Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of lamps and horns

31st August 2014

As I am only starting this week's edition of the blog at 11.00 pm on Sunday night I shall be dividing it into two parts, so that I am not up all night writing it.

So, it being Bank Holiday Monday we headed back in to Rowsley for the afternoon. I hooked up the laptop to 14 901's programmable logic controller and proceeded to revise the fan control program along the lines of how we had operated it manually on Saturday, and I also modified the part of the program that controls the lights changeover so that, were the reverse sensor to “disappear” like it did at Bury, the lights wouldn't suddenly drop back to “forwards”. Andrew was doing various greasing jobs and generally making sure it was ready for a weekend in Lufbra, sorry Luegabaruega, sorry Loughborough (both Andrew and my daughter Jennifer did their Engineering degrees there so I tend to think of the place in student-speak.)

Then we both got together and started replacing the BMAC light units with more modern ones that had “come his way” though discovering that these had different voltage bulbs in did rather cause consternation as the loco was due out in traffic the next day and some of the bulbs were different patterns to those in the old BMAC units. Actually, the headlamps bulbs were 12V whereas the code (red and white) were 110V, which meant that there were separate return connections within the box. In my haste (because, being a Bank Holiday Monday, it was raining so we had brought the loco into the shed in the space vacated by D8 being in traffic – we had to be out before it got back) I managed to cross the wires over, so that neither the code nor headlights would work anyway, but we'll not go into that too far. In fact, we only got to change 3, so one old BMAC is still in place.

On Tuesday 14 901 was in traffic. The rain over Monday and during the night had rendered the treadles at the top of Redhouse non-functional, so on our first run north, we emerged from the bridge at Darley to see traffic still going merrily over the crossing and the Signalman not even out of his box. A little while later I had a text from the fireman (aka Rob) confirming that the treadles were u/s, so on our second run, instead of just a two-tone normal approach to the Redhouse crossing, I played a 2-note cacophony slightly before the treadles and which resulted in us emerging from the bridge to find the gates open and the signal “off”. How much easier it is just to cruise sedately, speed gradually falling, drop off the token and into the platform. For the rest of the day, when we were about due, the Signalman simply came out of his cabin and waited for our raucous recital, on which cue he opened the gates and we had a clear run in every time. Methinks we should get rid of the treadles and do that normally.....

Tuesday night we got in more time at Darley on the block work, with the result that the bottom course now reaches just over half-way round and the second course is following along. With installation of the roller shutters programmed for w/c September 8th, we are hoping to get the personnel doors in position as we determine the best price for the cladding and get the appropriate orders in place.

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On Wednesday we got confirmation that Reid Freight was coming for '901 on Thursday, which meant that after the train service had finished, we needed to bring the JCB back from Darley and as the crane had no further benefit, this might as well come back too. Thus Andrew and I assisted Rob in bringing Charlie and part of the works train back up to Rowsley, after which we moved to 901 and, having put appropriate bulbs into the new BMACs attempted to adjust the alignment of the headlamps as darkness fell. My wiring error was rectified and the lights were set up as best we could.

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First thing Thursday morning, Reids arrived with the old John Antell trailer but sadly not the ramp material that had come with it, but they were on their way by about 11 o'clock and after a cup of tea at home I set off to Quorn, arriving literally seconds after it at 1pm.

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The loco was off in just over an hour and I began a long and rather tedious wait, relieved only by the occasional train going by. Eventually two GCR staff arrived, soothed my rather tetchy mood and 901 drove itself down the line to Loughborough, where it was parked near the signalbox to await the weekend's shindig.

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That though must wait for part 2.....

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