Weekend Rails

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Of dreams and awakenings

8th July 2012

On Saturday morning I was woken from my slumbers by the mobile - actually I often am but this was the ring tone rather than the alarm - being a call from my transmission gurus. The boss himself had stripped our powershift on Friday - the converter seals had failed probably because of the presence of rust and debris (and having been stood unused for over a decade probably hadn't helped) plus at least two bearings were knocking in the powershift and were probably close to failing. Taking labour, bearings, seals etc into account the total cost would be £3000. It is the sort of shock that brings you summarily into the land of the living and I told them as calmly as possible to proceed - after all, it has to be done, and ultimately it's Andrew's money(!).

Thus disturbed we set off for Scunthorpe. Like last week, Andrew disappeared in the direction of "Beverley" - but this time to clean up and prime various pieces from wheels and side rod to casing top sections. I was back on the 03, gradually releasing casing tops, air connections and fuel tank filler glands so that, aside from a couple of bolts still in place to prevent any bit moving prematurely, the loco is all ready for its powershift change. Like last week too, there was a steam-hauled tour in action, with visitors later wandering around the shed yard, but unlike last week no-one asked to look round inside and in fact we were not engaged in any conversation. Beverley's injectors will not be returned for a week or so, so we took her batteries back with us with the intention of dropping them back on the Drewry WD 0-4-0DM 72229.

Just before I came too on Sunday morning I had a surprisingly lucid dream, which as this is a blog and not a straightforward report I shall share with you and leave you individually to determine my state of mind. Towards the end of one of those dreams where you are constantly travelling somewhere, I was driving down a cart tack which ended unexpectedly at a post and wire fence, on the other side of which was a railway line in a shallow cutting. I get out and ponder how to pass this obstacle, and while so cogitating, I see coming up the grade to my right a Land Rover. It is straddling the tracks and the ballast shoulder (in the cold light of day I deduce that this means the wheels must be about 12ft apart, but in the dream it was all perfectly in proportion) and proceeds past me without slacking its pace. I consider its presence to be irresponsible - what would happen if a train came along? - but no more than this when I realise, following it up the hill is not one to but two saloon cars, which is unfortunate as by now coming downhill from my left is a minibus, and they all meet, bumper to bumper in front of me. It is at this moment I hear the sound of a steam loco whistle from which I deduce a train is approaching. My reaction in this dream is to back away, get my phone out of my pocket and prepare to photograph the forthcomning carnage and tell myself that the car drivers deserve it for driving along the tracks. But when the train arrives it is hauled by an 08 bearing the number 11858 and stops short.

This may of course simply mean that I am in need of a long holiday, but if so, Sunday wasn't it. Back over to Rowsley, and first order of the day is to assemble the new left hand side engine mount for "Tom", the profiles for which I collected on Friday. I actually brought enough for two, but for the moment Andrew only wishes to get the one changed that needs to bear the weight of the transmission cooler. Regular readers will recall (if not, refer back to 27th May) that I had boo-boo'ed when I did Tom's mounts in forgetting to add back the extra piece from a design I'd done for RMS, and the additional bodged bracket I'd made up to adapt it wasn't proving satisfactory.

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So we spent some time welding this replacement together and then had lunch while it cooled. Andrew then moved on to "Libby" and after setting up an air line, proceeded to needle gun then grind the last vestiges of the corner cupboard that has delayed progress on this corner of the cab.

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I meanwhile used the van as a temporary workbench and set about repairing the end cover of the Drewry's dynamo Basically the 3 screws had fallen out, allowing the cover to swing free and expose the back bearing. To cut a long story short, having spent ages finding some suitable OBA screws, it became obvious that the originals had parted company because there was next to no thread remaining in the soft alloy, so I gingerly tapped it out to M6, opened out the holes in the cover and after re-greasing the bearing and shortening some countersunk screws, reassembled it and put it back on the loco. Andrew, having run out of things to apply red-oxide to, wheelbarrowed the batteries over and we reconnected them, checked the loco over and fired it up. It started immediately and although there are a few things that we must do before the end of the month, like patch the hole in the cab floor pending a full replacement, it gave us the assurance that the loco will be ready to "do its bit for the War Effort" in the forthcoming weekend event.

Hopefully, during the week Tom will be moved to a place more suitable for us to jack the power unit while we swap the mount, and we'll have more news on the 03's powershift, but as we'll only have one day together we'll have to see how best to make use of it.

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