I did think of starting this with a blow-by-blow account of my colonoscopy, but then some of you may be drinking coffee or eating biscuits when you read this and I don't want to be the cause of shattered biscuit sales nor an instant drop in the coffee bean market, so we'll draw a veil over Monday daytime, rather in the manner of the flap they put in the rear of the hospital paper pants....
Last week Andrew had returned from work one day having diverted to collect a quantity of nuts and bolts in Linbins and such from an e-bay vendor north of Barnsley. The man had, he reported, considerably more not yet listed but he'd arranged for us to go back for a 'pick'. So Monday night we headed back up the M1, to a small yard not far from Woolley Edge services, and delved into a small garage-cum-warehouse. Apparently, our host explained, his grandfather had gone to an auction to acquire a run of Dexion-type racking, and had been successful in winning some at a reasonable price. (He had once, he assured us, gone to an auction to buy a piece of machinery and come away with a canal boat, so anything was plausible.) But this was 'racking with contents' and it had taken them two runs with a 7.5ton truck and a van to collect it all. We went through and brought out more bolts, air cylinders, valves, electrical components, a wiper motor, packs of shim steel, rod ends, a traditional oil can, loads more empty Linbins, cable glands, Mills pins and numerous other small pieces. It took up a large amount of volume in the back of the van and yet the racking didn't seem any the emptier for it. Andrew promised to help me unload it the following morning as I was due an early-start, but in the end Steph came down with me!
Somewhat later than planned off I went, and came back to Darley Dale with a worthwhile 'find' in the back of the van. I've pictured it here sat on a sack-truck-cum-trolley because it is extremely heavy (I can lift and walk with it for about 20 yards though I freely concede that at my age and asthma Geoff Capes I am not) and that is as far as it has travelled since it arrived. What is it? I thought it was obvious. It is a Freidman and Maier fuel pump. F&M (that's F&M not S&M*) were taken over by Bosch many years ago but this goes back pre-takeover and was once fitted to a Rolls-Royce DV8. But the importance of it lies with its back end (nearer end in the photo). It is a mechanically governed pump.
(*I was meaning Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Rly, obviously. Dunno what you were thinking.)
You may recall the pump on 14 901 is a CAV hydraulically-governed one and its future is one of increasing decrepitude and ultimately, obsolescence. CAV never did a mechanically-governed version and while we have considered converting it to electronic governing, the throttle on the 14 is air, and needs to be as it also signals the Voith, so an electronic governor would involve interfacing pneumatics with electronics, all-in-all not a task to be undertaken without a good R&D budget. So the chance acquisition of this F&M pump gives us another solution to keeping 14 901 running: but there is one snag. The pump has a single lever control. On the CAV pump, there are two levers - one is 'throttle' (i.e idle to max speed) the other 'run or stop'. On the F&M pump these two functions are combined in one, push the lever far enough back and the fuel rack doesn't deliver any fuel at all, engine stops.
On 14 901, we have a normal (to us) 24Volt energise-to-run solenoid on the 'stop' lever and an air cylinder on the 'throttle' lever. Working out a means of making the 24V solenoid bring the throttle lever up to an 'idle' position and then enabling the air throttle to take it higher, while still ensuring a loss of volts to the solenoid will bring the throttle back to stopping the engine irrespective of air throttle position, will require some ingenuity. If we follow Plan B, (repower the loco) we may never do it, but if that hydraulic governor starts showing signs of terminal illness or is offered a decent burial by our pump man, it would be good to have this substitute ready and waiting. Besides, the existing fuel pump on the loco limits the engine to about 450bhp at 1500rpm. Increasing the fuelling serves no purpose, and the governor will not go any higher – we've tried. But the F&M pump, apart from needing to be fuelled back, will operate at 1800, so the engine should be upped to maybe 500-520bhp within its current combination of low-boost turbo and intercoolers. More importantly, when Barclays converted it first from Paxman to Dorman 8QT they re-geared the Voith input to work with an 1800 rpm engine. Whilever it has had a Rolls-Royce governed to 1500rpm, the Voith has not been seeing the correct combinations of input/output speeds to trigger the correct changeovers. Having an engine running at full input rpm even if still not at full torque, should make an interesting improvement in its performance. But for now, we'll just ponder the possibilities, for down in Essex the loco is performing without incident. Touch wood.
I think I was doing a bit too much driving in the early part of the week as I woke up on Thursday morning with a migraine headache and a marked reluctance to go up to Tunstead. When I finally got there, Liam G was out on a quarry breakdown so we kaiboshed it (not a complete waste, I had a couple of other things to do up there). I am not sure quite when I'll be Tunstead-ing again, a planning meeting seems likely. Still, I did get around to ordering the a/v mounts for the power unit.
