Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of water - pumps and rain

Of water – pumps and rain

12th October 2014

After all the theatre and pezazz of last week's edition, here I am staring at the monitor trying to think how to produce anything of real interest this week. For in truth there have been a number of distractions that have prevented serious progress on any front. On the one hand, the weather has turned distinctly autumnal, with some misty mornings and a lot of rain.

Our grandson has been here all week, only to break out in Chicken pox in the last few days. When I had it, I was about ten: he's not even two, which I suppose has the advantage (for us anyway) that he doesn't know 'how to be ill' so has continued to create on-going havoc all through the house. For myself, I have spent too much time in Sheffield attending various departments at a certain hospital. But never mind that, sooner or later I had to get back to something more interesting and thought that I would pursue the matter of the water pump for 03 901. If you recall, the bearings were on their way out to the extent that the pulley could be waggled on its shaft, and while the loco may not be required again straightaway, there is a likelihood that some group somewhere, once the news gets in the comics that it is well and truly operational will specifically request 03 901 for a tour.

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So I dug out the engine number and got on to Cummins. Sheesh, not only was there not one in the UK (they said) so it would be a 14 day delivery from the States, but the price with VAT would be well over £400. But they did at least give me the part number. Next was a firm in Northampton from whom we've bought Cummins or 'spurious' parts in the past (“Spurious” being the label given by the engine manufacturer to any part you buy from a different source, whether it has been reverse-engineered or is in fact the same part, made by the component manufacturer who supplies the engine manufacturer. When I was working for Thomas Hills, initially we were a subsidiary of Rolls-Royce Motors Diesel Division. A number of users, of which BSC Scunthorpe was one, had discovered that silicon carbide impregnated liners lasted longer in Rolls' engines than did Rolls' own ones, and the RR rep would wave his finger disapprovingly and trot out the mantra “if you are using silicon carbide liners you are using spurious liners and Rolls-Royce will not accept any claim under warranty...” By the time I left TH in 1988, Rolls-Royce Diesel Division had been sold and become Perkins Engines (Shrewsbury) Limited, and whether it was the new, enlightened management, or simply a grudging recognition, silicon carbide liners were now standard, and so the same reps were now chanting the revised mantra “if you are NOT using silicon carbide liners you are using spurious liners....”)

Anyway, the Northampton firm, offered me a repair kit for £200, which was heading in the right direction, but I had reservations about whether the play in the pump on 03 901 was too far gone for a kit. And there I left it for a day or two, until Friday afternoon, when I had one of those “Let's do summat else” moments and typed “Cummins water pumps” into the search box on e-bay. A page or so down I came face-to-face with a pump that looked similar to the one in my pictures of 03 901, the right pulley, and was listed with three later part numbers but for a small cam 855. So I put a call in to the seller. Initially he insisted that my part number was not a good number, but when he checked my engine number on his system, up came my number and he was able to confirm that the one he was offering was a supercession. So with that I ordered it, after all, the Cummins price of £400 had fallen through the repair kit at £200 to a replacement part at £120. When we will get to fit it, I don't know, but at least it will be here ready.

I had kept telling Andrew and Steph that I needed some time to concentrate on my CAD drawings of the 'shed in order to work out the requirements for the cladding. You see, the two main cladding manufacturers (Tata and Kingspan) will only quote against a parts schedule, not an outline drawing: that way any errors are your problem, and as a composite roof sheet (which is to say two thin layers of ribbed steel bonded to a layer - in our case 60mm – of insulation) is quite expensive at around £20 sq metre so mistakes are things I cannot afford to make.

