2014 Daresbury Gazettes

Wednesday 12th Nov If you missed last Thursday’s talk you missed a good one, I’m inviting him back next year to tell us how he made his guitar. It’s not getting any easier for me getting to the track, this week I had to go to a funeral. It makes one think a bit when people younger than oneself are dying off. Considering the torrential rain I drove through on the way up the M6 I’m surprised anyone went to the track, but I’ve received the attached photo from one of our correspondents. Barrie has fitted a CCTV camera to his sexycopter, Henry was inspecting the field (or so he says). Sunday is a running day, hopefully I’ll break my run of no-shows. If any of you are intending going to HotPotSupper and haven’t let Sam know, now is the time. It is on 11th Dec at Daten. I have no other details. Sam can be contacted on  famsims10@hotmail.com martian   Wednesday 5th Nov well things haven’t got better, last Wednesday I had a dentist appointment (I’ve got several more coming up, try to avoid Wednesdays), so I couldn’t get to the track. However our landlord did, and walked the route of the proposed extension. He is broadly happy, and offered us the loan of his excavator. We’d have to pay his man to drive it, but it’s a lot easier than shovels picks and wheelbarrows. Then it was running day on Sunday and family issues stopped me getting to that. Rumour has it that Brian R broght along his class 37, I’ve seen the video, it looks very nice. This bit is from our roving reporter PatM. Dave M had his Bulldog running, very nice, see photos. Quoting Pat

Spectacular rail crash at Daresbury a run away light engine smashed through the buffers shears off and then
mounts it's bogie and forcing the tender to part company. Thankfully no one was injured.

Other sources claim he had a problem with the lubricator and removed the bogie for access. You decide. Then I got a photo from a certain Duchess owner. Either he’s been on a jolly, or he’s very good with Paintshop. Finally today. I got up to the track, but I’ve done my back in. Don’t know how, but couldn’t stay long. PaulC had brought a load of ash, so this was being distributed around the various holes in the access road. Henry and Barrie were attending to the bolt on the turntable, and various people were cleaning up the 3.5″ rail, probably to suit a certain Highland Lassie. I made some esoteric measurements on one of the 8 wheel trucks, no I’m not letting on why, but it kept a few people amused trying to work out what was going on. Tomorrow’s speaker is Rae Owens, a member of the Chicago Teddy Bear’s jazz band, and very good they are too. He is telling us of the life of a musician on the road. Be there or be square. Finally, what happens when you put a ridiculously big generator on the front of your Showman’s Engine. One of those Oh**** momentsDuchess Barrie DaveM and Dukedog drama oops Wednesday 22nd Oct You’ve all been wondering what’s happened to DG haven’t you? Put it down to family difficulties on the part of HonSec. This is a brief update, hopefully things will improve over the next few weeks. 8 Oct A big  branch had come down, just onto the first straight on leaving the station. Didn’t do any damage, but had to be sawn up and cleared away. Signals sorted and now work reliably (again). 15 Oct well if you’ve got all those logs you have to have a bonfire don’t you. DaveM brought his Dukedog, it runs very sweetly indeed. Rob donated a dining table top, which has been sawn up to make slats for the collapsed bench in front of the pavilion. 22 Oct Big gales yesterday no damage to pavilion or other buildings, but quite a few branches down, which had to be ………. and when you got all those logs you have to ………Is this getting a bit repetitive? Frank has finished off the slats and refurbished the bench. Superb job. Far too good to leave outside over winter, so it’s now in the pavilion. Pat has spent some of his ill gotten gains (should that be hard earned cash?) on a 3.5″ Thomson A2 Mons Meg. Hopefully it’s a good one. Phil brought his Butch for hydraulic, no happy smiling faces, leaks found, all fixable.   mons meg   DSC01861 Wednesday 1st Oct Good turnout again today, the weather continues to be kind, although it started raining in the afternoon. When I arrived JetPacPaul was blowing leaves away from the steaming bay area, a never ending task at this time of year, and Rob was shovelling gravel back onto the roadway at the sharp bend. Can we please moderate speed at this point as otherwise we will develop a big dip with the inevitable puddle when the rain returns. Quite a few locos, Frank brought his 3.5″g Derby 4F for some advice on getting the backhead fittings to fit, not easy, DaveM had his Southern loco in steam but didn’t go for a run, must be some teething problem, and Peter had his Maisie for steam test, which it passed after attention to the regulator. He knocked off a few laps before the rain set in. Brian rewired the small 110v transformer, and Bob (I think)  painted the vice in the container a fetching shade of blue (with Tecaloid paint, how old must that be?). After the problems at the night running, Paul and I spent some time investigating the signals. Swapping the arms from one box to the other showed that the problem is the arm, not the electronics or motor. What we think the problem is is that the home signal has more inertia than the distant, and the motor was losing steps as it tried to accelerate. Paul has rewritten the code to use half stepping, and has slowed it down as well. Tried them again today and they didn’t work, spent some time checking connections, then discovered I hadn’t plugged the home into the system. Having sorted that they then worked perfectly, but we’ve been here before. Most of the batteries we have are well down on performance, the whole system only takes 0.6 amps, so with a 17 Ah battery we should get 28 hours life, and we don’t. Norman’s supply of sealed batteries has dried up, we might have to buy some Having remembered to bring the right bits, we finished off the wiring for the first track circuit section up by the pond, if I’d remembered to bring the circuit diagram we could have checked it out. Brian ran the club diesel for a few laps to prove the system Lots of people with cameras there today, if you send me some pictures I’ll add them to the gallery. Tomorrow night we have a speaker, Tony Kuivala on ‘A year in the life of a footplate junkie’, and then it’s a running day again on Sunday. Regards _MG_9223 _MG_9232 _MG_9241 Wednesday 24th Sept No you didn’t miss last week’s exciting episode, there wasn’t one as I was on holiday. RayW has made some end boards for the front of new 8 wheel coaches. These are really neat, lift off the seat, engage the three pins on the end board in the holes in the trucks, and put the seat back. It’s that easy. There is a little ledge to hold the brake lever down. No excuse now, no need to turn the trucks round, if you are towing the new 8 wheelers, fit a front board. We will have to revise the acceptable formations document now, and I believe that some slightly longer drawbars are to be produced to increase the gap between footboards on the tightest bends. After a slow start, the running for Hatton show went off OK, abou £120 raised and a lot of good PR with our neighbours. For a report on the night running I turn you over to GerryM who writes:

