Thursday 27 July 2017

Maintenance Update (trip, hook, trip, PAT)

Saturday 22nd
2807 was in service, so there was little for us to do. I had planned on needle-gunning rail chairs before the rain set in. However ….

Bruce & I arrived to discover that there was no electricity to the van, and the floor was rather wet. The wet could have been the fridge defrosting, of course. Eventually, we obtained the key to the distribution box and discovered that the trip had tripped. It insisted on tripping, regardless of which items were plugged in and switched on. Basically, this supplies power to our fridge, microwave, kettle and light. So, Bruce grovelled around under & behind the table, only to discover that the four-way socket was sopping wet! He took it apart to dry it, but discovered that it was “past its sell-by date” and decided to replace it completely. He zoomed off and obtained a replacement from Screwfix, and we fitted the new one and tidied up the cabling to everything. All was hunky-dory.

I managed to needle-gun and wire-brush four rail chairs in between showers. The heaviest shower, at midday, demonstrated exactly why the socket was wet - rain was being driven through a window that was ajar! This time, though, Bruce had fitted the new socket onto the wall, so it remained perfectly dry.

Well, that is almost all that we achieved for the day! Gil did divert away from the siphon restoration and call in at Todders with a view to making a hook for holding siphon doors open. This proved too difficult without having a furnace to hand.

Wednesday 26th
With 2807 being in service and the weather being drizzly, there was little enthusiasm to do much! The most productive was John G, who painted the tops of seven rail chairs. I applied a top coat to just two. Bruce made a shim for one of the wedges that stabilise the boiler between the frames. The wedges wear a bit, as the expansion and contraction of the boiler moves them to and fro by about half an inch. Brian was here, too. Gil & Fred passed through on their way to Winchcombe.

I had called in at Winchcombe on the way to Todders (and hence missed Gil & Fred). The café had sold a couple of boot scrapers; Bill was taking a tea break (sat outside the café). He was saying how they are running out of things to do on the siphon - it must be nearing completion!

I called in there on my way home, but the siphon was deserted - everybody had buzzed off!
It is looking good, though.

We discussed many things at Todders (over cups of tea) during the day. Brian has been in discussion with Llangollen with a view to 2807 paying them a visit from October to early January. If you saw the list of locos lined up for Old Oak Common’s open day in September, you will have seen 2807 and Foremarke Hall both on the list. GWSR cannot release both locos for a weekend, and although 2807 would be more sensible as it would add variety (i.e. rather than them having two Halls) it seems that this view is not shared universally.

Brian & Bruce decided to take a well-deserved trip behind 2807, while John finished the last rail chair, and I packed up ready to leave.

However, just as I had locked up, the PAT (Portable Appliance Test) team arrived! So, I opened up again to give them access to the fridge, kettle, toaster, microwave, radiators and vacuum cleaner. The toaster failed and was condemned. The kettle got knocked over, spilling water over my boots. They changed the plug on the fridge; otherwise all was well.

I don’t know what you think, but 2807 running with a red lamp on the front just looks plain wrong to me! It looks as though it’s going backwards.

2807 is due for a rest during August, so there may be more things to report then.


Wednesday 19 July 2017

Maintenance Update (praise, hose, vacuum, glasses)

Saturday 15th
No one around! I called in at the siphon in Winchcombe - no one there! I went over to Toddington - no one there, either! So, I painted a couple of rail chairs and buzzed off home!

Many people praised the effort put in by the chaps (and chapesses) getting 2807 running for the Supporters’ Day. For example, an email from Alan:
“It is praise time all round - solving the problem and also for pulling out all the stops to get 2807 working on Supporters Day. Well Done to everybody.”

Wednesday 19th
There were seven outstanding issues on 2807’s log:
1: J cocks are stuck. {This dates from July last year. The cocks concerned are from the manifold (aka ‘steam fountain’) to the W-valve. The pipes take steam at full pressure, and if one did happen to burst, the J cocks are the only way to stop steam engulfing the cab}.
22: Oil corks on motion in poor condition. Requires all changing. {What can I say? I would like to think that most drivers would simply have changed them when they take them out to do the oiling up in the morning, rather than putting the crap ones back in!}
23: Steam Test - safety valves blowing at 215-217 psi. {This is Jamie just recording the result}
24: [Vacuum] Reservoir flexible [hose] between engine and tender rubbing on water pipe. Monitor.
25: Gauge frame drain cock leaking by.
26: Vac reservoir slow to build up. Train pipe falling quickly.
27: Middle two [hydrostatic] lubricator glasses dirty.

Bruce tackled issue 24.

