C2 Project News

Late May 2019

Late May Bank Holiday Weekend

We had planned an extended working party over the late May bank holiday, and the total duration was nearly a week. As often happens, our members and volunteers also had other responsibilities over the busy long weekend, so the numbers of people available each day was fairly small. Nevertheless, we made some important steps forward on several workstreams.
Paul arrived first, starting work on Thursday morning. The highest priority task was to set the motion brackets up on the horizontal borer, ready for trueing up the slidebar attachment and the expansion link pivots. Unfortunately the borer was in use on Thursday, but Paul arranged to use it from Friday onwards, and brought a motion bracket over to the machine ready for setting up.
Last month Paul had managed to buy some cab window frames from China, which had a few rough edges. He had worked out a repair method and ordered some rectangular hollow section which had arrived in the mean time. So Paul made a start on cutting out some bad material and making a replacement section. The steel is about 1.5mm thick, so weld repairs require some expertise with the TIG welder. Bob was consulted and offered to do this tricky job.
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One of the cabside windows acquired by Paul from Huanan Forestry Railway in Heilongjiang Province. The near edge was very badly damaged, so Paul cut it out and made a replacement piece from steel hollow section, with a reinforcing doubler plate inside to stiffen it where the catches and handles are fitted. This photo shows the new piece in position, with the old piece in front as a comparison.
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Bob used a TIG welded to join the thin metal sections very neatly. After this photo was taken, he also filled in all the holes in the same way. With a little rubbing down and filling, these windows will look as good as new!
Dave arrived on Friday, and spent almost all day setting up a motion bracket on the borer. This turned out to be more challenging than anticipated, but with expert guidance from Martin he eventually had it spot on. Dave also helped out Rob on our 'sister' project - the restoration of Kerr Stuart 4415, a very early diesel loco. That's being done by a group of our friends and we often arrange working parties to coincide. You can read about their progress here.
On Saturday, we were joined by Colin, Erle, Julian and Dave 2. Colin and Dave 1 worked together on the motion bracket boring job. Having spent Friday setting up the bracket on the machine, they spent all of Saturday making some special tools to do the boring itself. Colin used the smaller Union borer to create customised boring bars perfect for our awkward job, which required a long boring bar, and a larger fancy one with a reversible tool to cut the counterbores.
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One of the motion brackets, set up on the large horizontal borer, ready for boring the expansion link pivots so that they are true and parallel.
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Dave and Colin at work, boring the expansion link pivots.
Once the expansion link pivots had been completed, we moved on to boring out the slidebar mounting hole, which was worn oval and did not provide the precise fixing needed to align the slidebar.
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Dave bores out the slidebar mounting hole in the bottom of the motion bracket. At first glance this looks all wrong - the motion bracket isn't mounted square. But it shouldn't be, because the cylinders and slidebar are inclined, this hole needs to be bored at an angle. Fortunately Dave thought about this when he set up the motion bracket!
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Looking through the slidebar mounting hole, during the boring process.
The work on the motion bracket continued through Sunday and Monday, with Colin and then Paul helping Dave. Eventually we got the first one finished. Hopefully the second one will be quicker now that we have all the tooling available, and we'll tackle that at the next working party.
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Counter-boring the recesses for the expansion link pivot bushes was a tricky job requiring a custom tool and working the machine in reverse. Dave and Colin mastered this and produced a great job.
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The horizontal borer is a large and complex machine, but capable of all sorts of tricky machining jobs. Many thanks to the works staff, especially Martin, for training us to use this machine and trusting us to use it over the weekend.
Erle continued his work on the mechanical lubricators, which are coming back together now. He's done a superb job refurbishing the components. As always, the size of the job expands when you start doing it. When re-fitting the pumps, Erle had to replace a large number of damaged studs. We had already ordered all the custom-made gaskets necessary for these. The lubricators also need some blanking plates since not all the pump positions are used. The Chinese ones were pretty horrible, so he spent a day machining up some new ones which also have the advantage that they can use the standard fixing nuts. Erle has also been refurbishing the non-return valves with new balls and springs. Hopefully the assemblies will all be leak-proof when we first fill them!
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The sight glasses from the lubricator bodies have the manufacturer's name moulded into them, but the characters aren't very clear. It might be 'Taiyuan Glass': 太原玻总
Paul, Julian, Dave and James all worked on various aspects of the cab window workstream over the weekend. They cut out damaged sections of window frames and made replacement parts. They also cleaned up the parts. Paul and James worked out how to use the parts from a spare cabside window to create a missing door droplight - there's still some work to do on this, so watch out for the next working party report.
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A stack of cab window frames and parts awaiting Bob's attention with the TIG welder. Julian, James, Dave and Paul prepared these parts.
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Dave 2 cleans dirt and old paint from the cab door droplight frame.
When cleaning up the cab door droplight window frame, we came across something interesting: it has clearly been painted blue in the past. The standard livery for cab window frames was silver, and this was the top coat on our loco as purchased. A fair number of C2s had black window frames, but other colours were rare. In our historic photo archive, we have photos of 3 or 4 locos with blue window frames, and one with pale green window frames. These non-standard colours were used on some locos at Tieli and Youhao forestry railways. The door with this blue droplight was fitted to our loco when we bought it, but it's possible that the door or its droplight window originally belonged to a different loco and was fitted to ours at its 1998 overhaul at Chaihe Forestry Machinery Factory.
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Two shades of blue paint visible on part of the door droplight window frame.
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Some of the light blue paint on the cab window droplight, that we found under the top layer of silver.
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A C2 stands at the coaling stage at Youhao Forestry Railway on 30 November 1987. The loco carries the number 04 but it is not the same as ours! This is one of the few C2s to have blue cabside windows; the blue droplight in the door is also just visible. Photo © Brian Pearce.
Andrew joined us for Sunday and Monday, and started off working on updating some brake gear drawings. He then went to the welding bay where he made great progress fabricating the new crash-beams.

Meanwhile Dave 2 painted a large number of brake gear components, and then pressed the plastic bushes into them. These are now stacked on the shelves of completed components that are ready to be fitted.
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The main part of the tender rear crash beam, welded together by Andrew.
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Andrew welding up the brackets for the tender rear crash beam - Andrew Nelms, May 2019
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Partially completed tender rear crash beam - Andrew Nelms, May 2019
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Tender brake hangers, now completed. These are entirely new, replacing some pretty ropey old parts. Activities this working party included painting and pressing in the Iglidur bushes, completed by Dave 2.
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Dave 2 uses the hydraulic press to insert the plastic bushes into a brake hanger. With a custom tool made by Paul, this is an easily controlled process.
Paul, Jon, Andrew, Colin and James all took one or more turns on the loco roster during this period, keeping the FR and WHR trains running. We’re all looking forward to the day when it’s the C2 we’re driving!
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Merddin Emrys at Blaenau Ffestiniog on the Friday: Paul and Jon formed an all-C2 Project crew. Colin, James and Andrew were also on the loco roster over the weekend.
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A C2 at work on the Huanan Forestry Railway in April 2019. Our spare cab windows came from here. You can see more photos from Paul's trip to China here
Mid June 2019 
May Day 2019