Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Charging around

3rd October 2010

At the end of last week’s blog, I confidently forecast my popping in to Rowsley on Monday to photograph 14 901 hauling a decent-sized freight down to Darley. I should know better than to count chickens, or locos.

Yes, I did zoom over to Rowsley, but just as MrsB and I arrived, we got a phone call to the effect that whilst it had shunted happily all morning, come to re-start it after lunch and the batteries were flat. This did not put me in the best of moods as

  • (a) it was raining,
  • (b) I was not suitably attired for work,
  • (c) I did not even have a test meter with me and
  • (d) someone had suggested at the weekend that the batteries might be low, but I had poo-poo’ed it as they sounded alright when I fired it up.

The offending alternator, as re-located behind the Voith

So I was back at Rowsley first thing Tuesday, partly to see a visitor and partly to sort out the loco. The batteries showed a reasonable voltage – so no cells down or anything, and after giving them an hour of charge the loco fired up happily, but the system voltage did not rise, and after pulling the charge fuse it was apparent that absolutely nothing was coming off the alternator. The history of this is that as received, it was fitted adjacent to the DV8 engine, but had one “A” section belt running in a “C” section groove of the engine front PTO, and the ratio was such that it cannot have given much of a charge, so I had relocated it to the back, driven off the Voith auxiliary output, with enough ratio to make it give some umph. But it was not original to the Rolls and it had clearly been secondhand when it was fitted. I pulled it off and left the loco parked up.

Wednesday: Off to Leeds, via Dewsbury and Batley. Sewells, an auto-electrics supplier whom I have dealt with for years, took half-an-hour to find what alternator it was, and indeed, confirmed as we suspected it was off a DAF truck engine. No stock, but they could get me one in on outright sale. In Batley I collected one of my largest orders for profiles, mostly engine mounting brackets for 14 901, the ‘03 and Sentinel 0-6-0DH “Tom”. At Dewsbury I collected a couple of batteries for the Drewry 0-4-0DM standing at Elsecar and I headed back, finding my friendly fabricators still busy at 5pm (they normally work to 3.30) and dropped most of the profiles off there. Andrew rang to say that Heritage Railway had printed several column inches on the Elsecar story, basically taken from his website, and apparently printed without asking Elsecar (or us) for comment – so quite one-sided.

Thursday: Back to Leeds to collect the alternator, stopping at another supplier in Wakefield for a replacement coolant temperature switch for 14 901.

Friday: Andrew appeared back from Norwich, and I whisked him over to Rowsley for a cordial meeting with the Peak Rail MD Jackie Statham, discussing several aspects including the possibility of the Drewry coming to Peak Rail as a “star” for Warring 40s events (it is after all a genuine WD loco, vintage 1945), plans for Darley Dale, and crew training on the 14 for another railway.

And so, at last to the weekend. Andrew and I headed over to Scunthorpe on Saturday in good weather. In theory we had work to do both on “Beverley” and the 03,

Andrew, suitably PPE'd, cleaning around the front cross-stretcher. The new front engine bracket will go where the white chalk line indicates.

So while Andrew attempted to sort out cutting the bolts which hold the (knackered) silencer on Bev, I set up a 110V supply to the 03 outside and started working out what to grind where. Andrew appeared and suggested that instead of grinding away the remains of the burnt-off engine bearer, we simply drift out the rivets with a sett and a big hammer. I went along and with him operating the hammer, we succesfully removed the rivets. But half way through a chip parted company with the hammer end of the sett, headed my way, passed through the glove of my hand holding the wire handle of the sett and next moment I have a blue glove with blood gushing out. I am, I admit, squeamish. If the local hospital ever needs a blood sample, they treat me with great care. I know I have blood inside, but I much prefer it to stay there, not leak out and leave little pools on the 03’s running plate. Adjourn to mess room for a plaster… Later the front end was dressed off ready to mount the forthcoming engine mount and various other bits in the area removed and cleaned off with either 9” or 4” grinders. We also borrowed a vice and changed the DAF pulley from the 14’s old alternator to its new one.

Sunday: The forecast was for showers but we woke up to heavy continuous rain. Eventually we made a start for York and the Derwent Valley, but after dropping the fuel pump off into “James”’s cab, and measuring the sliding windows for replacement, Andrew voted that it was too darn wet to do much else and we headed back again, swopped vehicles, and wandered into Elsecar at 4pm just as they put the train away. The new batteries were installed into the Drewry and run for a few minutes, to check everything was OK and give them a bit of a charge. The Drewry has a home to go to for the Christmas period, but Andrew wants to know that the Sentinel steamer is sold before he removes it.

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