Saturday, 18 March 2017

Maintenance Update (board, handbrake, weight, spring)

Wednesday 15th
For several days, I have been selecting photos and preparing them for a total refresh of our display board that stands in the car park at Todders. I took it down there today, but forgot to take the silicone sealant!

David arrived bright and early. He spent the entire day welding! There was one small nut on John T’s valve cladding that needed tacking in place, but that was trivial compared to making the bracket for the handbrake column. Bruce had already cut a steel bar and set angles in it ready for welding. However, there is a bit of trial-and-error to ensure that the bend does line up with the collar on the column. Much welding, checking and grinding took place as David welded up the cuts. Then the second piece of bar (needed to gain the correct height) was welded onto the tender tank surface.

Once the angle was completed, that bar was tack-welded onto the collar around the brake column. In order to weld it properly, the collar had to be removed. This necessitated the whole brake shaft being taken out (upwards), which meant undoing things down below, too! This kept Bruce & David occupied all day, but the job is finished at last.

You recall that gadget John T (et al.) made for aligning the links between loco and tender when coupling them up, well I painted instructions on how to use it in bright yellow. One can but hope …

Gilbert has been keen to have the loco and tender weighed, particularly since we turned the compensating beam the right way round on the rear springs!

There’s a set of pressure pads built into the rails over one of the shed roads. Then these record the weight on each side of an axle - in kilograms. It’s clear that our loco is heavier on the LHS than the right, but I’ll await Gilbert’s deliberations before reporting on the findings.

Anyway, Ben had fun shunting the wheels into the central position, aided by JC’s hand signals (not always ones from the manual). Lots of people watched. Mike S recorded the weights for the Loco Dept’s record.

Once the loco (and specifically the tender) was stationary again, I continued polishing the tender side. Lee joined in, and by end of play we had completed the one side. I hope Didcot run 2807 the right way round or else no one will see the one side that we have cleaned!

Gilbert was unable to muster his own, or anyone else’s, strength to play with the damper door. It needs removing and some packing fitting behind one of the hinges. It almost shuts …

Saturday 18th
There were a couple of minor jobs to get out of the way first. Bruce & John T assisted me in erecting the revamped display board in the car park at Toddington. John then fitted the remaining one piece of cylinder valve cladding. This took him more than the five minutes that one expects, because the cladding, which fits on the front of the valve chest, flatly refused to go behind the inspection flap on the front running board. In fact, John had to take that off before he could persuade the cladding that this was a nice place to be! Then he had to fit it back on again, of course.

Meanwhile, I happened to notice how badly chipped the tender buffer beam had become. So, I intended touching up the chips … but ended up painting the entire beam!

The main task of the day, however, was adjusting springs and weighing the loco and tender.

As you may be able to judge, the nuts on the spring hangers put up a good fight. Whilst there was room by the tender to get a long lever onto the spanner, this was not possible in the pit under the loco.

Our thanks definitely go to Phil G. [Loco Dept] for driving the shunter and for heaving on the spanner.

It is extremely tricky to get each wheel to stop dead on the centre line on the weighing pads, as the reaction time of shunter, driver and brakes seemed to be different for each wheel. Nevertheless, we weighed, adjusted and shunted three times (not necessarily in that order) until we were all fairly well whacked! There are some anomalies, inevitably, that caused Bruce to go round with a spirit level seeking explanations. In fact, somehow we appeared to have made the loco ¾ ton lighter by end of play … and the left-hand side of the loco seems to be 2.9 tons heavier than the right; while the left-hand side of the tender seems to be 6.8 tons heavier than the right! Also, the LH pony wheel is taking 3.9 tons whereas the RH wheel is taking 3.6 tons. How can that be, since the tender is fairly symmetrical (and no coal on at the moment) and there is no way of changing the pony truck’s weight distribution?

However, it did reveal a probable “tired” spring at the right-hand front of the tender. We don’t know yet (a) if we have a spare tender spring; and (b) whether we have time to fit it before the trip to Didcot.

Carpo reviewed the end results and did suggest that there is a suspicion that the weighing mechanism has got a bias to the left of about 7%. Great! When 2807 comes back from Didcot, we’ll turn her round and re-weigh. We can then take an average!

While all of this was going on, John T had retired to the boot scraper production facility, and was needle-gunning rail chairs.

Painting the running boards is now top of the priority list. The right-hand side of the tender tank would greatly benefit from a clean & wax polish. The cab sides would also benefit greatly from a clean & wax polish, too. All of this in two working days???


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