Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of a trip to Sainsbury's

9th June 2013

In lieu of his lost weekend time, Andrew had arranged to take Monday off, which as it turned out was a good thing as sleep deprivation meant that he didn't even stagger out of bed till late morning and Plan A, to whit head over to Scunthorpe, was out of the question. Meanwhile I found an e-mail telling me that Peak Rail were ready to sign the formal agreement over the use of Darley Dale yard, so we re-arranged a short session at Rowsley followed by a trip to Matlock for a meeting.

The time at Rowsley was not specially productive, neither of us really had the enthusiasm to get involved with anything too important/dirty. In due course therefore, we headed down the A6 to Matlock, and had the unusual experience of seeing a large artic turning out of Station Road in Darley when either its drive axle or suspension failed - either way after a violent lurch and a 'bang' it came to a stop blocking the main road.

Having got the official signing out of the way we continued with a wide-ranging meeting - confirming the railway's plans for Warring 40s and the Drewry (which needs a new cab floor and a few other things before this year's event) and agreed a test run for 14 901.

The Peak Rail platform in Matlock's main line station has, since its re-opening, been equipped with running-in boards and lamps but no covered waiting area. This has now been remedied with a timber building that was due for delivery on Wednesday. If it arrived, first thing Thursday there would be a works train down to Matlock to deliver all the bits (there is no road access to the platform), 14 901 could haul that. Again, as a precaution we would take a Vanguard also (think April 14th), but this time Charlie would tag along for the ride.

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At 08.00 I reached Rowsley to find Rob had already started 14 901 and was champing for the off. With a quick shunt, Charlie was attached to the back of the train and its gearbox locked in neutral, and off we went.

Of course without signalmen on duty this is no record-breaking run. The first stop is Church Lane, where the gates were opened by hand and we then proceeded across and paused while they were closed behind. A similar performance has to be undertaken at Station Road at Darley, except with rather more consideration for the heavier traffic. Thereafter there is a clear run to the river bridge just before Peak Rail's Matlock station where there is a speed restriction. Up to now this was all "old hat" 14 901 had hauled both passenger and freight here in 2010, but as we took the former loop road the turnout on to Network Rail beckoned and we headed on to new metals down past Sainsbury's and into Matlock station proper.

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Off came all the pre-formed timber kit. I had a quick look over the loco - everything appeared OK and once we were all complete, '901 propelled the train back up to the Peak Rail signal box at Riverside. While we uplifted some surplus clutter that needed clearing out (the signal box installation is nearing completion) I glanced down and saw liquid dripping onto the ballast. A quick investigation showed it was a fuel leak, annoying but nothing worth deploying Charlie for, so we set off again back to Darley, where '901 placed one of the empty wagons in the siding ready to start site clearance in preparation for our shed. Charlie propelled the train back past the turnout so 901 could take the lead and haul the consist back to Rowsley.

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There '901 detached and went back to shed - the internals were too hot to contemplate investigating this leak, that will come later. For the moment, bar a couple of minor tweaks, the loco was working fine and the power unit temperature had stayed perfectly normal. Andrew and I will be content with that.

Andrew was away on Saturday so Steph and I headed to Briddon Towers and had a happy afternoon re-papering the hall. The overall plan is to get the old house looking half-presentable and get it on the market by the end of June. The EDL were marching in the city centre and we got the feeling that Sheffield was very quiet as we drove in and out.

Andrew reappeared this morning and we headed over to Scunthorpe. It was, fortunately, a pleasant day for outside work, as Andrew slivered under Beverley to make final connections of 2" pipes that completes the train line through the loco and connects it with the exhauster. I then made a start on connecting the pilot control valve round and through into the desk, where two regulators are to be sited, while Andrew moved on and carried out a fair amount of painting to exhauster "bulge" and doors. The front and back vac hoses and dummies are now on for good, and only completion of the control lines and some additional pipe clamps to the front buffer beams stand between us and a working vac fit.

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