Saturday 30 May 2015

Maintenance Update (piston, gland, blower, injector)

Wednesday 27th
Bruce & Gil arrived first.  It seems that there was a minor issue with the brakes: the diesel shunter had struggled to move 2807 because the piston inside the vacuum cylinder was reluctant to drop down (under its own weight).  The crew had to clamber underneath and help the piston to fall!  So, Bruce & Gil began by adjusting the brakes.  The gland where the piston rod passes through the bottom of the vacuum cylinder was adjusted such that the piston would fall.

Whilst playing with the brakes, it was clear that the new brake blocks had worn in, and Gil took up the slack in the brake linkages using the King Dick spanner on the bottle screws.

The two of them later compared the height of the running board on each side of the loco.  The main reason for this, apparently, was that when Gil weighed the loco, it was heavier under the left side wheels.  Bruce pointed out that the front cross-beam with which we had so much trouble earlier in the year, does now look level.  Anyway, there was no more than 1/8" difference between left & right, or front and back.  The right side is the lower.  Logically, right-side being low implies that the centre of gravity of the boiler shifts to the right, which suggests the right side should be the heavier.  Hmmm.  The back, by the cab, appears to be about 1/8" lower than the front, too.  Of course, with a 110 year-old frame, what are the chances that it is still straight anyway?  And, this assumes that the track over the pit is absolutely level.

When John G arrived, he could see that Gil & Bruce were in control of the loco issues, so he valiantly began painting rail chairs in the production line.  He applied Deproma primer/undercoat to four and a top coat to five more.

I arrived at lunchtime, and apart from doing some tidying up sanded and stained eleven brushes ready for boot scrapers.

2807 is currently rostered for Thursday and Sunday.  Then she is to have her boiler wash-out, returning to service for a Fire & Drive on Friday 12 June.  Chris B [Loco Dept] offered to light today's warming fire if I light the one for him on 11 June!

Two known issues that we hope to tackle before return to service are steam passing by the blower and the right-hand injector steam valve.  Both probably need their seats recutting.

Saturday 30th
2807 is to be in service on Sunday, so there was little that we could do on her.  After Sunday, she is due for a wash-out.

John T and I turned up and worked on boot scraper production.  We knocked off early, leaving four black bottoms facing upwards plus about six further completed boot scrapers on the shelf.


Monday 25 May 2015

Maintenance Update (pins, shunter, stalls, FLA)

Wednesday 20th
I was giving a lighting-up course to one of the Loco Dept chaps, so didn't see what was happening with the loco.  Then after lunch I had to go to visit my Mum in hospital .. so I missed it all !!!  So, Bruce reports:

"First thing Gilbert and Bruce looked at the defect reports to see what needed doing, they then climbed between the frames to investigate some of them.
A report by George stated that one of the pins on the front right spring hanger had lost its retaining clip and had started to work its way out.

He had knocked the pin back in and fitted a new split pin to hold it, he also replaced the split pin on the other end of the spring. Unfortunately he could only find split pins that were slightly undersize.
At the same time 4270 and 5542 were having their steam test so, as 2807 needed to be over the pit these loco's were used to move it. We finished up with four engines, all coupled together for this move. (the diesel shunter was in the middle).

Once over the pit Gilbert and Bruce removed the undersize pins and replaced them with the correct size.

At the same tome John G painted the bottoms on four chairs (rail) before moving on to his usual cleaning duties on the loco.

Three of the department guys also did some prep work on the loco before cleaning between the frames.

Fred arrived from Winchcombe to needle gun a rusty bracket from the siphon.

Late afternoon by now and quite a crowd had gathered in the car park to watch Raveningham Hall and its tender being unloaded from their transporters.

Another arrival was the tender from Wadebridge. We now have two southern tenders in the yard but no sign of the two spam cans to go with them."

Thursday 21st
Stuart & I did a bit of prep work for the stall and tombola over the weekend. 34007 arrived!

Friday 22nd
The other Southern arrived.

