Wednesday 23 December 2015

Maintenance Update (flame, bitumen, truck)

Wednesday 16th
Gil & John T were largely laying down on the job.  We need to remove a bridge section that holds the pony pivot pin, in order to ream the holes out to a known size; and then make a new pin to suit.  Needless to say, this bridge is underneath the loco, which means either laying on the floor and working upwards; or hanging over arbitrary beams and dangling downwards!

All morning, they tried to undo first the lock nuts and then (if they'd have got that far) the main nuts.  No joy!  A flame thrower was considered.  JC [Loco Dept] had a go, and even he gave up.  I suggested a nut splitter.  "Have you got one?" asked JC.  Have we as heck!  … but a chisel is almost as good!  Several chisels later, and they could see some progress … but only then with the assistance of Ian Grant [Loco Dept].  Many thanks, Ian!

Meanwhile, John G was working on the boot scraper production line.  The cafes had sold 9 between them, last weekend, so we did a restock at Todders and John painted five rail chairs that were already in primer coat.  At other times during the day, he acted as general gopher assisting me and the nut cracker team.

Clive & Ade [Loco Dept] applied a coat of bitumen paint to the rear section of the tender top.  A second coat in the coal space is planned for Saturday.

I removed the RHS sand box, which enabled me to get the delivery pipe out.  I then puzzled over how to stop sand from escaping, as there seems to be a 1 mm gap between the central rod and its surrounding pipe … ample space for the sand to escape through.  In the end, Gil decided to order some new pipe of a diameter to match the central rod.

Bruce called in (with two eyes now synchronised) and looked for some metal with which to make a couple of discs to replace those that were the wrong sort over the pony lubrication points.  He also suggested that, since the bracket that held the (broken) oil delivery pipe is bent, wouldn't it be a good idea to straighten it before fitting the new components?  My first thought was to take it off and straighten it, but when I tested the first of four nuts, decided that today was one of those days when all nuts were in refusal mode.  So, with assistance from John G, I fabricated a beam-and-screw set up, to pull the bent bracket straight.  By going-home time, this seemed to be working.

Saturday 19th
David & Gil spent much of the day measuring every conceivable angle & dimension of the wheelset.  Partly to check for any almost-invisible differences; partly to enable Carpo to machine the axlebox underkeeps while the actual axle is away!  To that end, Gil had two templates machined to the exact size of the journals on the right- and left-hand ends of the axle.

The white metal in the axleboxes was in good condition apart from being too "long" - that is, it protruded further than necessary, which had caused a slight difficulty in lifting the box from the axle.  David skimmed the excess off.

David & Gil finally turned their attention to that bridge section under the loco, again.  Even with the might of JC's arm, those nuts will not move!  Applying a bit of heat would probably loosen them, but it is in a very dangerous position.  The flame could only be applied from underneath, which is a serious health risk - if anything went wrong, it would be extremely difficult to get out of the way quickly.  So, we are still considering the options.

Bruce popped in to demonstrate his improved eyesight.  I think he's got x-ray vision after his operation.  Anyway, he took more measurements for his "homework" concerning the bush in the pony frame and the oil delivery pipes.

Cliff & Clive, assisted by Donna,  [all Loco Dept] applied a second coat of bitumen paint to the tender coal space.

On Tuesday, Gil & Geof are taking the pony wheelset to South Devon for truing-up.  To prevent the wheels from turning en route, I knocked up a wooden plinth that will spread the load, support the wheel (as opposed to the flange) and support chocks to prevent the wheels from rolling (plus some blocks to prevent the chocks from slipping!).

To prevent the journals from rusting, I smeared thick grease all over them (didn't do my gloves any good!), wrapped cloth round them, then bin liners and taped it all up.

Apart from straightening the bent bar that holds the oil delivery thingy, I turned my attention to boot scrapers ... cleaning four rail chairs and painting their bottoms.

Monday 21st
Because there has been a mini rush on boot scrapers, I popped down to Todders to slap a primer on the tops of the Saturday four chairs.

P&O was chuffing up & down, apparently testing out the third cylinder.  Previously, it had been running on only two cylinders!

Tuesday 22nd
I arrived at 08.40 and just managed to get a crimson lake top coat on the LMS chair before Geof & Gil arrived in the GWSR pick-up truck.  Carpo drove the fork-lift, and lifted the pony wheels onto pallets in the back of the truck.  The wheels were chocked and strapped.  Even the chocks were nailed down!  We certainly don't want the wheels to go a-wandering en route to Buckfastleigh.

On the way home, I called in at Winchcombe station, where they had sold 4 boot scrapers … so, back to Todders to pick up four and do a restock!

Next work days:
Wednesday 23rd will be a low-key day.  I expect I'll pop down and carry on with boot scraper production.
Saturday 26th is cancelled as a work day. 
So, next real work day will be Wednesday 30 December.


Sunday 13 December 2015

Maintenance Update (pony, disc, sand)

Wednesday 9th
As it was a sunny day, we were able to put the pony outside.  Not out to grass, of course, but for a jolly good clean.

Meanwhile, there was much debate about that oil delivery pipe that had been snapped off in the dim & distant.  From the drawings that Bruce had found, what we had fitted was not correct anyway.  There appears to be a large disc that is pushed down onto the top cladding by the helical spring.  The drawing then says to insert rubber packing below that!  So we had a butcher's at the cladding piece, and, sure enough, there are signs of there being a large circular cover having sat on its top in the past.  You can just make out the impression of a ring around the hole in the cladding piece.

