Sunday 25 February 2018

Maintenance Update (mudhole, gauge, rods, pins)

Wednesday 21st
Lots of people here today - luckily John G and Fred did not join us, otherwise they would have had to sit outside for lunch! It is time we got the siphon moved back here and vacated our squat for a permanent home.

David and Bruce fitted the mudhole doors back in place. This requires hot water to soften the gaskets on the doors. But, having experienced the difficult removal of the one door, David decided to mildly modify the surrounding boiler cladding! All eight doors are now back in place. We still can’t fill the boiler because lots of inspection plugs are still out. They were removed primarily to enable the Riley’s chap (Colin) to inspect the boiler prior to quoting for its overhaul. We can’t fit the plugs without authorisation and supervision from the Boiler responsible Person.

John T reassembled the gauge frame. Three sides are heavy grade glass that is held in with brackets and bolts. Some clearing of the holes was necessary, where paint was where it was not needed. Doesn’t it look smart? Actually, it kind of shows up the rest of the backhead paintwork, doesn’t it!

John fitted the lubricating felts into the newly-metalled rod bearings. Then he spent the afternoon slapping paint on rail chairs (7 tops and 2 bottoms).

The rods occupied much time from most people during the day. Gil and David M began by emerying the final bush and its pin to get a good fit.

By 12:45 they matched!

After lunch, it was everyone to the rod fitting!

Working from rearmost to front, each coupling rod was lifted up and slid into place. Typically, the rod to its rear had to be raised while this was in progress and then lowered to be connected. Note the brass spacer to reduce sideway knock in this one.

When the coupling rods were on, the connecting rod completed the set. This one is a shade heavier, but it behaved well. Thereafter, securing nuts and pins had to be fitted and tightened. Some have to be inserted from back-to-front, and wheel spokes tend to get in the way! The solution is to roll the loco until there is sufficient room to insert the pins. So, Graham manned the tender brake (for safety) while David, Bruce, Steve and I manned the pinch-bars to roll the loco (with tender, of course) firstly about 3 feet backwards, and then about 3½ feet forwards again!

By end of play, everything was together except that some bolts require split pins fitting (as a safety measure against their nuts dropping off).

Thursday 22nd
Minor amusement: I went to Todders to cut some wedges for boot scrapers. Our feeble trolley had a tyre a bit low, so I decided to pump it up. The tyre said maximum 30 psi; the gauge said that it was down below 10. So, I started pumping. Just as it reached 20 psi, there was a ripping sound, reminiscent of The Hulk when he gets very angry! Then the tyre tore open and a balloon of inner tube oozed out, culminating in the inevitable “BANG!” Whoops!

Saturday 24th
The major task of today was to refit all of the inspection plugs. This largely fell to Gilbert, with some assistance from me, and both John T and Rob joining in from time to time. Each plug hole has a tapered thread. This needs a brief clean-up to get rid of rust, using a suitable tapered tap. Each plug had already been cleaned. One was rejected because the square head had become twisted. The rest were good. A thin smear of graphite grease is applied to the thread before fitting.

The top row on the firebox and the four on top of the boiler are easy to access. Others present a challenge to the knees!

In the cab, for example, various levers get in the way;

and in the smokebox, you just have to pretend to be Houdini.

Meanwhile, Bruce was fitting split-pins to the nuts on the rods. Some of these even presented a challenge. We had to push the loco up & down a few times in order to get rods into positions that allowed access to some of the nuts.

Amazingly, it only took three of us to move the loco: Bruce, Rob and myself.

John T fitted seals to the valve cylinder front covers in anticipation of these going back on.

Rob refitted the Mason’s Valve in the cab and also oiled-up all of the rods.

Stuart had come all the way from Lancashire, just to paint the number on the front buffer beam!

Next jobs: connect loco & tender hoses; connect main drag link between loco and tender; complete the mechanical exam (by John P); warming fire (Wednesday) and steam test (Thursday).


