Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of brakes and brackets

11th September 2011

Andrew decided that, as he was going to be away on Saturday at his girl friend’s (and Steph and I were therefore heading back south to resume sorting the contents of my late father’s bungalow, scouring for essential bits of paper that the modern legal system considers essential) he would take Wednesday afternoon off and head over to Rowsley to resume needle-gunning “Libby”. Thus he found himself on a 5-car Meridian heading back from Derby to Sheffield rather than the HST he would normally opt for.

Unfortunately this Meridian had problems – probably only two engines functioning rather than all five – and as it hit the real climb from Chesterfield towards Dronfield, the Meridian came to a stand – a victim of lack of power and/or adhesion. Eventually, and despite the actions of a travelling fitter, the train gave up and returned to Chesterfield, where passengers were eventually transferred to a following service. Net result, of course, was that his afternoon was taken up stranded mid-section or standing around on Chesterfield platform!

Then by Friday evening he found he wasn’t going to the girl friend’s (long story) but as Steph and I could scarcely reschedule our Saturday we left him to it. He ended up at Rowsley, via Butterley, where his friend was operating RB004 – the single-unit railcar prototype – and spent some time aiding them tracing a charge circuit fault. Over at Rowsley he found Paul Wainwright had finished the replacement hand brake shaft, and had butt-welded it to the original and cleaned up the result ready for installation.

The replacement shaft, 1945 bit to left

So Sunday we headed back to Rowsley, and while Andrew disappeared off to have natter with a pal, I bravely released the heavy cast column, tilted it at 45 degrees out of the cab door and slid the shaft down the column in the manner of one loading the shot into a cannon. Remember, you cannot simply slot the shaft through the column unless you remove the cab roof! But with the shaft inside the column, it can be wangled back in to place but watch out as the shaft finds the hole in the cross member and gravity takes over. Anyway, Andrew re-appeared and got underneath to tighten the fixing bolts and reconnect the shaft to its nut and thence to the weighshaft and voilà, the handbrake works again.

There remains the retaining collar to refit (to stop some enthusiastic driver winding the nut off the end) and the hole to drill to re-peg the handle on the top (not that it would come off on its own, it needs a hammer to budge it) and the repair is complete. I was not in the mood to start deploying cables to where the loco was parked, so that is left for another day. Instead I dug out the newly assembled bracket, released the old pipe clamps and fitted it into position.

Back at “Libby”, you can see the results of Andrew’s earlier efforts with the needle-gun and red-oxide. No news of the casing doors yet (no doubt they will come through this week when we have the joys of a funeral to attend, amongst other things!) but progress has been made. The air compressor intake assembled last week has been painted and with the addition of a short length of pipe and a Fleetguard element, provides the compressor a desirable filter. We would have mounted this permanently but managed to leave the gasket paper on the kitchen bench.

Front end steps

Apart from the funeral, we have to look forward this week to moving a Deutsche Reichsbahn wagon (vintage 1943) from Long Marston to Rowsley, but more about that next week.

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