Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Things that go bang

The last few weeks at the GWSR kicked off with something of a bang.  Now there are good sorts of bangs and there are bad sorts of bangs.  Fireworks on bonfire night for instance would come under the heading of good bangs.  Connecting rods in air compressors busting out through crank cases however would definitely come under the heading of bad bangs.  Given that it is February rather than November, guess which type of bang that I'm referring to. Mercifully the GWSR has more than one air compressor, but this particular one has probably compressed its last.
Little end gone big, big end gone bigger, con rods gone bang!
Norwegian blue air compressor, pining for the fjords
"It's not pining, it's passed on. This air compressor is no more. It has ceased to be. It's expired and gone to meet its maker. This is a late air compressor. It's a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. If you hadn't nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up the daisies. It's rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-air compressor."

The winter maintenance programme on Foremarke Hall took a step forward on Saturday as numerous members of the steam loco dept busied themselves on the outstanding tasks.  Adrian refitted the injector cones and Clive refitted the firebars into the grate.  2807 has now been fitted out with Chrome alloy firebars which should, if they do what they say on the tin last the rest of her 10 year boiler ticket.  This of course means that there were now plenty of firebars available for Foremarke Hall.
Spotlight on Clive, centre stage in Foremarke Hall's firebox
Clive refitting firebars
Meanwhile up at the pointy end of Foremarke Hall, more people than were strictly necessary were busy refitting the valve covers.  I'll confess to have lost the plot a bit as to the exact sequence of events now however the left hand one went on, came back off and then went back on again.  
Phil keeps a close eye on the valve cover's nuts and washers
Paul Greasing the valve cover gasket
Ben fitting the valve cover and the fingers of  the otherwise camera shy Sean
Having removed it again, replacing one of the bushes
Steve refitting the valve cover again
Foremarke Hall being taken to the water tower... you can lead a Hall to water but you can't make it drink
Elsewhere, 8F, 8274 has had her valve gear refitted and Nick was to be found cleaning up the connecting rods prior to them being varnished and refitted.
Nick cleaning 8274's connecting rods
Sometime during the preceding week, work has been done on the coal dock with works to add an ash pit to the end of it.
Coal dock & ash pit taking shape
Yours truly found gainful employment on the external refurbishment of the mess coach.  Over the years, the mess coach has become.... well messy.  The clue is in the name really.  The task in hand now is to turn it out in a tasteful chocolate & cream livery in time for the Cotswold Steam Celebration gala  in May. It was far too cold to permit any painting to take place (snow flakes fell but failed to settle for most of the day) however there was nothing to stop a concerted effort in sanding down the coach's exterior in readiness for painting when warmer weather arrives.
Jamie rather noisily sanding what is allegedly a quiet coach
Tina applying rust inhibitor.
Dan applying rust inhibitor too, though for some bits it's a bit like closing the stable doors after the horse has bolted.  I find the 'No Brakes' notice a little disconcerting
Andy Beale taking a break with some 'thirst inhibitor'
Speaking of Andy, he was collared a little later in the day whilst walking past our resident Merchant Navy.  In his own words, this is what transpired:

"I made the mistake of walking past SR 35006 just as one of their team was trying to manhandle a long irregular pipe into the cab. Was I doing anything for a few minutes.... 2 hours later we had satisfactorily installed that and many of the steam pipes from the boiler manifold to the injectors? These had been bent to shape a couple of years back and some were finally going on for their final fit. Unfortunately a certain 25 mm odd conduit pipe which houses the whistle actuating rod now fouled two of the injector steam delivery pipes so some more tweaking is required. It's now coming on week by week with the painters doing their bit as well, with the main driving wheels now receiving attention."

Andy also noticed something which had eluded me.  Ex GWR, 2-8-0T, 4270 now has a chimney attached.  He even kindly took a photo to prove it:-
4270, now with chimney. Photo courtesy of Andy Beale


  1. If nothing else, you certainly know your "Monty Python"!!

  2. Thank you Jim. I've had feedback that not quite everybody is as familiar with the 'Dead Parrot Sketch' as they should be. For the benefit of those who have missed out on this gem of comedy, their cultural horizons can be expanded by taking just 5 minutes and thirty three seconds to view this:-


    John Cleese & Michael Palin at their very best :-)

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