Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids


Latest news about Andrew Briddon Locos collection from Weekend Rails

  1. Of clutches and watertight-ness

    17th February 2019

    Good evening, good morning or whatever time it is as you read this. Welcome to another instalment of Weekend Rails.

    And as usual the blog starts with Monday, and the sojourn to Tunstead. The three of us (Pete C, Andy H and myself) are getting nearer to start-up day, and Pete C brought down the blower that will act as fume-remover (with some ducting, obviously).

    Although it is brand new (bought for another project and then not required) and has just been PAT-tested, Pete C decided to plug it in and check it works. Did it? Sure - we ran it for a few seconds during which it blew a picture off the notice board 15 feet away. Andy H cracked on with filling the converter circuit with thin hydraulic oil through a 3/8 diameter line - it'll save time filling when it finally runs up. I set Pete C on sorting the collars on the brake crossbeams. I had had new ones made (we'd had to cut some of the originals) and they had a hole in the middle of the collar but wouldn't line up with the holes in the ends of the crossbeams. It kept Pete occupied for a large part of the day and we came to the conclusion that originally they had been drilled in situ and hence no two had been the same. He got most of them sorted and left me to hunt out a few new split pins for this week. Andy H and he in between times returned to the cooling system. Andy had confided in me that he wasn't sure whether his repair to the coolant pipe was adequate, so just in case he'd brought blow-lamp, plumbers' solder and flux and would disappear off site to a nearby lay-by to carry out rectification. Sadly the pipe still leaked, but Pete C insisted on issuing a hot-work permit and in due course the pipe was made watertight. That meant that the converter, extended section of the converter and the cooling system were all filled and ready, leaving just fuel and gearbox to go. Andy went underneath and checked the axleboxes again, then greased the labyrinth seals on the gearbox, and any other grease nipple he came across, like the side rod bearings. (The RF25 gearbox, like the RF11, doesn't have rubber lip-seals as you might expect. The bearing caps have machined grooves which are filled with grease from 3 or 4 grease nipples on the circumference. The grease holds the oil in.) And what was I doing in all this? I was esconced in the cab, trying to finish off the control pneumatics. First task was to mount the ex-cylinder, now timing reservoir, which I did by commandeering a bracket installed originally as part of the vac pipe system and drilling it to fit the cylinder on the extended studs. I mounted the flow restrictor directly to this for quickness and simplicity.

    This though is a bi-directional restrictor. It ought to be uni-directional, but I had it in stock and hadn't thought more about it. As I began quickly piping it up, I was thinking through the operation and whether it would make that much difference. A bi-directional restrictor restricts air in both directions. The idea of it and the timing reservoir is that when pressure appears, it passes slowly through the restrictor into the reservoir and eventually creates sufficient pressure to operate the valve further on. On this system it then holds that valve open until pressure is removed, whereupon it vents back down. Aah, I suddenly thought but whereas with full main air pressure charging it up will take 6 seconds or so (before unloading the clutch cylinder), when it vented the falling pressure in the reservoir will take longer to empty as it falls away to nothing. In practice the driver wil have changed direction and brought the clutch back in before then, so not getting the full 6 seconds timing on any subsequent operation. A uni-directional restrictor on the other hand, restricts in one direction but in the other has a simple check valve, so emptying the reservoir is almost instantaneous. And as I thought this through, I realised not only would the bi-directional restrictor not do at all, but that I had drawn the circuit with the feed to restrictor and reservoir in the wrong place. At least with plastic piping it didn't take long to rectify that, but the restrictor needs to be changed.

    Part of the final connecting up included putting the instrument panel into place. Even that threw up a snag, because as I now had the plastic pipes onto the duplex air gauge ports, I found that the pipes snag the cab front. But the electical plugs, the ammeter and the keyswitch were all in position, so I hooked up the batteries (doing the final 'dab test' of lug to battery terminal to see if any sparks appeared!) and with some trepidation turned on the battery master switch. At this moment the only fuse in position was the 50amp one in Alternator +ve, the other control and lighting circuits go through automotive spade type terminals in a proprietory fuse box which carries built-in LEDs arranged to light up if there's a circuit but a defective fuse in place. So two of these promptly lit up, together with two LEDs in the instrument panel. These latter two both showed a dim green, which was slightly disappointing as they should have shown red, but as the terminals aren't marked it was 50/50 which way round I'd wired them. I swopped the connections over, put in some proper fuses and here are the first signs of life in RS8 in many a year.

    Emboldened by this (and remember that the Start circuit fuse is out so it cannot crank yet) I tried the keyswitch in the hope of getting the Run solenoid to engage. It didn't. I glanced at the diagram and realised it wouldn't unless the timer operated, and this needed the clutch to be 'out' whereas it was 'in' (we need to set up the limit switch that way round). So Andy held the switch over manually and I tried again. And it would be nice to say proudly that the Run solenoid jumped over, but I can't because it didn't. So checking through for any wiring defects is priority this Monday.

    On Tuesday I was on my way to a customer when the phone rang and Pete C was on with some excellent news. All the heavy plant at Tunstead nowadays is by Cat, and in consequence the 'garage' that looks after them has been taken over by Finnings, their UK dealers. A few weeks ago at my instigation Pete C sounded the garage out about sponsoring RS8's glazing. There are 14 windows on RS8, from the two big'uns front and rear, through 4 up each side, and 4 in the cab and protective sheet ends. The garage passed the enquiry back to Finnings office in Cannock, and the news had come through that yes, Finnings will sponsor the glazing, at a price of well over £1k it is a very generous and welcome contribution. The window surrounds have already been painted both inside and out (now you know why) and all being well it should be glazed during this next week.