Now, before they left site, the steelwork assembler used his scissor lift, measured each purlin and drew up a schedule for the roof, which included all the 'cutbacks' for both the composite panels and the transparent rooflights that will match it. But when I plot these on to my drawing, I end up with a gap at the eaves of around 230mm (to some extent that depends on how far the sheets come up to the apex of the roof). In addition there are the inside and outside flashings for the apex, and he drew these too. When it came to the eaves, though, he drew up something which doesn't make sense to me, and the arrangement has been bugging me for weeks. For if the rainwater runs down the valleys of the sheeting, and the flashing is fitted to the top of the hills, as his drawing suggests, then the rainwater will come down inside our walls, which is not something to be encouraged. But if the sketch is intended to have the flashing on the underside of the roof sheets and the outside of the side sheets, then the roof sheets are not 230mm short, but more like 330. When it comes to the side and end sheets, it becomes apparent that just maybe I should have researched all this and positioned my roller shutter doors by reference to how many sheet widths they would be in from the sides, because now some of the sheets will have to come all the way down and have large segments cut out and thrown away. But before the job can be commenced, I need to have not only the composite sheets, but all the flashings, guttering, fixings, roof lights and sundry bits of purlin and bracketry organised else my contractor will be billing me extra or unable to complete. Hopefully I will have a meeting with him this week to try and pick his brain.

Now, as I said a while ago, Saturday was my (umpty-diddly) birthday and despite advertising the fact, there was once again not a single cheque nor postal order from my adoring readership. Instead while Andrew looked after his son, Steph and I joined Rob for an afternoon of block-laying. This is not the stuff of romantic occasions. While “come up and see my etchings” was once supposed to be a sophisticated chat-up line, "let's celebrate your birthday by mortaring in a load of Anstone Buff Split" will never get past the vague inuendo stage. I had had another 75 such blocks delivered on Friday (which should complete the job) and maybe because it would produce the most progress, or maybe because Rob had a cold and didn't want to faff around with the complicated bits around the front personnel door, we opted to start laying the bottom course at the back of the building, alongside the public footpath. Normally one would put out a taught string to keep the blocks in line, and Rob wanted to remove our bottom layer of purlins, but it occurred to me (apart from not wanting to undo all the purlin bolts again) that the edge of the purlin was only a little above the blocks and more rigid than a piece of string.

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So there it was, and in the course of the afternoon (pun intended) we finished the far side bottom layer, with Rob laying, Steph following up pointing and me dashing to and fro, placing blocks in position, positioning the next ones ready for the upper course, mixing up more mortar, etc. Since evening work parties are now pretty impractical with the nights drawing in, it is reckoned that one more day should see the rest of the blocking finished, and that day looks like being October 25th, weather and other disasters aside.

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Although something else was scheduled, I spent a couple of hours back at Darley this morning working on the lock of the Matlock end personnel door. As supplied, our “fire exit” security doors had but a lock on the outside, but came with conversion kits to become fully functioning with lockable handles. I had started on the Matlock end several weeks ago as it is likely to be the lesser used of our two doors so less important if botched the job. The new handles though required a much bigger 'ole through the door, and moreover it needed to be on a different centre to the original. I tried then to cut it with the jigsaw bit had too coarse a blade. The instructions recommended a cutting tool in a drill – not a hole saw as there was no way to guide it, but a thing rather like a milling tool. Anyway, I invested in one at Cromwells, grimacing at the £30 and do you know, it wasn't much good. It might work fine in a heavy machine tool, but trying to hold it in place by hand was virtually impossible. In the end I chain-drilled the aperture, broke through with a chisel and filed it back until it all fitted. And fit it does, not perfectly but armed with the knowledge I shall do a better job on the side door.

Well, having sat down telling myself that there wasn't much to write about, I seem to have rambled on as usual. Next Saturday, and the following weekend, 14 901 is out, and according to rumour, we may be out for a few days in November too, though on the other hand, the 14 is still on plain water since the thermostat problems and since we had hoped to take a weekend out to alter the cooling system and change the Voith cooler. Andrew was thinking of doing this during November, before the weather gets too bad or nightly frosts take over. There again, there are several other things that might affect that timetable- we'll just have to wait and see.

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