Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of locos moving and being moved

2nd February 2014

So, there we were on Monday having a quick meeting with the contractor and reviewing progress to date. We are all agreed that the floor design wants modifying, and that none of us can work out exactly how we are supposed (in reality) to get the DPM to go the way the drawings show it, so I have gone back to the Structural Engineers with fresh drawings and asked them to come up with an alternative scheme. Meanwhile I was sorting out the personnel doors, and the concrete panels that will form the inside walls of the building up to head height. We had agreed with the contractor that work would commence on the steelwork on the 17th February, and I planned deliveries accordingly.

On Wednesday I was up at Rowsley with the Engineer to inspect the Mattersons. Sadly he would not pass them, although not having seen a set like this in his career before, and putting his DTI gauge in the wrong place didn't aid things. We are talking with Mattersons for more information and we can hopefully resolve the impasse with undue time or expense wasted.

Thursday it was in to Rowsley again, for as hinted, the Drewry was heading off for a few months holiday. It was not really a good day though, The loco drove happily around to the loading area, but while Rob was taking out the buffer stops with the rail crane, the Drewry's engine died and refused to restart. It took a while to realise that, although the tank registered just under ¼ full, it was in reality empty and had drawn some muck through to boot. Having sorted it out and added a few gallons, the lorry was late away and got snarled in traffic near Braintree, so arrived at the East Anglian Railway Museum at about 6pm.

IMG 2480 blog

Unloading in the dark is never good practice, and rushing doubly so. I will draw a veil over what happened but suffice it to say that the loco was finally on tracks at Chappel a touch later than planned. I spent Friday morning going through driving and daily checks, etc before making my way home. When I got back and logged on to my e-mails, I found one from the contractor asking to re-schedule to the w/c 10th(!).

Andrew meanwhile, had spent Friday night and Saturday morning overseeing a 458 move up to Doncaster, so arrived back at 07.30 Saturday morning and promptly went to bed. I spent the morning issuing revised instructions to suppliers of concrete panels and personnel doors (amongst other things) and after he finally surfaced at about 1 o'clock, we headed in to Rowsley. The weather though was not conducive to doing anything outside, and eventually we started moving the first 5 painted stools out of the shed and on to a wagon so as to make space for the second batch of 5 to get a coat of Hammerite paint. That doesn't sound like much for an afternoon's work, but after you've had factored in interruptions, a meeting with Rob to go over when and how best it would be in his view to get the steelwork down to Darley, it did seem to take up the whole of the time. Incidentally, the good news is that the repair of the railway's JCB has been undertaken, and only a couple more jobs are required before it is passed again for service.

Andrew wanted an early start on Sunday, but slept through his 7.00 alarm and eventually I woke him with a cup of tea about 10.00. I know, I'm all heart. We packed a few things into the van and headed off to Scunthorpe.

While I squeezed underneath with the necessary tools and a further washer (further shim in the transmission, do keep up), Andrew resumed installing the drivers brake valve in the desk. The pipework is particularly awkward and it took some time, and curses, to get it to fit, after which he and Toby went to take a look at the right hand side knuckle pin on the Sentinel “Tom”. The left hand side, you will recall, tended to back itself out and investigation showed the “feather” - short piece of steel that should prevent the pin from rotating, was missing. When they took out the right hand side, most of the feather was still there, but it was sheared off and ineffective. Andrew started to drill out the remaining part, then made a new one and refitted the knuckle pin.

Having added another shim and reassembled the valve block, I escaped from the underside of D2128 and moved back around to the front. I had brought with me 4 pieces of thinnish steel formed into unequal angles, with which to produce a duct around the front of the coolers in order to prevent air inside the casings re-circulating. On a “normal” 03, the grille I gather is fixed – on '128 as part of the Deutz conversion, the grille was made hinged and the bolt holes that originally held it made into fixing points for the cooling air duct, most of which we removed years ago. I loosely fitted the new top piece (it becoming impossible to reach around and tighten up nuts once the duct piece was in place) and when Andrew had completed the knuckle pin, he squeezed inside and aided me by fixing and tightening nuts on the two strips that go at the sides, just leaving me the bottom piece to make up next time, though they must come back out to be painted before final fixing.

By now it was 4pm and we were keen to see that the replacement brake valve behaved and how the extra shim affected the transmission. So D2128 was fired up and I attempted to propel “Arnie”, Tom and Janus No.1 out the way – a dead load of about 130tons but D2128 was unable to push it all the way up the slope and curve to the end of the headshunt as it lost adhesion. (Of course, like a car in snow, it made a superior effort in second gear rather than first, but we reflected later that Beverley had struggled with a similar load, and Bev was 8 or 10 tons heavier.) So Arnie was started and double-heading the locos were moved out the way, giving us a clear run across the yard and into the sidings at the back of the shed.

From a performance point of view everything was reasonably satisfactory. The base pressure is now up to 85psi, rising promptly to 240 as a gear is engaged. Engagement is still not as quick as I would like (maybe ½ a second or more) and first tends to come in with a helluva clunk. This is probably a function of the mass of gears in the powershift as unlike our other Twin Disc locos, this converter is not disengaged at any time, so the powershift input stages are constantly turning. That has set me thinking and we may do a bit of an experiment in due course. Of course the straight air now operates like it should and the loco is going up and down reliably, but we have yet to sort out the compressor unloader and must address things like working lights as well as the vac exhauster drive and remaining pipework, but we can at least declare the transmission saga as closed. And that also means that we might get brave and take it for a test run around the works sometime soon.

So this week I have a stack of jobs to do, from pursuing my missing security fencing (ordered nearly 4 weeks ago to block off our working area at Darley and still not received) and getting quotes from suppliers for the roof and side cladding. This time next week I should have the last of the “before” photos of Darley and be looking forward to doing another set of inductions to a new group of fresh-faced contractors ready to bolt purlin to stanchion. Maybe I shouldn't risk saying that, it could still all go back to the 17th...

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