Sunday, 24 July 2016

Maintenance Update (container, siphon, digger, sleeper)

Monday 18th
I nipped down to Hunting Butts in search of this elusive wagon. I couldn’t see anything resembling what John G had described. Plenty of undergrowth; got bitten by something; various hazards; bog; and clearly a playground for local yobbos.

Wednesday 20th
2807 is standby loco today and for the rest of the month with the exception of the 23rd, 24th and 27th July when she will be in service. This will give Loco Dept a chance to get 35006 fettled before it forms the backbone of the services in August.

So, we all trouped off to Winchcombe! … but not before we had all gone to Todders first! We all had some reason for calling in there - mine was to deliver several crates suitable for boxing things into ready for the big move. Which reminds me: this is what we are looking forward to …

We are to have a 20ft container for use as a long-term storage facility. Particularly useful when we reach the 10 year overhaul.

It’s not in situ yet. This is where it will go. Unfortunately, the fence underneath the overgrowth needs to be dug up and moved; you can see that the 20ft next to our plot extends somewhat beyond the fence!

We are reliant upon GWSR to do the fence relocation (though happy to help if they wish).

We have been offered a further 20ft of space inside a 40ft container, up here.

The less said about that the better! I’m sure that Health & Safety would go ape if they thought we were going to be climbing up & down a ladder carrying tools and metalwork (or even boot scrapers!) in and out of this container!

If it were April 1st, we would all know that it’s a joke. It’s not.

The workers are revolting, and refuse to go shinning up a ladder to this as a workplace.

For that reason, we are now focussed on working at Winchcombe, hastening the restoration of our siphon van.

As soon as the siphon is complete, we aim to move it to Toddington and utilise it as our place of work; after all, it was originally bought as our support vehicle. When this happens, we shall be able to resume more-or-less normal service.

Winchcombe: Fred, Gil, Bruce & Bill, John G and I were all beavering away inside the siphon. Fred, Bill & Bruce were at the west end. I’m not sure what they were doing, but it sounded like removing old paint or preparing the surface for painting. John & I were at the east end. We sanded the top half of a side panel (including the ends of the louvres) and top racking. Then we slapped cream paint all over it. It was a drippy paint, hence the “all over” bit. I questioned the logic of there being a brown undercoat, and Fred said that it was all they had at the time!

Oh, I forgot Geof! He was there during the morning, too. Ah, and I did see Gil screwing a handle on the outside. But I was too busy even to take a photo.

We adjourned to the Coffee Pot café on the station for elevenses and for lunch. Facilities for cleaning paint brushes are a bit limited ... actually, very limited ... non-existent in fact. But we’ll get used to it!

Saturday 23rd
2807 was in service, again. We had been asked (by Loco Dept) to clear the space ready for our 20ft container. So, Gil, Bruce, John T, Fred and I reported for duty. Our first task was to tear down the vegetation that was entwined across the mesh of the fencing, followed by pulling down the fencing. One fence post proved a mite awkward, and we called in Digger Steve from Permanent Way. However, even the digger declined to pull it up, so John applied the angle grinder to it!

With the post out of the way, Steve was able to dig out the ground and level off the surface. Mark Y [Loco dept] assisted, using the JCB bucket to transfer the spoil to the tip. The rest of us fiddled around the edges, and bashed off bits of concrete, to obtain a rectangular base area.

By lunchtime we were happy with what we had achieved. Even one concrete sleeper was roughly in position at the back.

After lunch, we positioned the front concrete sleeper. Much fiddling took place (again) to get the alignment correct and the level correct and the height correct. Several times we adjusted the height, and pushed more ballast beneath the sleeper. I got called Rog the Tamper!

By end of play, we were happy with the base. Only the front and back matter (as you can see from the adjacent container). A power cable will run beneath the containers and up into ours. Finally, I mixed up some concrete to fill the gap between our back sleeper and that protruding from the rear of the adjacent container. The containers are 8 ft wide, but the sleepers are not quite!

2807 is in service on Wednesday (I’m rostered to light up on Tuesday afternoon). However, the following weekend is a diesel gala. I wonder if it might be better for our container to be delivered on the Friday, rather than Saturday???

So, on Wednesday it will be all hands to the siphon again. On Saturday we would probably need someone (or two) at Todders to carry out loco maintenance and/or assist with offloading the container.


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