Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of floors and walls

3rd July 2016

So here we are going into the second half of the year. After the drama of the last few weeks this edition should be rather quiet by comparison. On the good news side, the transfer of Andrew's site from one server to another was completed with only a few minor snags, and the site was back up on line before the weekend. It is this site's turn this week, so it will disappear temporarily on Tuesday and reappear around Friday. If you are one of my regular mid week readers, you either have remembered my warning last week, or this was why you couldn't find it!

You might almost think we have taken some time off from loco work, not entirely true but we do need to progress the shed and be able to organise it properly. Thus we have not got back into any major projects after the departure of 14 901 and Cheedale. The issue about 14 901 cutting out has however taken up some time and the decision to replace the commercial fuel header tank with a new bespoke one. I had a meeting with my pump man to check whether there was anywhere that these old hydraulic fuel pumps were prone to sucking air from, though I suppose in my own mind I was sure the problem started after the replacement of my 2008 (Mk1) header with the new one.

When I schemed up the replacement, I wanted to incorporate a level gauge and switch which the original tank lacked, and I thought things would work better with a breather in the top of the tank (which doubled as a filling point) but which meant lowering the nominal level of fuel to prevent it spurting out. Lowering it wasn't an issue as far as capacity goes as the tank was already bigger, but what it did create is more space for the fuel to slosh around than hitherto, and on a larger tank with no internal baffle, the nett result was, possibly, fuel that sloshes around, frothing and being drawn, aerated, into the pump.

Well that's the theory I'm working on so this Mk3 tank, while having the same external dimensions as the Mk2, will have internal baffle(s) and the drain port will be higher up to reduce the amount of air over the top of the fuel: indeed I might even put the drain in the top surface of the tank which will mean that the tank will be almost entirely filled with fuel. From which you will gather that although largely drawn up it has not yet been fully detailed for manufacture – this requiring a standard of welding/fabrication that will necessitate our friendly fabricators in Sheffield putting it together.

Andrew picked up an ex-dmu vac brake valve on e-bay this week, ironically the buyer was someone we know! It's not at this moment allocated to anything so might yet turn up on RS8.

We have only had a couple of evenings in the shed this week thanks to work commitments. After Steph and I had sealed the front section of floor last Sunday, Andrew and I went down Wednesday night and applied a first coat of red. We were back down again on Friday night, this time with Steph as well, and the rails were replaced on the painted section of floor and Pluto rolled up on to it with with tug from the fork lift. We also lifted out one of the two mini panels that sit by the end personnel door and stuffed the cavity full of insulation before putting it back. Andrew went on to do a bit of welding on some brake rigging for Yorkshire 1382 and while he was occupied, I wandered out to RS8 and entertained myself removing some of the hundreds of bits of ballast that have been stuffed into chassis, fillers, desk internals, etc., but there's still lots to do.

I had some items to deliver to Chinnor on Saturday morning, so left Andrew to it. He went to the shed and put together those remaining 28 signal box lever tabs that Dom B has been waiting for. When I got back, around 3 in the afternoon, it was to continue tidying up the area in front of the next two concrete panels destined for shortening and repositioning.

Over at Scunthorpe, Team Frodingham reported that 03 901 was giving a problem. First the engine failed to shutdown when the button was pressed, and then having got it to stop it wouldn't so much as crank again. Now, stopping the engine shouldn't be an issue – pressing the stop button interrupts the supply to the ETR solenoid. But the second problem turned out to be not one but two blown fuses, which leads me to wonder whether something is shorting in the panel and providing a supply to the solenoid hat ought not to be there. Either way it is going to mean a trip over to Scunny to go over it. Anyway repositioning two more panels was to be Sunday's job, and though plans for an early start came to nought, we got down to the shed just after lunch and after moving a few last lumps out the way and putting the bridge into place, we lifted out the first panel, which for anyone not familiar, is a 100mm thick reinforced concrete slab, 5.9m long by 1m high, weighing about 1.3tonnes.

IMG 1875 blog

Last time we did this, we had to move it to the shed door with just the forklift. This time we had the benefit of the ex-Buxton part Wickham trolley, and very effective it was too, rendering the panel easier and safer to move and acting as a cutting bench while there. Not only that, whereas previously I have had a container of water to slosh over the cut as it progresses (to cool and thus prolong blade life, plus reduce the dust) this time we had a hose pipe with a steady and direct-able trickle.

IMG 1876 blog

And I'm afraid that these two not-very-exciting pictures is about all I can offer this week. You can see in the left hand side of the second one the newly painted area of floor, still awaiting its second coat of red, but with the next section now cleared, Andrew is planning to clean and dust a bit more and do a much larger sealing operation and paint it all in one go. From a psychological point of view, these two panels marked the half-way point in the cut and reposition operation – only two more to do on the main line side and then turn our attention to the footpath side. And of course with each section of wall completed I can get on with erecting cable traywork that will ultimately mean a proper electrical system – and the sooner the better.

Jobs planned for the week? Well, Andrew wants to make up some sort of stand to support the Rolls C6S that we lifted out of Jack, so that it can be opened up and the damage assessed safely and securely. Add to that a lot of sweeping and floor vaccuming ready for sealant, and maybe a bit of progress on the slot drain outside, and you can guess that things won't be standing still.

More in this category: Of miscellaneous pottering »

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