this was the  best nights entertainment the track has  seen for some considerable time,
We attracted quite a large number of visitors, including Richard Bennett and his family, we also saw  some members  who seldom come to  the track site.
There were  quite a few locomotives in operation including myself  with the recently re-commissioned  GWR Manor, I would estimate seven or eight locomotives ran that evening, the weather was very  kind to us it was  quite warm,  (temp gauge on the way home said 16deg C) Pat Mullee did  an excellent  job with the hot-pot,it was enjoyed by many.
There were no safety issues (which is as it should be) the site was vacated at approximately 22:30 PM
 Dobby  made  a guest appearance much to  the delight of Richard’s children (and I suspect a few adults too) I  have included a picture of Dobby the engine driver, familiarising himself with the controls
What Gerry doesn’t mention is the green laser I’m told he had attached to his Manor, pointing straight up. I’m told it produced a really spooky effect shining through the exhaust steam and trees as he circumnavigated.
This Wednesday we had another good turnout, but as there was a cold wind, a lot of tea was drunk. We had leaf sweeping, a never ending task at this time of year, and DaveM brought along his Dukedog for hydraulic and steam test, which it duly passed. He had it running on blocks and it runs very sweetly indeed. Despite Pat volunteering to drive he didn’t take it for a run. Perhaps he’d forgotten the crowbar required to get Pat off again. I forgot to take the vital parts, so no progress on signal wiring. PaulC has had the pistons out of his Britannia, it has o-ring seals in cast iron cylinders, not too good an idea as the o-rings are now D shaped and leaking. He has ordered some Clupet rings, watch this space for progress reports. We’ve been given a 110v transformer, Brian checked it over for electrical safety. It’s OK for the smaller tools but won’t handle the big angle grinder. If no-one donates on ewe’ll have to raid the club coffers.
After a spell of working reliably, the signals played up again on Thursday. I managed to measure the volt drop along the cables today, less than a volt, so that isn’t the problem. Paul and I have bench tested them tonight and have identified a couple of avenues to try.
Next meeting is 2nd Oct at Pewterspear, Speaker Tony Kuivala, A year in the life of Footplate Junkie
Dobby_the_engine_driver small

Wednesday 10th Sept Beautiful day again with a good turnout. Henry was kept busy again, Gerry and Paul passed this time I think. Keith was thrashing round with his Metro, the supply of steam he has found seems inexhaustible, and Vernon seemed to have a good run. Phil brought the Sweet Pea which is on loan from Mrs Johnson. Having given it a birthday, it now has a new keeper, Frank has taken it on. No doubt he will have the usual learning curve before he manages to reliably keep up the pressure. I was wiring again. It will soon be finished I keep telling myself. Rob cut the grass on the access road, and MikeP and others redid the step up into the container. Lots of photos this week, they are at http://www.wdmes.org.uk/?gallery=wednesday-gang-10-sept-2014. Most of photos courtesy of Frank. No prizes for guessing why Paul decided to light up half way round. After a shaky start it all went very well. We’ve been asked to run on Saturday to support Hatton show. Anyone who can spare some time from 11:00 onwards would be welcome. We’re not expecting a multitude. Night running is next Thursday 18th. Unfortunately the domestic authorities have double booked me, so I won’t be there to sample Pat’s promised HotPot, and you’ll have to rely on ANOther for next week’s instalment of Daresbury Gazette Wednesday 3rd Sept Silly Waggon Day was good, despite being invited we had no visitors from other clubs. Barrie was controlling his Black 5 and rake of waggons from a train being driven by DavidP following about 50 yards behind. It looks really spooky when it appears apparently not under control. Perhaps he could have an action man with appropriate clothing in the cab. Don’t know why, but it all seems smoother under radio control. PaulC’s A3 continues to derail, despite several adjustments to the suspension. It looks as tho there is a hump or some other defect in the track because it always happens at the same place, and you can actually see the front left bogie wheel lift. The track is tight to gauge at that point whereas it should be ~2mm big being on a tight curve. Job for the Wednesday gang Good turnout Wednesday. The coal bunker lid got much needed face lift, the above mentioned track problem got some attention, the grass was mowed on the access road (no more excuses for not driving on the hardcore). Ray and I did some more wiring up of track circuiting, but as I’d left some vital bits at home it didn’t get too far. I’ll be glad when it’s finished! Gerry brought his Manor for hydraulic, needs some more white tape. Following his Quadcopter (4 rotors) a few months ago, we had a demonstration of a 6 rotor machine (a sexycopter?). The control system is awesome. When it loses signal it climbs to 20 metres, flies back to the start point and lands, all autonomous under satnav control. Barrie was sufficiently confident to demonstrate by switching off the transmitter with the flying machine over near the tarmac road, about 500m away. I’ve attached a photo of the workers Speaker tomorrow on making a 1/4 scale roller. I’ve had a missive from Jim Knowles in Australia. His local club gets around 300 visitors at $8 a time. The lay on gas barbys and make a family day of it, watching the trains go by. What could be better? Phot attached Photo0024[1]     JimK   Wednesday 20th August Bit late this week, but better than never. 18 people on Wednesday, if we get any more we’ll have to have lunch in shifts. We’ve discovered that the superelevation is somewhat awry as you go from left hand bend to right hand bend coming off the top curve. Using Ray’s trolley and a Wixey angle gauge added an air of modernity, but some people insisted on checking with a bubble plank. No doubt this will be attended to in the near future, until then take it steady. I then disappeared off doing track circuiting, so if I miss anyone apologies. Lots of low level pruning, some of the branches were getting a bit near as you drove past, the carriage shed track extensions now have a parking place off the floor, so no excuses. When I went into the container to look for something I was almost blinded by the lights. What a difference, you can find stuff now. It has been suggested that we put some steel rail in from the steaming bay area going towards the pond, just to get a start away. I’m sure someone has said in the past that mixing aluminium and steel rail isn’t a good idea, but I can’t remember who or why. If it was you please remind me. As was reported some time ago, we were asked by Model Engineer if we would host IMLEC. We had a visit from Leyland to pick their brains, and then t’committee discussed it last night. We’ve decided that it is too big an undertaking for us, we are a fairly small club, if it went pear shaped we could lose as lot of money. Added to this, we don’t really have anywhere for spectators, inadequate loos etc etc, and it would be right after Steam Fair, so volunteer burnout (brownie point deficit?) would be a problem. PaulM brought along his latest gizmo, a sound card which reads .wav files off a flash card and plays them back through its on board amplifier. If you see his little Ruston diesel making steam loco or ice cream van noises humour him, he’s mostly harmless. If you’ve got tickets for Waverley don’t forget it’s Tuesday. Next extravaganza is Waggon Day on the 31st Aug Wednesday 13th August Brian’s talk turned out to be on the tools and techniques used to make pills. I never imagined it was such an intricate business, They are basically made in a punch and die arrangement, with the design inscribed in the punch. Imagine machining a polo mint out of solid to make the punch, 4 axis CNC on something very small and in tool steel just to make it easy. The production machines make 1 million pills per hour, 278 per second, or about C# on your piano. When I got up this morning it was lashing down, but we still had quite a good turnout. The proposed route of the track extension has been pegged out. A major undertaking by any standards. I got on with track circuiting, but ran out of little ally washers. I’ll make some more for next week. We had an investigation of super-elevation coming off the top bend where we have had one or two derailments over the years. Turns out it changes quite dramatically over a short length, needs sorting out. Ray is bringing a non suspension, compliant trolley next week, so if someone brings a Wixey angle gauge we will be able to measure the cant very quickly. We did some levelling in the steaming bays. The traverser sits on made ground, so it does move from time to time. PaulC brought along his Britannia boiler after it’s latest repair and it now passed its hydraulic test, so as long as he can remember where all the bits go he should be running again shortly Brian and his merry men continued wiring, we now have fluorescent lights in the container. We have a couple of surplus fittings which take the old big diameter tubes. Anyone want them? Does anyone have a surplus bench grinder they would like to donate? One seems to come up at auction night with monotonous regularity, give it a good home whoever has it. Next step is to get the pillar drill operational. I’ve been moaning for a bit about people dumping the carriage shed access tracks on the ground where they go rusty. Stan has arranged for them to hang on the track support posts as shown on the attached photo. The one for the right hand track goes at the top, the other one will be sorted next week. Running day Sunday 17th, then natter night the following Thursday 21st, then on the 31st we are having a ‘Silly Little Waggon Day’ for all those who like to run trains of scale waggons rather than overscale people. You might even get a glimpse of Barrie’s radio controlled Black 5. I’ve invited neighbouring clubs, so might be some variety.

