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Footplate work in preservation

Discussion in 'Bullhead Memories' started by jtx, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. jtx

    jtx Member

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  2. jtx

    jtx Member

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  3. Avonside1563

    Avonside1563 Member

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    Great stuff jtx, nice to see how others get on.
     
  4. jtx

    jtx Member

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    Thanks, Nigel, although, as you can see from the avatar; this engineman does wear a greasetop!:smile:
     
  5. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Member

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    Enjoyed those very much! Thanks.
     
  6. Avonside1563

    Avonside1563 Member

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    Haha, so I see jtx, well never mind, you can't get it right all the time! ;)

    But being serious, there's probably room for a book now on preservation footplate days, some of us have been doing it long enough now that there's bound to be loads of stories between everyone to make a good read. Now there's a though, being a printer and designer perhaps there's some mileage in this. What do people think?
     
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Thanks JTX. Interesting how leisurely firing sounds when it all goes well. I've been on with ex-BR firemen who barely seem to do anything all trip - but at the end, the engine has been 5psi below the red line all the way: then, when you get to the end of the journey and have a half-hour layover, the water ends up at half glass giving you space, the fire is even with no holes but well burnt through and the pressure has magically dropped to twenty or thirty below, so you have no stress while lying around idle. The ham-fisted amongst us have a word for that sort of unflashy competence, but this is a family forum so I will refrain!

    Incidentally, for coal dodging you need to come to the Bluebell. Given a 16 mile trip, I reckoned on 4oz of coal per passenger per mile for your trip on the SVR: I had a day on Bluebell when, over the course of three round trips, I reckon we used about 2oz per seat-mile! But that was with wooden-bodied stock.

    Tom
     
  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    It's not only on the footplate you can have fun: Here's a description I did a while back about an "X" turn one day in the yard:


    Our useful task for the day was preparing an engine for a boiler inspection.

    Said inspection is in two parts. The first involves a boiler inspector doing boiler inspector stuff on a cold engine, particularly inside the firebox - which for most locos is fine, but if the said inspector has eaten one too many Bessemer breakfasts, the normal entry route - through the fire hole door - isn't possible, so plan B is required.

    First step: find your target engine. "It's the small red one with a wheel at each corner", said the works manager, and thus briefed we set off to find something meeting that description. A short walk later and there, nestling over the Mariana's trench, aka the washout pit, we found our quarry, Baxter (an 1870s Fletcher-Jenning industrial tank). First job: remove the fire bars. This could form a useful challenge in the "World's strongest man" competition, in between the Atlas stones and the truck pull. Baxter only has eight fire bars, but each weighs about a ton and has to be lifted, one handed, out of the firebox while lying on the cab floor and reaching down to the grate which is at the extreme edge of your reach. Oh, and don't drop them into the pit…

    Fire bars gone, and the genius plan reveals itself. If Mr B. Inspector can't enter the fire box through the fire hole door, the other obvious way in is from underneath. All that stands in his way is the ashpan - or rather, two ashpans, front and back, with a cover over the rear axle. So, armed with two spanners, the various bolts are undone - eight on each half, plus an extra one linking the damper to to the damper control in the cab. So far so easy, but said bolts are in carefully chosen positions to maximise inaccessibility and awkwardness. An hour or so later, each ashpan is free and carefully manoeuvred down onto some carefully placed blocks of wood to hold it while we ponder how to get them out onto terra firma. Sideways is ideal, but the wheels are in the way. So either the ashpan has to be manhandled backwards, or the engine manhandled forwards.

    Archimedes once said, (possibly when Mrs Archimedes asked him about whether the earth moved for him) "Give me a lever long enough and the earth shall move". Well, moving 20 tons of loco seemed easier than moving 100lbs of ashpan, and a lever long enough turns out to be about 8 feet. If only those Worlds' Strongest Man contestants could use such tools, there wouldn't be all that grunting and puffing. So, engine forward, ashpan sideways, job done.

    From here it is the home straight: climb up over the rear axle and wirebrush the soot off the firebox, so that Mr Inspector can attach his probes and get clean measurements of the thickness of the metal. Interestingly, the steel firebox in Baxter causes the soot to just fall off in great sheets; on a copper firebox loco, this job is much more arduous.

    And that's it. In a few days, the boiler inspector will come and do his stuff. All being well, it will be someone else's job to put the jigsaw back together, before another inspection, this time in steam. If that is satisfactory, boiler insurer sends the railway an invoice, the finance director writes out a cheque, and another engine returns to service. Simple!


    Tom
     
  9. jtx

    jtx Member

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    Funny you should mention that, Nigel...can I pm you?
     
  10. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    For obvious reasons, I too enjoyed 'Fireworks' very much. Could I ask a favour, mate? Would you mind if we reproduced it in SMF News, for the benefit of ourmembers?
     
  11. jtx

    jtx Member

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    Of course mate. It didn't occur to me to send it to you - brain in neutral, situation normal. Can you pick it up from here, or do you want me to e-mail it direct?

    Regards,

    jtx

    P. S. I modified it for display on here, took out names of people who didn't give me permission to broadcast them on the net. If you want the original, pm me and I'll e-mail it direct
     
  12. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    Cheers for that. I've sent you a pm with my e-mail address.

    Thanks a bunch

    Jim Norman

    SMF Archivist
     
  13. Shoddy127

    Shoddy127 Member

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    Great reading JTX, always a good read of happenings at the business end!

    Ian
     
  14. Avonside1563

    Avonside1563 Member

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    Have PM'd you jtx
     
  15. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie New Member

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    Cracking reads jtx, always look forward to seeing one of your accounts of a trip in the SVRN. In fact, one was quoted in my dissertation (the phrase "sheer bliss" as I recall) as evidence that volunteer railwayman enjoy their often dirty and tiring jobs!

    We may be politically disparate but railways unite us all on here.
     
  16. jtx

    jtx Member

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    Jamie,

    Politics - schmolitics. Who cares? You've quoted me in a dissertation? I'm stunned. :faint:I hope it didn't depress your marks. :smile:
     
  17. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie New Member

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    Well said.

    I got a Distinction, found out the other day. Which I am very pleased with. Maybe one day there'll be a copy in the SVR archives for you to have a gander at.
     
  18. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie New Member

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    Further thought: Regarding the plans for a book of footplate reminiscences, could that be widened to chapters on different railway jobs? There have been some lovely accounts of guarding and signalling turns on here.
     
  19. Rumpole

    Rumpole Member

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    I would second that Jamie. While I class myself as a footplateman first and foremost, two of my best turns on the railway have been when guarding. Both of them have involved unfitted goods too, but that as they say is another story...
     

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