The eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed that the url line for Weekend Rails has changed a bit. It is now an https rather than just a mere http, which means I apparently have an SSL certificate for it, as I also seemingly have for both my commercial site and Andrew's loco site. You might think that this means I'll be out buying picture frames so that I can have them in a line on the wall. Sadly no, it's not that sort of certificate.
I thought I'd start off this week with a service announcement. If you are a Virgin Media customer, you may have had difficulty getting in to Weekend Rails for the last month or so. A while ago somebody tried to hack in to Weekend Rails from a VM account, and the security software banned their IP address. But as Virgin Media uses a generic IP address, it effectively banned all of VM from access.
I did say a couple of weeks ago that I would be reporting more about the inspection of the Mattersons after Allianz had decided to up the rate for LOLER inspection because it wasn't '4 locomotive jacks', rather 'a locomotive lift and two beams'. Well fairly early on Tuesday morning I was back at the Shed, opening up for another inspector.
Firstly, my apologies if you have had difficulties getting on to Weekend Rails this week. As I write this, people are telling me that they are getting server error messages. Now I “check” WR (and Andrew Briddon Locos) every day, a legacy of the trouble that has been caused by past hacking attempts (as a matter of interest, there have been over 500 spurious attempts to “log-in” to my side of WR this month) but I do so by means of the monitoring package which has been unaffected, so remained unaware. Hopefully it will not take long to fix.
First thing on Monday morning I had a call from a dealer in Portakabins. To be fair, I had been in touch with one of our hauliers whom I knew did a lot of Portakabin moves. He rang them and put a word in and they rang me, so Monday afternoon I was off to Doncaster in the van to inspect and do a deal.
7th July 2013
Years ago, when I was working at Thomas Hills, a new competitor appeared on the scene - Wilmott Brothers, a plant dealer/hirer based near Nottingham. Now, to my mind, if you are in business and representing your employer to customers, there is only one way you can regard a competitor. He is the Brand X your powder will out-wash; he is scum, nothing he does is right and he has no right to exist. It is your job, every day (but without openly slagging him off, the etiquette of business does not allow it, that is why he is referred to as Brand X) to get out there and ensure that the customers know that you are the better supplier than he can ever be.
2nd June 2013
Well of course last Monday was a Bank Holiday and so we went back to Rowsley, this time armed with another drum of 15w/40 for the fan system on 14 901. It only took a little more to bring the oil levels into the inspection windows on the side of the reservoir and, with some trepidation, and after Andrew had bled the pump through (the last shutdown, in April, had been by shutting the cock on the delivery pipe) we fired 14 901 up again. After a few seconds of prevarication it condescended to fire, but hunted somewhat until Andrew had a further go at bleeding the pump (which, being a hydraulically governed one, can be a swine if any air gets trapped in it).
19th May 2013
We have been in regular touch with the firm in Sheffield who are custodians of the 3 fan motors this week. With all due irony, the motor from D9500 is undoubtedly the best of the 3, and other than adding a "Speedisleeve" and replacing various seals and rings, having drilled out the corroded fixing bolts, the motor was in comparatively good order. But it has not been completed this week and so no progress can be reported on '901, more's the pity.
28th April 2013
After tripping the radiator tubes in to that nice Mr Booth's yard on Tuesday, I went in to my usual hydraulics supplier to see about getting the fan motor from 14 901 repaired, but he was up to his neck in work and suggested a firm I have not used before. So off I went across Sheffield and left it with them, hopefully we should see it back early in May. Later in the week I spent some on the phone and internet talking to structural engineers regarding their costs for determining our requirements for concrete at the new shed and providing the calculations that Building Control will require.