Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of purlinations

17th May 2015

Some months ago I talked about an old photograph I had acquired at a table-top sale at the school nearby, which showed a Hudswell,Clarke 3ft gauge 0-4-0ST on the contract that laid a water main through Chatsworth, and resolved once and (I hope) for all the identity of the loco, for the authority on such waterworks lines, the late Harold Bowtell, had concluded it was something else.

At the time, I said I would not scan it as it meant taking it out of its frame.

It was a windy day on Monday. And as Steph and I talked in the kitchen, a sudden gust of wind blew through a window, the kitchen door slammed shut and there was a crash a second or so later. We opened the door. At the top of the stairs I had put a clock, but it hadn't been on the firmest of footings and the shock of the door slamming had brought it off its hook. On the way down it had collected first my HC photo, and then a picture by our grandson, both of course in glass frames, the former having shattered and the latter fractured on arriving at the carpet at the bottom. Hurriedly we collected up all the glass before one inquisitive grandson tried investigating in his bare feet. But it has removed the excuse I had for not scanning it, because it had well and truly vacated its frame. So here it is.

Scanned print blog

The firm that was supplying us the new purlin material settled on Thursday to deliver, and promised me a half-hours warning of its arrival. My mobile rang and the driver told me he was a few minutes away. Andrew and I scampered down to Darley expecting to find him waiting for us. Instead, after a few minutes he rang up again claiming we weren't there and were we anywhere near the forgings place he was just driving past. I told him he'd gone too far, turn around and come back, and explained about turning right at the Whitworth Centre. It took another 2 calls before we could see him coming down the road, but he did admit that he hadn't really paid much attention to his instructions. He helped us unload the purlins, and, as he needed a half-hour break to suit his tachograph, I gave him a run up and down on James to pass the time.

Most buildings nowadays use purlins which are either “C” section or “Z” section, the folds giving the beam strength enough and vertical faces for affixing the cladding. Our section is described as “sigma” (sadly this software won't give me the greek character) but it had never occurred to me after having found someone supplying that section that the profile might be significantly different. Surely there's a BS for this sort of thing? It seems not, as this sigma purlin is not a good match to my purlin brackets, but I'm not re-making them to suit! We set to work and got the first length up – and “up” is the operative word as this is the level above which we've assembled purlins before and turned out to be at the very limit of the forklift's reach.

Earlier in the week we had concluded that my hole saw's problem was not the pilot drills I kept breaking but the state of the teeth on the saw, so we'd splashed out on two new 17mm hole saws, and, just in case, a new arbor and some more spare pilot drills. The new hole saw, once we'd thrown away the chinese-made drill and put a half-decent one in, proceeded to chew through without further breakages, though being a different make, it seems to be more inclined to break teeth off than wear them away.

Anyway, work continued again on Friday afternoon, with further purlins at the south end of the building, especially the bottom row either side of the doorways, where the brackets are on stand-offs.

Back last Monday, Andrew had been acting as go-between between Allelys and Toby, Stephen and the Scunthorpe team, as the newly acquired Yorkshire 0-6-0DE was moving from Rocks by Rail (Cottesmore) to Scunthorpe. This is one of only 3 remaining versions of “Half-Janus” 0-6-0s, and one of the others is “Arnold Machin”, the AFRPS stalwart regrettably now sidelined pending attention to the traction equipment.

Anyway, “1382” as I shall call it for the moment, has not run for 20 years and there were reports that the engine was seized, etc., etc., which made certain AFRPS members sceptical about letting it move there. However, it is an ex United Steels loco, and although the paintwork is also showing its age, it still clearly declares its allegiance to the Ore Mining Branch. Toby's put up a video of its move north, here on YouTube, that's worth watching, especially if you're not familiar with how locos get moved.

By the time we had got across to Scunthorpe on Saturday, quite a lot of work had already been carried out, the buffer beam sported fresh red paint, and the generator had been fan-heated for several hours, and new batteries fitted. Almost immediately Andrew became involved in attempting to start it, leaving me to the 03. Not an ideal situation as I had realised , on the way over that while I had carefully made sure that I had wire, cable number sleeves and the book that carries all the wiring notes, drawings, etc, I had left behind my “electrical box” which meant I had no wire-strippers, crimps or crimping tool. Aaagh.

So I set to work on the gear sensors by lifting the cab floor and removing the access panel on the top of the RF11 so that I could see that the gears were fully engaged in each direction. But try as I might I could not get the sensors to work. This was one of those “Why didn't I do it properly in the first place?” moments. When I had the cylinders and pistons out of the gearbox - two or three years ago? - to create a second tapping for air admission and alter the original tapping to suit the sensor, I had looked at the piston, which has a rather prominent hole in the centre which may have been a locating point for a lathe, and wondered whether to tap it for a setscrew to act as a “target” for the sensor. At the time I was rushing to get it done and left it, now I wished I had done so, but, with wiring out of the question, I might as well do it right second time so took the pistons over to the workshops, drilled them deeper and tapped them M6 and fitted setscrews. The sensors were refitted and promptly registered on the LEDs in the little relay panel I had built up. But that was as far as it went, because without air to operate the box (the pistons being floating) I could not be sure whether the sensors were quite correct, so that will have to be a tweak job when next the loco is run.

Meanwhile Andrew with the team on 1382 had attempted to fire it up, only for the engine to start to run away as the thing that was seized was the fuel-rack in the pump. Fortunately such eventualities had been anticipated and the Rolls was rapidly choked of air. A new pump was located in the AFRPS stores, Andrew swapped the two over (including conversion from engine lube to internal oil supply) and the engine fired up and ran sweetly – another Chapter in the saga here (complete with Andrew).

Eventually the afternoon wearing on, 1382 was put away, and a group joined me on “Tom” for an hour or more of driver training, so that more people are able to drive the loco and ensure it gets used. Andrew and I finally set of for home at just before 8pm.

DSCF0154 blog

Today it was back down to Darley Dale, and continuing on the purlins, slow work which gives us a sense of satisfaction but of which the casual passer by probably sees little difference. Today it was the Matlock end again, adding more short sections and bracketry either side of the roller shutters, and then moving to the side to add the sections either side of the personnel door there. Over the other side of the level crossing, Charlie was on the works train, occupying the down loop road, with all trains using the up platform in both directions. Up at Rowsley the HST were having an event, and a number of enthusiasts were on the trains – we found it amusing to watch them leaning out of carriage windows, trying to get pictures of the locos in our shed area despite the concrete walls and the VBA parked in their way.

10 to17may15 blog

So that about wraps it up for the week – in the next few days there'll be more purlinations and maybe even something on 14 901. You never know. Come to think of it, I don't really know.

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