Monday, 18 April 2016

Don't Cry Because it's Over, Smile Because it Happened

It's been a good week for reports from other people.  The first message I received was from Roger saying that he had managed to free up the boiler of 3850 ready for lifting.  Boilers acquire an amount of rust on them over the years, which effectively "glues" them into place in the frames.  It's not unheard of for a crane to try and lift a boiler off of a loco and find that the whole loco comes up... or more likely, the crane goes down.  The trick is to tease the boilers up from the frames with a few jacks, just to break the grip of the rust, then when the time comes, you can be relatively confident that the lifting off of the boiler will go according to plan.  Roger had spent some time doing exactly that, and now the boiler is ready to be craned off when the time comes (within the next month).
3850's smoke box free of its saddle (photo courtesy of Roger Tipton)
Roger enjoyed the job so much, that he went on to do the same to 2874:
2874's smoke box saddle raised a bit (photo courtesy of Roger Tipton)
The first time daylight has shone through there in over 50 years (photo courtesy of Roger Tipton)
Another job that is well on its way to completion is the water tank in the yard.   It has been stood up for a little while now, but missing much of its internals and the delivery arm.  More work has taken place recently, the next six photos all courtesy of Peter Gutteridge.
Neal up a ladder
The ball-cock.  It's just like a big lavatory inside...
...well OK, you don't find too much scaffolding in a lavatory.
The delivery arm being lifted into place
Neal attaching the delivery arm
Job done.
I said job done, whilst it looks pretty complete, there is still as yet no water supply available for it.  It is hoped that a temporary water connection can be rigged up in time for the gala, which will be a considerable help.  I am informed that although the only person visible in the photos is Neal, that also Mark, Tim & Peter were involved in the work too.  I have just noticed from his email that Peter described the delivery arm mechanism as the "swivel and trunk" and professed to have no idea if they are the correct words.  I have no idea either, "swivel and trunk" sounds a lot better to me than my guess of "delivery arm".  No doubt somebody will turn up and tell us both what it is really called.

Saturday morning started dreary and wet when I set off from home.  I was a little surprised to find that when no further than 5 miles from Toddington, I could see snow on the hill tops.  By the time that I reached Toddington, not only was snow still falling, but there was quite a fair amount of it settled on the ground.
Snow on the cleaning rag collection bin
 Whilst we're on the subject of the cleaning rag bin, the pile of rags squirrelled away in the oil store has diminished.  We will certainly need many more rags before the Cotswold festival of Steam gala (theme, "Swindon Built") at the end of May.  If you happen to have any suitable rags to spare, please donate them by means of the bin photographed above, attached to the fence by the entrance to the yard at Toddington.  Once you have done that, please come along to the gala with a feeling of pride that you will have helped the locos look so clean.  We are also now accepting advance bookings for the footplate rides, see here for more details.

It's not every day that we get snow on the ground, so I grabbed a few Christmas card shots for posterity.  The service loco on Saturday was 2807:
Sat on her stock, waiting to set off with the first train
Some evidence of steam... hopefully the crew were managing to keep warm
Setting... and largely obscured by the emissions from the cylinder drain cocks... fact at times, she was completely obscured
Emerging from a cloud of her own making...
...and heading off down the line.
 Dinmore Manor is fresh back from her stay on the Llangollen Railway and has been trial fitted with her new tender.  When Manors were first built, by the GWR (and later BR), they didn't make new tenders for them, they just recycled Churchward 3,500 gallon ones from withdrawn locos.   Later on, half a dozen Manors received a Collett version of a 3,500 gallon tender, only one of which survived into preservation.  The tender that you can see below is that sole survivor
Yes, the tender is in green undercoat at the moment, it will go black to match Dinmore Manor soon.
The fireman's view of the tender
 In the above view, the tool boxes haven't been put in place yet.  Note the nifty doors for holding the coal back, which aren't present on the Churchward tenders.

Foremarke Hall is coming together very quickly now, all the cladding is in place.
Foremarke Hall in the David Page shed
Grinding the smoke box door to the correct profile
Many of the cab fittings are in place, though the big red handle is an obvious omission, there are others
 One of the items that was fitted on Saturday was the ejector
Man-handling the ejector pipe across to the engine.
The ejector pipe in place
Lastly with the ejector attached to the ejector pipe.
 Sean was at pains to highlight to me how well painted the ejector body was, and how heavy it was too, he had been worried that it might break his kitchen table when he was painting it...  well where else would you paint one?

There is going to be a rearrangement of various containers etc in the yard, which will enable the provision of a permanent route for the pipe to deliver water to the parachute tank mentioned near the beginning of this post.  To permit this work, some items needed to be "lost" elsewhere.  The erstwhile mezzanine floor from the work shop was one such collection of things that needed shifting.
The first of many piles of what had been the mezzanine floor.
 Once that had gone, there was room to set up a stack of old sleepers, which will be used to place 3850's boiler on when a crane is hired in to lift everything else.
A couple of old sleepers Len (l) and Martin took a break to supervise
Job done, (l-r) Len, Kenneth, Martin and Andy survey their handiwork
 You'll note that by this time, that the sun was out and all the snow had melted away.

And finally, I spotted a notice on the wall of the mess coach from Nick Jones, a director of "Locomotive 5542 LTD".  With Nick's permission, I am including it here
Farewell 5542, we hope we see you again soon.

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