Monday, 21 November 2016

Sandcastles and Steam

Chris has kindly sent through four photos taken on Wednesday of the Wednesday gang at work.  The next four photos all by kind permission of Chris Blake.
Mike & John with Foremarke Hall
 Unfortunately, Chris didn't say what was going on with Foremarke Hall, but whatever it was, it proved to be very interesting as Fred and John joined in as well.
Looking for a lost contact lens?
2807 being washed out using the new(ish) pump
Pit steam cleaning on progress, John stands to attention.
As for Saturday, well it was the usual busy day for Dinmore Manor Locomotive LTD, the priority task was to get 3850's wheels prepared for grit blasting and moved into the car park.  Grit blasting works best on clean, dry surfaces.  This wheel set (ex-2874, but ear marked for use under 3850) hadn't been cleaned since BR days and still contained a good helping of gunge in many places.  The bearing surfaces on the axles also needed masking off to prevent them being damaged by the grit.
The wheel cleaning team in action
 By the end of the day, the wheels were out in the car park and ready for the attention of the grit blasters.
By the time you read this, they should be grit blasted & primed
 If time permits, the grit blasters will make a start on the frames of 3850 as well
3850's frames being prepared for grit blasting
Foremarke Hall is already well into her winter maintenance programme, with Clive & Ade getting to work on applying the annual bitumastic coating to the coal space of the tender.
Ade wielding a paint brush.
 I noticed in the mess coach that there was an advert for Foremarke Hall's 2017 calendar, should you wish to obtain one, click on the following photo to see it in a larger size and write to the address given.
Jolly good value at £5
I should probably point out that other GWSR & loco owning group calendars do exist, but this is the only one that I currently have the details for.

Keith & myself spent a fair bit of the day needle gunning & priming 3850's boiler.  
Keith, wielding his paint brush in the style of Rembrandt
Significant progress was made.
 35006 was out in the yard, effectively having an oil change on her axle boxes.  For reasons that I'm afraid I didn't manage to establish, she was adorned with a teddy bear on her smoke box.  I'm sure that somebody will write in and say why, but nobody I spoke to on Saturday seemed to know.
If you go down in the woods today...
 Preparations for yet more concrete pours were being made, both inside the shed and on the apron outside.
The hunt for the lost contact lens continues
One of the booked issues with Dinmore Manor was that the front sanders didn't work.  I had thought that sanders were just about never used on our line, the gradients don't really require it.  Nevertheless, one crew on a dismal wet day trying to pull out of Winchcombe towards the tunnel had experienced difficulty in pulling away without slipping and had tried the sanders and found them wanting.  To be entirely honest, I haven't paid much attention to the sanders on any of our locos, they're over on the wrong side of the cab and I'm pretty sure that I have never seen them operated before.  I was only able to distinguish between which was the front one and which one was the rear one by following the actuating linkages back into the cab and seeing which handle it connected to. 

The problem was soon identified, though less easily remedied.  Well to be honest, there were two problems, number one was that the sanders had the wrong type of sand in them:
The sort of stuff you'd find on a beach
 Taking a peek in the sanders in 2807, revealed the nice fine powdery sand that should be used in sanders
2807's much finer sand
 That wasn't the only problem, the sand was not only too coarse, but it was also rather wet.  It is supposed to flow under the influence of gravity.  As a rule of thumb, if it's wet enough to be able to make sandcastles with, then it's too wet.
Oh dear!
 Yes, I know, what child would spend a day pretending to work on the railway by making sandcastles?  The guilty party wishes to remain anonymous, but he would like to say in his defence that it really impressed his 3 year old granddaughter when he told her.  The answer was to remove the offending sand and leave the sand boxes to dry out for a week or so.

2807 not only has nice fine dry sand in her sand boxes, but also nicely lapped in safety valves, as Bruce spent some considerable time working on them on Saturday.
2807, in the shed.
And finally, getting grubby hands whilst working in the steam loco department is practically compulsory, getting a grubby face too is not unusual (in fact I could name at least two people who consider it compulsory as well).  Other body parts tend to remain fairly clean, as they are well concealed under numerous layers of clothing (especially at this time of year) and overalls.  I was somewhat surprised to receive the following photo from an anonymous source revealing that even feet are not always exempt from obtaining a good encrustation of filth & grime.  No plausible explanation was forthcoming as to how this came about, your guess is every bit as good as mine.
This little piggy went to market....


  1. A small 'typo' when referring to 2807's axle boxes. Sand in axle boxes would not be a desired effect. Could it be said that you meant to type 'sandboxes'? Sorry to be a rivet counter but I thought I would mention it before someone else did! All good work anyway and an interesting blog. Regards, Paul.

    1. Can I blame autocorrect? :-)

      Thanks for spotting that, I've fixed it now.

  2. What you missed was the person cleaning the pit with the steam cleaner was Jeff Lacey a Footplate Inspector? Who says they only do footplate assessments?

    1. In my defence, it is hard to recognise somebody in a photo when you can't see their face.