Thursday, 8 December 2011

No. 1 Alan Bloom maintenance

Boiler separated from chassis
Every five or so years, Bressingham-built No. 1 Alan Bloom requires a bottom end refit, so this year's maintenance job is rather more substantial than usual — wheel re-profiling, valves and valve gear, slide bars, bushings, some shimming and whatever else turns up.

New two-foot carriages

Back at the end of August, Phil was fixing together the framework that will form the main structure of the new carriages. Even though I try to follow these projects, there are inevitably times when I'm not in or simply run out of time, so here I find that the carriages have been completely assembled and painted. I've also discovered that they are going to be the open type, meaning that Bressingham will now have three open and three closed carriages to run on the Nursery Line.

Framework assembled and painted

Roof support

John (the one that I met on my very first day) has been busy making the roof supports — they have to be cut to an exact profile so that the roof will fit snugly.

From the outside

Spars for the seats

The first three photographs were taken two weeks ago, in that time all the spars that form the seats have been cut to length and positioned awaiting fixing and John's working on the wooden steps that need cutting to profile as well.

Apologies for the poorer quality of the first three photographs, but with horrid difficult lighting, my tripod back in the car and the shed about to be locked up for the night it was a case of grabbing what I could.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Gallopers platforms and vegetation management

Earlier this year, two of the platform sections were removed for repair and repainting. Since the end of season another two sections have had the same treatment and today they need to be refitted ready for Christmas opening. It seems that the epoxy filler did the trick, and the two sections replaced in March are holding up well.

The platforms are a tight fit

Clever tool to make life easier

Once Christmas is over, another two sections will be removed and repainted in time for 2012 opening. Only another six to go then…

Looking much bettern
Cutting back the vegetation growth along the tracks is a never-ending battle. Back in October when George Sholto was line tested, an overgrown branch or bramble left a mark in the new paintwork much to everyone's annoyance. Carl and I, armed with loppers, a saw and a ladder sought vengeance and now the area around Grotts is looking much neater and under control.

A riveting time

Hammering a red-hot rivet in
Much earlier this year, I managed to miss one of the slate wagons being riveted as I was doing trackwork.

Today I was more fortunate and managed to witness the spectacle of red-hot glowing rivets being hammered about.

Two slate wagons have already been restored and have run on the two-foot line as a demonstration train this year, this will be the third wagon.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Waiting for the wheel to turn

Turning an axle on the lathe
With George Sholto now in service and the season drawing to a close, the workshop can concentrate on getting the new 2-foot carriages built and general maintenance. Last time I saw Phil he was fixing the framework to the floor — today he's machining wheels for 2-foot bogies.

The plan is to have a couple of spare bogies so that when the wheels get worn down it is possible to quickly swap them over, and then refurbish the worn set ready for the next time. This should help to keep the Nursery Line running and minimise downtime. Phil assures me they can swap a 2-foot bogie out in around twenty minutes!

2-foot bogie being refurbished

Braking mechanism

This one's nearly ready