We had a look beneath the 38xx and also the 42xx to see what is there.  Yup.  A large disc.  Actually, one felt like a rubber disc, to me, whereas the other is shiny (brass or bronze, I guess).  We chewed over the options, and pored over the diagrams, and I think we've decided to make a pair of large rings out of brass (or similar).

Inevitably, neither of the drawing exactly matches our pony.  Ours closely resembles the diagram which shows coil springs (as "shock absorbers"), but ours has a rubber sandwich (like on the second drawing!).

Just out of interest (thinking about why the pony drifts to the left) I compared the pony wheel diameters …  :-)  …. you might have guessed!  The RHS wheel is approx 1/16" larger diameter than the LHS.

We rolled the pony back inside, and removed the tie-bars beneath the axleboxes.  This is necessary in order to drop the axleboxes out … well, you can't "drop" them, as they sit on top of the axle!  So, we need to lift the whole frame up off the axle, whereupon the boxes will swing round & drop off!  I recall well, the re-wheeling at Llangollen, and trying to keep axleboxes balanced on the top of their axles!

After doing all that we could, and wanting only to have some form of lifting gear, we were forced to adjourn.  There is a gantry .. in the far corner, behind Dinmore's tender, P&O, and the 55xx.  Some shunting is required to gain access, then we can wheel it round and tackle the lift.

Friday 11th
I popped down to do a couple of things.  First of all, I wanted to try to cut through the bush in the end of the pony truck, which would make it easier to press out.  With a new blade in the saw, this I achieved.

Secondly, I thought I'd do a second test of the pony wheel diameters.  I measured each wheel in two directions (at 90 degrees).  They are not far off being round!  There's only about 0.1 mm difference on each (which is probably within my measurement limits anyway).  However, the right-hand wheel is about 1.2 mm larger in diameter than the LHS.

Carpo very kindly rang up South Devon, who advised that the wheels do need to be turned down to remove this difference, otherwise the pony truck will veer to the left.  [… which it does!]

Saturday 12th
Having split the bush, it was easy to push out just using a lump hammer.  Gil was able to measure the internal diameter ready to order a new bush (i.e. with a "round" hole in the centre!).

John T, John G, David & Gil worked on the wheelset.  Careful lifting of the frame, pieces of wood beneath the axleboxes, and a touch of persuasion separated the frame from wheels.

The axleboxes were a fairly tight fit in the guides - probably a good thing (though Gil expressed concern that somehow they might have got twisted, and hence tight!  Ever the pessimist).  Photo: David & John T removing the lifting chains.

The white metal bearing surfaces are not bad.  One side thrust face is worn, where the drift to the left had applied more pressure to that surface.  The journals are in good condition, too.  Once apart, we could see that there is exactly the same number of rubbers in the LHS as in the RHS - it seems that the covers over them are different on each side (hence the apparent difference in height).

David and John T took the boxes outside and gave them a good clean.

Gil seemed to spend the rest of the day measuring things.  David had a go at removing the slide plates (the angled surfaces) which appear to be bolted down with counter-sink screws.  They wouldn't budge using an ordinary screwdriver, so David tried using an impact driver.  However, this was less than 100% successful, as the driver not only undid the screw, but promptly did it up again!  The mechanism's functionality is suboptimal.  David attempted to fix it, but gave up in the end.

Cliff & Clive [Loco Dept] spent the morning applying a layer of bitumen paint to the tender coal space.  Another coat will go on next Wednesday.

JC [Loco Dept] asked if we could do a bright red rail chair for next year's Santa Specials, so that the diesel rail car driver knows where to stop.  John G duly applied Signal Red to a chair.  I'll drop that down to Winchcombe today (Sunday).

Gil wants to measure the cylinder internals to check for wear, so John G removed the front cladding from the cylinder covers in readiness.

I have been slightly concerned about the RHS rear sandbox that permanently dribbles sand (provided the box started off with some in, of course), so I decided to investigate.  Removing the sandbox's bottom was a bit of a struggle - I think the protruding threads on the retaining bolts had suffered from being covered in sand.  John G toddled off and dug out 8 shorter bolts (which amazed both of us … not that he went, but that he found some!).  Buried in the sand I came across a spanner!

The delivery mechanism consists of an outer pipe with some slots in, and an inner rod with some lengthways recesses.  Turn the rod such that the recesses line up with the slots, and sand pours out.  Except that there is enough wear in the pipe that sand can squeeze between pipe and rod, and escape anyway!  Getting the rod part out was not too difficult, but the pipe part only comes out of the top of the box … and hits the running board before you can get it out.  This means that the whole sandbox has to come off.

But, one of the side bolts happens to also attach the battery box (batteries were used for the Automatic Warning System) .. so that has to come off, too!  … at which point, everyone else had gone home … so I did, as well.


Wednesday 11 November 2015

Maintenance Update (can, kettle, tap, solder)

Wednesday 11th
Well, we were expecting to have an awful lot to do in this one day, in order to get ready for a steam test tomorrow … When I arrived at 10.00, all of the inspection hole plugs had been fitted; all of the mud-hole doors had been fitted; even the grate had been replaced in the firebox.  I suspect that someone had been very busy yesterday … possible until late in the evening?

David came expecting to be hard at it all day, and couldn't find anything to do, so he painted an oil can.  So expertly was it finished, that he was given a second one to paint!

John T and Bruce started fitting the safety valves, and David joined in on that. Note the spacer wedged in above the spring - this is to stop the tightening at the point at which the valve blows off at the correct pressure (or not, as the case may be).  The rest of us were almost at a loss knowing what to do!  Gilbert fitted the ferrules round the plugs in the cab, and replaced the small section of floor.  I put the kettle on!

