Wednesday 25 February 2015

Maintenance Update (damper, tubes, rods, painting, blowdown, tender)

Thursday 19th
Email from Clive re. last report: "Sorry, can't take the credit for the primer on the roof as it was Eleanor our new volunteer - she also assisted with the polishing."

Sorry, Eleanor! [Not that she receives our news, but maybe Clive can pass it on!]

Collected wire brushes (rotary, to fit drill) and new needles, and took them to Todders.  Stu was there, painting rail chairs for me!  I fitted new needles into the needle gun and threw away the old ones - no point in keeping them, as their heads are so worn that it isn't long before they hurtle out of the gun like a lance, on a mission of their own …

Stu had touched up the number on the front buffer beam.  We both had a butcher's at the footprints on my lovely new red rear buffers.  It went through my mind to re-paint & apply a notice: "This red paint is made from blood.  To avoid the next coat being made from your blood, please keep off it!"

Saturday 21st
2807 was over the pit, which gave me an opportunity to finish off playing with the left-hand (front) damper operating lever. There is some adjustment on the rod that runs from beneath the cab to the damper door.  As the complaint had been that it was hard to raise the lever and thence close the door, I had lengthened the adjustment.  However, that made things worse … because the long rod was trying to push the door further open than was easy to achieve.  So, today I shortened the rod … and the lever can now be easily operated.

Bruce was still trying to make time to design the route for the pipe from the new blow-down valve. While observing the gaps between rods, pipes, stretchers and damper levers through which the 2" diameter pipe might pass, I happened to spot that the newly modified sanding rod was just clipping the steam heat pipe when sanding gear was being turn on/off.  So, I removed the rod, and John & I assisted Bruce in applying a bit of force in a suitable spot, sufficient to keep the rod away from the steam heating pipe.

I had headed for the smokebox, armed with nuts, bolts & washers, to secure the petticoat. However, Jonathan [Loco Dept] had perversely volunteered to test a new "flue-brush" that was intended to run through flue tubes and clean their sides.  This it did, but as the length (up to 15 ft) is achieved by screwing rods together as the brush goes in, a side effect became apparent.  The brush could only be turned clockwise, else the rods might come apart inside the tubes - which would be fun then to get out!  But in turning this way, it was tightening all of the joins between rods … to the point where Jonathan couldn't undo the rods again when he pulled them out!

Dixie climbed up and painted the cab roof.  This had been patched and now needed an overall coat of matt black. Once seen with a brush in your hand, you get diverted to painting anything else that needs it … in Dixie's case this was the brake rigging. I believe he also helped Jonathan, who was struggling a bit with this flue brush idea!

The brake rigging consumed most of Gil's day, plus much of John's and some of Ingo's. Gil & Ingo ended up helping Bruce with the blow-down pipe, while John whiled away some time cleaning grease-covered GWR rail chairs, and also emptied our rubbish bin (a select few of us attend to the domestic necessities!).

Yes, Bruce finally found time to sort out a path for the blow-down pipe. He began with a thin wire, attempting to fashion it into a suitable shape that avoids the obstacles twixt valve and pit.

This was not 100% effective, so we ended up "sacrificing" one of the copper pipes that we had used to unblock tubes last week.  This being 22mm OD, at least it was more realistic than thin wire!  This task then occupied Bruce (plus Gil for a while) under the loco, and me & Ingo in the cab. It was a case of test and bend … test and bend … until we reached a shape that seems to fit the bill.

Ingo had re-fitted the cab AWS warning bell, and also the petticoat (while Jonathan was having a cuppa).  He cleaned up the mini-heaps of sand that I had created when fitting and testing the sanding rod (there still being some sand in the sand boxes!).

Clive and Ade [Loco Dept] had an inspect of the tender insides.  Clive clambered in and reported that there was much grot on the floor - some white deposit and some flakes of paint; the front section was still wet; the lower half was in better condition than the upper half, which had lost much of its paint.

It was decided that the inside needs a coating of Deproma (anti-rust paint) and maybe some bitumen if time permits.  Gil tried to remove the "plug" in the bottom of the tender, and let out some more water, but couldn't get the plug out.

Sunday 22nd
Just time to paint the lettering on the 12 rail chairs, in preparation for the railway's opening on 7 March.

Tuesday 24th
David spent the entire day working on the brake rods.  Much of the intent was to maintain the strength in the ends of the rods, they having been drilled and bushed.  So, David was welding the bushes in place and also adding more weld to the outer edge of some that Bruce felt were a shade thinner than he'd like.

