Saturday, 3 December 2016

Tyseley: In The Bleak Midwinter...

Hi all. Today was a pleasant but chilly day spent at Tyseley on an unexpected volunteer Saturday. I say unexpected because we were meant to be on a trip to Lincoln for the Lindum Fayre. Sadly, both of the collection's operational main line 4-6-0s had been declared out of gauge for the route in recent weeks and so even deputising 4965 for 5043 offered no chance of a steam hauled train. These things happen. Anyway, I arrived at the former 84E shed at just after 10am, having driven through the frosty morning conditions and called at the Tyseley Corner CafĂ© on route. The hearty sandwich that followed was most welcome on this crisp winter day...
Having enjoyed my sandwich in the car, I wandered down to the loco shed to find the lads. My first job was to work the signalbox for a shunt move out of Platform 2 road and this required some quick calculations in order to work out which levers were required and in which order. I haven't signalled anything from Platform 2 for a long time! Job done, I was given a brass packing for "Clun Castle" to work until it fit properly. Whilst collecting some tools, I couldn't help but catch a snap of "Rood Ashton Hall"...
Just in front of the Hall sat the larger Castle Class 5043. As previously stated, both engines were out of gauge for the Lincoln run. The track on Network Rail does shift over time and during engineering works, with the resulting gauging measurements compared to the locomotives width, height and possible sideways movement (under power for example) to reach a result. Its surprising with 5043 in particular as the Castle's are not really a gauge unfriendly engine, if anything they're pretty good. Ahh well, these things happen. The Castle is off to York next week with the "White Rose": the finale of Tyseley's 2016 operations on the main line...
Back with my little job on 7029, the brass packing in question is used to provide the height of the slide bar on the RH outside cylinder when the bolts are tightened against the hanger casting. The packing had to be worked to achieve a good fit...
With the holes now a good fit on the locking pins and the correct positioning achieved, the packing was squared up on the miller. It was then trial fitted to check the final result before it was stamped up to keep it with 7029...
"Clun Castle" is really coming on now. I have to take my hat off to the Tyseley lads as this has been a very big job and 7029 has had a massive amount of work carried out. I think you can see light at the end of the tunnel with the job now but there is still a massive amount to do. You don't realise until you spend time at a place like Tyseley just how much work and time goes into these old things - let alone money! All being well though 7029 may well return to steam next year which will be fabulous to see...
During the rest of the afternoon I just helped with small jobs - lifting and carrying, bolting things up etc. The slide bars on the RH side of 7029 will now be checked for alignment. As with all steam engines, the alignment of the slide bars and the trueness of the crosshead will end up determining the life of the piston and the bore. If any components are running severely out of true, the bore (or liner if applicable) will become worn more quickly as the support for the ensemble will be compromised. Ensuring everything is correctly in line with the correct tolerance will ensure a longer life for all components and of course will provide a better job all round. Well that's me for Tyseley in 2016 guys. I can't make the York trip next week and then the week after there are two consecutive steam turns booked elsewhere so it'll be January when I return to 84E. I must thank the Tyseley lads for a great and very interesting year with them and hope for many more outings in 2017. My steam knowledge has grown so much whilst volunteering there and I'm most grateful for that. All the best guys, Sam...
* The views and opinions expressed in this blog are merely my own and do not by any means represent the views of the company or any other organisation. Many thanks.

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