No sooner do I pose a question in this blog than someone responds with an answer – for such a specialist interest it still astonishes me how many diverse people read it. In this case, I had rambled on about the likely grade of oil to be found in the dashpots of the Matterson Overload relays, and first thing Monday morning, a reader working within the MoD had e-mailed me not only identifying the make of said relays but advising what type and grade of oil he had used in the past!
Monday was Bank Holiday and the gala continued at Peak Rail, but as I said last week we had a VIP due so once we got onto site we dragged Ashdown around to a water hose outside the shed, and having replaced the suspect drain tap on the water pump with a plug, started to fill up.
I'll open tonight's missive with some photos courtesy of Toby, one of our colleagues from Scunthorpe. I said a week or two ago that “Tom” had been out on the plant with some real wagons to play with, and that I should have a video soon to upload. Well, all being well the vid will be uploaded this evening, but here's a few stills from the day.
(SPAD – of course UK readers will know, but for the benefit of my overseas readers [Hullo Sweden!] means Signal Passed at Danger; a cardinal sin.)
Readers who go through this prose with the proverbial comb will have noticed that there was no tally last week on the number of columns grouted, and that was because, with contractors busy digging and rolling, and the weather, we had not had opportunity to get any more done.
Firstly, my apologies if you have had difficulties getting on to Weekend Rails this week. As I write this, people are telling me that they are getting server error messages. Now I “check” WR (and Andrew Briddon Locos) every day, a legacy of the trouble that has been caused by past hacking attempts (as a matter of interest, there have been over 500 spurious attempts to “log-in” to my side of WR this month) but I do so by means of the monitoring package which has been unaffected, so remained unaware. Hopefully it will not take long to fix.
At 08.30 Monday morning an e-mail polarised in my Inbox containing Revision C of the plans for the shed floor. My revised spec to the Structural engineers, which had included a large amount of “as built” information on CAD, had limited that area where the Mattersons are to be used effectively down to one quarter of the building. Thus while this retained the “nuclear shelter” concrete thickness, the remainder of the floor could be reduced to “normal” standards.
Right, make yourself a cup of tea, or pour a beer, because this might take some time. And for once, when sometimes I feel guilty that there is only one, or even none, in the way of photographs, this week there is lots to report and lots of pictures to show it with.
So at 07.55 Monday morning I was driving down to Darley for an 08.00 start when my mobile rang. Not having the hands-free on and not recognising the number I ignored it, and called it back on arrival. It was my contractor to say that there was a problem with plant transport and start would be delayed. My first thought was to head back home, but then I remembered the portable loo was due between 08.30 and 09.00, so I decided to soak up the solace of Darley Dale from the inside of my nice warm Portakabin. At 09.05 I tried to ring the portable-loo-man without success. At 09.15 I headed back home (to find his landline number) and as soon as I walked in the door, my phone rang. It was the portable loo man to say he was outside the gates.
And so, Weekend Rails breaks into another year. Yet before I quite say bye-bye to 2013, there were two days this week when Andrew was off work and I was apparently available. So on Monday it was back into Rowsley – I had some work to do on a customer's loco but we brought Ashdown in to the shed (having drawn Austerity “Lord Phil" outside for a while) so that we could reach it with the MIG welder, and having removed the new sliding windows, Andrew cracked on with welding in the radius'd corner pieces and filling the holes for the old bolt holes from the original wooden droplight frame. For comparison sake, you may decide for yourself which looks better- (the welded bits had been hurriedly primed and sprayed back to prevent rusting).
The phone line between the Briddon Country Pile and the Structural Engineers got warm at the beginning of the week. Far from picking up an old drawing, as I had thought, the burying of the foundation pads below ground level in fact had a very important and insurmountable reason - the damp-proof membrane.