I spent the morning inside the tender tank. It has stood up to its 4-years of use quite well.  However, the paint on the inside had almost entirely flaked off!  The primer was still good, though.  The "ceiling" (i.e. the underside of the top plates) was well rusted.  In just one section of the tank, I wire-brushed sides & ceiling and then applied Deproma anti-rust paint to the rust patches.

Bruce popped in to see how we were getting on - and it was at this point that I learned about the "plug" not having been pulled.  With Bruce acting as gopher, I crawled under the tender, but it was impossible to safely remove the plug without the risk of it falling down and breaking my arm … so I didn't.  It's a bit heavier than your average bath plug.

Later I finished off the 12 boot scrapers and made more wooden wedges for future use. Finally, as David finished his welding, I painted the ends of his rods.

Wednesday 25th
Clive removed the "plug" from the bottom of the tender and then he and Howard [both of Loco dept] blasted the tender insides with the pressure hose.  Loads of grot came off (mostly paint).  The primer beneath is generally good.  There's no time to do anything else (e.g. paint or bitumen) so that will have to wait until end of season.  Clive refitted the plug and added some water to test its seal.

Gil, Dixie and [new] David worked all day on the brake rigging.  It transpired that they could not refit two of the rods without removing the brake shoes!  Bit of a bind.  All of the RHS is now done (rods & shoes all on) but there is one left to do: LHS rear rod.  It's end needs tweaking to make it fit the fork of the next rod.

John G continued with his ferrules - painting a couple (and accidentally painting the workbench top) and putting a cunning code on each one so that they can be fitted back into their correct holes next time !   … if you can work out the code.  :-)

Bruce assisted the brake gang during the morning but then persuaded John to help hoover out the boiler tubes.  On Saturday, Jonathan pushed a flue brush through the tubes and in doing so managed to block a couple of them.  The brush was a very tight fit, so it took soot off the tubes sides and pushed it down … but in a couple of cases built up the deposits sufficient to create a blockage.  So, Bruce & John blew through them all, which worked fine (apart from the one that really was blocked, whence Bruce got the blow-back!).

I was on Granddad duty in the morning and again at school home time.  As a result, all I achieved was fitting the vacuum gauge back in the cab and cleaning 4 rail chairs.  Not even time to paint their bottoms!

Carpo fitted the mud-hole doors, so we are nearly ready for steaming.  Here's the current plan:

Saturday = finish brakes and check the tender plug for leaks.  Probably fill the tender with coal & water.
Wednesday 4th = Light a warming fire.
Thurs 5th = carry out general testing (set steam valves to pressure, perhaps; check everything works)
Friday 6th = formal steam test.
Monday 9th = fit brick arch and light a warming fire.
Tues 10 - Fri 13 = light steam - in use as standby loco.
Sat & Sun = in service.


Wednesday 18 February 2015

Maintenance Update (painting, regulator, sand, bolts)

Friday 13th
I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours to paint the buffer beams.  Friday is a good day, as there's hardly anyone about.  I was first there, and only saw 3 other people all morning.

Saturday 14th
Ray O'H is there taking photos of my painting drips for the GWSR Blog!  Later, he came along to borrow the bolts that attach our number plate to the cab side … to use on a photo shoot of 2874 (for which they now have a cabside plate)!

Loco Dept chaps (notably Clive, Ade & Ray) were working on the loco - mostly waxing and polishing the boiler barrel cladding; Clive tackled some peeling paint on the cab roof and applied primer.  He says he'll apply black paint on the roof for us on Wednesday.

Since fitting the new valves, there has been a noticeable shake in the reverser lever in the cab.  David took a look, and decided that the little locking piece that holds the reverser into "gear" is a tad worn and could do with being replaced with one of a tighter fit.  He's going to make a couple and case-harden them.

The regulator valves occupied several people for various parts of the day.  Gil & Bruce were lapping-in the surface of the valve in the smokebox.  David finished off lapping the valve pieces themselves.  Once inspected & approved by Carpo, the guys attempted to fit the valve together.  :-)

John started the day by fitting the Mason's valve (steam heating) in the cab.  For a while he was being General Assistant and cleaning things.  Then he started on rail chairs.  Unfortunately, the needle-gun was not behaving too well (at least 4 needles flew out of it, and it sounded quite poorly).  We did a swop with another gun and got him going again.  By end-of-play John had cleaned four chairs (one of which had been particularly filthy and took ages) and painted six bottoms.

