We’ve had quite a bit to report recently, so hopefully readers are enjoying a certain revitalisation of the blog news as a result?!
General news roundup
Below: Two days a week, Rebecca is working on the top deck of the LGOC B-Type bus to refresh the paintwork of seats and handails. The bus had ended up parked outside throughout the first lockdown (the engine and gearbox had been removed for repair and with all plant off-hired at the start of the lockdown to save money, there was no safe way of shunting the bus from where it stood) so its paintwork, in particular on the top deck, had suffered (and it was already fairly tatty). The opportunity to carry out this work before we need the bus in service has therefore been taken as we are likely to be reliant on the bus fleet for our public transport for sometime to come.
Below: A pallet of components from Railway Brake Services… These wrapped goodies are the air brake components for Gateshead 10, all refurbished and ready for installation on the tram. They will remain in their sealed bags for now to protect them, but for those who were familiar with 10 before it was withdrawn five years ago (five years! Where has that time gone?!), it should feel like a new tram when it does return to service.
Below: In the fabrication shop various bits are being made for one of the Kubota grass tractors. Beamish has a lot of grass to cut and the grass cutters work hard and inevitably wear out – these being the brackets for the bump wheels and which are being renewed.
Below: Coffee Pot’s cylinder lubricators (the brass onions that sit on top of each cylinder and admit steam oil directly into the cylinder to lubricate the piston) have always been tedious to fill. I am not sure of the origin of the lubricators themselves, as they were amongst items found in store during its restoration (I don’t think they had been fitted to the locomotive). The plug valves are being bored out to match the size of the hole in the body, and align the two on the same centre line (as the plugs are taken up due to wear, the holes begin to misalign as the plug position is further into the chamber of the casting it sits in).
Below: A closeup view of the plug cock – note the bright marks where it seats into the lubricator body and is rotated 90 degrees to open/close it. The thread at the top projects through the body and is secured by a washer and nut. As a result, the misalignment mentioned can begin to creep in over time as the plug cock wears and the nut is tightened. This work will mean that it becomes easier to fill the pots, which until now required the cylinder oil to be very warn (and therefore less viscous) and a large degree of patience!
Below: To put the lubricators in context, this view of Coffee Pot’s first day in steam following overhaul on the 30th March 2010, clearly shows the left hand side lubricator on top of the cylinder.
Below: Both footbridges at Rowley Station are receiving attention to their non-slip surfacing this week.
Below: We purchased a spare Gardner 5LW diesel engine for Darlington 4 over a year ago, but have only now been able to take delivery. This will be kept as a spare, ‘just in case’ and is part of our general approach to obtaining critical spare parts for the working collection whenever possible or practicable.
Below: A limited amount of permanent way maintenance has been underway and with the Waggonway due to reopen later this month, some sleepers are being changed and the trackwork inspected. A new arrangement for locking the ground frame was described in an earlier post and there is some tidying up to do around the area to make it presentable for visitors. The coaches are receiving some adaptations to enable three family bubbles to travel per trip. It will be very nice to be able to offer passenger rides on a railway here once again, and the Waggonway is scheduled to operate everyday until the end October
Below: We have a shortage of crossing timbers and timber sleepers at present, so will look at recovering the remains of the loop at the Waggonway to provide some material to complete the Waggonway and then focus on the Colliery standard gauge line, which is in need of spot-resleepering in some locations. One thing the pandemic has done is make us very thrifty and it is amazing what can be found in store, left over from more profligate days!