Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of water in all the wrong places

12th June 2011

It has been a fraught week at Briddon Towers. It began on Tuesday – well I know weeks generally begin on Monday but this one really launched itself a day late – with a scream from Steph that we had a leak. Actually we had suddenly developed two – one in the bathroom but a more serious one in the dining room, where water was gushing out from a radiator.

Isolating it was only partially effective, and by the time I had turned the boiler off and contained things the dining room carpet and underlay must have contained a couple of gallons of that turgid water that lurks in your heating. At this point a customer phoned, demanding my presence regarding a troublesome compressor so I had to leave her to it.

By Friday lunchtime it was confirmed that Scunthorpe was off again, so Andrew concluded that we would spend both days at Rowsley and press on with “Pluto”. But first thing Saturday I needed to restore hot water to the house and having already proved that one of the two radiator isolating valves definitely wasn’t, demanded that first we replace it and refill the system. (The culprit radiator was by now outside, having split along its bottom seam).  Andrew proceeded to screw new valve onto old olive and nut despite my protestation that the 1970s vintage Prestex was not quite the same pitch nor diameter as 21st century 15mm, even though new valve might seem to screw to old nut. I started refilling system from top of house, and system started emptying itself again in dining room.

Anyway, by lunchtime with new valve fitted, system filled and bled and filled and bled, hot water was restored and we could load the van for a trip to Rowsley. Andrew had a cunning plan. For the last month the “big” MIG welder has been held at Briddon Towers ready to be deployed at either Rowsley or Scunthorpe. By applying, neh relying, on the Natural Law of Cussedness he concluded that if we left said welder at Rowsley, it would up the odds of it being required next Saturday at Scunthorpe, so it was to go back to Rowsley and remain there.

Arriving at Rowsley showed us the all-too-familiar silhouette of the Tamper blocking “Pluto” in – yes, just as I forecast, the siding on to which it had been placed only last Sunday had been accessed in order to bring out the class 31, which was having a play-day in turn with D8 ‘Pen-y-Ghent’.  “Charlie” was blocked in by the works train but the weather was fine and sunny so we made the best of it – Andrew welding various bits in the workshop while I continued with miscellaneous bits on the loco. The rear vac hose and clamp are now in place, remaining new battery cables crimped ready, and so on. When the service finished though the Class 31 was prevailed on to draw the works train off  “Charlie” so I went down to start it up and uncouple. Climbing out from between I overlooked the lifting brackets so beloved of industrial loco manufacturers, resulting in an impact to my skull and in due course, a decided lump. You’d think that with over 30 years with industrial locos I would not require reminding so painfully. Nevertheless I brought “Charlie” out to an adjacent road and once the 31 returned to its domisiding, Andrew and I lost no time in installing the tow bar to the tamper and dumping the blithering thing back away from “Pluto”. We did contemplate a more serious re-arrangement of the locos on this road but Andrew’s stomach voted for a return home.

From the back, with vac hose and pipe work, you might think it was all finished..

Sunday: By the time we got over the pleasant morning weather had given way to continuous drizzle punctuated with spells of heavier rain. “Charlie” had disappeared – but we found it on Road 4 of the Rowsley loco shed, having pulled through to bring a dead Class 37 forward from out back and so open the stone pile for access to the JCB. We pinched “Charlie” and collected “Pluto”, and were able to push it sufficiently into the shed that we could at least work out of the rain. My allotted tasks were to get the holes drilled for the vacuum reservoir and vac/air proportional valve (ex D9500), while Andrew welded up more miscellaneous bits and then continued with the train pipe to the driver’s brake valve. But first I had to mop the running plate of surplus rainwater and render it fit to work on.


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