    I had checked my dimensions on the air cleaner assembly during Monday, so those drawings were tweaked a little and then released to my favourite fabricators for manufacture. I also tried to order a throttle cable, but the supplier, which I have used before, has been remarkably disappointing in its lack of action so that is still not ready.













    One of the nice sidelines of this blog is when readers offer help and advice. So it was that after reading our trials with inaccessible bolt heads on the Hatz, reader David S offered to drop in with his new 'toy', an induction heater he'd got for Christmas. He was still learning its capabilities, he stressed, but worth a try before resorting to oxy. The you-tube demo showed an apparently quite large nut being heated to red-hot in 30 seconds or so simply by holding the device, and its coil of wire resembling a well-furred kettle element, against the adjacent metal and squeezing the trigger. So down came David Wednesday afternoon and here he is, applying the heat.

    Sadly it didn't work for us - it created heat certainly, the oily crankcase around the nut sizzled and spat: if you want any fried muck, we have it. But for our purposes, this 900W device is too small but did show potential. All was not lost. We lifted the Hatz on the hook of the forklift and I removed the mounting parts from underneath, and discovered that once everything was out the way, these troublesome bolts went into a large hex block and when I cracked the block with a suitable socket and breaker bar, the bolt came out too. So the Hatz was transferred to the mounts of the 'old' Hatz to await developments.

    On Friday we said goodbye to the Lister SL2, sold through e-bay to a firm who arranged a time, turned up with a Land Rover pick-up and paid appropriately. In contrast, the winner of our surplus Lombardini didn't seem to read the listing and far from coming to collect started making demands for stringent packing for us to complete before he sent in a carrier of his own choosing. I am not sure yet how this will work out.

    Saturday, and Andrew and I were at the shed with something resembling normality. I had the profiles for the throttle arm for RS8's linkage, in fact I had two sets, with the idea of making both of them up, one for the throttle cable and the other to act as an operator for the throttle detection valve. But as I have said before, they reckon the hardest job in engineering is getting a hole in the right place. I mucked up the first one and was quite annoyed with myself, especially as I broke 2 drills doing it! Andrew meanwhile was at work on Ashdown. As part of a reduction exercise, Ashdown is up for sale and before potential purchasers come to view, we need to sort out the traction clutch, which is dragging. The instruction manuals make this out as straightforward, and I daresay with a new box clean on the floor it is. In the end I dropped what I was doing to go and assist, as it needed two of us. For starters it required a large screwed piece, some 10 inches across, to be wound into the housing in order to provide sufficient clearance for it to slide off and up through the gap between the outside of said piece and the loco frame. I suggested making up a tool as to screw it requires gripping into a choice of 4 half-inch holes on the face. Andrew put something together and we screwed said piece to within 5/8 of an inch of the housing, which the instruction manual said was required, but to no avail. There simply isn't the clearance to lift out.

    You can see what we're trying to remove from the lifting eyes and sling - the screwed piece is to the left and there is a slot out of sight which ought to faciltate the assembly's removal, but try as we might we were 3-4mm short and screwing the piece in further didn't seem to make any difference. More on this soon.

    The Hatz and its associated power pack bits has been lifted onto a pair of stands, giving a much more suitable working height. Both Hatz's both appear to have a common wiring harness through multi-pin plugs, so I'm hoping that although the pin-outs are different, that all will work when I come to power it up. On the side of the battery box is a plastic enclosure with keywitch and warning lights. But one wire - a thick one so probably rather important, had a broken off crimp and was stiff through age, so I opened the watertight box with the intention of renewing it. I was somewhat surprised to find about half-an-inch of rainwater cascading onto my feet. Now, someone has gone to a great deal of trouble using a good quality enclosure and where anything had to be screwed through its wall, liberally applying clear silicon sealant. On the bottom of the box a flexible conduit emerges, curving up and between the battery box and the Hatz. But the end of this flex is open, and I found today, the flex conduit itself is full of water. In fact, what seems to have happened is that rainwater/pressure cleaning has found its way into the flex, and once the level has got high enough, filled the bottom of the box! Before it goes into use I shall drill a couple of drain holes!


    Andrew was off to collect grandson today for half-term, and I woke up with a migraine so didn't head down shed-ward until early afternoon, with the intention of doing light duties and maybe get back to the Hatz. And indeed I did, renewing the damaged cable on the Hatz, reassembling the watertight box (and putting a little nick in the bottom of the flex), remaking the plugged connections and generally getting it ready to test. That and loading the van ready for tomorrow at Tunstead.

    At the Peak Rail plc AGM last summer, we were given an hour-long lecture by the Chairman on the failures of the Board to extend the railway over the years, and how our best hope was for the Transport for the North plan to back re-instatement of the Buxton to Rowsley section. Indeed, we were told, even then our new President, Pete Waterman, was attending a meeting on the subject and was patrolling the corridors of power convincing civil servants that it was a good idea. The words may not be exact but that was the gist. We have de-bunked all this in the past, with even Network Rail prefering re-instatement of the LNWR route Ashbourne were it viable, and a recent snippet from within DDDC suggests that the quarry companies may in fact be less than enthusiastic. But a couple of weeks ago the final draft Transport for the North plan was published. And Buxton, and the lines that go to and around it, are not even shown on the accompanying maps.

    And that's about it for the week. Andy H won't be joining us tomorrow - the call of the Wild Snowdonia has got the better of him. That's probably not a bad thing as really it is down to me to go through and figure out what I've got wrong where on the electrics and prepare for a start-up hopefully on the 25th. We've a gearbox to fill and fuel to add (and see if those tanks are fuel-tight!) and a host of other minor jobs. Will we be ready? Come back and find out. Until then, see ya.

