Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of rain and pumps

23rd December 2012

Sometimes what we are planning is affected by the weather forecast. It is not just a case of "if it snows, stay at home" but if it is expected to rain, we try to aim our efforts at a location where we can enjoy some cover.. With rain like we have been having of late (just you watch, there'll be a hosepipe ban next summer) that has become even more important.

First thing Saturday we were due to collect the overhauled fuel pump back for "Pluto", and our friendly pump man offered to meet us on neutral ground - the car park of the Ladybower Inn. As the rain fell we discussed what he had found and what he had done to cure it. He wasn't entirely happy with the pump as it didn't seem to want to perform like it should, and he has put feelers out for us to locate a spare pump as a contingency for the future. Nevertheless, he was anxious we should try it and see how it went. What has left him bemused is that whatever went through the governor (and gummed up all the valves) had no effect whatsoever on the pump elements, yet both sides run on the same fuel.

Although Plan A had been to head straight up to Murton and fit it, the fact that it was chucking it down had persuaded Andrew over to Plan B, to whit Scunthorpe, and we arrived just before noon. Surprisingly (for a Saturday) we found ourselves the only ones there. No matter, Glenn popped up and a supply of ready-mixed coolant provided so that we could fill both "Beverley" and D2128, but the bad news was he'd be back later as they needed to shunt the shed to get a coach in for repair, and one of our locos would have to go outside. This did not put Andrew in the best of moods, as the obvious candidate to stay out was Bev, and you can't paint a loco in the wet. While it was still dry I got the tape measure out again to review a couple of dimensions. During the week I had plotted out where the Westinghouse 3V72 exhauster could go, and figured I might, just, be able to squeeze it under the casings without it bulging out. Alas no, a double check shows that it won't go by a mere 5-10mm - so near yet so far.

For myself I was anxious to complete the remaining electrical and hydraulic connections around D2128's transmission, to ensure that everything mechanical was closed to atmosphere, but first (and in hindsight, the wrong way round,) I refitted the air cleaner and its duct to the turbo, discovering that by doing so I had restricted my access to the transmission underneath.

Andrew meanwhile had grudgingly gone and assisted Glenn in shunting the shed roads, and I got pulled off D2128 so that they could transfer me (and it) to the spot where Bev has stood for the last couple of months. There at least we are handy for the hoist to lift off the casing top again for the remedial work it requires. After the shunt Andrew returned and I pointed him to the new stud couplings at the final drive gearbox where he reconnected the air lines and then went off with a combination of pipe fittings for the converter output connection which had been leaking last summer. He returned with them all freshly PTFEd and done up tight and promises that they won't leak this time (and no doubt, it was my fault they leaked before). With a new joint I attempted to refit the flange to the converter, but I suspect in our hurry last time we fitted a 3/8 UNC in one hole and a Whitworth in the other - either way it really needs capscrews and I had gone out and bought some but in a moment's aberration bought UNF. Ah well, we'll sort it next time. In fact, we took stock late in the afternoon and apart from the fuel return union (a rough'n'ready connection made last May wants doing better) and a replacement throttle linkage we are almost at the same stage we were in May so perhaps in January we'll fire it back up and see how it behaves, though there is still much to complete.

But of course, you are desperate to know whether we got in or out of Scunthorpe without doing battle with the new security system, and I am sorry to disappoint you, but it let us in and out faultlessly. As we drove back, Andrew suddenly declared that he thought it about time that this blog ceased to be duplicated on his site, and couldn't the menu link take you direct to Weekend Rails? I wasn't sure, but apparently it can and does now. It only ever started there when Pete Waterman's Railnuts site kept dropping off the net: I wonder what happened to him?

So Sunday dawned relatively dry and we headed off to the DVLR. Passing Tadcaster on the A64, there is a large field with several football pitches. A few weeks ago they were somewhat wet, today the water was well up to the top of the goal posts. The River Ouse at York was twice its usual width and fields all through the Vale have become lakes. Even the yard at Murton has standing water in places. We put the batteries on charge as a precaution while Andrew assembled and tried to time the fuel pump. When he was ready, with only 3 injectors lines attached, we cranked the engine to check it was delivering and to our consternation the engine almost picked up. The remaining lines were tightened down and quite quickly Pluto was running again, but didn't sound right so we shut it down and Andrew advanced the timing about 3 degrees. Well, seeing that the pump drive shafts turns in the opposite direction to the crank, we talked it through and concluded that was what he'd done! Pluto sounded much better but more adjustment was required to throttle linkage, to get the idle and shutdowns correct, and then we left the engine running to get a bit of temperature while Andrew went off to get permission from the RO to shuffle up and down the sidings.

On level track we found the oil needed topping up but pressure was still lower than we'd like so eventually I was sent underneath with a spanner and Allen key to tweak the relief valve, which improved things a bit and I think I may be sent under again. All work and no play, so I grabbed a video of Pluto in action, and managed to capture a DVLR Santa train too.

Quitting whilst we were ahead, we broke off fairly early and braved the Christmas traffic south. Pluto will require a few more tweaks, but that can wait until the New Year. So Merry Christmas to our readers, old and new.

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