Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of insulation and washing lines

22nd May 2016

Grr, Microsoft. I was (notice the past tense) running Windows 7 and was perfectly happy with it, hiding behind my Firewall and Anti-virus, Anti-Malware, anti-everything softwares. And what does Microsoft do? While my back is turned, under the pretense of it being an 'upgrade' to Windows 7, they calmly change my operating system to Windows 10 without my permission and lumber me with software I don't want (but Microsoft knows better and believes I cannot live without) and a changed system that is so radically different that a number of the programs I already have won't work anymore.

So I have wasted a couple of hours of my time changing every privacy setting away from Microsoft wants, changing my opening screen to stop looking like it wants to be a smart phone (I'm not even allowed to call a program a program any more, now it is an app) and trying to delete various Microsoft programs (see they can try but I won't submit to their will) which I don't want, didn't ask for, but mysteriously the option to Uninstall vanishes from the menus. Yes, I know I have 30 days to change back – and I may well – but I am fair minded enough to give it a try before branding it rubbish. But then, I haven't been excited about Windows since I first saw '98 in operation and thought it better than Windows '95…

On Monday I was down at the shed for our independent examiner to go over the forklift for its LOLER cert. A couple of weeks ago it might have failed, but as both the foot and handbrakes had received attention from Terry it passed with only a couple of advisories, one being a injector pipe that appears to be weeping. I added the hook attachment on to his schedule as that comes under the regs.

So anyway, I forgot to mention that Andrew has been busy on e-bay again. A number of track tools were actually acquired last week, including rail tongs, sleeper pincers and key hammers. He also acquired a 20ton bottle jack, not a Hydralite but a Hi-force which is on a par, and thus came with a genuine operating handle. I think I have said before, that I believe there is a secret cache of Hydralite handles out there, because although every jack is supplied with one, they never have them when sold secondhand. There must be collectors, aficionados of the jack-handle, with collections locked away in attics and wardrobes, to be drooled over on long winter nights. But maybe Hi-force jacks do not have the same prestige – they are the Ford Fiesta to the Hydralite Jag. It came with a fully functioning handle, and to test it, I lifted Pluto a half-inch or so at one side. But last Sunday we won (though there were no other bidders on this occasion) a quantity of cavity wall insulation.

To recap, in order to contain the noise that our activities might produce, and so not annoy neighbours, not only have we these re-inforced concrete panels, but also we must fill the gap between them and the outer building cladding with insulation. Up to now we have been buying loft insulation, and darn awkward it is to handle when trying to persuade a rolled out length, which moreover, has been cut by the manufacturer to fall into 16inch wide strips to go between joists, to go behind our panels. But cavity wall insulation comes in bales of 6 or 8 sheets, each about 4ft by 2ft. The vendor had a number of bales, each bale containing 6 sheets and each sheet 95mm thick, how many would we like? I nominated ten – I reckoned I might squeeze 12 bales in the van but then chickened out.

The firm was about 20 miles away at Shirebrook so I wandered over on Wednesday with an empty van. When it came to it, the bales looked rather bigger in the flesh than I imagined and all I could get in was 8, and that was with a fight. I said I'd come back the next day. Would I like any more, asked the vendor, indicating the pile he had to pass on. They might not be all 95 thick though, did I mind? I promised when I came back I'd have a few more tio make it worth while.

The following day Shirebrook was alive with Police, and something I'd never seen before, It was the stuff of legend, a creature as mythical as the Unicorn. Sat at the side of the road, with two coppers spotting for it, was an HM Customs and Excise Fuel sampling unit. The strange thing was, it made me feel guilty. Not that I have ever run the van on anything but DERV: even though we have considerable stocks of gas oil in the locos, fork lift, etc., the temptation to run the van on it is not something to which I have ever succumbed. But the van was bought secondhand – what if the previous owner was not so conscientious? What if it has run on gas oil in the past and traces of the tell-tale dye linger on in the tank?

