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Ropley Loco Wednesday Gang - 12th September 2018 – Bushes and Pins

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote one of these blogs – I’ve just been too busy sorting out tender brake gear(s) to wander around taking pictures.  Dave-2Jags has been a real hero and stepped in to keep you up to date, somehow finding the time to take pictures whilst coordinating his teams efforts on projects ranging from fence-building to tender-dismantling.

In case you are missing endless pictures of Swanage pipework, I thought I’d kick off with a picture of West Country (well, BoB) pipework at Swanage.  I was down there for the Folk Festival last weekend and couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a mobile phone picture of  the pipework on 34072 257 Squadron. Somehow they’d removed a part of the air-smoothed casing along the side of the firebox. It neatly shows the valve-gear lubrication pipes running along the outside of the firebox insulation, and the axle-box lubrication pipes running below the casing and under the cab.

Dave-2Jags and his team have toiled away for weeks at removing sections of wasted material from Canadian Pacific’s tender.  My interest has been focused on the brake hanger brackets which sit between the inner and outer chassis frames.  These were designed at Ashford with tubular bosses that located the brake hanger between them, and at some time since the 1940s, these have been bored out and long bushes inserted into them.  These brackets are almost completely inaccessible, and I can only guess that they were not regularly inspected and the need for bushing them was only discovered after the holes in the bracket bosses had gone badly egg-shaped.  Swanage’s tender chassis (ex 35025) had been fitted with similar bushes, so I’m guessing this was a common problem.

Les and the bogie-men were just in the final stages of overhauling their 5th bogie/truck, when – guess what!  Two more bogies appeared from the S15 (30506)’s tender at once.  So Derek and Welsh Pete were making a start this week on cleaning up and assessing the horn guides.  Down in the hot-metal area, Bob-the-Welder was melting out white-metal from some axle-box bearings, which may or may not have included those from the S15 tender.

Another team has been out in the yard clearing debris from points and installing cut sleepers to allow vehicles like Merlo (the green coal-loading tele-handler), to run over them. It’s been heavy hot work and required a qualified chain-saw operator.  As I passed them they were bouncing about on the sawn timbers to check that they’d not built a giant see-saw.

The Swanage pipers have metamorphosed into the tender-brake-gear bushers, and Alan, Dave, Mike, Paul, Stu and I have been hauling out bits from containers for the last few weeks, cleaning and measuring them, and storing them in an orderly fashion.  Both Swanage and CanPac have Merchant-Navy tender chassis’ so we’ve been doing both sets.  Some kind soul has removed all 88 of the bushes from CanPac’s brake gear, so that gave us 88 holes to clean, measure and assess for size and ovality.  Swanage’s bits all have their bushes in place, so that gave us 88 bushes to measure.  We just started this week on boring out the holes in one of CanPacs brake hangers to get them round and to a uniform size so we can make a start making a set of bushes.  We’re searching ebay for the right size floating-head reamer for the job.

It appears that all 45 of CanPacs tender brake gear pins have been scrapped, and some of Swanage’s pins are missing, so we’ve also started to assess them and put together a list of pins that need to be made.  It’s not an easy task, as the Ashford pin drawings are not available at the NRM.  Luckily we’ve been able to obtain the Ashford drawings for some of the brake gear components so we will be able to work out dimensions from the drawings and from the stored components - plenty of homework!  All this means a lot of bush- and pin-making, and now that we’ve received the material, Alan and Dave are keen to get onto a lathe and start turning them out (sorry about the pun!).

And that leaves the horror-story on the corroded brake-hanger brackets and their ill-fitting bushes. We’ll cover that in a future instalment.

Under Assistant Ropley Scribe

Photo gallery

  • Swanage Pipework – but on 34072 at Swanage

  • One of CanPacs tender brake hanger brackets, badly corroded with egg-shaped holes and ill-fitting bushes

  • The bushes went through the frames making it impossible to replace them without dismantling the tender frames!

  • 30506’s tender bogies. Derek was measuring the gap between the horn-blocks.

  • Bob-the-welder melting out the white metal from an axlebox bearing

  • It’s taken a lot of chain-sawing, and produced a lot of sawdust…

  • But the new timbers are in place on the cleared-out points. Iain is testing them for bounce.

  • We got through a lot of Vaseline last week, protecting cleaned-up brake-gear bits against corrosion. These are CanPacs crossbeam journals

  • Swanage’s 12 brake-block holders and one of the brake adjuster rods on the bench for cleaning and hole-measurement.

  • Some of Swanage’s brake-gear pins. The big 14” pins go through the brake hanger brackets in pictures 2 and 3. One has a loose bush attached to it.

  • One of the brake hangers being bored out by 1/64” to get the hole round again.

  • The longer top-hole bosses need similar treatment. Those 14” pins go through this hole.

  • Morley was mending the mag-drill after its slog through dozens of rivets and bolts on Canpacs tender chassis.