Saturday 23rd
Stuart, Gil & I represented CSPL while 2807FLA chaps manned their book stall.

Sunday 24th
Stuart was again manning CSPL's stall; I was crossing monitor at Gotherington.  It rained: seemingly every time rain came in people wanted to cross the line!!!

Monday 25th
Stuart and I manned the stall for a final day.  We were trying to get rid of remaining stock.  We took £400 over the weekend, which is certainly worth having!  We shall have no further sales stalls, as there is no one to organise or staff them.

2807 seemed to perform well.  She looked particularly good hauling the freight trains, I thought.

She is due for a boiler wash-out, so I expect Bruce, Gil & John will be busy on Wednesday …


Sunday 24 May 2015

To prove that "Wells" made it .....

..... here's a photo from yesterday ....

... showing Wells headed by Wadebridge arriving at Toddington.


Wednesday 20 May 2015

Unofficial Gala Update

I understand from unofficial sources that there has been a bit of an issue with City of Wells (or is it just Wells) .  Apparently the loco was impounded en route (at Leeds) for being overweight.  Rumour has it that the boiler hadn't been drained.  Oh well, these things happen, and I'm sure it will all be sorted out in time for the weekend.

In 'other news' - Raveningham Hall arrived today, as did the tender for Wadebridge.

And 2807, along with the other resident locos, is ready and waiting to do her bit.

Details of the gala can be found here and the timetable for the weekend is here.

I hope you are able to attend what I'm sure will be the usual highly successful and enjoyable event.


Tuesday 19 May 2015

Maintenance Update (chairs, pony, supporters, gala)

Wednesday 13th
2807 was in service.  Actually, all other steam locos were out of service!  One with broken springs; one with a broken copper pipe; one waiting for a wash-out; and of course P&O.

John G and Bruce arrived and found that there was little we could do.  John painted a few rail chairs.  Bruce removed two stay rods from the steps up to our TPO … we'd turned the steps upside down because one step was a tad life-expired.  This worked apart from these two rods now being on the top of their steps instead of beneath them!  I applied some varnish to our noticeboard (in anticipation that someone will contribute towards words & photos to put in it!).

Saturday 16th
2807 in service.  Bruce & John T came and did some work on rail chairs.  I painted some lettering on almost-completed ones, then applied varnish to the remaining bits of the noticeboard before adjourning at lunch time.

The hand drill that we use to wire-brush chairs died on Bruce today.  It stopped rotating & started smoking (a very bad habit).  I took it to pieces and it looked as though a thrust bearing had disintegrated causing excessive heat which melted something plastic (can't tell what, because it's melted).  Decided to consign it to the bin.

Gil reports:
"A couple of weeks ago there was a report on the defect log about LH pony truck running warm and when it was looked at there was nothing obvious.

Today I was talking to Jamie to thank him for his assistance with our leaking pipe joints. During the conversation he mentioned the pony truck and I said we had not found any indication of heating of the axle box. He agreed that neither the axle box nor the wheel warm up, but the axle itself feels warm.

There is a (thrust ?) collar machined onto the pony truck axle adjacent to the inside face of each axle box. I wonder if something is catching or rubbing on it. Jamie says that they have found that if they keep the axle well oiled in that area the temperatures do not build up."

Monday 18th
I was unable to make the Supporters' Special because of family issues.  Here's a report from Stuart:
"The day began with threats of heavy showers and was dull and overcast. Supporters began arriving at Toddington station from 09.30 hrs ready for the first departure at 10.30hrs. There was an air of excitement and interest and much happy chatter amongst the people gathered. 2807 with a rake of 7 Chocolate and cream coaches was standing proudly hissing steam and wearing the Heavyweight Champion headboard in platform 1 with Driver Ben Evason and Fireman Clive Norton on the footplate ready for the off. We had one hiccup which nearly scuppered the day, there was no rostered Signalman or guard but one of our guests Bob Mackintosh stepped in a saved the day and covered both guard and signal man duties. Everyone was enjoying the day and after reading the table top information sheets was fully briefed on the day's activities. The one dampener was the 30 minute stop at Winchcombe for visits to the model railway and our SIPHON G, the heavens opened with a downpour for a few minutes but a little while later everything changed and the rest of the day bathed us in sunshine.

