Monday, September 5, 2011

Wheely good news

For sometime now, we've been chasing around trying to get the cracks in 1210s wheels fixed so it can head out on trains again.  A stumbling block has been that no one quiet really knows what the things were made of and in what fashion, which rendered any attempt at repair useless from the paperwork and bureaucratic point of view.

Fortunately, thanks to some good intergroup co-operation, we've been able to discover that the wheels are steel.  A sample of wheel material was sent to a company in Melbourne who provided an analysis which, somewhat unpromisingly on first glance, was headlined "We have not been able to match this to any alloy in our database!".

The reason, of course, is that the company database doesn't extend to items made over 100 years before!  However, its fairly clear from the analysis that the wheels are made of a steel typical of the early 1800s and late 1900s, with a high phosphorus content.  The refining methods of the time were obviously less refined (excuse the pun) then those of today and there was little in the way of quality control (Again, compared with todays standards).  Of course, a slightly more famous example of this is RMS Titanic, which was in the news in recent times for being made of 'substandard' steel.  For the reasons already listed above, this is utter bull and according to the company that did our analysis, the same 'substandard' steel turns up in items like bridges and buildings that date back to the turn of the 19th century.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Morning Read

Food for thought
There is an interesting article in the latest Railway Digest regarding the business development\life cycle of a not for profit organisation, which of course, covers just about all of NSWs rail heritage operators.  Whilst true in all its facts about why NFP groups are often required to change and diverge from their original intent\purpose over time due to legal and (more often) finacial reasons, its fails to acknowledge the key fact that quite a few groups see no requirement to change their approach and commit to long term business planning (Ie, what worked so well 20 years is still applicable now).

Whilst this does not mean that all in the organisation are oblivious, it does mean that the task for those who do recognise it is all the harder and in most cases, it becomes a case of not just selling the product to the consumer, but also to the organisations own members!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Finding time

I've recently found the time (Aww heck, it was always there really, I just couldnt be bothered) to get stuck back into 'Jerrara". Not sure whats brought this one- Perhaps the need to see the 15 locos and 30 pieces of rollingstock I own actually doing something or the fact the paving man covered the layout in dust when he was cutting last week. Either way, thanks to this sudden burst, Im beginning to think I might actually get the darn thing finished and be able to begin to enjoy it.

My approach to modelling has always been akin to a scattergun....start an infinate amount of projects, make a mess and never really actually get anywhere by the time I've lost the time again. This time though, Ive tried to get a little organised by sitting down and writing a couple of lists. Although these are getting progressively longer as the day goes on and I see more things to do, its on the whole worked quite well. For instance, today I tackled 2 jobs Ive been long putting off, this being the repair of 3076 and 1301.

These two engines were my first NSWGR steam locos, 1301 being a DJH kit and 3076 being a Lloyds.
3076 came 'off the roster' about a year ago after and Im afraid I committed the ultimate sin and left her disassembled pending maintenance. Low and behold as I examined the instructions and parts prior to beginning reassembly, some bits had gone missing, namely an fibre washer and the spring from the rear bogie. The missing washer is used to insulate the body of the loco so its a fairly important bit of kit of which I have no spares. In the end, I fashioned a pad made of cork to fill in temporarily until I can locate a suitable spare.
The missing spring, however, was a little more tricky. Again, I have nothing that resembles a spare spring of that size. What I did have, was a pen. The springs inside a pen are, with a little adjustment, just the right size for the bogie, provided that its properly tensioned. Again, I its a temporary job until I can get my hands on a better solution (Baring in mind, that the shortened pen spring is open ended at one end) but after cleaning and a dab of oil, it ran quite satisfactorily. One down one to go.

1301 thankfully was complete having sat in a display cabinet for the past 12 months. I supected it just required a decent clean, but the fact is that the poor old goat is probably the worst performing loco on the roster, bar 48116 (Having sold my extremely reliable and excellent running 4806 some years ago, I purchased this indian red 48 instead. Unfortunately, it seems unable to do anything but spin its wheels) . Ever since it arrived, it will simply not run smoothly in the fowards direction. Ive had it apart time and time again but cant seem to locate an obvious fault, although my suspecion is that the worm gear on the driving axle may be crooked. Anyway, the loco was incredibly dirty for one thats rarely entrusted with a train, with fluff and oily residue all over the place. Once cleaned up and with some tinkering to its pickups, its performance is now ok and it runs without stalling, abeit quite noisely.

So a productive day for locos and two jobs off the list!