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 Andrew away

3rd October 2011

There was a theory behind naming this blog Weekend Rails that one works Monday to Friday and “plays” Saturday and Sunday. Occasionally however, necessities mean that the format gets blurred, and so it was this last weekend, with Andrew away overseeing fitters carrying out mods on a carriage somewhere. But having seen this state of affairs in the offing, he instead took an afternoon off during the week and headed over to Rowsley with the intention of maintaining progress on “Libby”.

Of brackets and battery boxes

30th October 2011

A year ago, it would have take several weeks for us to produce a bracket. For once I had drawn it up and sent the drawings on to my profile supplier, gone up to collect them and dropped them off at my favourite fabricators, it might have been 2 weeks or more before they got around to assembling and we would not plan the day to go and fit until we knew they were ready.

Of casings and coolant

11th December 2011

So, a minute after eight on Monday morning I was back at Scunthorpe and there was the Hiab fitted lorry waiting to collect our bits. The operator was no stranger to preservation work and within ten minutes we were loading the first of the casing parts and within fifty minutes they were on their way to Sheffield, together with some other bits and bobs destined to get through to Rowsley.

Of gas and electricity

16th October 2011

Andrew had a day off work this week, and decided to spend an afternoon at Peak Rail on “Libby”. Sadly it was not as productive as he planned, for a substation blew up (apparently quite spectacularly) and took out all the electrics from Matlock to Bakewell. In contrast, he was off to see his girlfriend on Saturday, so enquired “if I had nothing better to do,” whether I might like, weather permitting, to go to Murton and start fitting the oil separator to “Pluto”. I knows my place.

Of needle guns and paint

20th November 2011

On Wednesday this week I was back down to the shotblasters to collect the bits of 03 they had in and get a price for dealing with the casing rooves and nose cone. The Scunthorpe firm were a disappointment – £450 – I reckoned that was twice what it ought to be and sure enough that’s roughly what the Sheffield firm estimated. Of course, it’s only worthwhile if we can keep the cost of transport within reasonable limits, (they are too bulky to go in the van) so Andrew is on a mission to find a cheap transport vehicle, preferably with a HIAB on to simplify loading at Scunthorpe.

Of non-rectangular batteries

23rd October 2011

The cold-snap that occurred in the middle of the week sent a chill through Andrew’s and my spines – in this case because, I had a strong feeling that “Pluto” was only filled with plain water. There was nothing we could do on Wednesday (and in truth, the possible frosts had not appeared in Sheffield but the Vale of York is usually somewhat worse) but on Thursday I popped up to Murton and drained “Pluto” as a precaution. Pluto’s radiator drain tap was also showing its age.

Of one day of in-tent work

4th December 2011

As Andrew was away until Sunday morning, there has only been one day on the collection this week. With a close eye on the weather forecast, we reckoned we had to go to Scunthorpe to ensure all was ready for the movement of D2128’s casing parts to Sheffield for shotblasting, plus other bits, so within an hour of his arriving home, he had breakfasted, changed, loaded the van and we were on our way.

Of plans and progress

13th November 2011

There are two ways to run an engineering project and it applies to even something as relatively simple as re-powering a loco. In approach one, you carry out a task, complete it, then wonder what happens next. In version two, you endeavour to keep all the aspects of the job on the go at the same time, so that you’re planning what to do several periods hence, drawing up bits you need, getting them made or ordered, so that as this job is complete, other than maybe a quick check against the drawings that all is correct*, the next task is at hand and ready to go.

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.

Of shortages in suck and luck

6th November 2011

No two ways about it, the world is going daft. If you have read this blog for long, you will know that the last weekend of the month is one where everything goes wrong, and the first weekend of the new month is marked by significant strides forward. Yet last weekend everything went smoothly – this weekend, progress has been marginal. During the week, Andrew and I had one of those deeply philosophical discussions about us being spread to thinly between all the various locations over which the collection is homed.

Of stripping without the tease

27th November 2011

We should, I suppose, stop being optimistic and try to avoid planning anything significant for the last weekend of the month – and even include Friday. We had a provisional promise – well, OK, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but he did say “he’d try to…” – that on Wednesday the flat wagon at Scunthorpe, upon which the 03’s casing bits have resided for the last couple of years, would be shunted out from the very far end of the AFRPS’s longest siding and put round the front ready for us to collect and take them back to Sheffield for shotblast.

Of the year drawing to a close

30th December 2011

Having had the whole weekend before Christmas “off” I resisted the urge to do something on Andrew’s locos without his being there. For such a dereliction of duty not only was it inevitable that he would “book” me for Christmas Eve but 4 days between Boxing Day and New Years Eve to boot. Oh, well, what else would one do?


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