Wednesday, 18 July 2018

One In, One Out

4270 has finally returned to us after a considerable period of time having a broken wheel balance weight repaired.  After a fitness to run exam during the week, and a steam test & test run on Saturday, she was declared fit for traffic and worked on Sunday
4270 having its teeth flossed shortly after arrival (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)
After a successful steam test on Saturday, she was sent out for a double headed test run with 2807 to make sure that all was well
Double headed at Broadway on Saturday (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)
Ready to rock and roll on Sunday
 Meanwhile, Dinmore Manor has been prepared for transport to the West Somerset Railway where she will be running from Monday until late September.

Not being remotely interested in the football, I went along on Sunday only to find that pretty much everybody else was.  I ploughed a lonely furrow wire brushing old paint off of 3850's frames.  I even started on a cab side, but didn't get too far as there are a surprisingly large number of rivets/hand rails etc to negotiate your way around, never mind the fact that with the cab roof missing, it flexes about a fair bit.
3850's cab side hand rail wire brushing obstacle course!
 35006 was the other loco out running along with 4270 on Sunday, however it was failed after just one visit to Broadway as trainee driver Andy spotted a broken bogie spring which required 35006 to be failed and a diesel substituted.  The good news is that apparently Mr Bulleid designed the bogies such that changing springs is a fairly simple affair.  The bad news is that we don't have a spare spring in stock, so 35006 will be out of action until we managed to source one from somewhere.
Boing... red card said Zebedee!
35006 cooling off after a very short day
 Another challenge for our firemen is that our regular supplier of coal from Wales is experiencing some production difficulties at the moment, and we have had to get in a supply of coal from Scotland.  Never fear, we don't get tartan smoke from the chimney, however Scottish coal behaves rather differently to the Welsh, it burns off the grate a lot more quickly and requires rather more secondary air to prevent it creating too much smoke.  You have to burn a lot more of it to get the same amount of heat generated as well, so you end up shovelling more of it.  On the plus side, it is a lot less dusty and catches alight very quickly. 

And finally, the Wednesday would like to make it known that they have been putting in sterling work.  Apparently they shifted 4 JCB bucket loads of Welsh coal dust out of 2807's tender and replaced it with 6 bucket loads of the new Scottish coal, evicted a wasp's nest from the wood store (sooner them than me), tidied up the yard and investigated an issue with one of Foremarke Hall's injectors.
After all that, I'm not surprised that they needed a cup of tea. (photo courtesy of Peter Gutteridge)

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Footex Fry-day

2874 has not been forgotten about, a set of eccentric straps have been cleaned up ready for a bit of machining in the workshop
It's easy to see how far you have got
The provenance of the eccentric straps is mixed, three of them were originally fitted to the now long scrapped 4208.
Whilst the fourth one appears to have started life on 3803, which is still very much in existence.  I wonder where its eccentric straps came from?
The eccentric straps featured oil reservoirs with a corked filler cap.  Several of them when opened revealed some rather ancient oil and broken off bits of cork that had presumably been there in excess of 50 years.
Left by a previous owner
 The oil passes through a small tube to get to the white metal bearing that it is supposed to lubricate, with a restrictor in the way to regulate the flow.  There are three passages alongside the restrictor, which needed prodding through to clear out any obstructions.
Prodding a piece of wire past the restrictor
 John eventually managed to find the correcet tool for extracting the restrictors, which made the job a bit easier
Correct tool, and a removed restrictor.
 There is always one that snaps off when you try to extract it, requiring it to be drilled out
Eleanor practises her dentistry on the one that snapped off
3850 is in the process of being levelled, with weight evenly distributed along the frame stands, shims need to be inserted to get the frames level.  Good old fashioned gravity and tubes of water indicating where level is.
You can depend on gravity
Once levelled, work can commence on replacing the cylinders and griding the horn guides.

Dinmore Manor LTD had three spare eccentric straps in the smaller size, suitable for pannier tanks.  These have now been passed on to another restoration project, 9629 on the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway.
Three small sized eccentric straps...
...apparently from preserved Hawksworth pannier, 9466...
...and long since scrapped Collett pannier, 4613.
No doubt their new owners will put them to good use on their loco.

Needless to say, work was also progressing on parts of Dinmore Manor's old tender: 

Keith stripping paint off of a vacuum pipe
35006 was also in receipt of some TLC, with John lapping in the clack valves which had been blowing past slightly.
John lapping in a clack valve
Last Friday there was a silver footplate experience running, and I was down to be the fireman.  Tom is already passed out to light warming fires, but needs some practice before he can be passed out to bring a loco into steam. Having arranged beforehand, he turned up at a civilised 07:00 to get the fire going..
Tom rocking Dinmore Manor's grate...
...he soon had a good fire going.
A number of other heritage railways, along with the national network have introduced steam bans owing to the risk of line side fires.  We haven't taken this step yet, however we have instructions in place to minimise the likelihood.  Line side fires are caused either by embers being expelled from the chimney (drivers instructed to drive gently, spark arresters have been fitted in the smoke boxes) or by embers falling out of the ash pan.  The last one is mitigated by emptying the ash pans first thing in the morning so that the ash doesn't get up as high as the damper doors and fall out.
Plenty of ash in Dinmore Manor's ash pan first thing in the morning
It turned out that there is a surprisingly large amount of ash that finds its way into the ash pan just be cleaning out the remains of the previous day's fire.
First driver of the day
A pleasant surprise was that Marcus, one the of the GWSR's admin team had booked himself onto the footplate experience day, along with his partner Katy.  It was amusing to inform them that green & red were not to be worn by footplate crew (could be confused with green or red flags from a distance), as they were wearing green and red overalls. 
Just as well that Jon was watching where we were going.
This chap reads all of the GWSR blogs apparently
There had been a late cancellation soon before the footplate experience, so several of our volunteers who look after the participants back in the coaches at the times when they are not on the footplate stood in.  Amongst those was Tim, who retired as a fireman on our line a few years ago.
Tim still knew how to fire
Also amongst the volunteers who had a go on the footplate was Peter, who frequently contributes photos for this blog showing what the Wednesday gang have been up to.
Peter, with his hand on the handle
Another stalwart of the Wednesday gang, is Roger who keeps the wood store stocked with cut up wooden pallets for lighting up the locos with.
They were so keen, they even helped out with filling the tender at the end of the day.
Peter, telling us about the one that got away... I think
Having not had to do the light up, and having had the participants on the footplate experience course do almost all of the firing all day, the only thing left for me to do was the disposal and make a cup of tea, or at least that is what I had thought. Upon arrival at the ash pit, Alex was waiting with a cup of tea and Jamie, Andrew and Alex all helped out with the disposal.  At the end of a particularly hot day, I was very grateful for their assistance.
Jon drinking tea and conversing with Jamie
Andrew empties the ash pan...
Alex, Jamie & Andrew empty the pit
Andrew and Jamie were there to prepare 2807 for its duties on Saturday
7820 & 2807 simmering on the new pits at the end of the day
And finally, the much anticipated return of 4270 has happened. 
Photo courtesy of Nick Carter