Carpo popped into the TPO to tell us that the boiler inspector was most impressed with our loco on Monday; gave it a clean bill of health, and gave his opinion that the boiler was good for lasting out the 10 year 'ticket'.  Good news.

At 11.00 we held a 2 minute silence in the TPO (apart from the noise of the kettle).

John G tackled the rail chairs, applying an enamel top coat to 8.  John T assembled the gauge frame (in the cab) and fitted it.  At this stage, the boiler was filling with water, and John H [Loco Dept] was keeping an eye on the level for us.

Having just about run out of things to do, Bruce offered to lap-in the safety valves on 4270.  His offer was eagerly snapped up!  David then assisted Bruce, and once lapped, they fitted the valves.

Bruce had had great trouble removing the safety valve bonnet from 4270, and asked John T to run a tap through the bolt holes to clean them up.  This he did, and then checked how much clearance there is between the side tanks and cladding by dropping a tap down there.  Gilbert checked below, and sure enough it fell right through.  :-)

After lunch, I watched over John H and Martin C [both Loco Dept] as they carried out all of the pre-lighting checks and then lit a warming fire in 2807.

David had previously taken an oil can home to re-solder where it had been leaking.  Today, he ended up taking another one home to repair similarly!

John T ran out of things to do, so cut off bolts from some of the rail chairs in the pile.  John G noticed that the Flag & Whistle had only one boot scraper left on the trolley, so he & I restocked that.  Bruce & David discussed various options for replacing the copper pipe between Y-splitter and condensing coil, where there is a very sharp bend (that has now split).  Looking at that in 4270, the Y-splitter is fitted directly onto the steam fountain (aka header), whereas ours has a sort-of adapter between them (hence making it closer to the cab roof, with less room for a comfortable bend in the pipe).

Martin C & John H banked up the fire, and we called it a day.

Thursday is planned to be a steam test.  Assuming all goes well, 2807 will be in service on Friday and Saturday conveying race-goers twixt Todders and Cheltenham.  So, there will be nothing (much) for us to do on Saturday, but next Wednesday we will position her in the shed ready to commence winter maintenance … and address the pony truck enigma!


Saturday 7 November 2015

Maintenance Update (chairs, springs, doors, plugs)

Saturday 31st
John T and Bruce tackled more boot scrapers (as there was nothing to do on the loco).  John needle-gunned and wire-brushed six chairs; Bruce applied top coat to eight that were already in the production line, and then slapped black on John's six bottoms.

Wednesday 4th November
Gil, aided by Jeff L [Loco Dept], removed most of the mud-hole doors and boiler wash-out plugs.
John P & Martin C [both Loco Dept] removed the fire bars from the grate.
Bruce stripped and lapped the safety valves.
All of this was in preparation for a boiler inspection next Monday.

During the morning, I needle-gunned and wire-brushed three rail chairs that were boot scrapers back in for refurbishment.  After lunch, I was giving Martin a lesson in lighting-up.  It was a bit tricky, as most locos had had their grates removed, and some locos kept moving about!  What we decided in the end was that next Wednesday 2807 will need a warming fire lighting in readiness for a steam test on the Thursday … Martin can do that!
After the lesson, I returned to the TPO to black the bottoms of the three that I had prepared, plus pick out the gold lettering on six that Bruce had top-coated.

Saturday 7th
John T cleaned the wash-out plugs and the mud-hole doors.  Then he applied primer/undercoat to 7 rail chairs.  Finally, towards the end of the day, when the last few plugs were out, he cleaned these, too.

Gil removed a small cab floor panel in order to gain access to a ferrule that was fouling a wash-out plug (that needed to come out!).

Bruce & Gil cleaned up the safety valve components, ferrules and gauge frame.

The plugs inside the smokebox were determined not to come out, so Ben, Cliff and Andy B [all Loco Dept] tackled these tough ones.  Even then, two plugs are still refusing to come out!  … one in the smokebox and one on top of the boiler, I believe.  Let's hope the Boiler Inspector will let us off those two!!!

After lunch, Bruce was commandeered to help with 4270 … and Gil got swept up by it too.  They assisted in removing plugs and mud-hole doors, but couldn't remove them all because the boiler had not yet been drained.  In fact, because the loco was in the shed and not near a drain, they had to manually bar the loco along to reach the drain!  Bruce clambered up to remove 4270's safety valves, too.  Their brass bonnet is held down using round-headed brass screws, and one of them ….
… proved too tough for Bruce to undo on his own!

Anyway, I think we are pretty much ready for the inspection on Monday, now.

Family chores held me back today, so I only did the afternoon shift.  I assembled 4 boot scrapers, sanded and stained 10 brushes and finished off applying primer/undercoat to the last two chairs in the production line.

Loco Allocations. 2807 is scheduled for the November race trains with No 4270 as a backup.
Nos 5542 and 7820 are scheduled for the Santa Specials.


Thursday 29 October 2015

Maintenance Update (painting, lapping, braking)

Wednesday 21st
John T reports:
" I'll admit it, since next time you are in the TPO you will suspect it, that I was at Toddington today. I managed to clean 6 chairs, paint 8 bottoms and cut some bolts.
I felt I owed a visit, especially as I can't attend on Saturday next."

Saturday 24th
Fred, Dixie and Gil passed through Todders, but went on to Winchcombe to play in the siphon.  Bruce painted the rail chairs that John had prepared.  We're still a bit stymied regarding doing any work on the loco while she is on stand-by.

