Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of studs and LEDs


29th October 2017

The 'hit count' on this blog has been well up for the last couple of weeks – I gather it has had plugs on NatPres and something called Facebook (I'm not one for social media, but then a decade ago I'd never have thought of doing a weekly blog) so firstly a welcome to all new readers and I hope you'll hang around. It can get lonely here on my own.

So, back on Monday Andrew and I got down to the shed in the evening and I made further progress on the lights, and by the end of the evening (which in this case was about 10.30pm, and grandson was still awake as he wouldn't go to bed until Daddy was back) all the lights in RowC bar one were up and some additional painting carried out with that double whipped cream. On Tuesday we got down again, the last light was mounted and the SWA cable that comes down the wall from it was hooked up.

On Wednesday afternoon I got in for a time, determined to get Row C connected back before I ran out of daylight. Andrew had the day off and was out with grandson. The SWA was not long enough to reach back to the connector box at the junction for the middle row of lights (B), so I mounted up a new one on the other column and completed the connection in the usual SY. At about a quarter to five I received a call from Andrew to say that tea was at five and as I had about another half-hour of work I rushed to get finished. It was time for the test at about 5.15 and I ceremonially removed the tape that had prevented the two relevant switches from operating and flicked the one to turn on the 100W LEDs of Row C.

Nothing. That was somewhat of a disappointment. I pressed the other switch though and hey presto, on came all four 50W LEDs - and one of the 100W'ers. I went home a little confused. I could easily account for a 100W LED coming on if it had been wired across 2 and 4 rather than 1 and 3 (our Hon Electrical Consultant having insisted on separate Neutrals) but why hadn't the other 3 worked? At least nothing had gone Flash! Bang!

Most of our evening work has been directed towards serious tidying and general preparation aimed at getting the remaining workshop floor sealed and painted. Although I was quite prepared to carry on sucking up the loose dust with our previously acquired vacuum cleaner(s), Andrew has been advocating a 'proper' industrial one which at first we were going to hire, but now he decided we should purchase, arguing that it would be more capable of coping with the dust (the existing vacuum cleaner clogs its filter quite rapidly) and that the attachments will save me going around on my knees. (Though with my eyesight I may still go round at that level merely to check I haven't missed anywhere!) Thus we ordered one off an ebay supplier this week, and I was hoping it would arrive by Friday, but the tracking system so far can't decide if it is in transit or hasn't yet been collected from the supplier. Anyway, it may not yet be that obvious to the casual visitor but things are getting straightened out slowly, but part of that is moving all the clutter that is on the floor that needs treating, which includes all the Matterson posts etc., so chaos will apparently reign for the moment.

Anyway, back to the lights. Some time on Friday I made a quick foray on the Terrypicker and corrected the 100W LED which was indeed connected across the 50W circuit, then started tracing the fault on the 100W side. It was at first all the more mysterious in that when I had checked the 100W side with the 50's on, my meter showed about 28volts present. In the end the answer was not so peculiar. In my rush to get it connected and get home for tea while it was still warm, I had tightened the nut on the terminal in the junction box (where Row B and Row C separated) very tightly: it was just that the crimp on the end of the wire was about an inch away from the stud at the time. I blame the rush and the failing daylight. Put the wire on the stud and on came the 100Ws just as they should. (The 28Volts? Oh that was induction from adjacent cables.)

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Anyway, Thursday is Tunstead day and I had loaded the van on Wednesday with the axleboxes and bearings, as having seen the parts cleaner at Tunstead I knew it could do a more through job than I was able, and without as much effort. When I got up there it was to find my regular co-worker, Liam, had gone home with a flu bug which was doing the rounds of the workshops, so I was joined by Jack, who was one of those who had helped strip RS8 at Darley. I only had the morning free this week, as the NHS, noting my age, had demanded by presence at the Matlock medical centre for some sort of abnormal aorta screening thing. So anyway the axleboxes got a thorough clean while we inspected the internals of the cylinders with another endoscope that would pass through the bottom of the Rolls-Royce injector sleeve. My good friend the ex-RR Service Engineer had recommended that instead of putting the injectors back in with the studs, I switch to bolts as R-R did themselves latterly, but none of my parts books showed this mod and we worked out between us which size it must be and as luck would have it, we had some setscrews in stock. So after cleaning out the mounting tube with the appropriate RR tooling, we applied copperslip and stated refitting the reworked injectors.

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Of course first task was to extract the old studs – some had come out when I had tried to remove just the nuts, but several were well-stuck-in and the usual practice of applying two nuts locked together to remove them did the trick, until on about the fifth or sixth the stud sheared. They had all been well-wasted just where they came out of the head, so it was almost inevitable that one would fail there – probably would have done if I had attempted to tighten its holding nut in the old way. As it was nearly lunchtime I left Jack to it – he would try and extract the remains of the old stud and finish inserting the last two injectors. If he was successful we'll have the spill returns to refit and the oil to pour in but we're about ready for that test run.

