Saturday 30 September 2017

Maintenance Update (boxing, equalising, weeping, going)

Wednesday 27th
Gilbert reports:
“Today the locomotive was boxed up and steam tested to 223psi.

JC & JH supervised the boxing up process with JH re-fitting the washout plugs. When it came to No 24 they found an old broken stay had been dislodged during the wash-out and unsuccessful attempts were made to remove it through the plug aperture. Because of the ferrule there was not enough space to turn it and extract it, and the ferrule could not be removed from the cladding sheet despite strenuous efforts.

Between JC & JH they re-installed the mud-hole doors and then they commenced filling the boiler via the blowdown pipe.

The fire-grate was replaced (the side bars had been removed to allow access for the Boiler Inspector to the foundation ring rivets) and JC re-fixed the fusible plugs in the firebox crown.

Bruce re-assembled the safety valves and the feed-water clacks.

The gauge frame was put back together by Gilbert under the supervision of Jeff Lacey.

Jamie undertook greasing of brake pivots, brake cylinder mountings, and equalising beams.

Alex had her gang busy cleaning and polishing everything they could touch.

Amidst all the controlled chaos JP was busy carrying out the A examination. He found loose fixings on the damper door linkages and on the frame stretcher adjacent to the locomotive brake cylinder. All were tightened up.

By late morning the fire was ready for lighting and Jeff and Jamie managed the warming of the boiler. In view of our previous experience Bruce regularly checked the mud-hole doors and tightened them gradually to keep them sealed and seated. The boiler was warmed up steadily throughout the afternoon until the safety valves lifted at 223 psi.

During the test a slight weepage was noted from plugs 28 and 33. Once pressure has been released these will be sealed.

Whilst the testing was being carried out Bruce investigated the reported leakage on the LH Injector flange. This revealed that the flanged joints were sound but that leakage was occurring at the joint of the injector steam cap. Further investigation showed that the steam cone within the injector had come loose. The unit was re-sealed and re-assembled correctly.

The j-cocks were investigated and it was found that the LHS one was stuck, it was dosed with WD40 but it failed to unstick it and the unit will have to be stripped down during Winter Maintenance. The RHS one was moveable, this was also dosed with WD40 and was considered satisfactory.”

Bruce added:
“Good work today by everyone with a massive amount of jobs being done. Just a quick update at close of play.

The steam test was successful with all mudhole doors dry, but there were three plugs weeping slightly. (Two of them were the new ones) These plugs may be fixed early Friday morning, I think by Mark if he is available.

The safety valves blew off at 223psi first time and 221psi second time but did not go above 225psi
Interestingly at the end we were still producing too much steam to put the loco in the shed so we chuffed up and down the siding to use some of it up.”

This was far greater progress than one could possibly have dreamed! Great thanks go to the Loco Dept chaps & chapess.

Saturday 30th
Today was our AGM.

These interesting things came up :
  • 2807 is definitely going to Llan on 9 Oct for 16 steamings over their gala, weekends, school holidays and Santa Specials. We’ll give details as & when we get them.
  • GWSR is planning for Armistice Day 2018, and 2807 is the loco of choice.

Afterwards, some of the chaps went for a ride behind 2807 (which had been re-rostered to Train 2, which was more convenient time-wise).

Does anyone know if rabbits dig up and eat bulbs? There seemed to be a lot of holes in our “garden”, where I had previously planted some bulbs !!!


Monday 25 September 2017

Maintenance Update (Severn, exam, hose, gland)

David Moore and Andy Bryne identified the location of the photo (see previous post) as Severn Tunnel Junction shed.

There is a plan for the forthcoming few weeks, leading up to potentially going to Llangollen:
Weds 20: Unbox & washout
Sat 23: clean & fix issues [if anyone attends!]
Tues 26: Cold exam (external examiner) - Gilbert in attendance
Wed 27: Box up & fix issues
Fri 29: Warming fire
Sat 30: Steam test (Loco Dept)
Sun 1 Oct: Cooling
Mon 2: Fix anything detected & light warming fire - Roger
Tues 3: Hot exam (external examiner, 9.30 am) - Roger light fire, etc.
Sat 7: Drain ready for transport to Llangollen.