The Lunch break at Toddington allowed time for a visit to the sheds organised by Glyn Cornish and there were opportunities to visit the station shop and the museum coaches which had been opened for us. The Flag & Whistle provided an excellent light lunch which their staff distributed to us all whilst we sat in the coaches. Liquid refreshment was available from the Buffet car manned by OTC staff, Peter Nicholson on Journey number 2 set up a table and held a book signing for his new book Tracking Down Steam. This proved very successful, he was signing the copies and sold every one he had brought making a £5 donation to 2807 from each copy. The day ended about 16.30 hrs and everyone departed the train with smiles and many complimentary comments for an excellent day out."

John Mayell writes:
"Thank you for such an enjoyable morning today , good to see so many relaxing on the journey . I saw your Siphon wagons on way down to exit at Toddington and I hope it features in a freight rake alongside Monster wagon !"

Sorry to anyone who has missed having an update last week.  Life has had its moments recently!

Steam Gala:
No 34092 arrives on 15th May and steam tested on 21st
No 34007 arrives on 19th and departs on 2nd June
No 6960 arrives on 20th and leaves on 27th
… or not!  :-)

Photo shows P&O looking fantastic :


Wednesday 6 May 2015

Maintenance Update (hydraulic, fire, steam, polish)

Saturday 2nd
Bill reported:
"I went over to Winchcombe as usual, and it was a very cold couple of hours in the Siphon until I realized it looked as though I would be on my own for the rest of the day. Nonetheless, I did get some painting and rubbing down done, though I decided to call it a day at lunchtime and drove over to Toddington thinking that maybe all our regular 2807 crew were there, but the only man working in our TPO there was John Tyler. Anyhow, after spending some time talking with John, I had a look around Rob's railway book sale and then drove home."

John cleaned up four rail chairs and blacked their bottoms.

Sunday 3rd
Unfortunately, I bumped into Carpo at the pub last night.  Apparently the leak in the top of the feed pipe to the clack got progressively worse after I'd left on Friday.  So, this morning, I was down there at 9 o'clock (before the family was up) removing the pipe cladding, and removing the pipe for Carpo to do a hydraulic test on it.  Hopefully that will reveal exactly where the leak is.

Carpo reported:
"Ashley H and I hydraulic'd the pipe and sure enough found a pin hole in the silver soldered joint.

"I did attempt to just add a touch of silver solder to the pin hole despite the almost certain knowledge that it wouldn't work (as it never does!) and sure enough after quenching, a crack had opened up all round the joint other than where I had touched the silver solder on. This could only mean one thing so then we undid the whole joint and the results can be seen in photo 114. Yet another joint with absolutely no silver solder penetration into the joint except at the point where the flame had been playing onto the bronze ring.

"I was able to clean up the existing ferrule … although ideally I would have made a new one. I was also able to clean up the pipe carefully and I am pretty sure the problem was simply a very poor silver soldered joint rather than a split or crack. The hydraulic revealed it to be structurally sound but with the steel flange covering the joints it's very tricky to say 100% for certain that there isn't something going on. The proof of the pudding will be in the steam test to which end we have refitted the pipe and put in a warming fire. Hopefully someone might be about to undertake another steam test ....."

… there wasn't!

Methinks that Clive, Paul and Chris [Loco Dept] might have been involved in lighting a warming fire (again) and ultimately raising steam.  As pressure rose, minor leaks were discovered, but the application of a spanner fixed all except the one where a gasket was missing!  It was mid-afternoon by the time full pressure was achieved, and after a close inspection by Carpo, she was declared fit for service.  They took her round to the old pit to drop the ashpan's contents, and finally Bruce & Gilbert refitted the pipe cladding and the brass bonnet.

