Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids


Latest news about Andrew Briddon Locos collection from Weekend Rails

  1. Of pipes, cables and concrete

    10th February 2019

    No apologies for starting with yet another view of RS8 from the adjacent landing - as it gradually returns to its former glory.

    Monday of course meant the familiar roads up to Tunstead, and a day on RS8. We're on to the final things now before getting the loco operational.

    The batteries were placed in the battery box (though they do look rather undersized, taking up less than half the volume of the 'box: in truth they are smaller than I would have liked, but sixty years ago the cells would have probably been in 6Volt blocks and mounted in wooden casings so taking up much more volume ampere/hour for ampere/hour) and the cables made off and crimped ready to connect up.

    The final hoses were made to connect fuel tank to the engine in both directions, and the feed from converter suction filter to the pump. I added a tee piece and a plug so that we can prime this readily when the time comes, and the delivery hose from pump to converter inlet was shortened and the end re-made and looks much neater for it. Pete C fitted the suction filter and then he and Andy filled the converter reservoir, some of which filled the filter and probably much of the feed line to the charge pump.

    Andy disappeared underneath and gave the axleboxes a second dose of oil, while Pete C filled the rear section of the converter (the unusual bit) with engine oil to dipstick level. The only real setback of all this was the cooling system, which Pete C started to fill with water only for a severe leak to develop. At first I thought this was a drain nipple just rear of the oil cooler, but with better light we realised that the braized joint between the two copper pipes had failed and water was flowing round the pipe and draining off the suspected nipple. The pipe was removed for rectification

    As far as oils go, only the grearbox remains dry - and the oil for that is on order but not yet arrived - and the converter itself is probably empty. Normally I would allow the charge pump to fill  this - you fire up the engine, keep topping up the reservoir and wait until the level stops falling and pressure registers on the gauge in the desk (or oil leaks from whatever joint isn't tight, whichever occurs first) - but Andy insists on filling the converter the hard way, via one of the bleed lines, but that is for the next working day. Back up in the cab, it was incumbent on me to get the control pneumatics somewhere near ready, if not beautiful.

    The clutch unload valve was relocated by Andy, while I plumbed up the emergency pressure gauge and the brake cylinder guage line and marked it and the main air connection. The remaining desk valves were connected up as were the pipes to the gearbox and standstill detector, though the latter will do for now, I think rubber hoses properly routed up to the cab floor and then into plastic pipe will be more appropriate in due course. And apart from a bit of painting and a general tidy-up, that was about all that was achieved for the week, though even this takes us closer to start-up day.

    Before I left I did some measuring up with regards to the throttle linkage. RS8's original throttle linakge employed mechanical rods, though little of it remained by the time we acquired it, it must have been somewhat similar to that fitted to the contemporary Sentinel chain drive four-wheeler. But where it passed through the cab bulkhead was roughly where the converter oil reservoir now resides, and the relay bracket fitted to the engine did not fit the relacement C6NFL now at RS8's heart. So a push-pull cable is now the plan, though it will not neccessarily stop us operating the loco before it is fitted - Pete C keeps muttering about 'bits of string'. There are no remains of the lever that drove the old throttle linkage, so part of my measuring was so as to create a drawing and work it all out. Over the next couple of days I drew up both this throttle linkage and the air cleaner arrangement, and hopefully with a couple of bits to check this is now to be put in hand. Indeed, parts to make up the throttle lever were put on order with my profilers by Thursday, so only the proprietory bit in the middle (and a bracket to anchor the far end) should be neccessary. The air cleaner meanwhile had taxed my ingenuity. It was agreed that it should make minimal external change to the loco - that means no mushroom pre-cleaner sticking out the top - and ideally the smooth lines of the side casing pieces (most missing but obvious from old photos) shouldn't be marred by projections. That means mounting the element inboard of the casing 'line' whilst allowing air to reach it and preventing rain doing the same, yet position the element accessible so that it can be changed in due course. Keeping the fabrication(s) simple help keep it cheap - and I think in the end I've come up with something that will do the job, but I need to make some checks tomorrow before proceeding.

    Some weeks ago you saw the formwork and reinforcement appear for a concrete apron outside the shed. At the moment, our dear trusty forklift cannot venture outside. Apart from the slot drain the ground is not hard enough to take its weight - we've tried. Eventually we want to be able to bring the forklift out so that we can load/unload lorries or tip heavier lumps into the scrap bin, but for now the first stage is between the shed and the container. On Thursday we dragged the locos and stock back out the way and a large lorry arrived.

    When we laid the floor of the shed, we used ready-mix, i.e. the concrete was mixed at a batching plant, put into a rotating drum on the lorry which kept mixing it to prevent it setting until it had driven over to us and tipped its contents. The alternative approach is to use a vehicle that mixes and tips it in one go on site. A bit more expensive, but you only pay what you need - if you order 5 cubic metres of ready-mix, you have to take it even if you end up looking for 'holes to fill' with the excess. With on-site, if, as in our case, the estimate was 2.5 to 3 cubic metres, they would produce enough to fill the formwork and charge us for that exact quantity. And it was remarkably quick. He backed up over the planned fill, fitted a deflector plate to the end of the conveyor, turned appropriate knobs and handles and the machine promptly delivered mixed concrete which duly spread over our formwork.