Monday 19 February 2018

Maintenance Update (stripes, bushes, dust, spacers)

Wednesday 14th
Not many people about today (including Bruce & myself!). John T relayed much of the happenings; Gilbert’s camera produced some photos, and Graham was the one who took them!

John G painted white diagonal stripes on the back of the gauge frame. These look distorted through the water in the glass, which helps see the water level in the boiler. Later he appeared to be cleaning the tender. Fred also joined in cleaning the tender.

Colin, the chap from Riley’s, who came to check out our boiler before quoting for the Heavy General Overhaul, mentioned that the front tube plate needed descaling. So, Graham and Alex tackled that (inside the smokebox - not sure exactly what they got up to) and hoovered it out afterwards.

Most of the gang appeared to be involved in fitting the bushes into the coupling rods. I gather that once pressed in, it must have been squeezed a bit, and the old pin won’t fit. But the coupling rod bearings have not yet been delivered.

Pressing in the first gradient pin bush. Testing the fit of the gradient pin afterwards.

Gradient pin bushes in middle & front rods. Gil & John refitted the rearmost coupling rod.

Saturday 17th
Gil had had a new dust cover cast to replace the broken one. David spent nearly all day making it fit! Even when he made a template to work out where the holes are to go, it took an age to get them right. In future, it would be more sensible to have them made out of aluminium alloy rather than cast iron.

The re-metalled bushes arrived. Bruce and David adjusted the leading bush, which was a few thou proud.

Graham assisted in press-fitting the bushes. Then Gil had to carefully apply some emery, to get the pins to fit. The bushes were then secured into the rods.

David had brought two spacers (brass discs) because where one of the rods fits into a fork on the adjacent rod, there is too much side-play. These spacers will overcome the problem in the short term.

Rob went round all 8 of the mudhole doors, emerying the internal faces to ensure a good fit for the gaskets.

Fred joined us for lunch; he and Graham cleaned and painted the water feed pipes beneath the running boards, where the paint had flaked off. We had probably used Deproma paint originally, but the water is rather hot, so they used heat-resistant paint this time!

John T began with needle-gunning rail chairs until an opportunity arose … then moved on to cutting felts for the bushes. These are now soaking in oil prior to being fitted. John also assisted in lining up the bushes’ securing holes to those in the rods, and in the pressing-in of the two new bushes.

Bruce cleaned the inner parts of the injectors and fitted them all back in place.

Stuart emailed: “I just found this;
It is a 50 minute compilation of 2807 during its 3 months stay at Llangollen.”

[A little reminder, the content of external web sites linked to from this blog is not the responsibility of CSP Ltd.]


Saturday 10 February 2018

Maintenance Update (cleaning, bush, garden, grease)

Wednesday 7th
Quite a full house at Todders, as Fred & Ray had abandoned the siphon and come to see if they could help here. They were set on cleaning the rods on the RHS. Tricky doing the LHS, as they are all off. In fact, John G was painting the backs of these rods. There was such a shine on the gloss black, that my eyeballs got confused, and thought he’d painted the entire rod! But he hadn’t, it was just the reflection. So, Fred & Ray continued cleaning up the wheels, painting the rims and the bosses, in particular. The slide bar hanging bracket had a coat of paint, too.

John G moved on to cleaning and gloss painting the tender rear brake hangers with their new guard irons. Then the gauge frame received a coat of gloss. Finally, John found a boot scraper that needed a top coat (of green, for a change!).

Gil, Bruce and David spent quite some time investigating options for improving the lubrication at the front of the valves. There are several options - this valve rod has sleeves at each end, for example.

The workshop was not able to make new brass bushes for our gradient pins, so Gil has arranged to get them made externally.

Bruce made a start on cleaning the injectors’ internal parts. He also found in our container what appear to be the open-ended alternative style of valve rod covers as seen last time on the 38xx. Why have we got these, I wonder? Did we just “randomly” acquire them? Did someone plan on modifying 2807’s valve rod covers at one time?