The one with a happy smiling Stan disappeared into the ether when I transferred it off my phone

The one with a happy smiling Stan disappeared into the ether when I transferred it off my phone

Wednesday 6th August Running day went off well, quite a few locos including double headed 08 shunters, RayW’s and the club’s. This is some beast, the acceleration is very noticeable, lots of power and lots of adhesive weight. The security guards from the hall next door came across for a word. On the same night as our break in the Hall was stripped of all its lead and a great deal of damage was caused in the process. They reckon building will start in about 8 months, a very upmarket development. Today we had a visit from Leyland club members, they brought 2 locos, a very nice 3.5″ A4 (I want that whistle!) and a L&YR 242 tank. The signals had a glitch day, firstly all bar one of the batteries were flat (they have to be charged now and again you know), then one of the rail to rail connectors went open circuit, but a touch from a screwdriver soon sorted that out. Pat brought the Rail Grinder and amazed everyone with its ability to start off on the steepest bit by the container with no discernable slip. It’s always good to meet up with people from other clubs, we can pick their brains if nothing else. Thanks to those who helped making the sandwiches and provided cake. It must have been good because by the time I got round to wanting some it had all gone. We gave the Dyno box a good workout, at one point the 08 combination was exerting 26 lbs pull. I’ll bring the laptop to next but one natter night and you can see the display of pull vs distance. Tomorrow is BrianH discourse on pills or tablets or something, next running day is 17th August, then on 31st August we are having a silly little waggon day, loads of goods trains and loads of locos I hope. I’m inviting participants from local clubs, but no free grub.   Free stuff set of 6 horn castings thought to be 5″ King, free to good home, contact Bob the Tea   This week is Urmston’s open week, see http://www.udmes.co.uk/ai1ec_event/open-week/?instance_id=1396= for more details Wednesday 30th July Big turnout today and lots done. I was working up by the pond on track circuiting, so I’m bound to have missed something, but here goes. Highlight of the day must be Barrie’s Black 5 which he has now converted to radio control. SteveH just happened to have some waggons in the back of his car (doesn’t everyone?) and so we had the somewhat unnerving sight of a 5″ steam hauled train running along with no visible driver. Only the regulator and whistle are controlled at present, watch this space for further developments. Had to turn a blind eye to the lack of a brake van. The rabbits have been busy again, a big hole between the pillars near the steaming bays was backfilled with bricks and hardcore, but they just dig round. Perhaps we need to get Elmer Fudd to persuade them to go and live elsewhere. Henry was busy steam testing, HonTreas had a good run with his Simplex, and Keith seems to have found a reliable source of steam, his Metro went round and round. Meanwhile BrianH was doing more wiring, this time to the pavilion illumination, Rob was levelling the blocks in the steaming bays, and a team were bolting the bench in the container to the wall. It doesn’t wobble now! We even have a board with tools hanging on it, no more hunting for that illusive screwdriver. We also managed to lay in the conduit for DavidP’s signal, digging a trench through the pile of bricks was just too much like hard work. Watch out for the hole between the tracks by the home signal, it will be filled in next week. As getting concrete beams at a reasonable price is getting harder, t’committee decided that we should experiment with steel. I’ve welded up a prototype and that has gone off to Roy to be finished (update wednesday evening, it’s finished, will be back Sunday). It will be installed in place of one of the cracked concrete ones at the top end so we can get some experience of running on steel before committing to it. Production runs would be galvanised, so no maintenance, and a lot lighter, I carried this one out of my car unaided, try that with a concrete one. Lawn mower has died, MikeP is getting prices for a new magneto, we might finish up with a new mower. Next week we’ve invited Leyland club to visit us, they are bringing 4 locos (at present) so there should be room for ours as well. I will bring bread and sandwich ingredients, we can make them up on the day. If anyone wants to bring cake I won’t try to dissuade them. Next portable track is 2nd August at Newton, contact Steve if you can help. Running day Sunday then Natter night next Thursday, BrianH is giving us a talk on ‘My Tablet’, I don’t know either. Wednesday 23rd July Not that many at running day, perhaps exhausted our brownie points last weekend webmeister has added a link to the website to ‘national events’. This is maintained by Rochdale club, and lists all sorts of open days etc. Most important, the old tea cosy provided by Mrs BillP was getting a bit droopy, so RobG’s wife has made a new one, with WDMES knitted into it. Photo of the official presentation to Hon CanLad below DSC_0002x Lots of work done today despite the scorching heat. Lots of trimming of shrubbery and filling of rabbit holes. The ‘dead’ tree outside the pavilion has lots of leaves, so it is probably not in imminent danger of falling down. Bruce fixed the last of the damage to the pavilion doors. Les brought along a boiler for test, off John Clifton’s Sweat Pea which Les is completing for John’s widow, and PaulM brought along his newly acquired battery loco, an early Maxitrack Ruston (that’s 2 in the club now). You’ve guessed, pester power from his son Robin, who wants his own loco. It ran very nicely, worth driving down to Brighton to pick it up. Pat brought the Rail Grinder again, he must have given it the monkey gland treatment as it reeled off lap after lap. I made up a rack to hold the signals. Not quite finished yet, but it holds the 3 we have so far. This is intended to live on one of the big trucks, it just drops onto the seat so it is easy to lift off, but the idea is when it is full of signals it just sits on the truck in the carriage shed, not cluttering Henry’s desk. We’ve been promised the arms for the remaining signals next week, so I’ll have to get on with the track circuiting. Our local police-person must have felt her ears burning, she actually rang me during the week about the break in and is going to do a site visit to see if she can suggest any further security measures. She didn’t actually know we are there, so much for local knowledge. Now I’m going to make myself unpopular (what’s that, you already are!). My next project is a fairground organ, so I’ll be cutting lots of wood. I decided to buy myself a precision table saw. Best price in this country £330 plus postage. Bought it from Germany, £249 including postage, so I’ve probably saved £100. Ordered Sunday, arrive today, they even responded in English. Long live the EU! If you’ve ever tried to import anything from the USA don’t go there, the bureaucracy is immovable and you end up paying more in handling charges than the actual import duty. At the next natter night (7th August) BrianH is giving a talk on ‘My Tablet’. Not sure whether it is one of a pair with divine regulations, an item of medication or a little computer, all will be revealed on the night. Portable track has a busy couple of weeks, Frodsham and Helsby car show on the 27th July and Newton Town Show on the 2nd August. Both of these are good money earners, so plenty of helpers please. Contact SteveH. Next Running day 3rd August Wednesday 16th July Steam Fair was very successful, we raised £1645, a very good effort by all involved. No incidents, no complaints. Unfortunately I received a phone call on Monday morning to tell me that the pavilion had been broken into. Bruce and I attended and found the front doors crowbarred open, the roof on the carriage shed forced upwards damaging the felt covering, and the lock on the toolshed broken and the door crowbarred open. Nothing taken, just a lot of damage to put right. I’ve reported it to the police, but despite this being the third incident this year they do not seem interested. We have to face up to the fact that we are in an isolated situation, and our buildings (with the exception of the container) are made of wood. If we make it more difficult to break in they will just cause more damage. We are going to investigate fitting alarms and/or CCTV. To cheer you up here are a couple of pictures, one of the queue waiting to ride the trains, and one of Diane Carney, editor of Model Engineer . I don’t need to tell you whose loco it is. I had made a fitting to seal the exhaust pipe to the generator, so no more filling the place with diesel fumes. Genny ran all weekend with Pat producing his usual fine food. Just to keep the customers amused BillP ran a push pull train, pulling freight waggons and pushing a certain Rail Grinder. I’m not that gullible! go to videos page and scroll down to the bottom

Click picture for HD full size.

