Ian reports a bitterly cold morning at minus 3 degrees, with snow covered moors and brilliant sunshine. What else could you want, possibly sat on a beach in OZ! Actually, I am sat in a hotel room overlooking Hong Kong harbour where it is 16C. Everyone is complaining how cold it is and that I must be mad not wearing a sweater or coat! If only they knew about the weather back home, they would be jealous!
Good turnout, with Derek Shorten, Bill Dobson, Roy Marshall, Jon Bradley, Ian McCall and Ian Pearson. No mice to report again - has the Hyman work done the trick? - then the usual cuppa, before work started with Ian M filing the regulator handle square and Derek continuing painting the vacuum pipe. Barney and a couple of fitters came up to help out fitting the right hand side rods, with a collective effort from Bill, Ian, Jon, and Roy. After pinch barring the loco forward slightly, the rods were offered onto the journals, but getting them to slide on seemed impossible. Then we had to pinch the driving wheel slightly back to line up the rod and journals, and after several attempts the rods started to go on. The front and rear rods were offered in position and eventually all the rods were finally fitted, so many thanks to the shed staff for their help and perseverance. By this time, lunch was overdue, so it was down to the SNG A4 cabin for lunch.
Ian M completed the filing on the regulator handle and it now fits the regulator rod firmly. Jon took the regulator casting down to the glass blaster to clean the face where the main steam pipe fits into the casting. The groove into which the main steam pipe fits still requires some more cleaning. Bill decided to fit the regulator rod and, as Ian P was the smaller of our team, he was sent reluctantly into the boiler. Getting in wasn't too bad, but pulling himself out proved a bit of a battle, but he managed it eventually, albeit with some encouragement from the onlookers. The rod was inserted into the boiler and through the holding bracket and then entered the gap between the stays, but this caused the rod to catch the side of the stays. With only one person in the boiler, it was too heavy for one man to manage, so, as time was against us, we took the rod out and will try again when we have someone else to go into the boiler. Roy Marshall made a start tightening the nuts on the right hand side cylinder cover with a torque wrench. Ian M started fitting the cotters on the right hand side rods but there is still the rear one to complete. 18 seats have now been cut on the flue tubes with only 6 left to do. Derek completed painting the vacuum pipe in red gloss and also a piece of vacuum pipe already attached under the front of the loco.
A lot of shunting around the MPD, with the steam crane lit up in readiness for Eric Treacy's boiler lift onto the frames on Thursday (today). Repton was also being lit ready for steam test and half term running starting on Saturday.
Next working party will be on Saturday 10th February - any small(ish) volunteers particularly welcome!