Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of brakes, spiders and drains

4th June 2017

Now, before I forget, the first 'official' trailer for 'Murder on the Orient Express' is now out on you-tube.

So take a minute to go here and have a look. The first few seconds (after the 21st Century Fox bit) has the front of the loco and I remember the scene well, as I was pushing it all with Charlie from the back, but as I said, you won't see either Charlie, 03901 or me on screen: you'll just have to imagine. Steph, who is a moderate Christie-fan, watched the trailer, got to see Kenneth Branagh in his 'Poirot' moustache, shook her head and went 'No, no. no, no, no...'

We had, rather Andrew had, reported our problems with children/ teenagers to the Police, and on Tuesday had a phone call from a local PC wanting to arrange a meeting and take away our DDTV ('Darley Dale TV') footage. So far we hadn't got around to downloading this, and when we had, we had first tried a piece that came in h264 format (which was neither use nor ornament to us) and the supplier pointed out that we could have had it in .AVI format if we'd only clicked the menu. So as Andrew scampered off on Monday he had left me with the task of identifying and saving all the relevant bits from 4 cameras. On Wednesday morning therefore, I was attempting to transfer all this to a CD (in the end it took 3) and as the PC was coming at 2pm it was twenty to two when I arrived at the shed to open up ready.

A minute or two after unlocking I turned on the DDTV monitor and a minute or more later saw someone mucking around up by Grace, half way up the yard. Off I went, not even time to get into hivi, and discovered 6 teenagers who fortunately for me, legged it, laughing and jeering and displaying lack of concern for our barbed wire. The next north-bound train, headed by D8, apparently filmed some youths, probably the same six, putting stones and a large bolt on the rails ahead of the train, which duly crunched the stones but fired the bolt out sideways, fortunately not hitting anybody. The Darley Dale blockman strode off to investigate.

Our PC duly arrived. Her name was Tammy and I resisted the urge to declare that her parents must have been Country & Western fans as she'd probably heard it loads of times. We had a long discussion, advice as to how to deal with minors, and she went off clutching the 3CDs and a promise that she would advise the local PCSO to keep an extra eye on the place. We have continued to spend some evenings down there until dark, but either the 'oiks' have got bored with us, the Police recognised them and had words, or the PCSO has been discretely patrolling. I don''t know why but for the moment the incursions have tailed off.

Back on Monday, Andrew had won another BroomWade compressor on e-bay, and as it came with a motor, base, sundry pipework and an air receiver, but was only ten minutes away at Longcliffe, we had opened up for Andy H to continue on the RS8 cab while we drove up to collect it. It fitted into the van in kit form, and bonged and clonged as I drove back – and for the next couple of days until Andrew and I had time to unload it all. The receiver went into the scrap bin with the base and other minor bits - not before a goo of congealed oil and condensate had oozed out of the inspection ports, which obviously the previous owner had never thought to open.

Anyway, returning to Monday Andy completed stripping the cab structure for RS8, when the final control linkages and sundries were lifted out. Earlier he had managed to unbolt the handbrake wheel and its shaft, but as the bearing on the end of the shaft was seized solid, could not waggle it out. After hunting around the workshops and popping back home in the vain hope of finding a proper puller, I came across two thick plates in the workshop (I think they were converter fluid port blanking plates) whose holes looked about right, grabbed a couple of girder clamps and some bolts, and with a selection of packing bits I had an improvised puller which succeeded in separating shaft from bearing block, and indeed bearing too. RS8 itself (i.e frame and wheels) has come into the works in the space vacated by 14901 so that chassis dismantling can continue irrespective of weather. The side rods are now off and other work is proceeding.

Again through e-bay a brake master cylinder for a Morris 1000 arrived and sure enough, it looked identical to the iffy one on the forklift, but for two differences. Whereas our old cylinder's delivery port was tapped to 1/2 inch UNF, the Moggy 1000 seemed to be tapped to 3/8 inch UNC. Whereas our old cylinder was mounted to its bracket by tapped holes, our new cylinder had clearance for 3/8 inch through bolts. Fortunately the supplier's website included an exploded diagram of the cylinder, as although we discussed carefully drilling out the existing tapping and re-cutting it to 1/2 inch UNF by mounting it vertically and working up from below, it was much better to remove the entire gubbins of the cylinder (held by a single circlip) and clean all the swarf out after.

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It was Friday before we came to tackle this, and we soon had the cylinder mounted to its bracket with a couple of pieces of M10 studding. But when we came to attach the footpedal, a further snag became apparent. Our old cylinder had been held with bolts into tapped holes, and the footpedal itself travelled right alongside. Indeed it passed through the very place where now our studding was secured with M10 nuts. Nothing for it but to cut the arm of the footpedal and weld it back together, offset. This we did, and left it to cool off.

On Saturday we had Charles joining us as sole representative from Team Frod., and as he got on with painting 1382 and its power unit, Andrew and I returned to assembling our modified forklift foot-brake and bleeding it. Actually we had to bleed it rather a lot, and I began to despair that one or both of the slave cylinders (which Terry inspected a while ago and declared serviceable) was now leaking, but after a break and further bleeding, it condescended to give is an adequate pedal and we put the flooring back in place.