  2. Of pipes, cables and concrete

    10th February 2019

    No apologies for starting with yet another view of RS8 from the adjacent landing - as it gradually returns to its former glory.

    Monday of course meant the familiar roads up to Tunstead, and a day on RS8. We're on to the final things now before getting the loco operational.

    The batteries were placed in the battery box (though they do look rather undersized, taking up less than half the volume of the 'box: in truth they are smaller than I would have liked, but sixty years ago the cells would have probably been in 6Volt blocks and mounted in wooden casings so taking up much more volume ampere/hour for ampere/hour) and the cables made off and crimped ready to connect up.

    The final hoses were made to connect fuel tank to the engine in both directions, and the feed from converter suction filter to the pump. I added a tee piece and a plug so that we can prime this readily when the time comes, and the delivery hose from pump to converter inlet was shortened and the end re-made and looks much neater for it. Pete C fitted the suction filter and then he and Andy filled the converter reservoir, some of which filled the filter and probably much of the feed line to the charge pump.

    Andy disappeared underneath and gave the axleboxes a second dose of oil, while Pete C filled the rear section of the converter (the unusual bit) with engine oil to dipstick level. The only real setback of all this was the cooling system, which Pete C started to fill with water only for a severe leak to develop. At first I thought this was a drain nipple just rear of the oil cooler, but with better light we realised that the braized joint between the two copper pipes had failed and water was flowing round the pipe and draining off the suspected nipple. The pipe was removed for rectification

    As far as oils go, only the grearbox remains dry - and the oil for that is on order but not yet arrived - and the converter itself is probably empty. Normally I would allow the charge pump to fill  this - you fire up the engine, keep topping up the reservoir and wait until the level stops falling and pressure registers on the gauge in the desk (or oil leaks from whatever joint isn't tight, whichever occurs first) - but Andy insists on filling the converter the hard way, via one of the bleed lines, but that is for the next working day. Back up in the cab, it was incumbent on me to get the control pneumatics somewhere near ready, if not beautiful.

    The clutch unload valve was relocated by Andy, while I plumbed up the emergency pressure gauge and the brake cylinder guage line and marked it and the main air connection. The remaining desk valves were connected up as were the pipes to the gearbox and standstill detector, though the latter will do for now, I think rubber hoses properly routed up to the cab floor and then into plastic pipe will be more appropriate in due course. And apart from a bit of painting and a general tidy-up, that was about all that was achieved for the week, though even this takes us closer to start-up day.

    Before I left I did some measuring up with regards to the throttle linkage. RS8's original throttle linakge employed mechanical rods, though little of it remained by the time we acquired it, it must have been somewhat similar to that fitted to the contemporary Sentinel chain drive four-wheeler. But where it passed through the cab bulkhead was roughly where the converter oil reservoir now resides, and the relay bracket fitted to the engine did not fit the relacement C6NFL now at RS8's heart. So a push-pull cable is now the plan, though it will not neccessarily stop us operating the loco before it is fitted - Pete C keeps muttering about 'bits of string'. There are no remains of the lever that drove the old throttle linkage, so part of my measuring was so as to create a drawing and work it all out. Over the next couple of days I drew up both this throttle linkage and the air cleaner arrangement, and hopefully with a couple of bits to check this is now to be put in hand. Indeed, parts to make up the throttle lever were put on order with my profilers by Thursday, so only the proprietory bit in the middle (and a bracket to anchor the far end) should be neccessary. The air cleaner meanwhile had taxed my ingenuity. It was agreed that it should make minimal external change to the loco - that means no mushroom pre-cleaner sticking out the top - and ideally the smooth lines of the side casing pieces (most missing but obvious from old photos) shouldn't be marred by projections. That means mounting the element inboard of the casing 'line' whilst allowing air to reach it and preventing rain doing the same, yet position the element accessible so that it can be changed in due course. Keeping the fabrication(s) simple help keep it cheap - and I think in the end I've come up with something that will do the job, but I need to make some checks tomorrow before proceeding.

    Some weeks ago you saw the formwork and reinforcement appear for a concrete apron outside the shed. At the moment, our dear trusty forklift cannot venture outside. Apart from the slot drain the ground is not hard enough to take its weight - we've tried. Eventually we want to be able to bring the forklift out so that we can load/unload lorries or tip heavier lumps into the scrap bin, but for now the first stage is between the shed and the container. On Thursday we dragged the locos and stock back out the way and a large lorry arrived.

    When we laid the floor of the shed, we used ready-mix, i.e. the concrete was mixed at a batching plant, put into a rotating drum on the lorry which kept mixing it to prevent it setting until it had driven over to us and tipped its contents. The alternative approach is to use a vehicle that mixes and tips it in one go on site. A bit more expensive, but you only pay what you need - if you order 5 cubic metres of ready-mix, you have to take it even if you end up looking for 'holes to fill' with the excess. With on-site, if, as in our case, the estimate was 2.5 to 3 cubic metres, they would produce enough to fill the formwork and charge us for that exact quantity. And it was remarkably quick. He backed up over the planned fill, fitted a deflector plate to the end of the conveyor, turned appropriate knobs and handles and the machine promptly delivered mixed concrete which duly spread over our formwork.

    In fact, as he was the only one of us in possession of wellies, he mucked in and raked it around to fill the area, leaving us to tamp it while he washed the delivery parts and departed. By the time Steph was down with some lunch, he'd gone and we were admiring the finished result and wondering just how many pock-marks the rain would leave in the surface finish.