I collected the two bales left over from yesterday and asked for 6 more. It was even more of a fight to get them in, though I thought at the time it was just my imagination, and I had packed them slightly differently. Only at the weekend did I discover that most of the bales were 140 thick sheets rather than 95, and that each bale had 8 sheets not 6. Truly a worthwhile couple of trips.

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We haven't had many evenings in the shed this week – but by Friday we were down and applying the second coat of green to Cheedale. By then also our plan to go to Scunthorpe had been shelved: the reports were that the 03 might be required on a brake van tour and as we were behind with work on the two locos we decided our time was better spent here. The first task was to remove all the maskings. I should perhaps have mentioned that the 'low tac' masking tape showed a propensity to adhering only to latex gloves. With the cab now open again we fitted the floorboards, the wiper arms for the doors and the bump stops. I trimmed a piece of aluminium tread plate into two pieces to replace the worn and distorted kick strips that go under the doors, and Andrew pop-riveted them in place.

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He also set about drilling out the broken bolts from the handrail bases, and re-tapping the holes. For my part I had finished the replacement wiring box on the Matterson post.

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Having dragged the 14 outside with James, we prepared to drain the coolant and rather than dump it on the ground, I suggested emptying it into the drain via length of hose. But since the drain point is directly under the loco, Andrew was trying to work out where to slide under (in order to connect hose to drain tap) when I suggested hoisting it up with a piece of rope, which was a touch more civilised. Oh, but close examination revealed that the coolant leak was probably not originating from the oil cooler, but a pipe nearby which appears superfluous. It might, Andrew thinks, be a remnant of a pre-heater system from when it was a genset power unit. Either way we can dispense with it and cure the leak cheaper and easier in the process.

While all this was going on, the heavens opened.

In the end, I braved it and brought the 14 back in, though it was still wet on the running plates today.

The weather today, in contrast, was dry and quite warm. Andrew decided that the first job was to get some of this insulation into the walls. Our ministrations with the loft rolls had been at the Bakewell end of the building, whereas we had also relocated panels at the Matlock end (done before the roof went on),which were still a void. So we stuffed some 5 bales of insulation, mostly the 140 stuff which fitted a treat, into the cavities to make some room on the floor. While we were about this, one of the regular Peak Rail volunteers called to ask about our surplus cladding sheets, as he thought I might have enough to re-roof his garage. He measured everything up and has gone away to see if it would work.

Painting Cheedale's handrails has been the subject of much thought. Hand painting them would be time-consuming and messy (I know, I slapped it on the new handrail bits) but placing them up against a wall and spraying them would take much time as it would need to be done in two stages. In the end, Andrew decided to hang them, outside on lorry straps, so that he could spray all round in one go. This rather innovative washing line was the result.

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Today was the day of the postponed special coming in to Rowsley, originally planned for a Britannia it was instead powered by West Country 'Braunstone' masquerading as BB 'Lord Dowding'. I've had to trim the vid – the original file exceeded the upload limit, sorry it cuts off ...

Unlike last year, when some photographers climbed over the gate, the crowds this year confined themselves to Darley Dale platforms, the footpath or the bridge at the south end of the yard. In between times I returned to 14901, now parked in the left hand shed road rather than the right, and progressed some of the wiring in connection with the new fuel header level switch and new 'alarm' lights in the desk. Andrew meanwhile was spraying the shunters' recesses to brighten them up a bit.

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Lord Braunstone finally headed south – this time I viewed it from the back of Ashdown whereas the vid was taken from atop D9500 – with the handrails half-sprayed and the poor compressor getting a little warm. He finished the spraying, by which time it was well after six, and we called it a day. The crowds had all dispersed in seconds after the kettle passed. A lone rabbit (well, I think it is a loner, but they seldom are for long) wandered around the yard as the sun gradually sank. Another weekend is over, and so is this entry.

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