Apparently there was a drop of rain first thing, so rather than sitting and counting the drops, John G took it upon himself to apply a first coat on the seven rail chairs that were in the boot scraper production line.

When I arrived (somewhat late) I painted ten brushes and then tackled some chairs.  John M popped in and gave me a hand for a short while.

After lunch, John G decided to go and polish the cab brassware again, but found the cab full of bodies.  So, he polished the drain cocks and cylinder relief valves (though the photo hardly does them justice).  Bruce also removed the injector rear cover and refilled it with PTFE to stop that steam leak.

So, 2807 is back in service!  Fire & Drive on Friday, service trains over the weekend.  She has about 10 steamings to do before having a wash-out, which is scheduled for 28 May (after the gala).


Friday 1 May 2015

Maintenance Update (pipe, silver, cut-off, leak)

Friday 24th
I happened to be cycling beneath Laverton bridge as 2807 was running round the Fire & Drive train.  Got the thumbs-up from Chris, who was fireman.  Something of a relief!

Saturday 25th
Bill reports:
" I showed up today at Winchcombe, though it was very quiet in the Siphon on my own. I managed to complete the painting activity as per Fred's plan, and I stopped around 2:45 pm because I needed the paint to dry before going any further. Anyhow, I spent the next 45 mins or so on the platform at Winchcombe taking in the event of the War Weekend, which I found to be very interesting, and it seemed to be a great success with the public."

Monday 27th
Carpo reports:
"The good news is that the joint twixt safety valve body and LH clack appears to be dry but we had to fail the engine last night because the leak on the pipe joint under the footplate deteriorated significantly during the course of the day.  Although I had rostered 2807 to cover this Tuesday's diagram I will instead roster 7820 which means that 2807 won't (hopefully) be required till Friday 8th May on an F&D course.

This gives us a chance therefore to sort out various items of pipework that requires attention on 2807. I would like to suggest that with your help on stripping and assembly we should be able to undertake the copper pipework in the evenings this week and possibly at the weekend with a view to having a steam test on either Wednesday 6th or Thursday 7th May."

This pipe that feeds steam to the LHS injector has a silver-soldered joint in it, and it has been leaking quite badly lately.  It fills the whole cab with steam when you have that injector on (and it is, inevitably, the one most commonly used).  Well, Jamie [Loco Dept] very kindly took the pipe off today for us.  Carpo adds: "He was discreet enough not to show anyone the rather **** poor attempt at silver soldering which finally let go yesterday".  Having considered the options, we are planning on re-soldering the joint; the alternative being to replace the joint with a flanged connection.  We had investigate the latter, but exactly where to position the flange was up for debate - space beneath the cab floor is at a premium!

State of latest issues on the report card:
16: LH injector leak; escalated to Category 1 (i.e. loco failed) {see above}
17: [JW] Regulator very notchy. Sometimes not opening until half way across quadrant.  Seems like pilot not opening occasionally. {Illogical.  If the regulator handle moves, one valve or the other will move! If the pilot sticks the main will open instead.  Could be this driver has not got used to the new pilot valve operating?}
18: [JW] Cannot always engage full forward gear. {see Wednesday, below}
19: [JW] Die block cheek plate LH very loose.
20: [IC] LH injector feed pipe leaking at clack joint.  {see Monday, above}

Tuesday 28th
Stuart reports:
" I have just found this on youtube, if you have not already seen it, it is well worth a watch.

… in which there are many scenes shot on our line, and 2807 does feature several times.

Wednesday 29th
Most of the effort today was directed at the leaking injector steam feed pipe.  Bruce & Gil worked on it all day.  They took the pipe apart (two sections plus a sleeve).  It was clear to see that the silver solder had formed a seal around the end of the pipe, but not sealed the whole sleeve.  A new, longer sleeve was cut (from some pipe that Carpo had, I believe).  The pipe ends were cleaned, and excess solder removed. This took Bruce an absolute age.

