Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of batteries and kerb crawling

19th October 2014

So as I was saying, I was hoping to set up a further meeting with the intended cladding contractor to try to get to the bottom of how the sheeting should fit. In the end, this took place Thursday morning as I had been waiting for completion of a fuel pump overhaul for a customer and it was wanted back PDQ.

I had sent the man pdf copies of my CAD drawings but as he is one of those who does all his e-mails via his mobile phone, seeing what it was I was getting at wasn't really practical. Despite what people say, there is nothing to beat a printed line on a piece of paper. Anyway, we discussed the problem and he admitted he hadn't got the answer, but he knew a man who might. A second meeting therefore took place on Thursday afternoon, when we were joined by a recently-retired local gentleman whose career had been cladding steel framed buildings. I illustrated again my problem, and he nodded and explained that what the steelwork had been intended for what was called a “cloaked gutter”. In other words, the gutter becomes a large rectangular trough at the top of the walls (where you'd expect it to be) but within the outside line of the building, i.e. forming the edge of the building with the roof sheets cut back. (And hence, the gap that my drawings showed). In this arrangement, the drain pipes come down the inside of the walls, and of course if your gutter leaks (like they did at Briddon Towers and, as Steph informs me, one is doing at the Briddon Country Pile) the rainwater comes down inside the building too. Besides, the external drains for our guttering are strategically placed outside the block walls, so internal drain pipes would have to be routed messily out through the cladding. I concluded that I did not want a cloaked gutter.

But, I pointed out, when you look up the edge of the purlins, up toward the sky, the tabs on what are called the eave beams stick out beyond the purlins. Yes, came the reply, that's because they've been put in the wrong way round. If you turn them 180 degrees the tabs will stick inwards, and the channels will form the mounting surface for the top of the sheets (indeed, you can see the holes from the old fixings even from the ground).

IMG 2513 blog

So with that and a few other issues clarified (I must add some angles around the pedestrian doors and across the top of the roller shutter apertures, for example) I now know exactly how it should go together and can spend some time drawing up a full schedule of cladding sheets, rooflights and the various matching flashings, oh and gutters, fixings, drain pipes, supporting brackets, etc.

Back on the 03 for a bit, the water pump duly arrived on Tuesday and is in store pending our next trip over. I also attempted to assemble the pieces for the exhauster belt drive together only to find that the carefully machined bits don't fit into the holes made by water jetting the profiles, so I have taken the latter over to the machinists and asked them to skim the profiles out until they just fit. You'll see more of this in due course. I was a bit disappointed not to find many pictures of the 03 turn up on Flickr, or anywhere else for that matter, although Stephen McBain has put some up of his (complete with me on the Saturday in full wet weather gear at the controls). But then I came across a bit on YouTube (here if you're interested) taken from the front brake van of the 12 noon train hauled by the class 20. Now bear in mind that the 03 was out and just ready in time, but they'd changed the roster around and sent the 20 out instead, thus in the background, as they pass the depot with the 03 sat waiting, you can hear comments about “it looking like it's ready” and “having been pushing it” which makes me think the dialogue was someone who was there in 2012 (see the posting here).

On Friday it had been intended to spend some time at Rowsley, but although Andrew had the day booked off, he still ended up dashing off down south to troubleshoot a problem that he had been phoned up about at two in the morning. On a whim I went back down to Darley to measure some bits, and fit the door lock on the side door. I had splashed out on some fine tooth jig-saw blades for curve cutting, and drawn up a template from which I could easily mark the apertures. But as soon as I tried to cut the doorskin, the jigsaw jumped violently almost out of my hand.

Now, being an intelligent sort of a bloke, and the fact that as I removed said jigsaw from the lock aperture I realised that the blade was bent, it occurred to me to check the depth of the cut and sure enough, the bottom of the blade reached 5mm out the far side of the door. Since trying to cut both inner and outer skins at the same time was theoretically possible but practically inadvisable, I had the option of going back to chain drilling or coming up with an alternative. I got out the angle grinder which as usual, had a slitting disc on, and removed the last 8 or 9 mm of the blade. Eureka! The door skin was rapidly removed, the template repositioned on the inside and the cutting repeated. And the lock was fitted in half the time it took me to do the other one. In celebration, I clamped on a few purlin brackets.

