Wednesday 27 June 2018

Maintenance Update (plug, carrot, spark, ash)

Wednesday 20th
The day began with Bruce changing over the top clack valves (that feed water into the boiler). Not happy about the newly fitted ones leaking already, Bruce refurbished the old ones and fitted them back today. (Whenever there’s a chance to clamber over the top of the loco …)

He reckons that the surfaces in the removed ones are not flat - slightly bevelled - which could account  or their inability to stop the backflow.

Remember the broken ash-pan sprinkler pipe? Well, here’s Gilbert sawing through that part that is accessible, with a view to then putting a plug in it.

The sawing was the easy part. Removing the pipe remnant from the elbow joint took most of the day … plus two helpers!

Remember the pep pipe fountain?

Bruce took the pep pipe valve apart today. The bottom half-inch of the “carrot” was shiny, indicating that it was the only part of the valve that was in contact. So, Bruce lapped it in again and fitted a new seal in the top. Hopefully that will fix it.

John G noticed the five rail chairs that had previously been needle-gunned, and knew exactly what to do with them.

John set-to with the angle grinder, removing rough edges and smoothing off the surface. Then out came the wire brush to polish them up. Honestly, you can almost see your face in them by the time he’s finished!

I volunteered to remove the blow-down valve pipe. The plan is to fit a standard fire-hose connector to the end of it, so that the boiler can be filled through it (when cold, of course!) quickly and easily. You are not allowed to remove a mud-hole door, for example, to put water into the boiler. That would be breaching the integrity of the boiler seal, and would necessitate a boiler steam test all over again.

This “five minute job” took from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm.

The problem being that although there is only a single two-bolt joint, it is beneath the cab floor. The near bolt is a doddle to remove. The far one, on the other hand … is beneath yet another pipe’s flange, below the floor panel through which the three damper door operating levers pass!

I finally gained access to the nut; persuaded it that it really did want to come off, and eventually extracted the pipe.

Bruce can now cut its end off and fit the appropriate hose connector … and then I’ll fit the pipe back on again. 😊

Wednesday 27th
2807 had been rostered in service this week, but the increased fire risk put paid to that because she has a reputation for setting things alight! I advised the GWSR that there are spark arresters for the smokebox and for all three dampers, so today’s task was to fit them.

JC kindly shunted us over a pit inside the shed, whereupon it became obvious that the firebox and ashpan had not been emptied since the steam test on the 16th. We are not allowed to empty ash into the shed’s internal pits, so we decided to fit the spark arresters - Bruce tackled those underneath, while I tackled the one in the smokebox.

The “traditional” spark arrester in the smokebox is two-part that clamps around the blast pipe. The original stainless nuts & bolts that we bought for it seem to have gone awol, and have been replaced with ordinary nuts & bolts. Shame! Nevertheless, it took less than an hour to fit this.

The ones that we (i.e. David) designed for the dampers are very easy to fit - they slot into place and each has two R-clips to secure it.

2807 has three damper doors because the ashpan is in two sections, one either side of an axle. The front section has two dampers and the rear just one. There is no space for a damper right at the very back to be able to open.

As I mentioned, Bruce discovered that the ashpan was absolutely full …

So, after lunch we were shunted out over an external pit in order to clean it all out.

I cleaned the grate …

… and Bruce cleaned out the ashpan.

Thanks also go to Eddie and Alex for helping clean out the pit after we’d filled it with soggy ash. 😊

2807 is now rostered to be in service on the next two Saturdays & Sundays.


Saturday 16 June 2018

Maintenance Update (fire, leak, fountain, operational)

Saturday 9th
The busiest people on 2807 today seemed to be the two Johns - Cruxon & Hancock [Loco Dept}.
There were just a couple of plugs left to be fitted, so the hose was hooked up to the blow-down valve and water fed into the boiler while Gil shinned up the ladder (with John T standing on its bottom rung) to fit them. One plug was failed and had to be replaced with a new one. Basically, it fitted too deeply into its hole.

The two Johns lit a fire, but (IMHO) there was not sufficient time to do a steam test. White waiting for some pressure on the gauge, the Johns repacked various glands (the ejector valve, regulator, and blower) and straightened the shut-off tap on the hydrostatic lubricator. It appears that it had suffered a blow - apparently a similar thing happened on Foremarke Hall.

Most of the day, John T and I played with rail chairs - cutting off bolts, grinding their bottoms flat, needle-gunning and finally slapping a bit of paint around.

Not a very exciting day, and by 4 pm there was no sign of any pressure on the ‘clock’, so the three of us poodled off home.

Sunday 10th
Bruce reported: “I arrived at about 9.45 to find that Mike S (dept) and Rob had put a fire in but then found that the paperwork was not complete. During the boiler inspection the stay test had not been done or the results had not been recorded, this put a question mark on the steam test.

It then got worse! There was about 20 psi on the clock and the plugs all seemed OK but there was a small amount of damp around one of the mudhole doors. Mike suggested we nip them up so Rob, wielding spanner, went round them all. Unfortunately, on tightening two of them (rear bottom and bottom right front) the seal blew and water poured out.

This put a stop to any test so the fire was raked down and the boiler topped up to compensate for the leaks. Yes, the injectors worked at 20 psi.”

