James Piercy, Arthur Jenkins, Malky Simpson and Terry Newman attended Hopetown to demonstrate that the shunter was fit for service. The diesel shunter worked and we ran it over the system. All points were operated.
In the process of doing that we managed to shunt the bogie bolster wagon from its normal resting position on cross over down on to the brake van at the south end of the site. Makes future shunting much easier.
Ed Bolam, Harry Sams, Colin Bowman, Dave Wright, Allan Wilson, Andy Bell, Arthur and dog present.
All except Arthur and Ed finished off the gardening and very well it looks.
Ed turned up with a joint from the Q6 and needed 2 blanking plates with the same hole centres. We found one that would fit in a box under the storage racking but had to make another one from a piece of suitable plate. By the time it was finished there wasn't much point in doing anything outside. Everybody was gone by 2.45pm.
Last Updated on Monday, 17 August 2020 19:03
A small group of us came to Hopetown in the murk this morning in order to progress a few small jobs.
- I got a second varnish coat on the inside of the cab. That’s the inside finished (I hope).
- Arthur Jenkins and Ed Bolam went through the rotten sleepers on the wagon outside the A1SLT half of the building. They have retrieved the chairs and bolts for further use. The sleepers are now in a neat pile. They establish that the Whessoe wagon would move now using a pull lift.
- Colin Bowman gave up on the mixer tap problem in the toilet and called across the road at the Malbra Kitchen shop to find an expert. Chap there kindly came across to look at it. It’s a fancy mixer tap and pressure relief valve. He may be able to get new innards at ~£80, or a replacement tap at £150. He said that he could get firm prices. But: he advised that as we would be leaving the building in a couple of years, do we really need to spend so much money on an item which is only there for disabled access. He advised that we leave the cold water shut off at the ball valve and the hot on to provide the required pressure relief for the water heater should its thermostatic control fail. This has been done and the tap and sink labelled as out of use.
- Colin spent the afternoon clearing the jungle south of the crossing to allow vehicles to be shunted there.
Arthur will lead a small team on Thursday to continue the track related work.
There’s a glut of ripe blackberries. They are at their best now.
It’s interesting that our neighbours are so well informed about our future at Hopetown …
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 August 2020 21:40
A group of 8 volunteers came equiped with gardening tools to clear the jungle. They needed to work separatly and conform to the new Covid-19 control measures.
The same party gathered at Hopetown for a little more gardening. As the back door was opened the rain descended. We found odd jobs, drank coffee, socially distanced chat, etc for about 30 minutes, watching the rain descend. Just like a test match without needing to pay. Then the rain cleared, the sun came out, and off we started with the loppers. The large yellow wagon was pinch bared by a length towards the building to allow access to the brambles underneath. Allan and Colin spent the day with shovels trying to clear the ballast away from the track inner edge after pulling up the weeds near the crossing. All now quite neat. Sorry the photo is a bit shaken but the magnification is about x7.
The blackberries were picked. I’m expecting some with my dinner, others are on trays ready to go into the freezer.
Inside, Ed and Arthur reported a ¼ brick landing by the J72 cab. No, not vandals throwing missiles through the door, but one falling from the wall supported by the joist which supports the central tower. Is this the first of an avalanche? Is the tower about to do a 9/11? I suppose that if structural engineers are visiting on Wednesday then they can be shown something to report upon.
Rob Williamson delivered the second rail trolly and the J72 chimney cap just after 18:00.
Last Updated on Friday, 03 April 2020 18:14
Still a good turn out on a breezy cold morning, though one absentee with a bad cold. After the fire was lit and Arthur’s latest load of pine logs was warming through the building, we pushed on with a few jobs before morning tea arrived.
Not a lot of work to do. As the keys had been extracted from the gudgeon pins on Monday night, these were lapped in to the cross heads. Ed managed t get a coat of undercoat on the last of the boiler cladding sheets. The access tower bits were brought back to the changing corner and reassembled. The machinists continued with the spring hanger and Q6 drain cocks. More firewood was cut. More brambles were cut back.
Bryan Orange joined us in the mess room at lunch time. The Wednesday’s Northern Echo article was raised: https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/18295944.railway-groups-fears-grow-deadline-looms/ , and the remarkable generosity of Darlington Borough Council, as reported, was noted.
After lunch Nigel, Bryan, Arthur and Norman Wells spent the afternoon discussing Hopetown related safety issues.
Last Updated on Sunday, 15 March 2020 21:04
A cold frosty start. 13 of us turned up. John Jones has returned after his bad back problem.
Arthur soon had the fire going. Tim Williamson, Ed Bolam and myself soon had the buffer beam back on, warming up for Allan Wilson’s 10:00 tea.
We had a visit from the scrap man, so now the scrap corner is a little tidier. He brought us an extra bin for swarf.
Tim and Norman Wells spent the day checking the cylinder casting against a couple of drawings. The castings need to be turned over to continue the process next week. Ed, John and myself dismantled the boiler access scaffold. Derek Shorton and Allan cut up some more firewood. Colin Smith extracted the gudgeon pins from the connecting rods and fitted them into the crossheads. As we cannot now understand what was required to lap these in the job was abandoned. Colin cleaned up the guard irons. Machinists corner was busy as usual.
As lunch time approached, Arthur went to the wash room to sing happy birthday for 20 minutes.
