Watercress Line

Ropley Loco Wednesday Gang - 11th April 2018 – Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud!

Well, summer is a’coming in, but first we had to get through Easter. No mean feat this year!

I did a couple of turns as TTI in the first few days of the Day Out with Thomas event, and as it rained rather a lot, it’s fair to say that the biggest challenge was mud.  It was in the car park, it was in the picnic area and most of it found it’s way onto my uniform. The Wednesday Gang mainly stayed away last week so that dry parking spaces could used by paying customers, so we were in catch-up mode this week, wondering just how far we’d got with our  jobs.

Last Easter I’d noticed a little chap on the train with a chocolate version of Thomas The Tank Engine – his mum was kind enough to send me details. So this year, the Easter Bunny had hopped of to Marcus et Spencius (remember Carry On, Cleo) and brought home two Chocolate Thomases – one for me and one for grandson Thomas.  It didn’t take long for one to be reduced to a pile of bits – disturbingly reminiscent of scenes at scrapyards in the late 1960s.

On with the blog.  There were only about 8 of us this week – the rest crying off with feeble excuses like having to shovel coal into fireboxes.  Sam spent the day doing something very filthy in Cheltenhams smokebox – he returned to tea break black from head to toe, and as the day progressed, so did the blackness. I’ve no idea what he was doing but Cheltenham was in for an annual service.

The depleted bogie-men team had discovered a small irregularity in the datum points they’d used for machining the sliding surfaces on the S15’s bogie.  A bit of ingenuity produced a new jig that could be adjusted to the true level and this was being used to grind the surfaces back a few thou.

Out in the wheel-drop shed, two of the coupled wheel-sets have now been fitted to the S15 (30506)’s axlesboxes. The third wheel-set is in the shed and it appears that the axleboxes are being blued-in to fit the axle journals.  The wheelset is surrounded by bits of boiler cladding which have been taken out of store and are being prepared for assembly.

We picked up where we’d left off with Swanage’s lubrication pipes.  The Thursday Gang had done a bit of work in preparation for extracting the middle cylinder, and had removed a couple of bits of  pipe-work. We knew the forward section of about 15 pipe circuits would have to come off to allow for this, so Alan and I spent most of the day carefully removing, tagging and storing the LH side bits.  Meanwhile Paul and Dave carried on with annealing, soldering connectors, and trial-fitting the RH side bits.

The computer kit has raised its ugly head again.   Steve is getting prepared for some Autodesk training to be done, so I’ve been busy with installing Windows and Autodesk on a laptop for use in the “classroom”. Also, one of the desktop PCs wouldn’t wake up on Monday, so after a quick look I’ve taken it home and replaced the power supply.  That’s my last spare power supply, so if you have a computer case or a spare power supply (SATA leads) that you can donate, it would be really useful.  You can contact me on mhr.friendsof80150@btconnect.com.

Under Assistant Ropley Scribe

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