    Before scooting off Andrew did some rearrangements within the shed so that we could get better access to the power unit with its defective Hatz, and brought the replacement Hatz nearer in the hope of getting the two swapped. Andy H and I continued after he'd left, removing the old Hatz and trying to release the new Hatz from its mounts, but thwarted by two bolts which are sufficiently inaccessible to prevent attacking with sockets or grinder, and tough enough to resist the ubiquitous cold chisel.

    Andrew's present domestic arrangements meant that he wasn't around this weekend, though I spent some time there on both days and so became first man to walk on the concrete. I've removed some of the plywood formwork, but not all. In anticipation of the remaining work on RS8, one item on my list was to find a suitable capacity reservoir. Andrew pointed out that there was on under one of the workbenches, but it was somewhat larger than I had in mind, having been brought up with those made by Thomas Hills for the purpose, that is, to provide a volume to form a timing chamber after which the clutch cylinder is 'unloaded'. Then in an instant I remembered that several pneumatics manufacturers made reservoirs by assembling parts from cylinders. RS8's old clutch cylinder was sat on a recycling pile, so I stripped it down, discarded the piston and its rod, tapped the rod aperture to 3/8 BSP and plugged it. The 4 external studs had become damaged with age and dis-assembly (I'd even had to press one out) so the ends were cleaned out on the pillar drill, the studs sorted with a 5/16BSF die nut and some new nuts found, and cleaned and reassembled it is just the right sort of volume and somehow fitting that it should be re-employed on RS8.

    So that's it for another weekly report. Back to Tunstead tomorrow and it may be that we'll be setting the date for the start up (we need fume extraction equipment which is being organised) and perhaps even good news about the cab glazing. Come back next week to see how it goes. See ya then?

  3. Of Hatz ov

    3rd February 2019

    OK hands up all those who've seen the newsreels of the 'polar vortex' that froze Chicago and found 'The Day After Tomorrow' theme music running round in their heads?

    No? Maybe it was just me.

    Welcome to this latest edition of Weekend Rails, and as you may guess from the title, I have finally forgotten how to spell. So, back to Monday and the usual trip up to Tunstead. I have explained to people before that there is a 'big lump theory' to perceived progress. Fitting big lumps takes little time, but are so obvious that passers by see that progress is being made. Fit small pieces which take several times as long and the casual observer cannot see the difference. It was rather like that last Monday, with just me, Pete C and Andy H (there are maintenance shutdowns on). I set Pete to work manufacturing the replacement linkages for the rear right corner of the cab. What somebody was thinking when they ripped out and removed the brake handle and links from that side I don't know. Andy H had manufactured a new handle for the brakes using profiles I'd passed over, and now Pete was to connect the whole thing up, (rather on a trial and error basis as there are no drawings) using bits of original plus ends and such I'd dug up from around our workshops.

    Meanwhile I set about assembling more of the flexible hoses required to route oil and fuel to the prime mover and torque converter. Needless to say I had not brought sufficient hose - I re-aligned the fuel feed hose from the primary filter to the lift pump so as to run along the edge of the chassis, and a shorter one from the fuel tank outlet to the primary, so apart from an elbow fitting fuel in to the engine is complete. Between Pete and myself the nipple that forms the return line at the tank was extracted (it was damaged) and a new nipple installed. On the converter side the feed hose from tank to suction filter was installed and the latter turned 180 degreees to make a more logical flow: the hose from there to the converter charge pump was repositioned (I'd accidentally lined it up to pump output) although really it could do with being about 6inches shorter. I added a couple of fittings and a tee on the pump suction side - although a full tank of oil should be equal to or above the pump header, I think provision for an easy priming of the pump might not be a bad idea after all these years of idleness. That leaves me with a new hose from suction filter to charge pump, and a return fuel line from fuel pump to tank, and that side of the piping is finished, though to the casual passer by, there is nothing much to see.


    Andy H had brought with him the manifold/bulkhead fittings complete with a brand new adaptor machined to match the Enots thread and end up as 1 inch BSP.

    After all the effort last week of finishing the air feed pipe into the cab I decided not to break the news to Pete that I was ripping it out again, instead, I've brought it back to Darley Dale for a thorough clean-up. Andy spent much of his time using up the last of the small tin of Golden Yellow ensuring that all external window surrounds were painted, then went underneath and gave the axleboxes a fill of fresh oil. That is by way of a first installment - the new oiler pads will mop most of that up and will need re-filling again hopefully this week. Finally he mounted up the emergency air pressure gauge and removed the pneumatic valve that I'd previously placed in the way of all the cables.

    All in all, it is now the remaining pneumatics that is holding everything up, and we are close to putting water in the engine and fuel in the tanks to see where it all leaks. I hope it doesn't, but you never can be 100%. Years ago I had two brand new fuel tanks made to my drawings by a professional fabrication company. They tested their welds with dye penetrant and all seemed OK. When when we came to put fuel in, out came the fuel, pushing dye in front of it through minute holes in the welds that the dye would not pass through unaided! The guys back at Sigma6 who welded up the holes we had to make in the tanks were equally confident..

