Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of robin, wires and coolant

23rd October 2016

The blog is a bit behind schedule tonight, not because I've been working late, rather because I was feeling a bit queezy – dunno if it was the paint fumes or I'd eaten summat, but it was all I could do to start writing this at all. But, knowing as I do that the first 5 or 6 readers are already into it within the first 5 minutes, I know I cannot let my public down (hand to head in mock heroic gesture). Oh and before you ask, as the Australians say I have had a 'groan down the white telephone' and feel a lot better.

So what's been happening during the week? To tell the truth not an awful lot in the earlier part – the order went in to the profilers for collection on Friday, and at one point it looked as though we'd have to dash up north, collect the profiles and then tear off south and east to go collect grandson, but in the event Andrew was able to take a day off (as you may have sensed during last week's edition, he is a bit overloaded after a colleague left) which left me free to collect the profiles at a reasonable pace, plus go into Sheffield. My hydraulics supplier confirmed that the hose I'd brought in (to which the priming pump connects) was indeed M16, but they had no M16 x M14 nipples in stock, so I'll get those next week and see if that restores the HATRAMM's fuel system to normality. I splashed out on more cable and some sundries at the electrical wholesalers. By the time I got back to the Briddon Country Pile it was after 3 pm but as I wanted to get the van unloaded (there were some brake blocks for a customer that I'd collected from the machinists) I meandered down and started doing a bit on the wiring. But I also had to apply a rather hurried couple of coats of paint to one of the profiles, which was required for Andrew's birthday the next day, so the work I was doing helped pass the time while the paint was drying.

First thing therefore on Saturday morning I popped back down to the shed to collect the pressie, but in the cold light of day I found the paint was still slightly tacky and had dripped on something important underneath – another case for pushing ahead with the permanent lighting. Dom B was nearby and I showed him the finished product, which is about 40% of the full size version, and he thought it would be a wonderful product for the miniature railway fraternity. You never know, I might stick on the PB website near the full-sizes ones I offer.

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Anyway, ceremonies over I returned to the shed for the afternoon and started by changing the tacho head on Charlie. Charlie's had suffered from – shall we say - a bit of over-enthusiastic tapping by Andrew when it was working intermittently. Its replacement works fine so I took the loco up and down a few times before convincing myself it was time to do something more serious.

Some of the bits I had brought from the profilers were the pieces to form a bracket for the vac/air valve on 03 901, and in my current practice it has slots and tabs so that it will hold itself largely together even before Andrew gets around to welding it. Here it is with the valve concerned in the background.

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And more serious was to continue pulling the cables through and terminating where possible. For starters there was a 7 core which runs from the light switches by the door to the first box at the north west corner of the shed (Bakewell end, railway side for those who haven't figured the lie of the structure) where the wires for Row A split off but the common neutral and earth connections enter. From here the 7 core continues, now as 4 lives, 2 neutrals and an earth, to box 2 where Row B turns up and a 5 core continues to feed Row C lights. Obviously with Row B nearly reaching the Bakewell end where it comes down to Box 2, it would be good to do the BANG test with as much of the finished circuit in place as possible.

During the afternoon, as I was right by the door, I heard footsteps and voices and found two smartly dressed enthusiasts, one of them a committee member of a branch of the RCTS and the other a resident of nearby Winster, asking if they could look around as they were unaware anything was here. Who knows, maybe they'll remember to look up 'Weekend Rails' when they get home but they did rather rub me up the wrong way by muttering about 'fictitious numbers' on 03 901 and asking what numbers the two 08s were. I just told them there were no 08s here and eventually they twigged they were Dutch gronks: but I gave them the full tour just the same.

Back to work, and I had found an unswitched 3-phase socket in the container, and although it wasn't planned, it made sense to me to mount this under the distribution board as a local 3-phase outlet should it be needed any time (the others are planned at strategic places where the equipment is likely to be) using the Board MCBs as isolators (Andy H will probably now tell me it's bad practice but if he does I'll re-route the wires and put a proper switch in series). Finally, one of the chores as we move into dark evenings is to knock our temporary lights off over at the workbench and make our way out in darkness, and then find the key to lock the door. The bulkhead light has been sited above this door for 12 months and I decided it was time to put it into operation, so cut some conduit and drilled some holes, and mounted its connecting wires and local PIR switch, but at this point I was being summoned to return to the Country Pile for evening meal.

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I was down again first thing Sunday as Charles and Phil of Team Frodingham had come over for the day. I returned to the doorway lights, mounting a connector box and linking the PIR, the bulkhead lamp and a fresh feed from the distribution board together. At the moment that feed ends in a 3-pin plug so that a temporary extension lead feeds it, but it is cut to a suitable length to make off in the distribution box in due course. When the light switches are installed (I'm still waiting for Andrew to weld the plates to support them) there'll be one allocated so that it either switches under the control of the PIR or is overridden. For now it has become the first piece of the 'permanent' shed wiring to be Bang-tested and I'm pleased to say it hasn't, and I was able to lock up this evening in a pool of light.

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But that is getting ahead of things. Charles' sole purpose was to get some painting done on 1382, though first, at my request, he and Phil attended to some pipework which has meant that the loco has been dripping diesel on my nice floor ever since it arrived. After the door lamp I was plodding on with a connection down to the 13 amp sockets by the sink, which are now connected back to the distribution box, and would have cracked on with the connection to the water heater had more important matters not been nagging at me.

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Andrew had arrived down with lunch and stayed for the afternoon, his priority was to fix a coolant leak on the transfer rail of Charlie, which necessitated removing the entire rail, by disconnecting the fan and the water pump. Phil gave him a hand, and they were cleaning up the bobbins and o-rings (one of which had split) on Pluto's running plate, such is the tendency for any flat, level surface to become obscured by tools and the like which have yet to find themselves in more permanent accommodation. During the afternoon, that pesky Robin flew in again, this time using the Matlock end personnel door for entry and exit, not once but twice. I don't know if he is a railway enthusiast or merely hoping we'll offer him winter shelter.

Another smartly-dressed gentleman arrived (the particular piece of fence where these people enter is becoming such a regular access that I would be tempted to put a gate and a bell there) who did at least know whose the shed was, even if he pronounced my surname as in Rob Brydon. Once again I broke off and did the full tour with works numbers, etc., and he left with profuse thanks but no tip.

As the light fell Andrew and Phil managed to finish Charlie, refill the coolant and we got it running to check for any leaks. I have some additional bits to do before it goes out, all being well on Friday this week.

I have always said that I do not announce my commercial work unless it has already been put into the public domain, but as Fox has already put out an advert for crews (if I can I'll attach it so you can download it for yourselves), I see no reason to stay mum.  Charlie and the 03 are heading down to London to take part in the filming of the 'Murder on the Orient Express' remake. The locos themselves will not appear, they are merely providing 'out-of-shot' propulsion to a full size dummy train for studio filming. The 03 will join Charlie later, and they'll be returning around the end of February. This has been on the cards for several weeks and I suppose will add another quaint footnote to my CV, as they've asked me to drive it for the first week's test shots as they won't have had time to recruit crews who live nearer to the studio. So if you have rail experience, live within reasonable commuting distance of London and fancy having me teach you how to drive Charlie and the 03 and get paid for it into the bargain, you know where to approach. (see, I did it, look a bit further down..)

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