Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of remote control

13th January 2013

Firstly, my thanks to all readers who have sent messages of congratulations to me or Andrew after reading the news in last week's blog. I am pleased to report that the next generation of the Briddon clan is putting on weight and doing all the things that babies of that age are supposed to do.

With Andrew out of the way he is nonetheless exercising control as much as the Vodafone signal in darkest Norfolk and the increasing unreliability of his ageing HTC will allow. Firstly it occurred to him that sat in the Palvan at Scunthorpe he had a collection of wiper arms and blades from the Jarvis auction that ought to be for 6mm shafts, though probably the wrong lengths. As there were additional dimensions to get from Beverley in connection with the vacuum brake fit, I dutifully headed over to Scunthorpe on Wednesday, stopping off at our pneumatics suppliers in Sheffield to collect the new horn valve but - again - the man had forgotten to order it but promised it would be in at 09.30 on Thursday. Anyway, at Scunthorpe the dimensions were duly measured, wiper arms and blades and a few other useful bits collected from the Palvan (which Andrew has decided to put up for sale so will need to be emptied soon). I also pointed the camera up at the underside of the 03's controls to obtain a photo or two of that end of the throttle linkage, as a conversation with one of the cable control manufacturers had resulted in the request for a photo "to see what they could offer". With all this duly sorted I returned to Derbyshire.

As it happened I had to come back into Sheffield on Thursday to drop off some paperwork at the accountants, so returned to the pneumatics suppliers only to find that said valve was not only not in Sheffield, it had, for some reason, not even left the manufacturer's premises. I was promised that it would arrive on Friday and be specially delivered through the letterbox at Briddon Towers for Steph to bring over on Friday night.

So on Saturday, I headed down to Rowsley armed with wiper blades, valve, pipes and fittings for "Tom". The front two wiper arms were straightforward - they are too short but the sweep of the motor is barely half what it should be on the front and from his remote lair Andrew declared that we will, sometime, replace the motors with "modern" ones with the right sweep. The cab doors are however a different matter, as the Trico arms are quite high where the blade fixes to the end of the arm, and it strikes the cab back as the door slides open, so I left those for later consideration.

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Andrew had told me that there was no way I could remove a horn valve from the loco without disabling it, and needless to say I took this as an affront to my many long years of bodging such things before he came on the scene. So I removed the horn valve at one side, and finding that the air connection before a small gauze filter assembly was indeed 1/4BSP, capped it off. The new valve which arrived on Friday is somewhat chunkier than its predecessor, and ever seeking a quiet life I stripped the old one to see if there was any chance of a repair, and I dare say if I put my mind to it I could come up with a replacement arrangement, but the fact that there were only 3 screws out of 4 holding it together says that someone has been there before me, and the brass-backed perished rubber discy thing that is the cause of the problem is clearly not an off-the-shelf item. So a new valve is the way to go and as the bracketry of the old cleverly integrates a cast operating handle so I took all the bits out to take them home for a bit of CAD work.

As it was still light I decided I would attempt to renew the leaking hose under the desk, and as this was a main air feed to some of the control valves failing to do so would disable the loco. Sentinel were fond of Enots fittings with copper pipe - when I was at Hills we preferred Wade and under YEC I switched to two-part fittings with plastic pipe which don't mean wasting an olive every time you re-make something. The trouble is, when faced with a loco kitted throughout with Enots, which used their own thread pitches (Wade was preferred by Hills cause it least it used BSP) presents a problem getting in or out of any other fittings so I keep a few Enots stud couplings in stock and with a bit of jiggery-pokery I got the feed line roughly replaced as the light began to diminish. So I fired Tom up and as the steamer had come back to shed allowed myself a few shuffles up and down to stir the oils and greases and check that everything still worked. Well that was my excuse anyway.

Fairly early on Sunday I headed off to Scunthorpe again. A prospective buyer for the Palvan wanted to inspect and I had a few more bits to check on Beverley. In addition, whether we go for a cable throttle or my hydraulic version on D2128, we need a bracket to anchor whichever to, and the original electric actuator bracket (if I'd had my way I'd have left it on) was suitable for the purpose, though mounted slightly farther away. But the holes on the mounting points on the block are not quite equally spaced so it will require some minor attention. It was while I was pondering about various bits still to do that it occurred to me that the 03 has two wiper arms on the cab back which would suit Tom's cab doors better, and conversely the Trico arms would suit the 03.

An inspection revealed a slight coolant leak around the bottom radiator flange connection, so I nipped up the clamp screws but other than that, I decided to wind up early in case the snow appeared before the forecasters said. Andrew is back to work this week - and to college as he starts a day release to gain his MSc - so next week, if the snow is not too thick, will be back to "normal".

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