Gil made one gasket (one still needed for the other end of the pipe).  Carpo (assisted by Bruce and also Mark Y [Loco dept]) silver soldered the sleeve to the pipe, and then Bruce cleaned the other half of the inside of the sleeve.  Then the three of them silver soldered the end pipe into the sleeve.  I accidentally took a video of this.  I meant to take a photo, but the thumb-wheel had got turned on my camera ….

Meanwhile, John G had cleaned the J-cock cover.  Having seen that the repaired J-cock was no longer leaking, he fitted the cover back on the smokebox.  Then, John painted the covers both sides of the smokebox!  Later he cleaned the copper pipework in the cab (again!).  From time to time, John assisted with the work on the steam feed pipe, too.

I cleaned three rail chairs (LMS, MR and LNWR). 

Apparently, issue 18 has been logged that a driver could not get 2807 into full forward gear.  So, I went to have a play!  Neither could I.  I looked at all of the rods and eccentrics, but couldn't see a problem.  So, Bruce & Gil spent a few minutes, watching & listening while I waggled the reverser to & fro.  It transpires that the reversing rod from the reverser to the lifting links runs through a guide on the running board just in front of the cab … and in full forward, it hits the end of the guide slot!  Why?  Why now?  Has it been like this for long?  We haven't changed anything (there's not a lot you can change!).  See the diagram below: JW couldn't reach the 76% cut-off, only the 73% notch!  David wondered if the newly fitted lever catch was so precise whereas the slop in the old one enabled 76% to be engaged?

Thursday 30th
Jamie and I hydraulically tested the pipe and its joint.  We had to remove the injector steam valve from within the cab, to bolt it onto the end of the pipe, to be able to block it off!  The other end had a blanking plate clamped on, which had the water connector for the hydraulic tester.  We pushed it up to 200+ psi and there was no sign of a leak from the joint.

Jamie cut the gasket that we hadn't managed to get done on Weds.  We then threaded the pipe down through the other pipes and damper levers.  It needed the drain pipe from the gauge frame to be removed, and a floor plate, and the bracket across the top of the fire hole to which this pipe (and two others) are clamped!  But we got there in the end.  …. but not until after had Jamie spotted that the pipe was going the wrong side of the leading damper lever … and how he got that clamp bracket back in place … ???

So, we lit a warming fire, with a view to doing a steam test tomorrow.

Friday 1st May
I relit the fire this morning.  While it was getting going, I clambered over the eccentrics and motion between the frames looking for anything untoward.  Apart from agreeing 19 - the cheek plates' rivets are loose - nothing there!

Turning to issue 18 about full forward gear, I removed the roller from the guide that is along the RHS running board.  Then pushing the reverser into full forward I could see that the roller position was 1/8 inch too far forward.  Nothing has moved (I checked the guide bracket bolts; checked the reverser lever frame, checked the rocking shafts).  The only thing different is the new catch that David made for the reverser.  I can only think that the old one was sloppy and could be made to engage full forward.  Bruce is dubious about that, though.

Gil turned up, so he & I played with the feed pipe leak adjoining the clack valve (issue 20).  After much loosening & tightening, and later using the injector, we could see water dripping out of what looks like the end of the pipe, rather than the actual joint between pipe and clack.  Carpo suspects a fracture in the pipe.  Gil's ordered some new pipe.

Re. issue 16 (the leaking steam feed pipe that was silver-soldered yesterday). Success!  No leak at all, right up to full boiler pressure.  However, you can't fail to notice now that there's a steam leak from the back cover of the injector!   Doh!!!  It was lost midst the steam from the pipe joint leak, before.

Bruce also couldn't keep away, and popped down to see how things were progressing.

In my spare moments (!) I guided Ashley in lighting fires in the Manor and the 42xx, which will be in service over the weekend.  2807 will not be in service until a fire & drive next Friday.

I don't know about the others, but I'm taking the weekend off !!!