C2 Project News

Mid February 2018

Another 'extra' working party

Paul and Dave 1 arrived in Porthmadog on Wednesday evening, ready to start work on the C2 again the following day. Or so they thought...
By Wednesday evening, it had been decided that an extra ballast train would be needed on Thursday, so Paul found himself on Linda's footplate once again on Thursday. Unfortunately the weather wasn't so kind to him as it had been on previous occasions, and he returned to Boston Lodge in the evening soaked through and very cold. Nothing that plenty of tea followed by a good evening in the pub couldn't cure though.

While Paul was out in the sleet, Dave 1 prepared things for the following day. The staff at Boston lodge works had kindly agreed that we could leave the locomotive bufferbeams in the works since the previous working party, so Dave 1 moved them under an A frame crane, such that they could be turned over. This allowed him to grind a weld prep on the rear of the front bufferbeam, where the drawbar wear plate was to be fitted.
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Linda shunts wagons at the Moelwyn Tunnel worksite in the horrendous weather that we experienced for most of the weekend.
While under the crane, Dave 1 took the opportunity to weigh the bufferbeams. The front bufferbeam is 268 kg (just over 1/4 ton) and the rear bufferbeam is 390 kg (getting on for 1/2 ton), so it can be appreciated that they aren't the easiest of things to move around!
Dave 2 had previously cut the front drawbar wear plate to size, but it still required three tapped holes before it could be welded into the front bufferbeam. Dave 1 marked out, drilled and tapped these holes, ground a weld prep on the rear edge, and descaled the plate, thereby completing it ready for fitting.
The bottom of the drawbar slot in the front bufferbeam had been made up with a layer of plate, so Dave 1 ground back the join to form a V prep. He then ran a bead of weld along the line, and ground it back flush. This then readied the front bufferbeam for accepting the wear plate.

We had planned to measure the tender horn interfaces at this working party, for which we needed the long blue parallel, which seems to spend much of its time at Dinas these days. The works staff had kindly arranged for it to be returned to Boston Lodge, although it was rather engrained with dirt. Dave 1 gave the parallel a good clean, ready for use.

Another piece of equipment we knew we would want over the weekend was the magnetic base drill. Dave 1 located this, so we knew it would be available for us.
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A pile of parcels waiting for our arrival. These included Iglidur bushes and a tension spring for the brakegear, custom fitted bolts with nuts and washers for the bufferbeam fixings, some new milling cutters, and a new item of merchandise.
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We saw a little bit of blue sky on Friday morning, illuminating the snow on the mountains. Heavy rain has flooded the reclaimed land - it must have looked like this before William Madocks built the cob.
With Paul back in the works on Friday, he and Dave 1 set to measuring the tender horn interfaces. Just as we did with the locomotive chassis, we will machine the tender horns to compensate for any irregularities in the interfaces on the tender chassis frames. Taking the measurements is a slow and careful process, using parallels, engineer's squares and feeler gauges to determine how straight the interfaces are. After a morning's work, sufficient measurements had been taken for Paul to enter them into a spreadsheet and to try and make sense of all the numbers.
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Parallels set up to measure the tender horn mounting plates.
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Dave measures the tender horn mounting plates
Another task on the computer was to review the locomotive-tender drawbar lateral damper arrangement. We are proposing to use a hydraulic damper to control lateral movements of the back end of the locomotive, and we needed to know exactly where to mount it. The drawbar can move up and down as well as from side to side, and we don't want the damper hitting the hole in the locomotive frames which it passes through, nor do we want it reaching the limits of its stroke. By careful positioning of the bracket which attaches the damper to the rear bufferbeam, these scenarios can be avoided. Dave 1 and Paul reviewed Paul's drawings, and agreed a position for the damper brackets.
Dave 2 had arrived by this time, so was tasked with marking up the back of the rear bufferbeam with the damper bracket positions, in readiness for welding them on. He also ground a weld prep on one of the brackets, to provide a good quality join between the bracket and the edge of the bufferbeam.

