Monday, 8 February 2016

Perfect Weather for Ducks

Saturday was a day of unremitting rain.  Normally on a Saturday, there is a scene not entirely unlike the stereotypical European beach holiday wherein there is a vying for sun loungers by the pool, except in our case it is vying to get your locomotive out of the shed and onto a pit before anybody else does.  On Saturday, it was raining cats and dogs, and a fair few other domestic pets too.  The outdoor pits were eschewed in favour of leaving the locos indoors and crawling underneath them the hard way when necessary.
Snorkel & flippers required if you wanted to use the ash pit
Given the choice of cleaning under either 4270, (safely parked up on the indoor pit on road 7), or cleaning under Dinmore Manor (which wasn't), Eleanor and Paul unsurprisingly chose the luxury of cleaning 4270.
Eleanor cleaning under 4270
 Paul called out "I bet you can't see me!", and he was right, I couldn't, he was lurking somewhere high up in the motion.  He kindly popped back down to have his picture recorded for posterity though.
Paul, captured for posterity
 Mind you, I don't think Paul saw whatever it was that he cleaned with his ear either.
I've heard of keeping your eye on the job, but not your ear.
 Up above, Pete was busy touching up the scratches in 4270's paintwork.
Pete painting
You may remember that last week, 2807's pony truck had been reassembled.  The next job was to relocate it underneath the loco.
How many people does it take to re-wheel a 28XX?
 Not too much later, the job was done
2807... a 2-8-0 once again
 I say "Job done", there is still plenty of pipe work relating to the brakes and steam heating that will need refitting.  

Other jobs are taking place on 2807 as well as the attention to the pony truck.  A pin in one of the rockers has been replaced, the original being too worn for further service.
Replacement pin in situ, the old one to the left.
More tubes have been removed from 3850 since last week
Taking the tube
 Martin has moved up a gear when it comes to slicing up the removed tubes to a size that will fit the scrap metal skip.  Last week he was using an angle grinder with a cutting disc, this week he was using an electric band saw.  Who knows what he will be using next week.

Cutting old tubes the easy way
Dinmore Manor was receiving some TLC on Saturday too.  It was deemed rather too anti-social to continue needle gunning the tender space indoors, so Neil and Alex put a second coat of bitumastic paint on the bits of the tender coal space which had already been prepared.
Neil (l) and Alex.
 GWR locos typically come fitted with vacuum pumps to maintain the vacuum and prevent the brakes coming on whilst the loco is in motion.  The vacuum pump operates at both ends of its stroke, but Dinmore Manor's only appeared to be doing half the job.
The culprit, one of the glands was in rather more pieces than it should have been
It should have been wrapped around the vac pump rod, but wasn't.
A replacement has already been sourced and fitted.

Dinmore Manor has been running without flange lubricators thus far, Ian was given the brief to fabricate and fit some.
It involved some cutting...
...and welding
 Part of his brief was that the flange lubricators should be as inconspicuous as possible, so they got tucked away, largely out of sight under the running plate.
Inconspicuous flange lubricator
 Another modification for this season will be the fitting of an ash pan sprinkler:
Dan, underneath Dinmore Manor, cutting holes for the ash pan sprinkler feed pipes.
 A slight steam leak has been noticed on one of the cylinders, new sealing rings were being manufactured to cure the problem.
Tony (l) and Sam trial fitting the sealing rings on the cylinder cover...
...and later on holding them in place with jointing compound
 Just to prove that I occasionally do more than wander around the place taking photos of other people at work, I spent a fair while underneath Dinmore Manor, manufacturing new lubrication felts and wicks for some of the axle boxes:
All it needs now is some oil and the cover refitting
I was informed by Gil of the 2807 group who has just had some made for 2807's pony truck axle boxes, that getting these made commercially costs £65 each, plus the dreaded VAT (What value does VAT add exactly?).  The fours sets that I turned up will have saved a few bob.  My rates are extremely reasonable and my invoice is in the post.

 Work has been carrying on underneath 35006, the tender brakes being the recipient of most of the attention.
Jeff, having just crawled under the tender the hard way
The brake beams in place
 All the brake beams have been trial fitted, though I believe that some will need to be removed again for further machining.  The actuating rods have yet to be fitted.  All in all, she is well on the way to being ready to haul our service trains.  I have it on good authority that barring any unforeseen eventuality, she will be running during the "Cotswold Festival of Steam" gala on the 28th - 30th of  May.  We are hoping the details of the gala will be able to be brought to you in the near future.

And finally, the Heritage Railway Association had its annual awards ceremony on Saturday evening.  The 35006 group was presented with the John Coiley Award for Locomotive Restoration 2015.
Photo courtesy of John McMillan
Congratulations to the 35006 group and to everybody who has has been involved in this magnificent restoration project.  Needless to say, everybody in the Steam Locomotive Dept is eagerly awaiting the day that she enters traffic.


  1. Are you still after towels for cleaning loco's? If so, I will drop some off on Wednesday on my way to Broadway. Terry

    1. Hi Terry,

      Yes please. Even though we have no locos running until March 5th, we are still doing a fair bit of cleaning of the locos in readiness for the new season. Any old towels that you could provide would be most welcome.