Sunday 28 February 2016

Maintenance Update (condensing, skimming, cladding, shunting)

Monday 22nd
On Saturday, Gil had been struggling to fit a bracket under the cylinder block to carry the steam heating pipe. He gave up in exasperation - a nut that had [allegedly] come off a bolt declined to go back on. So, I decided to take a look. Not only were the two bolts non-standard, but were both rusty and loose (and impossible to access their heads and clamp them). There was no option but to remove them and replace them with new nuts & bolts. It took two hours!

I also applied an adhesive/filler to the water scoop operating column to disguise the fracture in it.

Wednesday 17th
Gil was really looking forward to tackling that bracket again [NOT]; so was pleased to see that he didn’t have to! Instead, he explored the options for finding/making lock-nuts to replace those that were cut off the bridge section, at the end of the pony. Some were doable, but he couldn’t fins any for the larger two bolts. The solution was to find a large nut, drill out the centre to required size; tap it to the correct thread and then cut it in half (cross-ways) to make two lock nuts.

My first task was to drill out the remains of the split-pins in these two bolts. That wasn’t too difficult. At the end of the day, I helped Gil fit the split pins (they were a tight fit once the lock nuts were in place - in fact, Bruce had to skim a few thou’ off one of the lock nuts to make room for the pin).

Bruce brought his homework in for inspection; then proceeded to fit the copper pipe to the condensing coil in the cab.

He spent most of his day on top of the boiler skimming and lapping the clack valves. These are completed apart from requiring the Boiler Responsible Person to inspect and approve them. While up there, he discovered that the securing bolts for the brass bonnet have gone AWOL. Bruce remembered that there were three copper pipes disconnected from the hydrostatic lubricator in the cab as part of “winterisation”. So, he fixed those.

John G tidied up the filler on the fractured water scoop handle and applied a coat of paint. Once John has a paint brush in his hand, everyone has to watch out! All sorts of places found themselves covered in black paint! We were banned from climbing up the LHS into the cab, for example!

John T was being an assistant to Gil, I think, and/or doing little jobs around.

Mid-afternoon, once the lock nuts were all locked up, I took the steam heating and vacuum pipes back to the loco. A gang of Loco Dept chaps [Chris, Ben, Pete, …] gave me a hand to thread the pipes through the underneath of the loco and then bolt them back together.

Saturday 27th
While bolting up the pipes, Ben noticed that there were four bolts missing from the cladding beneath the cylinder block. Guess what my first job today was!

I re-tapped the holes to clean them; then fitted new bolts. No idea how or why this line of four bolts had gone AWOL (the fourth one is hidden behind that bracket).

Graham was given the task of fitting two operating levers from the sanding equipment. These had been removed purely to make enough room to work on the pony pivot pin (also arrowed, centre) while we were messing around with the pony.

Bruce had been pestering Carpo to check the tightness of the top clacks that Bruce had lapped and refitted. While up there, they put the brass bonnet back in place over them (over the clacks, that is). 

Bruce then moved on making pads for the oiler that sits on top of the piston rod, just outside the cylinder. John T had made the LHS one last time, and Bruce made the RHS today. Again, we have no idea why there were no pads in these oilers. We are certain that we previously made and fitted pads. Bruce thinks there’s a ghost about. Gil blamed it on Maurice, our mouse!

David continued with the tender steam heating pipe. He’d had to modify the existing flange by drilling new holes to align with the new (“standard”) connection that we have had made. For homework, he’d made plugs for the old holes, and today he welded these plugs in place. We’re just awaiting the completion of those connections, then that’s completed.

Gilbert had gone round carrying out a mechanical inspection. He found four bolts to be too short on one pipe connection, so new bolts were acquired.

Just before lunch, Ade fired up the shunter and we pushed loco and tender together. Initially, three of us pushed the tender back to 4270’s buffers, then applied the brakes and put chocks beneath all six tender wheels. There are three links between loco and tender, and these have to be lined up accurately (else risk bending a link - which did happen up at NYMR). Blocks of wood raised them to the right height, and Bruce stood on the tender with a rope around the centre link (which is the hardest to get fitted). Ade, assisted by Graham, squeezed loco up to tender, and all seemed to go remarkably well …

Sometime later, Gil & I were beneath connecting up the water and vacuum hoses when I spotted that the one link (nearest in the photo) was not straight in line! Sure enough, when the pin had been dropped on the loco footplate to secure that link, it had missed its hole and pushed the link sideways!

