Watercress Line

Ropley Loco Wednesday Gang - And now for something completely different!

Well what could that be?  Is it Thomas chuffing about, pleasing the kids?  Is it the thought of another election?  Is it a week without kitchen or plumbing problems? No, it’s the sweet smell of success!
 It’s the nature of the beast that a day at Ropley can feel like one step forward and two steps backwards – or if you’re really lucky it’s two steps forward and one backwards.  Well, today was different.  There were fewer than normal of us (Easter Hols, Thomas, etc), but I think it’s fair to say that we all went home feeling like we’d had a good day and all the steps were in a forwards direction.

The Wadebridge Tender Gang had got their buffers on last week, and this week they got three of their springs on without a glitch.  It all takes time, but the modified components all worked well and they are expecting to get the other springs on next week.
They’d have probably managed another spring but they gave me a hand with pressing bushes out of the 9F’s coupling rods.  These are about 12 ft long, so they’re a little awkward to handle, and weigh just over half a ton.   Good team-work had these onto the press and the bushes out by mid-morning.

Matt’s next little job for a couple of us was to tidy up the thread on the LH gudgeon pin that attaches the small end of the 9F's connecting rod to the crosshead.  This had received a badly-aimed blow from a hammer and Iain and I could see a small amount of damage which prevented the nut from getting started on the thread.  For a smaller thread we’d have used a die but this was too big for that, being 2” dia.  Likewise thread files – these don’t go up to that size either.

So we filed away the obvious damage with needle files and that got the nut started on the thread. After lunch Keith joined me as Iain was needed to drive the fork-truck.  We concluded we’d mount the pin on a lathe and use that as a convenient way of holding it, whilst turning the nut with the giant adjustable spanner. We used oil and fine grinding paste to overcome any remaining resistance.

Russian John , Stu and Ben spent some time unblocking the pit drain, and then continued shifting the ash which is produced in large quantities during Thomas week.  They finished the day looking pretty filthy, but the pit was spotless.

In my last Wednesday Gang blog, I wrote of the impressive work done in our Boiler Shop. A lot of this work requires some very specialised skills, but Andy and his team could use a few more volunteers, especially with experience of welding, flame cutting and heavy drilling.  If you can do any of these things,  please email mhr.engineering_volunteers@btconnect.com.

Under Assistant Ropley Scribe


Cake roster for the next few weeks:
April 26            Paul & Pilot-Pete
May 3              Alasdair & Pete(rsfield)
May 10            Dave-2Jags & George

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