Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of paint and wires

15th May 2016

So, the early bird may have missed the worm. If you read last week's edition of the blog before I got back home on Monday, then you'll have missed the 'postscript' I added after receiving pictures and news from Scunthorpe, where 03 901 took over a tour from an ailing 'Cranford'.

On Tuesday we were running grandson back home, so I was little in the mood for work by the time I returned and I think Andrew and I did little more than pop down to check everything was OK. But I had stopped off at the local automotive specialists in Matlock to see where they had got to on my order for new wiper arms and blades for Cheedale. After all I had ordered them on April 30th and not heard any more. I had specified Durite parts (the originals were Britax/SWF but they don't appear to be available any more) but their buyer came out all apologetic and said that while he had heard of Durite, he didn't know where to get them from, and offered me (he thought) equivalents. These did little to impress me as he was offering ordinary arms whereas I needed pantograph (which nobody on their counter had heard of). When I got home I rang a supplier in Sheffield – he had the arms in stock and got the blades in the next day.

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Incidentally, talking of not being able to get bits, the lube filters are proving slightly problematic. We had problems sourcing them last time from the main Perkins agents and we found some at a firm in South Wales – they said they had them made specially. But they are no longer in business, and a fresh enquiry on the Perkins agents (while admittedly accidentally giving them an assembly number for element and bowl) resulted in a reply that it was obsolete with no alternative. I've asked again giving the correct element (only) part number but haven't heard back. Meanwhile Andrew spoke to another firm, quite likely the ones who made the elements in the loco now, and came away with a Crosland filter number that was compatible. As it happens we have 3 of these in the container, a bit dusty but probably usable if required, but in the short run gave us a pattern and from it a Fleetguard filter which although not a perfect match, might serve if needs must. There are several other possible routes here: late DV8s had a spin-on filter assembly, though the chances of buying the necessary parts – for which we do not even have part numbers – make this unlikely. So to return to Wednesday: the van was still sat loaded with all the bits from my previous week's runround including two 45 gallon oil drums, so I took it down to the shed, and, realising that the floor height of the van was virtually the same as that of the ex-Buxton trolley, managed to manhandle said drums onto trolley, as well as unload the battery and smaller items. That evening we together moved the drums inside the shed.

Another collection run around Sheffield on Friday saw, amongst other things, a further enclosure for the Mattersons. Our independent examiner under the LOLER regulations wanted me to replace one of the electrical enclosures on our Matterson posts since it had been somewhat thumped in the past and wasn't really protecting adequately. I had picked up an enclosure late last year, along with one for Charlie's re-wire, but then realised Charlie's was a bit too small and pinched the one intended for the Mattersons. It was time to pick up another and this time use it for its intended purpose. We did however get down to the shed on Friday night to continue sticking the rubber flooring to Cheedale's floorboards, Andrew to start rubbing Cheedale's undercoat down ready to gloss, and me to get on a little with 14 901's cubicle wiring, in particular to connect the signal from the header tank level switch to the PLC.

Andrew is up at 05.30 most mornings – well we wake him at that time and he rises a little while later – and consequently on Saturday he is often tempted for a lie in. This weekend was no exception so in the end it was an early lunch and left the house at about 1pm. But first stop was the recycling centre up by Rowsley station entrance, and rather than retrace my steps the whole way, I swung down Church Lane and across the level crossing - the 'old road' in fact before Sir James Whitworth built the present dead straight section of the A6 past the Whitworth park. Andrew observed that the covers were on the signalbox windows, which seemed strange, but when we reached Darley Dale station it was to find the block post there closed and the car park gates locked. Clearly Peak Rail had suffered some misfortune that prevented running today, though there was no-one around to enquire of the reason.

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Andrew was anxious that I dealt with the roof-mounted beacon, so that I wouldn't have by big boots scratching his soon-to-be-applied paint, so I was banished up on high while he made a start on edging the floor board sections. I ended up drilling and tapping M6 holes in the cab roof to mount the new beacon, then re-instated the guard in the same manner.

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We started James up and drew Cheedale outside, to clean off the dust, and, on consideration, remove the handrails to make the casings more accessible. Some of these had probably not been off since new (one though has signs of a welded repair and sprung itself off its mounting pads ominously – that'll be a so-and-so to get back on) but mostly the setscrews came out, only 4 sheared off and will need drilling.

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Back inside, I alternated my time between stripping the old enclosure off the Matterson post and a bit of vacuuming. I am continuing to spend odd hours vacuuming the floor of the shed in a bid to reduce the dust. Apart from getting on the paint it has implications for getting in to other machinery or ourselves, but the plan to seal the floor permanently has still not got a firm date. Anyway, I've vac'd up most of a wheelbarrow full this week, but I won't claim to have got on top of the problem, though it is satisfying. As another little task, I added about 6 litres or so of fuel to 901's header tank, found a slight weep from the connection to the fuel pump, so nipped that up, ready to run it again.

We returned after tea on Saturday night and applied the first coat of gloss, taking some 2 hours or so including breaks to allow our little compressor to cool off. The finish is good, though it does show through the imperfections underneath, and hopefully the second coat will go on one evening.

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But Sunday was subject to visitors, and while we drew Cheedale out to help the paint set hard in the sun, we also drew out 14 901. The leak from the oil cooler has dripped all week (I collected about a gallon) and I traced the invoice for the o-rings I bought in 2010 - only to find it listed the o-rings merely by BS number with no size or other identification. So I suppose it'll be a drain it down and recover the old o-rings to go match.

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In due course our first visitors appeared and we took them out on 14 901. As it happened, the Peak Rail train (we had learned that the problem was apparently a faulty contactor on D9539 which prevented the air compressor running had thwarted them the day before) came in as we were out, so apart from following our operating rule that 901 remained stationary while the train went by, I could grab a snap or two of the locos adjacent.

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After they had gone, the grille was refitted to Cheedale and I was about to resume my cubicle wiring on 901 when Andy H arrived. I did get a chance however to confirm that the new float switch was giving a clear 'on' indication on the input card of the PLC, even if the latter does not know what it is supposed to do about it yet. By now the Matterson connector box was finished bar the common earths, which had been wired in a strange way before. I checked with Andy that there wasn't some weird electrical practice that I had not previously heard of (you cannot see too well in the picture, but the earths coming in from the upper and leftmost conduit are commoned to a bolt on the outside of the enclosure, but another cable goes from that to terminal 'E' on the connectors, but there is nothing connected to that. Meanwhile the Earth cable from the main multicore (on the bent bit) passes through another connector to that uppermost green wire and to a second bolt on the enclosure. Thus all the earths common together and via the enclosure, but there is this strange wire to the connectors that goes nowhere. A past alteration perhaps? With his Hon Electrical Consultant* hat on, he was as bemused as I was, and agreed my plan for a new commoning earth stud through the plastic enclosure and firmly connecting to the steel of the post. (* This is just so that I can say 'Oh HEC, it's you' whenever I see him).

So that's about it for another week. Next week, Andrew tells me, we'll take a day over at Scunthorpe to minister to things on 03 901, but of course the Sunday is the day of the next steam train coming in to Peak Rail from London,. So we might just be around to see it go by. Pop back and see.

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