David replaced one of the driving wheel axle dust covers and fitted new felts. However, the felts are not large enough, and will drop out when the wheel rotates! So, he’s not happy about the way these (don’t) work, and will cogitate upon it. Another little job was to flatten the gradient pin end caps, which had become dished. I think there might be a need for a spacing washer in the rod forks.

John T pressed out the bush from one of the valve cylinder end covers for inspection. He refitted plate-work on the front running board, in anticipation of feet needing to tread on them on Saturday. After doing these, John decided to needle-gun another four rail chairs, to keep the production line moving.

Saturday 10th Feb
John T was ‘into’ gardening today, beginning by trimming dead leaves from the hellebores in the 2807 Flower Garden. Apart from the small shrubs (hellebores and azaleas) there is a variety of bulbs popping up - snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells in particular.

Later in the day, John, Fred and I played with the poppy. Well, you possibly fit a poppy to your car in November, so why shouldn’t we fit one to 2807? After all, 2807 was working on Armistice Day 1918 and had been hauling coal from South Wales to Warrington (on its way to the fleet anchored at Scapa Flow).

Chaps in the Loco Dept had fabricated a frame, so we tested it all out today. Hardly a streamlined, airsmoothed front end, but hey-ho! I suppose we ought to test it out by going out for a surreptitious run when no one is looking!

Note the strange “face” visible to the right. That is actually the blank reverse of one of those Thomas style faces … so what caused it to reflect light in that weird way? Spooky!

John and Fred spent much of the day cleaning the running boards. Fred managed to find a few loose bolts. However, being round-headed they are a challenge to tighten. Gripping their head firmly in the mole grips is your only hope.

Gilbert had one of the brass bushes for the coupling rod. It seems to be a good fit for the rod, but the old gradient pin was too tight a fit. The new pin has not arrived yet.

Gil & Bruce spent even more time debating the options for improving the lubrication of the front of the valve rods. Will Naylor joined in, with his experience of other locos and modifications he’s seen. I think Gil has enough info now, to go away and detail the options.

Colin from Riley & Son (E) Ltd came down from Bury to examine our boiler with a view to quoting for its overhaul in two years’ time. It was extremely interesting to hear some of his tales over tea break, not to mention his company’s track (pun intended) record. Amusingly, while probing inside the lower centre (throatplate) mud-hole, Colin found three old stays! Two of them look to have been inside there for a very long time! The recent wash-out must have dislodged them.

Colin also had a look at the piece of boiler tube that blew a hole the other year. He said that he’d seen something like it before, and that it may have been caused by a drop of grease falling onto the tube through the steam valve assembly opening during its fitting. This made sense in that it was a tube from a top row and close to the centre. Grease could have created a hot spot, for example, and gradually caused the tube metal to fatigue.

Bruce managed to do a little more cleaning on the injector internals, but was assisting with Colin for much of the morning. The insides of the injector bodies remain to be cleaned.

Loco Dept coaled and watered our tender. We then pushed it up to the loco and (using our unique and not-patented gadget) lined up and connected the outer two links. It was surprising how easy it is to move our tender. Bruce started it with a pinch-bar, but once static friction had been overcome, it was easy for a couple of us to keep it rolling.

One boot scraper sold; one parcelled up for collection on Sunday, and Graham’s one finished ready for his next visit.


Saturday 3 February 2018

Maintenance Update (vice, studs, lubricator, sleeve)

Wednesday 31st
JP was carrying out a mechanical exam, which turned up a couple of minor issues. The first was that a split pin on one coupling link was not long enough. Now, you might think that it is a five-minute job to replace a split pin, wouldn’t you?

Right! There’s a solid block with a threaded hole through the centre (for the coupling screw) and a protruding bar each side. The only way to get this block in or out of the coupling link is by springing the arms of the link. They are sprung so tight up against the split pin through the bar that the link had to be taken off and put in a vice in order to squeeze the arms together and release the split pin.