The flexible hose has to bend significantly between loco and tender, and was resting on a metal pipe, so the simplest solution was to wrap more rubber around the hose and secure it with copper wire.

Easier than removing a pipe and bending it!

John H and Mike S [both Loco Dept] tackled issue 25. This took more than five minutes! They had to dismantle the bottom cock, but couldn’t get the split pin out! [I hate split pins!] Then they had to remove the handle from the spindle so that they could take it away and machine it. Once refurbished, they reassembled the unit, fitting a fresh Klinger liner.

Bruce and I chewed over issue 26. There are many reasons why the vacuum might have been slow to build - a leak being the most likely! However, unless this recurs you can’t be sure that it is a genuine problem, or a passing problem. To track down a leak is a laborious task that can only be attempted when the loco is in steam and can create the vacuum.

Steve O [Loco Dept] reported and tackled issue 27. He removed the two sight glasses on the hydrostatic lubricator, cleaned them, fitted new sealing rubbers and filled up the glasses.

John G pressed on with wire-brushing and then painting rail chairs. However, there was a crowd of PAC-testing people who invaded our container and caused work to come to a halt.

I had initially called in at Winchcombe, where Gilbert, Fred and Bill were continuing the restoration of our siphon van.

Thereafter, I was completing more boot scrapers and then parcelling up two GWR ones for postal delivery. I’d had two requests by email for boot scrapers - one from Northumberland and one from Swindon.

Cotswold Steam & Wildlife Preservation Corner
The new wild flower garden has had a sprinkling of real soil over it. Berit Aherne has donated some yellow rattle seeds, and I have scattered various seeds from my own garden. On Tuesday it rained, and on Wednesday I hit the stinging nettles and briars with Resolva! Things are looking promising thus far.


Wednesday 12 July 2017

Maintenance Update (lead, air, tight, bus)

Saturday 8th
We were all feeling a tad despondent at the prospect of having a Class 45 diesel pulling our supporters on Sunday. So, a team of people attacked the leaking mud-hole doors problem, early on Saturday morning.

Alex, Angela, Brian, Bruce, David, Gilbert, Graham, Jamie and JC all played a part - some had bigger parts than others ;-). Starting by investigating the failed seal: was anything obviously wrong with the way they were fitted? Nothing visible. Rather than the usual ‘Bluemax’ gaskets, a lead one was tested. Bruce reckons that it appeared to fit well along the sides, but not at the ends.

Instead of raising steam to test the seal, they used compressed air. This necessitated a wash-out plug being removed and replaced by one with a hole in it, to which an air hose could be fitted. However, there was no adapter around that would couple the two together. So, Bruce and/or David made one! By the time the compressor had managed to raise 10 psi in the boiler, it was clear that air was escaping from the doors. Problem not fixed!

It was noticed that the nuts securing the doors were all a bit tight on their studs. In fact, Bruce found that by giving them a gentle (!) tap, he could turn the nut round one more ‘flat’. Could that stiffness have prevented them being tightened fully? Angela and David tackled the doors, cleaning them and running a die down the threads. The lead gasket was replaced with a Bluemax, and the exercise was repeated.

Alex and Graham had decided to clean the loco anyway because, even if no success, 2807 might be rolled out for our supporters to see (or climb over).

Bruce lubricated the threads to help in the tightening. Pressure was raised to over 20 psi, but still there was an escape of air. Pressure was released again and Bruce persuaded each door to fit as snugly as it could by use of a mallet and spanner.

At one point, soapy water was used to try to detect where the leak actually was. Pressure was raised to 20 once more, and the suds now showed no sign of a leak.

4 pm. With all fingers crossed, Jamie replaced the adapted wash-out plug; Graham and Angela lit a warming fire. Jamie took over on the footplate. Brian stayed to assist as required.

6pm: Jamie was building up pressure. No sign of the doors leaking (yet).
6.30: Pressure now approaching 200 psi, and still no sign of leaky mud-holes.
6.45: First safety valve lifted at about 200 psi and the second at 210psi. As part of the steam test, you have to demonstrate that pressure cannot be raised above the ‘red line’ (well, arguably there’s a +5% margin for error). Try as he did, Jamie could not get pressure to go over the 220 line. That’s a pass then! For the sake of checking the point at which each valve lifts, Jamie allowed it to drop and shut off, then raise pressure again to see if the lifting was consistent. Once they had stabilised, he reckoned that they lift at about 215/216 psi.
7.30: We all went home.

