You remember I said a week or so ago that I said there may be a break in service as the sites moved to a more secure server? Well it sure was secure, for 36 hours I couldn't get e-mails in or out! If you have had any problems reaching me during the beginning of the week – sorry, but as far as I know it's all sorted now.,
So, early Monday morning the firm in Sheffield rang to say that the workshop press ram was fixed and ready for collection, but most of my week was already booked up and I said I wouldn't make it until Thursday. Then in the course of Tuesday I had a phone call from someone offering me a 'quantity' of Rolls-Royce/Sentinel parts at a price that was worth a punt, the only snag being that they had to be collected within 48 hours. And there's the rub, because the forklift is still on blocks. But the opportunity would have been a shame to miss and I accepted, and wondered where it would all go!
On Wednesday morning a haulier arrived to collect the wheelsets from the PCV. As he had a very impressive HIAB he was easily able to move the steelwork stocks from Thelma, and put the B5 bogie frames in their place before departing with the wheelsets. And with them went any further claim Colas had on the PCV, meaning that it is now officially part of the collection and as such warranted its own entry in Andrew Briddon Locos. So with a few minutes to spare I set to work and did it, and having created it, found that the server security mysteriously prevented me from updating the Acquisitions page or even logging the update on the Welcome page. But like I say, it is all sorted now.
Thursday, and I had planned an early dash to Sheffield to get the ram and sundry other things, but first thing a phone call from my friendly local haulier asked if he could bring collection forward and be with me by lunchtime. No chance to do Sheffield then and I headed down to Darley to pull the locos and rolling stock forward so that he could back up and unload behind the shed. This he duly did (he only had a small HIAB) and departed with a number of pallets laid out outside. I spent the afternoon handballing several pallet loads inside, and sheeted the rest down.
One evening Andrew and I did get into the shed and resumed work on the forklift. Clearly Caterpillar envisaged maintenance being carried out with a pit as the ground clearance is minimal. Having jacked the vehicle up to get under it better, we had discovered that the bracket supporting the hydraulic oil tanks had fractured, allowing the tanks to drop down at an angle and taking much of their weight on one or two hoses. A rear chassis member was an obvious place to put a new support, but as it was so low we opted to use a right-angle air drill to pilot out and enlarge the holes. One of the hoses that connected to the filter assembly that had given us such trouble turned out to have been chaffing on something and it was best to replace it (it's likely to be nearly half-a-century old, indeed I'm beginning to wonder whether it has ever been fully serviced before!). So my Sheffield trip on Friday included my regular hydraulics supplier who manufactured a new hose to pattern, while I collected the ram from elsewhere and a few things from the electrical wholesalers.
On Saturday we were due a visit from Phoenix Railtours, for which we were joined by Charles, Stephen and Andy H from the IDRPG to act as stewards/minders. Andrew went down first to start getting things ready while I went to the butchers' (Steph's up at our daughter's) and then joined him. The locos on the track next to the Peak Rail running line were drawn forward and tape strung to denote the safe areas. Several locos normally kept sheeted were partially un-sheeted for photography (but not Jack nor the NB 0-6-0 - neither of which are that photogenic in their present states.)
The railtour party arrived by minibus, and after a quick induction wandered around the collection, ticking off each loco from a hand-out I'd prepared and I'm pleased to say, putting a few coins into the collection tin which I had put far more prominently.
Now Andrew's plan was that once they'd left, I'd have time to pop home and prepare lunch before our second group of visitors arrived, but barely was the minibus heading up Station Road than I had a text that the first would be with us five minutes. We had time to push some of the locos back, but bring the 14 across to the shed and the three of them were enjoying a cup of our tea.
14 901 was fully inspected, then started up and put through its paces. The gearbox, which had been rather stiff and reluctant to go into forwards when we ran it last, began to go over hesitantly but they all took turns and commented on the visibility and how well and quietly the loco stopped on its composite brake blocks. Andy, Charles and Stephen meanwhile were digging out one of the turnouts, where ballast was impeding the operation of the point lever mechanism.
The 14's evaluation finished, I was sent off to do the sandwiches while Andrew showed them the 03, and I got back just in time for the departing handshakes. Although Stephen and Charles had had time to do some work on 1382 during the morning, in the afternoon it was all hands to get the remaining parts inside under cover and sort out some of the dross and duplication. They were rewarded with the chance to try out 14 901 before I put it back on the siding, Later on I got the ram remounted in the press with a helping hand from Andrew, and they celebrated by removing all the remaining worn bushes on 1382's brake hangers, without any drips of oil.
Armed with a fresh length of Unistrut, I cut and drilled a second piece and mounted the second of my LED-converted striplights over the degreaser, where Andrew was moaning it was too dark.
Today was a slow start and slow progress. We concentrated on the forklift, finishing the support bracket for the oil tanks, and removing, cleaning and replacing some of the pipes and hoses connected to it, including a long battle with that filter which is sited in such a dastardly position that no spanner known to man can get close to turning its connections. By the end of the day the pipework was all re-connected and the reservoirs drained: hopefully by next week we'll be getting it back into action. It's been sorely missed.
A heart-felt thanks to Stephen, Charles and Andy H who shifted the heavy lumps without complaint and in good humour: you definitely earned your tea and sandwiches!