Monday, 8 April 2019

Putting a Quart into a Pint Pot

Saturday morning arrived, and in a spirit of inter-group co-operation, a pair of GWR fire hole doors acquired by the 76077 group were donated to the 2874 trust, in exchange funding towards the casting of new fire hole doors appropriate to 76077.
The GWR fire hole doors, now squirrelled away in 2874's storage facility
The process of separating 3850's front end into component parts continues.  The rivets securing the buffer beam to the frame extensions have been in situ since 1943 and they have absolutely no intention of going anywhere else now.  Unfortunately, they are also in a hard to access location which doesn't help matters one bit.  The rivet heads on one side have already been removed, the next step was to drill through the rivets to relieve pressure enough to allow them to be pressed out.  Some kind soul had already done many of them, yours truly ended up trying to drill out the last few.  
3850's front end
All relevant rivet heads removed, some already drilled through...
...drilling out the next one.
It turned out to be quite a process, the drill depth was at least a couple of inches and the drill bits were a bit blunt (many thanks to Joe in the machine shop who kindly sharpened a few drill bits for me).   I had made a start on the last one, when I unexpectedly had to stop as space was being cleared for the temporary location of another 40' container, and 3850's front end, along with a number of her other parts were in the way.
First the smoke box had to move...
...and with some make-shift skids, the cylinder block was shunted out of the way...
...and 3850's sand box was moved & rotated to facilitate painting the underside
4270 has received even more TLC..., not just a few rags on her running plate...
...and now sports extra steps to get up onto the water tanks...
...and sprouted even more hand rails.
Washouts on 35006 are a daunting task, not least because there are rather large washout plugs on the throat plate to allow washing through of the thermic syphons.  Being a taper thread and in a thicker than most section of steel means that re-cutting the seats with a tap is a strenuous exercise in a cramped space.  The solution is to use a mechanism with a 5:1 gearing on it to drive the tap.  On Saturday, a mounting for just such a mechanism was being put together and tested.
Hopefully this will make washouts a less strenuous exercise
Work was taking place in the shed on 3850 too:
Matthew preparing the tender for painting...
...David sanding down the cab sides of 3850, now coated with a thick filler.
DES is now hoisted aloft on the jacks to have its driving wheel reinstalled.
I discovered a bunch of flyers for the Cotswold Festival of Steam lurking in the mess coach, it's getting close now.
May 25th-27th.  Don't miss it
I was back again on Sunday for a prep turn... sign in at stupid O'clock in the morning and prepare two locos for service before taking one out for a round trip of the line.  I had 7820 and 2807 to prepare on this occasion.  The good news is that 7820's drop centre section grate, external hose attachment ash pan sprinkler and single ash pan door combine to make it a breeze to dispose first thing in the morning, so I was off to a cracking start there.  James, the rostered cleaner for 7820, although not passed out to do light ups had done it plenty of times before and required minimal supervision from me to get Dinmore Manor into steam.  That left me to deal with the slightly more laborious process of getting 2807 lit up.

The day was also made a lot easier Dave, a recent addition to the steam loco dept (he is also involved in the young people's group) turning up first thing to help with the loco cleaning.
Dave brings Dinmore Manor's copper chimney cap up to a high shine
Paul was the rostered prep crew driver:
Paul oiling up under 2807
Angela was the prep crew cleaner, heroically emptying the ash pans of both locos
Angela raking ash out of 2807's ash pan
With so much help getting the locos into steam, I had spare time to assist Paul with oiling the locos, which was a useful bit of practice.  Something that I had hitherto been unaware of was that 2807 now has a non-standard oil feed arrangement on its valve spindles.  The original Churchward design had these without lubrication, which resulted in accelerated wear.  Later designs had a drip feed onto felt pads at this point.  The 2807 group's solution requires a few squirts of steam oil through what looks rather like a grease nipple.  To avoid confusion, they have put a little note above the nipple saying "Steam Oil Only".
Lubricating 2807's valve spindle
Ready to set off to Cheltenham
On the way to Cheltenham Race Course
Paul, lying down on the job?
One of the entries on 2807's fault record card mentioned that one of the coupling rod bearings was running a bit warm and that it should be monitored.  Paul checked it when we got down to Cheltenham Race Course station and found it too hot to touch.  The oil reservoir was full, suggesting that there was a blockage preventing oil flowing through to the white metal bearing.  Paul declared 2807 a failure and we would try to nurse it back to Toddington, after liberally coating the thrust faces with oil in the hope of keeping it cool until we got there.

Angela had brought her brother, Mike along as a birthday treat... it was one of those significant birthdays with a zero at the end, I won't embarrass him by saying exactly what the number was though.
Angela & Mike
Angela cheekily nicked my shovel for this photo
Damping down the coal before returning back to Toddington
The good news was that dousing the thrust faces with oil had had the desired effect and the hot bearing was rather cooler by the time that we pulled into Gotherington loop.
Paul checking & oiling the bearing again at Gotherington loop
Passing the DMU at Gotherington
The Duty Operations Officer (James) had been informed before we left Cheltenham Race Course before we set off that 2807 was being failed, and by the time that we arrived back at Toddington, the class 47 was ready and waiting to take over the train, which it did with a minimal delay to the timetable.
47376 takes the train on to Broadway
This was all a bit disappointing to 2807's afternoon crew (Chris & Tom) who were ready and waiting, but in the end just waited around looking after 2807 whilst the 2807's group of hastily assembled team of volunteers stripped off the con rod and coupling rods, to find that the bearing was dry and slightly scored.  It looks like Paul failed it just in the nick of time, any later could have been much worse and caused the complete melting of the white metal bearing.  2807 will unfortunately miss its rostered turns on Tuesday and Wednesday and won't run again now until at least Saturday.  Which loco will replace it has yet to be announced.  Apologies to everybody who turned up on Sunday expecting to ride behind 2807, she is 114 years old and has proved to be remarkably reliable and dependable over the nearly ten years that she has been running in preservation.  I distinctly doubt that I'll make it to 114 years old, never mind still be up to working as reliably as I did in my youth by then.

I'm never entirely sure whether or not the doings of the CDRL group comes under my remit or not.  Just in case they do, it's worth noting, that not only have they bought a new car for the DMU, but they now have a successful test bed for making sure that the carriage heating units work.
Dr George fires it up for the first time on Sunday
And finally, every once in a blue moon, a photo comes my way that is an absolute gem... I really wish I had been on hand to see this.  Apparently the mechanism in the parachute tank in the yard stuck open whilst 2807 was being filled up at the end on the day on Tuesday... 5,000 gallons into an already largely full 3,500 gallon tender does not go:
Martin seeks sanctuary on the water-scoop dome (photo courtesy of Steve Parker)
The disembodied hand that you can see pulling the arm back into place is once again Paul

1 comment:

  1. Hi could I please use the photo of DES on the jacks on my DES restoration Facebook page?
    Cheers, Paul (co owner DES!)