Thursday, 27 August 2015

Maintenance Update (leak, tails, siphon)

Saturday 22nd
The day began with John T preparing rail chairs and me painting those in the production line.  John decided to clean the Southern Railway one ready for anyone who asks for one.  I pointed him at an LNER one, too, which could equally be readied.

Bruce & Gil decided to tackle the leaky underkeep on the left side of the pony truck.  It involved jacking up the front of the loco to separate part of the pony truck frame such that the underkeep could be slid out.  It has two straps brazed (badly) to its bottom, which are too wide for it to slide out on its own.  So, one thing we did (later) was to cut off the excess width and make it fit properly. Meanwhile, even the steam heating pipe had to be disconnected in order to get the thing out!

The objective of today's exercise was to see if we could find out where the leaks are.  It's a brass casting; a complete box, with a slot in the top for a felt pad.  The felt pad fits inside the slot on springs, and presses up against the pony axle.  Judging by the depth of the pad and that of the box, it appears that the box has to be absolutely full of oil for any to reach the pad!  If the oil level in the bottom of the box drops to about one inch deep, the pad would sit above it - high and dry!  Carpo suggested fitting 'tails' to the pad such that they sit in the oil and it rises by capillary action up into the felt pad.  Bruce duly did this and fitted the pad back in its slot, checking that it was still springy.

I cleaned out the box with kerosene; dried it; left it in the sun to finish off drying, and finally smeared silicone sealant all over its bottom!  We'd carried out a test to see where the leaks were by filling it with some kerosene and just watching the drips.  There were several!  We are under no illusion that this is a cure, but we hope that it reduces the leaking to tide us over the remaining 9 steaming days to Winter Maintenance.  Gil has already set in motion the procurement of new castings.

Dixie came along today and acted (mostly) as gopher.  He'd been to Winchcombe first, to fit electrical sockets in the siphon van.  Geof was there continuing with the restoration work.

We had to get the loco back together before the end of the day because she is acting as stand-by loco, and must be ready for service if needed.  So, it was all hands to the pony for the final hour or so!  Bruce, Gil & I were struggling to get the underkeep back in place; Dixie and John were providing "support services" (e.g. "fetch a needle" … "file the split pin end to a point" …).  Bruce and I really had fun with the split pins (meanwhile, Gil was tightening the pony frame nuts).  Why couldn't the person who drilled the holes drill them at 60 degrees from alignment?  As they are, the pin holes in two bolts are in line and hence you can't run a test needle through the one at the back because the one in front is directly in line with it (and hence blocking access)!

Anyway, we got it all back together; collected up all of the old split pins (so as not to cause a driver to panic if he found an old split pin by the loco [ask me sometime!]); cleaned the tools, and called it a day.  John had managed to prepare half-a-dozen rail chairs and cut off some stubborn bolts from others.

Tuesday 25th
I popped down during the afternoon to spread some paint around, but was intercepted by young Tom whom I had given lighting-up training only 3 weeks ago.  He was rostered to do a light-up under Carpo's supervision, but things were not entirely to plan.  4270 (which should have been the one to light up) had broken a spring or two!  So, 2807 was called into action.  Furthermore, the DMU had broken down, and Carpo had been called away to fix it.  So, I spent an enjoyable afternoon supervising young Tom lighting a warming fire in 2807.

While he was getting on with things, I noticed that the blower handle was at 60 degrees past the vertical when closed.  Little things like that irritate me, so I freed the handle and re-aligned it vertically (downwards).

It was also rather necessary to fill the pony left-hand axlebox with oil (as we had left it dry while the temporary fix set).  That was quite tricky, as we were not over a pit.  In fact, the pattern of oil on the ground is not exactly representative of any leaks that might still exist in the axlebox …  :-)

Wednesday 26th
Well, 2807 was on Train 2, so Bruce decided that it was too risky to run along behind trying to fit the steam heat hose.  Workshop Keith had finished cleaning up the faces of the valve section and the connector.  Bruce verified that they all fit together, and then made gaskets for their faces.

Dixie and John T attacked rail chairs, and had cleaned eight by the time we called it a day, but John continued for a while, cutting bolts off chairs in the pile.  John G pressed on with painting those in the production line.  I fitted brushes to three that were near the end of the production line, and then had to stain another batch of brushes.

Gil & Ray came over from Winchcombe, where they had been assembling a new door for the siphon.  This is the final door on the north side.  The panelling (cladding) on the south side is complete, and only the doors to do, there.

Gil & Bruce went to see JC to inspect the set of expansion links that he has got.  They had been on Foremarke Hall, but the curvature is not correct for a Hall … because they came off of a 28xx !!!  So, we are planning on buying them from JC, refurbishing them, and fitting them to 2807 over winter.

Ray took over from John G, and finished painting green rail chairs.  John nipped off to see Malcolm R, and when he came back, he painted the final prepared chair in crimson lake.  This will cause purists to cringe, but there has been a run on the crimson lake coloured boot scrapers, and we have only 3 Midland Railway chairs left, and no LMS ones or plain BR ones … so, a few BR(W) chairs are going to leave the works in crimson!  Sorry!


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