When they had nothing else to do, Graham and Alex [Loco Dept] applied wax to the tender side.

The bolts for the brass bonnet had also gone AWOL, but Bruce found five new ones. I slapped some green paint on them to ‘posh’ them up a bit.

We are almost ready to go. The pressure gauges need calibrating and the fusible plugs need replacing. Given a bit of coal and water, we could then do a steam test … next week, perhaps?


Sunday 21 February 2016

Maintenance Update (pony pads, lagging, glasses, wax)

Wednesday 17th
Bruce and John T continued work on the pony underkeeps. The pads had been soaking in oil for about 10 days, but the second underkeep was waiting for a drain hole to be completed. John finished off the insides and then drilled and tapped while Bruce prepared for the fun part!

Together, they completed the fitting thereof.

Gil was reaming the hole in the end of the valve link, expanding it to fit the new offset pin that connects this rod to the rocking shaft arm. That took all morning.

Thereafter, he had a butcher’s at the bridge section, where we had originally attempted to remove the bridge in order to carry out the reaming of the holes for the new pony pivot pin. The lock nuts had been cut off, and the split pins had also been cut off (because they refused to come out). As a result, the old pins may have to be drilled out. I think Gil was hoping to fit new lock nuts, but the remnants of the split pins got in the way!

So, he moved on to the under-frame of the pony truck that keeps the horns from spreading. We had been unable to tighten the 8 nuts on this prior to being moved over the pit. These were now easily reached, tightened and split-pinned.

Bruce set me on fitting the pony pivot pin. We’d fitted the old one so that Bruce could shave a bit off the new one (for his homework). We did this because it is such a good fit that we were concerned about the restricted elevation possible when the loco is loaded onto a lorry, and the pony truck has to ride up significantly higher than it was originally designed to do.

David had cut the end of the steam heat pipe at the back of the loco, which connects to the tender, and tack-welded a couple of new sections on. He’d asked that the pipe be painted in heat-resistant paint before he completes the weld and the pipe is refitted. John G was tasked with doing this. The lagging had to come off and John wire-brushed the entire pipe before applying the same paint that is applied to the smokebox. He also cleaned up the flanges and the nuts & bolts for them. Later, John went on to assist with fitting the split pins to the pony horn tie.

While fitting the pony pivot pin, I’d noticed that lagging had been worn off the steam heating pipe in that area (the pipe is a useful one to stand on!). We had a small amount of lagging left, so I rectified that.

I couldn’t help but notice a whole host of Loco Dept chaps crawling all over our loco, applying cleaner (and possibly wax?). Many thanks to them (one is named Mike; Alex is the lady; I don’t know the others’ names - sorry!). Anyway, very many thanks to the Loco Dept.

The next task assigned to me by Bruce, was to re-fit the copper pipe that feeds the ‘pep’ (or ‘slacking’) pipe in the cab. This had been rubbing against the frame where it passed through, and Bruce had brazed to leak up. That was easy enough to put back on.

Now being over the pit, I was able to get at the front damper door, which has two loose bolts. Well, they may waggle in their holes, but the nuts won’t budge - so they wouldn’t work loose! I had to cut them off with the angle-grinder, and then fit new nuts & bolts.

Finally, I decided to fit new glasses to the hydrostatic lubricator in the cab. The glasses contain water, through which oil drip-feeds. They were removed over winter to avoid the water freezing. I think I must have thrown the glasses away (whoops!) because I couldn’t find them; so had to get new ones. I struggled for ages fitting these. You have to drop the glass tube in, then slide a rubber up it followed by the compression ring and the nut; then the bottom nut, its compression ring and finally the bottom rubber. They were exceedingly hard to get together. In fact, the fifth one just would not fit. I took it off, and discovered that the glass tube was wider than the hole in the compression ring! Clive [Loco Dept] came along and examined the glass. He delved into the loco toolbox (where spares are kept for in-service emergency use), and when we compared that glass to this new one ... there’s 1/16” difference! They are too big! No wonder I’d been struggling with them. See photo- new glass left; old right. Rubber ring expands too much on the new glass, and jams in the nut!

Saturday 20th
Lots of smaller tasks were attacked … not always successfully! Here are the bigger tasks:

A whole host of folks assisted Gilbert in refitting the RHS valve link. This had been removed in order to get at the valve itself, and examine its innards. It also gave a bit more room for the reaming of the bolt holes that secure the rocker arm bracket to the frame.

As the end bush in the valve link had also been reamed, a new offset-pin had been made to fit. This connects the valve link to the rocker shaft arm.

