Thursday 30 November 2017

Anticipated Llangollen operational dates

We're expecting 2807 to be in operation at Llangollen on these dates:

Santa Specials on 2/12, 3/12, 9/12, 10/12, 16/12, 17/12, 22/12, 23/12 and 24/12

Winter Warmer Specials on 30/12 and 31/12

As always, subject to availability.


Saturday 25 November 2017

Maintenance Update (LED, brass, spanners, fuse)

News from Fred about the siphon van
“We have completed the repair of the wooden ceiling trunking holding existing cabling to internal 240V power sockets. This will also carry cables for the new LED low voltage lighting in the coach. We have trial fitted one lamp and resisted making it sparkly and multi-coloured for Xmas.”

Fred is greatly saddened by the fact that, now door handle holes are covered and the side vents are backed with plastic sheeting, the robins have been unable to gain access. We are all very caring about the environment and the wildlife, you know.

Wednesday 22nd
Fred, Bill, Ray and Gil were all working on the Siphon, once more. Gil was shaving a smidgeon off some of the doors to get them to fit better. The others were taking advantage of the weather and fitting the door stops around the outside.

We’d had a cylinder of brass delivered to Todders. This is from which to make new bushes for the coupling rods. Some of the bushes are out of tolerance (which is perhaps not surprising after 8 years of use).

Bruce brought in his homework, which consists of two clack spanners. He donated one to Foremarke Hall. They are made specifically to fit the square ends on the top clack valves.

Bruce suggests making a similar spanner for the blow-down valve (which is square-ended, too). The issue with the blow-down valve is that if you open the valve and then accidentally drop the spanner, you can’t clamber underneath to retrieve it! Hence, a spanner of this type is safer to use than an open-ended spanner.

Saturday 25th
Rob and I started off playing with the band saw. It made a peculiar noise when we started it, and then the band fell off! The first attempt to fix it also failed, whereupon I slid quietly out of the door and let Bruce take over! The two of them then fitted a new blade and squirted various bits with lubricant. This seemed to do the trick, as Rob was then able to saw up a couple of pieces of wood for me.

We three then moved on to the inevitable …. however, just before lunch, our compressor decided that it was not happy being left alone in the cold. It tripped the fuse. We decided to take lunch and  investigate afterwards. The problem seems to be that there are times when it really struggles to start up. Usually, this is first thing in the day when someone forgot to release the pressure from its last use. This it does not like! Today, however, it may have stood idle for a while, after I had been using it; and when Rob took over, it was still pressurised and cold, and ….. the solution was to release the pressure and start again. This worked, and the compressor behaved for the afternoon.

Gil & Bill joined us for lunch. I think they get lonely at Winchcombe.

In an idle moment or two, Bruce decided that the pile of cables stuffed under the shelf in the container really needed tidying up. So, they are now sorted, rolled, tied and hung up. How long before someone takes one, uses it and then stuffs it back under the shelf?


Saturday 18 November 2017

Maintenance Update (Victorian, Winchcombe, lead, rain)

News from LLangollen
There are no more services at Llangollen until the Santa trains begin, in December. So, 2807 ran on the weekend of 4th & 5th November, but there will be nothing more to report for four weeks!

Rather than go on and on about boot scrapers , I’ll take a break until something of greater interest occurs. However, we have 15 boot scrapers “on the shelf” and more in the pipeline; the Flag & Whistle have sold 94; John got fed up with painting them GWR green, so painted one in LNER Darlington Green; and I’ve just had a phone call from Germany ordering a September 1946 one!

Bruce pointed out on Saturday that in the last update, Tom Peacock called 2807 “the Victorian cart horse”. But Victoria died on 22 January 1901, which was nearly five years before 2807 came into service! Edward VII was on the throne (maybe not literally) when 2807 rolled out of Swindon works.

Fred, Gil, Ray and Bill were all at Winchcombe working inside the siphon. They have just bought and/or refurbished some “door furniture”.

The inside of the siphon is looking very smart. Still some cowls to paint and fit to the roof. Some boxes have been acquired as part of the museum feature (being for the fruit section).

Saturday 18th
Bill was first at the siphon; Fred and Gil shortly after. I spoke with Bill because I called in at Winchcombe to search for a 9-46 rail chair (q.v.) on my way to Todders. Unfortunately, by the time I reached Todders, it had decided to rain!

