Monday, 16 January 2017

The Fog

It's safe to say that this week has been very much all hands on deck. All the locos are tucked away in the shed, currently undergoing their winter maintenance, and there is a lot to do. Of course there are always other areas of the Steam Department that need attention from time to time as well - when I arrived on Saturday lunchtime I was greeted with a sight that resembled something out of 1980s horror film, The Fog:

There's something in the mist...

...nothing to fear, it's just Jonathan steam cleaning the old pit
This was one of those really mucky jobs that needs to be done at least once a year to try and keep residual oil and dirt etc down to a minimum. Jonathan told me that he spent the morning by starting to clean the inside of the pit, only to realise that quite a bit of dirt was sitting around the apron so it made sense to clean that first and then see to the rest of the pit afterwards. When I left a couple of hours later he was still steam cleaning - I'm sure it will look fabulous when it is finished. 

The main theme of the day it seemed, was piston valve assemblies. 4270, Dinmore Manor, and 2807 were all receiving some attention in these areas, with the ultimate goal being to have the valves removed and ready for inspection, with adjustment to follow if necessary. 

Valve assemblies littered the floor like abandoned weights in a gymnasium
Under the spotlight: 7820 Dinmore Manor and one of her valve assemblies
Foremarke Hall sits next to stablemate Dinmore Manor. Foremarke Hall was the only GWR loco here today
to not be receiving attention to her valves
Dinmore Manor's Fireman's Side valve was already in the vice with the seal opened up:

Empty driver's side valve housing on Dinmore Manor
Meanwhile, 4270 was being shunted out into the yard (35006 came out for the ride also). The crew working on 4270 were ahead of the game, both valves out, and the grate had been removed. 
35006 and 4270 brought out from the shed

There something missing here! Holes where the valves should be
Now that the grate had been removed from 4270, it was time for Angela to go into the firebox with the electric wire brush to clean everything up ready for its boiler inspection, while Adrian S and a small team attempted to remove the injector waste pipe:

A pair of legs (I'm not sure who they belonged to) and a stubborn injector waste pipe

Due to a different (older) design, 2807 was rather at a disadvantage when it came to the valve removal race. The crosshead would have to be removed before the valve could come out and it was putting up a very good fight.

Bruce's report from the weekly 2807 News bulletin describes their day:

"When we arrived there was already a gang of people working on Dinmore as well as 4270.  It seems that valves are the flavour of the month as that is what they were removing from both locos.  Strangely, we were also intending to remove one of our valves.

We were a bit thin on the ground today, only three of us, so we all worked on removing the LH valve.
Gilbert, John T and Bruce started by removing the running boards at each end of the cylinder to give better access to the crosshead and front cover.  John then concentrated on removing the valve front cladding followed by the front cover.

At the rear end the cotter was removed and the crosshead split from the valve rod but try as we might the valve spindle did not want to be parted from the crosshead.  We pulled it, we bashed it, we even tried our splitter but all to no avail, the valve rod that connects the crosshead to the rock shaft always seemed to get in the way.

At this point we adjourned for lunch to regain our strength and discuss tactics.  Perhaps, if we crept up on it we could take it by surprise and it would come out easily; alas, no.  Perhaps if we could get the valve rod out … but the motion was not in the correct position. Fortunately by moving the reverser to the full forward position the rod just cleared the motion bracket and came out.  Now with better access the stubborn taper was released, so the crosshead could now be removed followed by the valve spindle.

We were ably assisted by Tim P and Jamie throughout the day; they provided some of the brute force as well as moral support."

Gilbert (l), Jamie, and Tim P trying to remove the crosshead
Crosshead still on the spindle
And finally, it's off!
The valve assembly can now be slid out to the left for removal now that the
crosshead is not obstructing it
The offending article

After the crosshead was finally removed I went to see what else had been going on elsewhere.

Starfish Wagon - Now with more rivets than before
Now fully de-rusted, these Broadway Canopy parts sport a fetching coat of green anti-corrosion paint

My last update for this week's blog is that of Foremarke Hall's sliding ash pan doors! 

When I arrived I found Joe busy making the last sections of the linkage to finally get the doors working. I went underneath the loco into the new pit, thinking it would be finished in no time at all so I could take more photos but had a rather longer wait than I anticipated! So in between admiring various parts of Foremarke's underbelly and watching what was happening with Dinmore Manor, I was able to get these shots from between 7903's wheels of Joe using the angle grinder:

Joe blazing a trail
Sparks fly!
Linkage waiting to be finished

When it had been completed, I was able to make a quick video showing the doors in operation - you can find it by clicking on the following link:

And finally, it appeared that on 2nd January Dinmore Manor had in fact been the rostered loco but unfortunately it was failed due to a blown gasket in the injector feed pipe, which explains why 2807 was out instead.Thanks to Roger M for that piece of information. 


  1. I liked the video. Short but nonetheless interesting for that. A day in the life of a Western loco shed! Regards, Paul.

  2. Superb blog!.As an ex BR/W,locoman,I,follow it,every week,to find out what's happening,with the steam fleet!.All the Best!. Anthony.

  3. "South Western Main Line 1964" you tube video has snippets of 35006 in BR action before withdrawal.

  4. "South Western Main Line 1964" you tube video has snippets of 35006 in BR action before withdrawal.