Monday, 9 March 2015

Maintenance Update (warming, vacuum, leak, arch)

Wednesday 4th
Recap: A warming fire was lit by Loco dept chaps.

Thursday 5th
No pressure on the 'clock' this morning; Carpo lit a new warming fire. I arrived about lunchtime, but there was nothing that I could do on the loco, so I just pressed on making boot scrapers and then went home again.

I returned to Todders just before 5pm to assist Carpo in preliminary testing.  There was 60 psi on the clock by this time, and once the fire was burning across the whole grate, with blower assisting, it was a gradual increase up to around 100 psi.  When she's warmed up, it takes relatively little time to raise pressure from 100 to 200 psi.

Carpo had toddled round finding the occasional loose nut, but on the whole all looked well.  So, he carried out a few checks.  The first safety valve blew at 210 psi and the second one blew at 220.  Maximum pressure is 225, and despite a valiant effort with the blower, Carpo could not persuade her to go over 225 - which is good!

The steam heating valve (Mason's valve) must have been fiddled with over winter, because it let the pressure in the train heating pipe go too high.  The pressure relief valve blew at 45 psi; the normal value on GWSR stock is 40 psi [the limit in GWR/BR days was 60 psi].  So, that will need tweaking to get the right pressure.

Creating a vacuum turned out to be mildly amusing - she happily took vacuum up to 28 ins in the train pipe and 24 in the vacuum cylinder … it should be 25/23 !!!  There's a little "pepper pot" valve that clearly needs adjusting!  There was also a very slight leak in the train pipe; nothing serious.

There is a significant steam leak from the LHS injector body.  It looked to me as though it is from the rear cover.  But it was dark by this time, and difficult to be certain.  Steam came up into the cab (through the floor and through the door)!

Anyway, Carpo was happy, and decided to run up & down a bit, to test the new regulator valve and the new brake blocks.  There was a tremendous clang as we moved off - sounded like a pipe had fallen off!  Carpo braked immediately, of course, and I got down to investigate.  It appears to have been a length of pipe that is used to extend a spanner when hard-tightening nuts (or undoing tight nuts).  It must have been on the underside somewhere, balanced on something. Phew!

Ah - that demonstrated that the brakes work, anyway!  :-))

After a short poodle round the yard & Road 1, Carpo reckoned that the regulator was a tad stiff, but was reacting exactly how a GWR loco should.  He commented that "she's a completely different beast, now".  Beast, indeed!  The brakes work fine.  So, we adjourned at 6.30 pm.

Friday 6th
Carpo lit a full fire at 7 am and I arrived at 8.30.  At that stage, there was 60 psi on the clock.  Once the fire had taken hold (it was a bit slow at the front) pressure soon rose up to blowing-off by 9.30.  Bob Garnet, the Insurance inspector, was expected at 10 am. That gave us a short while in which to do a final check.  Today's amusement was when attempting to create pressure in the train heating pipe, there was a cloud of steam at the front!  The front (and back) valves were open!  :-)

I found a minor leak in the heating pipe connection between loco & tender - the clasp was not tightened.  Soon fixed that.

I had another look at the LHS injector.  Steam definitely seems to come from somewhere at the back - probably the back cover.

Bob arrived (with his wife/fireman, Jill).  He had a good look round, of course, and came up with two items to address:
1. LHS safety valve has a joint leaking.  Needs fixing before the steam cuts the seat.
2. LHS (fireman side) slight leak of steam from a superheater element in the smokebox.  Needs tightening up.

And that was it!  Carpo commented that 2807 is in the best state that she has ever been in!

Bob departed and we left 2807 to cool down … she was still eager to blow off, and took quite some calming!

Saturday 7th
I re-stocked the F&W with boot scrapers and loaded my car to do the Coffee Pot, and planned on just working on assembling more boot scrapers, but …. I ran out of parcel tape for their boxes!

John T arrived first, and riveted the two trim angle pieces that had come lose from either side of the backhead.  He then turned his attention to the front cladding from the cylinders, which we had purposely left off until the steam test, so that we could verify that the cylinder covers were on tightly.  They were.  So, John, with Fred, replaced the two pieces of front cladding.  Later, he cut out some tiny gaskets for Bruce, who was playing with the "pepper box" (vacuum relief valve).  John's final task of the day was helping me lift the brass bonnet onto the top of the loco.  Needless to say, we put it on the wrong way round initially, so Fred brought the paint, and there is now an "F" on the inside of the bonnet!

Fred spent some time sorting out the new batch of fire bricks for the brick arch.  They are letter-coded, and a plan shows which goes where.  They are now on the floor in some sort of order.

Bruce attended to the leaking injector.  He removed the back cover (where the leak was) and cleaned it up.  There was some sort of crud around the outside.  We couldn't be sure what it had been - maybe something used as a seal? … that obviously didn't work.  He then worked on the vacuum system.  He dismantled and cleaned the "pepper box" valve, and then borrowed Neil's pump plus a calibrated vacuum gauge, and had a play with ours.  You know that the train pipe side registered 28 (inches of mercury) on Thursday … well, it was wrong.  It took a while to lift off the needle; in fact, Bruce had to run up a part on the lathe for an extractor, in order to get the needle off.  After much playing, he finally got the pepper box, the calibrated gauge and our gauge to all be happy at 25 ins.  However, he ran out of time, so the vacuum cylinder side has got to wait until Monday.

Clive, Ade and another chap (unfortunately, I didn't see who) [Loco Dept] very kindly cleaned out the grate and emptied the ash pan.

During all of this activity, Gil was wandering round oiling things and measuring things (specifically the tyres - but they haven't worn noticeably).

Monday 9th
Gil & John T, aided by Clive & Ben [Loco Dept], fitted the new brick arch.  Several bricks had to be "modified" to fit round studs, etc., and along the centre line there needs to be wedges to stop the arch from succumbing to the effects of gravity.  Anyway, it all worked in the end, and a warming fire was lit.

Bruce calibrated the vacuum cylinder side of the vacuum gauge, and fitted that back in the cab - kind of essential when the loco could be called into service if one of the rostered locos should fail over the next few days [it's Race Week, for those of you who live miles away].

Gil says that Wednesday's job is to weigh the loco.  Who's got the scales???


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