Watercress Line

Ropley Loco Wednesday Gang - The usual mix of tenders, pipes and bogies

Here we are, back at Ropley in the sweltering heat, when it only seemed yesterday that we were shivering!

Mike returned from a few weeks absence and offered to carry on with cataloging drawings, so Alasdair and I found the latest database for him and left him to it. It’s a slow process and Mike laboured away in the mezzanine until it simply got too hot to work up there.  Dave-the-Print did a bit of work on the stores labelling on the upper deck of Troutbridge – another location requiring tropical kit.

The Wadebridge Tender Gang were busy jacking and packing their tender chassis up to a height that would allow the wheels to be rolled under it.  I didn’t see the finished result as I was labouring in the sun elsewhere at the end of the day.

The bogie-men (sans Les) had taken the company transport to Eastleigh to pick up some CanPac suspension bits needed for their seemingly never-ending project.  Somehow this task suffered from what we used to call “Mission Creep” and they appeared tired and hot at the end of the day with all kinds of CanPac bits which they weren’t expecting.

Ollie was busy painting CanPacs new tender body in a temporary coat of green paint to make it presentable for the July gala. It’ll need quite a lot more work when the loco and tender are finally painted.

Pete(rsfield) and I spent a few minutes examining the newly delivered Black Five spring that had been made to Pete’s CAD drawing. The supplier had made a few alterations and there were a number of manufacturing issues that needed closer attention.

Alasdair and I picked up where we left off with Swanage’s lubrication pipes. When the loco was originally restored from scrapyard condition, this pipework was installed in much the same way that plumbing is installed into a house – ie in long runs without any thought to future maintenance and overhauls.  So when the loco was stripped for overhaul, the pipework had to be cut out in sections and placed into storage. It was catalogued and tagged but we’re struggling a bit with the coding system used to tag them.  Our working theory is that if we can group the pipework into “family groups” we can either crack the code, or match the pipes to the drawings.

The lubrication pipework drawings show 170 sections of pipe, totalling about a quarter of a mile – you can get some idea of the complexity from the extracted sections I’ve shown below.  The first job was to retrieve and disentangle the bits from storage, identify and wire them together into “family groups” which we’re then placing roughly in position on the loco.  We made pretty good progress and now have about a third of it retrieved and arranged in place. Once we have worked what needs to be cut into sections, we’ll make a start on cleaning,  annealing, and bending it, and re-instating the 161 screw connectors that should connect it all together. 

There was plenty of other work being done around the site – all of it important for the operation of the railway, but often unmentioned in these blogs

Under Assistant Ropley Scribe


Cake rota for the next few weeks:
21 June            Stewart & Pete(rsfield)
28 June            Dave-the-scribe and  Colin-the-under-assistant –scribe
5 July               Wot, no cake? Stop Press: I hear Painless and Stu might be down for this week!
12 July             Aussie Sam & Kieran

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