Wednesday 13th
Mark Y had replaced the two mudhole doors’ seals and was in the process of carrying out the steam test this morning. Sadly, another mudhole door sprang a leak. A couple of washout plugs also appear to have a wisp of steam emanating from them. Steam test abandoned! But she did get up to 200 psi today with no other problems.

Bruce decided that it was judicious to assist MY by working on Dinmore Manor’s washout. Bruce dismantled the (water) gauge frame and cleaned its innards before reassembling it. Then he removed the mudhole doors and cleaned them ready for refitting.

With loco hot and fire in, it was not feasible to attempt any other maintenance. However, I spent a few moments examining the ashpan sprinkler pipe. The pipe has broken on the RHS, so we intend blanking it off. There’s an elbow at which this can be done. The LHS will still work.

Thereafter, the two Johns & I reverted to boot scrapers. The Flag & Whistle had sold six this week.

Bruce was dismayed to discover that the new clacks (that he fitted only a couple of weeks ago) are leaking! Having refurbished the old ones, they are going back on as soon as she’s cool enough! One effect not seen until Saturday was a fountain erupting from the top of the pep pipe cock once pressure had built up. This cock is a constant source of trouble and needs to be replaced with an improved design.

Friday 15th
I arranged with Bruce to spend a short time to drain the boiler and remove four of the mudhole doors yet again. However, Mike S had drained down, so Bruce removed the doors and cleaned them before I’d arrived! Mark refitted them circa 4.30. A warming fire was then lit (circa 11 pm, I understand).

Saturday 16th
Someone (probably Mike S) had lit a fire by the time we arrived. The tender was a tad low on coal but well full of coal dust! So, we spent the first hour shovelling it out into the JCB bucket!

Thereafter, we were largely tending the fire and gently bringing pressure up. Mark Y had managed to find some instructions regarding the fitting of the mudhole door seals. This is the first time we’d seen any guidance from the manufacturer. It looks as though we were not entirely doing things correctly. Firstly, don’t warm the gaskets before fitting because this may start the rubber to cure too soon. Then, don’t tighten the newly fitted doors more than half-a-turn. The guidance then says that some leakage is “not uncommon” during the initial steam raising stage - don’t panic! When everything has cooled down, apply a specific force using a torque wrench.

By mid-afternoon, things were going swimmingly …

The first safety valve lifted at 215 psi; the second at 219 psi. Vacuum was just a tad high. We carried out various scheduled tests: both injectors work fine; gauge frame operates correctly; nothing leaking in the smokebox; whistles both work; and so on. A couple of hissing doors, but according to the guidelines … don’t panic! Mark signed her off as operational. Yippee!!!


Thursday 7 June 2018

Maintenance Update (doors, plugs, pump, gopher)

Saturday 2nd
As forewarned - it was washout day! David and Gilbert spent the morning (and some time after lunch) getting out a selection of washout plugs (as arrows: yellow = in; green = out).

Mud hole door, old seal, bridge & nuts; plus its hole in the background

Draining the boiler through the blow-down valve

David is assisting Gil washing out through the smokebox plug holes, with me holding up the hose for them

John T didn’t manage to get into a picture.  John managed to start cleaning up some plugs before lunch, but thereafter he was in charge of the water pump all afternoon.

Thanks also go to JC and Stuart C [Loco dept] for their assistance - both shunting, and playing with the hose & water tap.

Wednesday 6th
Now we have to put it all back together again! Mark had a good look round - inside & out!

Would you believe that there was still an ancient stay inside the boiler? There was also a blockage in the left side that had to be washed out again. A couple of stay nuts in the firebox will need replacing soon. The ones closes to the firebed burn away, and must be replaced before the stay’s thread gets damaged.

Also, the side double fire bar in which a break had previously been temporarily welded pending delivery of a new one had broken again. New front side bars were fitted.

Yellowness is fresh surface rust!

Bruce mainly concentrated on fitting mud-hole doors.

Gil began refitting washout plugs.

John G acted as general support engineer (aka gopher) and - here is seen cleaning the threads on a washout plug. In spare moments he managed to paint four black bottoms, too.

I began by refitting the (water) gauge frame assembly. Then I snook off to wire-brush three chairs that had been needle-gunned and then abandoned.

P-Way made three deliveries of further rail chairs (predominantly GWR ones) during the day. Most are “through-bolted”, which means that they still have their rusted bolts in situ. Much cutting-off thereof lies ahead!

Later, I assisted Gil by tightening the plus in the cab. Bruce called it a day at 5 pm. I abandoned Gil at 5.30. He was quite keen to get all but the highest of plugs back in their holes to enable the boiler to be  filled ASAP. Mark had hoped to do a steam test on Saturday, but unless someone can finish off the plugs and fill the boiler, there won’t be time to light a warming fire on Friday.

Off-line, I have been having an email exchange with Alan G. who bought a Midland railway boot scraper. We have a few MR rail chairs dating between 1885 and 1901 (plus some 1921 of less excitement). Most have no manufacturer’s name. However, the 1901 has “TBS” which is Taylor Brothers (Sandiacre) Ltd; and the 1899 says “ES&Co”. This latter has me perplexed. There was a company of iron founders called Edward Sheldon & Co during the 19th century, based at Coseley (north of Dudley) who did use the ES&Co logo. However, they appear to have focussed upon domestic ware, in due course being manufacturers of Cannon cookers, for example. Curious!