Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of Pimms or Champagne

18th September 2016

You may be aware that I get a number of comments, observations, mickey-takes etc about this blog during the week and many of them – most really – come direct through one of my e-mail addresses as most 'regulars' have long since got to know them. I sometimes forget though that others use the 'contact page' on the Weekend Rails website and occasionally this can give a spot of bother.

It is of course, all about preventing automated website crawlers – 'bots' in the vernacular – from generating SPAM e-mails by requiring an action that only someone with eyes can complete. The contact page software actually comes from a different source and occasionally, an update on the software for the main part of the site (which itself usually happens because some tiresome person somewhere has discovered a loophole so the originator has had to modify the software to block it) causes a conflict with the contacts page. It seems this occurred a week or so ago. It has now been fixed, but if you were trying to get through, my apologies: I am assured it's all working again now (though if you still get any issues, and you have cookies turned off, that might be a factor).

So, after last week's drama you will not be surprised to find that things have been quiet by comparison. Not only did I not find time to get any more floor painted, with Andrew busy in Cardiff for work for a further 3 days there was hardly any time to get in during the evenings.

But we did have some rain one evening. It wasn't all that severe over the Briddon Country Pile, so far as I recall, but it must have been somewhat more torrential over the shed (a mere ¾ of a mile away) as when I popped in to collect something the following morning, not only was all the entrance lane distinctly soggy, but when I got to the side door the ground immediately outside had that smooth, settled appearance that indicated that we had had a large puddle there. This is not unusual: often if we are leaving in rain it becomes necessary to take a large step to avoid getting your feet wet; it is all to do with having used some surplus concrete to make a step outside but the track - when it was relaid and ballasted – ended up as high if not higher.

Clearly though, on this occasion the rain had been harder and faster than we had seen before, because the mud was inside the shed door and I had muddy, standing water on my nicely new painted floor (the green bit I proudly displayed last week). It does prove one thing; the concrete sealant's worked (aka the cold tea), but it was a bit soul-destroying having made all that effort to get it looking good for the planned visitors only to have a large patch of mud slowly drying away just inside the entrance. Maybe that's why I didn't have the enthusiasm to get much more floor prepared. Andrew observed that we will have a few lengths of ducting left over from the slot drain at the south end: maybe we should create a new section from the doorway back to the drain at this corner.

I did however, get a bit of time in one afternoon and extended the cable tray further south along the west side wall. That is as far as I will go with the wide section tray – I have some lengths left to take me round the north end and so far down the east side, but I cannot install that until the concrete panels have been cut and relocated. As there are relatively few cables that need to reach as far as the south corners of the shed, narrower trays will be entirely adequate and I shall just have to come up with a tapered jointing piece.

Saturday morning I was woken up with a text from Andrew. This might seem strange when he was only thirty feet away in his own bed and bedroom, but he had woken in agony with backache and could hardly move. Steph went into action, took over Grandson who, in the lovable innocence of a 3 year old, was oblivious to his father's suffering, and applied something to Andrew's back which at least got him back on his feet later in the morning!

As I said last week, Andrew, with his Class 14 Owner's Group hat on, was hosting the annual meeting of the group here at the shed, and I favoured getting D9500 inside as a 'backdrop' but Andrew was not keen. But I had dug my heels in and having driven all the way to Norfolk and back on Friday to collect grandson I decided I would have my way. So first thing Saturday morning I was getting bits together when my mobile rang. During the week I had been in correspondence with a reader, (someone who had incidentally, once gone to Matlock to join the Peak Railway Association and was so unimpressed with the organisation that he came face-to-face with that he decided not to,) and I'd finished with an invite to drop in for a cuppa if he was passing by. He was taking me up on my offer so I asked him to bear with me for about an hour while I straightened things out.

Taking two more chairs from the Country Pile I headed down and shunted D9500 in, placing the table and chairs in front and then a row of chairs for the audience. By the time these preparations were near to completed my first visitor had arrived and I was ready for a cup anyway.

IMG 2207 blog

Andrew appeared just as the delegates for the meeting turned up, and although rather fewer in numbers than we'd hoped (at least we didn't run out of chairs!) even Andrew conceded that having D9500 added a nice touch to the proceedings. Next year's meeting – set for October 7th – will again be at Darley Dale. Andrew wonders whether we might have both D9500 and 14 901 side by side for it (I hope all the b****y floor will be painted by then!).

