Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of injectors and stools

12th January 2014

First thing on Monday morning I had a call from a dealer in Portakabins. To be fair, I had been in touch with one of our hauliers whom I knew did a lot of Portakabin moves. He rang them and put a word in and they rang me, so Monday afternoon I was off to Doncaster in the van to inspect and do a deal.

As I was homeward bound on the A1, I suddenly became aware of vibration through the steering wheel. After considering whether it was road surface or crosswind, I concluded that I must have shed a balance weight off one of the front wheels. But when I came off the A1 at Worksop, the vibration remained, power was down and as I glanced in the rear mirror, I found I was leaving a smoke cloud. I managed to limp the van home and then into Sheffield Tuesday morning and back to our regular garage. Being electronic injectors from a common rail it did not take them long to report the sad news that if they unplugged numbers 1 or 4 it made no difference to the engine, but touch 2 or 3 and it immediately stopped.

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The following day they reported that they were unable to extract the injectors from the cylinder head, because (a) they were seized in and (b) the extractor tool could not be fitted thanks to the proximity of a bulkhead. As this has little to do with the real core of Weekend Rails I will leave the tale there, but I really did not need being “van-less” in the run up to getting everything ready for the start of work at Darley next week.

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The Portakabin though, arrived on schedule Thursday afternoon, and in short time was set level, and a drain from its sink set up, and I had a list of bits to sort to provide it with electrical and water supplies ready for the contractors on Monday. TNT arrived at home with stacking chairs and the “this is a construction site” notice board was duly assembled (but without the van, sorting its posts and backing and fixing it up at Darley was left for the weekend). Two 26mm drills arrived ready to enlarge the holes in the base of the extension pieces (which I gather should be called 'stools') and a fresh set of drawings arrived from the structural engineer to clarify where the damp-proof course (DPM) is supposed to go. I can follow pneumatic and hydraulic diagrams, read machining drawings and assemblies, but quite how this DPM is supposed to be incorporated around concrete, blockwork and concrete planks is driving me scatty.

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On Saturday, still van-less, we squeezed the 6 stacking chairs into the VW Golf and headed down to Darley. The water feed was duly rigged up and turned on and yippee! There was a split half-an-inch long in the feed pipe inside the Portakabin which soaked a half the floor before we could turn it off. We rigged up a patch with a piece of rubber hose and 3 jubilee clips and established a water-supply that didn't go anywhere it wasn't supposed to. I turned my attention to the electrics, screwing a distribution panel to the wall (the one that had been there having been removed at some time before my acquisition) and connecting the earths before starting belling through the various reds to establish which was which. The distribution box was recovered from the VBA, whose anticipated role as a workshop was never really fulfilled and which will revert to solely that of a stores van when it migrates to Darley, plus some spare circuit breakers that were a result of participation in an auction a year or so ago.

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By quarter to three we were back at home for a quick cuppa before heading in to Rowsley, leaving everything ready bar hooking up the feed cable to the Portakabin.

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Back at Rowsley we set up the production line once again, with the added function that I had now the mag drill and the new 26mm bits to start drilling out the bases from 22. Before we called it a day I had the first five bases all drilled and the remaining stools were at least tack-welded ready for Andrew to continue on Sunday. But finally, we sneaked back into Darley under cover of darkness and hooked up the power feed, went into the Portakabin, turned on the isolator – good, no flash bang – then the circuit breakers – still no flash bang - and finally the light switch. Flash, ping and one fluorescent sparked up, but the others stayed inert.

Sunday morning was not an early a start as might have been hoped for, but we loaded up both cars with additional furniture and things (remember that a considerable part of the rear of the Golf had been occupied since Friday with a large toolbox that normally resides in the van) and headed back to Darley. Changing the starter units in the striplights had no effect but on investigating the first of the non-responsive fluorescents, Andrew spotted that a wire was not in the choc block and when this was corrected, 3 out of 4 came on. A dimplex heater was plugged in to protect against further frost and at that moment we were joined by Peak Rail's MD, Jackie Statham, whom we invited in to inspect the Darley Dale Hilton. A discussion on various aspects followed, and a while after we packed up and headed back to grab sandwiches at home and then on to Rowsley.

We'd left our stuff out the previous night, so picking up where we'd left off wasn't difficult, but first we had a quick trip down to the Heritage Shunters shed to discuss a few things. Back at the main shed, I finished drilling the remaining bases, wearing out one drill and starting on the second. (yes, I know you can re-sharpen drills with a grinding stone, but it is a skill that I have yet to master, and my search for someone offering a drill, sharpening service continues) and Andrew carried on welding, until, to his chagrin, he had got down to the last 6ft or so of welding wire and still had two stools to finish.

It is all eyes on Darley tomorrow. For my part, the contractors are due on site at 08.00, I must do their induction and then accept a portable toilet which is due at 08.30. If the security fencing arrives I must get that set up. Then there's a few more “Do not Enter, Construction site” signs to stick up in places where it should be painfully obvious. Meanwhile, on the other side of the level crossing, Peak Rail is apparently sleepering up the track to form a base for the crane that is due on Tuesday to lift the (former Bamford, ex Buxton) signal cabin which will relocate yet again to Rowsley, thus making way for the return of the ex Darley Dale footbridge that hitherto sat in its place, and which, strange to relate, Andrew and I were instrumental in getting transported back from Butterley (well allright, Andrew did all the setting up and aided the driver, I just provided his transport and took pictures, but they also serve who only record the event).

So, little progress actually on the locos this week, sad to say. We have been discussing when and how to do the tasks required on 14 901 before Peak Rail plans its further deployment, and Andrew is anxious to get “Libby” finished and out of its home in the Rowsley shed so that a couple of other jobs can get in before the Mattersons are re-located to Darley. Next Saturday Andrew has a further meeting about the 14s at 50 event (Railways Illustrated has given it a plug, including listing all the planned visitors to the ELR) and I'll be reporting (I hope) on progress in concrete.

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