Andrew and Erle joined the working party on Saturday, so the pace picked up again.

Using Dave 2's markings and a jig which had been made some months ago, Dave 1 and Andrew clamped the damper brackets into position on the rear bufferbeam, and welded them both into position. This then completed the rear bufferbeam.
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The new brackets for the yaw damper are now welded to the inside of the rear bufferbeam.
Dave 1 assisted Andrew in welding the drawbar wear plate into the front bufferbeam. The front weld will be particularly visible, so we wanted a good quality weld here. Andrew's welding skills have developed over the past few years, and he was able to do a very neat weld in this location. Dave 1 turned the bufferbeam over while Andrew took a breather, before Andrew then welded the wear plate from the rear. This completed the front bufferbeam, ready for fitting.
Meanwhile, Dave 2 was removing the paint from the front and rear top edges of the locomotive chassis, and grinding weld preps onto them. Behind the front bufferbeam, the top plate of the locomotive chassis is to be reprofiled slightly, to make the plate 'flow' into the back of the new thicker bufferbeam on each side. Dave 2 therefore ground radii into the edges of the top plate in these locations.
After lunch on Saturday, it was time to move the bufferbeams back to the C2 shed, ready for final fitting to the locomotive chassis. Using a pair of pallet trucks, Andrew and Dave 1 managed to move the bufferbeams onto the concrete apron outside the erecting shop, and also shunted a slate wagon onto 10 road in the works yard. Robco then used the site loader to lift each bufferbeam onto the wagon. Dave 1 then shunted the train back to the C2 shed while Andrew and Dave 2 moved a welding set and a pair of jacks from the erecting shop into the C2 shed too.
While the bufferbeams were being worked on and moved, Paul had been working on his computer, developing a machining plan for the tender horns. The blanks for the tender horns had been prepared several years ago, and, being only roughed out, are slightly variable in size. By carefully allocating specific horns to specific locations, Paul found that with only one exception, there is enough material on the horns to accommodate the irregularities in the horn interfaces on the tender chassis frames. Dave 2 was tasked with finding some thin plate to make a packer for the one horn interface which is too far out of alignment to be corrected my machining alone. He found something suitable, and started cutting it down to size.
After spending many hours on the computer, Paul felt that it was time to do some physical work again, so joined Andrew and Dave 1 in the C2 shed to offer up the front bufferbeam to the locomotive chassis. Before fitting, the paintwork on the rear of the bufferbeam was touched up, and a bead of sealant was applied around its edges. The bufferbeam was then placed into position against the locomotive headstock, using the crane, jacks and dowels (made previously by Dave 1) to align it. The bufferbeam was quickly lined up and bolted into position using temporary bolts.
Having finished making the tender spring rocking washers at the last working party, Erle was after another machining job. Paul explained to him the requirements for a key to hold the brake cylinder crank onto the locomotive brake weighshaft. After carefully cleaning and measuring the existing components, it was decided to deepen and neaten up the sides of the existing keyway in the weighshaft to eliminate the effects of historic corrosion, so Erle set up the weighshaft on the Bridgeport mill, and carried out the required machining.
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Erle carefully set up the brake weighshaft on the Bridgeport mill, and cleaned up the keyway which was corroded. We'll need to make a custom sized key now, but at least it will be a good fit.
On Sunday morning, Andrew and Dave 2 set to work permanently fitting the front bufferbeam to the locomotive chassis. One at a time, each dowel and temporary bolt was removed, and the corresponding hole in the bufferbeam and locomotive chassis reamed out using the magnetic base drill. Once reamed, specially made fitted bolts were inserted into each hole. By lunchtime, all six of the fitted bolts were in place on the front bufferbeam.
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Andrew and Dave 2 ream out the first of the front bufferbeam fixing holes. We've had custom fitted bolts made to hold the bufferbeams in place.
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First of the custom bolts fitted on the front buffer beam. We'll weld around the heads and grind them flat.
