Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Tales of the Andrew Briddon Loco collection

Elsewhere - www.andrewbriddonlocos.co.uk - you can see the "official" face of the locomotive collection my son has built up. Here on "Weekend Rails" you can read a blow-by-blow account of our work in restoring and improving them.

Of "oh-a-3" in motion

3rd June 2012

Andrew has had a rough time of it this week. His eye was getting worse over last weekend so he went to see his GP on Monday and got prescribed anti-biotic pills bigger than pound coins and an instruction to go to the hospital eye clinic if it got no better. 24 hours later he was at the clinic, which immediately stopped the anti-biotics in preference to heavy-duty eye drops. The eye is no longer painful and hopefully will soon be better. In contrast, me and Steph put an offer in for a house on Monday,. which was immediately accepted, so we should be moving at some point later in the summer.

Of Amberley and "Jack"

18th June 2012

After various discussions and tribulations, the decision was taken that the troublesome transmission in D2128 will have to come out, but rather than send it away and wait for it to return, or simply drop in the other transmission and hope that that one will perform OK, it would make much more sense to have it test run and checked over by our friendly experts. The second powershift had already been "dug out" from the back of Rowsley yard and this was transported away later in the week. It bears the former loco number from whence it came, so we know that this unit came from MoD loco 876.

Of fans

1st April 2012

Dead on schedule on Monday morning the “big green parcel machine” that is Tuffnells rolled up outside Briddon Towers and their man staggered up our drive with a large, flat-ish and relatively light parcel – D2128’s cooler group fan had arrived from Breeza. After Andrew declared that he would be taking Friday off from work to crack on with things at Scunthorpe, I thought I had better plan the same. After all, unless I had an exceedingly good reason, disappearing off in the van and leaving him with few tools and only his “I don’t want anything dirty in the back of this” Golf to get him there would have been foolhardy.

Of festivals and failures

10th June 2012

The Young Master took his old, decrepit Dad for day out on Monday. Seeing as how his employers are one of the sponsors for Railfest, he had the opportunity for VIP passes for self and family and took it up. So with bright yellow passes strung around our necks, we wandered in to York. Now, I am not usually one for "dos" like this. If I am involved in organising, looking after a stand, or something, fine - I've done quite a few exhibitions over the years representing one employer or another. But to be one of the visitors is a different matter. I cannot immerse myself in the atmosphere the way some people seem to be able and left to my own devices, am liable to charge around everywhere at high speed, tell myself I've done it all and leave!

Of oil and pumps

7th May 2012

With the last weekend before the AFRPS gala, attention once again has concentrated on D2128 - or 03 901 as it has started semi-seriously to be called - with the intention of getting it running. Indeed, a large part of Friday was taken up with touring various suppliers collecting bits and as a result, we set off for Scunthorpe on Saturday morning with a van well-loaded, including 80 litres of hydraulic oil for the transmission, 40 of engine oil for the Cummins, anti-freeze, over 20metres of hose in assorted bores and ends (my little swager is good for up to 1/2", anything bigger I get ready-made by my local supplier), various fittings, 5" bore exhaust pipe in solid and flexible, together with clamps and a bend, and so on.

Of Pluto and D2128

29th April 2012

As the time ticks away towards the AFRPS Gala, the progress on D2128 has been steady and pressured: Andrew and I are both agreed that we will be much relieved when it is all over - whether D2128 gets to run in it or not!

Of pressures in oil, air and time

8th April 2012

There has been a something of a wall between Andrew and me this weekend. Mostly it was six foot of brick surmounted by asbestos sheeting. But let me explain – a lot of deliveries have been arriving at Briddon Towers. All the usual suspects, from the TNT man in his shorts through to the “Big Green parcel machine” (Tuffnells) have pulled up and disgorged their consignments, from drive belts to the disc brake calliper. I myself came home from the electrical stockists with a 3 metre length of cable tray which just fitted in the van – scraping the windscreen at one end with the other nudging the back doors.

Of propshafts and UNFs

22nd April 2012

On Tuesday at 8.00 sharp I set off for South Wales and after the first 50 minutes I was 30 minutes down the M1. Nonetheless after a detour for a cup of tea and a chat with Bryan Lawson at Alan Keef’s, I was down almost to the South Wales coast by 1.15 pm and collecting a smart new prop shaft that one man can (just!) lift but two find much easier and would just fit in the van, which I had mostly emptied to make room.

Of pumps and manpower

13th May 2012

Back in the 80s, when I was working at Thomas Hills, we had an ultimately unsuccessful deal with the Illinois-based Varlen Locomotive Corporation which brought me into contact with real live Americans. "Kojak" - with Telly Savalas playing the lollipop-sucking detective - was on our TVs at the time and several of our visitors fitted the mould. More than once they would take off their jackets and over their waistcoats I expected to find a leather shoulder-hoster. I learned a few new phrases - "Can we sue?" was one that stuck in my mind perhaps because it came from one of the (I thought) more level-headed of our Transatlantic colleagues.

Of valves and coolers

20th May 2012

With the AFRPS gala behind us, for better or worse, we had said we would take a break from Scunthorpe as, with the collection spread over so many sites, spending so much time at one is liable to cause issues at another. Nevertheless, determined to get to the bottom of what was wrong, he persuaded me to head over on Tuesday night for a further bit of investigation.

Of wanderings and doings

24th June 2012

The narrow gauge theme started by the Amberley visit continued this week. On Wednesday night Steph and I met Andrew at Butterley for their annual n.g. open night. (We met for the simple reason that he was on his return journey from Eastleigh.) These open nights have a similar theme - two or three runs the length of the GVLR with resident 0-4-2T "Joan", then the area around Butterley is de-marked into sections and a loco is set on each and visitors are free to have a go.

Of wires and pipes

15th April 2012

To celebrate the end of Andrew’s week long Easter holiday, he scheduled a further 3-day working weekend. Actually it would have been 3.5 days but I had the van in for a bit of TLC and didn’t get it back until Friday morning. So we loaded up, and headed on a tour of suppliers, collecting various bits before meandering around to Scunthorpe. The 03 was still inside and awaiting our attention.


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