Sunday 19 June 2016

Maintenance Update (hot, whistle, arch, boiler)

Wednesday 15th June
Bruce, John G and myself in attendance today. With 2807 still in service there was a limit to what we could do. It seems that Foremarke Hall’s superheater troubles necessitate removal of the s/h header and sending it back to Tyseley for more machining. That puts 7903 out of service for a while longer, so what does that mean for 2807?

There were 4 more issues reported (though it is apparent that at the end of the day, the driver simply lists the things that he’s spotted, regardless of them having already been reported!).

Issue 22: Driver-side whistle valve blowing past. {we assume this means the Emergency / Guard Brake whistle … which was raised as issue 14 already}.
Issue 23: Gauge glass blowing by. Glass replaced. {Much appreciated that remedial action was taken by the crew}.
Issue 24: Driver-side cross-head bottom slider hot.
Issue 25: All tender underkeeps have black/grey oil.

Regarding Issue 24, it was reported in Issue 12 that the fireman-side slide bar was hot. I had inspected the slide bar last week, and though it was warm, it was not too hot to touch. So, when 2807 arrived at Toddington circa noon, Bruce and John went to check her over. Bruce reported similarly, that the bottom slide bar was warm but not hot. We think that it is likely that the bottom slider will be warmer than the top because the weight of the cross-head bears down onto it. We don’t agree that either is “Hot”, and we are not concerned.

Bruce examined the whistles and feels that the one that he and Gil played with last week is probably still leaking steam (as well as the emergency whistle). The seal in the valve seat appears to be copper wire, but Bruce believes that a copper washer would be more reliable. So, he’s ordered some copper and will manufacture some washers.

John spent all morning painting boot scrapers with their enamel top coats - 4 GWR green; 2 black, and 1 BR in crimson.

I continued with the pieces of conduit for the ATC. We now have three sections to be welded
together for the down-piece from cab to runningboard. We can do no more until 2807 stands still!

Friday 17th
Bruce’s copper was delivered by David. David took away the welding equipment and the ash pan
meshes (that stop large embers from dropping through onto the wooden sleepers) to work on those
at home.

Saturday 18th
As 2807 was in service, Bruce and John T set about cleaning rail chairs. I arrived just before lunch,
and painted the lettering on the chairs that were in the production line. By end of play, Bruce &
John had cleaned 7 chairs, and I painted their bottoms.

More importantly: A few problems arose with 2807. They are hoping to nurse her through Sunday,
and then we have Wednesday to fix what we can. She is required for the Thomas weekend 25/26
June to play at being Henry.

As I said, Foremarke has to send its superheater header and elements back to Tyseley for remedial
action; so 7903 will be OOS for a couple of weeks! P&O has tender brake issues that have not yet
been resolved. Also, its steam brake works, but requires attention - some parts are apparently not
machined to spec.

So, back to 2807: Three keystone bricks in the brick arch have started to crumble. Part of each has
dropped off, which means that the arch is not as safe as it needs to be. JC has ordered us a new
arch, which should be despatched on Monday. It ought to be at Todders by Wednesday. On
Monday and Tuesday the firebox will be too hot to spend time inside, anyway, so the brick arch will
have to be replaced on Wednesday.

The crossheads and lower slide bars are running hot. Today’s crew have been filling up the
crosshead oil reservoirs on every trip. Both sides appear to be losing oil, which probably means that
their felt pads are worn. I called in at Winchcombe on the way home and inspected the crossheads
and slide bars. On both sides, the crossheads were too hot to hold; the bottom slide bars were
warm and holdable. The RHS was hotter than the LHS. The loco was stationary awaiting the diesel’s
arrival. There was a film of oil on the bars, but not as much as I had seen on 4270 which I examined
as I left Todders. Oil was dripping out of the RHS crosshead and forming a pool on the ground. I
didn't have time to examine the LHS as thoroughly as the RHS, as the diesel was approaching, and
then 2807 was leaving.

The consensus is that we remove the LHS crosshead on Wednesday and replace the pad. To do this
necessitates the removal of the con rod! However, to do the RHS would mean additionally removing
the vacuum pump rod. You can’t do both at the same time, because the wheels (and rods) have to
be specifically positioned to extract the con rod from the crosshead.