Attention could then turn to the rear bufferbeam. After moving the wagon carrying the tender chassis frames outside the shed to create space, the locomotive chassis was moved along the siding (it rolls quite freely after some initial encouragement) to get the rear headstock under the A frame crane in the shed. The same process as used for the front bufferbeam was then used for the rear one, applying sealant, temporarily bolting it in place using dowels for alignment, then reaming each hole and inserting the fitted bolts. We worked a little later than usual on Sunday evening, to get the job complete.
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Andrew and Dave 2 ream holes in the rear buffer beam
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Dave 1 supervises!
Paul had to leave at lunchtime on Sunday, but before departing, he made a guard for the new heater in the back of one of our heated cupboards. The old heater had failed, and the new heater seems rather over zealous, so a guard around it will avoid anything getting too warm.
Paul's machining plan for the tender horns is very comprehensive, and tells us how to mount each horn in a mill, to angle the surface in a way that will result in the working face of the hornguide being in exactly the correct orientation when bolted to the interfaces on the tender chassis frames. Dave 1 set up a number of the horns on the Wanderer milling machine, and milled the rare faces of each horn as per Paul's instructions. By the end of the day, four of the horns had been machined. Two more need machining at an angle, while the remaining six can be milled straight (which should be easier!).
Erle used one of the lathes to turn up a spigot for the locomotive brake crank return spring. It looks very much like a bolt, having a threaded portion where it will fit into the brake cylinder crank, but the head only has two flats on it. As usual, he has done a superb job, and created another beautiful little component, ready for fitting.
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Return spring bolt for the steam brake crank.
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The steam brake crank, with the new return spring bolt fitted.
Most of us had to return to our respective homes on Sunday evening or Monday morning, but Andrew was able to stay a couple of extra days to complete work on the locomotive bufferbeams. A number of items needed welding, for which we had moved the welding set to the C2 shed.
Firstly, Andrew cleaned up the edges of the battery box platework, and the corresponding areas on the tender chassis frames. He then welded the plates into position.
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Andrew welded in the platework for the battery box in the tender. This will provide power for the loco lighting; one day we hope to replace or resuscitate the turbogenerator too.
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Battery box surround welded in place. The floor of the box will be wooden.
Next his attention was turned to the locomotive bufferbeams. The fitted bolts were designed such that they could be welded into place, the head being specially profiled to create a weld prep. Andrew welded all twelve fitted bolts into the bufferbeams, and ground them back flush with the faces.
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The bufferbeam fixing bolts were designed to be welded in place and ground flush afterwards.
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The rear bufferbeam welded in place. The two remaining hexagonal bolts seen here will be replaced by eyebolts to hold the loco-tender safety chains.
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The new front bufferbeam isn't coming off again! The six large fitted bolts are now welded in place, and the join in the footplating is welded up too. Soon we'll get the red paint out again!
The top edges of each bufferbeam are welded to the corresponding headstock of the locomotive chassis. This is primarily to prevent water and dirt falling down between the two faces, which would create a corrosion trap. Andrew completed these welds, both front and rear.

Finally, Sam had previously made two small fillets of metal to fill in the corners each side of the top plate behind the front bufferbeam. Andrew cleaned these and welded them into position, thereby completing the 'flow' of the top plate into the back of the front bufferbeam, making it look like a contiguous item. We're very pleased with the way it looks!
We've had some 'Welsh/Asian fusion' slate coasters made by a local company, and we think they're rather nice. We're planning to get another batch done for sale as merchandise - watch this space...
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Welsh Slate coasters, with the Chinese Forestry Railways (and C2 Project) logo engraved into them. These will be available for sale soon.
P.S. Happy New Year! It's the Chinese Year of the Dog, so here are some photos from Dahuichang:
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Dahuichang Dog
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News Archive 
Late January 2018