Wednesday 20th
Much assistance from Loco Dept chaps: Much gratitude & thanks to JC, John H, Tim P, Ian G, Richard, Martin, Mike (and apologies to anyone whom I’ve missed off).

Bruce & Dixie worked on removing the brass bonnet, safety valves and clack valves. Bruce later lapped the safety valves in and replaced the bonnet.

Loco Dept chaps were removing mud-hole doors and wash-out plugs. John G and Ian G were cleaning all the plugs up. I cleaned the mud-hole doors. John also checked the threads on them and made sure they were pukka.

Gilbert removed the last mud-hole door (under the cab floor) after assisting with the removal of the gauge frame and the wash-out plugs in the firebox backhead.

In spare moments, John G managed to wire-brush and paint two chair tops & one bottom. I finished two boot scrapers and then restocked both the Flag & Whistle and the Coffee Pot cafés.

Gil & Dixie started doing the washout, but got soaked! Loco Dept chaps finished the job. Actually, anyone in the vicinity got wet - partly because of the leaks in the hose:

Loco Dept chaps removing wash-out plugs

Bruce & Dixie removing clacks & safety valves

Is anybody in there?

Yes - Martin removing wash-out plugs!

Bruce thought he was safe from getting wet …

Washing out the top

Washing out the front

Mud-hole door

Thursday 21st
It rained, so I popped down and painted some chairs because there are no completed boot scrapers. Being Thomas Weekend, it is not likely that the cafés will sell out, but …!

Friday 22nd
Department Management Meeting - Decision taken over 2807’s plan and departure for Llangollen, which now looks like this:
Tues 26: Cold exam (external examiner) - Gilbert in attendance
Wed 27: Box up & fix issues
Thurs 28: Warming fire
Fri 29: Steam test (by Loco Dept)
Sat & Sun: In service
Mon 2: Fix anything detected & light warming fire - Roger
Tues 3: Roger light fire, etc. (6 am) - Hot exam (external examiner, 9.30 am)
Weds & Thurs: In service (Thursday 5th is a Fire & Drive, not a public service)
Sat 7: Drain and ready for transport to Llangollen
Mon 9: Transported to Llangollen.

Saturday 23rd
Bruce reports: “Only three of us today, in fact the whole department was quiet, probably the Thomas effect.

David had brought the new grinding wheels for the bench grinder which he duly fitted.
He also brought the laser cut parts for the tender guard irons, these to be finished later ready for fitting during the winter maintenance period.

Gilbert and David then removed the handles on the Blower and the Ejector Valves, which had been reported as leaking, and replaced the gland packing.

I, meanwhile, spent some time in my favourite place, on top of the boiler, cleaning the safety valve and clack housings ready for reassembly on Wednesday.

I also gathered all of the top Clack Valve parts together to take home and machine/refurbish them there.

We had suspected that the fireman's side injector steam valve had been leaking so Gilbert and David, assisted by Stuart [Loco Dept.], removed the cover to investigate. Sure enough the seat was pitted so we decided to re-cut the seat and, while it was apart, replace the gland packing.

We noticed that the grate was still in place so Stuart removed several fire bars on each side so that the boiler inspector can examine the nuts around the bottom of the firebox."

Monday 25th
Bruce continues: "After machining and refurbishing the various parts for the top Clack Valves at home I returned them to our container ready for the boiler inspector’s visit on Tuesday.”


Saturday 16 September 2017

Maintenance Update (cycle, raffle, wedges, fish)

2807 was in service on: 8th - 10th & 12th - 17th September.

Saturday 9th
2807 was in service so only John T and I were at Toddington - well, actually, Stuart had come down from Lancashire to do some fund-raising at the station over this weekend, too.

The weather was dubious, but during the morning we managed to clean four rail chairs (between showers) and paint a few. We then took a break to watch the Tour of Britain cycle race pass through Toddington. Much rain then threatened, so we called it a day.

I was a little concerned at issue 31: “LH big end warm at end of day. Oil level in reservoir had not gone down since being filled at start of day.” On Friday, I spoke with John P at the end of the day. He was driving 2807 on Fire & Drive duty. He had not noticed any undue heat in the bearings. Then on Saturday I bumped into Cliff, who had been driving 2807 during the week. He was full of praise! No sign of hot bearings.

