As there’s so much to do, the Rolling Stock Group have started a second Saturday each month. On 24th, six regulars, fortified as always by hot drinks and cake, made considerable progress on the Motor Rail loco and Coach 7.
As the sanding gear is missing from one side, we needed to remove it for copying – but the brake gear is in the way (the entire loco is a quart in a pint pot). So Bob led a small team doing their best to undo bolts, nuts and pins which probably had not been disturbed for several decades. The company seems to have had the unpleasant habit of providing bolts with plain ends – no hex, no square – just a featureless round top: these are nigh-on impossible to get off, as there’s no purchase to turn them, let alone undo them. Finagle’s Law implies that the securing split-pin will ALWAYS be facing the most inaccessible point, of course. After a manful fight with ever-larger tools (and Bob headbutting the loco, which definitely won that battle), we decided to see if the sander could be removed without first taking the brake shoes off. This involved turning bolts which allowed about 3 mm of swing on the spanner (and were confined so that a socket wouldn’t fit at all). We were beginning to wonder if Motor Rail ever expected their locos to be maintained, when Bob uttered a cry of triumph, and the sanding pipes and sanding box floor gave up the fight. The assembly can now be copied for the other side.
Bob (bearing honourable scars) chipped, ground and wire-brushed the cab floor and sides, where leaves and earth had accumulated causing deep rust: this entire area was then painted with Rustbuster Fe123, ready for priming. Inspired by all this hard work, James did a similar job on the section of engine compartment under the battery tray – this can now be painted, ready to have the new tray installed above it. The team has to confess that it has no idea how or where the battery cover fitted – this was loose when the loco arrived, and doesn’t even seem to go into the area, and still less have any logical support (or indeed purpose) – but such mysteries are all part of the fun.
Meanwhile, Toby was completing his (very snazzy) storage area in Coach 7, which admirably uses a wasted space to provide a very useful facility – as it’s adjacent to the bar, one can imagine several possible uses for this! The Coach is now a very comfortable staff bothy, with heating, lighting, and good seats (which might explain the ratio between tea breaks and actual work).
Stewart tried out our new Jim Crow, on loan from Bressingham: he neatly straightened a previously-curved 30-lb rail – something that’s a lot harder than curving a straight rail. Thanks to our friends in Norfolk, we can provide a lot more straight rail for future use.
• For reference and elucidation, check out “Finagle’s Law” on Wikipedia – for the philosophical background, check “Resistentialism” RIP Paul Jennings