    In fact, as he was the only one of us in possession of wellies, he mucked in and raked it around to fill the area, leaving us to tamp it while he washed the delivery parts and departed. By the time Steph was down with some lunch, he'd gone and we were admiring the finished result and wondering just how many pock-marks the rain would leave in the surface finish.

    Before scooting off Andrew did some rearrangements within the shed so that we could get better access to the power unit with its defective Hatz, and brought the replacement Hatz nearer in the hope of getting the two swapped. Andy H and I continued after he'd left, removing the old Hatz and trying to release the new Hatz from its mounts, but thwarted by two bolts which are sufficiently inaccessible to prevent attacking with sockets or grinder, and tough enough to resist the ubiquitous cold chisel.

    Andrew's present domestic arrangements meant that he wasn't around this weekend, though I spent some time there on both days and so became first man to walk on the concrete. I've removed some of the plywood formwork, but not all. In anticipation of the remaining work on RS8, one item on my list was to find a suitable capacity reservoir. Andrew pointed out that there was on under one of the workbenches, but it was somewhat larger than I had in mind, having been brought up with those made by Thomas Hills for the purpose, that is, to provide a volume to form a timing chamber after which the clutch cylinder is 'unloaded'. Then in an instant I remembered that several pneumatics manufacturers made reservoirs by assembling parts from cylinders. RS8's old clutch cylinder was sat on a recycling pile, so I stripped it down, discarded the piston and its rod, tapped the rod aperture to 3/8 BSP and plugged it. The 4 external studs had become damaged with age and dis-assembly (I'd even had to press one out) so the ends were cleaned out on the pillar drill, the studs sorted with a 5/16BSF die nut and some new nuts found, and cleaned and reassembled it is just the right sort of volume and somehow fitting that it should be re-employed on RS8.

    So that's it for another weekly report. Back to Tunstead tomorrow and it may be that we'll be setting the date for the start up (we need fume extraction equipment which is being organised) and perhaps even good news about the cab glazing. Come back next week to see how it goes. See ya then?

  2. Of Hatz ov

    3rd February 2019

    OK hands up all those who've seen the newsreels of the 'polar vortex' that froze Chicago and found 'The Day After Tomorrow' theme music running round in their heads?

    No? Maybe it was just me.

    Welcome to this latest edition of Weekend Rails, and as you may guess from the title, I have finally forgotten how to spell. So, back to Monday and the usual trip up to Tunstead. I have explained to people before that there is a 'big lump theory' to perceived progress. Fitting big lumps takes little time, but are so obvious that passers by see that progress is being made. Fit small pieces which take several times as long and the casual observer cannot see the difference. It was rather like that last Monday, with just me, Pete C and Andy H (there are maintenance shutdowns on). I set Pete to work manufacturing the replacement linkages for the rear right corner of the cab. What somebody was thinking when they ripped out and removed the brake handle and links from that side I don't know. Andy H had manufactured a new handle for the brakes using profiles I'd passed over, and now Pete was to connect the whole thing up, (rather on a trial and error basis as there are no drawings) using bits of original plus ends and such I'd dug up from around our workshops.

    Meanwhile I set about assembling more of the flexible hoses required to route oil and fuel to the prime mover and torque converter. Needless to say I had not brought sufficient hose - I re-aligned the fuel feed hose from the primary filter to the lift pump so as to run along the edge of the chassis, and a shorter one from the fuel tank outlet to the primary, so apart from an elbow fitting fuel in to the engine is complete. Between Pete and myself the nipple that forms the return line at the tank was extracted (it was damaged) and a new nipple installed. On the converter side the feed hose from tank to suction filter was installed and the latter turned 180 degreees to make a more logical flow: the hose from there to the converter charge pump was repositioned (I'd accidentally lined it up to pump output) although really it could do with being about 6inches shorter. I added a couple of fittings and a tee on the pump suction side - although a full tank of oil should be equal to or above the pump header, I think provision for an easy priming of the pump might not be a bad idea after all these years of idleness. That leaves me with a new hose from suction filter to charge pump, and a return fuel line from fuel pump to tank, and that side of the piping is finished, though to the casual passer by, there is nothing much to see.


    Andy H had brought with him the manifold/bulkhead fittings complete with a brand new adaptor machined to match the Enots thread and end up as 1 inch BSP.

    After all the effort last week of finishing the air feed pipe into the cab I decided not to break the news to Pete that I was ripping it out again, instead, I've brought it back to Darley Dale for a thorough clean-up. Andy spent much of his time using up the last of the small tin of Golden Yellow ensuring that all external window surrounds were painted, then went underneath and gave the axleboxes a fill of fresh oil. That is by way of a first installment - the new oiler pads will mop most of that up and will need re-filling again hopefully this week. Finally he mounted up the emergency air pressure gauge and removed the pneumatic valve that I'd previously placed in the way of all the cables.