Up at Rowsley, the Heritage Shunters Trust was having an event and that usually means that shunter fans, unable to find everything they expected there, discover that further locos are to be found at Darley Dale. So every train going by had two or more leaning out of vestibule windows trying to take photos of everything as they pass, and a small number might actually get off the train at Darley and make enquiries. Sure enough, the Stationmaster phoned across and I went out to meet two who had come up from London. One insisted he had been at Swindon when the first Teddy Bears were built, and that the side frames were cut by laser, with several pairs of plates cut together. Now, I didn't want to argue, (though I did suggest that this was very early for laser-cutting) but according to what I've researched, the first production laser cutter was installed in the States in 1965, and we Brits pioneered laser-assisted oxygen-jet cutting in 1967, so cutting Teddy Bear frames by laser in 1964 seems unlikely. (In 'Goldfinger' (1964), when 007 is restrained on a sheet of gold being cut by a 'laser', it was all done with a technician underneath using an oxy-acetylene torch!)

Anyway, I gave them the guided tour and they dropped some coins into the Donations box, and as I shepherded them out of the gate another asked if there was any chance of a look round so I did the same thing over again.

I had had a slight migraine over breakfast so was quite happy to take things a little easy, but after lunch decided to try and do a bit more tidying up as one effect of me taking people round is to see just how untidy the place had become. Not that I got all that far, but a pile of empty pallets was transferred outside, thus recovering nearly 2 sq metres of floor, and a number of lumps relocated to the container. Steph stayed on for a while after lunch and did a spring clean of the sink area, which had been looking more than a little grubby.

Andrew was out today and I thought I might be on my own for the day. It was a red letter day for Peak Rail too, as D8 was due to leave for an event on the North Norfolk Railway. D8 has been the sole working diesel for a couple of weeks, so presumably something is amiss with the 31, and during the week one forum announced that 45041 (Royal Tank Regiment) was coming until June 17th. (Actually the forum said 450414 but it was a fair bet that 3rd rail 750V DC wasn't being installed in time for a class 450!) But then we'd heard from two sources on Friday that it wasn't and on Saturday that a class 20 was coming instead. Sure enough, the two 20s coming from Butterley to convey D8 out to Sheringham brought 20189 with them this morning, and on arrival at the workshops I was able to watch them go by from the comfort of playback on DDTV. But today was also the incoming special from London, and like last time, it was diesel worked from Derby as Rowsley's turntable is too short for certain main line pacifics.

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I had been working on getting an electrical feed and shelf set up for a permanent location for DDTV as time came around, so on a whim I fired up James and took it down to the headshunt to await the special's passing. While I was there I saw someone watching me from the road bridge – the gentleman came down the footpath (interesting in itself as the Council has blocked both ends off for bridge repairs) called to me on the loco, and then calmly climbed over the fence, (nearly getting our barbed wire where the sun don't shine) and up on to James to converse with me. It transpired he was involved with the carriage museum at Red House and we knew a number of people in common.

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57314 came in with the special and I waved politely at the passengers, then I invited my unexpected guest back to the shed for a cuppa. Later on I escorted him out to the proper entrance and exit; I daresay we'll met again in due course. I returned to my shelf and with that complete, decided to insert the branch in the drain out front to connect the slot drain properly. The branch piece had arrived the same day as our master cylinder but had been waiting on a workbench. Now it is in situ and I must do some more work on the slot drain for it to become effective.

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I was going to put a plea out for guidance but answers came both from Andy H and from Bill Hyde. One operational hitch with DDTV is that spiders consider the cameras a 'des res'. It's warm, and there's plenty of places to spin webs and lie in wait. I daresay the slight magenta light that the cameras show at night even attracts moths (though I have yet to see one caught, so maybe the moths don't like that colour). Either way, the spiders have been webbing across the cameras to differing degrees. Last week I wiped them off with a paint roller on an extendable pole, but within half an hour a very out-of-focus spider could be discerned running to and fro putting it all back again.

So my question was going to be what can I use to keep spiders off my cameras – Andy H suggested chestnuts, but Bill proposed a long-lasting insecticide that contains some sort of lacquer that enables it to remain in place for a month or so. The spray is now at the shed and we shall attempt an application shortly. Either the spiders clear off, or at least start paying some rent...

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From David Sparkes:

I have seen this problem discussed on LR forums, and the problem seems to be 'blamed' on cameras with lighting situated in the same housing as the camera.
The advice was to buy separate IR light units (which tend to be more powerful) and mount them separately from the cameras, disabling in some way the lights in the camera housing.
Hope this helps, David.

Pete replies:

Thanks David, I'll bear that in mind, though I have yet to see a suitable camera that doesn't have the IR integral, nor with means of disabling it. It's been too wet and windy to apply the spray today, but the spiders are in for a shock soon!

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