Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of half-over pits and fan bits

28th April 2013

After tripping the radiator tubes in to that nice Mr Booth's yard on Tuesday, I went in to my usual hydraulics supplier to see about getting the fan motor from 14 901 repaired, but he was up to his neck in work and suggested a firm I have not used before. So off I went across Sheffield and left it with them, hopefully we should see it back early in May. Later in the week I spent some on the phone and internet talking to structural engineers regarding their costs for determining our requirements for concrete at the new shed and providing the calculations that Building Control will require.

We have other meetings with prospective sub-contractors coming up. Peak Rail has also asked for a track plan of how we'd like the sidings at Darley realigned, so the original planning application drawings, which I had the foresight to acquire as CAD files, have come in handy again.

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Andrew was home all weekend so on Saturday we headed for Scunthorpe. That DMU car was still over the pit but newly-appointed diesel loco supremo Toby offered to shunt another road of the shed where we might squeeze in. After clearing half-a-ton of bagged sand, two pallets, two p-way trolleys and 3 pit guards, I thought we might, just, get Beverley over but when she arrived, propelled by the 02, it was obvious she would not. Indeed, as the pit had a set of brick stairs at the end, the area we most wanted to get to was barely any more accessible than over plain track, and being at the very far end of the shed away from the 3-phase outlet, was right at the farthest extremity of the welder cables. Nonetheless, we persevered and with Toby helping (he is a bit wirier than me or Andrew) managed to get the vital intermediate pipe secured . But by the time the two painted end sections of pipe had been added, and the power bulge forced into place and secured over the front right hand doors, there was little time left other than to shunt things back and head home.

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On Sunday we made a comparatively early start on the short leg to Rowsley. The first task was to carry out further installation work on the fan drive, especially having taken the plunge and ordered up new unloader and pressure relief valves which had arrived during the week. Much of the revised system will be flex piped, so several sections of steel tube and Ermeto were discarded, a BSP bulkhead fitting put through in its place and then we had a conference to agree where to put the new valves. They needed a new bracket to carry them so we adjourned to the VBA van to see what material we had suitable and my eyes alighted on a piece of genuine Hunslet Engine Co bracketry (a piece of heavy unequal angle with some holes in) attached to a genuine piece of Hunslet Engine Co casing structure. Getting said bracket off took a surprising time (and earned me some dis-approbation) but eventually I toddled off to the workshop and modified said bracket to support one of the valves.

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With the valves and bracket in position we measured up the new hoses required, and as 3/4" is greater than my swaging machine can handle these must be got right as they will be made commercially. Under the new arrangement operation of the unloader valve will be under the control of the PLC back in the box - a temp switch will be inserted into the top rail but timers will be written in to the program to trip the fan on a "whichever occurs first" basis.

Andrew had decided to remove the remaining casing pieces on Cheedale and I still had a mouthful of Mars bar as I was dragged over to assist in undoing the last bolts that held them. They were to come off as we move to return the handrails (and air cleaner) to the "as-built" condition. Also to be removed were the remains of the Hydrovane engine's exhaust system and the Hydrovane delivery pipework, alone yielding several serviceable pipe fittings, a 1" ball valve and a D&M 3/4" check valve. The pads for the new handrail stanchions, and the tube that will form them, await welding.

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With that done he disappeared off to the flat wagon to start separating the genset from the engine (whose radiators we had dismembered last week) after first giving me a few minutes on "Tom" where the fan drive has started to go back together. Unfortunately having forgotten to pick up any small-bore plastic pipe, I could not install the grease feed connection to the new bearings, so contented myself with re-instating the lower half of the fan cowl and the belts. The upper half must await the grease line.

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So for a last weekend of the month it all seemed to go together quite well. Progress on 4 locos and preparation on the power unit for a 5th and no major disasters. Well, not quite true - the genset engine turned so far but then seemed to stop and not come back, but that may not be anything serious.

Now, as you know I watch the progress and data regarding this site avidly. Since it went on line in its own right last June, it has climbed in numbers slowly but steadily. This month, the hit count has jumped over 30% and whilst I do like to think that my words are reaching out to entertain an ever greater audience, I sometimes have a few doubts. It is not that I don't think there are any railway enthusiasts in Russia, indeed, I have corresponded with one through another forum, but Russia features highly in the recognised country of origins table, just ahead of Israel, and way ahead of such other states such as China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Romania and Hungary where internet activity may be, shall we say. not always entirely academic. Definitely attempts have been made to access the control side of the website and it may be time to change the password to some random string of characters. They named a Simplex at Cadeby with a random string of characters once, indeed, I seem to recall they had "proper" plates cast to give it an air of authenticity. And it wasn't even April.

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