After lunch Norman showed me what he had been able to capture of the project schedule and asked for assistance identifying certain tasks. Whilst we were in the mess room, Gordon Best arrived to check on the loco for a GA drawings that he was making and to collect some cylinder bolts for drawing. Tim didn’t know which bolts he was to draw, so Gordon went away empty handed. Sorry Gordon. Ed undercoated another cladding sheet, I managed to rub down and apply a first coat of varnish to the cab hatch. Colin Bowman arrived and has now managed to clear the brambles all the way along the Hopetown Lane wall. He did remark that spring had arrived and the blighters were starting to emerge from the ground again.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 March 2020 13:05
Whilst I was varnishing inside the cab, Norman Wells, Ed Bolam, Arthur Jenkins and Tim Williamson whipped out the remaining cylinder block fitted bolts.
The block was then rolled over on the rail trolleys and all of the fitted bolts joining the two halfs were removed. By the end of the day the two halves of the cylinder block had been split.
The inner buffer beam was moved into position for mounting back on Thursday.
Neal Woods visited at tea time to brief people. A productive afternoon and evening.
Another good turnout.
After lighting the fire and warming through, Arthur Jenkins, John Jones and Tim Williamson set about re-inserting the longitudinal boiler stays and the regulator rod back into the boiler - a job which seemed to require a lot of shouting and hammering, and made participants rather thirsty. After a quick 10:00 cup of tea, Arthur was cracking the whip again. Norman Wells and Ed Bolam looked through the J72 shelf to discover any blanking plates. One was discovered for the main steam pipe, but this did not quite fit over what is thought to be a bent stud. Later, further blanks were found in the brass store. Norman set about cutting suitable gaskets. Allan Wilson managed to clear the paint from the lubrication holes associated with the motion weigh shaft and covered them with masking tape.
Harry Sams looked at the suggested modification to the axle box covers. The extra boss face lubrication suggestion seems to have a number of snags. This job was left for further consideration. He spent most of the day servicing the pedestal drill. The machinists were busy as usual. Neal’s order for material to construct new piston gland bolts was collected from M-Machine, and the job added to the machinist’s queue.
Dave Wright and Derek Shorton finished butchering the remaining firewood. Colin Bowman replaced the blown bulb in NW corner spotlight. He managed to clear some more of the brambles against Hopetown Lane wall.
Whilst Ed Bolam was applying a coat of undercoat to another of the cladding sheets, I managed to remove the strip of masking tape and the overspills from the inside of the cab. Only the varnish to go inside there now.
Two 3 drawer filing cabinets have now made their way to the mess room for holding non-archival paperwork.
A frustrating week at Hopetown.
The ashpan was lifted on the engine hoist on Monday and the 2 rail trolleys removed from underneath it and repositioned to take the cylinder block when removed. The ashpan was then lowered onto pallets which had replaced the trolleys. The engine hoist was again in use to load the Q6 piston head into Nigel Bill’s van.
On Thursday there were 14 of us present.
I visited M-Machine to collect the machined drain cock carrots for the Q6. The brass castings were very porous, though it looks as though we will have sufficient to complete the drain cock set. The machinists were busy with the spring hanger bolts. Arthur gave a demonstration of the new wheel used to insert a reamer into the taper pin hole. Arthur Jenkins and Colin Smith managed to extract the main steam pipe support from the boiler. The back cylinder covers have been cleaned. Colin Bowman managed to do a terrific job cutting back the brambles against the Hopetown Lane wall.
Dave Wright and Derek Shorton continued to butcher furniture in order to keep us supplied with firewood. How we will keep warm in future is anybody’s guess. I see from https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/air-quality-using-cleaner-fuels-for-domestic-burning/outcome/summary-of-responses-and-government-response that it is only proposed to restrict our ability to buy firewood. I don’t think that we have ever done that.
With the exception of the machinists, we have run out of engineering work,. Some left early. Little to do other than tidy up.
Last Updated on Friday, 14 February 2020 09:25
Fifteen of us braved the sleet this morning.
After lighting the fire, putting the world to rights, a cup of tea and a lifting briefing and then to work.
A gang led by Tim Williamson positioned blocks, jacks, the lifting frame and the engine hoist in order to lift the loco by an inch or so to extract the lifting beam. This eventually led to the chocks being knocked out of two sleepers in order to reposition then to give the engine hoist a clear path to roll out with the left hand end of the lifting beam. With everything in position the front of the loco was raised an inch, the final packing placed under the frames, the loco lowered onto the packing, and the beam extracted. The yellow stands were then repositioned at the front of the frames as supplementary support.
Time for lunch making use of Derek Shorton’s dining chairs to accommodate everybody.
After lunch all of the bolts joining the two halves of the cylinder block were loosened, then nipped up to make the eventual splitting of the block easier. The block is now ready for extraction when a couple of rail trolleys become available.
Elsewhere Colin Smithy rubbed down the filler paint on the front LHS cladding sheet, Dave Wright and Derek Shorton cut up firewood. Harry Sams managed to weld the crack in the loppers. Colin Bowman spent the afternoon gardening with his loppers and dyke slasher. Maurice Bell managed to turn one of the old lathe gear wheels into a handle for controlling the vertical movement of the head of the milling machine, much to the delight of Arthur Jenkins. The previous handle had been missing since we acquired the machine.
Floor swept and the place left tidy for Saturday’s open day.