Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of pumps and pickers

9th October 2016

A couple of years ago, I had a trip up in the cherry-picker that the steelworks contractors were using to access the purlins, etc., as the skeleton of the Geoffrey Briddon Building took form. I took pictures (see here) and asked Father Christmas if he would bring me one. Clearly I wasn't a good enough boy, or he couldn't fit it in the sleigh, as my own one was not forthcoming. But the Terrypicker is a good alternative, and I am much happier with cladding between me and the outside world so don't miss the view (or the draught).

At the end of last week we had discovered that the HATRAMM was missing a priming pump and that this was going to prevent anything further happening until it was rectified, and so rather than start touring round asking suppliers for something which I had no part number nor description of, I merely typed 'priming pump' into e-bay and surprise, surprise there's a firm in Bury St Edmunds offering the Bosch priming pump, basically the same as that I fitted to Cheedale (see – a bridge over troubled waters) but with a non return assembly in an additional base, rather than part of the fuel pump. So I stuck an order in for one and it arrived later in the week. Given that the pump on the engine is Bosch, I thought it likely that this would be compatible, if not original equipment: but the manual for the HATRAMM is rather lacking in a lot of detail.

When it arrived I was in a quandary. There was no technical info with it, and of course, a search of Bosch's websites provided no clues – I do like manufacturers websites where you can type in a part number and it comes up with technical info, maybe a product line leaflet, not a 'sorry your search returned no hits' message. Anyway, the pipe connections either side appeared to be 3/8BSP but the pump ports were smaller, and a 1/4BSP nipple screwed in but suspiciously loosely.

On Friday afternoon I dashed over to Sheffield – the firm I use for powder coating had promised to ring me when some bits were ready but only said they were when I rang them – so took the pump with me and popped into one of my regular suppliers to confirm my suspicion and get a couple of nipples. The fact that the pump ports were identified as M14 might perhaps have sounded a note of alarm – well it did actually – but two M14 to 3/8BSP adaptors were procured and brought back. I also popped into the electrical wholesalers while I was there and came away with 2 lengths of conduit, a load of conduit fittings and more cable glands for the lights.

Andrew has had grandson for the weekend so I was on my own for Saturday and first task was to install the Priming pump. On the good news side, the existing bracket had two tapped holes of the right size and spacing to suit the pump base, suggesting that this was indeed the same as the original, but I didn't get to fit it as the adaptors refused to screw into the pipe connections at either side. They may look to be 3/8BSP (and BSP is after all, an international standard) but, after disconnecting the hose at one side and examining it closely (so closely that I failed to notice that it was dripping out of the other end over my foot) I suspect that it is M16. Ah well, a trip back to the hydraulics suppliers is likely, this time with the hose to ensure that we get a proper match.

Although there were jobs I really should have been doing, I decided to finish off the last two lamp assemblies from rows A and B so that they are all ready to go up, complete with the glands for the single-wire armoured cabling that will be used to come down from the rows to cable-tray level. But I couldn't resist a bit of conduit work, and having also bought a new 'concrete' drill bit, it seemed a good excuse to try it out.

When I was putting up the soap and cream dispensers by the sink, I bought a 6mm bit 'suitable for masonry, concrete, etc' from the builders merchants which after about 3 holes seemed to become a bit ineffective and on examination, I found the entire pointy-winged bit at the end had disappeared and the bit was flat and blunt. The electrical suppliers however had bits carded on their display racks which were separately labelled for masonry and concrete, so I'd picked up a 6mm concrete one for trial.

And so, let us move on to a product assessment of a CK 6mm concrete drill bit. I have to say that after half-a-dozen holes in our concrete panels, the bit has succeeded not only in drilling reasonably quickly and effectively, but so far, the pointy-winged end is still in existence and seems good for a few more holes. I do however have one issue – it doesn't feel like a 6mm diameter bit, and the plastic plugs I had that purport to fit a 6mm hole wedged solid long before their ends. On the other hand, plugs expecting 5mm holes fitted a treat so the job was done.

