Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of Jate and cow-pat

16th July 2017

Two weeks left to this blog's seventh anniversary. Should I buy myself a present to mark the occasion? Perhaps a minor face-lift (the blog, my face is dropped to far to be lifted by anything other than the HATRAMM's crane) would be appropriate.

I should have known better than to throw out questions and deductions about water-based metal primers. Dulux may not read this blog, but my daughter certainly does, and after getting an engineering degree at Loughborough Uni she has gone on into the oil industry where she is now something of an expert on pipeline corrosion. She pointed out that third element was oxygen (yeah, should have remembered that) and that the water shouldn't be a factor as the paint should shield the metal from the oxygen in the air. Aah, I countered, but what about the air in the spray that carries the paint? And then I thought back to when I bought this stuff. I asked for a sprayable primer, assuming that the Whaley Bridge firm, who are paint-manufacturers after all and produce their own concrete paint and sealant amongst other things, would have their own brand. But they didn't, and the sales assistant offered me this that she thought was spray-able. Now I think back to it though, she (and I don't want this to seem sexist, the gender in this case is immaterial) didn't seem all that sure, and promised me a full refund if I brought it back. So conclusion number 1 is that maybe this stuff really isn't suitable for spraying at all, and I should have had a better look at the instructions on the tin, caveat emptor. Never mind, it certainly is brush-able, and dries quickly (which, if it has to dry before the oxygen can get to it, is probably a good thing) as we'll see later on.

Compared to last week it has been a slow week here at the Briddon Country Pile. I spent a day collecting the stands I mentioned last week (here's one, and correcting what I put last week, they are 40tonnes proof, 25tonnes working – in other words a set of four could carry a class 47 off its bogies, etc) together with 'Jate' blocks. Now I know we get some readers who work for the forces, so if any of them could tell us what 'Jate' blocks are, we'd love to know. Basically they're plywood packing blocks with handles and integral dowels which locate in similar blocks, and come with three colour coded plywood sheets of different thicknesses which presumably can be used like shims to even up the top of the blocks. They appear immaculate and will look far posher than using sawn up sleepers and the like when next we have something to stand somewhere.

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Last weekend Team Frod were apparently out and about on the K&WVR, during which Plumtree struck up a conversation with a Bahamas Loco Society stalwart who then made contact during the week with Andrew. He had seemingly been unaware that RS8 had moved from its home at the National Stone Centre car park, but was delighted to hear that it was in a better place and receiving attention. It was still remembered with fondness. Although his dates varied a little with what we knew, he recalled much of RS8's history with them, as he had been chief painter, trying to get it done between 'turns' as RS8 – known at Dinting as the 'Clockwork Lemon' (The film 'Clockwork Orange' was out at the time) - was used every time to get locos in and out of the shed. There is a photo on Flickr showing someone at work painting at the rear of RS8, and I suggested that this must be him, but he replied on the contrary, that was a lady painter, though this he identified by her shoes.

He did however produce 3 photos he had taken of RS8 at the NSC in April 2011, which, apart from showing that the dynamo was still there, as were two of the 3 air cleaner tops, also reveals that the attacker that hacked out the radiator core had done so earlier than I thought, as it was already gone by then. On the other side the battery box lid was still there too – it all goes to show a pattern of repeated vandalism.

Further information from him and another Bahamas official revealed that yes, they converted the cab windows from hinged to sliding as the 'detents' if any had existed, were non-functional and if you braked hard the window swung round and hit you on the head. You might consider that was RS8's way of telling you to think ahead and brake earlier in future, though it might in part also be that shunting a big Pacific like 'Blue Peter' did mean that you had to have your head out the window to see where you were – maybe at Tunstead this was not such a problem. They also confirmed that the clutch was showing signs of wear – when starting a heavy load, it was normal practice to drive with your head out the window and one foot holding the clutch engaged control to maintain air on the clutch cylinder. Without access to the pneumatic diagram that is strange – normally the clutch cylinder is loaded (aired) for a period of time and then automatically unloaded, else the cylinder force is continuously pressing on the clutch thrust bearing. But such systems are automatic and do not require the driver to change any control(s), so a clutch valve would remain in the engaged position (anyway) until such time as the driver moved it to dis-engage. Maybe this unloader system wasn't present on RS8, after all it was designed outside the usual industrial loco manufacturers sphere, which may also account for the wear in the clutch linkage that the contractors had already identified. They I believe got their order to proceed this week so the converter should be re-united (well, the flywheel and ring gear will be off the old engine) before much longer at Tunstead.

After all that I managed to get some time at the shed on Friday afternoon, proceeding with cable-tray work, securing it at various places, and rubbing down areas of rust or loose paint on the footpath side columns preparatory to patch priming before full-scale painting with the 'intumescent' paint (I think I've spelt that right though my spell-checker doesn't agree) shortly. In the event of a fire, this stuff will apparently melt and cool or in some way protect the columns for up to an hour before they reach a temperature at which they might fail and collapse the building over some unsuspecting jogger on the adjacent footpath. Yeah, this I think is as likely as having a fire with a shed full of volunteers in wheel-chairs present but once again it is easier to comply than to fight against.

With grandson up to stay, Andrew was still able to join me for a large part of Saturday during which time, amongst other things, he started assembling the new engine mount fabs for Cheedale, which have sat on the fabrication bench for several weeks. He also manufactured the Mk2 and Mk3 racks for storing strops, slings, shackles and possibly extension cables and air hoses. But other than some general tidying there was not much visible progress on our locomotives before he had to return to do his fatherly duties for tea.

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Today he, Steph and grandson went to Foxfield for their gala, leaving me all alone. I had a few other things to occupy my time in the morning but ambled down after an early lunch to continue with tidying. Having an unwritten rule about working alone and at heights, the Terrypicker (to which Andrew had fitted a replacement jack leg yesterday) was out of bounds and never being too keen on ladders I only scraped columns up to about 4m off floor level, getting them primed with left over Dulux brushed on, not sprayed. It has a peculiar smell, incidentally which I am still trying to identify. Something like fresh cow-pat.

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Andrew arrived back late in the afternoon and we entertained a visitor. Which reminds me, I came across a You-tube video this week, well two of interest really. One was an old one from Dinting which actually shows RS8 in action, but the other was of a cab-ride from Matlock to Rowsley a few weeks and as they rolling to Darley Dale the commentary goes – 'and here we see some of the Heritage Shunters Trust collection.....'. Null pointes for research mate.

So, not that much to show for another week, but I think Tarmac are in for the cab this week and Reg was muttering about a 'catch up' so let's see what the next few days bring.

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