Sunday 9th (2807 Supporters’ Day)
Stuart relates: “there were just over 80 supporters attended and had plenty of room in our 2 reserved coaches on the 11.10am train pulled by 2807. The event was held in conjunction with the Classic Bus Rally … 43 buses on show in Toddy car park and I had arranged a 2807 Special bus run to the Broadway Station site … At the end of the day, numerous of our members came up to me and stated that they considered this format to be the best 2807 Supporters day they had attended.”
8.30 pm: Stuart had packed away the stand and, obviously looking for something to do, replaced a decaying step leading up to the van that we use for R&R.

Monday 10th
Stuart again: “Today I was trapped on Toddy car park until 1pm because of all the TV vehicles and the filming of an episode of Father Brown going on around the Station entrance and platform. I did not mind very much because, they were using 2807.”

Wednesday 12th
Gil & Fred (and probably Bill, but if so, he was hiding!) continued work on the siphon van at Winchcombe.

At Todders, we had a relaxing day - watching 2807 run up & down. John G progressed rail chairs in the production line - cleaning, and then painting four tops and three bottoms. Bruce began by tidying up our container, and then sorted through bits of shim with a view to packing out the ‘keys’ (look more like wedges) that prevent the firebox from swinging sideways in the frames.

I boxed up the four boot scrapers that reached the end of the production line, and then took three over to the station café at Winchcombe.

There are only four outstanding issues on 2807’s log:

1: J cocks are stuck. {This dates from July last year. The cocks concerned are from the manifold (aka ‘steam fountain’) to the W-valve. The pipes take steam at full pressure, and if one did happen to burst, the J cocks are the only way to stop steam engulfing the cab}.

22: Oil corks on motion in poor condition. Requires all changing. {What can I say? I would like to think that most drivers would simply have changed them when they take them out to do the oiling up in the morning, rather than putting the crap ones back in!}

23: Steam Test - safety valves blowing at 215-217 psi. {This is Jamie just recording the result}

24: [Vacuum] Reservoir flexible [hose] between engine and tender rubbing on water pipe. Monitor.

2807 is in service all of this week, and Foremarke Hall takes over next week.

I would like to pass on our sincere gratitude for the effort (above & beyond) that numerous people put in over the days leading up to the Supporters’ Day, when it was looking highly likely that 2807 would not be doing the job! I’m sure that I can say on behalf of all of our supporters: an extremely big thank-you for your determination to get 2807 up and running for the day. THANK YOU !!!

Cotswold Steam & Wildlife Preservation Corner
The new wild flower garden has had a sprinkling of real soil over it. Berit Aherne has donated some yellow rattle seeds, and I have scattered various seeds from my own garden. On Tuesday it rained, so things are looking promising.


Thursday 6 July 2017

Maintenance Update (steam, door, lead, cool)

Saturday 1st
On Friday, Brian & Gilbert were present while the boiler inspection was carried out, after which the boiler was boxed up and filled with water. This takes an age, even when pumping water up through the blow-down valve. Brian & Gil then lit a warming fire, and retired at about 6 pm.

So, this morning there was still 20 psi on the clock when Brian lit a steam-raising fire. Some wisps of steam were visible from a couple of the top mud-hole doors, and Brian continues:
At 40psi we did a final nip up of all the doors, top and bottom, and proceeded to raise steam at 100psi. We still had wisps of steam from the three doors but all agreed to continue with the test.
At 140psi the Fireman’s side back top door seal failed and we started to hear an audible escape of steam. The immediate decision was to halt the test, pull the fire to the back of the firebox, and to gently cool the boiler over the next couple of hours.

The decision was then taken that, when the boiler is cool enough, to remove the four offending doors; clean them; particularly clean the internal surface on the boiler where they seat; fit new seals, and try again. It is possible that the boiler (and water) will be warm enough to light a steam-raising fire and carry out the test during the late afternoon. We would really like 2807 to be in service for 8/9 July, because 9th July is our Supporters' Day, so we would like 2807 to pull the 11:10 train from Toddington with us on it!

Tuesday 4th
Mark Young [Loco Dept] took out the four mud hole doors. He cleaned them and also the inside of the outer firebox wrapper where they meet. He put them all back together (with new seals, of course) and asked the service train crew to pull 2807 out of the shed and light a warming fire. Mark’s view was that these doors do not fit particularly well, and should be replaced at the 10 year overhaul. I popped down at 7 pm, and there was a lovely fire.

Wednesday 5th
Brian was up shortly after dawn had cracked; left home just after 5 am and arrived at Todders for 7.15. I had planned on joining him, but Granddad duties did not go to plan! So, Brian lit a new fire with a view to raising steam gradually throughout the day.