    All in all, it is now the remaining pneumatics that is holding everything up, and we are close to putting water in the engine and fuel in the tanks to see where it all leaks. I hope it doesn't, but you never can be 100%. Years ago I had two brand new fuel tanks made to my drawings by a professional fabrication company. They tested their welds with dye penetrant and all seemed OK. When when we came to put fuel in, out came the fuel, pushing dye in front of it through minute holes in the welds that the dye would not pass through unaided! The guys back at Sigma6 who welded up the holes we had to make in the tanks were equally confident..

    A week or so ago I said that one option with the power pack was to find another matching Hatz engine or engineer-in the Lombardini. Neither option would be cheap and the latter would take longer as it required manufacturing mounts and either making or sourcing bell housings and torsional drives. Time is not on our side as there are two transport jobs in the offing requiring a winch. Of course, when I made a joke about 'Hatz off if we could find one', I had not taken into the account the abiity of ebay to have the very thing when you least expect it, and so on Wednesday I was heading down to Bilston to collect a rather woe-begone-looking Hatz 'Silent Power' engine the same as we had. Reputedly low hours but looking rough for having been exposed all its life to the elements and especially road salt, I had to cross my fingers as there was no way of hearing it run first, though the vendor has more if I have any trouble with it. That came back with me and Andrew and I unloaded it that evening, he finishing by photographing the Lombardini to go on ebay as it should no longer be required. But such is the way things go, Andrew also asked me to bid on his behalf for another Lister. Now, I don't suppose you've been keeping score, but ever since the Petter PH1 in the pseudo-Wickham was pronounced by agreement to be under-powered, it has been as though we have gone on acquiring Listers in the quest for the ideal. First was a TS3, which on arrival was obviously too big. Then there was an SL2 which I brought back triumphantly from somewhere over Southport way but try as we might, could not get to go, and also looked rather too big when put it in the same workshop as the Wickham. Now if this was a 3 bears story the next purchase would be just right - and considering we drove all the way to darkest North Wales it darned well should have been, but the description was vague, its Lister data plate missing, and it took an eagle-eyed reader of the blog to tell us that it was actually a smaller engine than we had thought (same overall dimensions, just smaller bore block so lower power). Maybe then this is a 4 bears story, since the ebay offering was most definitely a LV2. I duly bid as ordered and won, for actually a very good price. Various messages went to and from as the vendor stressed we must move and load the engine without assistance. We had hoped to postpone the collection until next Wednesday, but the vendor was anxious to get it out sooner, and Saturday was agreed subject to snow. Yes, but this was a weekend where grandson was coming up, so there would have been other calls on Andrew's time. Anyway, on Friday me and Steph drove across to Norfolk once again to collect him (he's now 6) and he was persuaded to come out with Andrew and grandad on an important mission to collect this engine. And as planned, just before noon on Saturday I was knocking on the door of a house in Bolton, while Andrew and grandson waited in the van. The old lady that came to the door clearly didn't know what I was on about. I rang the vendor who proceeded to give me a completely different address to that listed by them on ebay. Had Andrew not been able to get Google street-whatever on his phone this might have been a major problem - I don't like Satnav and prefer to read maps and plan such journies. However after 20 minutes we had found the correct address (they'd moved there 7 years ago!) and with the aid of a sack truck I'd brought, wheeled this latest Lister out to the van, where by way of apology we received an extra bit of muscle to get it in. (If we couldn't lift it I'd brought a plank to walk it up).

    Grandson was due to return today, so although Andrew reckoned he'd be back in time to help get it out, I didn't and wandering down to the shed after lunch, built up a stand of pallets and timber and walked the engine out of the van.

    The top pallet was a trifle weaker than I'd thought and the engine heavier at the flywheel end - no matter, I put the plank into position and walked it down to ground level, before the sack truck took it into the shed. And for the afternoon I was working on both the Lister and the Hatz. Admittedly on the Lister I did little more than remove the blanking plate on the flywheel housing to confirm that the flywheel has no ring gear -(grrr). The Hatz however is required sooner, and I need to make sure it runs ASAP. But the accumulated road salt had corroded the heads of the self-tappers that held the acoustic housing together, and it took a selection of 10mm, 9mm and 3/8 AF sockets and spanners, allen keys and hammers to release them

    I was aware that the Hatz had come off a road trailer, where it powered hydraulic rams that lifted an intermediate floor, so there was a serious risk that the starter and alternator would be 24V powered from the tractor, whereas our power pack is 12V. When I finally got in to it, late this afternoon, the first thing I found was the starter motor markings - 12V 2.0kW - so sometime soon we'll get to see how well it goes.