Wednesday 28th
There are three new issues raised (probably while on the Friday Fire & Drive):
58 [MY]: Steam heat safety valve blowing @ 30 psi.
74 [MY]: Handbrake 8-9 turns; needs adjusting.
75 [MY]: LH clack passing to pep pipe live when off.  {Sorry if I misread the shorthand!}

There is a valve on the steam heating pipe at the back of the tender, which is designed to prevent excessive pressure passing into the coaching stock.  Generally, GWSR limits this to 40 psi.  Bruce decided to tackle this.  He extracted its innards and lapped-in the internal valve, and then reassembled it.  Of course, there is no way of verifying the pressure-relief point when there's no pressure, so Bruce just tightened it a shade, and we'll see what happens when we next have steam up.

Bruce was going to help Gil with the tender brakes, but I arrived and took over.  There's a "bottle screw" under the tender that has to be turned to shorten the brake linkages.  It requires the use of a BIG spanner.  It take you all your effort to lift the spanner, let alone turn it!  Nevertheless, Gil & I managed to rotate the bottle-screw one whole turn, which reduced the number of turns on the handbrake to five (to apply the brakes).

Dixie passed by, having already been at Winchcombe.  He picked up a couple of electrical sockets for the siphon; sanded ten brushes for boot scrapers; and then buzzed off again.  Bill, Geof and Ray were all working on the siphon at Winchcombe.

Gil & I sorted through a pile of technical drawings, trying to put them into some sort of order and file them in Carpo's drawers.  A few of these drawings are not on the GWSR system, so Gil has taken them to get them scanned.

Finally, I applied stain to the brushes that Dixie had sanded.

2807 is on stand-by over this weekend.  Next Wednesday and also Saturday, we have to unbox the boiler and give it a wash-out.  The Boiler Inspector comes on Monday 9th.  Wednesday will be boxing-up the boiler again, and lighting a warming fire.  Bruce wants to get the safety valve off and lap that in before the steam test … on Thursday (12th).  We may then be in use on Race Trains that Friday & Saturday.  THEN we should be free to begin winter maintenance!


Sunday 18 October 2015

Maintenance Update (reverser, shackle, meeting)

Saturday 10th
Bruce checked the issues log, and there were no issues from Friday's Fire & Drive.  So, there was not a lot to do.  However, Bruce did remind me that various crews had felt some sort of knocking from the loco.  I had heard a knock once, when walking along side as she was being shunted in the yard.  So, John T and I decided to clamber over her looking for "shiny bits" (i.e. where something might have been knocking or rubbing against something that it shouldn't).

Despite a good crawl inside & out, the shiniest thing we found was a rubbing wear on the right-hand lifting link.  It is clear that the bolt through the forward eccentric rod does catch on the lifting link.  However, there appeared to be a gap of about 1/8 inch.  We waggled the reverser; we heaved on the rods; but we couldn't move anything significantly.  There is a gap at each end of the reversing shaft, where there is a collar to limit the sideways movement.  Could this possibly move enough to cause the bolt & link to collide?  Bruce didn't think so.  Maybe it's just one of those things - when hurtling along at 25 mph, things oscillate and sometimes do 'high fives' with one another?  Either ways, when she's near to a power supply, we'll grind a bit off the end of the bolt.

We think that there is a need to walk along side (as I had done previously) and listen to where this knock is coming from.

Eleanor (not my daughter) had cleaned out the smokebox and the grate.  It was too hot to get inside the firebox and clean the grate properly.  The Wednesday gang will have to do that.

Bruce was giving Eleanor a lesson in vacuums as I clambered into the cab.  I distracted him, and we took a look at the copper pipe with a crack in it.  There was no pressure on the 'clock', though some steam would pull through the whistle.  Guess what?  There were drops of water oozing out of the crack in that pipe!  This despite that coil being closed off.  The consensus view is that the packing in the Y-splitter expands/contracts dependent upon steam pressure, and under little pressure it allows steam to squeeze past the on/off cock.  Once pressure rises, it seals.

Bruce investigated making a new pipe.  There is no point in trying to silver-solder the outside of a pipe that is under boiler pressure.  The ends of the pipe are formed (swaged).  We have the technology, but not the pipe.  I asked Gil to order some 1/2 inch thick-walled copper pipe.  He things it comes in ten-foot lengths.

In odd moments, John cleaned up a couple of rail chairs and chopped the bolts of many more.  I applied a top coat to 7 in the production line, and then did some tidying up of the pile of rail chairs awaiting attention.

Fred, Gil, Geof and Bill were all working in the siphon.  Geof & Gil were forming the joints (tenons) in the new door frame.  Bill was painting the metalwork of the ceiling.  Fred was doing something on the outside!  I was only calling in to get Gil's autograph on the cheque for our 100 Club winners.  But guess what I spotted … two LMS chairs and one LNER ….

Sunday 11th
… which are now in the pile at Todders.

Down there on crossing duty at the Diseasel Gala, I realised that (yet again) no one had put the cap on the chimney!  So, I did, of course.

Wednesday 14th
There was only Bruce & myself today.  We decided to try to fix the bolt (strictly, it's a tapered pin with a castellated nut on the end) that is making the shiny mark on the hanging link.  Bruce connected up the power - we had to run the 110V from the end of the pit down to the loco, which was well past the pit.  Then he read the notice that says not to use the 110V in road 8, so he had to move it to road 9's pit.  Finally, after covering everything with cloths, I was able to angle-grind a smidgeon off the end.  Bruce, being today's gopher, brought the red paint, and I applied a little to the end of the bolt and to the hanging link.  We'll find out on Saturday (after Friday's Fire & Drive session) if they still have a spatial coincidence problem.

