Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Pit Perils

Next Sunday, the clocks go back an hour, so cleaning locos won't be performed almost entirely in the dark. Not so last Sunday of course, It was pitch black when I turned up to clean Foremarke Hall and it stayed that way for quite some time.  Once again it was one of those days when dawn didn't really happen, it just slowly got less and less grey.  It rained a bit too. 
Foremarke Hall and 2807
Foremarke Hall had been out on a dining train the night before.  The crew of the evening dining train don't get to escape until the wee small hours, so they are excused ash pan cleaning duties which of course means that the morning crew get to do it instead. 
Damping down the ash pan before emptying it
 The bonus for Chris who was on a fireman training turn is that when he arrived, he found that Foremarke Hall still had 80 PSI on the pressure gauge, so there was no mad rush to get the fire lit.  Getting Foremarke Hall ready to go passed uneventfully and soon enough she was off.
Foremarke Hall is in there somewhere
Andy finally shut the cylinder drain cocks in time for Chris to collect the token from Peter in the Signal Box.
Chris receives the token from Peter
Once Foremarke Hall had disappeared off down the line, it was time to find something useful to do until she arrived back for disposal.  I made the mistake of saying 'yes' when Ian asked me if I had gloves, ear defenders and safety glasses with me.  The new DMU vehicle had a connecting door frame that was more rust than steel and needed some therapy with a needle gun:
DMU door frame
 The far end of the frame in the above photo is the lower part when installed and consequently where any water will settle.  Needless to say that is the end that had rusted the most and therefore needed the most work.  The forecast for the rest of the day was for sunshine and heavy showers.  I took the view that I'd be better off shifting the frame into the shed to try and remove the rust with a needle gun, otherwise it would rust up again as quickly as I could get it off. Once you've got ear defenders on, you disappear off into your own little world of near silence. I found myself pausing only to demist my safety glasses occasionally or when people passed by suggesting that they were off to make a brew.

At lunch time I took a quick tour around the shed to try and spot what might have happened to our ongoing restoration projects:
44027 now has coupling rods

 44027 may have had the coupling rods in place for some time now and I just hadn't noticed, but I don't recollect having seen them before.  35006 on the other hand, had black driving wheels until recently.  I thought that they looked pretty smart in the first place, but one of them has been done in primer again
 More work has taken place in the cab too, the vacuum gauge wasn't there last time I looked:
Vacuum gauge
 I'm pretty sure that some of the copper pipe work is new as well.
35006 cab
Meanwhile, Ian's Peckett is making progress.  I remember grinding the paint off of her coupling rods some while ago, Ian is now bringing them up to a high shine.
Ian working his Peckett's coupling rods
Meanwhile the other Ian and Dan go about re-installing the reverser  counter weight on the Peckett.
Speaking of Dan, he let me know that on Saturday we'd had a visitor from Australia on the railway.  He had recognised one or two people who sometimes feature in this blog and wanted to know if 'blogman' was about. Well sadly I wasn't, I do occasionally get time off for good behaviour you know. Not very often, as I'm rarely good.  Ok, I'm never good, it's just that sometimes I don't get caught.  Anyway, I'm sorry to have missed you, I hope you enjoyed your day at the GWSR. 
By this time, the day was over for Foremarke Hall, and she returned to the ash pit for disposal
Chris empties the smoke box, Ben fills the tender with coal
Ben demonstrates how he managed to remain dry on Foremarke Hall despite the heavy showers
Pits of course are fairly dangerous items.  It would be easy for the unwary to fall into one for instance, never mind the many hazards associated with working underneath a loco.  Even when the loco has moved off, being in the pit can be perilous as Ian discovered. Whilst I had been in the pit extracting the ash from Foremarke Hall's ash pan, I noticed that the water levels were rising. The pump had stopped working even though it was switched on (I did think to look across to the switch just in case somebody was winding me up).  After Foremarke Hall had safely moved off, Ian decided to have a go at fixing the pump.  He made the mistake of picking it up by the out flow pipe which promptly separated itself from the body of the pump.  The pump now freed of what ever had been blocking it suddenly sprang into life spraying water into the air with some force all over the hapless Ian.  Having managed to keep himself dry throughout the heavy downpours of the day, he was now soaked through.
Ian having just been soaked by the pump which is still churning water up into the air
Ian was last seen clinging grimly to the heater in the mess coach trying to dry his clothes out before heading home.
Ian raising steam

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ray,

    We happened to travel on the train with your Australian visitor. He was most enthusiastic about the railway, its achievements and enthusiasm of the volunteers and said this came through via the several blog sites we have and these were a reason he had included our railway to visit whilst over here. So keep blogging!