    That's about it for this week. Sat next to me as I write this is the air cleaner element for RS8 - it arrived on Friday but beyond measuring it and producing a CAD drawing, only a few vague doodles of how I might put it within an enclosure that doesn't change the outside look of RS8 and doesn't protrude too far under the casings have so far been scribbled down. I suspect there'll be a few (dozen) more before I settle on a workable arrangement that I can convert into a manufacturing drawing. I heard an interesting quote this week that rather sums up our attitude to 'preservation'. It went along the lines that one should 'nurture the flame, not worship the ashes'. Now we can all have opinions as to what 'railway preservation' is today. To me it has gone far beyond the altruistic early pioneers who were genuinely saving something of the past for future generations. That justifies one of anything, but we have 'saved' multiples for no better reason than the heritage railway movement as a whole has become a hobby activity with only scant regard for literal preservation. There are those who insist that they are true preservationists, and as such they choose to restore their loco/coach/wagon to original condition, reversing even improvements or corrections that may have been made over the years. That of course is their right, but equally ours is to 'nurture the flame' and if that means incorporating improvements in the light of later experience, we shall. In RS8's case, the pneumatic system had a serious flaw - there was continuous pressure feed to the clutch cylinder, with no 'unload system'. It cost Tarmac a couple of thousand pounds to replace virtually all the clutch parts as this continuous load had worn pins and links. Should we therefore 'worship the ashes' and stick to its original, flawed, system, or 'nurture the flame' and correct it? I'll leave you to turn to your keyboards and accuse me of heresy. Nonetheless, I'll be back next week. See ya then?

  3. Of Hatz and help

    27th January 2019

    Evenin' all, (salutes and adopts friendly 'Dixon of Dock Green-esque' smile). Ready for another instalment? Well, here it is.

    Monday, and no suprises that it is Tunstead day. Andy H, Pete C and myself were joined by Martin who has been before (he and another rigged up a press to assemble the buffers) and made us all feel chuffed by saying how far we had got on since last he saw it. It was not a day for giant steps of progress though. Armed with the additional offcuts of half inch pipe I'd brought, Martin and Pete C continued with completing the steel pipework, which in this case was the feed from the emergency reservoir through a filter and regulator to the changeover valve, and three-quarter pipe tee'd to feed through the cab bulkhead to where I am having to put in a temporary rectangular manifold and the second route across the front of the cab to feed the driver's brake valve.

    The rectangular manifold has a decided disadvantage compared to the rotary one - whereas I had started putting isolating taps on each separate feed off the manifold, on the rectangular there isn't enough room. Curses! So I'll finish with a common isolating tap so we can turn off the entire desk supply when needed to fix or modify summat.

    That's the plan, but Andy H has sweet-talked a member up at Wortley Top Forge and we're hoping that a specially machined adaptor might be forthcoming. Me? Well I cracked on with various tidy-ups on the wiring, then marked out and drilled the side of the new instrument panel to take one of those profiled plates I had to hold the keyswitch. It would have been so much better had I planned all this out before the instrument panel was made- the suitably shaped 'ole could have been lasered into the side plate. Instead I had to drill four 6.5mm holes and a big 35mm hole in the centre, which took a lot of time and flattened the battery drill part way through. When I was marking it up, I slipped with the centre punch and it went down - all the way into the pit. So I donned my pot-holing outfit and went in after it, finding not only the punch but a couple of nuts and bolts and the information sheet I had produced some months ago. This I had taped to the end of the loco only for it to disappear by the next week. I thought someone had pinched it but it seems it had managed to find its way through the narrow slot between the concrete edge of the pit and the metal grille. As we've had to move our work-bench (a large grey machine had been parked just in front of RS8 as there's nowhere else to put it) Andy pasted the info sign to the bench so that everyone walking past can read it.

    We'll see if it moves again! It's high time we filled the axleboxes with oil and Andy headed down, but found we hadn't a suitable can with a long enough spout or funnel, so that's back on this weeks list. The majority of the work remaining is flex piping, both the small bore (pneumatic) and the half and three-eighth reinforced hoses for fuel and converter oil, so we're 2 to 3 weeks away from a start up depending how we get on.

    On my way back Monday evening Andrew suggested I stop off at Rowsley and see if Ludwig Mond had arrived, I glanced over but wanted to get straight back as I had a headlamp bulb down on the van and felt uncomfortable driving in the twilight with it. So on Tuesday morning I drove back up and found not only that the haulier had arrived but that single-handedly he had already split the unit from the trailer, built up the ramp and lowered the loco as far as he could, except that Peak Rail staff had yet to unlock the gate and lift the derailer, so there he stopped.

    I chivvied things to life and then set off for Darley Dale to collect Charlie. Charlie duly dragged Ludwig down to Darley Dale and parked it in the sidings, its smart appearance drawing favourable comment later that day.

    Thursday and Andrew had casually asked if I could pop over the motorway and put all the bits back on the trailer now that it had passed its MoT. I dutifully obliged, and a very friendly forklift operator put the track panel and pallets back on so that I could secure them down with straps ready for the trailer to return to its regular home. The final task was to load up the Hatz-powered power pack, which involved putting the power pack sideways on the forks, manouevering the forklift next to the van's back doors (and the forklift was bigger than the van!) and three of us sliding the pack off the forks and into the van. I figuered this would be in the van for a day or two...

    On Friday morning Andrew and I arrved at Darley to meet up with a lorry-load of wheelsets. My 'these are a bit light, aren't they?' wheelstands had in fact all been used and all survived to fight another day.

    With those to unload and a couple of other large lumps to go on the far side of the shed, it took all morning to unload him, and although I harboured hopes that he might be quickly utilised to pull the Hatz power pack out of the van it was not to be.

    Saturday and we were joined by Charles, Stephen and Andy H who proceeded to work on various aspects of 1382, with Stephen on conduit and Charles on door painting. Andrew was also cutting and threading pipes for the vac train pipe, but they did break off long enough to fit the front grille to the casing sructure for Adolf.