Gil arrived, partly to deliver an invoice to me and partly to bring the newly-purchased adjustable reamer … and then discuss with Bruce the plan of attack.

Meanwhile, I painted lettering on seven boot scrapers and fitted a brush to each of six.

Gil buzzed off to Winchcombe, so Bruce & I decided to wend our ways, too.  Bruce went home … to do some homework; I boxed up the six boot scrapers and adjourned.

Today we had to say 'farewell' to a faithful friend, who has faultlessly carried out its duties for some 30-odd years.  Someone noticed that the shackle that has helped heave many an item up, in & out of 2807 is marked "for recovery use only", so we are banned from using it to lift anything!  So? … We were only "recovering" the valve rods from the cylinders …

Saturday 17th
Today was a 2807 Board Meeting (which means that little work gets done!).

Bruce & David struggled past us in order to get some jobs done.  They began by preparing and welding the seam of the toolboxes on the tender.  These had been coming apart for a while.  Having been spotted wielding a welder, David was then co-opted into doing some welding for Dinmore Manor!

Bruce move on to removing the flange from the out-flow side of our blow-down valve.  JC had asked to borrow this in order to make a pattern for it.

There will be a period of silence on the 2807 updates, because I am otherwise engaged for a bit.  Rest assured that I have not forgotten about you!


Friday 9 October 2015

Maintenance Update (condenser, copper, breather)

Thursday 1st Oct
I popped in to Todders just to finish off the boot scraper ordered by Dame Janet Trotter.  John P [Loco Dept] was lighting up 2807 ready for the Fire & Drive on Friday.  We had a chat about the oil level in the RH big end, and he said he'd keep watch.

2807 Fireman's report from Friday 2nd Oct.
"Right Hand Connecting rod big end oil reservoir.
I spoke to Steve Oddy about the supposed problem prior to leaving the shed. We checked the reservoir at Cheltenham on the first trip and again at Toddington when stopped for lunch. There had been no excessive oil loss and the connecting rod temperature was normal i.e. slightly warmer than the coupling rod journals. This was the situation throughout the remaining Fire and Drive service. I checked the Connecting Rod oil reservoir during disposal and found that the level had changed very little. The big end temperature had also remained as normal. Looking through the drivers report cards I suspect a faulty cork had caused the oil loss problem.

Steam Condenser Coil.
This was interesting as it behaved exactly as it had done the previous time I reported it when on duty with Steve. In that case, as with on Friday the engine was "cold" and had not been in service the previous day. Anyway, overnight the boiler pressure was about 10psi from my warming fire. As the pressure reached 40-50psi a well-defined steam leak on the first bend in that coil could be seen. As boiler pressure increased further to normal working pressure the leak slowly disappeared and remained so throughout the day. I suspect the "T" cock is passing a little when cold. The lubricator working on the other coil functioned normally throughout the day."

Saturday 3rd
Bruce checked the oil level and it was roughly at the top of the restriction pipe (i.e. still plenty in the reservoir below it).

No new issues logged from the Friday outing.

Gil was here briefly, and painted a few bottoms…  Thereafter he scurried off to Winchcombe (as is his wont).

Bruce had been concerned about the lack of lock-nuts on the loco's vacuum reservoir (beneath the cab).  The studs are a tad short, but Bruce made one lock nut and fitted it.  There has been no hint of the nuts working loose.

Later, Bruce was diverted onto a 5542 problem.  Someone (not knowing their own strength) had broken part of its steam heating valve.  It had been silver-soldered back together, and Bruce got the job of cleaning up the carrot (i.e. the tapered internal plug).  Although he made a good job of this, when the valve was assembled and tested, the repair fell apart (at which point Bruce handed it back!).

As we have 2 orders plus a potential order for ten more boot scrapers, Dixie and I set to on cleaning some.  By 3.30 pm we were exhausted, having prepared 13 rail chairs.  Gil painted the first four's bottoms before dashing off to Winchcombe to play with the siphon.  Dixie finished them off, so we have 13 shiny black bottoms pointing skywards.

Sunday 4th
Bruce (who lives a stone's throw from the station) heard a familiar whistle!  It transpires that the 5542 had a bit of an issue: "Cab floor broken in two places", hence it was "red-carded" and 2807 came to the rescue.  This explained the puzzle of Malcolm R's photo of 2807 on the Sunday service!

Monday 5th
I popped in to complete a couple of boot scraper orders.  I checked the oil in the big end, and it was fine - not even dropped down to the level of the top of the restrictor pipe.  I also fitted the chimney cap - we'll have to have a word with the Loco Dept.  That's the 2nd time I've had to fit the chimney cap (that the crew should do at the end of the day).  Meanwhile, it had rained during the night (and the cap is partly there to prevent rain ingress to the smokebox, where ash + rain = acid).

Wednesday 7th
Gil & Bruce discussed plans for the winter maintenance … then Gil disappeared to Winchcombe (again).  Bruce then tightened up the balance weights on the driving wheels.  They are lead, and do work loose over time.  It's easy enough to threaten them with a hammer and force them to tighten.  They are not loose enough to fall off!

John G painted about 10 chair tops in Deproma (primer/undercoat); David M joined us after lunch and completed the final few.  I, too, worked on boot scrapers for the day (surprise, surprise).