Unfortunately, the link would not go in place, and would not engage the valve cross-head at the front end. This big bracket supporting the slide bars was getting in the way!

After much forcing of the valve rod and cross-head as far forward as possible, it was decided that the only thing to do was to get between the frames and disconnect that arm from the intermediate valve rod, thus allowing the arms to be swung backwards and thence the link and cross-head mated.

I fitted the remaining one glass to the hydrostatic lubricator; Mason’s valve; door to the in-cab ATC box; RHS valve cladding and RHS running board (once the chaps had completed the link.

Bruce brought the copper pipe for the condensing coil (in the cab roof) to measure the required length before cutting and swaging the end. He is here removing the top clack valve to polish its bottom for his homework. He also finished fitting the two injectors that John T and I had started, before hitting a spanner problem.

John T fitted a new diaphragm into the Mason’s valve; began fitting it (but also ran into a spanner problem); prepared the injectors (PTFE on internal threads); and finally refitted the rear section of the steam heating pipe.

John G is here cleaning out the drain cocks. He had also assisted me in fitting the RHS running board. I suspect that he was frequently providing “support services” (i.e. gopher) for other folks throughout the day.

Ade and two other Loco Dept chaps were set on replacing the gland packing in the LH rear cylinder. Gil supervised this. However, Gil was trying to fit a bracket under the cylinder block for the front section of steam heating pipe to be refitted. He ran into nut problems! Nut and stud were not a willing match!

Several Loco Dept folks had been crawling over the boiler and particularly the smokebox, applying wax or oil (as appropriate). Just ask Bruce, as he slid all over the boiler, when removing the clacks!
Alistair also had a hard time attempting to remove split pins from the fitted bolts in the bridge section at the back of the pony frame. He gave up in the end!

An issue had been raised saying that there is a crack in the water scoop casing. Once I’d cleaned the paint & muck off, you could see what a crack! The top has parted from the bottom. However, the top is firmly bolted in place, and so is the bottom; so nothing is going very far! The scoop is not used, of course.

David had a look at the material and discovered that it is cast iron. As a result, it cannot be welded. The decision was taken to apply a strong filler (since the whole thing is cosmetic).

David welded up the end of the rear section of steam heating pipe. Alistair painted the end section. David wrapped fresh glass-fibre insulation tape round it.

The tender end of things is a bit sorry, though. The new flanges are a different shape, size and hole positioning to our old ones. So, David is going to fill in the holes on the tender’s flange and drill new ones to match the new flange. These have to be orientated to allow the hose between loco and tender to both fit and flex without straining.

What else? Oh, Alistair filled up the pony underkeeps with oil.

It was a busy day, and quite a few things got ticked off the “to do” list. Still a few to get done before the end of the month, though.


Sunday 14 February 2016

Maintenance Update (pony again, pit, bearings)

Monday 8th
Bruce had emailed me and mentioned that it would be a good idea to check the gap on the rubber shock-absorber housing. The gap between the bottom of the top “cup” housing and the top of the cover plate over the axleboxes should be about ¾ inch. Before taking the pony out, the gap was different on each side, at somewhere around 0.8 inch and 1.1 inch. When the pony was assembled, but before it went back in place, the gap seemed to be over 2 inches. So, Bruce had removed two of the rubbers.  Now the pony is in place and with a weight of nearly 6 tons on it, what is the gap?

That on the left side is ¼ inch; that on the right 1/10th inch. Not acceptable! Pony has to come out, again, and have its rubbers re-inserted! Much debate has been had on compression of rubbers, etc.

Having tidied up on Saturday, I now spent a couple of hours un-tidying again! Tried to prepare (to some extent) for Wednesday. But having practiced removing and refitting the pony, it will be easier this time …

Tuesday 9th
I spent a couple more hours preparing for Wednesday, by positioning jacks; removing pony pivot pin; propping up the whacking great front-back beam; disconnecting the heavy weight in front of the smokebox, and raising it to clear the pony, below. For an encore, I wire-brushed the faces of the LHS valve cover, in readiness for it to be refitted.

Wednesday 10th
The whole team (Gil, Bruce, John G, John T and Graham; plus Mike later) focused on getting the pony out again; fixing the rubbers, and getting it all back together.

Mostly, Bruce & I were underneath somewhere. This photo was taken by me, lying down under the pony, with Bruce guiding the pony frame back into position. The frame end fits into the bridge piece and is held in place by the pivot pin.