Model Engineer's editor Diane Carney visits WDMES during the Cheshire Steam Fair2014

Model Engineer’s editor Diane Carney visits WDMES during the Cheshire Steam Fair2014

The crowds just kept coming to ride with WDMES during the Cheshire Steam Fair!

The crowds just kept coming to ride with WDMES during the Cheshire Steam Fair!

Today we put right most of the damage, some completion needed next week. I thought the bottom bolt from the pavilion door was beyond hope, but DavidP managed to straighten it and it has been refitted. The door lock benefited from some attention with a hammer and now works OK. Henry was busy boiler testing, PaulC’s Britannia could be called a copper colander. More work needed. I think Dave Long’s passed, but I was busy fixing doors. DaveM brought along his Southern loco, it seemed to work very well apart from one drain cock blowing. The real ones did that so very realistic. Next door to me are having an extension, so I felt duty bound to reduce the carbon footprint by extracting 3 fluorescent fittings from the skip ready for fitting in container. If you want to purchase sweat shirts etc with club logo, just go along to Top Print in Winwick Street, just north of Central Station and they will do the necessary, no minimum orders any more, so no need for me to be involved. Natter night tomorrow, then running day Sunday Wednesday 9th July What a busy day, huge turnout, if it had been raining we wouldn’t all have got in the pavilion for lunch, but there again we wouldn’t have had a huge turnout. What we did:

  • Everything in sight got pressure washed or scrubbed. Keep moving or you’ll get full force Karcher. Looks a lot better without the encroaching green coating. Even the pavilion floor was mopped clean, so we weren’t allowed in after lunch.
  • Starter cord on petrol generator replaced, the recoil starter now does what it says on the tin
  • Roger cleaned the windows, it’s amazing how you don’t notice how grubby they are until someone cleans them. His little hand held electric window cleaning gizmo works a treat.
  • Pressure washer kept the generator busy and allowed PaulM and BrianH to do a full safety check on the installation. They were also spotted doing some more wiring. Genny seems to be getting quieter as it gets run in or we’re getting used to it. Once I stop the leak from the exhaust stub to the flex pipe it should be even better (bush made this afternoon before I forget again). We reckon a lot of the remaining noise is ground transmitted, so we are looking into absorbent feet.
  • Recess in top of silencer filled with Belzona, the stickiest resin you can imagine.
  • Grass cutting and strimming ready for Steam Fair
  • The bench with the broken slats has been repaired, very nice job, Thanks Frank. Good job or there would have been nowhere to sit.
  • The great trench is now complete and filled in again, with the wire in of course. Digging out for DavidP’s advance starter involves cutting through concrete blocks, broken bricks etc, so we’ve abandoned that and will do it in conduit as it’s not very far.
  • Henry went on with some steam tests. PaulC’s Britannia failed last week, thought to be a weeping bush. When he took the boiler off it turned out to be a cracked throatplate to barrel joint, but he’s had the boiler off and Ron Perry has worked his magic. Needs pickling now but looks OK. Not bad for a week’s work.
  • The round tuits finally arrived and I fitted the  wheel sensor  for the pullometer, properly this time, not a toolmakers clamp. RayW provided the 90 degree drill, thanks to all who offered. The magnet is now tucked into the wheel recess so shouldn’t get knocked off in derailments

If you look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schienenzeppelin you will find a train driven by an airscrew. Well we weren’t going to be outdone by that so PaulC has developed his own Mad Hatters version, see photos Here and the video Here . The look on Paul’s face when he realised that he had no brakes was wonderful. Thinking quickly he just pointed the leaf blower the other way and rapidly came to a stand. No adhesion problems here Pat! Actually the rail grinder is much improved by its lead ballast, but he turned his nose up at taking me and PaulC for a ride, so I had to walk back to the top of the track. Is he making suggestions as to our avoirdupois?   Steam Fair this weekend, lots of help required, committee meeting tomorrow   Regards Wednesday 2nd July Lymm Transport Extravaganza was a roaring success for the portable track gang, well over £500, and a reasonable number of people helping out. There are lots of photos here, and one below to whet your appetite. We might be featuring in this week’s Warrington Guardian, fame at last! Another action packed day today, good turnout and glorious weather. What we did:

  • checked over the trucks ready for Steam Fair
  • sorted out some super-elevation discrepancies, looks as though Mr Brock has been undermining the track in places and some of the pillars have leaned over slightly
  • started wiring up the container. The new generator makes a much better fist of driving the circular saw, prayers and incantations no longer required. If anyone has a 110v centre tapped transformer (the sort of thing they use on building sites) going spare we can use it.
  • tried to get the lawnmower to start (and failed)
  • continued the great trench. Because there were three of us on it we got up to the iron bridge, finish next week.
  • started to modify the attachment of the sensor for the pullometer so it doesn’t get knocked off in a derailment. These sort of jobs would be much easier at home, but the trucks are at the track so I’m stuck with doing a bit each week.

