Sunday, 2 February 2014

Jiggin' in the Riggin'...

Hi guys. Today we were back at Shackerstone working on the Peckett "Sir Gomer". Last week the engine took great steps towards her axle removal by having her rods, bearings and eccentric straps removed. On Wednesday, the engine was also relieved of her brake linkage (the bars which join the three cross-members to the Steam Brake). The threaded bars are seen here in the workshop following removal...
Our task today was to remove the rest of the brake rigging: the three cross-members basically. The cross-members are fastened into the brake hangers which carry the blocks. Each wheel has a brake block and therefore each axle has a cross-member, two hangers and two brake blocks. The cross-members: when held in unison by the threaded bars: are equally connected to the steam brake, and hand brake respectively. As pressure is applied, each cross-member, and therefore each brake block hanger, is pulled against its respective wheel, with the created friction slowing and duly stopping the locomotive. It is a simple yet very effective system...but everything is heavy! "Sir Gomer" weighs around 35 tons loaded and I think most of it must be on the bottom end! In order to remove the cross-members, we thought it best to throw some long wood packing between the wheels, and then pack up to the base of the cross-member as best we could. You could then remove one of the brake hangers by removing the split-pin, washer and spacer. With one hanger off, the released end of the cross-member would put pressure onto the packing so that the other hanger could be safely removed. We managed to carry out this process three times and successfully removed the cross-members...
"Two Brake Blocks and the Centre Cross-Member"
With all of the brake rigging and hangers removed, the engine is now pretty much free of obstruction ready for lifting. The next job is to get the engine moved to the place where she will be jacked. In order to do this: as she is currently jacked up: the damaged brass will have to be heavily oiled and refitted before the engine is lowered down from her sleeper tower. She will then move forward probably 30 or 40ft before being stopped again ready for lifting. This location will take her off the inspection pit and therefore, if she isn't finished by the time our Spring Steam Gala rolls around, then the gala visitor(s) will have chance to use the pit for oiling up. Once stationed in her lifting location, "Sir Gomer" will drop all six of her springs and this will be the final straw prior to lifting. With the appropriate jacking equipment, the engine should lift easily to around 2/2.5ft in the air. This will allow all six axles to be removed if required, though it is likely that only the front and centre will be removed, with the latter only coming out for checking. The lead axle will then go out for contracted repair...
"Rear Wheel Minus Brakes"
Following our removal of the brake rigging and hangers, there was a call to go and help the guys down the line who were struggling to move a 60ft length of very heavy rail. This rail takes at least 8 people to move easily, and they had less than half that. Therefore, our stalwart team of myself, Eddie, David and Jamie jumped in the cars and headed off through the Fen Lanes to Carlton to give the lads a hand. We'll be back on "Sir Gomer" next week. Cheers guys, Sam...

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