Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of dust and panel

2nd July 2017

We are now into the second half of the year, the nights have started to draw in, tennis is about to monopolise our screens (boo!, unless you're into Andy Murray et al, in which case Hooray) and this blog is nearing its seventh anniversary.

Seven years of sitting down on a Sunday night, trying to find some profound or whimsical way of passing the time and being sufficiently interesting to justify the Monday morning coffee/lunchtime interlude that so many of you tell me they indulge in. So mug filled and ready? Let us begin.

So, first thing Monday morning I took the van up to Tunstead. If you were looking very closely at the picture last week, you will have seen that I had both tanks sat on a pile of pallets, the idea being that as they would not fit between the wheel arches on the van, then the pallets effectively raised the floor to wheel arch level. But the gap between the wheel arches doesn't clear 'normal' pallets, so without thinking I'd put them cross-wise, which meant that when we loaded them, we'd simply slid them off the forks, but unloading was another matter. A rather interesting combination of overhead crane and a pull-lift was employed to ease them out of the van. I also left oil and filters so that they can get organised in doing a test run of RS8's intended new engine.

Once finished, instead of driving back to Darley Dale I continued on and up to Whaley Bridge, where bulk purchases of metal primer, red concrete paint, concrete sealant (aka cold tea) and white spirit racked up a couple of hundred quid.

Tuesday afternoon was the Peak Rail plc AGM, and Steph and I attended, myself as a shareholder and Steph as a proxy. The meeting commenced with a statement read out by the Chairman, and apparently drafted by Peak Rail's solicitors, prohibiting any discussion on the pending legal action against Peak Rail plc by Grinsty. This was a shame, as by doing so it prevented the shareholders being given any information as the nature of the case and the serious possible outcome. Moreover, one shareholder had nominated Mr Thompson of Grinsty as his proxy, presumably with the hope that by bringing both sides into the same room, shareholders might be better informed and maybe even at this late stage some rapprochement might have been achieved. For myself I asked a number of questions, and detected a murmur of surprise go around the room when I asked for the Board's comments about the Improvement Notice issued against by the ORR. At the time I had only seen this on a memo sent around by the Chairman himself – but shortly after the meeting it appeared on the ORR website.

IMG 3189 blog

Work has taken up much of our time this week – but we did get in to the shed for one evening with the plan to put a coat of blue paint onto the engine turnover stand. The paint concerned was left over Oxford Blue from Beverley, but although Andrew cleared out the surface skin, about two thirds the way through the delivery line blocked with something so he decided that a new tin was in order and that this could be used for touch-ups, etc with a brush. Later that week the replacement handwheel shaft and bearings was completed at the machinists, so we'll soon have it all back together.

Ebay has continued to provide us useful bargains. Andrew picked up cheap drills, and a Enerpac-pump and jacks, useful for applying force in tight spaces. If only they made one for getting young men out of their beds. I acquired a pair of hand-operated fire alarms. Less sophisticated but perfectly acceptable means of raising the alarm rather than lots of wire and 'break glass' type fittings all over the place. Andy H advised me that they must not be mounted higher than 1200mm so that they might be operated by those in wheelchairs. I know Rules is Rules but how many wheelchair-bound volunteers are we ever likely to see in the building?

No Team Frod visit this week – Andy H turned up Saturday morning to collect various things to take with him to Foxfield, where Team Frod are working on YE 'Ludstone' – but after that we were on our own. The main target for the weekend was to resume relocating concrete panels and filling the gap behind with insulation, so as the rear corner of the shed has been vacated, we set to work to clear the clutter, lift the Matterson beams and one post out the way.

To recap, when the building was assembled, I had envisaged these concrete panels going in the mid-I of each column, but this is not usual and the contractor assured me that it couldn't be done. So the panels were sized and placed, butting up to one another on the bottom flange of the I. This lost a lot of floor space – about 25 square metres all told – and we realised that in fact they could be placed and clamped to the upper flange of the I, (in reality on the opposite side of the flange to the purlins) and have slowly been doing so. The presence of a loco on the Mattersons, which has been here far too long for reasons I won't go into now, prevented us accessing the north-east corner, which in turn meant that 110V and 3-phase outlets couldn't be mounted, trunking couldn't progress, etc., etc.

If it were merely a case of picking up each panel, swinging it to and fro and re-clamping it in a new position, it would be relatively simple. Of course it isn't, as the contractors insisted that each panel must butt up to its neighbour. Then to get it in to the position we want, some 40-45 mm must be cut off each end, (we tried cutting 80mm off one end only but for reasons I won't bore you with, decided not to repeat the practice). Cutting 100mm thick reinforced concrete is not a task to be undertaken inside the shed – we have far too much dust as it is – and our earlier exploits involved guiding it up the shed on the hook of the forklift to be cut outside. A perilous task when you remember that each panel weighs around the ton and is about 6 metres long. Once the ex-Buxton trolley arrived, it became 'merely' a matter of lifting an upper panel out, placing it on the trolley, wheeling it outside, cutting it, wheeling it back in, dropping it in to place behind the lower panel but in its new location, and then repeating the process with the lower panel, which becomes the upper one in its new home. Oh, and squeezing nasty rockwool insulation between panel and cladding, for heat insulation and to reduce emanation of noise (plus restricting the ability of people snooping outside hearing conversations within!).

Actually cutting the panel, using a 9” grinder, diamond saw blade and copious quantities of water, takes over an hour and is heavy work on the wrist. Getting the length of the lifting chains just right so that the chains are not overstressed, and the forks do not strike wind brace or purlin, is a matter of trial and error, and so far there is only one fork-shaped slot in the cladding material where we failed to take everything into account. In truth, it is really a 3-man job – one driving the forklift, and one each end of a 5.2m panel guiding it carefully into position and keeping it there, but we get by OK with just us two. The corners of the building, luckily, mean that two panels are already of suitable length and just require a piece of angle welding to the corner column to anchor their ends, thus Saturday saw the 4 corner panels repositioned, while today got two more panels up the eastern side of the building done, leaving just two panels to finish the job, planned for next weekend. Our stockpile of rockwool, both roll and flat sheets, have been reduced as the work progressed, and it would seem that we have just about enough to finish things off.

IMG 3186 blog

IMG 3187 blog

To get the trolley outside of course, a loco and the VBA needed to be moved out the way and James has been in use both days for that simple task, but this evening, as Andrew was building the air back up prior to the shunt back, James died away rather suddenly. A quick check revealed that yes, we had run it out of fuel. Oh well, Charlie was duly fired up to put everything away and bring James back across to its normal parking place.

IMG 3188 blog

This week, well, weather permitting, a sandblast contractor is due on Wednesday to crack on with RS8's cab, casing parts for 1382 and whatever else we think of to get our monies-worth, and Andrew has the day off to follow behind with the primer. Andrew has also been investigating hire of a monster-sized industrial vacuum cleaner with the idea that we can vac up all the remaining concrete dust and get the floor sealed and painted at long last. It sounds easy that, but will require things being moved all the time to free up one part of the shed for treatment by obstructing another. Still, it will all work out OK in the end. Trust me.

More in this category: Of landmarks and sand-castles »

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