    I harboured hpes that they might be marshalled to lift the Hatz power pack out of the van, but it was not to be. Apart from making tea, my main task was to strip the hand-operated pump that you saw last week. Internally it was dirty and I suspect some of the valves may not be functioning. I had tremendous difficulty extracting the piston. It seemed as though it was only accumulated brown dirt that was stopping it, but it refused to lift no matter how much leverage was applied. Then I realised to my chagrin that lurking in the dirt was a large circlip, and worse still, that one tab of the clip was inaccessible. The circlip emerged, somewhat deformed, and so then did the piston. The bits have been in the degreaser for cleaning and further examination awaits.

    A couple of other regulars joined us on Sunday and first planned task was to fire up both Charlie and James to rearrange things. But we had gone up the yard to look over the ex-RMS Hunslet when we found a visitor in our midst. I confess I did not find his presence welcome. With no hivi nor apology. he appeared around the end of the yard from the main line side, so had either walked up the line from the Matlock direction or climbed over at the level crossing. Either way the courteous thing would have been to apologise for what was, after all, a trespass, but when I asked if I could help him he declared he was looking for an ex LMS wagon donated to Peak Rail in, I think he said, 1981. If I heard the date right it must have been back in the days of the Buxton steam centre, but as it was, I told him that if it was anywhere it would be at Rowsley and he walked off. In those situations it is difficult to know what to do. Should I have ticked him off and demanded he leave by the shortest (safest) route, and no doubt have stories spread by him of 'unfriendly attitude' and 'little Hitler' or spent a great deal of time explaining what and where it might be and gloss over his misconduct? Recommendations on a postcard please.

    We got the re-organisation under way. On the one hand, we wanted Ashdown inside the shed so that work can be progressed for a prospective customer, so the 03 had to come out, and we wanted Ludwig down nearer the shed so that at some point soon we can cut out the offending bits of pipe and replace with new sections. Before we had quite finished, we became aware of 4 enthusiasts leaning over the fence, pointing cameras and noting numbers. We went over to chat and eventually asked if they'd like to look around from 'our side'. They readily accepted the invitation and I gave them the grand tour and a cup of tea. Steph arrived with our lunches and fresh buns and flapjack and they sampled the latter too, all in all they enjoyed the tour and refreshment and our donations tin received a boost.

    Back to work and at last the Hatz power pack came out of the van. I had joked when putting it in, that if all else failed, I'd tie a rope to the unit and drive away, and after we'd slid it so far and lowered one end to the ground, the Hatz was lifted and I drove the van clear. Then the 4 of us grunted and groaned as in short bursts we manhandled it into the shed.

    We went over it and found a Hatz data plate, but it is obstructed by the external superstructure so almost impossible to read! Andrew returned to making bits of pipe for 1382, he was also guiding and assisting as work got under way removing some of the pipework that has adorned Ashdown. When it came to us, Ashdown had a vac system with no suction filter and to our eyes a rather crude exhauster installation. It falls to me to put in hand a new exhauster layout, while Andrew improves pipeworks and sorts out the dragging traction clutch, for which the cover was unbolted and lifted off.

    I however had, while looking over the trailer on Thursday, realised that I had slipped up and put a hole on each of the new lifting arms in the wrong place, so I marked out the arms and re-drilled them on the pedestal drill. When are we going to go and fit these? Dunno, but it's going to have to be soon as a number of jobs are in the offing for it.

    I have an interesting dialogue under way with a local modelmaker as regards RS8. Whether it will be fruitful remains to be seen, but it has stimulated me into making a start on converting some of the ICI drawings into a full GA through CAD. I've started with the cab, having realised that this particular drawing does include the two fuel tanks (originally there was only going to be one), although there are differences even then with window layouts and an original plan for a tip-up shunter's seat under the rear walkway cover (the drawing appended with a hand-written 'Not Fitted'). I'm reckoning on 7mm scale, but who knows? Perhaps there'll be little RS8's running on layouts in all scales in the future, driving the purists aesthetically mad!

    Ah well, that's all for this week. I will though add a sad word for the news that HST's Andrew Wilson, who contributed a shunter column to one of the rail magazines, was found dead a week last Saturday. I had had to take him to task a couple of years ago when I felt he had not just paraphrased some of my prose from this blog but got the meaning all wrong and thus inadvertantly suggested that we didn't know what we were talking about. Ever since he had checked with me on anything he wanted to report on us, most recently on the 10th when he was writing up our problems with 14901's fuel pump. R.I.P.

    Anyway, the van's had a new bulb fitted and is ready for tomorrow, let's hope it doesn't snow overnight. See ya.

  4. Of pumps and progress

    20th January 2019

    Is it Sunday already? Where has this week gone? Well here we go again.


    Monday was of course Tunstead day and to my surprise we had not only Andy H and Pete C but George appeared having not (yet) been banished to Hindlow. First job was to assemble the hydraulic oil tank to its support frame and the frame to the cab front, which we did but later dropped it by the gap of its mounting holes as we saw the clearances involved.

