Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of belts and bases

31st March 2013

I'm getting a bit confused this week. It wasn't just all this snow fall that has come down merely a week before Easter, but with our daughter and her fiance arriving Thursday night it has felt like the wrong day all weekend. Actually, on Wednesday, having to head that on business, I dropped in to Llanuwchllyn to pick up a 16mm model of mine that I haven't seen for a decade. The railway was getting ready to start the season, and 3 quarry tanks were in steam as the boiler inspector had been there earlier in the day for the annual physical.

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On Friday we headed in to Rowsley. Peak Rail wasn't running on Good Friday, but the Heritage Shunters Group were shunting heritagely and Charlie had pulled "Lord Phil" out of the shed and it was being spruced up, coaled, etc ready for Saturday. During the week I had acquired a couple of standard o-rings and although I was a little sceptical, Andrew proceeded to fit them in on the t/c temp switch on "Cheedale" and professed himself confident that they would seal. I meanwhile had been despatched to 14 901, checked it all over, primed the lube oil (which looked worryingly thin on the dipstick) and fired it up. It was good to hear the DV8 burst into life again, and though I wasn't about to move it around (Cheedale was parked in front) it was bringing back memories and confidence. The cab is a little grubby, to be sure, and we have a list of defects to attend to from an exhaust blow under the casings, through to a sticky throttle and adjustment required to the AV2, but hopefully it will all be sorted in a few weeks, when it is due to take over from the Class 31 on Peak Rail passenger trains. I ran the engine for a while - but oil pressure is low (thin oil?) and eventually shut it down in favour of getting back to Cheedale.

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By now Andrew not only had the t/c temp switch refitted but had installed the new pressure sender, which meant it was time for me to get it all wired. I was a little mystified as to why the top of the control desk obstructed the old temperature gauge, but there was nothing for it but to remove the desk handle knobs and lift off the top. It revealed that sometime not long ago a replacement straight air brake valve has been fitted, as it was the only clean un-rusty thing in there! It also showed that the linkage for the forward/reverse valve strikes the underside of the instrument panel. This seemed very un-Thomas-Hill-like and it eventually occurred me what has happened. The control desk itself is mounted to the frame of the loco, but the instrument panel is part of the cab assembly. As part of its work in noise-reduction (TH achieved 84dBA (max) in the cabs back in the 70s) the cab structure is flex-mounted. Early work with rubber a/v mounts showed up a tendency for the cabs to start swaying and causing crews to become sea-sick, so we swopped to a Neo-K-tex mount. We'll have to have the floor up to confirm, but I suspect that over 30 years the Neo-K-tex has collapsed, and the cab has sunk a good 20mm! For today we changed both the temperature gauges for electric ones, and the converter pressure gauge, and I resumed wiring them up.

By late afternoon we were ready to restart Cheedale and after a few minutes the converter refilled and the electronic gauge responded. One leak around the converter is still apparent, but until the loco has a steam-clean we can't tell where it is coming from, but it is much reduced and not from the converter seals. Satisfied with the day's progress, we headed home.

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Saturday, and we headed off to Scunthorpe with the hope of making progress both on D2128 and Beverley. First set-back was the discovery that the Peckett was up on the Mattesons with its wheels out, with the DMU trailer in front. We wanted to get under the hoist and over a pit, where the traler car stood, but the Peckett owner flatly refused to let us move it just in case we overshot when shunting it back later. He did however, allow us to move another loco which gave us access to another hoist, so we had to content ourselves with that.

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First Andrew had to drill the base with 4 holes for bolting the exhauster down, which took him some time on the radial arm, leaving me free to cable up and mount the plate which carries the 3 limit switches that will engage the appropriate valve on D2128. Unfortunately, the Mk2 cam has not yet arrived from the profilers, so whether I have it absolutely right yet I don't know, maybe next visit.

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I made a start on a connector box to group the forward and reverse direction detectors on the gearbox, but by now Andrew needed my assistance. The idea was to bolt the exhauster to its base, lift it in to position, mark the running plate, lift the assembly off, clean up said running plate ready for welding, put exhauster assembly back in place, tack down its mounting pads, unbolt base from pads and lift off again. With me so far? That leaves the two pads in place to be permanently welded followed by paint. Having done all that, and removed the exhauster from its base and the base painted, it was time to shunt Beverley away, collect a few more lumps from the soon-to-depart Palvan and head home.

Sunday, and we're off to Scunthorpe again once the van has been emptied. Beverley is shunted back under the hoist, but before we refit the exhauster Andrew lines up the belt tensioner and welds that in to place, a job that would have been far, far easier with a pit. Then on goes the base, followed by the exhauster. A couple of spare B series belts are tried - one far to short, the other too long, but confirm that alignment of pulleys and tensioner look good. Much further measurement takes place to determine what belt length we require so that I can compare it with my original drawing.

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Unfortunately, try as I might, there was no way I could fit the exhauster within the casing profile and rather than butcher the casing doors with some sort of power bulge, we agreed we would re-use the front casing doors spaced out whatever is required, which turns out to be a mere 75mm, over the filler neck. Actually, that has been damaged so we must manufacture something new, but hopefully, with some lengths of angle, the old casing doors and some hinge pins I modified while Andrew was busy (and came from one of the Hunslet BAOR locos of the 80s, so have a good pedigree) that will be speedily sorted.

With a bit more painting and a load more lumps unloaded out of the Palvan (looking quite empty now) we called it a day and returned to Derbyshire. Tomorrow we return to Rowsley with work to progress on Tom, 14 901 and Cheedale, but you'll have to wait for that to next week's instalment.

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