    A week or so ago I said that one option with the power pack was to find another matching Hatz engine or engineer-in the Lombardini. Neither option would be cheap and the latter would take longer as it required manufacturing mounts and either making or sourcing bell housings and torsional drives. Time is not on our side as there are two transport jobs in the offing requiring a winch. Of course, when I made a joke about 'Hatz off if we could find one', I had not taken into the account the abiity of ebay to have the very thing when you least expect it, and so on Wednesday I was heading down to Bilston to collect a rather woe-begone-looking Hatz 'Silent Power' engine the same as we had. Reputedly low hours but looking rough for having been exposed all its life to the elements and especially road salt, I had to cross my fingers as there was no way of hearing it run first, though the vendor has more if I have any trouble with it. That came back with me and Andrew and I unloaded it that evening, he finishing by photographing the Lombardini to go on ebay as it should no longer be required. But such is the way things go, Andrew also asked me to bid on his behalf for another Lister. Now, I don't suppose you've been keeping score, but ever since the Petter PH1 in the pseudo-Wickham was pronounced by agreement to be under-powered, it has been as though we have gone on acquiring Listers in the quest for the ideal. First was a TS3, which on arrival was obviously too big. Then there was an SL2 which I brought back triumphantly from somewhere over Southport way but try as we might, could not get to go, and also looked rather too big when put it in the same workshop as the Wickham. Now if this was a 3 bears story the next purchase would be just right - and considering we drove all the way to darkest North Wales it darned well should have been, but the description was vague, its Lister data plate missing, and it took an eagle-eyed reader of the blog to tell us that it was actually a smaller engine than we had thought (same overall dimensions, just smaller bore block so lower power). Maybe then this is a 4 bears story, since the ebay offering was most definitely a LV2. I duly bid as ordered and won, for actually a very good price. Various messages went to and from as the vendor stressed we must move and load the engine without assistance. We had hoped to postpone the collection until next Wednesday, but the vendor was anxious to get it out sooner, and Saturday was agreed subject to snow. Yes, but this was a weekend where grandson was coming up, so there would have been other calls on Andrew's time. Anyway, on Friday me and Steph drove across to Norfolk once again to collect him (he's now 6) and he was persuaded to come out with Andrew and grandad on an important mission to collect this engine. And as planned, just before noon on Saturday I was knocking on the door of a house in Bolton, while Andrew and grandson waited in the van. The old lady that came to the door clearly didn't know what I was on about. I rang the vendor who proceeded to give me a completely different address to that listed by them on ebay. Had Andrew not been able to get Google street-whatever on his phone this might have been a major problem - I don't like Satnav and prefer to read maps and plan such journies. However after 20 minutes we had found the correct address (they'd moved there 7 years ago!) and with the aid of a sack truck I'd brought, wheeled this latest Lister out to the van, where by way of apology we received an extra bit of muscle to get it in. (If we couldn't lift it I'd brought a plank to walk it up).

    Grandson was due to return today, so although Andrew reckoned he'd be back in time to help get it out, I didn't and wandering down to the shed after lunch, built up a stand of pallets and timber and walked the engine out of the van.

    The top pallet was a trifle weaker than I'd thought and the engine heavier at the flywheel end - no matter, I put the plank into position and walked it down to ground level, before the sack truck took it into the shed. And for the afternoon I was working on both the Lister and the Hatz. Admittedly on the Lister I did little more than remove the blanking plate on the flywheel housing to confirm that the flywheel has no ring gear -(grrr). The Hatz however is required sooner, and I need to make sure it runs ASAP. But the accumulated road salt had corroded the heads of the self-tappers that held the acoustic housing together, and it took a selection of 10mm, 9mm and 3/8 AF sockets and spanners, allen keys and hammers to release them

    I was aware that the Hatz had come off a road trailer, where it powered hydraulic rams that lifted an intermediate floor, so there was a serious risk that the starter and alternator would be 24V powered from the tractor, whereas our power pack is 12V. When I finally got in to it, late this afternoon, the first thing I found was the starter motor markings - 12V 2.0kW - so sometime soon we'll get to see how well it goes.

    That's about it for this week. Sat next to me as I write this is the air cleaner element for RS8 - it arrived on Friday but beyond measuring it and producing a CAD drawing, only a few vague doodles of how I might put it within an enclosure that doesn't change the outside look of RS8 and doesn't protrude too far under the casings have so far been scribbled down. I suspect there'll be a few (dozen) more before I settle on a workable arrangement that I can convert into a manufacturing drawing. I heard an interesting quote this week that rather sums up our attitude to 'preservation'. It went along the lines that one should 'nurture the flame, not worship the ashes'. Now we can all have opinions as to what 'railway preservation' is today. To me it has gone far beyond the altruistic early pioneers who were genuinely saving something of the past for future generations. That justifies one of anything, but we have 'saved' multiples for no better reason than the heritage railway movement as a whole has become a hobby activity with only scant regard for literal preservation. There are those who insist that they are true preservationists, and as such they choose to restore their loco/coach/wagon to original condition, reversing even improvements or corrections that may have been made over the years. That of course is their right, but equally ours is to 'nurture the flame' and if that means incorporating improvements in the light of later experience, we shall. In RS8's case, the pneumatic system had a serious flaw - there was continuous pressure feed to the clutch cylinder, with no 'unload system'. It cost Tarmac a couple of thousand pounds to replace virtually all the clutch parts as this continuous load had worn pins and links. Should we therefore 'worship the ashes' and stick to its original, flawed, system, or 'nurture the flame' and correct it? I'll leave you to turn to your keyboards and accuse me of heresy. Nonetheless, I'll be back next week. See ya then?

  4. Of Hatz and help

    27th January 2019

    Evenin' all, (salutes and adopts friendly 'Dixon of Dock Green-esque' smile). Ready for another instalment? Well, here it is.

