Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of Autumn in the air

2nd October 2016

The mornings have taken on a definite Autumnal feel, with a subtle chill in the air, although it is noticeably warmer inside the shed. The days though continue to be bright and encourage us to get out on our little piece of track extension.

It has been relatively quiet in the earlier part of the week, with both of us getting on with the means of earning our livings.

On Friday Andrew was away at silly o'clock in the morning, which did at least mean that he was finished before too late in the day. First thing that morning I had been down at the shed to see the skip away to that nice Mr Booth, and an empty one back in its place, but later on we were expecting a delivery of a last few concrete sleepers with bullhead chairs to complete our extension of the siding, and fortunately for me, Andrew was back in time to oversee their unloading. Then I found myself commandeered as Andrew took advantage of weather and diminishing light to get the rails into place, the fishplates on and the section jacked up into place so as to be somewhere near finished (gave or take a bit of a droop). I have long tried to avoid work on n.g. track: this s.g stuff is too darn heavy!

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Incidentally, remember my speculation about the quantity of stone and its possible building origins? In the last day or so another picture of Darley Dale has appeared on Flickr, taken in 1969 presumably after closure as the Signal box has a damaged roof, its nameboard has gone and there's a padlock across the crossing gates, but showing a de-roofed but random stone building in the background that most likely BR demolished at a later date (the yard sidings themselves had already disappeared). Maybe that is the stone we've been turning up.

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On Saturday we had a few members of Team Frodingham over, who divided their time variously over sorting out the contents of their container, digging some of the 'ballast' ( I use the term loosely) back under our new track (which Andrew had overall charge of getting level), painting 1382's generator and sanding the inside of 03 901s cab. It does mean though that the need to get a permanent electrical supply into the building is getting urgent as the present extension cable from the Portakabin is in danger of being overloaded. OK, we haven't blown the fuse – yet – that M6 bolt across the fuseholder in the plug is working well – (No! I'm only joking – it's quarter Whit) but using too many devices at the same time must be getting it close. If we are to make best use of Team F's labour we don't want to be taking it turns with power tools.

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Another welcome face was Andy H, who had decided it was time to get his hands dirty and so I had him starting to cable up the LED floodlights ready for installation. Each of the 3 rows (one centre, one at each side) of lights will alternate between 50W and 100W, with each subset switched so that we can have subdued or full-blown lighting depending on which part of the shed we are working in. Anyway, after a lot of discussion about my plans for cable routes and protections, Andy created something of a production line on cabling, which I joined in with when I wasn't being called away for something else. With work completed on Sunday I have 14 of the 16 lamps required for rows A and B (at this point I ran out of cable glands); each lamp wired to its connector box and each connector box then with 3metres of cable to take it along to the next one in the row.

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And all this is where the Terrypicker comes in, and on cue, Terry D arrived during the afternoon to go over the Terrypicker and instruct us on how it works, emergency recovery, etc. In return we will do a few maintenance jobs on it, but of course most of Team Frodingham couldn't resist a trip up and down. I suspect it will be me doing much of the work on installation (electrics normally fall into my responsibility) and as it is strictly verboten that anyone goes up without somebody else around to get you down in the event of a problem, that may limit quite when we start putting the lights up – but we are slowly getting there.

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While Terry was around, Andrew showed him the HATRAMM and as I said before, it would need 2 of us to get it to go, so we upped the engine inspection covers. Here's Terry in full-fitter mode, holding the throttle actuator open while Andrew cranked it from the desk. And it went, rapidly making 30psi in the air tanks, but stopping as soon as Terry let go. This may not be incorrect - the manual does say that there is no throttle control without the other half of the TRAMM being coupled or special plugs to provide the necessary signals back – for the moment we have neither and must go through the wiring diagrams until we figure out what signal is needed.

But on a second or maybe third bit of running, the engine died with what was obviously lack of fuel, and lead us to trace the fuel lines back from engine to tank, and to our chagrin, there's a priming pump missing. In other words, the engine had run until there was insufficient fuel left to maintain any pressure in the pump gallery. A suitable pump has been identified on e-bay, and we will return to it as soon as we can.

IDRPG members (Team Frod to us) were going over to Foxfield today to investigate a Janus, and they had taken the batteries off 1382 home with them Saturday night (we had given them a check over and a boost during the day) but Captain Idiot and Stephen McB needed some other bits and told Andrew that they'd call in on their way over this morning. About twenty past nine Andrew staggered down to me as a I was finishing my breakfast to ask if I'd pop down to open up, as they were apparently sat waiting. I picked my phone up from my bedside table to find Captain Idiot had rung me twice while I'd been downstairs, drove down and aided their quest for bits. At the Darley Dale level crossing Dom B was trying to rectify a wiring defect to the gate lamps brought about by water damage to old cables. He was setting up a new cable but had no tie-wraps, so I headed back over to our shed and dug out a handful for him.

A little while later I got back home and a little while later still – not the least delay being due to a customer who rang me up and talked for almost 30 minutes – we got back down. Dom B was still there but so was Rob S, who came over a little later to see how we were getting on and show pictures of track modifications at Crewe – like ours only on a much bigger scale and with proper ballast. Nothing very much to report – a bit of tidying here, cabling there. Things got put back in the container and so on, mostly because there wasn't enough time to get engrossed in a task as a work colleague of Andrew's was calling on her way by. After she had departed we went outside, Andrew replacing missing or defective track keys on the track leading around to the shed.

Next weekend grandson should be back for his next visit, and Andrew is planning time with him, so it may be just me on my own, or perhaps with a lone member of Team Frodingham. Never mind, I'm sure there'll be something to talk about.

More in this category: Of pumps and pickers »

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