During the afternoon, Bruce removed the section of copper pipe between Y-splitter and coil to see if we could see a split in it.  People have been recording issues about it since July.  Yes indeed, there are signs of splits on the rather sharp bend where it turns to fit onto the Y-splitter.

Following on from the above, there was one new (!) issue recorded in the crew's log:

73 [AM]: Suspect split in LH condensing pipe, where it enters T cock.  {This is the same as issues 54 and 47, and that Bruce verified today.  We can do nothing now; it will need a new pipe making.}

Thursday 8th
I spoke with SO today about our big end problem.  He's on 2807 for the Fire & Drive on Friday.  It seems there was a misunderstanding (a mild ambiguity, in fact).  It was he who discovered the cork with no breather in it, which he replaced … and the oil-loss problem went away.  The full fact is that the cork had a hole in it where there should have been a cane breather!  No one had noticed!  That's why it was losing oil.  We assumed that the issue 72 report "cork had no core" meant that it was a solid cork … but no!  The core had fallen out.  Doh !!!


Thursday 1 October 2015

Maintenance Update (felt, small end, nut)

Saturday 26th
This was our AGM day.  It was good to see so many (mostly familiar) faces.  After the AGM, many of us took a trip behind 2807.

There was some discussion (in the TPO) about the loss of oil from the RH big end.  It really is a puzzle.  The oil pot has a vertical pipe within it that has a restriction through it.  Oil should splash around as the loco moves, and some will go down the pipe.  At the bottom of the pipe is a felt pad.  This should restrict the flow of oil and make the pot full last all day.  So, why doesn't it?  The decision was to remove the con rod on Wednesday and have a look at the pad.

I did suggest that replacing the cork (a plug in the top of the oil pot, which has a cane breather through the middle) with a solid one should create a partial vacuum and thereby restrict the oil flow.  This purely as a temporary measure until we could remove the rod.

Monday 28th
I went over to Todders to do some chair painting - we have two or three boot scraper orders that need progressing.  2807 was in the yard, and the RH side con rod was positioned exactly at the angle that it has to be when being removed.  The position is fairly critical, because the step gets in the way, and also the small end has to be backwards of the slide bar bracket.  This was either a stroke of luck, or a deliberate act by the driver - who knows?!  So, I took the decision to fit a Not To Be Moved board on the loco!

In this low position, the oil pot is easily accessible, so I filled it up.  Let's see how much runs out over the two day period.  The oil level can be expected to fall to that of the top of the pipe (but no motion = no splashing, so the level should not drop below that … unless there's a serious problem in the pot!).

I checked the Issues Log for new reported issues from Saturday.  Two:

57 [JC] LH lifting link top pin loose.  Pin tightened & new split pin fitted.  {Thank you, JC}

72 [anon] @ cork had no core.  Refitted cork.  Oil usage decreased.  Continue to monitor.  {so much for the solid cork test - driver spotted it and replaced it with a breathable one!}

The numbering is up the creek .. it was young Jon W's fault!  ;-)

Wednesday 30th
Gil, Bruce, John G & I (aided from time to time by Loco Dept chaps) tackled the removal of the RH con rod.  The oil level had dropped to the top of the restrictor tube (as one would have expected), so that gave no clue about why it loses so much so quickly.  It transpired that the wheels were not 100% perfectly lined up … we had to push the loco back by about 2".  This wasn't too difficult, once the three of us were pushing in the same direction.

The vacuum pump has to be disconnected first (because it is linked to the cross-head).  The big end came off easily.  The little end is always a challenge, and needs an extractor.  So, it took Bruce & Gil a bit longer to get that free.

Sliding the rod off was easy.  We then turned it over to be able to see the felt pad.  It was in place and intact.  We could see nothing wrong at all.  Nevertheless, it was decided to replace the felt in both ends.  I ran a wire through the constrictor, just to be sure it was not blocked.  It was fine.

Today was 3850's last day in service before its Heavy General Overhaul, and John G took the opportunity to ride behind as far as Winchcombe.  He was able to report that Fred, Ray and Bill were working on the siphon restoration.  They had completed the construction of a new pair of doors and were just making minor adjustments to its fit.  They have the wood ready for constructing the other doors, but will test this one in each place first, just to verify that the doors are all exactly the same size!

Bruce cut new felt pads.  These were inserted and then the con rod was fitted back.  Once again, it was the small end that caused trouble.  Getting the castellated nut lined up with the split pin hole took for ever.  It was either the nut being too slack, or too tight.  Some fiddling of the washer, nut, its castellations and the split pin finally got it all to fit together.

We are none the wiser as to why the oil should have run out so quickly (i.e. after each single trip), unless … did the driver realise that the level will fall rapidly to the level of the top of the constrictor, and then very slowly thereafter?  Maybe he thought that the pot always needed to be full above the constrictor top?  Who knows?!

During a couple of slack periods, John G and I managed to restock the Flag & Whistle (they having sold five boot scrapers) and do a little more on the production line.

2807 is on Fire & Drive duty on Fridays during October.  She's not rostered to be in public service now until next year.


Thursday 24 September 2015

Maintenance Update (con rod, valve, concrete)

Thursday 17th
I popped down to Todders to cut some wedges for fitting brushes to boot scrapers.  I don't like using the band saw when other people are wandering in & out (for safety reasons).  Thomas had just arrived.

Saturday 19th
I was on crossing duty at Winchcombe during today's Thomas event.  I was greatly impressed with the smoothness of 2807 when buffering up to the coaches to couple up.  The new pilot valve works a treat!  Paul showed me exactly where the steam leak is by the Y-splitter leading to the condensing coil.  It's on the bend in the copper pipe.

