Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of fighting on four fronts

1st July 2012

The last week of the month I suppose lived up to precedent. At the beginning, I had one of those "I'm sorry to have to tell you" calls. It appears that when we were told last week that the spare powershift transmission for D2128 had been tested OK, it had in fact been pulled off prematurely as a more urgent job had arrived. When it was put back on and tested properly not only did the converter seals leak but it made "unhappy" noises which may be a bearing down in the powershift. We knew it was much stiffer to turn the output flange so this was not really a surprise, but nevertheless unwelcome.

To cap it all, when I phoned the contractor whom we used to collect the casing tops, he told me he had broken his foot and really wasn't interested in work at the moment. We had earmarked next Friday to change the transmission but that will have to be later.

Then on Friday I rang the profiler - Andrew was anxious that I collect the profiles so that on Sunday he could weld up a new engine mount for "Tom" - but the laser cutter had been out of action during the week and there was a 2-3 day backlog, so they won't be ready until Wednesday. But these things are sent to try us.

Anyway, we set off on Saturday as planned for Scunthorpe, being jocularly welcomed as the afternoon shift. As agreed, Andrew and I split our resources, he heading to "Beverley" and me to D2128. He had the task of clearing the top of the Cummins engine, opening the rocker boxes and accessing the cylinder head bolts with a torque wrench as long as a broom handle to see if any of the bolts have relaxed since the engine has been running a bit. With the old copper/asbestos gaskets, they tend too, but these were soft steel joints and the torques had stayed up, which, although it did not avoid having to drain coolant and move the old transmission cooler, did save him from having to remove the coolant manifold which obstructed other bolt heads. The only thing left that can be causing the erratic operation of Bev's engine has to be the injectors, so these came out for attention.

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I meanwhile, was banished back to the dungeon to continue draining and disconnecting the powershift. With extra hoses and funnels I continued to recover - oh 95% of the hydraulic oil, it's just that the other 5% sometimes splashes down, or at other times dribbles down your arm or waits until you think it's all out and then drips straight on top of your head or shoulders. While I waited for the latter I continued removing the propshaft bolts so that that is completely clear of the powershift.

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Part way through we broke off as a two coach train of tourers arrived at the loco shed and limited numbers were allowed to tour. I spoke to one gentleman who was convinced that Beverley was a Sentinel (I mean have you ever seen an inside frame Sentinel?) presumably because in the industrial loco market Sentinel were what you might call "brand leader" for a number of years, and another who had just retired from 48 years driving locos at Stanton Ironworks, and even, like me, could remember the narrow gauge system at the Spun Pipe Plant.

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Had we been "on" for a change next Friday I would have pushed on to try and get everything ready - as it is, the electrics are pulled clear and the air induction system partly dismantled, but the fuel tank and casing tops are still untouched and we will have to get on with this next weekend.

Sunday - and reasonably early we headed over to Rowsley. With two extension cables and the battery charger I set about determining the condition of the two batteries in "Tom"'s cab. Unfortunately their long period of idleness at Telford has done them no good and the weaker of the two is so internally sulphated that the charger could push little more than 7 amps through and though the voltage came up after an hour or so it had dropped back. With the aid of a wadge of old Thomas Hill drawings I continued where I had left off with "Tom", wiring the new instruments up in the desk and reconnecting all the wires in the relay box. Sadly the weather kept alternating between sunshine and rain, so any ideas of continuing the wiring at the engine end were postponed.

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Brave souls from he P/way department were out sleeper changing on the ash pit road, for if main line track renewals are essentially an out-of-season activity, repairing sidings and such are best left for the summer months. Andrew meanwhile had retired to the loco shed where after further cleaning up of the inside cab on "Libby" he continued with the painting of the cab outsides. Later on he came out and in the pleasant late afternoon sunshine, fitted Tom's stop solenoid and pondered its linkage.

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I had picked up some more 3/8 hose with a view to installing new hoses on Tom and Libby but time ran on and there was no time to start, for we had to clean up and go visit our imminent new abode, for the family will soon be vacating Briddon Towers in Sheffield for the more tranquil, superior Briddon Country Pile.

So progress, in some way or another, on four locos over the weekend, though we can argue whether what we achieve together is in total greater than two working alone. Next weekend, almost certainly, our efforts will be pooled, but as to what, we'll have to wait and see.

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