Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Days of the Diner


The second weekend of operating 828 on the Dining Train has passed successfully. She was out on April 2nd and the weather was ideal once again for her exposed footplate. So far she is settling well into this new period of operation. A small fault with the carriage warming valve was attended to during the week and she was able to provide heat to the 10:30 departure from Aviemore. After that the day was too warm for steam heating. She is using a bit more water than she should while we wait for the slide valves to wear themselves in again. Footplate crews are noticing the difference in the ride quality of an inside cylinder loco compared to the more lively ride they get on 46512. This point was well understood by JF McIntosh who was challenged once on why he refused to design outside cylinder locos when his contemporaries were proving that they were cheaper to build and easier to maintain. His view was that the inherent stability of an inside cylinder design was worth more than any improvements that could be gained by using outside cylinders....



828 taking water at Boat of Garten (picture copyright of Derek McGinn)

828 exiting the loop at Broomhill (picture copyright of Derek McGinn)

Attending to a leaking seat on the Westinghouse Carriage Warming Valve - the radial cut across the seating surface needed removing. The circumferential cut is not a problem..

Surface plate and grinding paste taking out the defect...

Job done - radial cut eliminated and a good sealing surface achieved..

Lapping in the seat of the valve diaphragm..

Facing north in Broomhill Loop with the CR Route Indicator looking a bit unsettled..

Ken Plant enjoying the sunshine wile we pause at the summit of the line with the Dining Train on 2nd April 2017

Shed disposal - emptying the smokebox and checking on the Alan French spark arrester (which is working well)...

Newly cast tender tank filler cap with the old one as a pattern. All we need now is to drill the required holes in the new cap, paint it and then fit it...Thanks to SRC Engineering Director Brian Thomson for getting the casting made..

Monday, 27 March 2017

Operational...!!


At last we're back in operation...!

CR828 re-entered normal operation with the Strathspey Railway on Saturday 25th March when she handled the normal three depatures from Aviemore with a five-coach train. Then on Sunday 26th she worked the 10:30 service train and then the 13:00 dining service. She performed very well on both days and appeared to be in good mechanical condition. We have a slight issue with the Westinghouse Carriage Warming Valve and that will be investigated during the week commencing 27th March. 

The weather in Strathspey over both days was perfect. Warm sunshine and very little breeze made it a very enjoyable experience on the footplate provided the coal was kept dampened for tender first running. It was great to have two steam locos working on the Sunday and this should hopefully be a regular feature of Sunday operations throughout 2017. The Strathspey Railway is operating a new catering service in 2017 using in-house resources. Feedback on the service has been very positive. Supporters of CR828 could combine a Sunday visit to the Railway by dining in style while travelling behind the loco...!!!! For details please visit the website of the Strathspey Railway at www.strathspeyrailway.co.uk



A magnificent picture of 828 heading south at "Fishermens Crossing" on Sunday 26th March. (Picture by Derek McGinn)

Final cleaning of the loco on Friday 24th March. Norman Girvan, Honorary Secretary of the CR828 Trust, is cleaning the coupling rods...

Polished and ready for operation. 828 under the lum in the Shed on 24th March..

Attracting a crowd..! 828 pauses at Boat of Garten on 26th March with the 11:35 from Broomhill to Aviemore.

Basking in sunshine at Broomhill..

The Wakefield Displacement Lubricator. A tricky device that helps lubricate the valves and pistons. Very temperamental on Saturday 25th and performed flawlessly all day on Sunday 26th...this is it working as it should . A droplet of oil is ascending though the sight glass and will soon be on its way to steamchest..!

Together again at Aviemore. A spotless 828 hands over the service train to an immaculate 46512. After 46512 had departed at 12:30 828 moved up to the carriage shed to collect the stock for the 13:00 dining service..

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Test Running.....

A lot has happened since I last updated the Blog. The loco and tender were successfully reunited by the Shed staff at Aviemore after the tender had received some adjustment to its weight distribution. A big thank you to Nathan Lightowler, Calum Titley, Tommy MacDonald and Colin Vaughan. Not only did they have to get 46512 finished and ready for a very successful Photo Charter at the beginning of March; they also had to get 828 finished off and prepared for running-in.

The loco needed some final weight adjustments before test running could commence. With this completed she was steamed and run light engine through to Boat of Garten and then on to Broomhill. She performed well and the only issue was the amount of leakage from the valve rod glands. This was attended to with help from Alan French who cast new replacement white metal packing segments using a harder grade of white metal than has been used previously. Nathan Lightowler made a new gland follower for the RH rod and reassembled both glands.

We took the loco out on a loaded test run on 17th March. She took five MK1 vehicles through to Broomhill and back and gave every indication of being fit to re-enter traffic on March 25th. The newly improved valve rod packing performed very satisfactorily. The weather was cold and damp - just the conditions when it is usually difficult to see the way ahead when running chimney first at low speed because of valve rod leakage. This time there was no difficulty so well done everyone at the Shed...

There are a couple of jobs to attend to before 25th March - the tender water level indicator has stopped working and we need to fix it. This device looks a bit like a walking stick fixed to the front of the tank. By rotating it 90 degrees water should flow into a vertical tube with small holes equally space up its length. The tank water level is indicated by the highest hole that water leaks from. Simple but effective....but not working at the moment..! Shed Foreman Colin Vaughan also wants to add a new layer of concrete to the smokebox floor to protect the steam pipe connections and the top of the cylinder block..