    But I digress, for the major milestone was to fit the casings once and for all and thus fitted, the solid pipework between casings and cab could proceed. Pete C and George worked on this, after George had used his template and mounted the relay box into the left corner of the cab. Starting with the brake cylinder they constructed a pipe under the cab floor to a 3/2 valve at the front. As you will recall, it was not common practice in the 60s to fit 'low air protection' systems to locos so I am changing the air system and using the larger of the two receivers as 'main air' and re-allocating the smaller (which was previously a brake supply receiver) as the 'emergency'. The 3/2 valve will normally connect the brake cylinder with the driver's brake valve just above, but if air pressure is too low, or falling due to a defect, this valve drops back to its rest position where it connects the brake valve to a regulated air supply off the emergency air receiver. The first stage of the piping, the driver's valve and its connection to the 3/2 and thence to the cylinder can be seen (below) but the supply to the brake valve itself must wait for this week.

    Meanwhile Pete and George moved on to the connection from the governor unloader valve to the main air receiver and its non-return, got that in but found insufficient half inch pipe left over to complete the connection from 3/2 to the emergency air receiver, for which I was lacking a filter anyway.

    Andy H had been touching up paintwork and going round the window apertures in Golden Yellow in anticipation of the window rubbers, buit I got him to fit the header for the hydraulic oil suction filter which is about ready to be piped in.

    What was I doing? Well aside fom walking to and fro to the van to collect more bits, I eventually got into the cab and made a start on things there. All the big power cables (apart from the starters, the biggest are 8mm sq between battery isolator, fuses and the alternator) were made off apart from the two to the ammeter, which await the instrument panel being ready to install. Those cables of the multi-core destined to turn left into the relay box were duly identified, crimped and connected, plus a few that go across from box to panel or fuses, and a start made on those turning right that go into the multi-pin plugs that the instruments are already cabled to. They aren't finished yet. and there's some tidying up to do, but you can see how it's all shaping up.

    On the other side of the cab, I took out all the isolating taps and released the manifold, which I unscrewed from the cab with help from Andy H. Looking at it again, I realised that it is in fact two pieces, the manifold itself and a bulkhead fitting, so took it apart, finding between a short piece of one inch pipe with a single olive on, which confirms its Enots origins. Quite what was supposed to be achieved with the pipe and olive I'm not sure - I cannot see that it could be made so accurately that it would seal any better than that of the male thread into the female of the bulkhead fitting, but either way, split in two it does offer a better prospect of getting a piece machined to reinstate the complete manifold later. We are proud enough of RS8's progress that I posted a picture on the RMWeb thread featuring the loco, which has so far received 18 'Likes' (Y'see I'm trying to be cool and embrace this social media stuff).

    On Tuesday after an early morning blood test I was off to my profilers to collect the bits that had been waiting since late last week, coming back with amongst other things the mounting plate for RS8's keyswitch and a set of profiles for the planned rad fan on Adolf. On the return I collected a temporary air manifold, filter and pipework from another supplier to continue RS8's progress.

    On Wednesday Andrew had a half-days leave and we headed over the motorway to where his trailer was sat, as it was due its MoT and we had to lift off all the rails, packings and bindings as the trailer had either to be 'empty' or '2/3 loaded'. I'm getting too old for this sort of thing. As we headed back, we diverted to a farm near Derby to collect two of our latest e-bay aquisitions. Into the van went two fire extinguisher stations, complete with raucus alarms -well one worked and the other didn't, but they'll improve our readiness to deal with any such emergency. Also went in was a pump assembly on a stand:-


    This is for hydraulic pressure testing and came with about ten pressure gauges of various ranges which alone (even if out of calibration) were worth the £10 for the 'lot'. Hopefully once overhauled this will enable us to add pressure testing of air receivers, miniature loco boilers and the like to our repertoire.

    Andrew was over again on Thursday and we were joined by Andy H who first completed the concrete formwork outside before being allowed into the relative warmth of the shed. But even before he arrived, Andrew and I had fired up Charlie and set about a mammoth shunt. No, not shunting members of an extinct elephant species, but the yard is so full that to extract any one vehicle can be a bit of a major undertaking. For starters, out came Adolf from inside and the Sentinel and the recently arrived Hunslet changed places, as until such time as it has buffers, shunting the Hunslet is a trifle tricky. With that the Midland bogie well wagon came into the shed for Andrew to extract some (other) buffers, and after it had gone back, we loaded the remaining bits of the Wickham body on to the B4 bogie and shunted that out and on to the end of the middle siding where it won't be in the way. I was trying to shunt slowly when it came to Adolf, as I was aware that, being splash feed, the faster we moved the more chance of oil coming out of those places currently open to atmosphere. But Andrew got impatient, and it probably would have leaked anyway. Back inside, Andy was put in charge of grinding and hammering all the tabs on Adolf's casing front that were added at some time to place the grille a couple of inches further away from the radiator.

    My job seemed to be to hover near Andrew, keeping an eye on the pressures of oxy and acetylene, but I managed to clamp 3 pices of profile together, drill the centre out and tap them to M12 x 1 ready to receive an electronic sensor that will drive the speedo system. One was subsequently bolted up to the body of a standstill detector to check it all fitted.

