Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of wanderings and doings

24th June 2012

The narrow gauge theme started by the Amberley visit continued this week. On Wednesday night Steph and I met Andrew at Butterley for their annual n.g. open night. (We met for the simple reason that he was on his return journey from Eastleigh.) These open nights have a similar theme - two or three runs the length of the GVLR with resident 0-4-2T "Joan", then the area around Butterley is de-marked into sections and a loco is set on each and visitors are free to have a go.

In addition various sidings around the works area each had a loco or two to trial. Sadly we arrived just too late to catch the last train this year, but there was still plenty to interest us. I got approached by someone who would like to publish "my book on Thomas Hills" - which I have been lobbied quite a bit to write lately, as opposed to the novel I have written which I would much rather get printed first!

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As an erstwhile owner of 6 n.g. diesels it was good to have a go on a Ruston and a Lister - I had forgotten how much Listers bounce on their coil springs, makes it hard to hold a constant throttle setting.

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But for sheer vibration, it is hard to beat the Deutz with its single cylinder engine - at idle it trembles rhythmically like a compulsive jelly and in action, well the whole ground moves - I'm sure the GVLR could rent it out to other lines as a Dynamic Track Stabiliser.

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The following day Heanor Haulage were at work for Andrew, collecting Sentinel 0-6-0DH "Tom" from Telford and conveying it to Rowsley where we will get the outstanding work completed. I planned to get there to see it off, but they beat me to it and it was on the ground by the time I arrived, but I saw it onto Peak Rail proper, with "Charlie".

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Later I helped Rob shunt things around so that "Tom" was parked on the siding in front of the Drewry, ending up with sopping boots, socks and trouser legs as I trudged through the long grass.

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On Friday I was booked to attend a shareholders do at Llanuwchllyn. The line opened on the 10th August 1972, and this celebration was for the 40th anniversary. A public event will take place nearer the date, but on this day the line was not running so it was open just for invitees. I spent a large amount of time from 1977-2001 on Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid (I know: 'that's easy for you to say') culminating in 2 years as Society Chairman and coinciding with the demise of YEC. For several years I had not been back until I wandered in on my way to Tywyn last year. Nevertheless Steph and I are still shareholders.

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A recent arrival at Llanuwchllyn is "Winifred", the ex Penrhyn emigrant that returned from the States recently in much the same condition as when it left. In the foreground is the chassis of "George B", and if you are an aficionado of Quarry tanks you will instantly note the differences between the Penrhyn "Port" locos with 4ft wheelbase and the more common "Quarry" types of 3 ft 3in. One of the staff commented how so many more shareholders had appeared than ever come to an AGM ("Free lunch" I observed). "Maid Marian" was on train, having done a morning run for those who had arrived earlier, I took the 14.25 . Someone asked if any of the other "anniversaries" had been celebrated, and the loco driver by whom I was standing at the time said "Oh the 25th" whereas my mind jumped back to the 10th. He had not been around then. Indeed, later back at Llanuwchllyn I found myself recounting my part in the 10th, when, in re-enacting the first train, we used my air-cooled Planet from Llanuwchlyn to Llangower and back. It was capable of significant speed, which was fortunate as, due to oversight on my part, we left Llangower at the time we should have arrived back at Llanuwchllyn, 2.5 miles away. I had the throttle wide open up to the platform end, and as stopping a train is significantly harder than pulling it, ended - shall we say - rather farther up the platform than was normal. The scary part was, not only was the driver not around then, neither was the present manager nor his wife: times like this I feel really old.

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Talking of re-enactments, we are assured by Peak Rail that the Drewry will have a part to play in this year's Warring 40s event, arriving with a train and being ambushed by nasty nazis. Pass the tomato source, someone..

And so to the weekend. The plan for the moment is Saturdays at Scunthorpe, Sundays at Rowsley. At the former we arrived as a brake van tour for the SVRA was expected, so couldn't do much until they had departed, but did trial a couple of "alternative" oil pressure relief valve springs on the 03 which brought the oil pressure to something more acceptable. Once the coast was clear, we brought the 03 over a pit and "Beverley" in and got the latter's batteries on charge. I started draining the transmission oil from the 03 ready for the unit to come out - oh but I didn't say did I. The powershift from former MoD loco 876 has been on test and pronounced functional, so we are working towards doing a changeover in a week or two. But that means draining 80-100lires of oil, disconnecting electrics, propshaft, engine fuel feed, air cleaner, casing tops and fuel tank such that a single HIAB lorry can lift the lump off, the duff powershift out and the new one in, then replace the bits leaving us to reconnect all and (please, please) end up with a working loco. So far I have got out about 70 litres, but half the converter remains full and we did not, in the rush, put a proper drain arrangement in so that will be rather tricky to extract and recover. Andrew meanwhile stripped and cleaned a spare Westinghouse compressor governor and swapped that on Beverley. By late afternoon we were ready and Beverley was started up. Oil pressure started at between 4 and 5 bar but we were concerned with what it did as the engine got warmer, so I drove it up and down, propelling a 50 ton Janus and a 30ton saddle tank up the grade from the shed and into a sharp curve. Earlier in the day the Janus had slipped to a stand here with much the same load - Beverley took it in its stride again and again until we had 80-odd degrees on the engine. A few weeks ago Bev would have shut down on low oil pressure but now it held up at 2.5 bar. Andrew was not satisfied until he came home and checked the Cummins manuals which, if it wasn't quite good enough for a new engine, was certainly within tolerance.

On Sunday we headed to Rowsley to take stock of "Tom". Andrew set to and put the drive belts on to compressor, fan, charge pump, etc, while I made a start by removing the inappropriate flameproof cab light (it is a low enough cab without that thing sticking 8" down!). Andrew modified and fitted the clutch operating arm to the converter and after a general tidy-up and "Planning Meeting", he moved over to "Libby" to carry on with bodywork (fillering and priming the cab rear outside of where the cupboard was) while I picked up where I left off with wiring. In the light of the work I did on the 03, using a Paxolin base with umpteen M5 bolts through as connection points, I am beginning to regret not going down that route with Tom. Somehow I suspect I am going to have more trouble with this, especially as some of the old Thomas Hill cable number sleeves are faded and hard to read, and I am coming up with cable numbers that do not appear in the standard TH system. Next week we must try and get the engine mount made and changed on the left hand side so that the converter cooler can be finally sited and the plumbing commenced.

I hope many of you will be reading this directly on the blog's new home - www.weekendrails.co.uk. All the old entries from Railnuts are now here (though not all the pictures - yet). Feel free to add a comment.

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