I shunted D9500 back after the meeting and did a few tinkering jobs about the place before heading back.

Andrew and Steph were out with grandson today, leaving me to my own devices and free to swap around between various jobs as my mood took me. The 03 having arrived from Scunthorpe there were a number of jobs that I had kept forgetting about and thus hadn't taken the necessary materials when travelling over. Today I had those materials to hand, so at last (for example) the last section of cabling to the tacho generator received a long-overdue protective layer of spiral wrap, and several P clips were altered to mount properly. But 03 901 had also developed several defects – one of which is that the engine won't shut down on the button. Whether this is electrical or mechanical I don't yet know, but reviewing my wiring scheme, the Stop button only breaks the positive side to the solenoid, and while this ought to be sufficient, it would be simple, and belt'n'braces, to break the negative side as well, though at the moment the solenoid merely connects in to a common return. I started the job of bringing its own return wire back through to the Stop button, which meant delving through our stocks of switchgear in the container for another contact module. This in turn meant plugging an extension in to bring the container strip light on (I had some other bits to sort out in there as well) and in the course of this I investigated some of the cables we had acquired from various auctions over the years. A length of suitable 5 core 2.5mm should suit the feed to the transformer, while an inspection lamp, bought from a close-down sale at Coalite years ago but never used because it was equipped with a 24V bulb and plug which we've never had socket for, did have a suitable length of cable which we now require for shed installation work, so I stripped it down, re-cabled the lamp for use at 110V in the future, and was part way through running the first cable from the circuit breaker box to the site of the light switches when a person walked in through the shed door and I was so surprised I nearly fell off the ladder.

This visitor, who insists he was corresponding with me in Thomas Hill days, wanted to see our D1 , aka Ashdown, as he lived in Salford and spent much time in his youth hanging around the Manchester Ship Canal rail system. After insisting he got himself some hivi on (mainly to recover my composure), I broke off and escorted him round the collection, pointing out some of the sights, as well as Ashdown and Tom – not an MSC loco but they had had a number of Sentinels at Mode Wheel and Ellesmere Port. He repaid my time with a present of a parts book for a Sentinel which might come in useful some time, but had no time for tea...

You may recall that some weeks ago we had a go with the HATRAMM but could get nothing more than a relay somewhere clicked. Well I got a bit further today. I had the engine cranking, but apart from one momentary kick, it wouldn't fire. I didn't try for too long as I was only experimenting for a bit of variety and didn't want to flatten the batteries. Whether the stop solenoid is not pulling in, whether there's no fuel up at the injectors (according to the gauge there's plenty in the tank) or something else amiss will take the two of us to investigate further, but it does encourage me to believe that it will be running soon.

Talking of fuel, Andrew has submitted a bill to the Athletics Club at Scunthorpe to reflect the value of the fuel (excluding any that had been added by the steelworks after arrival) at the time the tanks were drained. We didn't attend the Special General Meeting this last Wednesday (Andrew was barely back in time from Cardiff and too tired to contemplate yet more travelling) but we did have some reports from those that were. One of the oddities of the AFRPS constitution is that whereas most groups require a nominee to sign their acceptance of nomination and willingness to serve if elected, it has no such stipulation. Thus, apparently, someone was elected unopposed to one Committee post and immediately resigned as he had not wanted it in the first place!

There has been correspondence with our Hon Elec Consultant also this week: he has taken me to task for suggesting cucumber sandwiches and Champagne: instead stipulating Cheese and Tomato on Wholemeal bread and washed down with Pimms. I've never tried Pimms and technically am allergic to cheese (although I suppose today 'intolerant' would be the term applied) but given Drugs and Alcohol Policies we should probably stick to lemonade. All this toing and froing is because, if things go to plan, the Terrypicker is finally arriving and that means that we shall be able to get up into the dizzy heights of the building and start mounting those big LED lights, hence final discussions on cable sizes and distributions plus which circuit breaker is allocated to which and at what rating.

This may go to show that although this week has seemingly been quiet, there is more in the offing. Team Frodingham are supposedly back next weekend, Andrew's time will return to normal and so maybe there'll be more to show for it. Come back and see?

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