Hopefully, 2807 will then soldier on for another week whereupon we shall have to tackle the RHS

Apart from that, the crew say that the whole boiler rocks from side-to-side relative to the cab. This
is a bit alarming! Gil thinks that the wedges at the back of the firebox, between it and the frames,
might have worked loose. You can’t get to them without removing some cladding! Whether there
will be enough people available on Wednesday to explore that issue remains to be seen. Any

Sunday 19th
Well, she made it to the end of the day OK.
If I can make an hour or two free on Tuesday afternoon, I shall clean out the clinker, cinders & ash
from the firebox so that work on the brick arch can commence immediately on Wednesday.


Saturday 11 June 2016

Maintenance Update (whistle, conduit, rods, 2808)

Wednesday 8th
Gil & Bruce spent the day playing with a whistle. Intending to tackle Issue 14 (Brake whistle valve blowing past), they removed the main whistle and dismantled it. Bruce then lapped in the whistle valve, and they reassembled it. This is not as easy as you might think, because of the strong spring that returns the lever arm. Even fitting it back on top of the firebox is not trivial, as there is very little scope for the angles of pipework, and not much room where the lever passes through the cab spectacle plate.

I pressed on with the ATC conduit just ahead of the cab. I had drilled a pilot hole last week, and now used that to drill a hole 1¼“ diameter right through the running board. That took a good hour, as the hole passed through a plate and then a supporting angle-iron. Total thickness was about ¾“. Thereafter, I could offer up the existing (but alien) conduit to assess how to modify it to suit our loco. The conduit had an angle of about 120°, which did not suit 2807, so Carpo very kindly heated it up and I persuaded it to become closer to 90°. That is where it passes up the front of the cab and inside through a hole. I then had to cut the conduit in order to insert a 9” length - again, to make it suit our loco. There’s more fun to be had inside the cab as well as beneath the running board.

2807 was only scheduled to be in service during the weekend of 18/19 June. Apart from that, she was just acting as standby loco. But as a result of 7903 having great trouble with leaks in its superheater, 2807 was called into service this weekend; and all next week, up to the 19th.

Saturday 11th
As 2807 was in service, no one (apart from me) turned up at Toddington! Fortunately, there was plenty to do on the boot scraper front. By mid-afternoon, I had picked out the writing and fitted brushes to 7 boot scrapers, and applied a primer coat to the top of a further 7.

GWR locos have two whistles, each with a different tone. The high-pitched whistle is primarily to warn bystanders that the loco is about to move, or is approaching them. The lower-pitched whistle is used in emergencies, calling for the guard to apply his brake. The whistle that Bruce & Gil had serviced on Wednesday was the warning whistle. Unfortunately, it is the guard whistle that leaks! I tested the springs on both, and they are both fine.

I had a chat with the crew on 2807. Sean explained, also, that the rods make quite a ‘clanking’ noise when the loco is pulling a load in reverse. The noise can be reduced by easing off the regulator. I suggested that there is nothing that we can do until winter maintenance period, as it means removing the rods and probably replacing bearing surfaces and/or bushes. Bruce did pop in and make tea (which was very noble of him), but he had a bowls match to go to. During the afternoon, Ian Bromley came for a flying visit (from Jersey). We squeezed in a short run up & down the line into the ash pit road for him. That was it for today!

There are some lovely shots of 2807 in this video:

Photo of 2808 pulling the longest freight that we could muster, by Pete Young


Saturday 4 June 2016

Maintenance Update (bracket, police, relief, supporters)

Saturday 21st
I was a tad concerned that there might not be enough milk in the fridge for everyone who came to polish the loco today. I needn’t have worried.

There’s quite a list of issues raised by drivers during May. Some say tha the new drivers have to make their mark …

