C2 Project News

Late June 2019

Keeping the Machines Turning, and the Youngsters Learning

Our regular end-of-the-month working party turned into a rather busy one, with most of the regulars, several occasional visitors, and a group of younger loco cleaners needing to be kept busy too. There were so many different things going on that I'll be quite brief in describing each of them. Hopefully the photos will tell the story.
Andrew focused on his current job of fabricating the tender crash-beam, which is starting to look very good indeed.
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The tender chassis with crashbeam temporarily attached. Andrew tack-welded this together while bolted to the frame, and then completed the fabrication on the bench.The tender crashbeam temporarily assembled onto the rear bufferbeam. After studying numerous photos in our archive, we have concluded that the crashbeams and brackets were painted black by Harbin Works, and that is what we plan to do. Other works and railways sometimes painted them red.
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In the welding bay, Andrew has completed the fabrication of the main crash beam and brackets, and is trial-fitting one of the footsteps.
The two Daves worked on the horizontal borer, setting up the second motion bracket for boring out the slidebar and expansion link holes. We did the other one a few weeks ago.
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The second motion bracket on the horizontal borer, set up for boring the hole where the slidebar is attached.
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With the table rotated, the two Daves align the boring head to machine the expansion link pivots.
Meanwhile, Alan and Andy refitted the first motion bracket to the loco frames, and lightly reamed out the expansion link hole to remove some slight roughness left by the borer. This required a special bush to ensure the reamer was correctly aligned, which Alan turned on the lathe. Dan also made some special tooling: stepped dowels to accurately locate the slidebar on the motion bracket.
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Alan and Andy use a large adjustable reamer to finish the bore in the motion bracket. This tool was kindly provided by CMS-Cepcor who assembled our wheelsets, and it has proved useful for a number of awkward tasks.
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Alan is on the nearer lathe, machining a bush to guide a reamer in the expansion link pivot hole. Dan is in the distance, making dowels to align the slidebar and motion bracket joint.
Last year, Sam 2 had made some progress on machining parts for the brake gear pins, but then moved away from Wales. We managed to persuade Colin to finish off this job, which was rather tedious. He's done a lovely job though, and we'll be sure to find him something more interesting next time!
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Colin on the big Colchester lathe, making parts for the brake gear pins.
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A box full of heads for brake gear pins, which kept Colin busy for much of the weekend.
James continued to work on the cab windows and in particular the new droplight, which is being fabricated from some original parts and a lot of new material. He finished trimming to size the parts we are re-using, and then took on the task of machining down some T section material to make the sliding edges of the droplight frames.
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The cab window refurbishment required some additional handles, to replace originals that were missing or damaged. We found these in a hardware store, and they appear identical to the one surviving good handle. The packet says 'Proudly packaged in England' but I bet they were made in China!
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James has set up some steel T-section on the Bridgeport milling machine, to reduce its size slightly. These lengths will form part of the new cab door droplight window.
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The two lengths of hollow section prepared by Caleb and two lengths of tee machined by James that will form the basis of a new cab window droplight. We will also graft in some new pieces to the existing droplight (behind) to renew damaged areas.
Paul spent much of his time supervising and teaching some of the younger new volunteers. This can be quite hard work but it is very rewarding to see them learning hands-on engineering skills, while also making a useful contribution to the project.
New starter Tom was initially set to work cleaning and painting some of the brake gear and draincock linkage components. He then smoothed down the welds on some of the repaired cab windows, using a flap-wheel in an angle grinder. Continuing with the repaired window frames, he marked out the holes required for handles and catches, and with Ed's guidance he learnt how to use the radial arm drill to make the holes.
Caleb is also a youngster but has worked with us a few times before. After making a part for the new cab droplight, Paul asked him to supervise and teach Arthur, another new starter, to use a wire wheel to clean up some rusty parts. Caleb did a great job of the briefing and supervision, while Arthur cleaned up the parts very nicely.

It was very rewarding to see the skills and knowledge passed on like this. We keep a register of who within our group is competent at which tasks, and also what people would like to learn. Wherever possible we try to pair experienced people with those who want to learn, and gradually we all get better at what we need to do. Meanwhile young volunteers feel valued and get a better appreciation of engineering.
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Cab lifting hooks, cleaned up by Arthur under Caleb's supervision.
Last but not least, Erle has continued his sterling work on the overhaul of the lubricators. The first job was to cut up a block of brass which provided material for 3 end ferrules for the Lubricator Lower Filter. He then machined the first of these on the DSG lathe, and completed the assembly of the first filter assembly with one of the new laser cut armatures. He also completed machining of the other ferrules and will complete the next filter as homework.
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New brass ferrules which form the ends of the oil filter.
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At the bottom of the lubricator vessel is a fine filter to prevent grit getting into the pumps. This was a complex assembly and the old ones were in a terrible state. Erle has done a beautiful job creating their replacements.
Over the last few working parties Erle has made great progress in overhauling and refitting the pump units and blanking plates to the lubricator bodies, and he put the finishing touches to this work. We also had many discussions about what to do with the third lubricator body and its parts; is it better to have a complete working spare lubricator (which would require some additional parts to be made), or is actually more useful as a 'parts bin' for spares of pump units etc. We are considering whether the third lubricator body could actually be used as a test and calibration facility for the pump units.
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Lubricator blanking plates, old and new. Erle has done a lovely job of machining these. Making them the same thickness as the pump bodies means we can use standardised fastenings.
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One of the lubricators with 10 pump bodies fitted.
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Erle has designed and bought a batch of gaskets for the lubricators, including some spares for the future. These two await the fitting of the blanking plates that go in these locations.
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The underside of a lubricator with all the pumps and blanking plates fitted.
Erle also skimmed the back face of three sight glass bezels on the Chinese milling maching. This will assist in finalising a gasket design for the sight glass.
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The lubricators have sight-glasses to show the oil level. One of the bezels that retain these glasses was rather bent, and the others were a bit rough. Erle has remachined them and is procuring rubber seals that will fit well against the glass.
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The filter, being trial-fitted into its location in the lubricator body. There is another hole below it, which takes the steam heating pipe.
Overall, it was a very busy working party with progress on many fronts. As well as the younger volunteers using hand-held power tools, the machine shop seemed exceptionally busy with C2 work. On Sunday there were 2 vertical milling machines, 3 lathes, a radial drill and the horizontal borer all working on bits of C2 at the same time!
Alan and Erle have both taken some practical homework to do over the next few weeks, and both Paul and Andrew need to get on with some design and drawing work too.
And Finally...
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That's not a C2! Dating from 1976, this bus is a few years older than our loco. Spotted at the Lymm Historic Transport Day a week before our working party. William seems to approve...
July 2019