Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of a coffee table for Cheedale

8th September 2013

In a post back in February ('of the locos at Scunthorpe') I bemoaned a certain magazine that took text from either this blog or Andrew's website, condensed it, and in so doing made it inaccurate and our work seem ineffectual. The latest edition came out on Thursday, and guess what? They've done it again!

Firstly in a section that purports to educate you with “news” about preserved shunters, the story of D2128 having had an overhauled transmission fitted (which they had reported before, so the news value is minimal) is fleshed out with references to charge pumps and new belt drives, and the offer of the transmission overhauler to come and troubleshoot it is recorded. So why then, having stated in the first line that the loco is at Scunthorpe, would they declare that he had offered to go to Rowsley?

Then a couple of pages later, the Editor himself has taken random sentences from my posting of 30th June. As a result the piece. Has a staccato effect. Rather like bullet points without the bullet. But oh dear me. He has managed. To insert parts of work relevant to the Drewry. And claim they are incorporated into 14 901.

In contrast, Railway Magazine appeared this week with a lovely photo in the Panorama section of 72229 at the Warring 40s do, looking entirely in character with a US Army Jeep in the fore. The only thing it lacks is me smiling from the cab doorway – or maybe not.

The sale of Briddon Towers took one step forward and one back this week, the setback being the confirmation that the “charge” levied on the house in 1992 by that total bunch of a*********s known to us all as Barclays Bank in order to protect their interests for the overdraft they provided my business, was never removed when, having forced me to liquidate the business because they couldn't read a balance sheet, I paid the t*****s off by re-mortgaging. So how long will it take them to dig out their records and concede that I don't owe the incompetent (Pick your own noun here, I'm running out)'s a single penny and they have no outstanding liability on my life?

This week has seen more than usual on the collection front but having either not taken, or been too busy to use, my camera, I'm afraid the photos are rather scarce.

Things began in earnest on Thursday, with a day in Rowsley training the first three volunteers on the intricacies of driving the 14. After an initial classroom session, we spent the rest of the morning running up and down light loco, with 14 901 behaving as it usually does, happily shuffling up and down and being occasionally cantankerous with the operation of the Hunslet forward/reverse box.

After a break for lunch, we returned to the loco, collected a BG from the sidings, and continued to move up and down Rowsley yard, getting the feel of the vacuum braking. After the trainees had left, some talking of organising a working party to “spruce up” the paintwork a bit, Andrew and I had a long discussion and as a result I will be making a few “tweaks” to the software to try and make life easier for the driver when the gearbox is unco-operative. It is roughed out in the “book” and should be on the PLC by this next Thursday, when the next group are due to start learning. Meanwhile,14 901 should be having a day in service on the 17th, followed by turns on the Mixed Traffic Gala on the 21st/22nd

On Friday Andrew had booked a day off, and after I'd got some month end Admin out the way, we headed back to Rowsley remembering this time to take the chop saw. As we arrived first time, we had a phone call to say that some close family friends who had said they might call were in fact sat at Darley Dale, so we did a 180, collected them and brought them back to Rowsley to show them round. Although they were aware of the collection, they had not really appreciated just how “large” the locos actually were, and as “Cheedale” disappeared of to shunt a carriage back onto the rake in the platform, just what we actually used them for. They headed off back to deepest Norfolk, leaving us to make a start on the compressor stand for Cheedale.

To recap, Cheedale left Thomas Hill's with two compressors, the small engine-mounted one that came with the Rolls engine (and the same as that fitted to “Charlie”) and a belt-driven Sherry TV50 which Hills loved to fit, mounted on a stand behind the radiator. Being a two-pipe fitted loco, it had additional air tanks to boot. At the quarry, the Sherry had presumably 'died' (they weren't a particularly robust or well-made device) and the loco received a Perkins-driven Hydrovane, which the quarry retained, leaving Cheedale with just the one small compressor and ginormous capacity of tanks.

Our plan was to re-instate the stand, in such a way that if we decide to fit a different compressor later, the stand stays and the base alone is discarded. In the event, we are going ahead fitting a compressor that I originally fitted to a loco that worked at Poole Harbour, which, though not as big as we might like, will at least improve the charge-up times. The first stage is to build the stand, which must straddle almost the full-width under the casings and clear the crankshaft extension. Four bolt-points will then carry an adjustable base for the compressor. Over on an adjacent track, maintenance work was going on on the Class 31, resulting in Cheedale parking some way up towards the ash-pit – a long walk as we firstly trimmed the mounting pads to fit the loco's, back marked them and finally trialled the whole thing in place. We told anyone who would listen that we were in fact making a coffee table for the loco shed messroom.

