Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of leaks and dribbles

21st October 2018

Hullo again. Off we go wth the usual mixture of plans that go awry, achievements that may not have been what we first intended but progress all the same.

We've had the pleasure of a visitor most of this week. Jagger, aka Jordan, had a week's leave from British Steel at Scunthorpe and and asked if he could spend it here at Darley Dale and help in any way he could. Unfortunately we could only accomodate him up to Thursday lunchtime owing to other commitments, but I cleared it with Tarmac for him to come up with me for our Monday session on RS8. And it turned out to be a good thing, because Andy H was prevented from making it and somehow other departmental bosses at Tunstead all managed to find excuses for not sparing anybody so we arrived a few minutes late to find Pete C all on his own. Nonetheless we managed to get a fair amount done, if not as much as we would have liked, with Pete C really getting in to it. Jagger was let loose with a paint brush and applied grey primer to both inside and outside of the battery box lid. With the right length bolts I fitted the viscous damper to the front pulley and went on to add the extra pulley outside that is to drive the exhauster.

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Revelling in being able to direct Pete C I had him cut the angles to length ready to be added to the cab corner pillars for when we have a fabricator (I do so hope that's tomorrow) and afterwards the tube to replace the corroded drain pipes on the front casings

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We trial-fitted the fan and pulley to the water pump, and then it too was primed ready for installation next time. On went the alternator bracket, the last remaining bolts to hold the buffers on, after which all 16 were checked and tightened. Pete C removed the fan cowl from our replacement radiator, and having exposed the matrix, gave that a clean of scale and leaves and such. The original fan cowl had already been cleaned and painted so will be substituted when we get to fit the radiator, probably only a week or two hence. Pete C took Andy H's modified coolant pipe but try as he would, couldn't work out a way of getting it to mate with any of our remaining pieces. However, the pipe that I had loosely put in place as being the one to span the gap between engine block and radiator seemed to have the right combination of bends, and with a twist on the end of that coming up to meet it from the oil cooler, looked a viable solution.

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So he took the latter off and freed up the drain tap on its botom elbow, which had previously retained the cooler full, and I later took it off site for attention. I had brought up a length of welding type cable for the connections from batteries to isolator and back to the starter, which involved dragging the cables through conduits barely able to accept 4 of them. It took me and Pete C to fight them through and putting lugs on the ends is for later. We finished up the session on the window frames. As I've said before, I intend putting the windows back to their original hinged arrangement, and to that end, whilst there are bits of hinges still welded to the frames, it is difficult to ascertain exactly how they were fixed. Between us we came to conclusions as to what packing pieces etc would be required. I had noticed for the first time that one edge of the frames seemed to have been ground away for no apparent reason. It was also obvious on close examination (bear in mind they had had wooden edging strips added at some time, probably when converted to sliders at Dinting) that they had once had U shaped handles to pull them closed, and I deduced wrongly that these had been at the bottom of the window frames. (Subsequently, close examination of the photo of it at Dinting revealed these handles were at the top, and with that info it is apparent that we had the two pairs at the wrong sides, and the ground down bits are to clear where the overhanging roof has become bent further down than when new.) On the way back I took a rather circuitous route to show Jagger the delights of both Millers Dale station and viaduct and Monsal Head viaduct. On Tuesday we did at least do some work at the shed, Andrew had left a long list of things that I might just manage to get around to, but I had other things on my mind and not a great deal more was achieved beyond doing some more stripping on the little Lister engine for the Wickham. On Wednesday he joined me for a tour round - first to Sheffield to collect grinding discs and pipe clamps, then on to the profilers: by the time we got back there seemed little point in heading down to the shed.

On Thursday though we did get down fairly early in the morning, and ticked off one item on Andrew's list, namely shunted Road 1 to release the 12ton van and the two Conflats. After that I decided to bring Pluto out and see about whether that gunk would seal up the leak on the engine coolant. Having already moved most things that were foul of it this didn't prove too difficult, and the new water connection to the front of the shed was utilised to fill the radiator. Even before it was half full we had drips appearing, but they all appeared to be from hoses, one of which was causing water to appear from over the front engine mount. Now, I am not keen on Jubilee clips. In the days when I was working closely with Cummins, it was explained how the worm drive clip does not in fact apply the force evenly around the hose, so tee-bolt clamps are superior in that regard and I have used them as much as possible since. Added to that the screw on the worm drive clip can seize - it used to be a disaster when they were merely slotted heads, but the later ones being both slotted and hex gives you a fighting chance. Several of Pluto's took considerable encouragement but eventually they all condescended to tighten and amazingly the leaks all stopped. I know, you've read in this blog repeatedly how Pluto has waited for us to lift the engine and re-joint a casting that is both engine mount and coolant gallery, but it seems that all that had been needed was for someone to go through all the Jubilee clips methodically. We put the fan belts on, added some batteries and hoped to get it started. No, not so simple. The battery master switch wouldn't turn on. I forced it as much as I dared but in the end re-connected the battery leads to by-pass it, and as the batteries themselves were not that youthful (they were actually made by Moura, who ceased trading some years ago) added the start/boost charger to assist.