I decided to have a butcher's at the RH rear sandbox, which appeared to permanently dribble sand.  I played with it all morning, taking the whole thing apart and trying to work out how sand could escape.  Finally, I discovered that the mechanism is past its sell-by date.  There's a central rod with a couple of channels in it, this rotates within a pipe that has two slots in it.  When the slots and channels are aligned, sand should trickle out.  But there is so much play between the rod and the pipe, that sand appears to be able to sneak in through the slot, around the rod and out of the channel even when the thing is supposed to be closed!  So, two options: Fabricate new mechanism; or use coarser sand!

Bruce began the day by tightening the blow-down valve (but yet again didn't get as far as working out the route for the exhaust pipe) before getting sucked into the regulator valve.

After lunch, I followed up issue 31 which says that there is excessive clearance between weighshaft* collar and bearing.  You may need a photo to understand that!  I measured the gap between collar and bearing on both side: LHS = 4mm; RHS = 1mm (sorry about using millimetres, but the gap was rather small!).  After looking for further clues and discussing it with Bruce & Gil, I soon found that the LHS collar securing bolt was not exactly tight .. so I tapped the collar outwards and tightened it up.

*According to the Black Book this seems to be called the "Reversing Shaft", but it was recorded in the issues log as a "weighshaft".

After that, I cleaned a couple of chairs before getting sucked into the veritable black hole of a regulator valve!  The guys had got it all back together, but would the face plate go on? [Rhetorical question]  For a while, I waggled the regulator handle while Gil & David waggled the face plate.  No joy.  Then I waggled the face plate and Gil waggled the regulator.  The problem was to get the boss on the face plate to engage with the regulator rod and six studs all at the same time!  David was struggling to insert a thin bar to raise the regulator rod to align it height-wise, but it would then slide sideways!  Finally, just before 5pm our luck was in - the rod engaged and four studs did too.  But the top ones were still being awkward.  With very careful adjustment of the face plate (so as not to lose the rod!) plus a few belts with the copper mallet, and everything began to go home [John had actually gone home] .  Washer and nuts on ...  Well, there was one minor embarrassment: I sent Bruce for four washers, but then David pointed out that four studs were better off without washers, so we rearranged the washers and had all of the nuts on by the time Bruce came back … with washers! Ooops! 5.15 pm: time to go home.

While we were all playing in the smokebox, Maurice had nipped out and carried off the apple core that I'd left him.  In fact, I could hear him munching on it, and so stayed behind, hoping to get a photo of him; but three times he poked his nose out, saw me there, and went back inside again!

Monday 16th
Just popped down to apply a coat of varnish to the bell and number plate … and feed Maurice.

Wednesday 18th
Stuart had come down all the way from Lancashire, just to clean and touch-up the lettering on the tender and the number on the front buffer beam.

David took another look at the reverser lever catch, to measure the little plunger ready to make new one(s).  Most of the day, however, he was welding in bushes on the brake rods.  There are four more to go!  Towards the end of the day he helped with the petticoat, which was refusing to go home …

… Mike had given the petticoat a clean with chisel and wire brush.  However, when Gil, Bruce & I attempted to slide it back onto the bottom of the blower ring (beneath the chimney) we could not get the bolts to fit through the securing holes.  The holes would not line up!  What we discovered was that there was so much grot on the blower ring's bottom, that we had to chisel it off.  It shone as though it was metal, but it was just fooling us!  "Fool's steel", I suppose.  Anyway, Bruce & I tackled the ring and David took the petticoat off and ground off an obstinate piece on that, that Mike had been unable to get off.

As a certain person had bought the wrong sized bolts, we could only temporarily fit the petticoat back in place - using three bolts that do fit.  After cleaning up the surfaces we could only find two of these bolts … we searched all over inside the smokebox … on the running board below the smokebox … guess where I found it ….

Apart from time spent in the smokebox, Gil also gave the cab roof some attention.  There were a few spots where rust had regained control, so he tidied these up and applied a primer coat.  Having practiced at painting, he then applied the same black to the brake rods that David had been working on.

John G pressed on with the ferrules in the cab - fitting the last one and then painting some of them.  As they have been adjusted to fit each position, they'll need carefully marking as to which hole they fit.  Once you get painting, you can't stop … and John painted the bottle screw sections of the brake rigging.  Then he painted the foot pads on top of the buffers in black!

I cleaned the injectors, and Bruce decided that they need their clack valves lapping, so they didn't get fitted.  I also fitted the newly cleaned, painted and varnished LHS cab number plate, ably assisted by John (who happened to be in the cab playing with his ferrules at the time).

