in place, and needs no force to turn it … provided you've undone the outer (locking) handle!

They lost a couple of the R-clips that are used to secure the ash screens in place .. despite us chaining them to the ashpan so that they couldn't lose them!  :-(

There's not a lot of meat left on some of the brake blocks!  In fact, on the record sheets, they had to adjust brakes quite often.

Bruce popped in out of curiosity, and spent ages inspecting various bits -especially the lubrication of the cylinder valve spindles (which is different on each of the 3 GWR locos at Toddington!).  We think that the lubrication pipes on the rear of ours are ineffective because they drip oil too far away from the gland to ever reach it during normal rod movement!  Anyway, that on the RHS of the Manor looks as though at best it will only lubricate one side of their rod.

I found the bell housing - it was in a toolbox.  I have loosely fitted it, just to keep the weather out of the pony pivot pin.

According to the NYMR record sheets, 2807 did 30 steamings up there (excluding the steam and clearance test before their gala).

… sold one boot scraper.

All hands to the loco on Saturday, then?


Sunday 2 November 2014

Feedback from NYMR, and bootscrapers

Feedback from NYMR via Brian:
"I have spoken with the NYMR most days this week to arrange the return dates in November. This has been confirmed as 5th Nov loaded onto the lorries at the NYMR to be returned to GWSR on the 5/6 November.

The loco has run every day without major issues since 20/10/2014.

A couple of little maintenance issues:

-    The handle for the smoke box became detached, broken weld - This has been welded by the fitters and is reported as all OK

-    A lubrication line became detached. this has been fixed and all others check with no issues.

I have spoken with the NYMR team at various time since the 20th and with Clive Goult today. They are very pleased with the loco and threatening to keep it and send the a blue A4 in replacement and hope we don't notice!"

And re the Mid Hants Railway: " asked about 2807 going to them in the near future may be this time next year for the Autumn Gala. They had seen the you tube footage of 2807 and some of their team had seen her perform at the NYMR too. And the Nunney team helped by saying that 2807 was a very very impressive loco!!"


Monday 27th
An hour's boot scraper painting.  Almost got caught out by the clock change - it gets dark early, and I've no lights on my bike!  I could hear the Manor whistling in the distance - presumably a charter?

Wednesday 29th
Miserable weather, so Bruce & I continued with the painting.  When I arrived home, there was a message to say that the café on Winchcombe station had just sold their last boot scraper!

Thursday 30th
The F&W had sold five by this morning, so a bit of frantic assembling of boot scrapers was necessary, and re-stocking the two cafés.

Saturday 1st November
Bruce arrived early and painted a top coat on the rail chairs in the production line.  I boxed up two completed boot scrapers, and the two of us tackled a Stock-Take of our sales items.  As we have no one who is willing to run our sales stall, we are closing down the CSPL Sales operation, and I hope that we can persuade the GWSR shop to take some items off of our hands.  I think it will take them a while to sell the 500 2807 postcards that we seem to have!  We gave up counting pens (they appeared from several places) and just estimated there to be >80.  All of the bears had gone AWOL.  We couldn't find them anywhere!  Gilbert thinks that they are hiding in cardboard boxes, so I'm off on the hunt tomorrow.

Steve turned up after his FLA meeting and assisted with the stock-take.  Richard (FLA) popped in to pick up the pile of coins that staff at the Coffee Pot café had saved for us during the year.  There were 775 coins (I ought to set a quiz: how much do you think they added up to?).

As far as we know, 2807 operated successfully today at NYMR, and is scheduled to be in service on Sunday - the last day of their season.

2807 is expected to be back here on Thursday; and Saturday we shall be concentrating on fixing things that we don't know about yet!  She's down to do race trains a week later, so there may well be minor issues to clear up over the forthcoming weekend.  See you then?