The whacking great beam balances load on the loco front springs and the pony truck. Bruce had made more calculations about rubbers and their compression. We all agreed to replace the two rubber discs that had been removed, but to take out two metal plates - one from each end of the stack of rubbers. This should increase the gap (that ought to be about ¾ inch) from the current 1/10th on the RHS to about 5/8”; and the LHS from ¼” to about 1”.

So, when the pony was out (lunchtime) the rubbers were refitted and the pony reassembled. The details would be much the same as last time (so I won’t repeat them).

While Gil was preoccupied, John T fitted a PTFE gasket to the valve cover, and at a subsequent stage, I fitted it back in place.

John G, John T, Graham and Gil were predominantly applying their muscle power to rolling the pony out (initially) and back in. In the photo below, the pony is back; the weight has been lowered and connected to the beam. John is here inserting the pin to lock them together, plus fitting the cotter and split pin to secure them.

Jeff L was passing by and spotted that there were no corks in the oiling points on the pony axle boxes - the sort of thing that only a driver notices! He kindly brought a handful out and fitted these four.

By end of play, we were back to where we were last weekend!

I must pass on our gratitude to the Loco Dept chaps who have been beavering away on our tender. They have fitted new brake blocks all round.

Workshop Graham drilled the blocks’ pivot position to suit, and then a team of chaps set to work. Apparently, they had got it down to 2 minutes 59 seconds to fit a brake block. Where have they learnt their skill, I wonder???

One bit of fun was at the front RHS, where a bolt had to be removed to adjust the brake setting. It seems that we had fitted it the wrong way round (sometime during the 1990s). To get it out and turn it, necessitated playing with the water scoop. However, the GWSR Mechanical Responsible Person had insisted that the handle be padlocked to prevent anyone from ever lowering the scoop while in service. Guess what? No one knew where the key was! Bolt cutters persuaded the padlock to let go.

Thanks go to Clive, Mike, Martin, Alex … and apologies to others that I have missed.

Thursday 11th
I spent a few more hours down there today, tidying up the front LHS of the loco.
  - Front valve cover is on and tight;
  - Cladding is on around it;
  - Running board is on above it.
That took 2½ hours!

Friday 12th
Bruce reports:
“I popped into Todders today to trial fit the underkeep bolts that I have modifying. I breezed into the shed rear door and nearly fell over, no, not drunk, but no loco.

I found it at the far end over the pit with our tender behind it, there is a gap between them so that we have access.

Carpo had shunted it earlier in the morning. He said that it came with a deal. The deal was that we cleaned the pit (and probably the oil that we had left on the floor at the other end too).

While I was there I took some quick measurements of the gap between the spring housing and the axle box to see if it had changed during the move.

The LHS gap was the same at approx. 1 inch but the RHS had dropped slightly (almost 1/16") to just under three quarters of an inch.

I got the trusty spirit level out and it confirmed that the RHS was slightly low. It was not far out and only needed one of our 12" rules laid flat under the low end to bring it level (didn’t measure the rule but I would guess that it is about 1mm).

I guess that it may change again when the boiler is full.

Saturday 13th
Family commitments kept me away, but John T reports:
“Bruce cleaned up the hanging link outer face to get the new pin almost hard up against it. He worked on setting the pony truck journal bearings hanging tee-bolts (that hold the under-keeps) so that they could be properly fitted to the under-keep straps with the split pin after the nut, not through it as before. He also spent time improving the sealing face of the first under-keep drain plug.

David worked on preparations for fitting the new tender to engine water hose bosses. This involved removing existing connections and preping and welding new flanges which will take the new bosses currently in the machine shop.

Gil and John T worked on reaming the second (of 4) fixing bolt holes for the RH hanging link bracket, to take one of the new fitted bolts. Slow work, as the reamed hole needs frequent checking to achieve the correct amount of interference fit for the new bolt. What a relief to drive the bolt home! They then fitted the hanging link, which because of its weight, needed help from Bruce and David to get it lifted up into position on its (running board) bracket.”


Sunday 7 February 2016

Maintenance Update (beam, pin, oil, bridge)

Wednesday 3rd
John G began the day by stamping an identifier on each of the underkeep straps and then painting them black (see photo). After lunch he joined the Pony Club.

 … and while you are looking at the first photo, guess the cost of the bolt. This is one of the four fitted bolts to secure the RHS rocking shaft housing to the loco frames. It is five inches tall and has a diameter of one-and-a-quarter inches. Answer below!