Bruce went to Todders and did some work on 3850.  One of the brake tender blocks was loose, and had slipped outwards, resulting in the block wearing and leaving a significant outer edge of metal that was now rubbing on the outside of the wheel.  Bruce removed the brake block; cut off the excess metal, and ground the block down to allow the block to work properly (for a while!).  Thereafter, Bruce helped in the loco shed, where they were laying metal mesh in preparation for concrete being laid on Monday.

Dixie popped in briefly (to collect something) and went on to Winchcombe to work on the siphon.

Monday 21st
It rained!  I couldn't do anything in the garden or go for a bike ride, so I went to Todders instead.  No electricity!  Off all day … so I went home again.

In checking the Issues Register, I was horrified to see on the top page No.71 [on Wednesday it was only up to no. 56] … However, I was relieved to discover that young Jon W was too tired at the end of his shift to notice the two blank pages preceding.  Hence there are only two new issues:

56 [JC] Blowing 215 psi.  {We know the safety valves lift at 215 instead of 225; they have done all year.  No action is proposed}

71 [JW] RH big end losing all oil each trip. Req a whole can each trip.

It was plain to see, as 2807 was over the old pit, that there was a significant pool of oil on the concrete apron beneath the con rod big end.  Drips clearly being from con rod, not coupling rod.  This is a bit of a blow.

Tuesday 22nd
I had a bit of a bit of a fright as I rolled into Todders car park, seeing a dirty filthy 28xx on the head of the train in Platform 1 … until I saw the smokebox number plate 3850.

Wednesday 23rd
2807 had been moved into the yard, and positioned such that the RHS big end was almost top dead centre … and hence impossible to get at the oil pot!  Nevertheless, I managed to poke my little finger in, and (sure enough) there was practically no oil in there.  This is a puzzle.  The pot contains a vertical tube with a flow restrictor within it.  When you fill the pot full, oil will flow relatively rapidly down the tube, until the level drops to that of the top of the tube. Thereafter only the motion of the con rod will cause oil to splash around in the pot and some will then drop down the tube.  Maybe I should have filled it up today and seen if the level drops when the loco is stationary?

Bruce and John T removed the RHS injector steam valve, and then polished its bottom.  It had been reported that steam passed by the valve, and you can tell from the photo that there was an area at the bottom of the face that was corroded.  They fixed this (with Carpo's cutter) and reassembled it all.

John T later cleaned a couple of rail chairs and cut bolts off a few more.

John G spent the entire day painting rail chairs.

I assembled about 10 boot scrapers and re-stocked the F&W (they'd sold two over the Thomas weekend).

Out of the kindness of his heart, Bruce helped sweep out the new concrete floor in the loco shed.

You may not be aware of the award bestowed upon us all at the GWSR: the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.  There is a video of the highlights of the ceremony, commencing with a few shots of 2807.


Wednesday 16 September 2015

Maintenance Update (vacuum, siphon, Dame)

Friday 11th
John P [Fireman} reported:
"Bruce asked me to carry out some checks on 2807 steam heat rear pipe connections today as I was on Fire & Drive. This is to report back that the clasp connection and pipe clamp is correctly aligned for attachment and links up to the Chocolate and Cream coach stock easily. We briefly tested the pipework under pressure and there were no steam leaks at the fixed pipework gasket joint.

The Condenser coil in the cab is leaking and it does appear to be a pin hole near where the pipe bends away from the union. It is not a problem as the "T" cock allows the other circuit  to be used. The hole is tiny but steam and oil can be seen to exude if you look hard enough or are lucky to catch it in the right lighting situation.

We had to replace the gauge glass tube and rubbers today as it started to leak heavily on our second run from Cheltenham to Gotherington. Replaced in the station at Gotherington and no further problems.

As usual 2807 performed very well throughout the day and all the F&D participants went away very happy."

Saturday 12th
Gilbert reported:
" Jamie has reported loss of vacuum today. I asked him if it was the coaching stock, but he said No, it happened when running light engine."

Stuart came down from Lancashire and found Fred, Gil and Geof in the siphon van at Winchcombe. He says: "The strange triangle held by Gil is one of the parts being manufactured that fits on a door interior and allows access to the opening lever from the outside.  The chaps were also doing some filling and painting of the exterior new panels and internal vent slats."

Monday 14th
Bruce reported:
" I went to the Queens Award for Volunteers presentation today, John T was there also.

It seemed to go Ok despite the rain showers.  I didn't see the Queen though but Timothy West and Prue were there.

While I was there I looked at the roster. 2807 is on the service train on Tue, Wed and Thur followed by Fire and Drive on Fri, she is also rostered for Thomas on Sat and Sun.

There was a report last week that the right side clack was leaking. This has been crossed out by Mark Y and changed to the right side injector valve leaking.  We know about this as it has been leaking slightly all year and we already have it on our 'to do' list."

Tuesday 15th
Email from Maxine: " Dame Janet [i.e. Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Dame Janet Trotter DBE] has expressed an interest in a foot scraper, dated 1943. Can you let me know if this will be possible."

Wednesday 16th
Fred, Gil, Ray and Bill were all beavering away on the siphon van restoration at Winchcombe.

Gil actually started the day at Todders with Bruce.  They were examining the pony truck on the newly-arrived 38xx in the yard.  Apparently its 'ticket' expires at the end of this month.  They went in search of drawings, too.

