Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of different gauges

16th September 2012

It may surprise some people to know that I was an n.g. enthusiast before I became professionally involved with s.g. and in many respects I would rather be involved with 2ft than 4ft 81/2". I was at one point offered a job as Commercial Manager for Bala Lake Railway by the instigator and Chief-Of-Almost-Everything George Barnes, only for the company Chairman, Tom Jones (no, not that Tom Jones, this one was a Gwynedd County Councillor - you really must keep up with the Jones's...) politely to withdraw it as the railway "could not afford me".

I am still a shareholder in Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid Ltd (incidentally the first company to be registered in the Welsh language) and as Steph had not had the chance to join me on that trip in June, had declared that we should this year go to the company AGM in September..

In fact, Andrew arrived home Friday night from another play-day with his favourite Class 57 and would be out with it again on Sunday, and in the middle had agreed to assist Terry in getting the latter's girlfriend moved, so it all fitted in quite nicely and we headed west as he took the van, er- somewhere else.

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The open invitation was to join the last train of the day - the 4pm out of Llanuwchllyn - getting back in time for sandwiches, tea and cakes before the meeting kicked off at 5.45. In June the steamer in action was "Maid Marian", but today she was on shed and "Holy War" (no jihad jokes please - many of Dinorwic's locos were named after the quarry owner's racehorses. If a horse won him money, it got a loco named to commemorate it. If it didn't, well the pattern shop at Dinorwic had several patterns for names that never got fitted to a loco) was down the line. "Maid Marian" and "Alice" were on shed, together with the chassis of "George B". I have yet to see "Alice" on a passenger train but while I recognise the novelty value, the image of a cabless Quarry tank hauling a train of covered carriages to me looks wrong.

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Anyway, we did our round trip and watched "Holy War" push its train back to the carriage shed before partaking of refreshment and solemnly doing our bit to accept financial reports and re-elect directors.

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Sunday: After re-loading the van with stuff out of the garage, we headed over to Peak Rail. "Charlie" was down at Darley Dale, where they are carrying out improvement work on the yard fence alongside the footpath.

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Back up at Rowsley, I first went to find Gary as he had had no luck getting the doors for D2128 pressed, so he passed back the profiles and loaned the tooling he had made to form the louvres. Hopefully I'll figure out someone/someway to get them made. I then returned to "Tom" and started by remounting the oil pressure sender with a permanent adaptor in lieu of last week's temporary plastic pipe, then released the torque convertor charge pump from its belt and bracket and turned it round. Re-secured and piped, I primed the pump and was gratified that the engine fired up immediately, but while there was no succession of air bubbles across the oil, it was difficult to see whether the level descended at all and the sight gauge is rather hard to sight. Eventually, after a series of 20-30 second runs of the engine, I realised that yes, it had gone down and after locating a suitable funnel from the workshops I added our last 20 litres to the tank to bring it back up. Further runs, (since I was working on my own, it was a case of of run the engine, stop and go look for any leaks that might have started) took the oil level back down and I was getting ready to abandon it until more oil was available when it suddenly appeared at the return line and the pressure gauge sprang into life. My elation was short lived as I found two leaks had developed around the cooler which I attempted to fix.

In the course of all this I also found two drain cocks open on the air system and when closed the main res needle crept off the zero, but crept is the word as it struggled to just over 10 psi and stayed there. Fifteen minutes after I had shut the engine down it had only fallen back to about 5psi, so while the air system is not 100% air tight the main problem would look to be with the compressor, and usually on these carbonised oil gums the valves of the cylinder head. It may be we'll hook up the Drewry (as we did several years ago with 14901) charge the air system from there to see how it behaves and whether we can get a run out of it.

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