Elsewhere - www.andrewbriddonlocos.co.uk - you can see the "official" face of the locomotive collection my son has built up. Here on "Weekend Rails" you can read a blow-by-blow account of our work in restoring and improving them.
27th August 2012
Not only the Last Weekend of the Month, but the whole week leading up to it seems to have been excelling itself. At this moment, the move from Briddon Towers to Briddon Country Pile has gone into a sort of limbo. Yet it all seemed to be going so well. Then Tuesday came along. Tuesday was the day on which the landline at Briddon Country Pile was due to be connected. Not a major undertaking, since the copper and line box exist, and we even know what number it used to be, but BT took it out of commission when the old owner died.
15th July 2012
I hold Andrew entirely responsible. As we drove back from Scunthorpe last weekend, he remarked that we hadn't heard anything about "Pluto" and hoped that the Derwent Valley were making good use of it. And two days later, guess what happens: we get a e-mail from Vince at the DVLR to say that Pluto had been started ready for service on Sunday and promptly developed a major oil leak.
29th July 2012
They say that moving house is one of the most traumatic things in your life. But it became apparent, as we got the keys on Tuesday with no prospect of having it fully functional until late August, that for us, moving is going to be a sedate and (I hope) relaxed affair as we pick ourselves piece by piece (or maybe van-full by van-full) from Briddon Towers and relocate it all in Briddon Country Pile. We'll be spending next weekend there (I hope again) as we must be at Rowsley both days for the "Warring 40s" event but this weekend has been the usual split.
23rd September 2012
This has been one of those weeks where it has gone way beyond the "Weekend" of the title. On Monday I went off to collect "Pluto's" fuel pump from our tame fuel pump expert. Later in the day I got a call from the shotblasters to say that "Libby's" casing parts were ready, so I hired a pick-up for Thursday. On Tuesday I popped in to the fabricators to collect the 'power bulge' that will go over the exhauster on D2128. Finally on Friday I touched base with a company who have the tackle to press the louvres in the doors for the said 03 - they don't seem to think it much of a problem and will get back to me shortly. Given that in between I have received back Steph's Micra after 8 days in the bodyshop for a job that was only supposed to take two and you may well wonder whether I have managed much (profitable) work this week and you're not the only one.
5th August 2012
It's half past ten of a long Sunday night as I start writing this, and there is lots to say. Going back to last weekend, you may recall that Andrew got called away, leaving me to my own devices. As he had the Monday booked off anyway, he merely reversed his plans and summoned me to Rowsley to "make up for" his missed Sunday. Again I manufactured hoses for "Libby" and "Tom" while he crimped more battery lugs on cables, but otherwise, there was little dramatic to report.
16th September 2012
It may surprise some people to know that I was an n.g. enthusiast before I became professionally involved with s.g. and in many respects I would rather be involved with 2ft than 4ft 81/2". I was at one point offered a job as Commercial Manager for Bala Lake Railway by the instigator and Chief-Of-Almost-Everything George Barnes, only for the company Chairman, Tom Jones (no, not that Tom Jones, this one was a Gwynedd County Councillor - you really must keep up with the Jones's...) politely to withdraw it as the railway "could not afford me".
22nd July 2012
It has been another interesting week. OK, not so much of railway interest in the short term - far too much of the week has been occupied with the forthcoming move from Briddon Towers to Briddon Country Pile - which at one point I was seriously thinking wasn't going to happen until some time in August. But by dint of applied pressure we got as far as exchanging contracts on Friday and hopefully completing this Tuesday. So is it then all systems go?
8th July 2012
On Saturday morning I was woken from my slumbers by the mobile - actually I often am but this was the ring tone rather than the alarm - being a call from my transmission gurus. The boss himself had stripped our powershift on Friday - the converter seals had failed probably because of the presence of rust and debris (and having been stood unused for over a decade probably hadn't helped) plus at least two bearings were knocking in the powershift and were probably close to failing. Taking labour, bearings, seals etc into account the total cost would be £3000. It is the sort of shock that brings you summarily into the land of the living and I told them as calmly as possible to proceed - after all, it has to be done, and ultimately it's Andrew's money(!).
1st July 2012
The last week of the month I suppose lived up to precedent. At the beginning, I had one of those "I'm sorry to have to tell you" calls. It appears that when we were told last week that the spare powershift transmission for D2128 had been tested OK, it had in fact been pulled off prematurely as a more urgent job had arrived. When it was put back on and tested properly not only did the converter seals leak but it made "unhappy" noises which may be a bearing down in the powershift. We knew it was much stiffer to turn the output flange so this was not really a surprise, but nevertheless unwelcome.
2nd September 2012
I said last week that some of the older blog entries on Weekend Rails have been closed to Comments. I've made a decision to close all the older entries and will only leave recent posts open for a month or two. For one thing nobody seems that bothered about commenting, and for another that pesky spambot is still trying to access the posting that it managed to breach the security on - over 3200 times this month (yeah, 1500 times a day)! I hope that whichever b*****d wrote the program that controls it did include a line to tell it to give up after a week or two....
12th August 2012
"I've just saved £200 on my car insurance and I feel -" astonished at how much difference a postcode makes. Yes, all I did was tell the insurers of Steph's Micra that we were leaving the delights of Briddon Towers to take up residence at Briddon Country Pile and they reduced the costs without prompting. Yet the move is still tantalisingly far away and I must get on with the ordinary things of life, including pushing on with Andrew's locos.
19th August 2012
By rights, I should be able to sum up this weekends progress in a very few words. After all, Andrew and Steph were away at a birthday party on Saturday, and after a few jobs around Briddon Towers, I headed over to the Country Pile with more clothes and a few bits and bobs and entertained myself, imagining what it would be like when I finally get to live there, a state which it seems is getting closer, with a phone line due to be connected this Tuesday.
30th September 2012
"Tom" has caused a lot of head scratching this week. The leak from the converter rear seal was concerning. Technical advice was that it might seal itself with a bit of running and warmth., but we weren't confident. It is not that we don't trust the guy who rebuilt the converter, but I have made it policy never to do a converter in an ordinary workshop. The carbon seals are pernickety - well, let's be honest, the technology is over 50 years old and there are probably better seals out there if you wanted to invest in development - certainly Nico, the Japanese licensee for Twin Disc, assured me 15 years ago that their converters don't leak.
9th September 2012
As I was saying, on Monday I had a Transit drop-side booked. It was a venerable old machine - "Y" reg in fact, geared down so far that it was best not trying for more than 60-65 on the motorway. I am not a fan of Fords - I ran two Courier vans of theirs in the early 90s - but this one quickly earned a soft spot, especially when after coming to rest at a traffic lights, the speedo would start flicking up to 10 or 15mph...