At 6pm, as the site wound down, Andy Hurrell appeared anxious to have a close-up view of the Hudswell 0-6-0DM “Ashdown”. Andy had driven other HCs with the same triple SSS transmission at the steelworks in the Sheffield/Rotherham area that operated them (i.e. those that were not owned by United Steels and so wedded to YEC) and we drove Ashdown to and fro up the back loco shed road, leaving a fog-trail in our wake.

Originally, Andrew was expecting to be assisting on a mainline stock move Friday night, so I had arranged that on Saturday I would attend the Maid Marian Loco Fund AGM at Llanuwchllyn as I had not been for several years. Although the move got postponed, I went anyway, leaving Andrew, after a morning of sorting the contents of our container, to continue on “Libby” with the work preparing the casings for painting.

The weather forecast for North Wales had been disappointing, and sure enough, after blue sky in Derbyshire and a high cloud base over Cheshire, rain began after Ruthin and Llanuwchllyn had a biting wind with intermittent showers. The MMLF is not a big society: apparently at last years AGM the Committee outnumbered the members in the body of the meeting. This time we were all squeezed into one end of a Society caravan and I wondered how long it would be, with everyone concentrated in a small area, before the entire caravan toppled over. After chatting with a number of old acquaintances, I headed east and got back to Derbyshire about half-past seven.

First thing (and commendably early by our standards) Sunday morning we were on the road again, with the van pointed at Scunthorpe. Amongst the items that had arrived during the week were the second drive belt for D2128 and a flogging spanner of the right size for the spring hanger nuts on “Tom”. As we were first to arrive, I left Andrew to it on the Sentinel, taking myself to the 03 and fitting the drive belt and assembling the relay lever and associated parts to give us an operational handbrake. Toby, Stephen and friend arrived just after we'd broken for lunch. One essential piece I had been searching for in the handbrake linkage was a piece of suitable chain (the calliper can apply in either direction, so a “floppy” link was essential). I found a piece attached to Tom, having been employed in securing the cab door. Somehow wandering into the other half of the workshops, clanking my chain and wailing “Scrooge! Scrooge!” didn't quite get the reaction I had hoped for.

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Meanwhile, the possibility that we might be able to start the 03 caused much enthusiasm with the entourage, so with the batteries re-connected, the loco was dragged out and Toby and Stephen popped up to top-up the coolant. The engine fired without much difficulty, and to Andrew's surprise, the prop-shaft soon started to turn (as the gearbox was still out of mesh) and he stopped the engine. With the gearbox correctly engaged (a ratcheting gearbox does go through you) the engine was started again and we built the air pressure up.

The throttle control was a trifle hit and miss – one of the welding jobs we had completely forgotten about was the bracket at the engine end. A tie-wrap proved not up to the task and getting the engine back to idle after accelerating even a little proved to be a 'pop round and go in through the casing door' exercise. Nevertheless, with the air pressure up, we engaged reverse and first gear and after a few seconds deliberation, the loco moved off. With the gearchange fully functioning (previously we had wired it temporarily to one gear at a time) we could move off and engage second, and more particularly we could get a gear reliably every time, though a trifle tardily.

The transmission operating pressures are still not right – we are maintaining only 40 when we should have 80, but it jumps up when it should (albeit late) but to 200 rather than 250, and until we have that bottomed we won't be trying to pull loads with it – the clutch packs might slip. The driver's brake valve too is a peculiar beast and must be replaced with the overhauled one we have in stock. Although the loco has a veritable plethora of air leaks, the compressor unloader won't function and we have to take measures as it reaches 120. One of the horns wouldn't work, but as we tried playing with the relative position of horn to diaphragm, it responded and delighted the assembled multitude being, it seems, the first loco at the AFRPS to have two-tone hooters.

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Now, Mr “Railway XXXXX” Correspondent, if you must plagiarise the above and present it as your own work, can you please get it right and proper?

Incidentally, I would have put a vid of the loco up on here, and will do so during the week, but for various reasons, one being that I am struggling to get this written and get to bed as I have an early start in the morning, I have left it to Andrew to put it up on YouTube.

For the moment we parked the loco back in with a long mental snag list, and brought Tom out for a quick run to settle the middle spring on the other side from last week. It is still not quite level, so next it will be a case of adjusting all the spring hangers to achieve the same ride height throughout. But that will not be for a week or two.

I have been watching progress on the new “Weekend Rails” format during the week, and as I write this, all the posts up to the end of June have been copied to the new site, so this will be the last time I compile this here, although from your point of view “here” will not change, rather “here” will have a slightly different appearance. I hope you will like it.

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