Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of coffee tables and sun rooves

29th September 2013

Whilst it is always nice to get compliments like I did after last week's blog, I fear this week's may be rather more lightweight.

Despite the nights beginning to draw in, the convenience of living only a short way away from Rowsley has meant that Andrew and I can pop in for an hour or so when he gets back from work. So on Monday evening we were installing the compressor base for “Cheedale” onto the coffee table (if this means absolutely nothing, you'll have to go back a week or three and read it up). An enquiry for the necessary spares for the compressor has been raised and after trying a rope around the pulleys for Cheedale's exhauster, an order was put on my supplier for the anticipated belts.

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On Thursday I was back at Rowsley with the last scheduled training day (for the present) on 14 901, and if Peak Rail ever decide to run the line with a single push-pull carriage and the '14, I now have a core of highly-competent crew as we pushed that BG from one end of Rowsley yard to the other, up and down more times, as a certain M Harding used to say, than a bride's nightie. We did however, have one unexpected shutdown of the DV8 early in the day (and as I was setting the light-switches at the time, I didn't see why) but later, had the strange experience of seeing the oil pressure warning light show amber. Now, for the last 8 years or so it has been my frequent practice to wire the oil pressure switch to a 3 colour LED. Thus the normally-closed contact of the switch causes the LED to show Red, and the normally-open contact, when the pressure causes it to toggle, results in a Green. If however, both sets of contacts are on together, the Red+Green results in a yellowish-amber. Sadly while the switches I use are good value for money, this is one of their eventual modes of failure – clearly it is nearing the end of its life. When I restarted the engine, however, it worked normally, so there is time yet to get it sorted. Another casualty is the fuel gauge, which, when we returned to the loco from lunch, had dropped back to its minimum setting. Either it has jammed, or the float has become detached or fuel-logged. At the moment the level is just below the bottom of the gauge so maybe I had better take my courage and a spanner and find out.

Andrew was away this weekend but I was in at Rowsley for a while on Saturday, primarily to deal with the guy who has bought the DMU-specific valves and reservoir from “Ashdown” I had some bits to unload from the van though, and spent some time pondering the new exhauster mounting for “Ashdown” which has yet to be committed to CAD. I was also looking at the throttle cylinder mounting on 14 901 (we are planning a new arrangement with the cylinder to be outside the Vee) and looking for the source of that infuriating rattle which occurs at about 1000rpm ever since we had the turbo reworked. My suspicion is that it is the stack pipe vibrating against the box on the cab front through which it passes.

On Sunday I headed over to Scunthorpe. I had a list of 8 jobs to progress on the 03, D2128, and as usual managed to get through some, but not all. (Andrew and I work on a principle we call “ The 50% Rule”. Write down a list of all the things you would like to accomplish in the day: it concentrates the mind and helps ensure you take everything you need with you. If at the end though, you have achieved 50% or more, then don't beat yourself up for the 49% you didn't do, but pat yourself on the back for the 51% you did.)

Finding Toby, Stephen and Ashley hard at work on the Bagnall 0-6-0DM, I opened up the 03 and refitted the throttle cable bracket and linkage (which hopefully will work properly now) then changed the relay lever in the handbrake linkage for a slightly bigger one, before having a tweak with 1st gear limit switch to get it to work as my CAD drawing said it would. Well it almost does, but I think I shall add a desk legend which shows slightly different places for first whether you are changing “up” or down”.

But the main task of the day was finally to remove the sun-roof. 03 locos have a large removable hatch that takes up almost a quarter of the cab roof. Within it there is a further sliding section that is to act as a ventilator for the driver, whereas the main lump only comes off should access be needed for a crane hook to reach the change-speed box under the floor. On D2128, the main panel is decidedly past its best, whereas the smaller panel and its associated ironmongery are seized solid with rust. Months ago we decided to renew it with a plain piece of steel but although a piece, rolled and cut approximately to shape, has rested against the shed wall, other things have taken precedence. Today, with a little muscle from the other 3, the old sun roof was lifted down. I couldn't resist a rather unusual view down onto the cab desk, though we must tidy-up soon.

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(Back about 5 years ago, a similar arrangement in 14 901, then based at Elsecar, was prepared for lifting with a crane. The hatch showed daylight in various places and the retaining clamps were corroded, in some cases right through. Having gone through the rigmerole of positioning the loco, setting the crane up, and securing the roof section with chains to lifting eyes, we lifted and - discovered that the hatch was made out of glass fibre!)

I cleaned off the exposed flange and applied some spray primer, then when it had dried we lifted up its replacement. Oh dear. It looked rather like some of the worst examples of the models from those earlier Thomas the Tank programmes before they went CGI. Our dimensions must have been a bit awry and the radius thus, more than a little off, or maybe it has warped a bit, resting patiently by the wall. Never mind, I clamped it down in the middle front and back and started drilling and bolting, using the original holes and working outwards from the centre. It will look fine when we've finished.

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Andrew has the day off tomorrow, and it seems we will be spending it in the quiet seclusion of Rowsley. I wonder what is on his jobs list?

Oh, and if you are wondering why there has been no news published on Andrew's site for the last few weeks, it is because the final touches are being put to the upgraded site (in fact, at the moment, “ABL” as we call it exists in two forms, but you can only see the old one) and before much longer will be switched over. Since all the news pieces exist on the new site, I am refraining from posting until the new version goes live.

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