I finally arrived at 10.30, at which time there was about 40 psi and the top front RHS mud hole door was already emitting steam. Bruce came to see how things were going - Daphne, his wife, was unwell so he couldn’t stay long. Various attempts were made at tightening the doors and gradually raising pressure. By lunchtime, things were not looking good. At 140 psi the top left rear door had “popped” and was blowing steam. The top right front was still leaking steam. There was no option - test failed again!

I recalled that we previously had had to use lead seals on some of the mud hole doors (but can’t remember which). After some discussion, it was agreed that 2807 would go back in the shed to cool down. When cool enough, the two doors will be removed and lead gaskets will be fitted to them. Then yet another steam test will be attempted. With luck, this can take place on Saturday. If these seals don’t work, then I’m afraid that our supporters’ day train will be hauled by 4270.

Meanwhile, John T fitted the remaining ferrules (around wash-out plugs) that had been removed to gain access to the plugs and then he bravely stood out in the sun, needle-gunning five rail chairs.

John G, at the other end of the yard, was wire-brushing and painting chairs some black bottoms and some green tops.

Note the three “different” ones that John G had chosen last week - he was fed up with only painting GWR green chairs! So, here we have Midland Railway 1902; Southern Railway 1945, and LNER 1947.

Back to BR(W) and GWR green next week!

Cotswold Steam & Wildlife Preservation Corner
Having sat supping tea watching the wagtails, we noticed them bringing live food to the nest - caterpillars and the like. They showed no interest in the bowl of bird seed that I put for them. After very little research (i.e. Wikipedia) it transpires that wagtails are insectivores! Only in really desperate times would they stoop to eating mere bird seed!

Having acquired some mealworms for them, however, it was evident today that the young have fledged and all buzzed off! So, I got on with digging the CSPL garden (at the side of our container) in readiness for sowing some wild flower seeds.


Saturday 1 July 2017

Maintenance Update (hook, collar, ring, wagtail)

Saturday 24th
It was a Thomas weekend, so I was on Granddad duty on Saturday. However, Bruce & Gilbert did go to Todders. Bruce had formed a hex head on the stud upon which the fire-hole door operating mechanism hinges, so he reassembled the mechanism and fitted that. Even so, it was difficult persuading the stud to screw in tightly because the thread is quite well worn. It did work in the end, though.

Gil sorted through the tool boxes. Various random bits headed for the skip, and the rest were cleaned. He found a small hook in there, which later led to some discussion about hooks fitted to the cab roof. I had been squirreling away one such hook for 8 years, and produced it on Wednesday. The one Gil found was nothing like this one!

While doing my Granddad things at Winchcombe station, I bumped into Bill. He was working on the siphon restoration along with Fred. Gil abandoned Todders and joined them during the afternoon.

Wednesday 28th
Following an HRA (Heritage Railway Association) edict, Bruce replaced his (vastly superior) safety valve adjusters with the “standard” GWR spacer collars again! He then fitted the brass bonnet over the top. JP was carrying out a mechanical exam on 2807 and kept ear-holing Bruce. Fortunately, JP had got a couple of [Loco Dept] helpers, who seemed to be fixing anything that JP found amiss.

Gil spent the morning with Graham, who is drawing up the new ash pan. They had a look at our existing one and also the original one from the 38xx that is in the yard.

John G got on with painting the rail chairs, and later applied a second coat to the fire iron holder on the tender (the one that David had recently refitted).

I had been “volunteered” to take an inventory of the machines in the workshop and examine the existing list of authorised users. Rod [workshop manager] helped by explaining about many of the machines - some of which are not even wired up. I am, of course, way out of my depth when faced with a large lump of metal, covered in knobs, buttons, handles, wheels, twiddley bits (and no instructions)!


Of course, our main worry recently has been the apparent crack appearing in the foundation ring.
This is just visible through the mud-hole door at the front bottom left of the boiler throat plate.

You may have to enlarge the photo (below) to be able to see it!

The inspector is coming on Friday. Brian and Gil will be here to speak with him at the time.

Friday 30th
Inspector arrived along with Steve Underhill (Tyseley boiler chap). The latter says there is grooving, but nothing to worry about! Phew!

Gil & Brian filled the boiler (someone must have fitted the mud-hole doors first, of course 😊 ) and then lit a warming fire. Steam test on Saturday.

Cotswold Steam & Wildlife Preservation Corner
We have been watching a pair of pied wagtails but they are notoriously difficult to photograph.

Vis., I almost captured one about to enter the sandbox. However, it was too quick for my camera, hence is just a blur!

Notice how the vegetation has recovered and speedily thrust up a new flower.