    Towards the end of the day a visitor arrived as expected and we locked up about half-five. Andrew has some wheelsets due and before Christmas I was making some wheel stands until I ran out of 3 inch nails. During the week the urgency to collect them re-emerged so on Friday after lunch I popped down to the shed, made up a few more, repaired a couple of old ones then threw whole lot in the van and took them over to the contractors. The latter was a bit scathing of the lightness of some - I took the view that they weren't expected to last forever, in fact if some made this one journey succesfully I would consider them expendable. Watch out for this later.

    Both Andrew and I had other plans on Saturday, and he too was absent Sunday leaving me to wander down for a few hours to please myself. Of course, a chunk of Sunday is now committed to getting the van loaded for a prompt start on Monday morning, and adding a few useful bits that I might need. I had planned that I would take a look at the new aquisitions. The non-working alarm on the second fire extinguisher station was nothing more than a flat battery, and sorted with one I had bought in for another purpose re-deployed. The pump however was a different matter. It wasn't sold as being in working order and so far I cannot get it to pump, but I imagine that we have the technological know-how to get it working. I checked on the 'net to see if the manufacturer could be identified but without any luck. I did start to open it up and liquid emerged - whether this was what I had been pumping or had been in there already I was unsure so left it for another day.

    Oh, but I forgot. At the beginning of the week, after several more conversations on phone and e-mail, we arrived at a suitable air cleaner element to incorporate into RS8. It's about a third of the size of that fitted to 14 901 (which is logical), only £20 each (list) and they have 60 in stock. The only snag is that the stock is in the US, so 2 are now on their way, but I'll have to wait to get my hands on one before drawing up the enclosure to fit them to.

    So that's about it for this week, and as usual I pause to look forward to what's in store. First off, Ludwig Mond is moving. It's due on Tuesday and no doubt Andrew will take it immediately in hand to finish the pipework that stopped it in the first place and look to me to sort out the defect on the electronic standstill detection. The Trailer passed its MoT on Friday so we've got to go back and put all the gear back on again, plus the haulier has donated to us the power pack he'd taken off a trailer as its Hatz engine ist kaput. I've got to go collect that and then we sort out whether it is easier/quicker/cheaper to find another Hatz (OK,OK, hatz off to us if we find one) or re-engineer it to fit the Lombardini we have in stock that was bought for that purpose. Either way it will in due course fit the trailer as an alternative means of raising the neck plus powering a winch - but this was supposed to be next weeks' preview. Add to that a load of wheelsets to unload, perhaps more snow, a visit to the Doc's scheduled to view progress on this fungal infection I have on my leg - I suspect I'm going to be busy again all week. How will it all pan out? Dunno. Come back next time. See ya then?

  5. Of air cleaners and cylinders

    13th January 2019

    If you cannot abide RS8 and don't like reading about it, best not bother with this week's instalment...


    ... because for various reasons, we haven't done much else.

    Returning to Tunstead on Monday was rather like the first day of term, asking each how our christmasses were and not really getting under way as promptly as before. George unfortunately is no longer available to us, he has transferred to Hindlow, which is spoken in hushed tones at Tunstead as if it was like being despatched to a gulag. But we did get Andrew Hn, on his last secondment to us to complete the outstanding 'on the loco' welding jobs. So to some extent it was a case of aiming to be in whatever place he wasn't. He started by welding up a bracket to go under the cab floor where we've brought up what will become the vacuum brake pipe to the drivers valve. Originally on RS8 this came up the front of the cab and back through a large hole, then having a peculiar fabricated tee inside the cab under the desk one branch of which has seemingly always been blanked off. I opted to bring the incoming pipe up through the space in the cab floor through which the handbrake chain passes, but the resultant unsupported length was becoming a trifle excessive and a clamp just under the cab front has made it nice and solid.

    So while Andrew Hn was out the cab, I leapt in and extracted the trunking, chopped a half-inch or so off, redrilled its mounting holes half an inch further over and cut an aperture next to the 20mm conduit for a suitable gland. Later in the day I was able to get back in, cut off the insulation, and thread the multicore up and into the trunking, directing its cables left or right as appropriate.

    But that is to get ahead of things, and at this early stage of the day Pete C was tapping out the holes in the radiator header tank and installing the radiator stay bar, and Andy H was going over more things in Golden Yellow paint, especially where he'd painted last time only for finger marks to appear.

    Andrew Hn had meanwhile returned to the cab, sorted the rear cab doors and then started filling up numerous holes in the desk top which related to old parts of wiring and pneumatics which no longer applied. (The original RS8 electrics had heavy duty CAV STOP and START buttons, long since obsolete. The new system has a discrete keyswitch instead, you'll see more of that in due course.) The resultant clean top was handed over to the other Andrew, who primer'd it forthwith.

    Andrew Hn also took the compressor cylinder head nipple (which I had struck out on identifying) and welded on a 1/2 inch BSP sleeve so that I can put in a nipple and a delivery hose to the unloader valve.