After that, David assisted John T to remove the valve covers. The main objective being to press their bushes out and rotate them 180°. This is to even out wear. If GJC had designed it properly, the valve cover would have been able to be rotated, rather than having to press the bush out! But it’s not - there’s a cut-out towards the bottom to accommodate the main cylinder cover.

John T cleaned the threads on the studs (one of which came out - which they sometimes do) and the faces of the covers and valve cylinder ends in readiness for them to be refitted. The covers will remain off for a while so that we can set the timing … which we can’t do until the coupling rods are back on … which won’t be until their new bushes have been fabricated … which should be in two weeks time.

David, meanwhile, was onto another JP defect: There is a dust cover over the felts on each driving axle, bolted to the frames. These covers are cast, and as a result suffer badly. This one has broken into three; plus half of the side part is missing, and one of the bolt holes isn’t round. Gil is getting quotes for a couple of new ones to be cast.

Bruce spent much of the day playing with that awkward left-hand J-cock in the cab. The copper pipes did not appear to fit well into the cock, so Bruce had to remove the pipe and adjust it a little. Then the ends and the nuts & threads all needed cleaning up. However, by end-of-play, Bruce had persuaded it all to go back together.

John G was wielding his paint brush. He gave the gauge frame a second coat of black. Gil then pointed him at the coupling rods, and John painted the reverse side of them black.

This simply helps stop them getting rusty. Then the rail guard irons on the rear tender brake hangers had a coat of black.

Finally, I had been busy on the production line (with four boot scraper orders to fulfil) and John blacked their bottoms.

Saturday 3rd Feb
The first task was to fit the brake hangers back onto the tender. They are heavy, and lifting them upwards to be able to locate the pin did take three of us.

We started with the left hanger. Rob and I were lifting and Bruce was aligning the top hole for the pin to go through. Gil was chief pin pusher. It took quite some effort to align everything, and then Gil managed to start the pin. However, it was difficult to slide the pin in because of the weight of the hanger. Using a wooden block, Gil gave it a hefty whack! “Ping!” What fell off? Rob retrieve the bush from the floor… the pin must have caught on the edge of the bush and the whack had pushed it out.

Needless to say, it took more time and trouble to get the bush back in than it had getting it out! Bruce took the bush away and rounded one edge before he managed to persuade it to go home. It was now tea break time!

After tea, Rob, Bruce and I got the right-hand hanger back in place in no time at all.
John T was cleaning the valve faces and making new gaskets for the sticking-out-bit (see below).

Rob cleaned the “inside” of the connecting rod, removing the grimes and grease so that it can be painted. We only paint the non-visible side because it otherwise doesn’t get cleaned when in service, and may begin to rust. Then Rob moved on to refitting cab pressure gauges and connecting up the condensing coil in the cab roof.

Towards the end of day, Rob was still in the cab, trying to reconnect the pipe from the coil to the hydrostatic lubricator. Would it go on? The angle of the pipe was making it difficult to line up the nut on the pipe with the thread on the lubricator. Gil had a go - he couldn’t do it. I had a go - I couldn’t do it. Bruce had a go - and finally he persuaded it to fit! But he’d had previous practice with his J-cock!

Gil and Bruce played around exploring possible options regarding the lubrication of the front of the valve spindles. On a 28xx there is no lubrication - well, it relies entirely upon the oil that is emulsified within the steam. So, the rod and the bush wears, which is why we just rotated the bushes on 2807.

The method on the later 2884 series had an oil pot feeding a sleeve. This necessitates a pressure seal in the valve cover (else pressure in the sleeve would blast the oil back out!).

If we were to do this, we would have to modify the curved plate to clear the sleeve, as well as fit an oil pot.

Would this upset the purists? Would they cough up for replacing the valve rods if we don’t do this?