Those delights will have to wait of course, the cleaning sessions that I'm rostered for until the end of September still need to be fulfilled, so on Sunday, it was a case of rolling up at Toddington to clean the 8F for a day's work. I thought it a good idea to document exactly what is involved in a cleaning turn. Well it starts in very much the same way as the late Robin Williams movie Good Morning Vietnam, "It's 06:00, what does the 0 stand for? 0h my God it's early!".
|Wood stacked by the cab and a bucket of oily rags|
|Buckets for hot soapy water and scissors/knife for cutting up cleaning rags|
|A variety of cleaning materials|
|Smoke box being attended to|
|Washing the boiler|
Great Western locos come with brass safety valve bonnets and some even have copper chimney caps. Should your loco be one of these, then a bit more time aloft in the hot places is usually in order. I say usually, because on Sunday, 2807 had been pressed into service in a hurry for reasons which will be explained shortly. Her safety valve bonnet wasn't in place, so Graham and Ed could polish it up at ground level without it being too hot to touch:
|2807, no safety valve bonnet|
|Graham and Ed buffing up 2807's safety valve bonnet|
Once the hot bits have been done, the cleaner can their turn their attention to the things that won't be hot. The motion, wheels and frames are next. Just get a bucket of diesel, apply it with a brush and clean off with a rag. Care must be taken to avoid removing oil/grease from any bearing surfaces.
|Motion, wheels & frames|
On Sunday, 2807 had been pressed into service at the last minute as 4270 had suffered a broken spring on Saturday. We haven't suffered from many spring failures lately, but usually when they've gone, it has only been when the loco was inspected at the end of the day that the failure has been noticed. On this occasion, there was big enough bang passing through Bishops Cleeve to alert the crew that something was amiss. They stopped the train and located what remained of three of the leaves of a spring in the 4' and proceeded to Cheltenham at walking pace. The train was rescued by one of our diesels, 47376 leaving 4270 to return much later in the day under her own steam at walking pace. Apparently that takes a very long time. On Sunday of course, we needed to get the spring changed, which as it turned out was not as easy a process as I had hoped.
|The broken spring before removal, note the lower three leaves on the left are AWOL.|
|The missing sections of the lower three leaves|
|New spring ready for fitting plus a pair of jacks.|
|Ed fetches a bit of an old sleeper...|
|....and uses it as a base to jack up the front end|
|George having a spot of bother with the split pins|
|Some slight remodeling was required before the replacement spring would fit|
|Ed and Aaron wondering how to get the first of the threaded bars and pins in place|
|Finally, George re-tensions the spring|
After a lunch, a quick check in the shed revealed that more progress had been made towards the concreting of the floor. Road nine had been largely reinstated and now needed leveling off. Road 8 had yet to be started on.
|More progress in the David Page shed|
|Steve R: Bolts removed, but still won't shift|
|Getting this cover plate off of the reverser proved to be surprisingly easy|
|The recalcitrant split pin.,|
|What there was of the floor was perforated with rust.|
|Aaron and Steve J encouraging the reverser arm to become free|
|Aaron gas-axed these off from the outside|
|The operating arm eventually appeared after digging through 6 inches of crud|
|From the underneath, we never did free this up before it was time to call it a day|
Finally, as I'm sure you're aware, Dinmore Manor has packed her bucket and spade and set off for a holiday on the North Norfolk Railway (NNR). Andy and Dan went over to act as 'owner's representatives' for a few days. Dan has very kindly provided me with this report for of his time on the NNR, our erstwhile resident, Black Prince along with Dinmore Manor were the locos that were in service while they were there.
"7820 had recently had a water change and a small washout as it had had priming problems earlier in the week. The washout seemed to do the trick, certainly for the two days that we were there as there were no priming problems to report. We went light engine down to Sheringham on "The Breakfast Run" and got our free breakfast bap from the buffet which was lovely! The manor did 5 trips on the Saturday, roughly equating to about 55 miles in total. On the last trip Alan (the fireman for the day) offered me the shovel and it would have been rude to say no! The one thing I had noticed since arriving at the NNR was that the coal that they were using (Scottish) was a lot more smokier than ours (welsh)! Unlike the Welsh, the Scottish coal burned with almost instant heat. This meant I didn't start building up the fire until about a minute before departure. All seemed to be fine until I over did it slightly on the approach to Weybourne, where I miss judged the time in which we would be sat around and the safety valves may have been tested whilst we waited for the 9F to arrive from Holt. This excess steam was useful as Weybourne is right on the start of the 1 in 80 Kelling Bank and other than one quick bit of firing when leaving the station, the fire was sufficient to get the train up the bank sitting between 210 and 225 psi all the way. The line leveled off after that so it was more a case of keeping it quiet on the approach to Holt. On the return the main task was to keep the engine quiet as it is pretty much downhill to Sheringham. This involved just keeping the back, front and sides of the firebox warm, whist trying to put as little in the middle of the box (other than to cover holes) and keep the water at a sensible level. After a good run back to Sheringham we were then shunt released and went light engine back up the line to Weybourne where we raked though the fire (no clinker!!) and disposed of the engine before putting it back on shed.
On the second day, Andy spent the morning looking after 7820 and I had managed to arrange a footplate ride on 92203 which brought back a lot of memories as it was one of the first locos I worked on in the department, and before I had even joined the department had had numerous footplate rides on the run rounds at Toddington, especially on evening trains (with one driver who will know who he is!) which really helped spark my interest in joining the department!
A most enjoyable couple of days at the NNR"
|Black Prince, photo courtesy of Dan Wigg|
|Dinmore Manor & Black Prince, photo courtesy of Dan Wigg|
|Black Prince's cab, photo courtesy of Dan Wigg|
|Dan firing Dinmore Manor, photo courtesy of Andy Beale|
|Dinmore Manor at Weybourne, photo courtesy of Andy Beale|
|A room with a view, photo courtesy of Andy Beale|