Wednesday 21 June 2017

Maintenance Update (crack, fire, wedges, stud)

Saturday 17th
Bad news following the washout on Wednesday: Carpo is concerned that there are signs of a crack in one corner of the foundation ring. This was the reason that Foremarke Hall was failed - that loco seems to have a leak from a foundation ring rivet that could imply a crack. However, on 2807 there is no sign of a water leak. A second opinion on Thursday suggested that there was grooving, but no crack; a third opinion said that there is a small crack. Nevertheless, we now have to await an inspection from the GWSR’s insurance chappie before we can proceed. If he says there’s a crack that needs fixing, it’s “game over” for 2807 and we’re straight into 10 year overhaul (early)! He could demand an NDT on the area, which would be a further delay and continued uncertainty. Not good.

It was a rather warm day (!), so we appreciated the loco being inside the shed. David began with reassembling the gauge frame. This has to be dismantled at each washout; the glass and rubbers are changed, and the throughways into the boiler checked for clear.

Bruce had recently discovered that the support for the fire irons was loose. It was only secured with a single bolt anyway, so Bruce applied a forceful spanner … “crack!” The bolt went into a nut that was tack-welded onto the underside of the platework. I say “was” - not knowing his own strength, Bruce had broken the weld!

David took a look and decided that it was a challenge too far to remove the plate and re-weld the nut, so he made a baseplate and tapped it with two holes. He welded this plate in position and bolted the support in place. An altogether more satisfactory solution.

John T began by needle-gunning a rail chair that John G had selected for processing. It was a tad warm for spending the entire day out in the sun, so after completing the one, John adjourned for other things.

Notably, John, Gilbert and I reattached the chain-link fencing to the post that I had concreted in last time. This is just a small section of fence adjacent to our container, but next to the gate into the yard. So, it is very visible to the public, and the undergrowth had become overgrowth which presented a challenge in retrieving the fencing. It took the three of us quite a while to adjust the chain-link and fix it to the post. The end result looks presentable and provides a suitable corner for the Toddington Gardening Section to plant up a small flower bed!

John returned to the needle-gunning and finished a second chair.

Some chairs are in such a state. This 19th century GWR chair, for example, can only have been submerged in mud. I chipped off the clay and stones before it was even fit for being needle-gunned!

Gilbert had complained that when the loco was in motion the back of the boiler was moving sideways. The firebox is not fixed at the back because of expansion. Therefore, there are two wedges (one either side) between firebox and frames to prevent sideways motion. David, Bruce and Gilbert all had an investigate and fiddled with the wedges. The wedges are loose when it is cold. Bruce calculated the expansion when at operating temperature (somewhere in the range 105 - 125 thou’). It is impossible to get both wedges out (without lifting the boiler) and the result is that no action will be taken.

The photo is taken pointing downwards in the corner of the cab, at the side of the reversing lever, with floor panel removed.

Bruce removed the pep (aka “slacking”) pipe valve. As you can see, it is a taper fit. There is a feed from each injector to the rubber hose which can be used for damping down coal dust; washing the cab floor, or (as in my trainspotting days) squirting scalding hot water at lineside children!

As the cab was already full of bodies doing things, Bruce deferred the lapping-in of the valve until next time .… but he couldn’t resist the chance to clamber up onto the boiler again and move the brass bonnet along a bit!

Wednesday 21st
Gilbert tackled the issue that says that one of the glasses on the hydrostatic lubricator was leaking oil. He replaced the seal for that glass. JP was carrying out an “A” exam (mechanical) on our loco, so Gil kept an eye on him!

Bruce finished off the lapping of the pep pipe valve, and refitted that. Then he removed the stud on the fire-hole door mechanism that keeps working loose. His plan is to make a hexagonal end to it such that it can be tightened with a spanner (as opposed to using molegrips).

John G was in painting mode as usual. He wire-brushed the three chairs that John T had needlegunned on Saturday, and then painted their bottoms. While wielding a brush, Bruce pointed him at the new bracket that David had made to fix the tool support.

I had inadvertently volunteered to make an inventory of the machines in the GWSR workshop so that we know who is authorised to use what, and perhaps find out how frequently some of the kit is used.