Cliff did mention the brake vacuum, which seems to stick at 20 Hg and then jumps up to 25 after a few mo’s. It sounds like something could be sticky; or a leaky spot in the vacuum cylinder?

Monday 11th
Stuart asked if there was some painting that he could do because the railway is closed on Mondays, and he was bored! So, I set him on! He reports:
“At 16.30 hrs, finished lettering the 4 chairs, painted black bottoms on the 4 in the container, painted top coats on the 4 in the van (2 green, 2 black) and stained 20 brush heads. OH! and had an hour for lunch.”

Len Young was sifting through some photos at a model “do” and spotted these of 2807:

Anyone know where the first was taken?  The second is marked as being at Shrewsbury MPD.

Wednesday 13th
With 2807 still chuffing up & down, there was nothing for it but to set all hands on making boot scrapers (again!). It was good to have Dixie back after a spell of not being 100%. He spent the day needle-gunning ten rail chairs. Bruce then trimmed off the rough edges and any protruding bolt ends with the angle grinder. John G was on wire brush duty, plus applying paint to four tops and four bottoms. I finished off those in the production line and restocked the Flag & Whistle.

Stuart was on the station handing out leaflets and persuading people to part with money for his raffle. Bruce broke off from grinding to check if there was still any sign of steam from the centre drain cock that he had lapped last week - no sign at all!

A pile of interesting rail chairs was left outside our container. We don’t know who they are from, but we are very grateful. One chair is from a GWR + GC joint line. This one has been put in our museum pile. Not that we have a museum yet, but one day there will be a museum depicting various aspects of Permanent Way, and we are putting aside any interesting pieces.

Which reminds me: Regarding the chair with “LNEC” embossed upon it, Peter Todd advises, “the LNE is for the London North Eastern Rly. but the C stands for the area it was made for, in this case the old Great Central Rly. As advised by the LNER Forum on these matters.”

Clive Hawkins came across an auction item: An LNER (Great Central Railway) pattern Hand Lamp clearly stamped “LNEC” and “HELMDON No.19707” a location on the GCR line between Woodford & Brackley. From which he deduces that “LNEC must in effect stand for London and North Eastern Railway (Central Division).”

Friday 15th
I was planning on going for a bike ride - put the mudguards on; bottle of juice; mobile into saddlebag;  and then it started raining! So, there was nothing for it but to go to Todders and saw up a pile of wedges (for securing brushes in boot scrapers).

I was about to have a cuppa but noticed the milk had turned into a solid lump! Never mind, there’s a new bottle. But that was solid, too! It was a solid block of milk ice. Now, has the weather turned that cold? Had someone turned the thermostat up (it was set at maximum)? It was a bit difficult to judge, but four lumps seemed to be about right!

While there, I dumped several “00” size rail chairs. They are too big (see nearest in photo, above).

Saturday 16th
2807’s final weekend in service at Todders. So, John T, Bruce and I pressed on with boot scraper production while the opportunity is here. I finished off six, and delivered two to the Flag & Whistle. John needle gunned eight. Bruce wire brushed eight. Then in the final moments, Bruce & John slapped paint on, and I managed to wire-brush two more. Final tally: 16 chairs in the container - 4 x fully primed; 9 x black bottomed; 2 x needle-gunned, and 1 x wire brushed.

Steve called in because he had found a new recruit - a young chap called Rob, who lives not a million miles away. It turned out that he had previously lived in Winchcombe, which became a talking point between us.

There is a plan for the forthcoming few weeks, leading up to going away to Llangollen:
Sun 17 Sept: Final steaming day
Mon & Tues: cooling down
Weds 20: Unbox & clean
Sat 23: washout & clean
Tues 26: Cold exam (external examiner)
Wed 27: Box up
Fri 29: Warming fire
Sat 30: Steam test (Loco Dept)
Sun 1 Oct: Cooling
Mon 2: Fix anything detected & light warming fire
Tues 3: Hot exam (external examiner)
Sat 7: Drain ready for transport to Llangollen.

