Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of Mr Hudswell and Mr Clarke

12th August 2012

"I've just saved £200 on my car insurance and I feel -" astonished at how much difference a postcode makes. Yes, all I did was tell the insurers of Steph's Micra that we were leaving the delights of Briddon Towers to take up residence at Briddon Country Pile and they reduced the costs without prompting. Yet the move is still tantalisingly far away and I must get on with the ordinary things of life, including pushing on with Andrew's locos.

On Saturday we went over to Scunthorpe. [Alas, there is no positive news from our transmission experts as regards D2128's powershift - a long conversation with them gave me the impression that they have put other more pressing work through while they contemplate what on earth - or at least within the Gruyère cheese that Twin Disc created and filled with oils and valvery - is going on. We know they'll sus it eventually and we're glad they're figuring it out rather than us.]

Actually we arrived to witness a crisis. Loco watering at the AFRPS uses 'de-mineralised' water because it is piped to a water column from the nearby power station. But earthworks going on had pierced the pipe: it had been isolated and repaired but no-one had turned it back on. Glenn cajoled the power station crew but when that seemingly had no results, phoned the steelworks' fire station. With water level in the boiler getting uncomfortably near the point where dropping the fire seemed a looming possibility, a lone worker ambled over to a container nearby and turned the water back on, and within two minutes, Fireman Sam had arrived too!

The injectors for "Beverley" are now ready, though Andrew hasn't had time to collect them, and paintwork awaits plus the decision that by Christmas Beverley must be vac-braked. So we started the afternoon with a conference, squatting on the cab floor and staring into the cupboard.

IMG 1182 blog

The control system Hudswell Clarke bestowed on these locos is one of the simplest I have encountered and has some particularly nice features and only a few bad habits. Its biggest failing, like many loco manufacturers who made the transition from steam to diesel, was to assume that the controls must all face forward as they pretty much had to do on a kettle. Had they created a control desk akin to Sentinel (OK I admit it, having started by industrial loco career with Thomas Hill I see it as the best prototype to start from) then it would have been an extremely good system. You can see from the picture our problem. The drivers' brake valve has a push-pull linkage across the back. The throttle shaft passes straight through the cupboard as does the forward/reverse control in the foreground and the sanders farther back right. There are of course, mirror image controls on the right hand side of the loco, and our conference was to determine how to introduce and additional control linkage for drivers' vac brake valve. Mr Hudswell and Mr Clarke probably didn't consider it, as when the design evolved in response to Sentinel in 1961-2, the 9ft wheelbase unbraked wagon reigned supreme..

IMG 1183 blog

Of course inside the desk is nowhere so clean and uncluttered. dangling from cross shafts are valves and sundry copper pipes, and we have innocently added to the melee with battery isolators and relays. But after a quiet time spent looking and thinking (I sometimes think that design should be a process of 80% thinking and 20% drawing) I figured out that a new cross-shaft under and slightly offset from the throttle will find a route through the desk with only one pipe to relocate. Of course, getting it in will be a different matter (you have to assume that the shafts there now were assembled first by Mr Hudswell and Mr Clarke and the pipework etc added round them) so that will be in two halves, with the brake valve itself (an ex-dmu one, like that fitted to "Pluto") bracketed at the left hand side of the desk.

IMG 1185 blog

Andrew returned to undercoating the front of Beverley's casings, though got a trifle irritated when the steam loco came back in to shed for coaling and oiling so changed the temperature, humidity and amount of dirt in the air in one fell swoop. It was unusual, but then unusually a tour with two carriages had been booked for the early afternoon with a separate brakevan tour later, hence the need for replenishment. As the paint dried (for better or worse) Andrew moved over to the right hand wheels and finished them in black and red side rods.

Sunday: after dropping off a van-full of bits at Briddon Country Pile, we decamped to Rowsley. I was left with "Tom", drilling the cab bulkhead to bring the return line of the converter system through and making up hoses ready for swaging. Andrew spent most of the time rubbing "Libby" down ready for its first gloss coat on the cab front and fuel tank area, and connecting battery cables up in Tom's cab.

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