On Saturday we aim to be over the pit, so that we can finish off a few jobs and make a start on fitting the brake rigging.

Maurice doesn't like cucumber.


Wednesday 11 February 2015

Maintenance Update (regulator, lapping, ferrules)

Saturday 7th
Maurice, having ably mastered the game of 'hide the food bowl' (i.e. neither I, Bruce or John could find it last Wednesday), is ready for his next challenge on the route to the 2016 Mouse Olympics.  I stumbled upon the food bowl today, hidden underneath the pallets upon which we paint the rail chairs!  So, this week's challenge is to get the food bowl out of the  steel "pen" that I have now put down to surround the food and water bowls.  Will he use brute force, or with there be a ramp with six pencils used as rollers?  We shall see …

Meanwhile, Gilbert has hatched a cunning plan: Anyone who records an issue against 2807 has to come and fix it themselves!  Accordingly, Andy W spent the day in the smokebox, removing the regulator valve.  Actually, I suspect he was just showing off: He managed to get 13 nuts & bolts out in a day, dramatically beating our record of six last Wednesday!

Gil was assisting Andy.  He made a new gasket for the face plate, and cleaned the threads on the bolts and studs ready for re-assembly.

Bruce was going to fashion a (thick) wire to plan a route for the blow-down valve's exhaust pipe.  He only got as far as finding and straightening a length of suitable wire before deciding that the new regulator valve needed to be lapped-in before it could be fitted, and this was a higher priority.  So, he spent all afternoon carefully lapping the two plates of the valve.

John began with his usual role of gopher, but then he and I decided that we were surplus to requirement and could therefore restart the boot-scraper production line.  John nobly cut off stubborn bolts and congealed grease, while I manned the needle gun and wire brush.  Early on, the needle gun kept freezing up - as the compressed air expanded it cooled, and the ambient temperature being circa 0.5 degrees Celsius (33 in old money) the vapour in the air froze!  I took time out at that point to fit a new element in our heater.  Bruce (working at the bench doing his lapping) was most appreciative.  Also, Andy presented me with the newly-removed regulator valve face plate with a request to wire-brush all of the old gasket off.

By end of day, we all felt we'd achieved something … eight black bottoms (on rail chairs) in my case.

Sunday 8th
I called in at Todders, and to my surprise Bruce was already there!  He had figured that in order to lap-in the main regulator valve on Wednesday, he ought to make sure the new valve part had a perfectly flat bottom.  It hadn't (of course) and so Bruce was lapping its bottom in anticipation.

I took the opportunity to replace needles in the needle-gun, since it had lost about 7 of the 19 that it began life with.

Monday 9th
I suddenly remembered that I have an order for a 1900 MR boot scraper - and I couldn't remember cleaning one on Saturday.  So, I went down to check … we hadn't.  So, I tested the needle gun and wire brush on the MR chair, and painted its bottom.  Also undercoated the top of a BR chair black, as we have an order for a black BR boot scraper.

Tuesday 10th
I had to go and apply black enamel to the BR boot scraper for collection on Wednesday!

Wednesday 11th
Bruce was lapping all day.  It's a tight hole inside the regulator box in the smokebox, and Bruce had to convert a bolt into a knob to fit on the top of the lapping plate to be able to manipulate it.  There is not much room for movement, so it was a slow process.  By end of day, the worst was probably done … need to use fine paste for the next stage on Saturday.

Carpo had supplied new ferrules to replace those that he "borrowed" from us for his 42xx last year.  John G then played with them to make them fit into the existing holes in our backhead cladding.  In the photo, you can see two of the new (shiny!) ferrules; you can also see how the regulator handle was released and rotated to get the actuator out of the way at the other end for Bruce to do his lapping.

Clive & Ade [Loco Dept] were cleaning the boiler cladding (causing the occasional shower in the cab, apparently).  They will apply wax next time.

When asked what he'd been doing, Gil replied: "General assistance."  He did release the regulator handle, though!

Tim P [Loco Dept] popped into the TPO to take a look at the new regulator valve.  This is something that most people never see, so it is of interest when one is exposed.  John P [Loco Dept] took part in the 'cram as many people as possible in the smokebox' record attempt, similarly to see how it all works.

I spent the day in the TPO on boot scrapers: picked out the lettering on the black one (paint was almost dry when John M collected it) and fitted the brush. Then I applied crimson lake to two ordered chairs; undercoated 6 in green; plus 9 brushes sanded and stained.

Stu's coming down from Lancashire next week to touch up the lettering on the tender and the numbers on the front buffer beam.

