Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of Cromford and cleaners

7th August 2016

Apparently my opening remarks last week about the joys of being self-employed struck a chord with a few of you – not least one of my regulars who texted me in support of it before 7am Monday morning!

At the beginning of this last week I issued an order to my profiles supplier, which included such things as additional brackets to support my cable trays and a cover plate for the top of the forward/reverse gearbox on RS8. And, normally, from an order on Monday I would pick up on Friday. But the supplier advised that they are relocating one of their laser cutters so that both machines are side-by-side, but this means that only one is in action and lead times would be extended. It would be early next week. Just my luck, as it was one of the jobs I had hoped to progress on Saturday when I suspected, Andrew would be giving grandson some Father-Son bonding time.

So anyway, both Andrew and I have been into Paintmaster at Whaley Bridge during the week – he to pick up some more sealer and I, for red floor paint. But I don't think the lady behind the counter has a great sense of humour. Putting on a cheeky smile I asked for 'a bucket of red concrete paint' and when her expression remained one of icy stare, added '20 litres'.

'You mean a 20 litre drum of polyeurethane floor paint?'
'Yes', I said, switching to serious business-mode 'in red.'
Yet strangely there hasn't been time to get any further floor prepared for sealing/painting and although Andrew declared he intended to apply one more coat to our large expanse of red, this just hasn't happened – partly because on at least two nights this week he has got home from work so tired that on getting grandson off to bed he has gone to sleep along with him – or maybe led by example. When we have managed to get down in the evening it has been to cut some of the ex-conflat worn-out bullhead rails into half-lengths ready to weigh in (they'd be too long for the skip otherwise) which scarcely merits a blow-by-blow, or maybe burn-by-burn account on this blog.

On the other hand, on Wednesday I won on e-bay a parts cleaner. We'd been after one on and off for a while, one of those useful drum/sink and pump combos to de-dirty engine parts and the like. This one was only in Sheffield, indeed not that far from Briddon Towers and even nearer to the school where latterly Steph was a Teaching Assistant. I collected it on Friday, in another round-robin that did not have me quite so far from home as I had envisaged at the beginning of the week.

Which brings us around to Saturday and sure enough, Andrew, Steph, our daughter and grandson headed off to the Cromford Steam Fair as they did last year and after some admin and other tasks were out the way, I ambled down to the shed, but before long had to break off and return. All in all not a productive day for me but Andrew at least came back from the Fair with a couple of carrier bags of goodies including work gloves and sundry tools.

Today, after an early lunch, we finally got down to the shed together and Andrew got back to stripping Jack's C6S engine.

IMG 1948 blog

Now, I gather from correspondence during the week that there might be some confusion over C6 engines at the moment, so let me recap.

Jack has a C6S (supercharged) that returned to us with a knock and an unauthorised alteration to the wiring that by-passed the safety switches. It was a therefore stripped out and put on Andrew's nice new engine supports and the sump dropped (last week) and on one of the evenings he also put some time in stripping it down ready to release the cylinder heads, the first of which was achieved today.

IMG 1959 blog

IMG 1961 blog

On the other hand, someone commented that the RS8's engine didn't seem that bad, and I realised later, probably meant that it was being confused with Jack's, as I hadn't published any close ups of RS8's C6N (normally aspirated). So in a few idle minutes while the kettle was boiling/tea brewing, I have pointed the camera at RS8's engine to show what state it is in and to what lengths people have gone to steal small lengths of copper pipe. To be honest, I am slightly more concerned that the vacuum exhauster and driver's brake valve are missing – that hints at an enthusiast who decided that the loco didn't need them but he did – and similarly that the dynamo and control box had gone. Yes, there was copper in the latter but there was in the starter motor, and that remained (although its cables had been stolen). On the other hand, the rad core has been hacked out brutally, leaving 15% of it behind, which does smack of a smash and grab.

IMG 1950 blog

Anyway, I've taken a few minutes to label up the pickies so you can see for yourself some of the missing pieces. Whoever started on the injector pipes must have been disappointed to find that they were steel, but then steel throttle linkages have largely disappeared too, maybe they were in the way.

IMG 1954 blog

IMG 1955 blog

So there you are, a close-up view of what vandalism looks like at the sharp end, and why Andrew has invested in a replacement C6N for it. (Oh, and you remember that I e-mailed the Editor of Heritage Railway about him having uplifted a piece on RS8 from this blog yet credited the loco as having gone to 'Heritage Shunters'? No, still no reply. Meanwhile in conversation with a Trustee of the HS Trust it seems that the article caused consternation there too – they thought one of their members had brought a loco in without prior agreement!)

IMG 1957 blog

During the afternoon Dom B popped in. As you may recall we'd produced some label plates for the 'new' lever frame for the north end of Rowsley. The first two were trialled last year, (see photo) and as they appeared to fit OK, we handed over a further 28 a few weeks ago. As this is a wire-worked lever frame (or will be when the 'box for it to go in gets assembled – it is the upper half of the old Darley Dale [ex Buxton, ex Bamford] box) the levers travel a much greater arc than traditional British rodded frames and each lever needs two labels as one is invisible at the end of travel. So 15 levers equals 30 identities. And to go with those little fabrications, I handed over 30 traffolite labels numbered 1-15 (twice) and tried my magic mind-reading trick -

'Pick a card, any card, don't show me – let me read your mind – are you sure you've got one? - No, it's coming through slowly – can't be entirely certain, but somewhere between 1 and 15....'

IMG 1947 blog

When the frame is all in and interlocked, the labels can go back and be engraved with their function. Dom seemed impressed anyway.

Around 5pm Andrew set off for home to take over domestic duties and I hung on for an hour or so, including draining the remains of the fuel from Jack's torque converter (it had been partially drained some months ago by Team Frodingham but because of the installation angle there was still two or three gallons to catch), primed the fuel header tank that is due to go into 14901, plus a bit of commercial work to progress.

So, what's in store for this week? Well, hopefully I'll get those profiles on Tuesday, we'll see about getting that parts cleaner set up and working, and there's another compressor set Andrew's acquired on e-bay primarily for its Broomwade compressor that I'll be collecting at some point. And then Wednesday night it's back over to Scunthorpe for an EGM of the AFRPS. I can see it'll be a high mileage week again.

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