Monday, 13 April 2015

Up the Chimney

News & photos of activities during the week are always welcome, and this time Steve has obliged with a few photos of the concrete pour for the pit inside the David Page shed on road 6.  I'm struggling to know what to call this pit, the pit visible from the car park is often referred to as the 'old pit' or 'ash pit', whereas the two just to the south of the David Page shed are known as the 'new pits'.  Is this one to be known as the 'newer pit'?  'Newest pit?'  '4th pit?'  Come to think of it, even 4th pit would be wrong, as that would be overlooking the one that still exists down at Winchcombe that we used when based there during the Chicken curve landslip era.  Perhaps YAP.... 'yet another pit'.  Whatever it finally settles down to be known as, its presence in the nice warm & dry David Page shed will be very welcome.  I can see owners fighting to get their locos on it during the winter.
Pouring the concrete, photo courtesy of Steve Parker
Photo courtesy of Steve Parker
On Saturday, with the shuttering removed, it was all looking pretty impressive.  there is still more work to be done to get a slope on the floor etc, but it's well on the way to being finished.
Which end will be the deep end?  Where will the diving board go?
The deceased pair of scissors in the oil store for cutting up rags has been replaced

Ready for service once more
Dinmore Manor was due for a washout and a B exam (if memory serves, it might have been an A exam).  Amongst the long list of things that needed doing was cleaning up the grate/firebox and unblocking the tubes.   Eleanor & I ended up doing that.  Cleaning the firebox out is just a case of going in there and emptying all the ash down through the grate and into the ash pan along with sweeping off the top of the brick arch and any accumulation that had built up on some of the stays.   Eleanor was in there longer than I was, did more work, yet managed to emerge looking cleaner.  I ended up on the receiving end of the usual 'panda' and 'Black & White Minstrel' comments.  I've decided that I must be some sort of a soot magnet.  Cleaning out the tubes was a case of working systematically through each tube in turn with what was effectively a small bore chimney sweep's brush.  The inside of a smoke box is a fairly cramped place and  the blast pipe, superheater header and chimney/petticoat all contrived to get in the way and make it an awkward process.  The brush was a very tight fit in the pipe too and took a fair amount of brute force and ignorance to get it through at times.  Once we'd got them all done, it was a case of blow through the tubes with a compressed air line to clear out any last loose bits of soot.
Eleanor rodding through one of the tubes.
 Inside the smoke box, the hammering and banging of other people at work on Dinmore Manor reverberated around.  Later investigation showed Dan and others at work on the steam feed to the fireman's side injector.  I'm not too sure what was wrong with it, it had been fine the week before when I fired it.
Dan at work on 7820
 A visit to the mess coach at lunch time found Ed (in the hi-viz) inducting a number of new volunteers that signed up at the recent recruitment fair.  If the sight of me covered in soot from head to toe didn't put them off, then nothing will.
New volunteers
Ed warned them to avoid the strange man with the camera, but it was too late, they've been blogged. 

One of those little jobs that had never been got around to was to insert a cover over the throat plate of Dinmore Manor's boiler.  It's not something that is easily noticed is missing unless you're up close and know what to look for.  The father and son team of Len & Mark had a go at sorting that out on Saturday. 
Len (l) & Mark fitting the throat plate cover.
 More work has been taking place on 35006.  The tender's axle boxes were being greased.  The tender was scratch built as she left Barry Island scrapyard without one.  An interesting piece of trivia is that those axleboxes were originally from class 40, D326 (TOPS number 40126) which was the one involved in the Great Train Robbery.

Greasing the axle boxes
I noted during the day that since the sump trap had been fitted on the tender that the water feeds from the tender to the loco have been piped up.  Beneath the two water feeds can also be seen the steam heat pipes.  No sign when I last looked of the vacuum brake pipes though.
Getting there.
Sadly, late last year, Mark Clarke, a member of the Cotswold Diesel Railcar group passed away.  As befits an old railway man, his family wanted his ashes to go 'up the chimney' and on Saturday that's exactly what happened.  Mark's son, James is one of our trainee firemen and he crewed 2807 along with George and Ian who are also both members of the the Cotswold Diesel Railcar group.  In a peaceful spot somewhere along our line, Mark is now happily watching the trains pass by.
(l-r) James, George & Ian
Setting off from Toddington
Mark Clarke
Mark Clarke, RIP.


  1. When I bought shares in 2807 all those years ago, I'd not thought about our locomotive being used for funeral duties. But now it seems one of the most fitting tasks that the locomotive and crew could be called upon to perform on this most beautiful of heritage lines beneath the hills. Indeed, I would wish the same for me. Psalm 121.1 comes to mind.

    1. Here is the Psalm reference (King James Version) for those who don't know it off by heart. Ok, I'll confess, I had to Google for it too.

      "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help."

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  3. After seeing Mark Clarke standing in front of 75029 it is remarkable that 75029 was the last steam locomotive to run over the line before closure as it ran light engine to the Shidon Exhibition in August 1975. Brian England.