Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of sheds and detours

9th October 2011

Visitors to Rowsley often comment on “how lucky we are” to have such a wonderful shed to work in. Perhaps because bricks and mortar take on an air of permanency they assume that the shed has always been there, maybe even part of the site when Peak Rail took over. In truth, when Andrew’s locos first arrived in 2002 it was a steelwork skeleton that the railway had no cash to clad, and working there was as subject to the weather as anywhere.

Nowadays, as we plan our weekend activities, the weather continues to play an important part. Had it been warm and sunny like it was due to be last weekend, DVLR for “Pluto” and Scunthorpe for D2128 were in the frame. Yes, there is a shed at Scunthorpe, but D2128 lives outside. But the forecast was for overcast and showery and when we woke up on Saturday morning, the rain was coming down in a light, deceptive drizzle that you don’t notice until you’re drenched. That nice, dry shed at Rowsley beckoned – “Libby” was awaiting us. But first was a detour to Halfords for some body-filler to hide the join on the Left hand cab side. While Andrew applied the filler and got set up to work on the right hand cab side, I braved the precipitation to fit the new drain valve on the WD Drewry. Some fuel had leaked through the open hole (but clearly not much) but the brand new gate valve that Andrew had insisted on was soon screwed in after which I pumped the fuel back in from the drum.

Andrew meanwhile, had completed the removal of the old corroded cab side that we had started to cut many months ago, including removing parts of the cupboard, though at present it still lives on. He then set up the needle gun and proceeded to finish cleaning off the cab floor chassis surface, brushing off the resultant dust and priming it all with red oxide, Where was I? Well, he had banished me to the casing structure, to remove all the remaining casing bolts so that the tops can in due course be lifted off for cleaning and painting. .I also removed the transmission oil reservoir, which we rigged up two or three years ago, as it is to be repositioned on the front of the fuel tank, and drained 20 litres of the oil from the converter ready for when we re-arrange the main cooler circuit.

The longer slot on the right hand cab side

Sunday: The BUPA-sponsored run around Sheffield was on and I had already anticipated a detour to avoid the road closures, but a call from farther afield yesterday had meant that Andrew had us detour via Scunthorpe. This was because a rather important Tata official was visiting the AFRPS shortly and they wanted to make a good impression, as he holds the purse strings and their shed roof could do with patching. Bits from the power unit installation on D2128 were still standing around, so Andrew undertook to move them. In the event, one had mysteriously disappeared overnight, but we loaded some lumps into the van and headed back to Rowsley, not getting there until after 2 o’clock.

Paul Wainwright, (Peak Rail’s CME) had suggested that they had a heavy duty 3-phase extension cable that would reach to the far side of “Libby” and so Andrew had planned to weld the plate in today. While he was prepping the plate I deployed the heavy duty cable. Ignore the ‘duty’ bit, it was darn heavy – as thick as a 1/2″ reinforced air hose and with significantly greater mass. As I pulled it out over the locos and brake van on the roads between, I suddenly saw an image of me in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, splicing some mainbrace before the mast. Anyway, the shock (?) came when we attempted to plug Andrew’s welder in. Although the wall socket, and thus that cable end, was 32amp 3-phase, our end was only a 16amp socket, whereas our cables were 32Amp all the way through. Our cables though, would not quite reach to the far side of “Libby” (a few feet more would, but alas, they just weren’t quite enough). We had either to move the loco nearer (out of the question today), abandon the welding for another day or swap the plug end temporarily. I squatted down and made the change.

weld in progress
Not a good shot but you get the idea

The principle of filling the cab side was established by tacking short pieces of overlapping strip to the new plate, holding the result in position while Andrew tacked the strips to the cab side, then weld enough of the final seam to render the tacked strips redundant, and knock them off. It had worked on on the LH side, but the RH side had more distortion, possibly, Andrew surmised, as a result of that cupboard assembly welded in to the corner. Anyway, we added more strips in strategic places and I found myself on the cab floor, boots braced against the side and pressing as hard as I could (while holding on to handbrake rigging and spring brackets) to keep the cab side nearly in line while Andrew welded it, bit by bit.

fin weld
The plate after welding was completed

Flatting it off

It is not as good as the other side, but after cleaning off the weld with a flap disc, and a bit more filler, you will hardly know it is there. I hope.

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