Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of casing tops and cast-iron pots

5th February 2012

Some of you may think they smell a rat when, a week after having had a day away from the collection (for new readers, see here) I am back reporting on three days in succession. Is Andrew demanding recompense? Actually, it was already planned this way, but it nearly didn’t happen. My friendly fabricators had promised to get the casing parts for the 03 finished by the end of January, and as Andrew has a busy work programme ahead of him, he could see his way clear to taking Friday off (after a week involving visits to Norwich, Southampton and Selhurst, and explains why I must disappoint those expecting the link to “Beverley” in operation – he simply hasn’t had time to do it) but not much else.

But as Monday and Tuesday came and went without the pieces moving from outside into their workshops, it was looking doubtful. We had provisionally booked the man who had moved them out of Scunthorpe, and I was nervous that if we didn’t confirm soon, he would have taken another booking.

But on Wednesday Gavin was charged with making good the corroded patches on the 03s casings, plus a section of “Libby’s” cab interior and the exhaust cowl for “Beverley” and when news came through late in the afternoon that they were ready, I rang through to the haulier only to find that the gearbox on his lorry had died and he wasn’t going anywhere. He put me on to someone else though, who agreed to do the job and at 08.00 Friday morning we arrived to find him already loaded and ready for the off. We agreed a rendezvous and charged off for Scunthorpe.

Fortunately the weather was being kind – if cold – and by the time he arrived at the steelworks we had de-sheeted the loco, signed in, opened up and Andrew had hurriedly applied paint to various surfaces to act as a sealant to mating pieces. The vehicle was a large 8-wheeler, capable of hauling half the loco’s total weight so hardly noticed our casing parts – sorry for no pictures of it in progress but I was too busy aiding getting things swung into position and loosely bolted down. Last to go on was the Fat Controller’s hat and within 2 hours of arrival our man was on his way home. We re-sheeted the loco, conscious that, with the additional height of casing top and chimney, the sheet no longer reached the running plates so will be more open than it was before.

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Beginning to look a like an 03 should

Saturday – and armed with another £20’s worth of nuts and bolts we headed back over to Scunthorpe to continue with both locos. I had volunteered (at least, I think I did) to do the outside work on the 03, in a strong and bitterly cold wind. Many of the holes, for whatever reason, weren’t quite lining up and a drill was needed to open them up, and what better means of testing my nice new Makita drill, that arrived last Monday. Yes, the man turned up in a bright big TNT truck that must be so warm that he always totters up the drive to Briddon Towers wearing shorts, come wind or rain. And a potent little beast it is too (the drill, not the TNT man) as I found when it snagged and leaped out my hands, or later when it snapped a 13mm twist drill as I held on more tightly. My only gripe is that it is one of the keyless-chuck variety which requires a strength of grip to do up and undo that sometimes, on a freezing cold day and howling gale, I struggle to achieve. But I suppose I shouldn’t look a gift-drill in the chuck. Anyway. my task was to continue bolting the casing parts together and to the casing frame – the former with 10mm buttonheads and the latter with 12mm ordinary. With an eye to some later refurbishment (if we ever get time) Andrew wanted all the bolts copper-slipped, so the ones laboriously fitted yesterday had to come out and be dipped in the tin before being refitted. With some 50+ bolts to do in total, I was kept busy most of the day on this, with Andrew periodically rendering assistance when faced with bolts whose opposite ends were out of my reach. Since the casing top was only roughly guestimated on my master CAD drawing, it is reassuring to see it pretty much correct, and bemusing to be able to sit on the cylinder heads of the Cummins and my head not quite touch the underside of the casings!

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..enough clearance to sit on the cylinder heads..

Andrew meanwhile was at work on Beverley in comparative comfort. An air line enabled him to carry out test work on the air system, stripping and cleaning the gearchange valves got them working cleanly but the main clutch isolating valve requires new seals and the air leak we’d noticed last week and attributed to the air brake cylinders is in fact the driver’s brake valve, which we thought we’d fixed a couple of years ago. Ah well.

The weather forecast anticipated snow arriving late afternoon, and at 4pm white powdery stuff started to descend. We removed the leaky oil reservoir from Beverley, and the cylinder head from the 03’s BroomWade compressor, and packed up. Now I do not consider myself to be an irresponsible driver, but the snow had barely covered the M18/M180 and as I motored carefully back at around 55mph, I encountered a line of cars, pottering along at 40mph, in the middle lane. Ugh.

Sunday: The world had turned white, but actually the wind had gone and it was quite pleasant out. Reports from Rowsley was that the A6 was open but lesser roads may not be, and 4″ or so had descended overnight. We left it for a while until it was obviously melting then headed over, getting there without difficulty. Andrew’s main task was to add more weld to the leaking connection in the bottom of Beverley’s tank, which, as it still contained a modicum of oil, proceeded to smoke and flame as he added a further layer of MIG around the outlet until it began to resemble a volcano surrounded by a sea of lava. He declared that no pin-hole could have survived, before heading off to the VBA van to hunt out a few bits needed for Scunthorpe while it cooled. I had brought over the Paxolin panel planned to form the interconnection and fuse board for the 03. On 14 901, I used commercial Termate connections, basically an M5 stud set in a piece of interlocking plastic. Very good but rather adding up when around 80 connections will ultimately be needed. A pre-cut piece of Paxolin, however, was about a fiver and a bundle of M5 and M8 plated setscrews and nuts also quite modest. All it required was a plan, a drill and patience to mark it all out and produce about 100 holes in various diameters and countersunk most from the back. More work for the new Makita.

The AFRPS web site now lists the Gala plans and so gives us our target, as D2128 is rostered to work the final DMU trip at 4pm on the 12th and 13th of May. That is 3 months, and seems a long time from a freezing cold February but isn’t much when you get down to it. We have compiled a list of things which are categorised as “Jobs that must be done cos it won’t work without”, “Jobs that would be nice if we have time but not the end of the world if we don’t” and finally “Jobs that we haven’t a chance of doing in time”. All 3 lists are long!

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