Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of auctions and such

30th September 2018

(Sigh). So is the summer over? It's my birthday in less than 2 weeks and that marks for me the descent into winter. Yesterday I had to scrape the windscreen before setting off. Yes, I think I must be feeling depressed.

Monday was as usual, Tunstead day, but once again our workforce was depleted thanks to another plant breakdown which meant all we had was Andy H, Pete C and a new guy called Wayne, who signed himself in as working on the 'Train'. Clearly needs educating. We have started. Unfortunately the breakdown had also meant that the new studs required to fit the rear buffers had not been made, so they remained on the floor.

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I was anxious to progress the instrument panel, so set about mounting the panel in its place in the cab to check everything lined up, and then take it all out again and start mounting the instruments. And I'm sorry to say I hit a snag. Somewhere along the way the dimensions had gone a touch wrong, and the duplex air gauge casing hit the cab sheet before the panel screws lined up. Not significantly, about 3mm in reality, but any foul was too much. I consulted Andy H, who took away the gauge and performed some surgery on the case, and behold it now fits.

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Meanwhile Wayne was reassembling the coolant elbow on the end of the cylinder head and from it, the reverse bend back into the torque converter cooler. I had hoped he might be able to improvise the connection from engine oil cooler up and back into the converter cooler from the redundant bits (as the 'new' engine has a different sump and oil cooler arrangement, the original pipe doesn't fit - for that matter I'm not even sure it exists), but alas, that's still a problem to resolve. The compressor mounting bracket was fitted to the block, but despite much searching, the pivot and clamp bolts have both eluded us. Either there's another box of bits somewhere or a number of fixings have been binned. When we reassembled the front end of the engine for its test run last year, I couldn't find bolts long enough to refit the drive pulley, viscous damper and barring device. I went back to this in the light of clarification of other details and it now looks as though I just need some longer 3/8 UNFs, so that might start to progress, and with it, the radiator can go back on. But before that, the engine needed to be mounted finally, and that meant lifting it, changing the setscrews in the flywheel housing mounting brackets and clearing out the tapped holes in the front mounting. I had just started installing the battery isolation switch when I got called to assist in this, but once it had all been done and some of the setscrews shortened to suit, the engine was mounted back in place and the rear rebound washers installed so that it is in, and I hope, to stay.

That cleared the way to put the front springs in, but although we got them in to position on the loco, lifting the loco to remove the wood packers and getting them into place was ruled out of time. One oddity though, Andy H spotted stampings on the spring buckle of one, which was revealed to read 'Turton Platts, Sheffield 1949' - so that's another piece of history uncovered.

There was nothing much of import to record for most of the week, until on Friday Andrew and I went down to the public viewing of the auction down at Wishaw. This had originally been described as an auction of Moveright International, but shortly afterwards changed to being that of RSS (Railway Support Services) although almost everything was carrying Moveright logos. (Moveright International lost its operators licence some months ago, its Traffic Manager was stripped of his 'good repute' by the Traffic Commissioners and the HMRC petitioned for winding up, but apparently a finance company got in first.)

Anyway, Andrew had his eyes on a former Heanor trailer, which Moveright bought at the Heanor auction for about £12000 and would have been an enhancement of his Andover meaning that he could have shifted any loco he owned. The public viewing appeared a very quiet affair, in fact we were about the only ones present in the hour or so we were there. Amongst the trailers and tractor units, there were a load of smaller bits most of which were of little interest, but a few did catch his eye if the price was right. Hard to miss was a complete FB rail buffer stop, (but cut off short) and some work gantries which might have been useful. Standing like Guardians were 10 motorised rolling stock jacks, like our Mattersons but a different make, split into lots of 6 and 4.

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We came away with fingers crossed, though Andrew was adamant that there was a figure which he considered the trailer worth and he would not exceed it. When we got back to Darley Dale it was to meet up with a member of the Ivatt Re-creation group who are after some lorry sheets to protect their class 58 donor loco at Rowsley. Andrew had decided we had a few too many so we laid them out for measurement and inspection and off he went for committee approval. We returned to Wishaw on Saturday morning in good time to register before the auction began. Busier than the Friday (but nowhere near as busy as the Heanor auction) we met up with, among others, Bryan Lawson of Alan Keef fame, suffering from a cold he contracted as a result of last weekend's Open Day having been graced with wet weather.

The auction charged along through the small lots, the buffer stop went for £1400, the gantries too were too pricey for me (I felt in any case they would be more of a hindrance working in the Geoffrey Briddon Building) but I did get one small lot for resale. Before we got to the trailer Andrew sought, up came the folding neck trailer that we bid on at the Heanor auction but had in the end sold for £21,000. Advertised as having an MoT to the end of September '19, the auctioneer advised that although it had had about £7000 spent on it ready for the test, it had not been submitted. Whether that influenced the buyers it still went for £14,000, more than we had valued it at Heanor's (who once said they only kept it because Andew kept specifying it for his moves!).

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Sadly when our turn came Andrew bid but it went over his maximum and he had the sense to stop, as: for the age and special nature of the trailer once again the auctioneers were getting high prices - indeed, as I paid for my one winning lot I commiserated with a fellow bidder who had been similarly disappointed.

Andrew and I returned to Derbyshire for a cuppa, then spent the rest of the afternoon at the shed, cutting pipes and manufacturing brackets for the vac line on 1382, and trimming the big angle that is to go under the running plate on Adolf. I was down again all day today, the IDRPG lads were in attendance, having first spent some time lowering the water level in the ornamental pond, they continued work on 1382, its casing doors, headlamps, and such

I finally got time to check 03 901, which on its last outing had refused to shut down. Having changed the wiring prior to this so that pressing the stop button broke both sides to the fuel solenoid, I had assumed that it must be stuck, but decided to check the switch function just in case something was amiss inside the panel. Nothing mechanically defective was found, but I was getting one or two strange readings off the test meter which without the wiring diagram to hand I could not explain, so that will have more time devoted to it later. Outside, RS8's old exhaust system was laid on the ground. Unlike most locos it discharges downwards, like a road vehicle, and it is time the silencer was refitted (I don't know what state it is inside, but we can worry about it later). Between the silencer and the engine outlet was a long pipe with 3 feet or so of convoluted (flexible) ducting towards the engine end. In fact, at one time there had been an exhaust brake, but a short piece of plain pipe had been substituted and that can be dispensed with altogether. So I cut the pipe either side of the flex (which has corroded solid) and loaded it, together with other bits, ready for tomorrow before returning to the slow grind of identifying bolts and nuts and putting them into trays in the racking. The labeller is back, ready for action, incidentally, but not deployed this weekend. So hopefully I have enough in the van for a good productive day again tomorrow as I wandered around the shed late this afternoon on a 'Oh, we might need that..' hunt.

Last week I declared that you could now buy copies of 'The Railway to Merhead' direct from me and I'm pleased to say that the copies I had ordered from Amazon have all been sold, plus I have an offer from a railway society to sell them on a 'sale or return' basis even though they would make next to nothing on them. So I had better get some more in this week. Don't hesitate to contact me to order your signed, or even dedicated, copy.

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Otherwise, see you next week.

More in this category: « Of keys and the ornamental pond

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