Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of visitors and cameras

19th August 2018

A slightly briefer report this week, Steph's away at our daughters so on my return from the shed I had first to complete plant watering and cooking before even thinking about blog composition.

 I committed a cardinal sin on Monday. I set off to Tunstead but forgot to take a camera. Which was a pity because as usual it was a scene of considerable activity, even though numbers were 'down', for Liam was commandeered for a plant breakdown and Jack was off sick. Still, Pete H disappeared off with the parts for the engine mounts and got them welded up, Andy H was stripping bearings out of control linkages and priming bits, Alan G was cleaning and priming just about anything he laid his hands on and me? Well, I looked down on this, the monarch of all I surveyed from the loftiness of the cab, where I fitted two or three of the control valves and opened up holes in the roof for the whistle valve. So I have but one photo of the day to show, courtesy of Andy H, of the control linkages.

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This is 'one corner's worth' of throttle and brake – and there is one lever of the eight missing that must be reverse engineered and manufactured in due course. Each lever has two bearings and a spacer secured by circlips, and when I say bearings, I don't mean oilite or glacier bushes, these are fully-fledged ball bearings, which given each will only turn to-and-fro some 60 degrees, seems a bit of overkill, and as there was no provision for lubricating them, slightly flawed in concept. Of course, bearing (oops, pun) in mind that moving any one control lever also moves all 3 others, you want as little drag as possible, but even glacier bushes have a minimal resistance. Anyway, there was a bag with some brand new ones in, so Andy H went off with the old ones to soak and see what he could do with them. I had arrived not only with the bearings and seals for the main cross shaft plummer blocks but the chain and taper lock bush for the handbrake wheel, but somewhere along the way the key for the taper lock has disappeared so although I put it in position for appearances sake, it doesn't do anything yet. I also double checked my plans for the instrument panel against the cab itself and was rather glad I had, because it wouldn't have fitted. Somehow when I had measured it before I had either forgotten where the forward/reverse gear valve was or had it in mind to use a different valve, somewhere else. Either way, had I gone ahead I would had to cut a big 'ole for the valve, if not a slot. So that got re-measured and a revised plan drawn up later in the week.

Also later in the week I took in the drawing for the battery box lid to my favourite fabricators in Sheffield and although they reckoned it would be next week before they did it, I got an e-mail 2 days later so say it was ready and I went back in to collect it. It is only the basic lid; I'm hoping that Pete H will be able to make his mark by re-creating the hinges and bringing it back to original form from a blown-up picture of the 'box from the 1970s.

Every time the HST have an event on at Rowsley, we expect to get the odd visitor at Darley Dale (many of whom, we suspect, don't realise that the locos at Darley aren't just some 'outstation' of HST) and judging on that basis, the 'unveiling' of their ex-Italian 04 on Saturday must have been a success. We had 3 visitors booked a month ago who were coming up specially, and even as I was finishing the tour with them, there were 3 more on the footpath asking if they could come round. The final tally was 10, which is gratifying (and beneficial to the Donations tin) but did rather prevent pans to get on with one major job. Instead Andrew continued re-arranging nuts and bolts and trying to get more organisation in the racking. Certainly walking up the west side of the building is getting easier, with fewer obstructions, but we will have to invest in new batteries for my labelling machine before all draws can be actually marked with what's in them.

In between times I was looking to make up a reservoir tank ready for RS8. Like many locos at that time, RS8's converter was arranged to run on diesel fuel. Nothing wrong with that, it saved carrying a reservoir specifically for a hydraulic oil. But today's gas oil is de-sulphur'ed, and the process that does this impairs the lubricant properties of the oil. With the limited clearances of the components in the converter, the health of the bearings is crucial and the charge pump too relies on the oil for lubrication. And last but not least, on most locos, RS8 included, the bottom of the converter ends up below the bottom of the loco fuel tank, so any condensate in the oil tends to finds its way to the bottom of the converter while the loco is standing. When you've had converters through your hands for repair and the bearings have shown water-damage you know that it wants reviewing, and gradually all Andrew's locos using Twin Disc converters are being swapped over to a hydraulic oil. The 03, Charlie, Cheedale and Tom are, Beverley was before it went to Pontypool and Adolf will be as it progresses.

For economies sake the tank allocated to RS8 is the one I used for a year on 14 901 as a fuel header tank, before concluding, probably erroneously with hindsight, that the lack of baffling was causing bubbling in the fuel and so manufactured a replacement. These tanks are a stock item with loose lid and only one boss (pipe port) and you put your fittings (filler breather, level gauges, return ports, whatever) to suit yourself. As a header tank only I had no reason or space to put a filler breather, so to ready it for its new role one has now been fitted. (You'll see it in the picture next to Jagger, below) and it still needs cleaning out and a fresh joint making to seal the lid. Oh, and deciding where on earth I can fit it on RS8.

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Andrew eventually got his head around doing some welding, finishing of the rear mounts for Adolf and assembling the new rear engine mounts for Cheedale which have been sat on that fabrication bench now for a year or more.

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Talking of a year, it is almost a year since the Wickham, or pseudo Wickham, returned to the fold on Sunday Jagger was to be found starting to strip down the Lister engine we acquired for it.

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With the bore and stroke now visible for measurement, Andrew has determined what engine it is, (I think he said LT but don't quote me) but the 14hp it has available should be entirely suitable, being just over the nominal 12hp of the original Ford petrol engine, albeit at different revs.

Toby K, Andy H and Charles were also present on Sunday, mostly working on 1382 but some time was spent transferring bits from the PCV, partly because we're getting near to re-bogie-ing and partly to be ready for moving bits out of the VBA.

Rather than try to straighten out the bent bracket for Charlie's sandbox, Andrew had found a length of unequal angle whose dimensions broadly matched, and I marked it out and drilled two holes to bolt through to the frame, and cut off the bent one flush with the back of the tank. Additional bits of angle will make up the lower stay brackets. At the end of the afternoon, the others had gone, there was just me, Jagger and a diminishing bonfire, when we were hailed from the hedge and a last visitor for the weekend cadged a tour. Obviously he wasn't here for the HST do, but I did the final tour guide act for the weekend.

I have two additional faces I'm told tomorrow at Tunstead, so must make sure I've got plenty to do. Although I loaded the van this afternoon with, amongst other things, two buffers in kit form, as I have been writing this my mind has remembered things I should have picked up and I have a note alongside me with a list to dash in and collect in the morning. I suppose I had better add 'camera' to it, just in case.

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