Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of Sentinels and such

12th December 2010

"George" hiding behind the snowdrifts.

The snow had cleared enough that the move of “George” was back on, and we had notified the Elsecar secretary accordingly. So when I rolled up on Monday morning to find no EHR personnel on site and the loading area still obstructed by snow, I was a little concerned.

The lorry arrived, and a phone call soon had John Roebuck on site, but the EHR’s JCB, ideal for snow clearance, was out of action, having expired the previous day when the ratio of water to fuel in its tank swayed too far to the former. So with the fork lift and a loading bucket, John set too to clear the area, backed up with me and the lorry crew wielding a shovel. “George” was then dragged – rather stiffly in the cold – to the shed entrance and the lorry lined up.

..and when it was only half-way up...

Such was “George’s” stiffness that the winch alone struggled to load the loco, and the Yorkshire 0-6-0DH was called on to encourage it on from behind. Once on and secured there remained the boiler inner, rear tank section and a stillage of miscellaneous bits. Normally you cannot do this, as abnormal loads are ‘not divisible’, but the combined weight of trailer and “George” kept it well below the abnormal threshold. So these were loaded on the rear of the trailer and strapped down.

Superheater coil atop a stillage of various pipeworsk and sundries

Rather later than intended, the loco left Elsecar for Norfolk, where Andrew was waiting to see it off and hand it over to its new owner, but at least I could head home for a very late lunch.

"George" leaves Elsecar.

On Tuesday I said goodbye to the newer of the two Land Rovers, when our tame Americans arrived and drove it away to Liverpool and an ocean voyage.

On Thursday we collected a pair of batteries for “Claire” part of the formal hand-over scheduled for the weekend.

On so to that weekend. On Saturday we were off reasonably early. First stop was Chestefield, where we have a 40ft container. We dropped some bits off, but mostly collected a few bits of the older Land Rover to return to Sheffield, as it is due to leave before Christmas. Then it was on to Telford. The Telford Steam Railway was in the middle of Santas – we unloaded the rear engine mounting brackets and their a/vs for Sentinel 0-6-0DH “Tom” and had a chat about plans to lift the power unit out between Christmas and New Year, then headed on west. No sign of anyone at Llynclys, but a phone call revealed “Claire’s” new owner was in the vicinity, and we met up at Blodwell. “Claire’s” batteries had been badly affected by someone forgetting the cardinal rule about turning the battery switch off after using the loco, then compounded the felony by losing the keys. We fitted the new batteries from Thursday – and found, contrary to the assurance of our supplier, that they were anything but fully-charged. Our colleague disappeared back to Llynclys and returned with two fully-charged 12V batteries. “Claire” immediately responded and we took it up the line – possibly farther than anyone had boldly gone before?

N.E end of the run round at Blodwell

Further N.E. of Blodwell - Bye 'Claire'

Final stop of the day was Oswestry itself, where Andrew passed over the (old) voltage regulator from Drewry 72229, to assist in rectifying the faulty charge system on their Drewry loco.

Sunday – off to Rowsley. Most of the snow had gone – I put the new batteries on 14 901 onto charge, then we gave another set a quick charge ready to put into “Charlie” whose batteries were reputedly on their last legs. But when we came to check “Charlie” there was no coolant visible in the top tank of the rad, so first job was to mix some 50:50 anti-freeze and top it up. “Charlie” then started without difficulty (seeing that it had been stood for a week) so presumably the batteries weren’t really bad enough to replace. There is some talk that one of the cab radiators leaks, so presumably that is some further attention it will have to have during 2011.

But back to 14 901. After a couple of ‘almosts’ the engine condescended to fire, and although Andrew reported an “unhealthy” sound coming from the fuel lift pump, it was primed and delivering satisfactorily so will remain for the present. Later I built the air up, and tested the train brake operation. We have always had a problem with ‘proportionality’ on the loco when the vacuum is dropped, and a recent suggestion had been made which turned out to be a probable solution – certainly putting the M6 to first application dropped the vacuum reliably to 15″ as before but left only a slight loco application instead of the harsher kick-then-lock-up it tended to before. The loco needs more fuel, but would seem to be back in action for works or recovery duties, but with the ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST top-n-tailing with D8 ‘Pen-y-Ghent’ on Santa duties, the latter is not likely at present. We moved over to D9500 and recovered some more bits that have been sold, but Andrew’s grand plan to lift off the casing rear top may have to wait until Terry can get in and aid us burning the bolts – by the look of it they haven’t been undone in a very long time.

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