Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of camera-toting enthusiasts

12th April 2015

A fair amount of variety in the illustrations this week, and for most of them, I must thank Steph as she has been around to record some of what has been going on. That of course means that even camera-shy me has turned up in a few, but I hope that won't put you off your breakfast/lunch/dinner.

The man from TNT must be about ready to remember us by now – I put an order on Cummins and so far it has come in two deliveries on consecutive days and I haven't had to put the sign out to remind him. There's still a bit to come but knowing my luck it'll be a different driver who'll declare that the address doesn't exist on his satnav.

As I said last week, Andrew had this week booked off as leave so we had a few things planned. Things didn't really kick off until Wednesday though, as I had the van booked for a  service on Tuesday.  Among a number of recorded delivery letters that have come to us from the Matlock office was a demand that we remove various pieces of equipment that we had in open storage behind the shed at Rowsley, plus bits inside. In all honesty this was already in process – Andrew had been investing in stillages for a while with a view to transporting the equipment in a staged,  orderly manner using his wagons. Of course, since Rob left there does not appear to be anyone available to drive the JCB to load things, and we had been investigating hiring an off-road forklift which could have done the loading and changed the transmission cooler on 14 901.

But this letter compelled us to  bring things forward, ready or not, and we had a crane-fitted lorry booked for Thursday. So the day before we went in to Rowsley to move things into more convenient places for loading, especially spare Paxman cylinder blocks and heads for Coronation, and such like.  That included the transmission cooler which was parked inaccessibly at the far corner of the shed and had to be moved all the way up to where the lorry could reach it – a task involving two sack trucks, a heavy duty trolley and a lot of cursing.

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That done though we headed down to Darley. There was something leaking from just behind the left front wheel of the van, and a rattle from the exhaust, so I backed it with Andrew's guidance and made it a road/rail van. The drip turned out to be fuel, so warranted further investigation, though it was not to be that day as I got on with other tasks in hand.

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Thursday dawned bright and sunny. By five-to-eight we were waiting outside the gates and prompt at eight, Seth Punchard turned up with his lorry, and we got under way. In all, we made 3 complete trips with the lorry fully loaded with engine, gearbox, wheelset, and all manner of other goodies, some in stillages, some loose. 

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Down at Darley we merely got the lorry unloaded as quickly as possible (it was fortunate that the lorry straddled the rails in the shed, else we'd have had more road/rail vehicles!) and headed back for more – as it was, there are a couple of empty stillages to collect and some casing parts and other odds which are easily van-able to come down during the next week or so, but it was not until 6pm that Seth headed back to depot and we wearily returned to the Briddon Country Pile after a day of unremitting hard toil.

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Of course, all this does mean that the transmission cooler for 14 901 is down at Darley whereas the loco stands at Rowsley. Hopefully before long we will move it down to Darley under our auspices.

On Friday morning, after a few delays, I set off in the van to collect various bits from various places, including the overhauled fuel pump for Charlie, which we had been pleased to see in use the previous day as Harvey split the train to carry out some maintenance work on a carriage at Rowsley. I had left Andrew my keys, however, and while I was absent, he went down to Darley and started reorganising things with the forklift. For while we had managed to get everything off and the lorry away, the shed area was strewn with stillages and exhausters  and there was a desperate need for a tidy-up. When I got back at about 5pm, I was summoned to give a hand, and the two of us continued a complicated ballet until 7pm, though it still didn't seem much of an improvement.

On Saturday we zipped up to Rowsley and brought another empty stillage down to Darley, before loading the van and making the trek to Scunthorpe. Andrew's plan was to continue with the vac pipework on 03 901, mine was to progress the code light boxes, including drilling various bits which needed holes in before Andrew could weld them together, drilling and tapping 3 holes in each box before they can be sent out for powder coating, and then moving on to 03 901's cab area to install my little forward/reverse relay card  and see if the sensors were set-up correctly. (Since we both needed to be in the cab, it worked better that I left the electrical work to the end to save falling over each other.)

When we finally arrived. The Peckett was on shed and in steam, as a brake van tour had stopped off for lunch, so camera-toting enthusiasts were everywhere, including 03 901. I was promptly asked what its “real” number was – I must come up with a witty new response.