First thing Friday I had an electrician visiting the Geoffrey Briddon Building to go over the electrical installation and carry out some work. He has highlighted a few changes I need to make which will be put into effect shortly, but improved the incoming electrical connection which has tidied up the corner by the sink. I seemed to spend most of the time merely watching but then I could hardly get much done while he was at work with the power off.
Andrew has been off work all week – his operation last Friday having taken more out of him perhaps than he expected, and in particular as he can't drive for the moment he is signed off. Although he is getting more feeling and grip in his left hand than hitherto the elbow is still stitched and not as flexible as it needs to be, and he cannot lift much, so he has been strangely inactive. That, and as the planned working party of the IDRPG had gradually fizzled out I found myself all alone on Saturday, which can be nice when there are jobs I can plod on with on my own, or frustrating when there are jobs which require a second person present.
Dom B was around, doing the quarterly maintenance on the access crossover, which requires our point clamp to be removed – he still cannot get the dolly to pull off properly and it looks as though this might be due to wear in the operating shaft, so it might be coming in to us to rectify.
Thus my day began with sorting out a bonfire to dispose of sundry rubbish, then getting back inside out of the bitterly cold air and starting on a shelf next to the sink that has always been planned, but has previously been somewhat inaccessible. I got an upright bolted firmly in place and cut to length but when Steph and Andrew came down at lunchtime, he reported he hadn't been able to find any jig-saw blades and concluded they 'must' be down at the shed. Having spent a half-hour last week looking for them, I was equally sure they were still at the house. So the shelf itself didn't get cut but Andrew and Steph made an effort to start tidying up all the Linbinned bolts and such and tried to find the jig-saw blades. I started converting a 110V fluorescent lamp fitting ready to accept a 240V LED tube, and cutting/bending a length of cable tray which is to go up at the south end of the shed to make a better job of the cables there and provide an anchor for the additional Emergency light that the Inspector asked for.
I went on with little tasks after Steph and Andrew had departed. When I eventually arrived home, I put my hands on the jig-saw blades within 5 minutes.
Another large package that arrived during the week is a 24Volt hydraulic pump assembly for the low-loader. At present the hydraulic rams on the neck require a hydraulic feed from the tractor unit, but that is not universally available and limits whom he could hire in from, so a pump and reservoir is an obvious additional accessory. The carrier in this case was due Tuesday but hasn't been to the Briddon Country Pile before and couldn't locate it, but instead of returning it to sender claiming the house doesn't exist, returned on Wednesday and this time found us.
Andrew knew where he wanted to site this tank and pump but had not taken dimensions, so planned that on Sunday we would 'pop up in the morning' to measure up. The 'morning' part of that didn't quite happen, but after an early lunch we drove up and ran a tape measure over the place on the neck Andrew wants to utilise. The trailer is parked out in the yard now, ready for its departure for MoT, though we still have an air-bag or two to replace, which now looks like being next Saturday.
After barely 15 minutes we headed back, and Andrew was for me dropping him off at home but then discovered a friend was waiting at Darley so we went straight down to the shed. In fact there were two, and the next hour was spent with tea, catching up and putting the world to rights. Andrew headed back home on foot leaving me to cut and mount the shelf at long last – next job is to mount a towel rail under it. The bench grinding wheel - we don't use it much – has never had proper guards since we bought it, so that received a pair of heavy duty clear plastic protective windows, and the striplight was finished off ready to receive its new LED tube. I had really intended getting the feed cable into place and maybe even terminated adjacent to where the two striplights will be needed but the late start and (pleasant) socialising had eaten away at the time.
Now, if you are a regular reader you may be wondering why there is still no announcement over the loco we were looking at last week, and that's because we haven't heard anything either. We are assured it is a 'done deal' but I don't like to declare such things until paperwork is issued. So that will wait a little longer.
Back on the Peak Rail front, the responses to my letter continue to trickle in. The 'David' I mentioned last week has not been in further contact – could it be really someone else in Oker (or Oaker, not even the roadsigns agree)? Meanwhile two Peak Railway Association Directors (that's the supporters group, not Peak Rail plc) resigned during November - forms filed at Companies House.
So that's about it for this week, no really railway-y bits, sorry but it happens that way. Grandson is back up next weekend, so a chunk of my time will be spent driving again. Hope I'll be back in time to write the next edition. Toodle-pip.