    Monday, and no suprises that it is Tunstead day. Andy H, Pete C and myself were joined by Martin who has been before (he and another rigged up a press to assemble the buffers) and made us all feel chuffed by saying how far we had got on since last he saw it. It was not a day for giant steps of progress though. Armed with the additional offcuts of half inch pipe I'd brought, Martin and Pete C continued with completing the steel pipework, which in this case was the feed from the emergency reservoir through a filter and regulator to the changeover valve, and three-quarter pipe tee'd to feed through the cab bulkhead to where I am having to put in a temporary rectangular manifold and the second route across the front of the cab to feed the driver's brake valve.

    The rectangular manifold has a decided disadvantage compared to the rotary one - whereas I had started putting isolating taps on each separate feed off the manifold, on the rectangular there isn't enough room. Curses! So I'll finish with a common isolating tap so we can turn off the entire desk supply when needed to fix or modify summat.

    That's the plan, but Andy H has sweet-talked a member up at Wortley Top Forge and we're hoping that a specially machined adaptor might be forthcoming. Me? Well I cracked on with various tidy-ups on the wiring, then marked out and drilled the side of the new instrument panel to take one of those profiled plates I had to hold the keyswitch. It would have been so much better had I planned all this out before the instrument panel was made- the suitably shaped 'ole could have been lasered into the side plate. Instead I had to drill four 6.5mm holes and a big 35mm hole in the centre, which took a lot of time and flattened the battery drill part way through. When I was marking it up, I slipped with the centre punch and it went down - all the way into the pit. So I donned my pot-holing outfit and went in after it, finding not only the punch but a couple of nuts and bolts and the information sheet I had produced some months ago. This I had taped to the end of the loco only for it to disappear by the next week. I thought someone had pinched it but it seems it had managed to find its way through the narrow slot between the concrete edge of the pit and the metal grille. As we've had to move our work-bench (a large grey machine had been parked just in front of RS8 as there's nowhere else to put it) Andy pasted the info sign to the bench so that everyone walking past can read it.

    We'll see if it moves again! It's high time we filled the axleboxes with oil and Andy headed down, but found we hadn't a suitable can with a long enough spout or funnel, so that's back on this weeks list. The majority of the work remaining is flex piping, both the small bore (pneumatic) and the half and three-eighth reinforced hoses for fuel and converter oil, so we're 2 to 3 weeks away from a start up depending how we get on.

    On my way back Monday evening Andrew suggested I stop off at Rowsley and see if Ludwig Mond had arrived, I glanced over but wanted to get straight back as I had a headlamp bulb down on the van and felt uncomfortable driving in the twilight with it. So on Tuesday morning I drove back up and found not only that the haulier had arrived but that single-handedly he had already split the unit from the trailer, built up the ramp and lowered the loco as far as he could, except that Peak Rail staff had yet to unlock the gate and lift the derailer, so there he stopped.

    I chivvied things to life and then set off for Darley Dale to collect Charlie. Charlie duly dragged Ludwig down to Darley Dale and parked it in the sidings, its smart appearance drawing favourable comment later that day.

    Thursday and Andrew had casually asked if I could pop over the motorway and put all the bits back on the trailer now that it had passed its MoT. I dutifully obliged, and a very friendly forklift operator put the track panel and pallets back on so that I could secure them down with straps ready for the trailer to return to its regular home. The final task was to load up the Hatz-powered power pack, which involved putting the power pack sideways on the forks, manouevering the forklift next to the van's back doors (and the forklift was bigger than the van!) and three of us sliding the pack off the forks and into the van. I figuered this would be in the van for a day or two...

    On Friday morning Andrew and I arrved at Darley to meet up with a lorry-load of wheelsets. My 'these are a bit light, aren't they?' wheelstands had in fact all been used and all survived to fight another day.

    With those to unload and a couple of other large lumps to go on the far side of the shed, it took all morning to unload him, and although I harboured hopes that he might be quickly utilised to pull the Hatz power pack out of the van it was not to be.

    Saturday and we were joined by Charles, Stephen and Andy H who proceeded to work on various aspects of 1382, with Stephen on conduit and Charles on door painting. Andrew was also cutting and threading pipes for the vac train pipe, but they did break off long enough to fit the front grille to the casing sructure for Adolf.

    I harboured hpes that they might be marshalled to lift the Hatz power pack out of the van, but it was not to be. Apart from making tea, my main task was to strip the hand-operated pump that you saw last week. Internally it was dirty and I suspect some of the valves may not be functioning. I had tremendous difficulty extracting the piston. It seemed as though it was only accumulated brown dirt that was stopping it, but it refused to lift no matter how much leverage was applied. Then I realised to my chagrin that lurking in the dirt was a large circlip, and worse still, that one tab of the clip was inaccessible. The circlip emerged, somewhat deformed, and so then did the piston. The bits have been in the degreaser for cleaning and further examination awaits.

    A couple of other regulars joined us on Sunday and first planned task was to fire up both Charlie and James to rearrange things. But we had gone up the yard to look over the ex-RMS Hunslet when we found a visitor in our midst. I confess I did not find his presence welcome. With no hivi nor apology. he appeared around the end of the yard from the main line side, so had either walked up the line from the Matlock direction or climbed over at the level crossing. Either way the courteous thing would have been to apologise for what was, after all, a trespass, but when I asked if I could help him he declared he was looking for an ex LMS wagon donated to Peak Rail in, I think he said, 1981. If I heard the date right it must have been back in the days of the Buxton steam centre, but as it was, I told him that if it was anywhere it would be at Rowsley and he walked off. In those situations it is difficult to know what to do. Should I have ticked him off and demanded he leave by the shortest (safest) route, and no doubt have stories spread by him of 'unfriendly attitude' and 'little Hitler' or spent a great deal of time explaining what and where it might be and gloss over his misconduct? Recommendations on a postcard please.

