Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of more b***** snow

6th December 2010

On Monday we went up to Elsecar to recover the lorry sheet that covered the Sentinel “George” only to discover that Elsecar had already removed said sheet “in case it was theirs”. Ho humm. Plan A had been to see the loco on board the lorry heading to pastures new, but the latter was apparently stuck in snow somewhere in Scotland.

We hoped it might get there on Tuesday instead, and I was ready to zip out if required, but it was still snowbound. About 6″ of the pesky white stuff came down Tuesday night, so Plan C, to get another trailer and unit direct from the depot at Nottingham, flopped on Wednesday morning when drivers couldn’t get in to work, let alone get units out and away. Andrew too was also unable to get to work – services on the Hope Valley from Sheffield to Manchester having ceased, so we had a happy time digging our driveway clear and repositioning cars in the best order we could think.

With Tuesday being the last day of November, we had decided to take the Land Rover off the road, as its tax expired and it was just too expensive to run – what we wanted was a van, and one had been duly lined-up to take its place. We should have collected this on Wednesday, but 6″ or more of snow (we now had between 10 and 11″ on our garden) overnight not only put paid to that, but prevented receipt of the new insurance documents as the Royal Mail stopped delivering.

By Friday I was at least able to get out and go earn a few bob dealing with a breakdown, while Andrew headed off to collect a new set of batteries for 14 901. The advert for the Land Rover appeared in a monthly magazine, resulting in two gentlemen arriving on our doorstep at 18.30 and agreeing to buy it.

On Saturday therefore, Andrew headed over to Rowsley, to meet up with some guys from the East Lancs, who wanted to buy a few redundant bits of D9500, plus borrow a couple of others which have become mysteriously missing from theirs. He then swopped the batteries on 14 901. Mrs B and I finally went up to collect the van (still no Royal Mail delivery but we got around that) by which time it was too late to follow him.

On Sunday however, having transferred toolboxes and sundries from Land Rover to van, I followed Andrew out to Rowsley, this time meeting up with guys from the K&ESR. Rob had been busy with the JCB clearing the access roads and car park, and “Charlie” together with the ‘Shark’ ballast plough, had re-opened a railway where snow was several inches over the rail heads. “Santa” trains were running “as normal” with the Austerity at the Matlock end and ‘Pen-y-Ghent’ at the other, unlike a certain other railway just over the hill which had put a plea out for all able-bodied volunteers to come and dig their railway out. (Elsecar had cancelled their Santa trains too, but here was as much because the collapsed culvert they found a few weeks ago in fact turned out to be a not-inconsiderable void which the Council are trying to fill with mass-concrete.)

All it wants is a few candles and maybe a plastic fir tree added to the 'icing'

Anyway, a deal was struck for sundry bits, and Andrew departed for his girl friend’s leaving me to re-secure D9500’s cab, and investigate 14 901 a little further. The new batteries turn the engine over a treat (though it still won’t run), but the oil pressure gauge is hitting the top stop at 10 bar plus, and this sort of pressure could conceivably disturb the white metal on the big ends and mains. Yes, of course the engine has an oil pressure relief valve, but we’ve had this before (on “Charlie”) that when the oil viscosity changes considerably the relief valve does not operate quite in the same way. Do we wait for warmer weather, or go for a bit of heat on the block first? We’ll have to see.

"Charlie" and the 'Shark'

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