Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of water pipes and bird boxes

5th August 2018

Welcome to August. No you, are, I assure you: I don't want it if it's going to stay this hot.

So, as usual it was off to Tunstead on Monday but it was a strange day with only Andy H and Liam G. Alan G was back from leave but with everybody else off had to man the stores: even getting the key to get into our room and tool store took a while to sort. I had brought up a full 6.5metre length of 2inch tube, but cut into 3 lengths which Liam proceeded to chop into shorter lengths based on the dimensions he had listed earlier. I found myself studying once again why the pipe under the cab and to the back refused to line-up where it had been before, despite having the very same (but cleaned) fittings dropping it past the sandbox and junctioning through the frame plates. Eventually I found why, and it was the daftest reason. It was obvious that the pipe running just under the running plate was angling down, and the fitting at the end had been ground so that it would slide up behind the valance, or rather it wouldn't, and no amount of hammering would force it to do so. Then one of those blinding flashes of insight came to me – one of the bolts that hold the fuel tank to the running late was right above it. Extract said bolt, and the pipe slides obediently up into place, and the back end promptly lined up. You can see it here, after we later put the rear sandbox in.


Which still begs the question, how did it fit before? Maybe we'll have to fit a cosmetic bolt head. I also spent some time investigating the lift off casing doors. There were 4 up each side, but only two survived the vandals as they were in the way between them and the copper and brass they had decided to steal. And these two are a bit on the rotten side around the bottoms. My plan had been to derive a drawing, and produce 8 new, with 'current' retaining catches and one modified to act as the air cleaner. The trouble is, that the two remaining proved to be different widths, and checking the spacings between the catches suggests that no two doors were the same. For now, I've put this into the back of my mind while I concentrate on more pressing matters and hope that inspiration will emerge at the appropriate time. The battery box lid too, is missing, but as we have the surround we can at least derive the dimensions it must have been, though the remains of the hinges, clearly made to the job, maybe something I can give to a volunteer as a special project. Up at the front end, the pipework didn't go too well either, for when we had extracted it we had had to cut a section out and Liam's measurement of the original pieces had of course not revealed this. So a new length was cut and eventually the front end went together.


Meanwhile, when not helping us, Andy H was cleaning and painting anything that took his fancy, and as we are working towards starting to re-fit the massive control linkages he spent some time on those parts, especially the levers that fit the ends of the cross-shafts. Unfortunately, the plummer blocks having been dismantled, although the bearings were still to be found, the seals are missing and in one case, the taper hub and locking washer are missing, and these are slightly harder to acquire than the bearings themselves, it seems. And although Liam had come up with welding equipment, the man himself was unavailable owing to a plant breakdown, so there was no progress on the engine mounts, nor the other welding jobs that await him. But after a discussion between me and Andrew, I had brought up a re-sealed torque converter cooler and took RS8's old one away, as it may need pressing apart on the press, having been together so long. The replacement is not perfect however, and needs a couple of stud holes helicoiling.


All in all, we seemed to get a fair amount completed during the day, whether it was painting, piping or, as in my case, mounting the second seat base but with button-headed setscrews for better appearance on the outside of the cab. During the latter half of the week Pete C rang to say that we needed to cancel next Monday's plans because there would be contractors working on the building's roof and we wouldn't be able to work there. That at least gives me a bit of extra time to sort out these plummer block bits, plus resolve the taper lock bush that disintegrated when we took the hand-brake linkage apart – all being well this could go back in next time. And of course this takes us a step nearer to needing electrics and pneumatics. Up in the cab, the entire instrument panel disappeared during its days in the car park, and although I did peep in the cab once not long after it arrived, I have no memory of what it was like. But I can of course see where it has been – so we have collected together some of the gauges it needs, even if they are not quite the same as it had before – and laying them out so as to create a plan for a new panel within the size constraints of its original will be an interesting exercise. I suspect the combinations of port positions and depth behind, as well as accessibility for doing connections up tight may tax my patience.