    We got the re-organisation under way. On the one hand, we wanted Ashdown inside the shed so that work can be progressed for a prospective customer, so the 03 had to come out, and we wanted Ludwig down nearer the shed so that at some point soon we can cut out the offending bits of pipe and replace with new sections. Before we had quite finished, we became aware of 4 enthusiasts leaning over the fence, pointing cameras and noting numbers. We went over to chat and eventually asked if they'd like to look around from 'our side'. They readily accepted the invitation and I gave them the grand tour and a cup of tea. Steph arrived with our lunches and fresh buns and flapjack and they sampled the latter too, all in all they enjoyed the tour and refreshment and our donations tin received a boost.

    Back to work and at last the Hatz power pack came out of the van. I had joked when putting it in, that if all else failed, I'd tie a rope to the unit and drive away, and after we'd slid it so far and lowered one end to the ground, the Hatz was lifted and I drove the van clear. Then the 4 of us grunted and groaned as in short bursts we manhandled it into the shed.

    We went over it and found a Hatz data plate, but it is obstructed by the external superstructure so almost impossible to read! Andrew returned to making bits of pipe for 1382, he was also guiding and assisting as work got under way removing some of the pipework that has adorned Ashdown. When it came to us, Ashdown had a vac system with no suction filter and to our eyes a rather crude exhauster installation. It falls to me to put in hand a new exhauster layout, while Andrew improves pipeworks and sorts out the dragging traction clutch, for which the cover was unbolted and lifted off.

    I however had, while looking over the trailer on Thursday, realised that I had slipped up and put a hole on each of the new lifting arms in the wrong place, so I marked out the arms and re-drilled them on the pedestal drill. When are we going to go and fit these? Dunno, but it's going to have to be soon as a number of jobs are in the offing for it.

    I have an interesting dialogue under way with a local modelmaker as regards RS8. Whether it will be fruitful remains to be seen, but it has stimulated me into making a start on converting some of the ICI drawings into a full GA through CAD. I've started with the cab, having realised that this particular drawing does include the two fuel tanks (originally there was only going to be one), although there are differences even then with window layouts and an original plan for a tip-up shunter's seat under the rear walkway cover (the drawing appended with a hand-written 'Not Fitted'). I'm reckoning on 7mm scale, but who knows? Perhaps there'll be little RS8's running on layouts in all scales in the future, driving the purists aesthetically mad!

    Ah well, that's all for this week. I will though add a sad word for the news that HST's Andrew Wilson, who contributed a shunter column to one of the rail magazines, was found dead a week last Saturday. I had had to take him to task a couple of years ago when I felt he had not just paraphrased some of my prose from this blog but got the meaning all wrong and thus inadvertantly suggested that we didn't know what we were talking about. Ever since he had checked with me on anything he wanted to report on us, most recently on the 10th when he was writing up our problems with 14901's fuel pump. R.I.P.

    Anyway, the van's had a new bulb fitted and is ready for tomorrow, let's hope it doesn't snow overnight. See ya.

  5. Of pumps and progress

    20th January 2019

    Is it Sunday already? Where has this week gone? Well here we go again.


    Monday was of course Tunstead day and to my surprise we had not only Andy H and Pete C but George appeared having not (yet) been banished to Hindlow. First job was to assemble the hydraulic oil tank to its support frame and the frame to the cab front, which we did but later dropped it by the gap of its mounting holes as we saw the clearances involved.

    But I digress, for the major milestone was to fit the casings once and for all and thus fitted, the solid pipework between casings and cab could proceed. Pete C and George worked on this, after George had used his template and mounted the relay box into the left corner of the cab. Starting with the brake cylinder they constructed a pipe under the cab floor to a 3/2 valve at the front. As you will recall, it was not common practice in the 60s to fit 'low air protection' systems to locos so I am changing the air system and using the larger of the two receivers as 'main air' and re-allocating the smaller (which was previously a brake supply receiver) as the 'emergency'. The 3/2 valve will normally connect the brake cylinder with the driver's brake valve just above, but if air pressure is too low, or falling due to a defect, this valve drops back to its rest position where it connects the brake valve to a regulated air supply off the emergency air receiver. The first stage of the piping, the driver's valve and its connection to the 3/2 and thence to the cylinder can be seen (below) but the supply to the brake valve itself must wait for this week.

    Meanwhile Pete and George moved on to the connection from the governor unloader valve to the main air receiver and its non-return, got that in but found insufficient half inch pipe left over to complete the connection from 3/2 to the emergency air receiver, for which I was lacking a filter anyway.

    Andy H had been touching up paintwork and going round the window apertures in Golden Yellow in anticipation of the window rubbers, buit I got him to fit the header for the hydraulic oil suction filter which is about ready to be piped in.

    What was I doing? Well aside fom walking to and fro to the van to collect more bits, I eventually got into the cab and made a start on things there. All the big power cables (apart from the starters, the biggest are 8mm sq between battery isolator, fuses and the alternator) were made off apart from the two to the ammeter, which await the instrument panel being ready to install. Those cables of the multi-core destined to turn left into the relay box were duly identified, crimped and connected, plus a few that go across from box to panel or fuses, and a start made on those turning right that go into the multi-pin plugs that the instruments are already cabled to. They aren't finished yet. and there's some tidying up to do, but you can see how it's all shaping up.

