Watercress Line

Ropley Loco Wednesday Gang - 15 November 2017 - Cakeless in Ropley

Back to the fun factory, with joy in my heart, a spring in my step, and every intention of taking lots of interesting pictures to include in a blog!  Well, that didn’t work out very well.

I got started with Paul and new man Alan on Swanage pipework (more later) and then went off to the Carriage Shop to attempt to repair the anti-virus software on their PC.  We had a cable fault that stopped network access in the Carriage/Boiler Shop for several weeks and during this time Symantec’s server decided that those PCs had “gone away” and when they returned Symantec decided they were alien invaders and wouldn’t download software updates. Not a big help in these troubled times!  After an hour of frustration I gave up and left this for Eric to sort out using a software utility that’s needed to do a clean install.  By the way, if you’re reading this and thinking “I could do that”, we’d love to hear from you as I’d much rather be bending bits of steel than mucking about with recalcitrant software.

So, back to the mess a little late for tea break, in need of a slice of rejuvenating cake, only to find they’d scoffed the lot!

All was not lost though, as Dusty Miller (aka Petersfield Pete) presented an uplifting sight as he’d been in the Black Five’s firebox air-chiselling out the brick arch, which cheered me up.  He, Sam, and a few others had spent a lot of time in there over the last couple of weeks, cleaning an area for a repair, but it turned out that the wasted screws extended behind the brick arch so the arch had to come out.  A bit of a shame as it wasn’t long ago that the arch was installed.   By the way, I should explain that brick arches were historically made from fire-bricks, but these days we cast a single piece of ceramic concrete, which is extremely hard to break up.

The bogie-men have been busy with CanPacs trailing truck, and have made a start on what I think is the S15 (30506)’s bogie.  As far as I know, it’s the same old story – renewing worn surfaces, making holes round again, and re-rivetting. 

The love-me-tender gang have been busy with CanPacs tender body for weeks now, sanding off the mill-scale and rust so it can be painted. They may have just finished as the rest of us enjoyed dust-free air and relative quiet for much of the afternoon.  The bogie-men were even seen without their ear-defenders!

Paul and I have been joined by new man Alan in our quest to install the 170 bits of lubrication pipe onto Swanage. We started this in the middle of April with a visit to the container where we were met with the sight of somewhere over 800 feet of tangled, bent and damaged ½” pipe. Since then, we’ve annealed, cleaned, cut, soldered connectors onto, and made pipe clips for nearly half of it, and installed it onto the loco. We’ve learnt a lot, and it’s starting to look like a tidy job.  This week we had the new experience of sleeving two bits together to allow a damaged section to be discarded. 

It was just after tea when Paul said something like”you know the scheme we worked out for staggering the joints under the cab?”.  With an air of foreboding we went to take a close look and sure enough we’d got one set of four pipes muddled with another. An “elegant solution” was quickly developed before we cut the next batch of four pipes and the result will look very neat – even the rivet-counters won’t notice.  I’ve ordered some plastic labels to (hopefully) avoid this kind of mix-up in future.

Back in the Brighton Drawing Office, Mr Bulleids team had a really bright idea. There are 12 oil pipes on each side that run down the edge of the casing and arrive under the cab.  The bright idea was to clamp these onto the inside of a  small section of removable casing. This would make any attempt to remove and replace that section of casing extremely awkward so generations of fitters must have quietly discarded the idea – Wadebridge is the same.  So we’re going to fit our own design of clamp to keep the pipes tidily together in the event that the steam-heat and vac pipes are released from their clips. 

Whilst up in the Boiler Shop, Andy told me that the boiler for 30506 is now finished but not tested. Andy says they will fill it up to check for leaks, then formally test it just before it goes on the chassis.

More in a few weeks time.

Under Assistant Ropley Scribe

Cake rota for the next few weeks:
22 Nov             George & Aussie John
29 Nov             Les & Stu
6 Dec               Dave-the-scribe & Welsh Pete

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