10: Steel res[ervoir] pipe at rear of ash pan loose into one-way valve by reservoir. {Bruce & Gil inspected the pipework, tightened joints and added extra clips to the hose}.
11: Top isolating cock on gauge frame blowing. {This is a duplicate of issue 7}.
12: Fireman-side crosshead (bottom of) hot. {No one else has commented about this. We suspect the definition of “hot” is ill defined. We’ll keep an eye on it, but don’t believe there is a problem}.
13: Fireman-side injector steam valve nut on pipe leaking.
14: Brake whistle valve blowing past. {The springs on both whistles are not strong enough to fully return the valve to shut-off and always have been}.
15: Tender rear RH brake grease nipple loose; replaced but cannot tighten up. {A few weeks back, I discovered that the thread had gone in the hole. Still debating how this can be fixed}.
16: LHS injector steam valve leaking by nut on pipe to steam inlet. {Duplicate of issue 13}.
17: Gauge frame blowing top, drain, both nuts. {Duplicate of 11 which is a duplicate of 7. We have reported this to Boiler Responsible Person (because we are not supposed to fix this ourselves) several times}.
18: Driver-side injector front cap leaking. {Fixed by Bruce today}.
19: Clamp holding driver-side injector steam pipe loose. Needs spring washer? {Fixed by Bruce today}.

Gilbert joined us up until tea break then adjourned to Winchcombe to play with the siphon. He looked through the issues log (q.v.) and together with Bruce they fixed the clamp on the injector steam feed pipe [16]. The nuts were not fully tight.

Bruce tackled 18 & 19. Extra PTFE should stop the cap from leaking, but you can’t tell until there is steam up. At the other end of the same bracket, Bruce found that the steam heating pipe was also loose in its clamp. He bunged a rubber in to make it tight.

Stuart had emailed me to ask me to paint some of the cab sides where the number plates have worn away the paint. Getting the plates off is much easier now that the nuts are welded onto the inside of the cab. It is now (just about) a one-man job. It’s a challenge removing the last bolt and not dropping the number plate, though! I ran a die through the bolt holes, because a couple of them were very stiff to undo.

The railway has been approached by the Winchcombe Police Museum to have a small stand in there about the railway. Dave Staniforth got Stu to dig out a 1904 rail chair. Dave would like it cleaning & painting … plus a section of rail … for the display. So, Bruce & I tidied up the chair and found a two-foot length of rail. I surreptitiously replaced a wooden key from a siding with a metal one, such that the display would be more authentic date-wise. The use of wooden keys ceased in the 1930s.

Oh, back to the cleaning of the loco. New recruit Ian Boskett studiously crawled over the running boards with scraper, cloths and buckets of diesel, removing grit & grime. He said that he had to leave at 4pm, so wouldn’t get as far as cleaning the boiler and smokebox …

Ian has only been a volunteer here for a few months, but said that he is thoroughly enjoying it.

Sunday 22nd
Brian and Stuart put the finishing touches to the paintwork on 2807 ready for Monday.

Monday 23rd
See colour supplement (below).

Wednesday 25th
Well, there was just John G and myself here today. There was a lot of activity in the yard as locos were arriving for the gala this coming weekend.

Four boots scrapers had been sold by the cafes over the weekend, so it was important to restock them and get some more into the production line. I painted the lettering on five that were almost complete, and later fitted the brushes to them. Following an idea from John G, two BR(W) boot scrapers are painted in BR Green (commonly called Brunswick green). It seems to be the crimson and black ones that are selling at the moment, so I moved on to preparing half-a-dozen chairs and John primed the one already in the production line in black.

John commented on how shiny 2807 was on Monday … apart from the drain cocks. So, he went out armed with Brasso and polished the copper drain cock pipes and also the brass cylinder relief valves.

Next to John was … Hey, Guys! Guys! You’re supposed to light the fire in the other end!

Ron [workshop] had finished off the bronze flanges for the new “standardised” loco ~ tender water connections.

No workday on Saturday 28th May because it is GWSR Gala Weekend.

Monday Supplement
Just a few snaps of the Supporters and the Special:

Peter Todd took this one of Jeff Lacey shunting stock out of platform 2 at Toddington.

There was quite a throng on Platform 1. Bob Mack is looking happy!

Lots of people wanted a photo of 2807 carrying The Cornishman headboard, so she pulled back for people to get a good photo:

Here she is leaving Toddington station with almost 150 supporters on board:

Note the Express Passenger headlamp code, appropriate to The Cornishman!

Peter took this one of 2807 approaching Hailes:

And here she is arriving at Winchcombe:

There were 10-minute footplate rides for the lucky few who got their requests in early:

Many thanks go to Jeff Lacey (Driver) and John Pedley (Fireman).

Back at Todders at the end of the day, there was additional interest for people, as Erlestoke Manor was being off-loaded. What’s that odd-looking loco in the background, I wonder?