There was also lots of hydraulic and steam testing, some passed, some didn’t. Pat got the Rail Grinder through and proceeded to reel off lots of laps (see photo), DavidP knocked off a few laps, and Keith finally found some steam, although when I tried to cadge a lift to the great trench site it disappeared again Natter night tomorrow, running day Sunday, then Steam Fair next weekend 12th/13th, we’ll need lots of locos and station staff, Pat has offered to do the bacon and sausage butties, that makes it worthwhile in itself! 20140629_121712.jpg rail grinder Wednesday 25th June Nice day again and a good turnout. Henry was kept busy hydraulic testing, the Rail Grinder passed. Vernon managed a few laps, and there were three other locos, Henry’s Juliet, Keith still in search of steam and another who I’ve forgotten, old age you know. Brian finished off the outside wiring then used the new generator to pressure wash the decking outside the pavilion. We will have to arrange teach ins in how to start it, it’s easy when you know how, but it took us a long time first time. I put the existing three signal brackets back on the posts, they had been removed for painting. You have to take the lids off the junction boxes to bolt them back on, not made any easier by the lids being stuck on with paint! I’ve fitted the JBs on the three posts at the top, they will be painted after the wiring is installed. Then carried on trench digging. This is not some WW1 re-enactment, just to bury the wiring. There is about 1-2″ of topsoil, then hard packed sand. Question, when does hard packed sand become classed as rock? Even with the mattock (which was discovered hidden in the tool shed) it’s hard going. No wonder this patch of land is not farmed. I believe the portable track team are setting up for Lymm Transport Extravanganza on Saturday starting about 1:00 pm. Please try to find some time Saturday for setting up or Sunday for running and taking down. Without this stalwart band, the subs would have to be a lot higher, and it’s not really fair to put all the work on so few. We should make quite a bit on this. There is no official running day on Sunday to encourage people to go to Lymm. Finally, BillP has found this on’t interweb, could be of interest http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22657/22657-h/22657-h.htm Wednesday 18th June Sunday was well attended and all went well. One member is still stopping if the first distant is on caution. To remove any doubt you don’t have to stop at yellow signals. Even colour blind people should be able to distinguish as the distant has a forked end. As we do not, and will not, have full track circuiting, there is a slight anomaly with this first distant. Imagine the flashing light signal (outer home?) is at danger, someone (train 1) is stopped at it and the following train (train 2) is by the old hut somewhere. The first distant is on caution. The flashing light then clears to allow  train 1 to set off, but of course he cannot instantly accelerate to line speed, and might even be taking water and so not ready to depart. However, as the outer home signal has cleared, the distant will clear, so train 2 will think he has a clear run, only to find train 1 blocking his path. It has been suggested that we make the first distant fixed, but in my view this makes it meaningless as sometimes it warns of the next signal being at stop, sometimes it doesn’t. I suggest that I put in another length of track circuiting from the first distant to the flashing light so that if there is a train in section the distant will not clear even if the home clears. This is easy peasy. Anyone got any constructive comments? Today there was a lot of grass cutting around the track getting ready for Steam Fair, three locos, two getting steam tested and one trying to find some steam, Brian continued wiring the pavilion, this time outside sockets on the veranda. Henry and I started digging the trench for the next tranche of signalling. It is really difficult digging through tree roots and the hard compacted subsoil (top soil is only about 2″). It would have been easier if we could have found the mattock, has anyone borrowed it? We got about halfway from the distant on the long straight to the curve by the steel bridge, a long way to go. The flags on the non public station by the outer home got cemented in, and the signal posts got a coat of white paint, makes them look a lot better. I forgot to mention week before last that the petrol generator has had a service, apologies to those who didn’t get a mention. Tomorrow’s Natter Night should be interesting, BillP is bringing his bell ringing computer. Ear defenders and aspirins recommended     portable track  Thelwall Rose Queen  21st June, Lymm transport extravaganza 29th June, running day which was in the diary for this day cancelled,doesn’t stop you of course, but all hands needed on portable, this is very busy and hence a good money spinner.   Little LEC at West Riding Small Loco Soc this weekend see http://www.littlelec.co.uk/home/index.php. We are running this in 2016, I might go and see how it’s done! Wednesday 11th June we had a visit from our friends in Mold today. They brought the weather with them, beautiful. 5 locos, including a working Mallet, you don’t see many of them. Their riding trucks seemed to take delight in catching the ends of the sleepers, so I had to follow them round with a hacksaw for a few laps, after that fine. Our silly little waggon men were out in force, so we had a freight train in the afternoon. Must admit it is quite a sight when it goes past and you hear it running. Makes the loco work quite hard as well. Thanks to all who provided grub, nearly all the sandwiches went, I’ve only got enough for tomorrow’s lunch. There is cake secreted in the pavilion for Sunday (running day). I’ve put some pictures in the gallery. There might be better ones later! now a note to portable track people, Thelwall Rose Queen moved to 21st June. Nice of them to tell us in plenty of time. Steve and his merry men raise a considerable amount of money for the club, without them the subs would have to be much higher. If you can spare a couple of hours to help assembly or taking down it would be much appreciated. Wednesday 4th June It rained last Wednesday, so no-one came. Running day Sunday was well attended, and beautiful weather. When I arrived there were 3 Simplexes (Simpli?) on the track, and one on the steaming bays. we had a visit from a family of wrens. At one point there were 4 hopping along the track. David’s signal has now been converted to remote operation, Bruce is making a box to tidy it up. Today it forecast rain, but apart from an odd bit of drizzle it held off until afternoon, so quite a bit got done:

  • Grass strimming
  • exhaust from genny, brackets made at home actually fitted. Noticed a slight design glitch, the silencer is meant to be fitted horizontally. We have it vertical, so there is a rim at the top which will fill with rain. A bit of deft sheet metal work is needed to make up a little roof, and we need a flapper to keep the rain from falling straight down the pipe. However, the good news is that I temporarily coupled up the flexible exhaust (spacers needed to finish) and thanks to Dr. Brian finishing off the pavilion wiring we had power. Still plenty of little finishing off jobs, but the whole thing is acceptably quiet, especially on the steaming bay side of the pavilion. We have an aluminium plate round the hole where the exhaust exits the house. Someone remind me to make the hole in the wood a bit bigger so it doesn’t catch fire. I forgot my jigsaw today. Exhaust needs painting, someone promised me some special paint but I’ve forgotten who.
  • moving the small (non public) platform by the steaming bays to in advance of the outer home signal. If you get stopped there you will be able to hop off and fill up with water
  • There is a Robin’s nest in the tree next to the carriage shed. Low down near the ground. Please do not disturb unneccessarily