With Andrew out of the way, it fell to me to run him a couple of errands on Friday night which resulted in me visiting a hotel in Rotherham to collect two bags of injectors followed by finding a house in Swinton (near Mexborough) to collect a cupboard. You often hear emergency services begging people to make their house numbers prominent – I drove slowly up the road, unable to spot a house number anywhere. I must have looked like I was kerb crawling. Finally I pulled over, got out and found I was opposite number 42, whereas I wanted 36. Rather than try to turn round, I walked back to the van, started up and prepared to reverse. Two young women were walking down the road, passing me just as I got back in. In my mirror I could see them look anxiously over their shoulders as I started to back up. As I moved a little faster, their pace quickened. I was tempted to see at which point they break into a sprint, but having reached number 36, I pulled over.

14 901 was rostered for Saturday, so out came the trusty train driver's outfit and I sauntered in to Rowsley to join Roy, who had splashed out on a birthday card and some choccies but hadn't had a chance to pass them to me earlier. The day was relatively uneventful, I entertained two or three aspiring train drivers (in the ages 3 or 4) to the cab in 901 so that mothers, fathers or grandparents could photograph them and for the first time one little boy actually burst into tears as he sat in the seat. Many, many years ago, when my grandparents came to see us from Newcastle-on-Tyne, we would take them to Kings Cross to get the train back north. They must have been A4s (the train locos, not the grandparents) but I can still remember being frightened by the sound of the steam as they coupled up or started away (again, the locos...). I hope I haven't put him off trains.

Another visitor was an enthusiast from the Battlefield Line, who started by declaring he was undecided whether he preferred D8 or the '14, but came around as they day went on to saying how much liked 901 – or was he just indulging in a little sycophancy? Finally we had a return run with Mick Simpson in the cab, a Peak Rail volunteer who had decided to call it a day simply because he felt too old to do it any more. I hope I never feel that way, but I don't suppose Andrew will let me. He incidentally, had been off inspecting an 0-6-0DE for a friend who is thinking of restoring it. Armed with Megger meter and the like, he had been climbing all over assessing the states of armatures, brushes and field windings, cables and engine. As Steph was away it was my job to provide tea for when he got back.

He was out at work again today, and I had a quiet morning at home so missed the drama at Rowsley. D8 had slumbered in the shed at Rowsley for a week, with the mid-week service having finished for the season (save for the last week in October) and its batteries are a little frail. Apparently this morning, even though it is usual to give them a bit of a charge before running the priming pumps, the batteries weren't up to it. Roy was rostered as guard but with some rapid switching round, '901 was brought out and worked the first train, by which time D8 was in the land of the living and took over for the rest. When I did finally surface, and after changing a tyre on the van, I headed down to Darley to unload the bits from the Friday night and return the mixer et al to Rowsley as Rob has had a drainage job thrust on him, to the detriment of progress at Darley Dale.

Shortly after unloading at Rowsley, I spoke to Rob, who told me of the morning's events, and I wondered whether to collar Gordon Bennett when he came back to shed with D8, say we'd had a whip round to assist with his battery problems but all we could afford was this – and proffer an AA size. Instead I teased him with observing how their loco spends all week in the shed but when it comes to it they fall back on poor 901 that is left out in all weathers!

One of the window panels that is supposed to make the cab of Grace temporarily weathertight keeps falling out so I refitted it again, and this time put some re-inforcing wire behind it – let's see what the rain and wind from the former hurricane Gonzalo can do with it in the next 24 hours.

All being well, 901 is out both days next weekend (I only mention this because the Peak Rail website loco roster hasn't been updated since August and I get tired of people saying they'd come to see D8), and on Thursday, something unusual - nay unique - is arriving. So tune in next week - same time, same channel - for more thrilling adventures.

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