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.
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).
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.
28th April 2013
After tripping the radiator tubes in to that nice Mr Booth's yard on Tuesday, I went in to my usual hydraulics supplier to see about getting the fan motor from 14 901 repaired, but he was up to his neck in work and suggested a firm I have not used before. So off I went across Sheffield and left it with them, hopefully we should see it back early in May. Later in the week I spent some on the phone and internet talking to structural engineers regarding their costs for determining our requirements for concrete at the new shed and providing the calculations that Building Control will require.
17th March 2013
Having escaped the previous Saturday, I had been roped in to hiring a 3.5ton dropside for a Monday tour of Humberside. Since no local firm had one available, I returned to my old friends in Sheffield and sure enough, the same Y-reg Transit that I have had twice before, with all its old idiosyncrasies (like a speedo that flicks around 10-15mph while you are standing still) and added a new one or two (like the screenwash no longer worked). The purpose of the trip was to continue unloading the Palvan at Scunthorpe, including 3 radiators and the transmission that had failed to work in D2128.
7th October 2012
Back when I was about 20, I was invited to an Open Day at a private railway not far from Southampton, then under the general auspices of the Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Society. They had started building a small circuit on land belonging to their Chairman, Barry Curl, in 1967 and I was there the day the finished ballasting the far side of the line and were able to do the full circuit for the first time, with ex Dinorwic 0-4-0ST "Cloister" as well as a selection of Simplexes and one of two O&K RL3 0-4-0DMs.
9th September 2012
As I was saying, on Monday I had a Transit drop-side booked. It was a venerable old machine - "Y" reg in fact, geared down so far that it was best not trying for more than 60-65 on the motorway. I am not a fan of Fords - I ran two Courier vans of theirs in the early 90s - but this one quickly earned a soft spot, especially when after coming to rest at a traffic lights, the speedo would start flicking up to 10 or 15mph...
22nd July 2012
It has been another interesting week. OK, not so much of railway interest in the short term - far too much of the week has been occupied with the forthcoming move from Briddon Towers to Briddon Country Pile - which at one point I was seriously thinking wasn't going to happen until some time in August. But by dint of applied pressure we got as far as exchanging contracts on Friday and hopefully completing this Tuesday. So is it then all systems go?
20th May 2012
With the AFRPS gala behind us, for better or worse, we had said we would take a break from Scunthorpe as, with the collection spread over so many sites, spending so much time at one is liable to cause issues at another. Nevertheless, determined to get to the bottom of what was wrong, he persuaded me to head over on Tuesday night for a further bit of investigation.
5th February 2012
Some of you may think they smell a rat when, a week after having had a day away from the collection (for new readers, see here) I am back reporting on three days in succession. Is Andrew demanding recompense? Actually, it was already planned this way, but it nearly didn’t happen. My friendly fabricators had promised to get the casing parts for the 03 finished by the end of January, and as Andrew has a busy work programme ahead of him, he could see his way clear to taking Friday off (after a week involving visits to Norwich, Southampton and Selhurst, and explains why I must disappoint those expecting the link to “Beverley” in operation – he simply hasn’t had time to do it) but not much else.