Monday, 2 March 2015

Hanging on in Quiet Desperation is the English Way

Saturday saw yours truly taking his biennial fireman's written exam.  Having once  managed to cram into your head enough information about the anatomy of steam locos and all the hand signals that you might encounter (well most of them anyway) isn't considered enough, you have to repeat the process every two years.  Sadly that's probably a good thing, I frequently struggle to remember stuff from 2 days ago, never mind 2 years ago.  Anyway,   "I entered the training room, answered a number of written questions and then left" doesn't really make for an interesting blog post.  Plan A had been to provide you with a post regarding the upcoming "Cotswold Festival of Steam" gala on May 23rd until May 25th, including news of the second guest loco which I had hoped would have been confirmed by now.  Sadly the confirmation has yet to arrive, so although the article is already written, I can't post it just yet.  Hopefully I'll be able to hit the "publish" button soon.

So much for plan A, we'll have to go with plan B which is to cover the few things that I managed to catch up with after suffering the harrowing ordeal of the biennial fireman's exam.  

Something that I held back from a few weeks ago was that Len and I briefly reunited 2874 with her smoke box number plate and one of her cabside number plates.

There was no doubting where the smoke box plate should live, but the cabside could have come from either the driver's or fireman's side.  I tried it in both positions and the holes lined up perfectly with the ones on the driver's side and didn't match so well with the ones on the fireman's side, leading me to suspect that it came from the driver's side.
2874 cabside plate tried on the driver's side...
...and on the fireman's side.
No doubt about where that one goes.
2874 wearing both plates
Thank you very much to Roger from Cotswold Steam Preservation (2874's sister loco, 2807) who kindly loaned me the fixing bolts for the plates.

That last photo was used in the current (issue 438) of Steam Railway Magazine to accompany an article on the new charitable trust recently set up to oversee the restoration of 2874.  More information will eventually appear on 2874's own website which is under construction as I write this.

Some work was still progressing on getting 2807 ready for action, a number of people were busy waxing and polishing her tender:
(l-r), Stuart, Paul, Mike & Mike
Meanwhile Clive and Eleanor gave the smoke box some therapy.
Eleanor smartens up the smoke box

After the Pirates headline from last week, I thought that we'd tracked down Captain Hook on top of the boiler of 2807, but it turns out that Ian had just left the tool for preventing mudhole doors dropping into the boiler lying around.

Could have sworn that I heard a clock ticking somewhere

Dinmore Manor has returned after a successful visit to the Great Central Railway.  4270 has gone to the Llangollen Railway for their gala, probably on the same low loader on which Dinmore Manor arrived.  The task now, was to get as much of Dinmore Manor's winter maintenance programme as possible completed before the start of the season:

Sorting out the axle weights was first on the list. The process involved Rob jackied up one wheel at a time:

Rob jacks up the wheel
 Then Mike inserted a feeler gauge under the wheel.  The wheel was lowered down, and then jacked up again, noting the weight at which the feeler gauge just became free.  The process is not too far removed from that of setting your ignition timing on your car/motorbike in the days of contact breakers. 
Mike pulls the feeler gauge free
Once all the weights on each wheel have been noted, it's time to go around adjusting the nuts on the springs to rebalance the weight distribution.  You then go back to the beginning and re-weigh every wheel to see how close they are to correct this time, re-tweak the suspension adjusting nuts etc ad infinitum.
Mike & Matt giving the adjusting nut n one of the springs a turn with a big spanner

Reconnecting the tender was on the list of things to be done as well, along with removing the coal that came back in the tender so that the coal space could be painted.

Paul fetched up the FLT, several people in the cab shovel coal and miss the firehole door by a wide margin
The inspectors tried to convince me that they only ever turn up to drink tea and eat their lunch:
Chris (l) and Jeff inspecting their lunch
They couldn't fool me though, I caught them both later on wielding paint brushes on Dinmore Manor's real tender
Chris gets on with the grey undercoat...
...whilst Jeff makes a start on the top coat
 Meanwhile at the other end of the tender, Ralph got on with getting the buffers between it and the loco ready for fitting
Ralph at work
buffers stood on the floor.
 Foremarke Hall is still with us, Phil spent a while building up the base of one of the cab handrails with weld and grinding it smooth.

Phil looking pleased with his work.
And finally, we'll soon be having contractors working in the David Page shed to install the new pit, reinforced pads for lifting jacks and concreting the floor on roads 6 and 7.  Consequently all the stock on those two roads will shortly be evicted from the shed and have to live out in the yard.  I see that the LMS diesel shunter and the NRM's 4F, 44027 are taking no chances and have put on their coats ready to face the worst that the Cotswold winter weather can throw at them.
That little lot should keep them warm and dry.


  1. The time is gone, the post is over,
    Thought you'd something more to say.....

    1. You old hippy Paul. Hope you had better luck than me at getting David Gilmour tickets today.

  2. I see in the railway press that 8274 is now based at the GCR (N) for the foreseeable future. I seem to recall the same group (is that right?) were working on 44027 so does this impact on the latter having a future at GWSR?


    1. You are correct in saying that the 4F is being restored by the same group that own the 8F. I just checked with Ian Crowder, the GWSR's Press Officer and apparently there is no official word on what will be happening with the 4F.

    2. Ok, thanks! Although not a GWR type it would be lovely to see it running on the GWSR so fingers crossed.

  3. is the 8f there just for 2015

    1. My understanding is that it has departed for good.