Natter night tomorrow, then we are having a visit from Mold next Wednesday. Bring your silly little wagons. I’m organising butties and pies (for the visitors), if anyone wants to volunteer cake it will be welcomed   Regards Wednesday 21st May Beautiful day today, quite a few locos, Henry with his Simplex, Keith with his Metro (where did all the steam go?), David with his Simplex, Brian brought the club diesel, and Peter with his battery loco for some more tinkering. The painters are still at it, shades of Forth Bridge, and we now have railings along the narrow bit of platform, and a gate to the steaming bays. new gate I cut a hole for the exhaust in the genny house and did a trial fit. More welding at home, then final fit next week. Hopefully I will have remembered to buy some flexi exhaust by then and we can work out how to couple it all together. We’ve had a look at the pillar drill we were given some time ago. It needs some TLC, nothing fundamental, just replace some circlips, nuts bolts etc and fit the motor we’ve been given. This sort of thing is much easier if someone adopts it as a project. Any offers?   Running day Sunday was good, even if the signals were a bit troublesome. The light on the distant is a two colour red/green. If you mix red light with green light you should get yellow light, but if you then shine it through a yellow filter, it goes back to red. Very confusing, so some people were stopping at the distant instead of slowing down for the outer home, and it’s quite steep there so difficult restart. It’s being attended to. The problem with the home has been traced to voltage drop in the supply cable. It’s quite long and not very thick, so was losing over a volt, which was enough to compromise operation. Paul has reduced the series resistance to the motor and it worked fine today. We had a visit from Phil Parker, not seen him since his coronary plumbing job. He’s looking well and has started rebuilding his workshop, so hopefully we’ll see more of him soon We’ve worked out how to allow more than one train in section to speed operations when public passenger hauling. Anyone got some  yellow and red flags or old table tennis bats with one red, one yellow face they would like to donate? Wednesday 14th May Fewer of us there today, might have had something to do with all the motorways being gridlocked due to the crashed chicken lorry. Mr Landlord has scraped the first field flat, so no more ruts. The weekend monsoon had left a few big puddles, but no problem. He has also started on widening the gate. A very good start was made on fabricating a gate to dissuade the punters from wandering round the steaming bays, OK in small numbers by invitation, but no in hordes. The painters were at it again, I think the idea is to have so much paint that if the wood rots away no-one will notice. I did some in-situ measuring for the genny exhaust, so that can now progress a bit. Pat brought along a vertical boiler he had bought for his slowly developing steam crane, should be interesting when it’s finished, a change from endless locos! It passed hydraulic. I also noticed another loco I assume up for hydraulic. We now have a distant signal, and Paul has increased the anti glitch time delay, so hopefully the problem experienced with 4 wheel trucks and 3.5″ engines will have gone away. I spoke to Phil Parker who we haven’t seen for quite a while after his heart surgery. He sounds OK, has been laying the base for his new workshop, and is threatening to pay us a visit Sunday. Running day Sunday, Southport Diesel Day 31st May, NAME rally 13th/14th/15th June at Derby, Diesel day at Sale on 14th June. There is a complete listing if events at http://www.rsmee.com/, click the events tab. This gives contact details for these and other events Wednesday 7th May Good turnout for running day, at one point we had the two large pacifics on at the same time. Barrie and Paul had a pushing competition, shades of HMS Rattler (see http://spellerweb.net/ssindex/Rattler.html). Barrie won, but he did have gravity on his side. Today was the great grass cutting, strimmers to the left of him strimmers to the right as Tennyson might have said. We also had a great tidy out of the container, you now have to wear slippers to be allowed in, and all tools to be polished on return. I’ve started on the exhaust system, but forgot to bring the pipe to do the in-situ measuring up. There is always next week. Dr Brian was seen doing more rewiring on Peter’s battery loco. Wiring these things up without it looking like a rabbit’s intestines is a skill I don’t have!  A start was made on fitting a top rail to the fence along the narrow bit of the platform, but the weather was a bit uncertain, so we had an early finish. Harrogate this weekend, I’m going on Saturday to spend the money I haven’t got. Wednesday 30th April Huge turnout today, both locos and people. The spare beams were moved to a position where they are less likely to be climbed on by visiting children. The GL5 association would have been proud of us, they were conveyed by rail using the club diesel, now complete with sound card and horn. Very nice indeed, thanks Brian. Henry brought his Emma Victoria for an airing, and Norman brought his 3.5″ tank. Despite having a blower which didn’t, he eventually managed to get up steam, very nice indeed. Pat brought the rail grinder for  test, but leaky fittings put paid to that. Peter brought his Maxitrack diesel. You will remember from previous editions of Daresbury Gazette that this was very slow. Turns out it was quite fast going backwards. It is a feature of 4QD controllers that reverse is half forward speed, this one was wired back to front..  Brian rewired it on the spot, and succeeded in getting it to run equally fast in both directions, ie not at all. A second try was more successful, one smiling Peter.   The Daresbury school of monochromatic art has been busy again, yet more coats of white on the railings around the station. Looking better every week. David finally managed to concrete in his signal post, and the generator is now chained down in its little house. No doubt the electrical consultant will be busy soon connecting it all up. I started to make a rack for storing the signals, but gave it up as I was struggling to come up with a good scheme. Natter night tomorrow, then running day Sunday. Harrogate next weekend 9/10/11 May   Wednesday 23rd April Running day went off well, 5 locos (I think, I was as usual late) BrianH brought the newly refurbished club diesel, looks much better and runs a lot more sweetly. Oiling it probably helped, but it’s not too easy to do a thorough job, you have to tip it on its side to get to the axle hung motor bearings. The track circuiting worked well, couple of little development issues but they are being sorted Today was equally good. The flurry of e-mails re access were not needed, Mr landlord obviously had better things to do. So what did we do?

  • More painting of railings. I’ve suggested they can do my house next, but no takers.
  • drilled out pop rivets on track circuiting and replaced with nuts and bolts. Rivets did not give reliable contact, some were very loose. This gave rise to intermittent fault on Sunday. We need to replace a couple of fishplates with insulating material. When you want them to conduct they don’t, hence the wire linking, but when you don’t want them to they do (intermittently).
  • filled in one of the subsided bits in our access road. If you’re doing DIY at home and need to get rid of a bit of rubble, bring it along instead of taking it to the tip. Not massive lumps of course. Just scrape back the planings, deposit hardcore, replace planings. Simples.
  • David and his dad planted another post for his signal. Very hard going through where we have tipped broken up track beams in the past. Where it is it will need to be power operated, so if anyone has a 12v geared motor with output at suitable speed they want rid of let David know. Windscreen wiper or electric windows or similar.
  • most important bit last. THE GENNY HOUSE IS FINISHED. We manhandled the generator in and ran it, it is pretty effective at soundproofing even with the exhaust just discharging into the house. We have a silencer and a member has just donated some suitable pipe, so the exhaust system will soon be complete. Another member has kindly donated some chain, so next time we won’t have to manhandle it back onto the trolley to get it back into the container. If anyone has some ally checker plate about 3′ * 4″ it would save the doorstep getting marked
  • We’ve invested in a set of padlocks with all the same key, no problem now working out which key fits what.
  • Just for a bit of light relief, the other Brit came for steam test, and passed, so we could sit and watch the train go by (and the signals working) as we had our lunch

next natter night 1st May, next running day 4th May Friday 18th April Huge turnout Wednesday, and the access road is quite dry if deeply rutted. Highlight was Barrie’s quadricopter. Challenge now is for someone to make a 1/12 scale ack ack gun and blast it out of the sky. Otherwise several barrow loads of bricks and rubble were deposited in the collapsed badger set in the first field, and the sound insulation was fitted to the genny shed, so the day of judgement nears. I concreted in the final 2 signal posts, next step is to electrically link the rails round the top bend, oh joy. Those who came to last night’s natter night were treated to an impromptu bits and pieces. Henry explaining how he fabricates the cylinders on his little tank engine, Bruce showing how he made paxolin springs for his Stirling (wind the strip into a coil about half the finished radius then boil it in water. Shouldn’t work according to manufacturers as it is a thermoset, but it does), and Brian giving a demo on cold blacking of steel, amazingly quick and effective. Rob has looked into buying industrial quantities, it costs £142 for 5 litres, we could buy a drum full then subdivide it to members. If you want some contact Rob on servg47@gmail.com. I think we need to have firm orders for all of it before we buy. According to website it should be diluted 1:3. Running day Sunday, see you there. Wednesday 9th April First running day arrived, I believe there were 2 locos, a Duchess and a Britannia. Everyone managed to get across the field, no damaged exhausts. I fear that despite my frequent exhortations not to drive on the field unnecessarily, someone, who shall remain nameless unless he does it again, drove from the corner in the second field up to the track with one pair of wheel s on the central grass strip and the other pair on the field. I was just about to set off when it started raining, so I didn’t bother. Good news is that the two signals completed so far worked perfectly. We just need to fit a repeater on the back of the flashing light so you can tell it’s working from the swing link position. Steve Hudson has made a finial, and remarkably good it looks, really sets it off. DaveM is going to organise painting the posts, it seems that signal posts have to be white. Good turn out again today, the genny shed team felted the roof, the Jeyes Fluid man continued his lonely task, the railings received a coat of undercoat, and I planted a signal post near the iron bridge. I’d have planted the associated distant if we’d had enough gravel, so a job for next week, the hole is dug. Committee meeting tomorrow night Wednesday 2nd April lots of stuff again today.

