Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of brackets and battery boxes

30th October 2011

A year ago, it would have take several weeks for us to produce a bracket. For once I had drawn it up and sent the drawings on to my profile supplier, gone up to collect them and dropped them off at my favourite fabricators, it might have been 2 weeks or more before they got around to assembling and we would not plan the day to go and fit until we knew they were ready.

This week I collected some profiles on Thursday, the weather forecast looked good for Saturday so Andrew went over to Rowsley late Friday and collected his big welder. Saturday morning we headed to Scunthorpe.

The profiles bouncing around in the back of the van were destined to become essential parts of D2128. It would have been nice, if possible, to have shunted the loco inside the shed for a couple of hours to remove the casing side frames, but we found on arrival that the AFRPS had had a couple of containers delivered and one resided on a bogie flat immediately behind, but the weather was good, if a little windy, so we set out to get the profiles turned in to brackets.

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Andrew assembles the plummer block support

Off the front end of the Cummins which Andrew installed early in September, I must produce a drive shaft to enable us to drive one exhauster, one compressor, the cooler group fan and two separate charge pumps. That’s probably going to be about 10 belts heading off in different directions from various sized pulleys, and unless I want to do every one in nutlink it means some way of being able to change the belts without disturbing more than necessary in the future. So the drive shaft must be supported from a plummer block bearing at the front, and, as the engine is flexibly mounted and therefore prone to shaking about a bit, the shaft must be a little flexible where it joins. First stage is therefore to provide a support for the plummer block, which was what the extensions to the front engine mount were for. First assembly for Andrew was this, followed by a pair of brackets that will support the cooler group through further anti-vibration mounts.

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The front of the final drive gearbox

Pretty soon three warm fabrications were ready to be fitted to the loco, and the welder was dragged outside. But first I directed Andrew to clean up the areas on the frame where they were to go, as there had been (Belgian) bracketry there which we had gassed off roughly a couple of years ago. While he was doing this, I headed down to the back, pulled up the floorboards and with Steph’s large vernier, artists sketchpad, etc. started drawing up the gearbox input flange. The flange fitted to the 03 is for a Layrub type coupling, and the large holes are where the rubber elements locate. But we are using a Hardy-Spicer type, and as we are also incorporating a parking disc brake here, it is as easy to machine the disc to act as a converter as to struggle to change the flange – if we had a suitable one spare,. Over to the left, incidentally, are the two pull rods that once dragged the mechanical rigging all the way up the side of the chassis to apply the brakes – in due course I will form a new shorter linkage to a calliper. Slightly above and to the right of them is a tacho generator that the Belgians fitted to the old mechanical speedo drive. I think we are leaving that as it is.

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The day's work completed (the mugs have nothing to do with us!)

Called back to the front, Andrew was now welding in the three brackets, and I will leave the day’s report by showing the results – the Cummins in the background, the front bearing support flanked by the two cooler group supports all ready and hurriedly red-oxided against outside storage. In a piece I wrote for Andrew’s website, I referred to HINTS OF a possible AFRPS diesel gala next year. Two magazines printed the story in their words and chose to make “HINTS ” into a firm commitment. It is beholden on us to make sure that D2128 is ready and able to take part in that gala, now that the AFRPS has decided that it will have to stage it. So D2128 will feature in this blog again all too soon…

Sunday, the clocks went back and Andrew’s demands for departure thus moved forward. We were back at Rowsley and arrived just in time to avert a crisis. The Class 31 was low on oil, and Peak Rail was awaiting delivery. Fortunately we had 10 gallons suitable in a drum dating back to 14 901’s oil change, so this was handed over and the train service got away with only a small delay.

After we had strained ourselves once again lifting his welder and gas bottle out of the van, Andrew headed off to Libby to carry on sanding and painting, leaving me to do some further measuring (this time of the Broom & Wade compressor that is to go into D2128) and then attack the Brush.

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Rear end of the Brush with the battery box ..

This loco is basically a standard Brush export design. I say basically because, if you saw the versions built for, amongst others Bangladesh, you would see the family likeness just as any GW fan can spot a Churchward product at 100 paces. But any loco builder’s standard design is in reality a jumping-off point. For every customer insists on their own particular variations, and this 0-6-0DE, one of 5 built for the construction of the Tyne & Wear metro, is no different- or rather, predictably different. The most obvious external change is a battery box that looks like an afterthought, and probably is, as the Unions were involved in the specification. As a result, they demanded no less than four 1kW heaters be put in the cab, (which to be honest, could keep it so warm that none of George Morris’ Swedish colleagues would have complained in the depths of winter) with a time requirement after which the batteries must still have enough oomph in them to start the engine. The result was a two tier, Nicad battery block housed in this hideous recycling bin on the back of the fuel tank, losing the rear walkway and spoiling the whole appearance. I had elected that my number one job was to get rid of it (we sold the batteries to the NRM years ago) and so I did. Our batteries will be fewer and located elsewhere.

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...and without

Mr Booth had brought us in a skip during the week (part of the ‘Make Andrew richer and maybe repay what he owes his poverty-stricken father’ campaign) so tonight it lies there in pieces. Next time I will probably start on more serious component recovery, as Andrew has declared 2012 to be the year of the Brush.

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