Paying the price

In life, there is usually a price to be paid for everything. This axiom is generally true for railways as well (ask anyone who’s bought a walk-up ticket in recent years). It has also proven to be true for the Moseley Railway Trust’s Hudswell Clarke steam loco no.1238. It had a recent trip to Threlkeld in Cumbria (see post a few weeks back) but the exertions of this severely graded line seem to have taken its toll in a few places. In  particular, examination of the loco revealed that one brake block had worn much more than the other. As anyone who has ever been to Threlkeld will know, the line climbs (to pinch an air force expression) like a homesick Angel; therefore, the descent is quite demanding on the brakes. In the case of the Hudswell, perhaps a bit too demanding. Investigation revealed that a brake pull road had failed, which meant the loco was braking only on one side. Fine when one has a braked train coupled up, but far from ideal. So, it was onto the pit at Apedale for repairs. Thankfully, it isn’t too difficult to extract the failed pull rod from the bowels of the loco. Examination showed that this was an original part which had probably just been overloaded. Interestingly, the other side pull rod – again, believed to be original, was a different, and much more robust, design.

A couple of hours fabrication work saw a new end on the rod, and then re-assembly onto the loco. Unfortunately, the worn block had also deposited cast iron particles all over the running gear where it was in danger of becoming grinding paste – this had to be laboriously cleaned off by a group of our younger members. On the bright side, the lower half of the loco is probably cleaner now than it’s ever been. Finally, one of the eccentric rods gave a little cause for concern; this was checked and the fit slightly adjusted. There was some debate as to the correct name for this component, and various books had to be consulted. But, in the end, we did prove that at Apedale we do know our eccentrics from our cranks. If you’re an eccentric or a crank, or just want to, get in touch here.