Taking water at Boat of Garten during the light engine test run..



On the way to Boat during the light engine test run..

At Broomhill Station for the first time in nearly three years..







Shunting operations ahead of the loaded test run...

Passing Speyside Signal Cabin on the way to Broomhill...

Heading North on a wet and cold day...and running very well...!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Wheeled At Last....

The long wait is over...! The tender wheels arrived back at Aviemore on Wednesday 8th February looking very good. They were primed, undercoated and given a top coat of gloss black within a couple of days. Other preparations for rewheeling were completed very quickly and the job was done on Saturday 11th February. Within the same day the tender was fully loaded with coal (the water tank was filled a couple of days earlier) and the completed vehicle was run over the weighbridge for axle and wheel load distribution checks. The result was very good and with a bit of redistribution the weights will be close to perfect. It won't be too long now until engine and tender are recoupled and then we can get on with some serious running-in...




The lorry draws into the yard with 828's tender wheels plus the pony truck wheel and coupled wheels from 46512..

Primer coat applied...

Roddie McRae and Martin MacLeod admire their handiwork - undercoating complete..

Steve Robinson and Ken Plant enjoying the relatively warm winter sunshine as they apply the top coat to the wheels..

Looking good and ready to be fitted...

Meanwhile inside the Shed the loco waits for the day when she is reunited with her tender...

Paintwork looking good thanks to the efforts of John Greig and Norman Girvan...

Tender axleboxes and bearings ready for refitting...

Shunting the tender into the Carriage Shed - the last movement as a four-wheeler...

Getting ready to roll the wheels under the tender...

The team is confident...!!!

Job done - the tender is back on its own six wheels...

Axlebox covers refitted and ready to roll....a very welcome sight..!!



Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Tender Tyre Machining Commenced...

At last...the news we've been waiting for!! Ian Riley received the tender tyre forgings on January 23rd and is well underway with machining and fitting them. The plan is to uplift the completed wheelsets at Heywood on 13th February along with the wheels from 46512 and bring the whole lot home to Aviemore in a single load. This will save the Strathspey Railway Company around £600 in transport costs. This gives us a good chance of having CR 828 ready for the start of the 2017 running season.

In the meantime a few other mechanical jobs have been completed at Aviemore including fitting of the smokebox spark arrester and an inspection of the tender steam brake. John Greig has been busy preparing the loco front bufferbeam for final repainting and has also prepared the loco running plate for a new coat of black paint. The new crownplate castings for the tender axleboxes have been primed by Roddie McRae so we're building up a bit of a worklist for our expert painter Mr Murray Duncan who is with us for a couple of weeks in February...


A welcome sight..! A pile of tender tyre forgings of the correct size(!) undergoing machining at Ian Riley's works in Heywood, Lancashire

On the vertical boring machine...

Getting ready for heating and shrinking in place on the wheel centre..

Another tyre on the vertical borer at Heywood..

Under the tender...the steam brake cylinder is tucked under the front lefthand corner. It hasn't been opened up for inspection in many years so this is a good time to have a look at it...The black flexible hose is the brake vacuum pipe connection between the engine and tender. The lamp is sitting on the brake cross-shaft. The steam supply (and exhaust) pipe can be seen snaking its way to the rear of the brake cylinder. 

Close-up of the connection between the brake piston and the operating arm. Steam from the driver's brake valve is supplied at the same time to the separate brake cylinders on engine and tender. The holes in the piston rod allow for adjustment as the tender brake blocks wear out. Steam pressure applies the brakes and the force of gravity acting through the brake rigging releases the brakes when the steam supply is cut off by returning the brake handle to the running position.

Brian Warrender getting to grips with the cover nuts on the tender brake cylinder..

The brake piston rod after removal. Note that there is no physical connection between the piston rod and the piston.The piston force is applied via a simple ball and socket connection. The ball on the piston rod can be seen at the left hand end..

The brake cylinder is in excellent condition. It shows very little wear and is fit for at least another half century of operation...

The brake piston is also in excellent condition and needs no attention..

The brake cylinder cover has an interesting casting defect. It operates at atmospheric pressure and we are in agreement with the CR / LMS / BR that it remains fit for further service..

John Greig stands back from filling and rubbing down the front bufferbeam before applying a coat of primer. The brilliant winter sun makes it difficult to appreciate John's workmanship...

Roddie McRae applying a second coat of paint to the new crownplate castings for the tender axleboxes. The axleboxes themselves are on the pallet behind him. Not long until they go back onto the tender....!

The Alan French spark arrester clad with mesh and almost ready for installation..

Close-up of the spark arrester in position..

How the spark arrester looks from a distance. The operating principle is based on the fact that a hot object passing through a mesh loses a lot of temperature and thus any small red hot cinders passing through the mesh will experience a strong cooling effect and should exit the chimney at low temperature....the slight downside is that the mesh will probably attract a build up of soot that will interfere with the efficiency of the draught on the fire. But that's preferable to starting a lineside fire...!

What we hope to see soon again at Boat of Garten Station.....a picture from Mrs Aileen Scott's Facebook Timehop..