14th July 2013
Of course, when I said that next Friday's plans were set in stone, what I should have said was that they were set in er - Blu-tak - and might be slightly ply-able.
7th July 2013
Years ago, when I was working at Thomas Hills, a new competitor appeared on the scene - Wilmott Brothers, a plant dealer/hirer based near Nottingham. Now, to my mind, if you are in business and representing your employer to customers, there is only one way you can regard a competitor. He is the Brand X your powder will out-wash; he is scum, nothing he does is right and he has no right to exist. It is your job, every day (but without openly slagging him off, the etiquette of business does not allow it, that is why he is referred to as Brand X) to get out there and ensure that the customers know that you are the better supplier than he can ever be.
30th June 2013
If Andrew had been paying me for the time spent on his behalf this week I would be a wealthy man. For amongst the hours spent back at Briddon Towers, furiously painting (my shoes now have so many paint blobs on them that they match the mottled non-slip flooring at my dentists - I think this non-drip paint is wonderful) I have been chasing to and fro getting bits organised and generally being in the wrong place at the right time.
23rd June 2013
We were back in to Rowsley on Monday night. While I did some measurings for a new cross-shaft on the Drewry, Andrew and Rob made some highly satisfactory bangs and crashes as the Whiting jacks, having been offered for sale through Andrew's website with no interest, were loaded gently into a brand new, bright red scrap skip to go to Mr Booth's emporium. The main issue of the mid week has been the turbo off 14 901, but I am pleased to say that this has been quickly and satisfactorily resolved and we should see it back (and restored to health) in a few days.
16th June 2013
Andrew had Monday off again, and after popping in to the Peak Rail office at Matlock, where I provisionally agreed that 14 901 would do a trial passenger run on Wednesday afternoon, we headed in to Rowsley to investigate where this fuel leak was coming from. Between the vee of the two banks, where the fuel pump sits, it was awash in diesel and we deduced that one of the fuel hoses, which I made c.2008, was leaking. But in any event the header tank, which is mounted on a tube above the engine, needs to come off for a crack in the mount to be re-secured. So far, so good.
9th June 2013
In lieu of his lost weekend time, Andrew had arranged to take Monday off, which as it turned out was a good thing as sleep deprivation meant that he didn't even stagger out of bed till late morning and Plan A, to whit head over to Scunthorpe, was out of the question. Meanwhile I found an e-mail telling me that Peak Rail were ready to sign the formal agreement over the use of Darley Dale yard, so we re-arranged a short session at Rowsley followed by a trip to Matlock for a meeting.
2nd June 2013
Well of course last Monday was a Bank Holiday and so we went back to Rowsley, this time armed with another drum of 15w/40 for the fan system on 14 901. It only took a little more to bring the oil levels into the inspection windows on the side of the reservoir and, with some trepidation, and after Andrew had bled the pump through (the last shutdown, in April, had been by shutting the cock on the delivery pipe) we fired 14 901 up again. After a few seconds of prevarication it condescended to fire, but hunted somewhat until Andrew had a further go at bleeding the pump (which, being a hydraulically governed one, can be a swine if any air gets trapped in it).
26th May 2013
Apart from a run to the profilers, we have kept in touch with the hydraulics company in Sheffield and towards the end of the week I was able to collect the repaired fan motor ex D9500. A chance comment averted a crisis - we had thought the ports in the motor were 3/4 BSP, but learned they were in fact a metric thread virtually the same OD but different pitch. Fortunately they had fittings in stock and quickly converted one in to a hydraulic coned fitting which we required for our new hose, sat in the loco waiting.
19th May 2013
We have been in regular touch with the firm in Sheffield who are custodians of the 3 fan motors this week. With all due irony, the motor from D9500 is undoubtedly the best of the 3, and other than adding a "Speedisleeve" and replacing various seals and rings, having drilled out the corroded fixing bolts, the motor was in comparatively good order. But it has not been completed this week and so no progress can be reported on '901, more's the pity.
12th May 2013
So, when I left off last week it was with Bank Holiday Monday in prospect, and we headed back to Rowsley for a "light" day. While Andrew pottered about clearing James' cab, I decided I had better press on with the additional wires needed to run the fan motor on 14 901. But before I got too far in, I was called over to assist Andrew in recovering the fan motor from D9500, which was to head to the repairers as another possible candidate for fixing. Mind you, with D9500 having last run c. 1988 we were less than optimistic about its condition, especially as the fan's top cover was missing and so the retaining bolt on the top was corroded.