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And I have to say it was a disappointment. OK, I am reluctant to start up on full throttle, but although the engine turned over happily and the exhaust flap bounced under the flow of air exitting, there wasn't any sign of smoke or willingness to start. Now Pluto has a seperate stop lever but normally is shut down by flipping back an idling stop on the throttle lever and pushing the lever back towards the cab front. We had talked about fitting an electrical ETR or ETS solenoid onto the stop control but it had hardly got onto our radar, and hitherto the stop lever has been held in the run position with a piece of electrical cable. That wasn't on, but tinkering with it made no appreciable difference and with time running out, we called it a day and put Pluto back. I should perhaps have bled the pump, etc., etc., but that must wait for another day. Thursday afternoon I popped down to Matlock to collect more steel for the windows on RS8.

On Friday too, I was out back to Sheffield, to collect the exhaust piping parts ordered on Wednesday and some adaptable boxes for the electrical system on RS8. So we get around to the weekend, and Andrew set off for the shed with the expressed intention of progressing the buffer beam drilling on 1382, but on arrival changed his mind and decided to start by assembling the cab mount brackets for Adolf. To recap, the Adolf's cab will be flexibly-mounted for noise reduction, and to achieve this we manufacture 4 new corner brackets that transfer the cab weight through a/v rubber mounts which then sit on pads to prevent any spilt oils, etc attacking the rubber. These brackets are based on those I did at YEC back twenty years ago, but are stronger and designed to sit just under the strips on the cab that support the floor. Here's one, welded and set up on its pads to illustrate how it all goes together.

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Next job is to prime them and then get them welded in to the cab lower half. While all this was going on, I had left him for a trip down to Belper, as I had a couple of lots to collect from an e-bay seller there. As I left Matlock, I found that northbound traffic was backed up all the way past Cromford lights, so decided my return journey would be via Wirksworth. Even this was slow, as the town had a Wirksworth Wizarding event and it was like being in a Harry Potter film with numerous boys and girls dressed in Hogwarts-outfits and a lot of Halloween costumes getting an early outing. I gather the railway benefitted a lot from all this. By the time I got back Andrew had a length of 1" pipe laid across the top of Adolf's running plate and was using this to mark out places to drill through said running plate and tap M10. Here he is hunched over one of the mag drills.

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He had also been drilling some channel strips on the bench drill, but reported to me that one of the belts was completely fubar'd and it was not drilling. Which reminds me, we have obtained a 3-phase pillar drill from an e-bay seller, so that will feature in next week's edition as I am due to go collect it this week. Anyway, not being in the mood to get too much into something when most of the afternoon was already spent, I concentrated on pulling bits together for RS8 for Monday. And today was much of a repeat. Andrew finished tapping the holes through Adolf's running plate, and between us we fitted the two pipes underneath, with elbows etc on each end ready to accept pipes which will take them through the side frames and ultimately through the buffer beams to form brake and res lines.

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He moved on to the two air tanks which will be sited under the fuel tank - these are stainless steel receivers, recovered from a doomed Class 47, and will be plumbed in parallel with a common inlet at one end and a common outlet at the other. Here they are on the floor (to get all the pipes cut and threaded correctly) and soon they will be fitted as the work progresses.

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Once again my mind was on RS8, making sure everything was collected together and put in the van, and a few parts recovered from RS8's old engine cleaned and made ready for re-use. I've prepared a long list of jobs that could be pursued tomorrow, and hopefully pressure has been applied to make sure that our workforce is up to scratch. But this weeks title was of leaks and dribbles. The leaks were Pluto's, but the dribble - well, I am sorry to say that our colourful teapot would not pass a boiler exam without significant calking. A crack which I hoped was just in the glaze, but might be connected with the appearance of water on the draining board when you lifted the teapot up, has become all-too-obviously the whole way through. I fear we are in the market for a new, catering size teapot in the near future. Another sign of the times is that before we left tonight I put all the lights on: it was only 5pm but the nights are drawing in. Andrew pointed up to one of the 50W'ers that was flashing on and off erratically, not just a flicker, and as we watched it went out and stayed out. That's the second that has gone down and appears to be a failure of the voltage regulator, which enables it to work on any normal AC voltage. I opened up the first casualty and found the regulator is sealed in epoxy with just two wires in and two out. With no particular urgency I left it thinking that sometime I'd bring it back and see what voltage the LEDs run on and if a suitable regulator specifically for 230V AC can be sourced to suit. I know these are cheap Chinese imports but to throw away the servicable LEDs and casings goes against my strict upbringing by Mr Scrooge. So I've now brought it back for further investigation. Still, at least the Terrypicker hasn't yet departed.

Over at Amazon, the account used to create 'The Railway to Merhead' has been changed and one unforseen side effect has been that it was set to 'unavailable'. This has now been sorted so anyone who was thwarted in buying a copy (I've already supplied one for someone's upcoming birthday and Christmas is not far off...) it is all now sorted and I'll have further copies in stock later this week. See you then?

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