    Back out on the engine, I dragged through the wires for the tacho genny and the clutch detection switch and by early afternoon had finished the engine end of the wiring apart from working out which low current wire goes on which alternator terminal, as ours does not have the A and F markings it ought to have. That meant though I could fit the top of the wiring box on after a final trip round checking that all the terminal nuts were tight. Pete C was looking for his next job so I hastily sketched out the brake valve and associated piping. The brake valve is a D&M FD1, which sits in a manifold and normally has its ports identified on the casting. Ours doesn't, but I had brought along one from the workshops that did as I had realised that the porting was not symmetrical so could be extrapolated. The brake cylinder itself has a 1/2 inch BSP port, but screwed on to it was a couple of adaptors we hadn't disturbed, which turned out to be a 1/2 inch nipple, 1/2 to 3/4 female adaptor and a coupling to get into a copper pipe - more of the obsolete Enots fittings but the pipe itself had been thieved by cutting off at the union nut. We'll do it in steel back to a changeover valve at the front of the cab, but after discusson later in the afternoon, it was agreed I'd source some new pipe ready for next week, and bring along a (hand operated) pipe threader.

    Although Andrew Hn's work was done, we sent him back with one of the cab radiators which has a frost crack. It is a cast iron rad so not replaceable, but we're hoping he can braize over the crack or otherwise make the rad usable once again. A conference late in the afternoon concluded that next week (i.e.tomorrow as I write this) we'll refit the casings which will mean we can continue with the brake cylinder piping plus the feed from the air receivers to the driver's brake valve and the feed to the receivers from the compressor unloader. One of the reasons Pete C has held back fitting the casings is that he feels that passers by will interpret that as 'nearly finished' and he'll be inundated with questions as to when it will be running. But time is about there, as until the loco is re-united with its air receivers the air system cannot progress.

    Years ago, I had a first rate contact at Fleetguard on the technical side but he retired and re-organisatioms since has meant that I had lost track of whom to talk to in what nowadays likes to think of itself as Cummins Filtration. But my son-in-law works for another part of Cummins, so I enlisted his help over Christmas to start the ball rolling to resolve an air cleaner. RS8 originally had the common Rolls' method of having 3 teeny-weeny oil bath air cleaners joined together on a manifold. Apart from being quite compact in two out of three axes, I have never quite figured what Rolls saw in this arrangement. Oil baths are nowadays regarded as inadequate - at least for turbocharged engines - and having 3 ganged together must have been an additional maintenance chore for no good purpose. On RS8, they were engine mounted, and committed the cardinal sin of being inside the casings, where they suck air which is both warmed from radiator/engine as well as carrying dirt and fumes. Anyway, we didn't have one complete one between the three, so my plan has always been to have a new single paper element cleaner. Now, I could take the 'easy way' and fit a modern round bodied cleaner and cut a big aperture in the casing top so as to sit a pre-cleaner 'mushroom' outside keeping the rain off. I could, but it would spoil the appearance of the loco, and some would say that it looks bad enough already. We had a similar issue with 14901: when it came to us it had a conventional genset air cleaner, intended only for use 'indoors' i.e. in clean air and not subject to variations in humidity. This one drew its air right by the turbo and, we found later, had a big crack in the bottom where unfiltered air could pass freely. Before it went to the Gwili in 2011 we needed to sort this, and my contact at Fleetguard put us on to a suitably sized element in regular manufacture, I drew up a housing, and we mounted it behind the casing grille where the Paxman's had been and ducted it along to the turbo. Since those pictures are no longer displayed on the blog, I'm reproducing one here to show you what I mean.

    14901 air cleaner
    Now, the DV8 in 14901 is a 32 litre engine whereas the C6 in RS8 is only 12, and there is no turbo to up the flow. So we could use the same element as on '901, but it would be a trifle OTT, and a touch large for where I am hoping to site it, hence needing to talk to someone.

    During the week this bore fruit, but took a number of phone calls and e-mails before it was clearly understood all I really wanted. Hopefully it will get sorted this week and I can start drawing up a housing, which will need to incorporate some grille or other external piece that doesn't alter the appearance of the loco. My prefered home would be over the top of the battery box, 'dead space' from an access point of view and reasonably close both to the engine air intake manifold and perhaps a branch so that the compressor can draw its air from there too. The crunch will be when we can see the element size and whether its depth will fit clear of pipeworks, but the picture below, taken when the casing was trialled on, gives some idea.

    So after all that on RS8, what else has been going on? In a sense it has been a quiet week: I got into one of my suppliers in Shefield and came away with galvanised pipe ready for Monday, and ordered a rectangular air manifold so we can proceed with the control air plumbing and not be held up by the obsolete pipe fitting that my supplier has had no luck at all locating. On Friday though it was off to Norfolk to collect grandson for the weekend, and in the end I didn't go near the shed on Saturday and only got down there after an early lunch on Sunday. Even then most of my time had been occupied on sorting out the gear required for Tunstead, apart from a trip around the yard tightening up the many tarps that were flapping in the wind which made the shed grown and grunt from time to time. Peak Rail's p/way crew were out again, and like last week two of their number came and took up hospitality out of the wind.

    And that I suppose is about it. Next weekend should have both me and Andrew back in harness, plus a collection of profiles, ordered at the beginning of the year but ready too late for me to collect last week, should be in hand. What will we get up to? Come back and see.

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