Saturday, 6 April 2013

Achilles Report No30: Well, Thats A Relief...

Hello all. "Achilles Report No30" and here she is, back on the track again. The fast-track bottom end overhaul that the locomotive has been undergoing over the last few months is now complete. I picked Eddie up from his house on my way to Ryton this morning, and we arrived at about 9:30am and began unloading and checking the loco. She was then steamed up and made some triumphant back & forth runs along the run-up-rail, proving that she did at least work in some way, shape or form! We then took her around the track and she completed 3 good laps with no real trouble. The beats are now much more even and the loud clatter has now been reduced to little more than a slight rattle, which I believe is the di-block hangers which will require attention in the future...but we already knew that. The only problem that the engine was having today was the water pump which I'd had in bits over the winter for new O-rings and packing. The pump was definitely pumping, but perhaps only on the one side (its double-acting normally). Therefore, water was getting through, just not fast enough. The clack was definitely opening as the ball could be felt moving up & down during operation. Ahh well, we didn't expect a perfect run and I doubt that it will require anything major to rectify it. Below, Eddie tightens up the vitals on "Achilles" after another lap...
"Pit Stop"
Everything seemed to be bedding in nicely and, with a birthday party due to start at midday, we retired from the track at just gone 11:30 in order to be able to get out of the way. The loco was disposed of and sat quietly on the steaming bays whilst the party took place, with trains being hauled by the two resident diesel outlines: the petrol hydraulic and the Class 37 electric. The steam up was due to start at 1pm and many loco's turned up for a run. I steamed "Achilles" up again at about that time and here she is coming around on the bay, with the electric blower drawing out the smoke and pulling the heat from the fire through the boiler...
"A Smokey Start"
Having steamed up for a second time, we trundled back onto the track and then coupled up an extra riding truck so that I could give mum & nan a ride around. The loco continued to perform well and I was very impressed with the improved steaming capability. The newly reset valve timing seemed to help the engine no end and the amount of regulator opening required to do the same work was drastically reduced. I will also however endeavour to sort the springing out as she is still a little bouncy as she makes her way along the track. Below, "Achilles" sits smartly on Ryton Bank with the safety valves lifting and the brass dome shining...
Despite the impressive steaming capability of the engine I still wasn't happy with the water pump and so we retired from the track again so that I could check the feed lines. I discovered some soft packing inside one of the pumps and so immediately removed it. This improved matters slightly once I had steamed the loco up for a THIRD time but something is still not right. I can only think that 3 months of holding water has perhaps furred up the piping, either that or some more packing has made its way through into the feed pipes between the pump and the boiler. Either way, its easy to rectify so I'm not too worried (he says!). Later on "Achilles" sits in front of Dave's 'Simplex' on the bank...
"She's Back"
Both the weather and the run had really been glorious and I was very much impressed with the engine. All she will need now is a bit more TLC in order to sort the water pump blockage out and then just tighten the springing slightly to ease the bouncing. The running in will also continue of course, every time the engine is ran. She certainly did a good few laps today with nothing running hot or going particularly wrong...
A Cab Shot
Thank you very much for reading guys. "Achilles" will next be at RPMR this time in a month, probably May 4th I would imagine. I would hope by then to have the water pump problem rectified and to give her some further running in. I myself am back at RPMR tomorrow for a crew turn on the public services. Cheers guys. Sam.

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