Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of flashings and showers

21st June 2015

So, first thing Monday morning I started ringing around bearing suppliers in Derby and Sheffield, getting a range of prices and availabilities on the needle roller bearings we needed to restore our forklift to action. But the fifth supplier not only had two in stock, but gave the best price too, so I abandoned the search and set off for Sheffield.

Actually by the time I got there, he'd found two more under a different part number, so we can renew those on the other side as well in due course. I popped into another supplier and collected the necessary oil seals, and later that day the kingpin was refitted. Andrew reported that the steering was not only squeak-free, but much less effort to turn. It did however demonstrate just how long it has been like that since it showed up just how badly the tyre had worn – so we picked up where I had left off and ordered up the new replacement tyres for the little end.

During the evenings Andrew has continued his manufacture of the bridge, and by Wednesday we had lifted it in place, with its first coat of paint applied, and driven the forklift over it while Andrew lay in the track watching for deflection. He reported hat he couldn't discern any. With a bit more paint and the ramps completed, we should be able to get the forklift anywhere we wish in the shed.

Wednesday too saw Cheedale back in action – some visitors are coming to see it in a couple of weeks so we added some fuel, bled it through and got it go again, taking it up to the end of the yard and back a few times in celebration. Andrew and I have had various discussions about the scope of a mechanical refurb – not that we want to start any more major projects until the shed is clad – but on the negative side the secondhand, additional compressor that we installed on the coffee table some 18 months ago (see here) is not delivering like it ought, so a strip and re-ring may be called for.

Thursday had been the planned date for the arrival of the flashings and replacement eave beams, and information received on Wednesday confimed that they had indeed been loaded and despatched from Cardiff, but first drops were in Norfolk so it would not be our way until Thursday afternoon. I was a little apprehensive – at one point I seriously considered whether to move everything up the track and aim to have the lorry unloaded by the forklift in the shed - as Andrew would be away collecting our grandson and conveying both him and Steph up north for a few days with our daughter. Meanwhile the shower in our en-suite had packed up so I had the plumber booked at 8am Friday morning to change it.

I twiddled my thumbs most of Thursday and eventually got news that the lorry was running late: indeed, the driver rang me at ten to five to say he was on a break but still on the A14 so we agreed to unload at 7am Friday morning.

On occasions like these I don't need an alarm clock, my body won't let me sleep on and I was awake at quarter to five so was on site at Darley by five to seven with ease. I opened up and waited by the roadside. By ten-past seven I was getting anxious, after all, I had to be back home for eight for the plumber. He finally rolled up just after quarter past and first headed for the loo! But with much sweating we had it all unloaded and he was on his way to his last drop (Welshpool!) by ten to eight, and I got back to the Briddon Country Pile dead on 08.00.

The plumber - two in fact - rolled up at 09.15, changed the shower unit and when I came to use it later, I found that it didn't work.

Another issue that has occupied my time this week has been the Mattersons. If you think back to early last year, when they were unloaded in the shed at Rowsley, we had been under-pressure to get them inspected and first brought in a man from Zurich, who left us less than impressed as to his competency, and kicked them out in favour of Allianz, whose man did at least know what he was looking at. The inspection contract was due for renewal this week, but Allianz wanted almost double the premium, claiming that I had "incorrectly described it" before. Being now rather more knowledgeable on the requirements of LOLER than hitherto (courtesy of the forklift) and since the Mattersons (a) can't be used currently and (b) were only inspected in late April, I instructed the brokers to let the matter rest while I considered the best course of action. You might guess, but hopefully I'll say more next week.

With Andrew away I was not expecting to do much this weekend, in any event, I was due at our daughter's some time on Saturday for her to do the daughterly thing for Father's Day. Nevertheless, after I had finished the washing up, tidying, watering the tomato plants etc on Saturday, I did spend a couple of hours at Darley, firstly to check the flashings over (I had not had time to do anything other than unload and stack them, after all) inspect the replacement eave beams (which, to my chagrin, are perfectly suitable but not to the drawing which the firm had on their website, so I may have to produce another set of adaptor pieces) and finally to finish the new temperature gauge installation on James, which I had left only half done. I had at least during the week drilled a fresh 'ole through the cab bulkhead to bring a pair of wires through, but now I finished wiring it up, and, to prove the job, started the loco up and ran it up and down for a little while until I could see the gauge come up to the 50 deg mark. With that I parked James back up, packed and set off north.

On my arrival in Darlington I found Andrew was fielding calls from the Scunthorpe contingent. 03 901 has been requested for a tour next Saturday. I don't know which group has had the excellent discernment to book it, but we agreed to it being out, though as the tour leaves at 10.00, counting back that means about 09.30 off shed or a departure time for us from Darley of about 07.30. I was hoping to give it a bit of a run to prove that the sensors are correct and reliable, but hadn't anticipated it with a train in tow, ah well, an emergency jumper cable and a wiring diagram should keep it out of trouble...

Andrew had taken grandson to Shildon on Saturday but continuing his education we had earmarked something “more his size” for today with a visit to Preston Hall Park, outside Stockon-on-Tees, where a model engineer group run what they call the Teesside Small Gauge railway. It is a 7.25”/5” ground level line (with a 3.5/5” raised line within it) that runs on Sunday afternoons and Bank Holidays through the summer.

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First runs on Sunday were performed by a semi-scale “Class 67” petrol hydraulic but a “Linda” type 0-4-0ST+T was raising steam to take over. A friendly-bunch invited us into the steaming area, and once “Linda” had set off, one of them offered to do a guided tour of the works area, which look to have been adapted from old farm buildings nearby. Inside were a range of locos from a Maxitrack “Ruston” through a petrol-mechanical “HST power car” to live steamers based on Bagnall 0-4-0STs, an 0-6-0T based on the IoM's “Caledonia” through to scale models of an A4 and the like. Having once operated a railway on a public park (Long Eaton, thirty years ago) I enquired how much vandalism they suffered, and was pleased to hear not all that much, though the occasional metal theft (lead off the roof, cables from the signalling installation) had occurred and the ticket office had been badly graffiti'd earlier in the year.

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Once again all this 7.25” influence has reminded me that the parts for that loco are still cluttering various places and really ought to be put together and made to work – I really must buckle down to it....

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