Weekend Rails

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Of Bev to the rescue

11th November 2012

There was frost in the grass as we made an early start across to the M1and then east to Scunthorpe. Andrew, still trying to get his body-clock straight after a few night shifts, was dozing in the passenger seat as I passed a plain flat-bed lorry. I was casually wondering what it was carrying in the red stillage on the back - some sort of engine? - a pump? Hang on, that's our powershift! I roused Andrew, who rang the driver. Yes, it was him. I pressed on, anxious to get in, unlocked and be as ready as possible before he arrived. At Tata's Gate D I drove up the barrier and waited. The ANPR did not recognise me and the light stayed red. Three guards were on duty and one came over.

"Have you registered this vehicle, sir?" "Yes," I answered, and briefly explained that I had had to return last Monday with further documentation having brought the wrong insurance certificate first time.

"Ah," he said and pressed some magic button somewhere to let me in.

As D2128 was parked at the innermost end of one shed road, the plan was to get on site, sign in, open the shed and start up Yorkshire 0-6-0DE "Arnold Machin" to draw out the Peckett 0-4-0ST, the 07 and our 03 and place the latter in position where the lorry's Hiab could reach. But as I signalled the lorry into position Andrew came over to say that Arnie's batteries were flat and he was going to try the 02 on the next road. The 02 would barely turn over but he thought that it might go with a whiff of ether, and we wasted the next 5 minutes scouring the shed. Next choice was "Janus No.1", which, having had new(ish) batteries and kept in the shed was sure to go. No, it was flat too.

So that was 3 society locos all out of action with flat batteries, and the lorry sat waiting patiently. Of course, we could have got out the battery charger and boosted one of them, but both Arnie and the Janus are DEs where you have two banks of batteries, in parallel for running, but in series to start. In which case, to charge them takes twice as long as you have to do each bank of 24V separately. We had of course, "Beverley" sat there, operable again after the injector change, but having only been tested for a few minutes the previous afternoon. We conferred, and agreed it would have to be Bev to the rescue.

Not that we were out of the woods. Bev was at the end of the second shed road, which means that to shunt the road with D2128 at its head, we had to propel the Janus, a Bagnall 0-6-0DM, the 02, and a derelict 0-6-0ST out of the way and the shed access involves a gradient and curve. Bev performed well with only a few valves misbehaving, but on damp, little used rail struggled for adhesion. I was shunter, so was soon resorting to hand sanding all the way along until finally we cleared the turnout and could get on with the real task of shunting out D2128.

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So having lost over half an hour D2128 was finally put in to place and we started the real task of the day. Off came the casing tops and fuel tank. The jib came down and after taking the weight we released the bolts holding the petulant powershift to the Cummins and it was lifted clear.

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The replacement powershift was swung in its place and secured, and the fuel tank and casing sections replaced on top. By lunchtime we had finished the job, just as Glenn appeared and the shunting operation could be speedily reversed. The old transmission, now sat in the stillage, was temporarily sheeted over, and although we had had grand ideas of cracking on with securing everything back down, we both came to the conclusion that it was time to call it a day.

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Saturday morning and after a bit of a lazy start we wandered back to Rowsley to resume ministrations on Tom. The hole in the top tank of the radiator has defied several attempts at sealing it - I suspect it is 7/8 UNF but the plug refuses to go more than a thread or two. My last attempt was M22 but that didn't work either so we're going to have to plate over it. For the day I put the 7/8 JIC plug back in with the hope that it might hold a bit. Andrew meanwhile refitted a coolant pipe which we'd had off during the week and got a kind gentleman in Rowsley workshops to silver solder back up where it had started leaking. I gave the batteries a boost, fitted a replacement voltage regulator and swapped a wire on the terminals of the converter temp switch. Together we refilled the coolant and after a couple of longish crankings, Tom's engine picked up.

I was slightly alarmed to see the ammeter go over to nearly 50 amps charge and feared that although the alternator was now doing its stuff, was the new regulator actually regulating? But it gradually fell back and it seems we now have a charge circuit. The stop circuit too was now correctly routed through the temp switch so we wrestled the sides off the desk and started to trace the valves that control the clutch.

Suffice it to say that we came to the first conclusion that the poppet valve that controls clutch out was stuck, so swapped it for one I had in stock. Now indeed, we got air down the line to the cylinder, but it revealed a leak on one of the Enots flex hoses sufficient to prevent the loco raising pressure above 25psi. Tempers became a little frayed. It was getting towards late afternoon and although the next task is to replace a section of pipe in plastic to supersede the leaky one, we decided to call it a day especially as Andrew had arranged to take the van that evening and go collect some engine parts.

Sunday morning and the poor van is sat rather down at the back. We threw some more bits in then ambled along to Rowsley to unload. Four rather heavy cylinder blocks and two 'heads later, we are heading back towards the motorway but this time bound for York.

"Pluto" has been waiting patiently for its fuel pump to be refitted at the DVLR and at last I had the filters necessary. But we had also agreed to modify the oil pressure unloading system that had patently failed to protect the lube oil element when the engine had run up with cold oil. Just by-passing the filter was clearly insufficient. Routing the excess back to sump was the name of the game and I dragged myself under the loco to see if there were any suitable tappings we could use. There weren't, but in my stock I had a suitable tee piece so we could break in to the sump drain before the isolating cock and route the excess oil back there. Of course to do this meant disconnecting the sump drain pipe and old, cold oil takes for ever to drain out, and when you think it is all done and you unscrew the tap from the sump nipple you find it isn't and parts of you are directly underneath. But with as little contamination as possible I made up a fresh hose from our new tee back up to the relief valve and with a little help from Andrew removed the damaged filter and fitted a new one.

Andrew meanwhile, was not having a lot of luck with the pump. Normally you set up a timing pointer to the appropriate marking engraved on the flywheel perimeter and off you go, but although the Foden book referred to such marks it neglected to say where on the engine they might be found and there are no obvious (or discrete) places where they might be. The only thing for it was to establish when No.1 exhaust valve was closed for the upward stroke, guess where 28 BTDC was going to be and set it up accordingly. (The FD6 is a two-stroke, so at least you cannot be 180 deg out). How good a guess Andrew has made remains to be seen, as I had not got the right fittings for the planned replacement fuel filter header and 3 new hoses must be made to suit it. That will have to be set up for our next visit.

Tomorrow "Jack" should be on the move north from six years at Hollycombe, so I suppose I better be around to see it off.

More in this category: « Of casing tops and e-bay flops

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