Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of air and fuel tanks

13th May 2018

The trouble with Bank Holidays is that by the time I get around to writing this blog, so much has passed that I have difficulty remembering exactly what it was we did. I know, blame it on galloping dementia.

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Firstly, may I thank several readers who wrote after my comments about the way in which contact with grandson has been interrupted. As if we didn't have enough matters on our collective plate, Andrew has submitted paperwork to Court and we must now wait for the law to set a date for a hearing.

So, back on Monday, we lifted the fuel tank for Adolf and got all the bolts to fit in the mounting strip on that side, and planned to get the tank mounted back on the chassis. (It'll come off again for sand-blasting and priming but for now it saves space on the floor.) But to do that, we had to remove the last vestiges of chequer plate from the rear of the loco, so drew it out so that it could be burnt off outside.

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With the back area reasonably smooth and wart-free, the loco was propelled back in and we lifted the fuel trank assembly on and got it lined up to a millimetre or so to what I had on the drawing.

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And with ourselves satisfied that it is in the right spot, Andrew tacked down the mounting angles.

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You must excuse the rather crude lifting arrangement you can just see in the above. Hills put in 1/2inch BSW lifting provision on the top of the tank, as they did on the cab top, but we could only find one such lifting eye. When it comes to lifting these items up for sand-blasting and subsequent priming, we have now stocked up.

As it was again a red-hot day, we had opened as many doors as possible on the 2HAP, and it may be wishful thinking but I believe the 'musty' smell is gradually diminishing, though it will be a regular practice for the moment, unless or until I secure a bulk delivery of Febreze. Later in the afternoon I got Charlie around to the main siding and drew the train forward - even with the 2HAP's doors open - and we loaded the van with a pallet full of RS8 bits - mostly brake rigging - to go up to Tunstead as early as possible. Last thing as we packed up we slammed the 2HAPs doors closed, and a few minutes later received an unexpected visit from a neighbour, his mobile phone held at arms length ahead and  recording. He had heard the doors slamming, couldn't see the van and had come round to confront 'intruders'. He was relieved to see it was only us but it was good to know that he was prepared to investigate on our behalf.

On Tuesday first thing I was back down the shed for another visit from the sparky, which appears to have resolved those issues, and I returned to the Briddon Country Pile to do work on RS8's engine mounts and Adolf's footseps and such, only to be asked by a rep if 'I was at the shed' so popped back down to meet him.

Wednesday had me up to Tunstead to meet up with Pete C and unload the parts. He has been organising tools and personnel and the pressure will be on me to ensure that people know what to do, have the bits to do it and are not faced with work beyond their abilities, especially when I am not around, as various volunteers are champing at the bit. Nothing of RS8 had moved since our previous working day, but we went up to the brick shed, and identified four pallets of parts that could usefully come down to the 'Stores' by next working day. In fact, I was only on site for about 40 minutes but it is apparent how many things will now get squeezed in to even such a  short time.

Unfortunately I got a call from Pete C the following afternoon that they had been unable to find any shim brass of sufficient size and could I locate some for Monday? I confesss I haven't been able to, which may be a bit of a b*****r.

Saturday, and with the Heritage Shunters Trust having a gala event up at Rowsley we anticipated a number of their visitors would find their way down to us, At Andrew's suggestion I made up a laminated notice which I fixed to the gate giving his and my mobile numbers and inviting anyone who wanted to view the locos to call.We already had one visitor due to arrive at 10 o'clock and I did the usual guided tour  Saturday had been declared 'Tidy up day' and instead of making vast progress, we created a pile of rubbish - plastic bags, cardboard boxes and the like, plus filled two large carboard boxes with surplus lengths of electrical cable, and tidied various cupboards and so on. Around lunchtime we were joined by Andy H, who had 'done'; the gala event and donned his overalls to carry on restoration work on the first two buffers of RS8's that we'd stripped and primed earlier, plus start dis-assembling the two that we had not yet touched. Early in the afternoon my notice trawled one taker, though we did see 3 others who were photographing and taking notes from over on the footpath, but didn't even think it worth saying hello to us.  

Today we got back down at much the same time and put the sign back up. We were joined by Phil G. Before long we were visited by a father-and-son to collect some parts and look around, and eventually Phil and I fired Charlie up and started on a marathon shunt-around neccessary for something in the offing. Part way through Steph rang to say that she was on her way down with lunch, so we broke off again. After bacon or sausage sandwiches, we continued shunting, and had almost completed it when my phone rang with two visitors at our gate. They rang Andrew and he let them in and started the tour, keeping them within the shed while we finished and made the area safe for their wanderings.

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Andrew had several llitle jobs to do, such as manufacturing the first branch on the 'air main' that runs up the eastern side of the shed, even though as yet our air compressor isn't servicable to fill it. But you've got to start somewhere so here's part 1 of another sub-plot.

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The filter-regulator unit is not new - on the contrary it was recovered from a Hunslet loco built for BAOR in the early 1980s. It might even have been Adolf's in its original guise. Andrew's next major task with Adolf is to install the pipework, and part and parcel of this is deciding what air receivers to fit and where they can go. Back in Hill's days we mounted air tanks behind the buffer beams- it's easy to do this with the frame upside down - put in all the main pipes, air tanks and some primary valves, then turn the whole frame over and put it on its wheels. If you had to have the air tanks out for testing later it was a bit of a so-and-so job as the tanks had to come down into a pit and there was not normally any access from above to support the tank. In a sense, we are in that position in that the loco is right way up and our tanks need to be somewhere underneath. Andrew went off to survey his collection of stainless steel air receivers and has found two or three that might suit. Some frame drilling and pipe runs are imminent.

Phil G made a start on cleaning up the air brake cylinder. On Thomas Hill locos, we always fitted two air cylinders acting on the weighshaft, arguing that (a) it provided a more even force onto the shaft and (b) if one cylinder failed, you would to some extent still get pressure applied through the other cylinder, even if the seal rupture on the first was quite serious. Hunslet only ever put one cylinder on their 0-4-0s and Adolf's had been taken off at some time in the past and its seal removed, the piston and barrel having been left exposed to the elements for several years. They will take some cleaning up before fit to go back on.

Meanwhile PR trains puffed by and although almost every train seemed to have heads with cameras sticking out facing our way, we had no more visitors, nor noticed any on the footpath.

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Late in the afternoon Charlie pulled the train back again and I brought the van round to make up another pallet-full of RS8 parts to take up to Tunstead tomorrow. This includes the sandboxes and front engine mount fabrication which have been sat around the back since they were sandblasted months ago.

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It gave another opportunity to compare the 2HAP and the PCV. We missed an opportunity for a wind-up. We should have announced that the 2HAP was only coming to be stripped as spares for the PCV! Certainly it seems to attract interest, as I walked up to the gate Saturday evening to recover my sign a guy was staring down the yard.

'It's a long way from home, in NSE livery' he said.

'Yes' I answered, expecting him to ask if he could look around.

'Where did it come from?' He asked.

'Coventry' I informed him.

'That place that's closed?' said he.

'Yes' I said.

'Right' he said, and walked away.

Oh, I nearly forgot, investigation during the week revealed that the angle iron Wickham employed on the trolley bodies was 1.5 inch by an eighth of an inch, not a sixteenth as we concluded by measuring ours. Clearly the old thing has suffered more corrosion than we ever realised. Still it does mean that readily available 40 x 40 x 3 will suit our requirements.

Right then, that's it for another week. Off to Tunstead tomorrow, hopefully Andy H will join us and we should see one of those landmark progress stages. Pop by next week? You will?

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