Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of pressures in oil, air and time

8th April 2012

There has been a something of a wall between Andrew and me this weekend. Mostly it was six foot of brick surmounted by asbestos sheeting. But let me explain – a lot of deliveries have been arriving at Briddon Towers. All the usual suspects, from the TNT man in his shorts through to the “Big Green parcel machine” (Tuffnells) have pulled up and disgorged their consignments, from drive belts to the disc brake calliper. I myself came home from the electrical stockists with a 3 metre length of cable tray which just fitted in the van – scraping the windscreen at one end with the other nudging the back doors.

So on Friday we set off for Scunthorpe with a confident feeling and agreement to divide our time between “Beverley” and the 03.

A fair amount of welding needed to be done on “Beverley”, and with co-operation from the AFRPS’s Glenn, we set about shunting it inside where the cables to Andrew’s MIG welder could at least reach. He had a snag list of things to get through and visitors due at 11.00 Sunday by when to complete them, so I was left out in the cold on D2128 with only a 110V extension cable to console me.

The AFRPS is rather unusual for a preservation group in that brake van tours and other trips are timetabled by the day rather than on a daily basis. A passenger arriving on the station platform at any “normal” preserved line might ask when the next train departs and expect a reply indicating something within the hour. A stranger on Frodingham station platform – could he find anyone to ask – might receive a response of one or two weeks hence. There were no trips scheduled for the weekend and for the most part, Andrew and I worked alone.

For myself, I decided to check first whether the fan belts I had ordered fitted. I have a reputation for getting them wrong first – and sometimes I am afraid to say second – time despite using all the formulae or CAD to calculate them definitively. A second set of charge pump belts had arrived, but these were “cheap” Z section – the fan belts are long, B section and comparatively costly. I was relieved to find that both sets fitted.

now with added belts
..now with added belts

Rain suggested the the cab was a good place to work so I started at long last to pull wires through into the horn and other buttons on the cab front. Part way through I realised that I did not have the wire numbers for some of these, so had to leave that with wires lose and unterminated, but could move on to another task – Andrew requires two horns rather than the one fitted before (and missing) so I had two new bulkhead fittings requiring 20mm holes drilling and pipe installing. I ended up re-using the hole for one horn, although it meant filing the hole out from 18mm: in the end, ignoring the drizzle and risking being taken to task for “working at height” I sat safely and comfortably on top of the fuel tank and filed it out from there.

Saturday proceeded similarly, with Andrew feeling more pressured as he started welding in a 20mm strip to the end of the Hudswell casing top to take up the extension we made to accommodate the cooler. You can see in the picture (which shows the front radiator grille is also in place) that the extension is barely noticeable, and once the weld had been flatted off, even less so.

Beverley's front
Beverley's front

But I am getting ahead of myself. First thing Saturday I had cut off a length of cable tray ready to install on the 03, and by which means, it would fit more easily in the van. I have used conduit and trunking in locos in the past, but have come to prefer tray-work, having the major advantage that if any oils, coolant or rainwater gets into trunking, it is trapped – with a tray it simply drains through leaving the cables safe and dry. (Years ago, BSC Ravenscraig had a problem with locos getting burnt out – too complicated to explain why – and trashing the wiring. They had the bright idea of filling the trunking with the cables and a non-combustible material to protect them. Come the next burn out, the cabling in the trunking was completely undamaged – but useless, as the cables simply burnt through wherever they emerged from the trunking..)

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago we agreed where the battery master switch and batteries would locate, and I now had the tray-work and bends to suit. (On the ‘14, I tried making my own 90 degree bends but came to regret it!) The cables drop down from the instrument panels, through the bulkhead, and onto a tray which conveys them across the front of the cab to the master switch, then along the right hand side up to the exhauster, with a short strip beyond to carry the alternator cabling. Installing this took up most of Saturday, sat crouched on the oil reservoir with a periodic drip from the fuel tank adding fresh aroma to my overalls. But I cracked on and ran out the main feed and alternator cables (6 sq mm) and planned where to locate the distribution box which will connect to the cab through a 20 way multi-cable and break out from there to all the switches, senders, solenoids etc over the engine and transmission.

The cab front bulkhead showing master switch, tray-work and first cables
The cab front bulkhead showing master switch, tray-work and first cables

Part way through the afternoon Andrew presented me with the (redundant) by-pass filter assembly from Beverley which is to be reused on D2128, he having finished converting Beverley’s engine to the later Cummins combined full-flow and by-pass filter. I had been pondering where to put this last week, and as a result had got around to installing the starter motor to prove to myself that it would (or wouldn’t) go there. It wouldn’t but with the real thing in my hands I was quickly able to find another location where it will.

Friday and Saturday had been noon to 8pm sessions, for Sunday though we were off earlier and on site by half-nine, giving and hour or two to get Beverley’s oil changed and ready for the visitors. I helped him with a couple of air ducting clips, but when it came to shunting Beverley over a pit so that he could drain the oil, we had to cope with locos with flat batteries which lost us time. In the end, the visitors arrived late thanks to an overturned lorry on the M1, and I was despatched to “entertain” (stall) them.

Beverley comes off shed
Beverley comes off shed -

Eventually, Beverley was judged ready and with an idling “Janus” in tow, and Glenn for authority, the cavalcade headed off for a tour. I left them to it, it was well after 1pm and a sandwich was called for.

Beverley heads across to the main line
- heads across to the 'main line' -

Beverley sets off in triumph
- and sets off in triumph

I had barely finished it when they returned, and this time the Janus was towing a dead Beverley. it transpired that two opposing pressures had become critical. On the air side, neither the compressor governor nor the safety appeared to function – they had stopped the loco when the tanks reached 140psi and blew it down – but by the second time the engine temperature had risen and with it the oil pressure had fallen dramatically to the point the pressure switch shut the engine down. We had already found, just before departure, that the oil leak that was thought to be from the old oil filter bowls (and hence their replacement) was still there and coming from a weeping hose, so at first Andrew assumed it had spat its oil out, but a dipstick check showed it wasn’t that bad. Instead we did some loaded runs (4 locos or about 138tons) up the gradient and into the curve of the headshunt, achieving wheelspin but again low oil pressure shutdowns. Andrew was, understandably, a less than happy bunny, and although it may prove to be nothing more than a sticky oil pressure relief valve, if investigated now it could only increase the chance of neither Beverley nor D2128 being ready for the gala in a month’s time. After the visitors had left, a conference over the remaining sandwiches drew the conclusion that for the moment, Beverley is put to one side and we concentrate on D2128, which ought, touch wood, be operable by the end of the month. With the loco brought in to get on with the outstanding welding jobs on it, we packed up and headed wearily home.

We did however, find an e-mail from the DVLR that “Pluto” had been in traffic today and performed satisfactorily – there’ll be a picture on Andrew’s website shortly – which did go some way to boosting our flagging spirits.

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