I left Andrew with the loco and took up residence at the pillar drill to create holes through bits of profile that will in due course form the top pivots on the light boxes, and maybe I was rushing but I was annoyed to end up breaking two drills in the process. So I transferred to a vice and a hand drill and succeeded  in completing all the tapped holes without further breakages. Andrew meanwhile had extracted the main delivery pipe from the exhauster, shortened it and threaded the end.  When he came to install the filter/snifter assembly it wouldn't line up, but after some changes it was out of line by a mere 38mm, so the pipe will have to come out again. A second pipe to the left will connect to the extant train pipe and we'll have a  vac system of sorts.

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He vacated me the cab and I decided where best to put the little relay card, which, not having been envisaged when I drew up the wiring scheme,  ended up on the side of the enclosure wall, awfully close to one of the battery common terminals on the connecting board, but that can't be helped. By now it was around 5pm and various AFRPS members were about to head home, some disgruntled that they hadn't persuaded us to down tools and do some “driver training” on said loco, but we were keen to get on with work and didn't submit. I got the board mounted, reconnected the sensors by the gearbox and connected the muti-core cable from the gearbox and the pos and neg to the board. I turned the battery master on in the hope that the reverse sensor would light up the LED, but no, it was too much to hope – it is either out of adjustment or the selector shaft has budged during a shunt by another loco. Either way there was no time to run the air up to check the settings – that will have to wait until next time.   Meanwhile Andrew having completed welding up the front covers for the light boxes, had moved on and tacked together all the assemblies that carry the LED boards and switches. He had then turned his attention to the assembly that will carry the belt pulley for the exhauster drive. You will see this again in weeks to come as our next task will be to line it up and weld it into place on the loco before creating a prop-shaft drive to the exhauster.

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Meanwhile, Mark had been working on Jamie's 07, next to us in the shed. On the 07, the exhauster is again belt-driven from the engine via a propshaft down the lh side, but at the front is a Ruston-own overdrive gearbox. In normal operation the drive is 1:1, but if the engine is idling, the driver has the ability to engage the gearbox and speed the exhauster up by roughly 2 times. Mark got the 'box to work by the end of the day, but Ruston gearboxes were never renowned for their quietness and this was no exception. Above the noise of the Paxman 6RPH (the diesel “knock” is always one of the most prominent features of old Paxmans – so much so I keep thinking that its a big-end about to give up) this whine suddenly breaks out, like a dinosaur calling for its mate. It made me wonder whether there was anything suitable on the market that I could adapt and do a similar arrangement on 03 901 – but no, I think I'll settle for getting it running directly. The planned hydrostatic drives for “Ashdown” and D9500 will achieve the same thing with proven, relatively quiet systems.

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Today we were back at Darley, but the weather had changed and the overcast promised rain at some time. Steph joined us for a bit of light gardening but for Andrew and me, it was back to the Dance of the Seven Stillages: I am pleased to say that things are now looking reasonably tidy – not as we would wish it at this stage but at least we can get back to doing something constructive. There was talk of “purlins” and “cladding” over lunch in the Portakabin.

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This afternoon a Pathfinder tour was due in behind a  pair of DRS class 20s, so we had planned to be outside the shed area with a loco or two when they came by. According to published timings the previous day, it was due into Matlock at five past four, so we were slightly unprepared when it rolled in under the overbridge at ten-to. Numerous camera-toting enthusiasts stared out at us from carriage windows, and we stared back.

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The train spent little time at Rowsley – but we were ready with both James and another loco outside and the latter running. Steph got some pictures, and had a  run-in with someone who had climbed over the locked gate.  We were surprised, as we started to put the locos away, to find a couple of camera-toting enthusiasts had dashed up the footpath to photograph us.

The weather had turned decidedly wet by now and we were all set to call it a day after the train went through, but the sky brightened and while it was distinctly cooler, we muddled on until seven pm. And that's about it for this edition: hope you'll pop by next week. Eh? That leak on the van? Yes, it was fuel. It appears that some Puegeots have a fuel-cooler matrix in a plastic ducting there. The matrix eventually cracks from vibration or impact damage and dribbles out over the road. The van doesn't have one now.

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