Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of banners and beams

23rd February 2014

Work resumed at Darley Dale on Monday with the gable ends, side purlins and various concrete panels still to complete. A framework for the personnel door at the side was duly incorporated, but a framework for the other door, which goes at the far end between the planned roller shutters, is not yet ready leaving that end of the building strangely skeletal.

But we had some hiccoughs. One of the concrete panels turned out to have been manufactured too long, and more importantly two turned out too short – my mistake this time. But the suppliers, Concrete Panel Ltd near Ashbourne, were exceptionally kind and will swap me my two short ones for two specially cast longer ones when I organise the transport. But more seriously, when the contractors came to mount the crane rails (I say the rails, but in reality this is what n.g. enthusiasts know as bridge rail but is bolted to massive I-beams) the beams were incorrect to the building and wouldn't fit properly.

IMG 2544 blog

After discussing it with Andrew on Monday night I cadged a lift on the cherry picker the next morning. I've never ridden one of these before – and if Father Christmas is listening, if I promise to be a good boy, can I have one next Christmas? I couldn't resist grabbing a couple of birds-eye view type photos – on the original of the southbound one, you can see right through the railway bridge and way beyond.

IMG 2545 blog

IMG 2547 blog

In the end I instructed them to take the beams down again and leave them – the beams will have to go back to Rowsley where we can do modifications (we simply cannot handle them yet at Darley) and the building supplier has offered us some matching beam sections to get around the problem. It is all additional hassle which we could really do without.

Going back through the photographs I found one from last June, just after Peak Rail took down the machine shop, so took a comparison shot today from as near as I could. Another of my famous composite photos...

composite23feb blog

For now though, work has ceased, and the plant and manpower has departed. The Mark 2 plans for the floor, promised this last week, did not materialise, and our search for a suitable contractor to carry out the roofing is still on-going. I'm finding this intensely frustrating.

On Saturday morning this spilled over into a heated discussion into what we ought to do. Andrew had planned to go to Scunthorpe, but we cannot run the 03 again until the loose pulley has been secured, and the replacement grub screws had not arrived. My frustration and Andrew's state of health (he's suffering from a severe sore throat, I'd say it was tonsilitus if he still had them in) fuelled the debate, with me arguing that we ought to get that overdue attention to 14 901, not to mention seeing the latest mag from Derwent Valley wherein Pluto is criticised for having coolant leaks and other faults - there is just too much for the two of us to do. In the end, it was decided when the postman ran the doorbell to deliver a pack of grub screws, and after heading down to Darley to collect some bits from the container, we headed to Scunny. On the way over, we had the local radio on for Sheffield and South Yorkshire and to our amazement, they were listing the “attractions” that Scunthorpe possessed, and the AFRPS (admittedly pronouncing it Fr-oe-dingham) came second. I am not sure if this is a compliment to the AFRPS or a sad mark for Scunthorpe.

When we were last at Scunthorpe, we were so mixed up with running D2128 that we barely noticed that “Tom” had developed a transmission oil leak, but had decided that this had priority. While Andrew investigated this, I went to the other side of the engine bay to change an oil pressure sender which some kind soul had put a boot on and damaged. Andrew's leak traced to a poorly sealing gasket, so he cut a new one, while I headed inside to get some work done on D2128.

For running up to now, we have “fooled” the electrics by providing a temporary switch in the desk which tells the system that either forward or reverse is engaged, as the sensors weren't initially installed. Those sensors have now been in place a while, but they will only switch low currents and I wanted to interpose a couple of solid-state relays. These are made up on a piece of Veroboard, with the cables plugging in, so I hooked this up closed off the box. I also opened up one of the limit switches on the gearchange and hooked up an additional feed to operate the planned base-pressure dump valve.

Andrew meanwhile, having finished the joints and tested the loco, continued spray painting the pieces for D2128's radiator cooling air ducts, nipped up a loose connection on the transmission cooler and finally refitted the taper lock pulley for a third time. But as he was still very much suffering, he voted to knock things on the head at that and we headed back to Derbyshire.

Andrew's son Jake had been in hospital overnight, and as things developed it became apparent that he should attend to him no matter how he felt, so he and Steph shot off this morning, leaving me at a loose end. Having spent some time drawing up some of the bracketry needed for the last purlins, I headed down to Darley and carried out some measuring, plus generally standing back and trying to pretend that the job is farther on than it is.

Oh, but I have ordered a five metre long banner, which I hope to have on the building before this incoming High Speed Train excursion passes next weekend. An extravagance perhaps, but a fun one.

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