Saturday, and the IDRPG returned for a working party plus general meeting. They had, unfortunately, opened one of the roller shutter doors first thing. Now, when the building internally is hot, and the air outside cool, such an action does lower the inside temperature. But the air outside was already hotter, and the sun beating down into the shed, made working conditions inside unnecessarily unpleasant. While they got on with work on 1382, Andrew decided to tackle a long outstanding job, namely completing the water pipe up the western wall. The long length of pipe has been in situ for months, indeed, it is months since I put up additional angle-iron supports mid way between the columns. But the connections at each end – down to the water supply at the Rowsley end and to a tap at the Matlock end, had not been put in hand. Now he decided to do it, as he felt that getting on with priming Adolf 's cab and casings, whilst highly desirable, would be rather antisocial. So he proceeded to make up a complicated sequence of bends and barrels and crane couplings. I left him to it, and carried on turning two of the former BAOR codelight boxes into nesting boxes. The original idea came from the fact that one, which had had one light removed, had been used for nesting purposes, so why not make use of them properly. Anyway, here's the first couple – just want some external painting and mounting up somewhere, and time to settle in to their surroundings before next year.


Some weeks ago we acquired a big green pigeon-hole rack which has been waiting a chance to get into its new home and getting in the way in the interim. Andrew had decided that it would go next to the last new bit of vintage racking (on the left in the picture) and so I had finished emptying the cupboard that was there, and we moved it out. The the big green bit was nominally 36 inches, as was the cupboard it was to displace, but it wouldn't fit as over external bolt heads it was 37. But with a bit of a fiddle it went in to place. Another apparently matching rack has been acquired during the week from Ware – yes, Wickham country – and collected by a friend of ours – Roger W – who is kindly looking after it until one of us comes his way, after which it will stand on top of the left hand one and more order can be brought to our nut and bolt stocks.


Saturday moved on to Sunday, and Andrew completed the supply end of the water pipe and with some trepidation we turned on the water. Alas several barrels and one swept elbow leaked, and after re-making both ends a couple of times, we were still only 75% of the way there (though the remaining leaks are minor, we want to be leak free) and Andrew decided to leave it for another day and better working conditions. Already it had taken so much time that setting up to spray the body parts for Adolf was not worth it, and he declared it was too hot to weld bracketry for Adolf, but I encouraged him to at least do the latter as only a week or so ago he was moaning that we weren't making progress. So here's something of definite progress.


The front engine mounts of Adolf's engine are based on those I did for Libby (and I think, from one I did in YEC days, but pre-Autocad) and as this is a 'trunnion-mount' engine, the engine part of the mount clamps around that and has pads on the underside that carry a/vs to mate with the frame part of the mount.


You've seen this before, some weeks ago when I laid the plain profile in place on the running plate – now it has a large hole bored in position (a 'safety link' goes between it and the engine mount, so should an a/v fail, the engine cannot get too far out of line) and the mating pads welded on. It is ready to be welded in place on the loco. Meanwhile the first stage of the rear mounts were put together.


The base (as you see it) bolts to the engine flywheel housing (OK, I've just put flywheel on the caption, so what?) and the two holes will be where M16 bolts go through the mounts. I am using greater centre-lines for the latter than I usually do. When we put together 03 901, I used my 'standard' dimension but as this transmission does not have the length of bell-housing as do the single speed Twin Discs (being a power shift neutral is obtained by selecting no gears, rather than the usual over-centre clutch) it all became rather cramped. So as Adolf will have the same transmission, I've put myself a bit more space in, though I have planned a couple of extra gussets for strengthening which we'll put in next time. For now, as the frame parts of these mountings cannot be assembled as two key parts are away for machining, it is as far as we can go.

So that's about it for this week. No Monday at Tunstead – how strange that will feel. Still, plenty to do from drawing up instrument panels through to swapping parts from the VBA to the ferry van. Talking of which, Rail Express want to feature our ferry van and Andrew has been approached by a group for advice on how to extricate other abandoned wagons. We bounced around some names for this new business opportunity over Saturday lunch. Moverighter was one suggestion. There again, maybe it could be an event in the sequel to 'The Railway to Merhead' (working title 'Merhead Revisited') with George struggling to pull a wagon out of some remote rail siding. Hmm, it's got potential. Must add it to the list. See you next week.

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