    On the other side of the cab, I took out all the isolating taps and released the manifold, which I unscrewed from the cab with help from Andy H. Looking at it again, I realised that it is in fact two pieces, the manifold itself and a bulkhead fitting, so took it apart, finding between a short piece of one inch pipe with a single olive on, which confirms its Enots origins. Quite what was supposed to be achieved with the pipe and olive I'm not sure - I cannot see that it could be made so accurately that it would seal any better than that of the male thread into the female of the bulkhead fitting, but either way, split in two it does offer a better prospect of getting a piece machined to reinstate the complete manifold later. We are proud enough of RS8's progress that I posted a picture on the RMWeb thread featuring the loco, which has so far received 18 'Likes' (Y'see I'm trying to be cool and embrace this social media stuff).

    On Tuesday after an early morning blood test I was off to my profilers to collect the bits that had been waiting since late last week, coming back with amongst other things the mounting plate for RS8's keyswitch and a set of profiles for the planned rad fan on Adolf. On the return I collected a temporary air manifold, filter and pipework from another supplier to continue RS8's progress.

    On Wednesday Andrew had a half-days leave and we headed over the motorway to where his trailer was sat, as it was due its MoT and we had to lift off all the rails, packings and bindings as the trailer had either to be 'empty' or '2/3 loaded'. I'm getting too old for this sort of thing. As we headed back, we diverted to a farm near Derby to collect two of our latest e-bay aquisitions. Into the van went two fire extinguisher stations, complete with raucus alarms -well one worked and the other didn't, but they'll improve our readiness to deal with any such emergency. Also went in was a pump assembly on a stand:-


    This is for hydraulic pressure testing and came with about ten pressure gauges of various ranges which alone (even if out of calibration) were worth the £10 for the 'lot'. Hopefully once overhauled this will enable us to add pressure testing of air receivers, miniature loco boilers and the like to our repertoire.

    Andrew was over again on Thursday and we were joined by Andy H who first completed the concrete formwork outside before being allowed into the relative warmth of the shed. But even before he arrived, Andrew and I had fired up Charlie and set about a mammoth shunt. No, not shunting members of an extinct elephant species, but the yard is so full that to extract any one vehicle can be a bit of a major undertaking. For starters, out came Adolf from inside and the Sentinel and the recently arrived Hunslet changed places, as until such time as it has buffers, shunting the Hunslet is a trifle tricky. With that the Midland bogie well wagon came into the shed for Andrew to extract some (other) buffers, and after it had gone back, we loaded the remaining bits of the Wickham body on to the B4 bogie and shunted that out and on to the end of the middle siding where it won't be in the way. I was trying to shunt slowly when it came to Adolf, as I was aware that, being splash feed, the faster we moved the more chance of oil coming out of those places currently open to atmosphere. But Andrew got impatient, and it probably would have leaked anyway. Back inside, Andy was put in charge of grinding and hammering all the tabs on Adolf's casing front that were added at some time to place the grille a couple of inches further away from the radiator.

    My job seemed to be to hover near Andrew, keeping an eye on the pressures of oxy and acetylene, but I managed to clamp 3 pices of profile together, drill the centre out and tap them to M12 x 1 ready to receive an electronic sensor that will drive the speedo system. One was subsequently bolted up to the body of a standstill detector to check it all fitted.

    Towards the end of the day a visitor arrived as expected and we locked up about half-five. Andrew has some wheelsets due and before Christmas I was making some wheel stands until I ran out of 3 inch nails. During the week the urgency to collect them re-emerged so on Friday after lunch I popped down to the shed, made up a few more, repaired a couple of old ones then threw whole lot in the van and took them over to the contractors. The latter was a bit scathing of the lightness of some - I took the view that they weren't expected to last forever, in fact if some made this one journey succesfully I would consider them expendable. Watch out for this later.

    Both Andrew and I had other plans on Saturday, and he too was absent Sunday leaving me to wander down for a few hours to please myself. Of course, a chunk of Sunday is now committed to getting the van loaded for a prompt start on Monday morning, and adding a few useful bits that I might need. I had planned that I would take a look at the new aquisitions. The non-working alarm on the second fire extinguisher station was nothing more than a flat battery, and sorted with one I had bought in for another purpose re-deployed. The pump however was a different matter. It wasn't sold as being in working order and so far I cannot get it to pump, but I imagine that we have the technological know-how to get it working. I checked on the 'net to see if the manufacturer could be identified but without any luck. I did start to open it up and liquid emerged - whether this was what I had been pumping or had been in there already I was unsure so left it for another day.

    Oh, but I forgot. At the beginning of the week, after several more conversations on phone and e-mail, we arrived at a suitable air cleaner element to incorporate into RS8. It's about a third of the size of that fitted to 14 901 (which is logical), only £20 each (list) and they have 60 in stock. The only snag is that the stock is in the US, so 2 are now on their way, but I'll have to wait to get my hands on one before drawing up the enclosure to fit them to.

    So that's about it for this week, and as usual I pause to look forward to what's in store. First off, Ludwig Mond is moving. It's due on Tuesday and no doubt Andrew will take it immediately in hand to finish the pipework that stopped it in the first place and look to me to sort out the defect on the electronic standstill detection. The Trailer passed its MoT on Friday so we've got to go back and put all the gear back on again, plus the haulier has donated to us the power pack he'd taken off a trailer as its Hatz engine ist kaput. I've got to go collect that and then we sort out whether it is easier/quicker/cheaper to find another Hatz (OK,OK, hatz off to us if we find one) or re-engineer it to fit the Lombardini we have in stock that was bought for that purpose. Either way it will in due course fit the trailer as an alternative means of raising the neck plus powering a winch - but this was supposed to be next weeks' preview. Add to that a load of wheelsets to unload, perhaps more snow, a visit to the Doc's scheduled to view progress on this fungal infection I have on my leg - I suspect I'm going to be busy again all week. How will it all pan out? Dunno. Come back next time. See ya then?

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