BTW 2807 is not scheduled to operate the race trains in March.


Wednesday 4 February 2015

Maintenance Update (rod, spring, sand, bracket, petticoat)

Thursday 29th
I popped down to feed Maurice.  Cheeky blighter had opened the First Aid kit and taken out a triangular bandage.  No idea why - maybe he'd hurt his foot, or something?  Or would it have made a nice duvet for him?  Who knows!

Saturday 31st
Bruce reports:-
The day started cold with a light sprinkling of snow.

David removed the rod which links the two rear sand boxes. The rod runs right across the loco under the cab floor and David  had modified the shape to give clearance for the pipe from the new blowdown valve, as reported in Roger's report last week. Unfortunately when the sand lever was moved to start sanding, the rod jammed against the end of the slot in the frames so it needed yet another joggle put into it to give clearance. Meanwhile Alistair was cutting a piece of reinforcing metal for David to weld along one edge to allow the other edge to be cut away.

Gilbert and Brian finished fitting the right leading spring, they then moved to the other side to determine whether the spring compensator between the leading and intermediate springs was seized.

We were concerned that the springs on the front end of the loco seem to be out of balance and it was felt that the above mentioned compensator could be the cause.

A jack was inserted under the compensator and to our amazement it moved quite easily, so back to the drawing board.

Gilbert, Brian and Bruce then consulted Carpo, who suggested that we measured the length and depth of each spring and compare them to see if we had a weak spring, they all seemed OK.

After more head scratching we started to adjust springs to observe what effect this would have and slowly we managed to get the balance much better and good enough to run.

Mark then towed the loco down to the headshunt and back to settle the springs down, after inspection they were deemed to be acceptable, phew!

To finish the job we need to check all the axle weights again, but not until the boiler is full.

By this time David had finished the sand box rod and Alistair fitted it, we thought it would be a good idea to test it.  When the engine returned from the North York's Moors Railway the left sandbox was full and the right one almost empty, so some sand was transferred across and lever pulled.

Success, the sand ran out of both pipes, 'OK turn it off', the sand stopped on the left side, but !!!!!!! it carried on trickling from the right side, no wonder it was empty.

So there is yet another job to put on the list.

David also cut the drooping tender lamp bracket and re-welded it straight.  It is painted ready for fitting.

Wednesday 4th February
Bruce started the day in his usual lofty position - atop the boiler.  He lapped and fitted the top clacks.

John fitted the lamp bracket to the back of the tender.  He was later told by Clive that the vacuum 'bag' was difficult to release, and could we adjust the angle of the dummy (onto which it clamps when not in use)?  I suggested to John that simply moving the dummy down would relieve the force needed to persuade the vacuum pipe to clamp onto its dummy [an image of my grandson flew into my mind then … sorry!].  So, John removed the bracket that retains the vertical pipe; slid the dummy bracket down, and tightened it all up again.  Success!

Clive, by the way, was on the top of the tender applying a coat of bitumen to the back section at the time.

Gilbert had decided that, as progress had been good, we could afford to spend time replacing the regulator valve.  We have a minor design deficiency in the one we initially made, such that the small valve that should open first before the main valve … doesn't.  We've had a new valve made.  The only way to get at the regulator valve (which is inside the smokebox) is to remove the 'petticoat' that is attached to the bottom of the blower ring, which is attached to the bottom of the chimney [see diagram].

Gilbert spent the entire day on removing the petticoat; I spent 9/10th of the day working on it, too!  All we had to do was to remove the six retaining bolts from the petticoat, and hey presto!   :-)

They would not undo.  They refused to budge.  Plan B was to cut their nuts off and bash the bolts through.  In the confined space of the smokebox, with various pipes in the way, this proved to be a struggle.  Nevertheless, we managed to cut off the nuts … and bash out four of the six bolts!  The two towards the rear were difficult to apply force to.  Plan C was to cut off their heads, on the principle that there is more space inside the petticoat than behind it, and hence bash them out 'backwards'.  OK, so their heads rolled.  But would they bash out?

Plan D was to drill the beggars out!  By now, we had Bruce in the smokebox with me [we seem to be getting a bit familiar inside various bits of 2807!] and John being gopher.  Two drills and four drill bits later, we finally persuaded the old bolt remnants to part company, and the petticoat to come off.  By this time it was past 4pm, so we decided to pack away and leave the regulator valve for another day.  Six bolts ….  :-(

Oh, Maurice: the game of hide & seek with his food bowl is getting a bit ridiculous!  We all had a search, but to no avail.  He's won today's game!