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And what was achieved? At the far end of the draining board there is now a 240V double socket and a conduit connecting it thence up towards the cable trays. It has an elbow at the top and requires another 6 inch length of conduit to reach. I couldn't resist plugging the fridge in (pointless I know until it has live wires going to the plug but that way I can dream of it all being finished) – the kettle will go in the other.

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Next to the sink I fitted an over-the-top two pole isolator for the water heater. The conduit will go in next time I'm in the mood. And farther along, the first 110V socket now has a conduit leading up to the 415-110 transformer located above, but the centre line for the conduit into the switch enclosure is substantially greater than the depth of the saddle clamp needed to steady the conduit, so a spacer will be required, and as there are others to be put up similarly around the building this might as well be a properly thought out one with a few in hand. No rush as there's no cable and the transformer still needs moving up the column before I can progress with that.

Today I had to be down reasonably early as some of Team Frodingham were turning up, to whit Charles, Pieman and Jagger. During a welcoming cup of tea I dropped one of my subtle hints about moving some of their bits and pieces into their container. When we'd arrived Dom B had been hard at work fixing the other level crossing gate lamp – this time he was equipped with sufficient tie-wraps - but indicated he could do with the empty drum he'd left before filling with the oil we'd promised, but my attempts to syphon it were singularly unsuccessful. A spare rotary pump was dug out the oil store but was seized. I spent an hour or so opening it, trying to figure what was causing the problem and emery-ing where I thought there might be something rubbing, but to no avail. It would turn so far and then stick. Having thus spent more time trying to fix it which at my commercial labour rate equated to more than a new one would cost, I dug another out and presented the defective one to the scrap bin.

Meanwhile the three Team Frod guys had got on with moving many of their bits piecemeal into their container (not that I am that territorial but the corner they had made their own is due to house the fire extinguishers, etc as part of the building compliance) after first re-organising the internals, with the result that they have sorted out the 'doors – fit for sale' from the 'doors – fit for nothing', and got much of their clobber straightened out and a lock on the door. I passed them some spare racking units that we'd acquired over the years but that didn't suit Andrew's grand-master-plan for our container (in fact two of them he'd tried to scrap once but I stopped him) which provided them some additional shelf space. Jagger got on with painting in the step wells on 1382 and its generator, and for myself, after doing some other jobs, I was determined to start putting some lights up.

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Since the Terrypicker was roughly under the middle of the building (Row B) I got myself set up and headed up into the roof to make a start. My first observation was how many flies we seem to have been attracted up there. Not an inundation but a couple of dozen maybe along the length of the shed, mostly alive but a few dead. Don't tell Captain Idiot (who has a bit of a phobia about spiders and their webs) but I suspect there's a fair few making their homes up there.

Anyway, it was relatively late in the day before I got onto that, and with a bit of a learning curve to go through (like Pieman making six attempts to throw me a screwdriver up to save me coming back down) I only got B1 and B2, the 50 and 100W floods for the first bay, up and cabled through before it was getting a bit dim to read the cable numbers. Next time it will be B3 and B4 but after that there'll be workbenches and things to move.

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While I was up there I grabbed the opportunity to get a look down view at Team Frodingham at work on 1382, and a view up the shed, revealing just how untidy it's getting.

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Mind you, the patch in the 4ft between the locos is mostly the production line getting the floodlights cabled up ready for installation, with drums of SY and SWA cable, etc. C1, the 100W which will be positioned over the eastern row, is also ready but may be a while before we get that far. Indeed, row A will be interesting as the Terrypicker's wheels are the wrong gauge to go inside or outside our rails, yet that it almost exactly where we need to be to reach the required purlin.

So that's about it for this week. Not the giant leaps of progress but slow, steady steps with time split between different priorities. You'll notice that we've done nothing on our little siding extension – that has got to change. In another week or so hopefully we'll be farther on and maybe have the HATRAMM fully-functiong. Meanwhile Tuesday is that day of the year when I start getting all morose and dejected, but as grandson is returning to his mother's and Andrew will be away for work, it has been decided that my birthday this year will be moved forward twelve hours beginning with birthday tea and cake tomorrow evening. I'll see if that does the trick or makes me depressed for two days rather than one.....

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