Work Report 11th and 12 February 2017

Good afternoon, everyone.
Today’s report has been submitted by our Chief Engineer.


Another cold and grey day at Strawberry Hill but another day getting the unit ship shape and Bristol fashion.
First job of the day: sign in & get the heaters on then brew up the tea. Railway work cannot start till tea is consumed; the local induction procedure Section 4, Sub section 6 states :-
‘Before any work is carried out on rail vehicles, staff must ensure that they have consumed at least two cups of steaming hot tea. It is optional to have a bacon buttty with the consumption of tea but this is not a mandatory requirement for rail vehicle maintenance to be carried out.’
So tea was consumed and off we jolly well went.
Today was all about Batteries, Toilets and Pipes.
As you probably read in the last news update we managed to get the Motor Generator to run and coax some volts out of the generator end to put the lights on. Unfortunately we only had a short time of running as the batteries were in a very poor state.
An inspection reveal that the batteries needed topping up with distilled water (to the tune of 10 litres – she was a bit thirsty). The cells were cleaned and regreased with petroleum jelly. The unit was set and the MG  ran up but still no output; the batteries were still flat and wouldn’t allow the Voltage Regulator to fire up the generator fields. A fiddle start on the VR encouraged the MG to start kicking out some amps. Time to leave her running for  a few hours and see what happens.

While the MG was charging I carried out a lighting check was carried out, replaced all the failed bulbs and tubes (including the ones vandalised by some wonderful soul in the 1st Class comportments.) There are still some lights out in the coaches and compartments but these are inverters that need to be replaced; another issue for the list.

Next a heating check (Mmmm… The delicious smell of dust!, he typed, coughing and hacking)
What’s this? I can breathe in 70797?  “No Heat!”  I’ve found that something in the coach is blowing fuses; yet more problems to solve. Still, no one said this would be easy!

Potter was busy removing the remaining body to bogie air pipes and not in the hamfisted way he usually handles spanners. I was impressed; he is after all only a driver and really worries about getting his hands dirty and scratching his nail varnish. Luckily there were no major incidents of nail varnish damage so no entries into the accident book were needed.

(Buckland, you’re not funny – Potter.)

Trousers was busy with the toilet on 76262. The taps were refusing to be removed from the sink but, being a professional, he resisted the urge to swear a lot and attack them with the Irish 2lb spanner. He finally excised the offending innards of the taps (not an easy job) and proceeded to refurbish them on the bench to great success. The VEP now has two working toilets and, to top it all, the water heaters work so we have hot water as well and cold – all the modern conveniences are available on 3417 (including two conveniences).
One small detail to attend to is new soap. I feel we should finally get rid of the Dove soap that has languished in the sink for the last 6 years or so (I shall miss that soap).*

Back to the batteries; how were they doing after two hours charge? Had they sprung back into life? The unit was cut out and readings taken across the battery fuses unloaded…… Wow! 65 volts! That will do for me. The next test was to get a reading with a load across them.  Aux switch put to the middle position so the MG wouldn’t run up and the unit tripped back in on the AIS. The lights were set and lo and behold the emergency lights sprang to life. Reading retaken and, under load, 55 volts;  not bad at all.
The batteries were never brilliant at the best of times but these readings are about the best we are going to get. I’m pleased and relieved. We just need to re-check the battery water levels on the next work day (once the air bubbles have settled out) and I can shut the box up and that job is done.
So that was our Saturday; another day of chipping away.


(Well we did a bit of fixing)
Arrived as usual and carried out Section 4 Sub Section 6 of the induction procedure. (No bacon butties today)
Today was supposed to be a paperwork day but curiosity got the better of me; would the old girl run up without me fiddling the Voltage Regulator? Off we trotted and with my hand on the AIS i tripped her in. The MG ran up as usual. So far, so good. Right; now the moment of truth set the lights. Would they come on? Would they stay dark….?
(Drum rolls can be heard in the distance)
Switch pressed and………………………………….
You will have to find out in the next thrilling episode!!!!!!!!!
(Bloody get on with it, you tart – Potter)

I’ll put you out of your misery. The lights sprang to life! Brilliant! That shows that the batteries are now holding their charge.

Enough drama – Back to the job in hand: Folders and Paperwork.

The SETG are running this as a professional undertaking so there are items of paperwork, inductions,  briefing, competency, risk assessments and so on that have to be filled in, along with defect sheets and exams that have to be filed. It’s not sexy but a needed part of a responsible group – for everything that is done, no matter how small, there is a paper trail.
So that was the Sunday!

Stay tuned for the next update! Remember, don’t change channels!

Note: A lot of this update was punctuated but to be honest most of it wasn’t. I thank Potter for  making it read proper-like, as he’s the only one of the group who has progressed to Janet & John, Book 6.

So there you have it. A productive weekend, as documented by our illustrious leader.

There is, as Chris says, an awful lot still to do – the interior has barely been touched but the greasy bits are in improving health.

As of today we have already raised nearly £4,000 towards restoration – we hope to raise a great deal more. In the next few months we hope to see articles in several leading railway publications concerning the ongoing restoration. when we know when and where, we will be letting you all know.

In the meantime, as Chris says, Stay tuned and Don’t Change Channels!
– Editor’s Note: never, ever, ever ask us about that Dove Soap. Never. The story is long, boring and involves tales of the cleansing on intimate engineers areas. It is not a story for either children, impressionable adults or anyone else who doesn’t have a robust sense of humour and a strong stomach. One day it will be told, but only after we have all left the railway and no one can get fired for it.