There are a few reported issues that will need attending to during this period, as and when resources available. Latest reported issues are:
34: Hydrostatic lubricator leak - which was fixed by JC [Loco dept]
35: Tender brakes needed adjusting - also fixed by JC.
36: Fireman “lost” the copper end off the pep pie! - replaced by JC.
37: Left hand steam injector feed joint blowing top of injector body.
38: [vacuum] retaining valve occasionally sticks with res[ervoir] @19”. Sorts itself out & returns to
normal. {Cliff mentioned this last week; JC has fed graphite into it to see if that unsticks it}
39: slack pipe continuously blows, may be clack passing {= duplicate of issue 29}

Wildflower Conservation Corner
I dug up a random selection of bulbs from my garden and planted them in our corner at Todders.
You see, last year I’d had this marvellous idea of planting bulbs in my strawberry patch. I figured
that it would give colour in the spring before the strawbs came into their own. It didn’t work. The
daffs and bluebells’ leaves swamped the strawberry plants and inhibited their spring growth. Hence the digging up thereof.


Thursday 7 September 2017

Maintenance Update (responsible, power, grinding, safety)

Wednesday 30th
2807 was in service so Bruce & Gil took the opportunity to check with the crew how things were (apart from wet!). In particular, they closely watched the pressure creep up. Steam began feathering from the safety valves at around 215 psi, then they suddenly lifted at 219 psi. This confirms what earlier crews had reported. It gives us a good feel for how much the spacers can be reduced per psi, if GWSR’s Boiler Responsible Person insists on them lifting closer to the maximum of 225 psi. We are not keen on going higher. She doesn’t need every ounce of pressure - she has power to spare.

Bruce also commented that the pep pipe still has steam leaking from it (despite his efforts at lapping-in the valve). Also, the centre left-hand drain cock has steam wisping from it, too.

Ken S. popped in (again) to deliver a selection of spanners. Then he went for a ride behind 2807 of course).

Bruce wire-brushed the rail chairs in the container and then blacked their bottoms. I painted some lettering and then top-coated four chairs. The Flag & Whistle had sold two boot scrapers, so I restocked them; the Coffee pot (Winchcombe) had sold four boot scrapers, but they had to make do with just two more from stock.

Amongst the chairs that Bruce brushed today, there is one with most unusual inscriptions upon it. It says “46 lb”, which is a very light rail. It also says “LNEC”, which isn’t a railway that I recognise. The date is 1938. Has anyone any ideas as to whom this LNEC was?

I needed Gil’s autograph on a couple of cheques, so I had to call in at the siphon. Fred, Bill & Gil were there. Much of the day they had been adjusting the doors so that they close properly. Bill had been painting the running boards by each door.

Gil noticed something black jammed between the slats in one of the siphon widows and gave it a poke. It moved! We have a new pet!

Saturday 2nd Sept
I was away holidaying in Scotland, and only David came to play at Todders, though Fred, Gil & Bill were working in the siphon at Winchcombe. David has been trying to get quotes for laser cutting the tender guard irons, but it seems the metal is too thick! He’s now trying quotes for cutting by water jet.

Here is what David reported:
“I have ordered two new grinding wheels for the bench grinder in the container - grades 80 and 120, which should be satisfactory for what we do. I have removed the old ones and left a note to that effect.

I have left the end covers by the machine with the screws sitting on them. Please take care not to knock this on the floor. If you have the misfortune to do so, there are 10 small screws that will need finding!

I have now finished and fitted the new pulley guard on the drilling machine.”

Wednesday 6th
Although 2807 was having a rest day, only Bruce tackled an issue - and not one reported by the crew! Bruce had seen that the centre drain cock has been leaking, so he took it apart, skimmed the central spindle’s sealing face and reassembled it.

John G, Bruce and I then pressed on with more boot scraper production. Bruce ground off rough edges.

There are four reported issues outstanding:
29: Safety valve clacks blowing by, as pep pipe cock passing steam & getting hot.
30: Hydrostatic lub[ricator] 3rd feed leaking oil. Risk of losing oil before end of day. Also, drain needs a tap to seal.
31: LH big end warm at end of day. Oil level in reservoir had not gone down since being filled at start of day.
32: Steam valves need repacking, e.g. ejector and blower.

Wildflower Conservation Corner
On Wednesday 30th, I planted a few bluebell bulbs out of my garden. I’ll pop a few more bulbs in, in due course.

On Saturday, I threatened some baby brambles with Resolva, and Clive donated a box of poppy and sunflower seeds to the cause. I’ll save these until next Spring, otherwise the local birds will think it’s their birthday!