Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of a quiet weekend

24th September 2017

One of the effects of having a busy week like last is that this one is comparatively quiet. No loco moves, no major incidents. Nothing of interest – or is there?

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Sure enough, on Monday I got the call from Tunstead to see about progress on the remaining RS8 bits at Darley, and a proposed meeting for Thursday. Fortunately (for me) the workshops have found additional cracking and such that needs attention so it will be 3 weeks before the chassis can be released from the workshops and go to the erecting shop. But at that point they want the wheels and gearbox ready.

Meanwhile after much to-ing and fro-ing I placed the order for the new oiler pads for the axleboxes on a 1-2 week delivery on Monday and by late Tuesday I was being told they were ready for despatch.

Wednesday was a day for getting things. I was about to set off for Sheffield in the Golf when I had a phone call from an unknown mobile. The Darley Dale blockman had given an enthusiast my number and he was asking for a look around. So I swept down to the shed and gave the guy the now standard tour (I'm almost word-perfect on the script) before heading back over to Sheffield to get a few things from the suppliers, including a water trap for the upcoming shed air system and 80 metres of cable for the last 3-phase outlets up the eastern wall.

Later that afternoon I swapped Golf for the van and went out Whaley Bridge way to collect more earthwool insulation blocks. I'd thought we were about done with this stuff, but Andrew wants to add insulation around the roller shutter doors (where in places there is nothing but thin sheet between us and the cold world outside) though to me the areas concerned are insignificant compared to the area of the roller shutters themselves. Anyway, back home it was tea time then off to Leicester to collect something else he'd acquired through the good offices of e-bay.

The British are renowned for eccentrics and we'd arrived at the house of one. Claiming to be a cabinet-maker, his front garden had 'things' protected by tarpaulins and his garage was choc-a-bloc with all sorts of objects from a band-saw, pieces of wood of all shapes and sizes, the cases of 4 grandfather clocks and many more things whose purpose I was uncertain of. Our purpose was to collect a large tool chest – this is one like a plan chest but with extra heavy-duty runners so you can spread out heavy tools and tooling. Even without tools it was too heavy for the 3 of us to lift so out came all the drawers, in went the base unit and the drawers were squeezed in all around. Then we went in the kitchen to wash our hands. Copper pans, kettles and ladles hung in artistic groups from the ceiling both there and in the conservatory. Streetname signs adorned walls. An aluminium RUSTON plate caught my eye - not a loco one but what was it from, I asked. He couldn't tell me, maybe a Ruston Gas turbine or a Bucyrus excavator? I drove back, the shelves crashing and banging on curve or braking, and they're still in there now.

On Thursday Reg G and the photographer returned to see the state of play with wheelsets and gearbox and discuss a future programme, starting with my visiting Tunstead to advise/oversee the test run of the C6 engine. A chase-up about the converter revealed that it was tested and almost ready for despatch, so that was set up for the middle of this next week.

On Friday Steph and I had dentist visits, during which time Parcel Force delivered the oiler pads but took them away again.

It was a weekend when grandson was up so I was not expecting much assistance from Andrew but I had promised an enthusiast coming up from Brighton so was around the shed in time for him to arrive by the first southbound service train from Rowsley. Andrew meantime boarded the class 31 and cabbed it down to Matlock and back – the owner had had reports of noises and burning smells and had asked us to investigate.

After a quick lunch we were back down for a meeting which broke up a bit after two: Andrew returned for fatherly duties and I set about drawing the first of the two cables for the last 3-phase outlets. Such is the size of the building I had returned from Sheffield with 80metres of cable to do these last 2 planned outlets with an estimated 2-3m margin to spare. Dragging the cables round two 90 degree corners and numerous things that succeed in snagging slack cable, then tie-wrapping it all to the cable-trays is a long and tedious process on one's own, and at the end of which has little to show and even less of it photogenic. In the end I finished the first back to the distribution board and made it off to the outlet on the middle-column before locking up. I collected Andrew and we headed up to Rowsley, making an underneath inspection of the 31 using the outside pit where it parks overnight. Andrew identified a number defects and observations to report back to the owner.

Today I didn't head down to the shed until we'd had an early lunch. Andrew and Steph were then taking grandson back to Norfolk. I set about pulling through the second cable, which takes us all the way to the south-east corner whose outlet will provide for the hack-saw and compressor. I was expecting another visitor, in this case the Editor of Todays Railways and his family, so broke off for the tour when they arrived. The cable is now in place and secured, and the outlet made ready for installation, but neither end of this cable is made off, and in any event I will connect both of them at the distribution board at the same time.

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As I began to think about wandering home, I thought as a last job for the day I would add some more pictures to our picture wall. Up to now it has only had three of 14 901 – two at Elsecar and one at Butterley – because these were ones I had created for other purposes years ago. This week I had printed out a selection of new ones and encapsulated them ready for mounting. Although there is another of 14 901 – at Old Oak – I've spread the net wider with Charlie, Claire, Pluto, the 03, Ashdown and James and Jack getting a look-in, with locations from Rosyth to Longcross. So I'll leave you with a single photo of that, and promise something more wide-ranging next week. Good day.

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