Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of Tom, vac and rollers

24th April 2016

I have received complaints from readers this week. 'Not enough pictures' from one and 'no videos' from another. Well this is supposed to be a blog: if you just want to see pictures then I believe Tumblr may be more to your liking. But I shall try and appease all with a fair smattering of photographs and a little video.

It has been a fairly uneventful week here at the Briddon Country Pile and the Geoffrey Briddon building. I have had a day (and evening) or two at the shed doing work both on Cheedale and preparation on electrics etc. At the beginning of the week I ordered more off my profilers, including my own brackets for the Unistrut ('electrician's mechano') as those proprietary ones I bought a couple of weeks ago weren't entirely to my liking. I spent an unnecessary amount of time talking to an industrial roller shutter door manufacturer through which I eventually worked out that (a) Cheedale's roller shutters are essentially the type used on commercial vehicles rather than 'industrial' and (b) they didn't have the faintest idea who made that type.

On Friday morning I headed up to my profilers to collect the goodies, only to find that not all was ready as thanks to someone else than usual processing my order, it had been put down for collection on Monday. On the way though I bought (with Andrew's money) a fresh set of silver alloy batteries for 14 901, so it wasn't a wasted trip, and on my return found that the second set of exhauster drive belts for 03 901 had arrived from that supplier, which meant that a return to Scunthorpe Saturday was on the cards.

Friday afternoon I headed down to the shed, and was joined by Andy H, in his role as honorary electrical advisor, but as he is also a keen watcher of events at Tunstead, and Cheedale was there and runnable, the opportunity to have a ride in it was partaken, rather than merely photograph it from afar. Later, with all his work for the week completed, Andrew joined us and took the opportunity to drain the warmed oil as a beginning of the engine service, followed by changing the filters. He also took the semi-circular strap that my favourite fabricators had bent up for me during the week and made it into a support for the front of the silencer.

Andy was critical that my electrical concoction, photo'd last week, was too close to the sink, but as it is clipped around, rather than screwed to, the concrete panels, it was an easy matter to slide it father away. He produced me a long list of electrical cable requirements, so I suppose it'll be a scour of e-bay yet again as well as compare suppliers' prices on the net.

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And so to Saturday and my first picture for the impatient reader. We were off reasonably early I thought, but had to pop down the shed first to recover 14 901's old batteries which were being reallocated to Tom, plus drop off the new ones and pick up all such bits and bobs and tools and such that we might need but were to be found scattered around the workshop, and then decant a quantity of SAE 30 from the drum in the oil store. In consequence it was around noon by the time we got to the AFRPS shed.

An impatient reader dragged me over to the clock and pointed to it. It seemed my dear son had passed the buck for our arrival time on to me.
'What time do you call this?' impatient reader demanded.
'If you can't read the time by your age' I answered sweetly 'you're in big trouble. Besides, ' I added, remembering Gandalf''s retort 'I'm not late, I arrive exactly when I intend to.'

I backed the van over to the two locos that were stood together outside the shed – fortunately the rather cold and wet weather forecast had not quite come true, and we started to swap the batteries over on Tom, and having done so, put them on charge for safety's sake, while I swapped the Start button for one we'd brought with us. Andrew meanwhile had made a start on the 03, fitting the exhauster drive belts. I then moved on to start filling the exhauster up with oil, which was rather interrupted by repeated requests from Andrew to get him this or that tool, see how the batteries were doing, etc., etc. The first part of the brake van tour had been completed and the participants were mingling. Glenn B declared that if Tom was ready to go it could take out the second half of the tour. The batteries seemed to be in the right area so I fired the loco up and handed it over, and tried to get back to topping up the exhauster.

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The full complement of belt drives are now on the 03, so I thought I'd annotate a picture to show what each one is (hopefully) doing, for the benefit of those who have joined since we were installing all this some 5 years ago. The water pump drive is solely on the Cummins engine, but the others are all from an auxiliary shaft which comes off the front end of the crankshaft through a torsional coupling. Starting from the engine, the first drive is to the compressor mounted at the front left (looking forward) just behind the rad. In front of this is the new exhauster provision, and as I could not squeeze the exhauster in without coming way outside the loco casings (in fact, over the shunter’s recess) that is located back alongside the engine and driven, 02 style, by a propshaft. Since the exhauster is in a fixed location, and the propshaft has uv's, the driven pulley works on an eccentric arrangement for tensioning. Moving farther forward comes the fan drive: we'll have to see how it fares but I was very pleased how this went together and hope to use the basic design again in the future. And finally, although it is almost out of sight in this picture, is the charge pump drives, two tandem pumps one providing base pressure for the converter and the other pressure to the powershift. How does it all work in practice? Well see for yourself in this little video, which does reveal the charge pump pulley has been disturbed and running a little erratically.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Next on the agenda was to plumb in the vac gauge in the desk, which was achieved by temporarily unbolting the instrument panel and attaching the pipe and fittings while others supported its weight. The bottom connection to the train pipe was hurriedly put in and we were all ready to go. As soon as the engine fired the vac gauge woke up and within a minute we were maintaining 14 inches of vac at idle (rev it up and it made a valiant effort to get to 24 inches, this is, after all a Swindon built engine and the exhauster came off an 08 that also hailed from there) but Andrew walked around the back and could hear a hissing noise. The vac pipe was fine but the rubber seal on the dummy had failed. He went off to scrounge a replacement and with that fitted, and after adjusting the snifter we were maintaining 21 inches at idle.