During the morning, our two invalids, Gilbert & Bruce, measured every conceivable dimension on the pony frame in order to decide if the height is right. Having inserted the rubbers (exactly those ones that came out) into their bell-housings, they appear to sit about an inch higher than before they were interfered with. Why? Who knows! My guess is that six-plus years of having 7 tons on top of them squelched them a bit, and now having two months without, they relaxed. However, G&B decided to remove two 1/4" rubbers from each side … which meant disassembling the pony again! It was back together by lunchtime, though.

Determined to get the pony back under the loco today, I pressed on by jacking the loco up.

After lunch it was all hands to the pony (i.e. John G, Mike W, plus several Loco Dept chaps (Tim P in particular); even Gil decided to stay on, though his leg prevented him from doing some things).

Rolling the pony along is the easy bit. The buffer beam has to be high enough to get them under, of course, but a whacking great beam has to be low enough to slide the frame of the truck over it. If it goes too low, it clobbers a cross-member that operates the drain cocks. Once the "pointed end" of the frame is past the mid-point of this beam, a roller has to be inserted between beam and underside of the cylinder block.

Then the truck is eased into place, with the beam being adjusted to clear the axle, and the loco frame gradually lowered to manoeuvre the pony frame backwards. This, too, had a habit of fighting that cross-member for the same space! At one stage, we realised that while trying to lift the beam high enough to clear the axle, we were in effect attempting to lift the entire loco, because the roller had engaged and the jack was now trying to push the cylinder block upwards! It really was inch-by-inch.

Back at the "sharp end", the newly-bushed link had to be slid into the newly reamed bridge to line the three holes up. I was yelling (above the needle-gunning and riveting noise from the group next to us) to push "an inch" at a time, as I lifted the front of the frame to slide into the bridge. We got it "almost there" by 4 pm, when the chaps decided to pack up for the day. Since I was stuck between the frames, with the securing pin through two of the holes, I decided to press on. I was able to lever the front sufficiently up/down and side-to-side such that after 20 minutes of fiddling, the pin dropped into place!

All of this time, we were watching the two oilers that dangle down and sit on top of the pony. The loco couldn't be lowered to engage the newly-machined discs on their bottoms until the to & fro movement had finished. They survived! All that remain now is to lower the big chunky weight down from in front of the smokebox and connect the bottom of its link ("Exhibit A") into the end of the beam ("Exhibit B").

Answer to quiz question: The four fitted bolts cost £152 + VAT, so that's £38 each!

Saturday 6th
Bruce was AWOL today, but Donna and Graham from Loco Dept assisted us all day.

I arrived first, so I set up the tackle & pulley to enable us to lower that thunking great weight down onto the pony.

Then Gil suggested that we should fit the large tie-bar frame to the bottom of the pony (it stops the hornguides from spreading under load) before dropping the weight. Much levering and laying down on the job failed to get the 8 bolts to engage in the frame. It is difficult lifting a heavy object upwards, especially when trying to line up bolts & holes. However …

…a voice from the Back Left corner said: “There’s an RF stamped on it here!”

We adjourned for tea break!

Back out again, we turned the frame round and started again. It was still a struggle getting all bolts to fit at the same time, but we got it up and nuts on … though one bolt refused to allow its nut past a couple of turns. We’ll tackle that when 2807 is over a pit.

We still have to finish and fit the underkeeps. The insides need some rough edges grinding off; the bottoms need a drain hole, and the new oil pads need oiling.

Donna was assigned to oil duty, then assisted John making drain holes. The purpose is to easily release any water that collects in the underkeeps. It’s simply a job of drilling, tapping and fitting a small bolt. I won’t embarrass them by saying what happened!

Incessant rain prevented angle-grinding (outside) so the underkeeps remain uncompleted.

Back at the loco, we had to crawl under and jack up the heavy beam to position it below where the eye of the bolt through the weight was going to fall, for them to engage.

As I lowered it, Donna fitted the pin through. Then all we had to do was tighten the nut down on the top, fit a locking nut and a securing bridge on top and put the bell housing back on. Believe me, there was no way that nut would tighten (because it was effectively lifting that beam plus the share of the weight of the loco on the pony! Brainwave: Jack up the beam (again!) to take the weight and then try.

I crawled back under, and jacked; Graham played with the nuts and bridge. You have to get the height right and a split pin through the bridge piece.

Success! Then, while Graham fitted the running board back in front of the RHS valve, the rest of us put things away and tidied up.

The next item on the critical path is to ream out a second hole on the RHS rocking shaft bracket. It was too late in the day to start upon that.