Dixie finished off finding electrical cables and tagging them all.  Then he joined me in cleaning (more) rail chairs.  He decided to get one as a present for his brother, whose birth date was May 1945.  Well, talk about luck!  We do have a May 1945 rail chair, so we cleaned it up.

John G got stuck into painting rail chairs.  He'd completed 10 tops (in enamel) plus 6 bottoms by end of play.

At the end of the afternoon, we had lost Bruce.  We thought he might have gone home (someone heard mention of him going to do a drawing); but it transpired that he was "helping" the department chaps in the shed finishing off some of the flooring.  It doesn't look like "our" shed, now that 3/4 of the floor is covered in concrete!  :-)

Issues logged for 2807:
52 [correction by MY]: Not clack.  Slight blow-by on steam valve to RHS injector.
   {We knew about that - see "Monday", above}

54 [JC]: Steam leak on back of Y-splitter on fountain.
   {I'm sure this was reported before?  … and it turned out to be the condensing coil?}

55 [JC]: LHS piston gland blowing.

56 [JC]: Vac train pipe losing vac when light engine, res[ervoir] at 22"
   {This happened once before.  It seems to be a random event, happening once or twice per year.  It could even be a poorly-connected vacuum hose after uncoupling.  No action proposed.}

Loco Roster
2807 is rostered for every day up to Sunday 20th Sept.


Thursday 10 September 2015

Maintenance Update (helicopter, Bachmann, flogged)

Saturday 5th
Only Dixie & I were working at Toddington.  Gil, Bill and others were at Winchcombe.  2807 was in service on Train 1.

Gil popped in, purely to give Dixie a job!  All of our electrical equipment has to have an identification tag attached to it - this was Dixie's job!  I had made a list of everything a few weeks ago, so at least he had a list to go by.  The cabinet with drills & angle-grinders in played up a bit.  The second drawer would not open!  Eventually, we took the top drawer out and I applied persuasion using a screwdriver and pair of pliers.  I think that's fixed it!

I was working away in the boot scraper factory.  Dixie assisted me in restocking the F&W plus putting some in the car boot for the Coffee Pot at Winchcombe.  Then we ambled over to the station to see 2807.  But … it was nowhere to be seen!  She should have been sitting in Platform 1 waiting to depart for Cheltenham … but she wasn't.  It transpired that someone* was flying about in a helicopter, taking videos of our line, and they wanted a steam train on the viaduct, so 2807 was sent onwards to Laverton (instead of the DMU).

It was pretty obvious when 2807 was approaching the viaduct (even though it is well out of sight of the station) because we could hear the bark as the driver opened her up!  I look forward to seeing the video.  She will have made a spectacular sight.

Anyway, there was a crowd of visitors from Bachmann.  Bob Mack came along (as Dixie & I admired "our" loco) with a name board.  "Who wants this?" he asked.  There was no response from the crew, so I climbed up onto the front, took it from Bob and fixed it to the smokebox.

We checked the pony and underkeep.  It was tepid; not hot.  Both sides were equally warm, so it looks as though our temporary fix of the leak is working.  Ian, the driver, said that he had not had to top the underkeep up, so far.  We did notice a wisp of steam from the RHS injector; so there must be a small steam leak in its steam valve seat.  However, there had been no recent issues logged.

Dixie was able to take a footplate ride (purely for ensuring all was well, obviously).  When he got back, he did report that all was well.   :-))   So, we finished off and clocked off.

Wednesday 9th
Today was a hive of activity.  But first the bad news: 2807 was red-carded for having a loose nut.  The nut is a castellated nut with split pin that holds the valve link rod to the rocking shaft.  There's a tapered pin through the two, with this nut on its end.  Unfortunately, the taper is not quite perfect …  Anyway, Driver PG spotted that the nut was loose.  It couldn't come off (because of the split pin) but it was causing the not-so-tapered pin to waggle about a bit.

Gil & Bruce, with assistance from John P [Loco Dept] and John T, removed said nut, checked it over, refitted it and applied some flogging to it.  An amusing arrangement of wood jammed the spanned onto the outer end, while the nut (on the inside) was flogged.

John G set-to on painting rail chairs.  He completed 8 tops and 2 bottoms.  We are doing BR(W) in Crimson Lake because this colour seems to be the "in" thing this year.  Don't quite understand why, but the crimson boot scrapers are selling like hot cakes.

John T left the floggers and cleaned up two LNWR rail chairs, before joining me on repairing one of our two trolleys.  I purloined planks of wood from the wood store, and John T & I removed the old wood, nuts & bolts from the dilapidated trolley top.  John G joined in, and the end result is something to be proud of!

Dixie spent the entire day finding electrical items that need tagging.  He'd got my list to work from, but actually finding things was taking the time.  They have a habit of moving about.

After lunch, Bruce & Gil noticed that the brakes on the loco & tender were wearing, and so they adjusted them.  Gil even went to the (quite unnecessary) trouble of reporting it as an issue, and then clearing it!

Apart from the Red Card, there are three new issues logged:
51 [PG]: Regulator leaking by.
52 [PG]: Driver side clack blowing by.
53 [GK]: Loco & tender brakes require adjustment.

Note that 2807 is in service from Friday through to Monday (11th to 14th Sept).
I believe she is also required for Friday 18th plus Thomas days: 19th & 20th.



* GWSR had hired the helicopter to take various photos of the line, specifically that between Laverton & Broadway (but also of an engine powering across the viaduct) to put in a new share appeal for next year, to help bridge the Broadway bit.