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But on its own is one thing, what was it going to be like on a train? We took the loco over the dmu carriages and hooked up. Soon enough I was drawing the train out of the siding and practising stopping on the vac valve.

This is not like the valve on 14901 or other installations we've done like Beverley or 72229. Andrew decided from the outset that he wanted a similar arrangement to what that 03s had and that was a centrally-mounted, manual, non-lapping valve and linkages to dummy handles on each side. The technique for operating is thus rather different. Pull the handle away from 'Running' and listen for the 'hiss' as air enters the train pipe, by which time it's already too late as the needle has started a rapid descent and has zipped by the 14 or 15 inches you'd like for a gradual deceleration. Quickly pull the lever back a bit and the needle reverses direction and the sudden braking that your passengers experienced is replaced by acceleration as the vac rises and the 03 resumes pulling. After all, you've been concentrating on the brake valve and gauge so much that you've overlooked to throttle back or drop down to neutral. Never mind, try a little more on the brake lever to apply and go through it all again, by which time you've either pulled up short or missed the platform altogether.

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In the midst of all this Tom hove back in to sight, having stayed on the track but instead had blown a hose off the gearchgange so that it was unable to go into forwards. The AFRPS' Janus 'No.1' took over the train and Andrew went off to investigate. In the event it took only a new olive and a spanner to rectify Tom's direction problems, although its prolonged standing has thrown up a couple of other things, like an oil leak, that we will have to rectify.

But not today, for I went through doing some rudimentary driver training with a few of the AFRPS volunteers, who were generally cock-a-hoop that there was once again a vac-fitted diesel available to go with the passenger stock.

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In the end of the shed where the 03 had been last week a GW-type Toad brake van stood, and other volunteers were continuing to strip the corroded steelwork, and Andrew went to assist, declaring himself very satisfied to be cutting up someone else's property with someone else's gas. There must be another career at C F Booths calling him.

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Had I known that he was not going to surface until lunchtime today, I would have gone down to the shed on my own this morning. As it was we had an earlyish dinner (or brunch in his case) and then drove down.

I had been rather unhappy that the flexible conduit I had put in in 2013 for the electric gauge lines, together with the new one I installed a few weeks ago to protect the original alternator cables, were now tending to lie on the edge of the gearbox input flange and during the week I had decided that I would re-route one conduit to the side, rather than end, of the box and put all the wires through it. So while Andrew was filling the sump with oil, I climbed in the back, drilled a fresh hole and rerouted cables and conduit in a more satisfactory manner. I then moved on to change the ammeter, and would have cabled up the hour counter had I remembered to bring the wiring diagram with me.

Meanwhile Andrew attacked the roller shutter door, left hand side. He had concluded that the basic problem was that there was too much Tunstead stuck in the slats, so set about taking them apart, which required drilling out pop-rivets, then pulling,and in some cases hammering, one from its neighbour. I broke off to do a temporary fix to the pressure washer (its cable having been accidentally severed while shunting a month or so ago) then turned my attention to the strip-light over the workbench. Andy H having criticised me for leaving the yellow cable that it had before still attached (yellow denotes 110V it seems and it will be on 240V) I took it down and changed it for a length of 'white' I'd found in the container and a minor correction to the internal wiring, reassembled it and put the tube in. Plug in at the 4-way and – nothing. I left it and decided to strip out another of these 110V fluorescents that didn't work and prep it for a new life as a 240V LED. That went quite well (between calls to assist Andrew) but when I first plugged it in, it too didn't work. The mystery was simple – I hadn't quite rotated the tubes to the correct axis and when I did so, both lit up very satisfactorily.

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Having a work bench lamp encouraged me to make a start on the wiper motors for Cheedale. The loco had come into our possession with only 3, and the particular pattern is no longer to be found, which is a pity as it was one you could change the sweep to suit and the rear doors require a sweep that is not to be found on fixed sweep motors. But I had Charlie's to hand, minus an essential drive link, which I had replicated using a profile. I set about making these fit and testing them. With a bit more fettling, they'll be ready to go back on.

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Andrew had finished reassembling the roller shutter, now with added flex, and required my assistance to get it back on the loco. We had learned when one of them came out that the rollers themselves had a spring tensioner built-in, rather like a retracting tape measure, but were unsure how much force to apply. So we started with 3 complete turns on the drum, assembled and tried it. It wasn't sufficient, so we went on adding another turn and trialling until we were reasonably satisfied, which as a matter of interest amounted to seven.

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Over the next few days we will attempt to do the same on the right hand side, which will enable us to put the remaining casing roof stay back in tand the front casing roof panel itself.

Tonight, while I've been writing this, Andrew has been back on e-bay, acquiring a batch of 50W LED floodlights for the shed lighting, plus some additional noise deadening material to replace some of that which has deteriorated on Cheedale.

So, dear reader, are there enough photographs? Are you content with a little bit of moving pictures? Oh, so you wanted to see a loco or two moving. Well you never said.

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