Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of the Last Weekend of the Month

27th February 2011

It has been a busy week at Briddon towers. I was out on a commercial job on Tuesday, and Andrew having packed the girlfriend back off for home, went over to Rowsley where there ought to have been a 6.5m length of tube delivered. But it wasn’t there. He rang me, I advised him where to find the supplier’s phone number and contact name, he rang the supplier, the supplier blustered, and it turned out the lorry was half a mile away and the driver “couldn’t find” Peak Rail, Rowsley.

So much for all the brown tourist signs, “Welcome to Peak Rail” signs, etc. Anyway, the pipe arrived, the sections marked and cut and threaded, and the principle sections were ready for a trial assembly by the time it was too dark to continue. He came back and ordered some pipe nipples off an e-bay supplier. By Friday I agreed to head down to Wansford for him. After I had dropped off the Paxman engine, Dave Hartley had stripped and assessed it, and Andrew had promised to uplift the unwanted bits by the end of Feb, and time was running short. But first Steph and I trundled to the Central Sorting Office to collect a package that couldn’t be delivered while I was away on Tuesday. Don’t you just love those red cards through your door, and now it takes them 3 days to get it back to the collection point whereas it used to take 2!? As Andrew was finishing his secondment over at Longsight, I waited on for the parcels delivery. Posty knocked on our door at 11.00, left me a package (which I knew in an instant wasn’t what Andrew was wanting) but I guessed that if it was coming letterpost Steph would be back long before the next Postman wandered by – sadly she wasn’t, so another bloomin’ red card through the door and Andrew foresees that this last weekend of the month is going to live up to its reputation. As for me, I looked forward to a few minutes chin-wag with Dave Hartley, admiring the newly installed C8SFL in his ex LT Sentinel 0-6-0DH, the merits and de-merits of the new gas oil regulations, all washed down with the unique Wansford tea.

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ex London Underground Sentinel, one of 3 they used to run

14 901s leaky cab window and window fixings in general came up in the topic. Dave corrected me – the windows are not fixed, as I thought, by screws through the frames into wooden laths, but 3/16 BSW or 2BA screws tapped into the cab sheet. Which explains why there is nothing remaining of what I thought were wood screws, but is academic as they are equally as immovable as before and must be drilled out. Dave also expounded the theory that BR Stores only ever stocked one window frame as a spare – the “handbrake side” one – and locos suffering such damage on the “cooker side” (I leave the parentheses as 901 has no cooker) received a handbrake side replacement. Thus, he said, cooker side window frames are rare, but then proceeded to find me one stashed in a remote container.

As I drove back, Andrew came on delighted to report that a joint bid with the Aln Valley to acquire some MFD jacking equipment had been successful. Plan A for Saturday had been for Andrew to give me a hand on a commercial job for an hour or two, but whereas in my younger years I have been prone to severe but infrequent migraines, nowadays when overly-tired I am more likely to suffer 2 or 3 mild migraines in close succession. So Andrew left me at home to go to Rowsley and continue with work on “Pluto’s” vac pipe. Unfortunately he found himself on arrival accosted and berated by a person over the various outstanding loose parts relative to D9500 and which, as yet, had not been collected and relocated. The details, and whether it was in fact the business of the person who saw fit to involve himself, I shall not go in to, but it did nothing to improve his opinion of this weekend. He did however move a lot of the smaller stuff (which had just been turfed outside) and empty those bits from the van I had brought back on Friday.

So Sunday started where Saturday should have. Though of course, we had to encounter a nice long sit on the M1 as 4 emergency vehicles attended a 2 car prang. Eventually we got to Butterley, fired up a loco and after a few minutes, found smoke emerging from the control cubicle – one small contactor was tired of life. Butterley – or rather Swanwick Junction – has a rather down-at-heel appearance to the punter, and suffers from much vandalism and downright theft. So much so, it seems, that they have been forced to water-cool the burglar alarm…

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Won't this indicate a problem on insurance?

We headed back over to Rowsley. Last major items of D9500 to be relocated are the brake rigging crossbeams and pullrods. which have been in outside storage for more years than we know. We slung them in the back of the van, and drove gently up the yard with them stuck out the back. The pullrods found a new home in the empty engine-bay, the crossbeams, being a bloomin sight heavier, were found another location to rest until we are ready for them.

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Pull rods take a ride

At last, the possibility of making some positive progress – the new pipes were PTFE’d, the couplings screwed on tight and as the afternoon returned to deluge, we trialled them in place on “Pluto”. It may not look much, but on a Last Weekend in the Month, you welcome any bit you can get.

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Finally, the red pipe that marks Progress!

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