  • the genny house team fitted the door, and it’s started to go green. Photo will be attached once Brian sends it through
  • more repairing, wire brushing, painting of railings round station
  • the signals by the pavilion now work, no more grovelling in the mud for me. When I say work there is a little confusion between yellow and green, but that is a change to one word in one line of code, so it will be fixed by Sunday (won’t it Paul). At the end of this screed is a preliminary explanation of how it works. A certain ukulele player amongst us can’t tell the difference twixt yellow and white.
  • no less than 4 locos, Barrie’s Black 5, John’s Arthur, Vernon’s white electric, Brian’s loco as described last week. All went remarkably well.

The road through the first field and the gate is very bad again, very deep ruts and collapsed badger sets (about half way across first field, in the centre-ish). Several people made it across today, I didn’t try. It’s up to you, it’s your exhaust. We are trying urgently to meet with our landlord to see what can be done. If there is any news I will send out an e-mail, so check before Sunday’s running day. Tomorrow is Auction Night, let’s see if we can come up with a better selection of stuff than last year. It’s Harrogate exhibition soon. I get the impression that sharing a bus with Wiral is not too popular because of the chippy meal afterwards. I’ll put up a notice at Pewterspear to see who wants to car share. the genny shed gang Brian's engine1 Draft description of signalling as of 2 April 2014 The flashing light signal goes by the carriage shed, the home semaphore (red arm) goes by Daresbury halt. Plug both in before connecting the power (2 croc clips hanging from flash light signal). All four lights on the flash light signal will flash in sequence. It should now work Flashing light by carriage shed. alternate flashing red lights, swing link open, stop two solid red lights, train occupying section, stop yellow light, train in following section, be prepared to stop at next signal green, go top red only flashing, fault in connection to track, proceed with caution and report bottom red only flashing, fault in connection to next signal (by Daresbury Halt), proceed with caution and report both reds flashing in unison, both of above faults, proceed with caution and report In the event of either fault, disconnect power, disconnect lead from flash light signal to junction box, find the override connector (short bit of wire with plug one end, socket the other) connect it between the socket on the junction box and the plug on the flash light. This overrides both faults, but only the swing link signal will now operate. Home signal (red semaphore by Daresbury Halt) arm horizontal, steady red light,  train occupying section, stop arm sloping, green light, go arm horizontal, flashing red light,  fault in connection to track, proceed with caution and report arm reluctant to go up, flat battery. The lights will work on a much lower voltage.

Wednesday 26th March 2014

Curiouser and curiouser as Alice might have said. The green wheelbarrow has been found, abandoned in a hedge on Daresbury Lane, somewhere near the entrance to the Hall. This will no doubt give Dixon of Dock Green valuable evidence leading to the apprehension of the international barrow thief. Lots of work today:

  • the  generator house team fitted most of the louvres, and at one point had the door on, but it is now off again, so I’m not sure what’s going on there. More piccies below, this time with your humble HonSec (covered in mud see below)
  • team 2 were cleaning down the railings at the station, looks very smart now
  • team 3 fitted some battens on the pavilion roof to make it less likely for the covering to come adrift in high winds
  • the lonely man with his Jeyes Fluid spray continued his progress round the track
  • team 4 progressed the pre season inspection of track and trucks, no cries of despair, so it’s looking good for running on 6 April
  • I nearly finished the track circuit wiring, if I’d bought 10.5m of flexible conduit I’d have had enough, as it is I know where I can scrounge the 1/2 metre required. I must say I’ll be glad when it’s finished, lying flat on your back in the mud connecting wires under the track is not my idea of a good time


Wednesday 19th March 2014 

The light fingered brigade have been back, this time they stole a wheelbarrow, but otherwise no further damage. It really would be more cost effective to get a job, to bring a vehicle then walk across the field and back just for a wheelbarrow, how much do you get for a secondhand barrow down the pub? The generator house team continued, it looks better every week, rainproofing the roof next week I imagine. BarrieP brought his Black Five again for steam test, and this time of course it passed. I brought my vertical boiler for hydraulic, and that passed as well, so a good day for boiler testing. DaveM continued his war on the moss, smartens the place up noticeably. The other DaveM concreted in some posts preparatory to re-instating the fence on the narrow bit of Daresbury Halt platform, this has been outstanding since the great rebuild, and will make using the platform a lot safer. BrianH brought along the chassis of his battery loco, it ran beautifully. It is modelled on a loco on the Talyllyn Railway, but I can’t find any pictures on the interweb.   Tomorrow night is AGM. The lengths some people will go to to avoid the AGM, 2 have gone to Portugal, one to Australia. It’s not that bad really Wednesday 12th March 2014 I had to disappear early today, so I might well have missed something, apologies if I have. However

  • the access road has dried out to the extent that 5 or so members drove across. There are still some big puddles in the first field, so if you need to drive across, please just drive through, not over the field as that upsets the landlord. They’re not that deep.
  • Dave was going round with the moss killer spray, so everything smells of Jeyes Fluid. I quite like it
  • The ‘free wood’ fairy has visited so there is lots of plywood for the genny house walls. This saved us a lot of money, so thanks are due. Photo attached. I’m not sure why HonPres looks as tho’ he is about to attack it with a saw, presumably the overhangs need trimming a bit
  • I drilled some holes in the beams to accommodate cable connections to track, as a result of which the keyless chuck on my drill is kaput. I had to use a vice and Stilson to get the drill out. Anyone know how to get it off? It’s a powercraft drill, so not very expensive, but it does not appear to have a screw down the middle
  • Barrie brought his Black  Five for steam test. He tried to bribe me to conceal this information, but journalistic integrity obliges me to tell you it FAILED. Blowdown valve leaking like a sieve, odd as it was OK at end of last season and it’s done nowt since
  • next meeting is 20th March, AGM. I’ve already had some excuses like being on holiday in Portugal, this is pretty weak! If you haven’t had documentation by either e-mail or dirt mail let me know.

