Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of one pipe in and one pipe out

12th July 2015

Normally, this blog recounts what has happened during the week, but this week it might give me more to say if I tell you what hasn't!

For starters, I was out and about Monday and Andrew on Tuesday, so neither day gave us time to pop down to Darley in the evenings. By Wednesday, my plans for Thursday had been cancelled, which at least left me available to go and collect our grandson (who is asleep in the next room as I type this- quietly). On Friday too I was trying to earn a crust, but did find a few minutes to chat with our planned cladding contractor, remind of all the things he'd said he'd do but had forgotten about after, plus discuss what sort of lead time there'd be once the cladding and such lands on site at Darley. I don't know quite how much it'll take up, (for that matter Tata's cladding manufacturing section doesn't seem to want to give me any answers as regards the sort of transport they'll use until I have shown them the colour of my money), but I am quite sure I won't want it obstructing us for any length of time.

With grandson duly with us for a long weekend, Friday night was out so far as any work was concerned though Andrew could hear loco air horns which it transpires was a ballast train operated on behalf of Peak Rail by HST's 07. Why no Charlie? – your guess is as good as mine, no request for it was made to us, although it remains available to Peak Rail as and when they want.

On Saturday, I wondered down to Darley alone to do some measuring jobs. On arrival at Rowsley a couple of years ago, I disconnected the wiper motors on Cheedale because they are all standard automotive types with earth return. In Yorkshire Engine Co days I had a stock of nylon washers and top-hat bushes so that I could stand these off the cab fronts and insulate them, but they and I became parted over the years and I couldn't even remember the sizes. So it was measure up holes and shafts to remind myself what was required, But while there I casually checked the neg return to cab on one of the feed wires to the motor and got an immediate beep from the meter – in other words there's another earthed device somewhere that needs locating and isolating. The cab light has been replaced with a 24V fluorescent which I suspect might be the culprit, but I couldn't see anything obvious. I'll just have to disconnect and see if the fault goes away.

I also wanted to try fitting a couple of desk LEDs I'd picked up to replace the traditional bulb fittings in the desk. I had it in my head that these were from the RS range of 16mm fittings (electrical control panel modules seem to have standardised over the years on 16mm, 22mm and 32mm, although 32 is now pretty much extinct) but when I got the forward indicator light out of the instrument panel, I found to my surprise that the desk hole is about ¾ of an inch, or slightly larger than the bezel on my 16mm LED. Harumph, another need for a reducing bush, I suppose.

I had only been there a couple of hours when it was time to head home, but I was hailed by Dom B for a natter over the (rickety) fence, and apart from checking how soon he needed the last missing parts for the wonderful cable-worked lever frame going in at Rowsley, I handed over some speed limit arrows which are now part of my product range (the Pete Briddon web site has had a make-over, incidentally. I had been planning to make a splash of it when the shed was officially open, but the old one is looking quite dowdy, so it has been swapped over, even if not quite finished). Anyway, maybe it was the heat, or the long week and lots of driving, but while I am talking to him I had the warning signs of an imminent migraine, which might explain why I (probably) drove back home with one of the back doors wide open on the van!

Andrew had planned that today we'd continue his son's education with a trip to Markeaton Park, Derby, where there's a 15inch gauge line (diesel, no steam nowadays) but by chance he spotted on the web that some character called Jensen Button would be at the park so he decided today was not a good day to go. Instead they wandered down to the Whitworth Park to contribute to obesity in ducks, but by late afternoon, we pottered down to the shed.

While I resumed on a couple of measuring tasks, Andrew decided to make some small progress on 14 901. We have a friend whom we used to tease, by telling him that provided he got one new piece of pipe (or conduit) fitted in a day, he regarded it as a successful day's work. Today we have nearly plumbed such depths ourselves.

To recap, 14901 was suffering from cooling issues during last year. At one point we had to remove the thermostats as one was sticking and causing the temp to rise perilously high during the climb up to Redhouse. Without thermostats it ran cool, too cool really, and we left it on plain water as it was pointless adding anti-freeze when it was going to be drained for further attention. In addition, the transmission cooler (oil/water heat exchanger) leaked Voith oil and we nipped it up a little tighter from time-to-time, as to swap it was a major undertaking. Finally Andrew had never been impressed with the coolant pipe connections that had been made when the Rolls engine was installed, and felt we could do a better job.

As it came to the end of its rostered turns at the end of November, we pulled it from traffic to carry out the power unit service and alterations, although we have more recently learned that Peak Rail considers this was in breach of the Agreement for its use, as we should have held it on standby through the Santa period (notwithstanding there was nothing in the Agreement to cover that and Peak Rail broke off negotiations).

Eventually loco and spare transmission cooler arrived at the same place and with the means (aka one forklift) to lift out the old and replace it with a new, because at 4ft6inch long and about 18inch broad, said cooler is not something that can be exchanged at the drop of a hat.

IMG 0541 blog

So Andrew considering the time available to do any work before returning home to put son to bed, decided it was time to start fitting the first of the freshly painted pipes, plus remove the filler part of the system. Now this comprised a short small bore pipe which lead to a tee which pointed up through a hole in the casings. That the filler cap and pipe it screwed to were substantially larger in diameter than the short piece that then lead to the header tank starts to explain why it was always a b*****d to fill, especially before we added the air bleed that all other 14s had received in industry.

Andrew has plans to improve it as much as possible, but to do so required removal of the short stubby pipe from the header tank. I meanwhile had wandered into the container and was taking stock of our assorted 3-phase switchgear, outlets, motor starters and armoured cables with the idea in my head of sorting out a shopping list of bits still required, but came back and found myself dragooned into assisting. By now he was on a combination of large stillsons and two tubes in order to get sufficient leverage, but this pipe was equally determined to remain where it was.

IMG 0539 blog

When it finally came out, it was no longer quite as round as it had been, as you can see. But sadly it was one in, one out and it was time to pack up and return home. Before we did though, Andrew unpacked the new cutting head for the threading machine (it had arrived by Parcelforce one day during the week) tried it in the machine, and then with a piece of threaded 2inch vac pipe to check that it appears it will do what it says on the tin. It may soon get tested at Scunthorpe.

IMG 0540 blog

Sadly then, not much to report for the last seven days, but this week, well the only was is up, I suppose...

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