John T was first at Todders, soon followed by Rob. They had opened up, and started before the rain reached them. John had to abandon needle-gunning because the rain turns the rust into brown soup. Rob pressed on with painting inside the container, but much to his chagrin, the combination of cold and rain caused condensation on the rail chairs which brought that activity to a halt.

Bruce decided that the angle-grinder (which had previously only worked when you waggled the cable and got it in the right spot) needed a new and longer lead. That occupied him for a while (especially when removing the PAT tags from the old lead to the new).

I get on my high horse about people using the trolleys as work benches, and Rob and I brought a large pallet into the shed and removed the vacuum cylinder parts that have been sat on the trolley for weeks onto the pallet. With the trolley now free, we moved nine rail chairs (that I had brought from Winchcombe in my car) up to our pile near our compressor.

Fred, Bill & Gil joined us for lunch. Then after putting the world to rights, we decided that the rain really had defeated us. So we went home!


Saturday 11 November 2017

Maintenance Update (Llangollen, coal, GWR, paint)

News from LLangollen
Graham B reported:
“2807 was on today's [Saturday 4th] service train. I spoke to the crew before the 13:00 departure. The driver said his only problem was that the regulator was a bit tricky: he found it difficult to get just the right opening saying that it was not smooth. This was probably more noticeable because of a lot of slipping on Berwyn Bank - this is unusual, perhaps we had the wrong leaves on the line for that stretch today. The Fireman commented on her being a strong a loco, but how hungry she was for coal and was concerned that there would be enough for the extra evening trip. Llangollen use coal from Eastern Europe and I reckon that while it is cheaper than Welsh coal it may have about 20% lower calorific value. I have a vague recollection that when we changed from Welsh coal it was very apparent how much more shovelling I had to do on 3802.”

One has to remember that the crews tend to be different on each day. Lots of people get perhaps only one go on the footplate. So, they don’t get a chance to become accustomed to a visiting loco with which they are not familiar. The comments from this crew are, IMHO, out of character for 2807. Also, it is most unusual for 2807 to slip - viz the comments from the previous report about her sure-footedness!

Tom Peacock comments: “Top day on the Victorian cart horse yesterday. Great to fire and even nicer to drive! I still reckon the 28’s are possibly one of the best suited classes for preservation work. They’ll ride happily at 25 and has more than enough grunt to do what you want with it. Top machine. I even like the colour.”

Graham sent the following “pic of 2807 just before the 13:00 departure on 4th Nov.”

Wednesday 8th
A huge “Thank you” should go to Bob Underwood, without whose inspiration and inventiveness we would have nothing to do while 2807 is on holiday! It was he who thought up the idea of boot scrapers.

We sold two today - and the railway is not even open!

So, John G, Bruce and I pressed on with building up the stocks (in anticipation of a Christmas rush!). There are two on the floor plus two on the bench with black bottoms; four in green primer, and two in red primer.

There are four in the van awaiting their top coats, and we have two orders: a 1937 GWR and an 1885 Midland Railway.

Meanwhile, Bruce had completed his homework, and brought the rail guards in for fitment. Of course, we can’t fit them because we haven’t got the engine!

Components, showing how the guard can be removed or pivoted easily

John “Green-Fingers” G demonstrates which way up it goes

… and where it goes, beneath the rear brake hanger on the tender

The purpose is to clear anything fouling the rails when the loco is running in reverse, to minimise the risk of derailment. In GWR/BR days, these engines rarely ran in reverse, so rail guards were only fitted at the front of the pony truck. Now that she goes backwards just as often as forwards, we are fitting bespoke guards to the brake hangers at the back of the tender.

Over at Winchcombe, there was a full complement of chaps working on the siphon: Bill, Gil, Fred & Ray. I’m not sure what they find to do, there. Isn’t it finished yet? 😊

Saturday 11th
Well, there’s little to do but press on with boot scrapers! Bruce, Rob and I took it easy, just moving the current ones forward in the production process.

Bruce is quite pleased with the success of mixing Deproma jelly with xylene to make paint again!

Our skill at applying paint to almost any object led to a request to paint the covers over the loco weighing equipment yellow. Doing this was spread over the week, to allow each coat to harden. There’s a black line through the middle, which shows the mid-point of the scales. This is the ideal point for the loco wheels to be positioned, though there is a tolerance of a few inches either side of this.

By end of play there was already a dirty footprint on the left one! 😒