Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of flaws and floors

23rd June 2013

We were back in to Rowsley on Monday night. While I did some measurings for a new cross-shaft on the Drewry, Andrew and Rob made some highly satisfactory bangs and crashes as the Whiting jacks, having been offered for sale through Andrew's website with no interest, were loaded gently into a brand new, bright red scrap skip to go to Mr Booth's emporium. The main issue of the mid week has been the turbo off 14 901, but I am pleased to say that this has been quickly and satisfactorily resolved and we should see it back (and restored to health) in a few days.

Andrew managed to trap a nerve in his back around Thursday, so we were not planning anything too strenuous for the weekend. On Saturday we headed over to Scunthorpe with the intention of getting a run out of Beverley. We had picked up two nicely-machined wooden packing pieces that Ben had produced, and I drilled these out to suit the bolts while Andrew topped the exhauster up with oil. Then he painted the wooden bits after which the batteries we'd brought with us were hunked in to be connected up. This was where things started to go wrong. Not having a fresh pair of batteries for Bev (the ones that were on it are now on James) he'd picked up a pair of batteries from our garage that had been stood a long time and although they had taken a charge some months ago, he neglected to check them first. This was, in hindsight, a serious flaw, and if that wasn't enough, when I'd suggested we brought a spare link cable, he'd insisted we'd borrow the one on the 03. So when we put the batteries in the 03's cable wouldn't reach, and once that had been resolved, we found one of the two was distinctly flat.

While we waited to see if they would develop anything in the way of a suitable charge between them, I refitted the voltage regulator with one of my new ones, and Andrew got the painted blocks in place to make the vac pipe appear contemporary. We also charged the loco's air off the shop supply and set up the two regulators that feed the AV2 and the control valve.

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We'd also brought with us the header tank for 14 901, and while we had time we set the welder up and re-welded it where it had cracked. By now it was obvious that the batteries were not man-enough (hmm, is one still allowed to say that? Does it not fall foul of gender equality legislation or political correctness?) to start anything much bigger than a digital watch, so we packed it all away and moved to the 03.

As soon as Beverley is "complete" we are due to tackle the transmission issue on D2128 and I wanted to ensure that the gearchange lever worked the gear selecting limit switches correctly. Andrew had resisted putting the cam into place on the shaft, but as he hadn't anything more pressing he grudgingly agreed to do it. I had drawn the cam profile up so that in neutral one part was horizontal, and I had a little spirit level - once a novelty keyring - which fitted perfectly on the appropriate bit of the cam. After some minor work with a file we were trialling it in place and I had hopped down to set up the welder when Andrew managed to launch said spirit level - somewhere. We spent half-an hour trying to find it and in the end I had to dig out another spirit level to set it up again. In the end we got it done, and though one switch will need a little bit of a re-position, the switches for 1st and 2nd appear to do the job nicely. If, or rather when, we get D2128 to move reliably under its own power, I would like to be sure of stopping it and as it has only one brake cylinder, with a seal/bore of unknown condition, a parking brake would be a comfort to have. Besides, when we did Scrapheap Challenge all those years ago we had a brake failure then and I don't want to make a habit of it. So we moved on to the Mark 2 relay arrangement for the disc brake calliper and secured that to the side frame. We may have to re-work it a bit - it's rather stiff at the mo - but it's not far off finished.

Sunday morning here in Derbyshire started with continuous but light rain, and I was a little reluctant to head down to Rowsley but by lunchtime we were there. A party from the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway were on a sort of fact-finding visit, and we ended up in conversation with one of their C&W volunteers on the subject of sheds and their costs.

In about a month's time, as we have said before, the Drewry is due to take part in the "Warring 40s" annual event. We promised ourselves last year that we would renew the cab floor in time for this year as it was showing signs of acting like a trap door for its crew. In addition, we want the vac brake working off its own linkage (hence the measuring last Monday) and to reposition the battery master switch from the battery box to the cab bulkhead, as part of providing new starter cables. So, as I say, with barely a month to go, we rip the old floor out and then pull the old starter cables back. In the opposite way to painting yourself into a corner, as we progressively removed the floor boards we found ourselves with less and less room to stand and near the end were standing in the battery box or on a knobbly RF11. Threading the new cables up the old conduit does not really appeal, so the section from battery box to the cab bulkhead has been cut out and we will replace with more accessible rectangular trunking. Even Andrew began to wonder whether we were biting off more than we can chew by taking this on so near the event, while still needing to get '901 back into operation and crew trained, and he is normally the overly-optimistic one!

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Talking again of '901, Terry turned up, having brought his new Merc Estate out for a spin, and dropped off his endoscope for us to peer into the charge-air coolers. We had already extracted what looks to me to have been some sort of wire-reinforced rubber from one cooler, but the other is less accessible and the endoscope revealed more of the same at that side, so the duct will have to come off for cleaning. At the same time, we opened up the fuel header tank and cleaned this out before re-bolting it back on the engine.

By now the day was drawing to a close and we rounded it off by giving James a few minutes of running to stir the oils and exercise the batteries. On Tuesday, the first real event in the shed-building takes place as our Structural Engineer oversees one or two test holes to ascertain the ground conditions and thus the concrete foundations we require at Darley, and sometime in the week the last bits of rolling stock leave the yard there to clear the way. The quicker things get under way there, the better.

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