DSC_0064x Wednesday 5th March 2014 So what did we do today? The genny shed team made a door frame, a few people started removing the winter coat of moss and green slime from track and steaming bays, looks a lot better. PaulM and I got a bit further with the signal wiring. The main signal which indicates swinging link open now works. Previous wiring problems have sent 12v up a 5v input with predictable results, fried chips. Operation is most impressive, alternate flashing red lights means swing link open, two steady reds means train in section, yellow means train in next section, and green is obvious. As well as this, top red flashing means fault in track circuit, bottom red flashing means fault in connection to next signal, both flashing in unison means 2 faults, and if that isn’t complicated enough, when you first connect the battery all 4 lights flash one after the other to confirm the bulbs haven’t blown. After that the semaphores will be easy (he said hopefully). I’m trying to find some end caps to go over the scaffolding tube uprights to stop them filling up with water. They are available, but you have to buy 200. I’ve tried all the local scaffolders, no joy. The pipe is 48.3 mm OD, any ideas? Eventually some fancy finials would be nice, anyone into wood turning? DaveF managed to get across to the track in his van to deliver some plywood for the genny shed roof, but although most of the road is drying out it is still very bad in the gateway. Mr Landlord has dumped a huge pile of stone just inside the gate, I suspect this is to do with the drainage work he seems to be engaged in rather than repairing the road.   Tomorrow night talk is on the Liverpool Overhead Railway, should be very good. I am advised that the new Liverpool Museum has a scale model of the docks as they were in their heyday, worth a visit whilst the distaff side goes shopping perhaps. Wednesday 26th Feb 2014 Another fine day, the access track is drying out, but still very bad in the gate. There was a guy muck spreading on the field, and he took it into his head to drive on the bit where we have put down the chippings. This has resulted in 2 more collapsed badger sets, but I suppose it was going to happen sooner or later, and it’s not under one of our cars. I’ve spoken to our landlord, and will contact Mr Muck-Spreader this evening. Landlord has stated he will sort out access across the first field in the near future. When the early birds got there today they found that the tool shed and toilet had been jemmied open, and an attempt made on the carriage shed. All that was taken was a Stanley knife, which wasn’t actually in the shed, I was on site Monday and after I’d locked up I found the Stanley knife, so I propped it on the lock of the container. I’ve reported it to the local police, but there is not a lot that can be done.  Some members immediately jumped to the conclusion that as it was half term last week this was down to children, but as all was in order on Monday I doubt it, teenagers do not routinely go around carrying crowbars. So what did we do today? I carried on the endless task of wiring, further progress on the genny house, and a lot of the stuff blown down by the recent gales was collected and burned. On Monday Paul and I tried to commission the signal, bt due to a short in the site wiring the chip expired, they don’t like having 12v up a 5v input you know. Next meeting should be a talk on the Liverpool Overhead Railway, see you there Wednesday 19th Feb 2014 As you can see from the pictures, we had a good turnout today, and lots of tea was drunk. In between tea drinking, we managed to repair the pavilion roof after the gales, run the major cables for the genny house to the container and pavilion, make further progress on the genny house itself, concrete in the outstanding signal post for phase 1 of the semaphore signalling, and do quite a bit of wire terminating for the signals. Wheelbarrowing the gravel across the field for the concrete was not much fun, next year lets get these things in stock during the summer. Natter night tomorrow, then first meeting in march is speaker on the Liverpool Overhead Railway, should be very good Wednesday 12th Feb 2014 Last week: despite the weather forecast a stalwart band of about 10 turned up, only for the rain to start big time at about 10:30, so they had an early lunch, put the world to rights and had an early finish. I believed the weather forecast and stayed at home. The speaker on Thursday was really interesting. as I suspected the St Helens canal was earlier than the Bridgewater, so much for your school history lessons. This week: As far as I can discover everyone believed this week’s forecast and stayed away. There was actually a clear spell from about 12:00 till 14:00 as the eye of the storm passed over, so I walked the dogs without getting wet, but then it did rain big time, with extremely strong wind. Traffic in Warrington was gridlocked as Thelwall Viaduct was shut, took my son 3 hours to get home from work. I’ve been up to the track this morning to check for damage, apart from the felting on the back of the pavilion roof coming a bit detached around the edges and a lot of twiggy stuff off the trees there appears to be no damage. The wind was from the south, so we get a lot of shelter from the trees. As it’s some time since we had any photos, I’ve attached one of my new dog. How to stop progress on Model Engineering; get a young dog. It’s making me walk a lot more, so not all bad. IMG_1611 Tonight: committee meeting Wednesday 29th Jan 2014 All action today, whilst a couple of us carried on with cable termination for the signals, the main effort was directed at getting the framework of the generator house erected. When I left they were still going strong, so it’s probably finished by now. The pieces of scaffold for the other 3 signals were carried across, but we’ve run out of gravel for concreting them in. I’ll get some more. Others carried on with general site tidying, including taking out some of the rotting woodwork up at the pond end. No meeting tomorrow night, then on  6 Feb we have Peter Keen talking about the Sankey Navigation. Wednesday 22th Jan 2014 It started out wet, but by 10:30 the rain stopped and we had a good day. The plinth for the generator house is finished, we can now start making the frames for the walls. I doubt we have enough material to finish, but we can get a good way on. We’ve also pulled all the cables  (at least the long runs) for the signalling. It would have been a good idea to do a drawing first, would have saved some abortive work, but never mind it’s done now. Bits and Pieces was excellent, loads of exhibits ranging from very fine locos to a hymn book stand. Pictures If we get this standard of work we’ll consider having more Bits and Pieces meetings. We forgot to award the Golden Spanner, this will be sorted retrospectively. Lots of new photos on the website as soon as Webmaster gets his act together, and the slides form Bruce’s talk on etching plates. Bruce’s Presentation February’s meeting has a speaker on the St Helens Canal. According to the font of all knowledge (Wikipedia) this opened in 1757, 4 years before the Bridgewater, so much for your history lessons at school. Wednesday 15th Jan 2014 The Times said it would rain all day, the BBC said it would rain from 2:00pm, both wrong, lovely day, quite warm in fact. Good turnout and we got a lot done

  • two very long trenches dug and filled in again. No not in the wrong place, they now conceal the ducting for the wiring of the signals. By poking a piece of fence wire down one end we’ve also run string right through ready for pulling the cables. I’ll have to set to and do a wiring diagram now, or we’ll get very frustrated. We had just enough alkathene pipe. We’ll have to move the water tank as it is unsighting one the the signals, not a big job, just pull out the post and hammer it in somewhere else.
  • A start made on laying the plinth for the generator house. First thing was to move all the bricks etc back to behind the carriage shed, then bring back some of the old track beams from the dump. Good job we hadn’t smashed them up.

Tomorrow’s meeting is Bit’s and Pieces. I’m bring something, but let’s not have a one man show, they are not that interesting. By all accounts Bob H is recovering, looks as tho’ he’s done 5 rounds with Henry Cooper.   Wednesday 8th Jan 2014 Excellent talk from Bruce last Thursday about etching nameplates. Unfortunately after the meeting Bob Haynes had a fall in the carpark. He is recovering from bruising, so we all wish him the best. Good turn out today, very mild for the time of year. The access road across the first field and through the gate is getting very chewed up, Mr Farmer seems to be taking some fairly heavy stuff through. Our newly laid track hasn’t had much traffic since the heavy rain, but as the field is pretty wet it is best if we walk across unless it is absolutely necessary to drive, and a reminder that our landlord has stated under no circumstances must we drive anywhere but on the track, no shortcuts across the field. Today we

  • made some stiffer brackets for the signals
  • dug out and concreted the ash pits under 2 more steaming bays
  • tinkered with the cable duct we laid last time to put in the tee pieces. If I’d bought 3 tees instead of 2 tees and an elbow we’d be further along. Note there are open trenches in places, I’ve covered them up as best I can but be careful. More trench digging required, Henry has all details
  • completed linking across the track joints for the track circuiting (continuity seems to have stayed OK over the Xmas break)
  • worked out how to get the cabling onto the swing link
  • arising from a mention we got in ME Club News I had an e-mail from a chap in Canada, who seems to know a bit about soundproofing generators. As a result we’ve agreed how we are going to proceed with the generator house so that can commence next week as well. Wonderful stuff this interweb
  • owing to a misunderstanding, Rob turned off the gas so no afternoon tea – disaster

Next meeting is 16th Jan, Bits and Pieces, so bring some of your latest projects along , we don’t want to be reduced to one bit and one piece

2013 Daresbury Gazettes

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