After lunch, we continued to tidy up the parcel of ground adjacent to our container. I identified a sleeper in the yard which was exactly the right size to use as an edge to the ground, preventing the soil (“soil” you call it!) from falling against the container. Clive manned the fork-lift and positioned the sleeper for us. All it needs now is for the grass/twitch and bramble roots to be dug out, and the gardening group can pretty it up!

Cotswold Steam & Wildlife Preservation Corner
We have seen a pair of pied wagtails diving into the sandbox on 2874. I have sat for minutes, camera at the ready on two occasions! Finally today, with John and Bruce watching too, I was able to get a shot of one of the wagtails pacing up & down the running board before deciding that it was safe to dive into the sandbox hole.

There are now two bowls - food and water - on the running board to save them having to fly off in search.


Wednesday 14 June 2017

Maintenance Update (guards, wet, valve, gauge)

Hayles Abbey Halt
For those of you who are not volunteers at the GWSR, you might like to know that as of 6th June 2017 Hayles Abbey Halt is open for passengers as a request stop. For 2017 the only trains allowed to stop there (except where special arrangements have been made) are DMUs up to three cars in length (and the steam auto train when it’s here … which it isn’t, now).

Wednesday 7th
First of all, I must apologise to David S for not crediting him on the photos of the drain cocks last time. Mea culpa.

With 2807 yet again in service, Bruce Gil & I ran out of things to do. John G, however, got stuck in to wire-brushing the rail chairs that John T had needle-gunned last weekend. By end of play, he had also painted their bottoms!

The “Manor” was off on its travels, and BG&I took the opportunity to watch as the tender was winched up onto the lorry. We are interested to see how close the guard irons come to the rails when it begins to climb the ramp.

As you can see, they come close. Bruce estimated that the one on the far side of the photo was only ½” above the rail. I tried to argue that if the tender was the other way round (i.e. pulled up “forwards”) the guard irons would be even closer … but B&G were not convinced.

Bruce had his prototype for our guard iron, and went round other locos to see how theirs were fitted. However, on the way back into the yard, he had commented about the tatty fence that had been pulled up when our container had arrived. The fence had never been put back. Now it is covered in brambles! So, spurred on by Bruce, Gil & I decided to do something about it. We found the fence post; prepared it for reuse, and then dug a hole to plant it in. This took most of the afternoon, as the ground is compacted and stony. We were even struggling to remove what turned out to be a bolt from a rail chair complete with its fixing plate. However, by end of play the hole was deep enough and we have a plan for setting it in concrete and reinstating the wire fencing.

Cotswold Steam & Wildlife Preservation Corner
We have seen a pair of pied wagtails taking nesting material into the sandbox on the rusting hulk of 2874. If they truly are nesting, then their nest is deep within the sandbox; you certainly can’t see it
from up on the chassis, or even by lowering a camera inside to take a photo. This would keep their family well-and-truly dry, of course. I will try to capture them in pixels, but they are cautious and wary of being seen entering.

The gales and heavy rain on Monday took their toll on the more exposed part of the garden. As you can see, the hypochoeris glabra (“cat’s ear”) flower succumbed, though the plant probably appreciated the rain. The basal leaves look healthy enough.

Saturday 10th
Everyone apart from Gilbert was busy elsewhere, so he chopped down some of the undergrowth next to the fence and left a bag of postcrete for us to concrete the post in place. Then he went for a ride on the footplate!

Wednesday 14th
Thomas arrived; 1450 + Chaffinch were readied for departure. For 2807 it was boiler washout day:

Brian assisted Bruce to begin with, and then assisted with shunting locos around; but once 2807 was out over the pit he was on the wet end of the hose! Carpo was on the dry end.

Bruce spent much of the day on top of the boiler - which was hot, but not because of steam, it was just the sun beating down on it. Following the reported leaking of water from the pep (“slacking”) pipe, Bruce suspected the top clack was leaking. He removed it and replaced the Taylor Ring inside. He suspects that the clack had not been tightened sufficiently onto the ring, which may have caused a leak. So, he decided to tighten the RHS clack .. and broke the spanner in doing so!

Thereafter, Bruce removed the spacers on the safety valves (blue arrow) and replaced them with his “adjustable solution” of nut (yellow) and locknut (green). He has deliberately set the valves to a slightly lower pressure as they can be adjusted correctly during the steam test (Friday).

