Once again the team
gathered at Garratt central – a call had gone out on the blog for strong able
bodied volunteers and the rest of us to turned up for the heavy duty lifting
required for the grate. Alan had dedicated the day to some key tasks but one
major job. Installing the mounting brackets for the fire grate onto the
foundation ring and commence the assembly of the grate itself. But more on the
grate and what it fundamentally means to the team, the project and lighting
that first match later
Cold and windy, the day
started out slowly. Minor tasks were undertaken during the first few hours that
needed doing but are necessary were commenced. The first task was finding every
grease nipple on the brake hangers, cleaning and polishing them to be able to
assess their serviceability. Other grease nipples seem to pop up everywhere so
these will need logging and confirming serviceability.
The auto reverse cut
outs (technical jargon for two valves that prevent the power reverser over
reaching its mark) on the power reverser were removed, cleaned and then
remounted. But remounted back in the correct position so that not only the hose
connecting them could reach there joints but also the actuator valves and
springs could align with the reverser bar and thus perform their task of
preventing an over run.
The pins for the valve
motion are now only 2 pins away from completion. A special batch of 4 pins
needed to complete this task did not arrive in time. This means that each join will
be tagged again and inspected – we do not want a rod flying off just because we
missed or incorrectly assembled a pin. For the technically minded the two
remaining pins are on the valve cross heads where the combination lever joins
the cross head. There are two pins on top and two on the bottom. The bottom two
are missing and cannot be inserted if the motion is assembled. Once in place
all rods will be reunited and signing off can start.
The foundation ring
received some attention too prior to the next major task. Some of the stud
holes had to be re-threaded to a larger diameter and these were duly attacked.
Starting before lunch
a small team consisting of Alan, Roger, Howard and self gathered at the original boiler and proceeded to try various techniques to remove 12
supporting brackets from the foundation ring. The boiler was resting on wooden
blocks whilst this gave access to some of the brackets with the rattle gun most
could not be reached so we had to use the old oxy spanner method of removal.
The pictures tell the story. Half of the brackets came away with only heating
and rattle gun approach. The rest Alan carefully cut away, as this boiler is
not condemned and as we are now experts at drilling upside down we deliberately
were as delicate as possible.
Oh and while walking
around the old boiler we found two new grease nipples that push grease onto the
boiler’s slide plates – so two more to
locate, clean and service on the current boiler, which we did not know about.
So back to the Garratt
– the central brace of the grate was heavy and required careful moving and
aligning. This brace runs from the front to the back of the fire box right down
the middle. It supports the cross bars that then hold the grate elements, these
slot between the bars and are free to rock – mechanical rocking.
There was some debate about
front from back, it looked the same from any direction except one end had two
lugs that would slot into one of the mounting brackets – as with previous times
a decision was made (what could possibly go wrong was murmured) and the section
was placed under the firebox.
A two stage lift by
the team and the brace was raised and miraculously it went in first time and
was the right way around! That put paid to the murmuring few!
Seriously, this is a
major, major step forward.
The grate and then the
ash pan are critical to lighting a fire and testing the steam joints and the
myriad of other items on the check list – this is going to be fun. Those
present suddenly realized that there was excitement in the air, that there
is a date looming very soon and a realization that this fundamental milestone
really starts to show that all the efforts to date are really adding up.