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I had expected Tarmac to be turning up to collect the wheelsets and gearbox this week but apparently the lorry had been fully occupied with the plant maintenance, so maybe they'll leave this next week instead.

Oh yeah, the screening? Well after this guy had pressed his sensor onto my lower abdomen so hard that I nearly had to warn him to beware of an unscheduled re-appearance of my lunch, he pronounced it entirely normal and OK. About an hour later the blindingly obvious retort came to me – 'so it's just like it aorta be?' Sometimes I just wish I could be wittier, quicker.

I've already told you most of Friday and on Saturday I had to go to Sheffield to collect some parts and other errands, - including making initial contact with the local Peugeot dealer about a possible replacement van - and didn't get down to the shed until late in the afternoon, putting in only an hour or so in sweeping some of the piles of concrete dust up (half a bucket full and seemingly making little difference) and a few other minor jobs of that ilk. Andrew had been running grandson home so didn't get back until half-eight.

Today Phil G returned to go with Andrew for another days work preparing his trailer for its MoT, leaving me at the shed alone. I started by lighting a fire out the back, which in the end burned for the rest of the day as I got rid of bits of old wood, contaminated cardboard and the like. In between times I started drilling the holes to mount the second fire alarm bell by the south door, but unable to find any wall plugs, couldn't finish it – besides, I like to do this in small doses: drilling reinforced concrete is a tiresome process and heavy on the wrists and hands. As a break, I wandered out to the PCV. Even before our recent incursions, the drivers' side sliding windows and the droplight in one drivers' door had been smashed, and I had long thought of trying to effect some repair and stop the weather getting in. The weather was benign today and the urge got too much, so I undid the bolt and chain, and measured up the droplight. We were donated some years ago some very thick clear plastic sheet – perspex probably – which had been safety covers on packaging machinery. I've cut odd bits from time-to-time, and selected the one untouched one to provide temporary glazing for the droplight. Being about 10mm thick it's a swine to mark and cut – marking because my felt pens don't like the surface and cutting because it needs a jigsaw and the stuff melts and reseals behind, so you end up running through twice before the bits separate. But eventually and after a modicum of adjustment, I was able to stop the wind blowing in and moved around to the sliding windows. How these are retained is as yet a mystery. I removed the interior aluminium trim but could find nothing holding the window, but scratching the outside revealed what looks like some form of tamper-proof screw, or at least, a countersunk head but entirely flat save for two raised digits. Surely there must be a way of removing them for replacement? Any BR-vintage carriage experts care to explain?

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Meanwhile Andrew and Phil got all the marker lights renewed with LED ones, changed 4 out of 6 brake chambers, removed bits of worn-out boarding ready for replacement and returned with a fulcrum from part of the handbrake linkage which is seized and needs replacing. The pressure is on to get it fit for the road as fellow IDRPG members may have a job for it. The two returned content with progress, and Andrew and I continued tidying up together for a while longer. The clocks have of course moved back, so the clock in the workshops is now only a few minutes slow(!), and making the new lighting especially worthwhile, and here's a shot just before we knocked off this evening which I hope will give you a feel for how light the shed is, even though these are just the 100W LEDs.

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I inferred at the end of last weeks blog that although I had a shareholder list for Peak Rail plc, I hadn't any ideas as to what to do with it. That wasn't entirely true, and over the last couple of weeks a considerable amount of time has been spent converting that list into a more useful format, then printing letters and labels which consumed a remarkable quantity of paper and ink cartridges. More on that soon, I hope. But the readership of the blog rose quite markedly and has brought forth a lot of interesting comment. From 'the entire management should be removed' or 'the place needs a reboot' it seems I have tapped a rich vein of dissatisfaction with the status quo. As interesting too is the enquiry received from a shareholder this evening asking whether his late father's shareholding was transferred to him under the terms of his will, as his letter to Peak Rail requesting it went unanswered. I was able to confirm that no, it hadn't: according to Peak Rail's share register his father is alive and well and still receiving his annual report.

And all this sounds familiar. When in 2015 I got hold of a Peak Railway Association membership list, almost immediately my gaze fell on the name and address of an old friend whom I understood to have died years before, but was listed as a valid life member. I made enquiries, eventually talking to the present owner of the house who confirmed that he had bought it from my friend ten years earlier but that his dealings had been with a third party, which tended to suggest that my friend had either died or been too feeble to deal with his affairs. I casually asked if he received any mail for him still – and sure enough, the house owner admitted he still received A5 envelopes several times a year – the PR magazine, no doubt.

This set us off on a quest, and Steph spent several days at Sheffield City Libraries going through electoral registers, checking life members against people living at the address. As a result, we caused much argument at the AGM that year by questioning the veracity of the membership list, and suggesting that 10-15% of our 'Life' members were most likely pushing up the daisies. It even got to the point where Mrs Statham hotly argued that if these people didn't tell us they were dead (we didn't manage to get in the point that one had had his obituary printed in the Peak Rail mag, but was still on the list) it wasn't her fault!

Ah well. Time for bed. See you all next week.

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