John G was wielding his paintbrush again, applying the primer/undercoat to the six rail chairs in the container. He said he’s getting fed up with painting green ones, so one is now black and one red! I’m sure I saw him painting the skip at one point, too!

I concreted in the fence post; restocked the Flag & Whistle with boot scrapers, and then took a look at a reported loose stud on the firehole door mechanism. The stud is a tad loose in its seat, and there is no shoulder to tighten up against, so I was a bit perplexed as to how to better secure it. After discussion, it was decided to just tighten it as before using mole-grips.

Bruce removed the (water) gauge frame to clean it, and then we all mucked in at cleaning the mudhole doors and washout plugs. Carpo wants to get 2807 serviceable again quickly, because there is a shortage of working locos. Foremarke Hall has been failed, which only leaves P&O, 4270 and 2807. This is generally the minimum requirement for operating a two-train timetable (i.e. with one loco as standby).


Sunday 4 June 2017

Maintenance Update (gala, siphon, nut, slot)

Saturday 27th at Gotherington

Monday 29th at Winchcombe

Wednesday 31st at Toddington.
John G spent the day applying top coats to the 7 rail chairs in the boot scraper production line. He said, “I would have painted more but there weren’t any”. So, he made it stretch out.

Gilbert delivered nuts & bolts of the new tender rear rail guards. Bruce spent much of the day sorting through nuts and reamers. The nuts are for the new plan for adjustable steam valves, and the reamers for the rail guards.

I messed around, completing three boot scrapers and then restocking the two cafes. They had sold seven over the weekend (4 at Winchcombe and 3 at Todders). Then I took four boxes of books (left over from the FLA sales stall) to Broadway to donate to the station group. I had been squirreling away two large enamel signs that we had been given, several years ago. These went up to Broadway for the station, too.

Bruce checked: No additional issues raised over the weekend. 2807 is rostered for 6 consecutive days’ running, starting on Tuesday. Then she will be due for a boiler washout.

Saturday 3rd at Winchcombe.
I called in to get a signature, so seized the opportunity to show you that work really is continuing on the restoration of our siphon van:

Fred, cleaning a brake mechanism

Bill, sanding the subframe

Gilbert, hiding!

Saturday 3rd at Toddington.
I was on Granddad duty during the morning, so I missed Bruce, who popped in for a chat with David about his rail guard iron design. David had mainly come to get his work permit signed. However, he happened to notice that the drain cock operating lever in the cab was loose. The pillar supporting the lever was the problem - a simple tighten of the nuts, you would think? Four hours later …

You see, the pillar is bolted through chequer plates on the cab floor. So, you have to lift up at least one floor panel to get at the nuts underneath. To do that, you have to take the operating lever apart (because the floor panel won’t come up over the lever).

One of the loose nuts was rounded, and proved impossible to tighten properly. It is a struggle getting a spanner under there anyway, so David decided that to do the job properly, the nuts ought to be welded on underneath (and then it is a simple job to tighten the bolt from above).

Two floor panels had to come up to start with. The underneath of these panels was covered in thick ‘gunk’, consisting of oil, coal and dust in a consistency that no doubt protected them from rust, but … Some cleaning thereof was called for.

Eventually, David successfully welded one nut onto a subframe under the panels. To do that necessitated running a bolt through to hold the nut in place while welding it. In welding the second nut, however, some weld spattered onto the protruding bolt’s thread, and David couldn’t get the bolt out again afterwards. Out came the angle-grinder!

While groping in the grime under the floor, David discovered that another bolt in an adjacent panel had no nut on it at all! So, to do the job properly, he decided to weld a nut in place there. In due course, all of the panels were lifted; cleaned; checked for secure fixings, and finally put back together again. Well, the one through which the vertical rod transmits the drain cock operation down to the linkages below the floor didn’t quite fit! The slot for the rod was tight up against the side of the rod, and one of the bolt holes didn’t exactly match where the newly-welded nut resides. The angle-grinder came into play once more to widen the slot, and the bolt hole was “moved” sideways slightly (which meant that the bolt now needed a washer fitting).

Elsewhere, after moving all of the painted rail chairs from the container into the “paint shop” for lettering to be applied, John T kept himself amused for the day, needle-gunning six more rail chairs.