Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Great Escape

I'm sure that most, if not all of the readers of this blog follow the Broadway blog... and if not, why on earth not, it is marvellous to see the new station at Broadway unfolding before your eyes.  As many of you will know, a small section of the steam loco dept is playing its part in the recreation of Broadway station, as the steel trusses that will support the roof are being manufactured here.  The following three photos of the work in progress are all by kind courtesy of Roger Tipton:
Ian heats up a rivet...
...the rivet is inserted into the roof truss...
...and given some therapy with a press.
 The target date for opening Broadway is the start of the 2018 operating season, a not far away and set to be a significant milestone in our railway's history.   Achieving that target date, is of course still dependent on funds being raised.  If you wish to help, please do click on this link and make a donation.

 I was recently reminded of just what a debt the cleaners/firemen owe to Roger B.  In the now seemingly distant days when I started as a cleaner, once the loco(s) had disappeared off shed, your next task for the day was to break up a bunch of wooden pallets so that the next day's fireman would have some suitable materials to hand for lighting up his (or in Tina's case, her) loco.  I haven't found myself having to do that for quite some time, and reason is that on every Wednesday (and sadly as a consequence usually unseen by your blogger who still suffers from having a day job) Roger and his merry band of helpers set about converting pallets into firewood.  The next three photos courtesy of Chris Blake:
A stack of fresh pallets beside the wood store...
...Roger setting to work on them...
...result, one well stocked wood store.
Thanks Roger, your hard work is much appreciated by the crews.

A confession...  on Saturday morning, I arrived at the railway bright and early and noticed as I extracted "my" gloves from the boot of the car that they had "Tim P" written inside.  It seems that I had inadvertently pilfered Tim's gloves.  Sorry Tim.  Catch me on Saturday and I'll reunite you with them.
The Santa season has started, (there are still a precious few tickets left on selected dates... hurry to avoid disappointment) with 4270 and Dinmore Manor covering the services last weekend. 
Dinmore Manor is in there somewhere
 Normally the first crew of the Santa season turns up with a load of tinsel etc to decorate the locos, however the memo seems to have missed the crew of Dinmore Manor on Saturday.  I have it on good authority that this oversight will be corrected this coming weekend:
Where's the tinsel?
There again, from some angles you really couldn't tell
 I mentioned recently that Foremarke Hall's reverser had been sent off for some attention.  It has now returned, John & Chris refitted it on Saturday:
The refurbished reverser...
...John fitting it...
...Chris fitting the cladding.
3850 came in for some more attention, as mentioned last week, the wheels had been shot blasted and primed:
Lovely job.
 The frames were still being steam cleaned in anticipation of being shot blasted and primed in the near future:
Eleanor is in there somewhere with the pressure washer
 There were still a number of tasks that wanted doing on 3850's boiler, for a start, a little bit of light needle gunning inside the boiler barrel in preparation for the NDT testing:
Angela (new starter) needle gunning inside 3850's boiler
Not to be outdone, Roger started needle gunning 2874's boiler
 On the top of the backhead on the boiler is the feed for the injectors.  Being live steam at boiler pressure, the studs that hold this joint in place need to be jolly tight.  The studs wanted removing, and somebody (probably Ian) had welded the nuts onto the studs in order to facilitate their removal.  The two on the right on the below photo came out with a fair amount of brute force and ignorance applied (7/8 W socket and about 4' of scaffolding pole to gain extra leverage).  The one on the bottom left, required what was probably about 10' of scaffolding pole.
Looks easy doesn't it.
 In case you can't easily visualise the joint concerned, here is the identical one from 2807's boiler:
Injector header securely clamped in place on 2807's boiler.
The fourth one... well, even with the stupidly long scaffolding pole extension broke the weld and turned the nut off, leaving the stud behind.  
Rather obstinatenut
The scary thing is that the corresponding nuts on 2874's boiler look like they will be even harder to shift!
Abandon hope, all ye who enter here!
 Our new starter, Angela, who has some engineering expertise ran a die over the thread to clean it up and tried locking one nut against another on the stud, but still it wouldn't shift.  Some heat will need to be applied at a future point.
Angela cleans up the stud's thread.
Locked nuts in place, but still no joy
Meanwhile, 2807 was in line for some tender loving care.  A number of people were busy installing a new brick arch:
DIY brick arch kit... in jigsaw puzzle form, but without a helpful picture.
 There were at least four people in the firebox working on the jigsaw.
Looking for a corner piece.
As mentioned a number of blog posts ago, we now have a set of scales by the indoor pit on road 7, making it much easier to check the weight distribution of our locos.  A drawback to this capability is that you discover that you have a problem, which you no longer feel that you can simply ignore.  It turns out that on the fireman's side, the rear compensating beam was installed the wrong way round (there being three quarters of an inch difference depending on which way round you have it).  The upshot was that although the weights balanced nicely on one side of the loco, the rear two wheels on the other side were out by nearly a ton.  The simple task of extracting the compensating beam and flipping it round through 180 degrees was all that needed doing.  Students of this blog will know that nothing is ever easy when it comes to steam locos, the pin holding the compensating beam in place having seized solidly in place.
Compensating beam exposed, but the pin still in situ
 Underneath, Bruce applied some heat, Gilbert used some gentle persuasion... better known as a sledge hammer.
Bruce (hiding on the left), Gilbert in hi-viz on the right
 Capturing the scene for posterity, as well as the 2807 blog, was Roger.
Roger, the man behind the 2807 blog
 I checked back later and found that the reluctant pin had finally been removed, but by then, it was getting late in the day and everything was being lashed up well enough to be returned to the shed for the night. 
The pin, finally removed.
 For reasons that I didn't get to the bottom of, one of the diesels was occupying the pit on road 9, so 35006 was relegated to being worked on indoors.  The task being undertaken, was to strip one of the cylinder drain cocks to clean it out in a bid to clear whatever was causing it to stick open at times
John stripping the left hand cylinder drain cocks
The brake and regulator assemblies in the cab have been removed so that steam leaks can be attended to.
You can't stop it now... there again, you can't make it go either
 And finally, working in the steam loco dept has become too much for some of the inmates and work has now reached an advanced stage on an escaped tunnel.
The start of the tunnel
 The tunnel was deliberately dug on the west side of the goods shed, as the guards are usually to be found on the other side.  No small number of people have been seen furtively getting rid of the soil from the tunnel by disposing of it from underneath their overalls.
Neal is the head of the escape committee
The excuse that would be used if the guards ever caught them was that they were just trying to improve the drainage in the yard, but I doubt that anybody would believe that.


  1. Yes. I am an avid reader of the Broadway blog, and all the others as well. I see what you mean about the threads on 2874's injector valve. Much elbow grease and heat methinks! The drainage hole looked very much like a new home for mousey from Hales Abbey's mess room! Regards, Paul.

    1. Mousey from Hayles Halt and his (or perhaps her) friends are one by one being evicted to the great mousehole in the sky, where there is a surfeit of tasty cheese and ferocious cats are banned. It is generally considered that Mousey will be much better off there than in a drainage hole in Toddington. Should you wish to intervene, humanely catch Mousey & friends and take them off to Mousehole in Cornwall as an alternative, then you would be most welcome.

  2. Nigel Hawkins and I never dug down that far when we put the concrete floor in the Goods shed all those years ago.