Saturday was a beautiful day by Whitrope standards, our intrepid band of volunteers had a very hard frost to face first thing, but once the sun rose it really warmed things up; clear blue skies and bright sunshine all day, even a few midges, honest.
Jim decided to start the generator and heat the bothy with the electric heaters so it was nice and warm for snack breaks, as well as giving some light and heat for Alan working in the Information coach.
The digger was coaxed into life with help from some “Easy-Start” and Toyota Motors. Once it warmed up it operated perfectly all day. Not bad for a machine that’s nearly as old as it’s operator!
We quickly decided on the concrete sleeper spacing we would use on the new construction, and Jim set to work removing the track ballast for re-use, and lowering the formation as the concrete sleepers are deeper than the original wood ones.
With ballast removed and the formation levelled, we started to place the concrete sleepers in position, with Andy taking great care with the spacing, and Bill keeping us on the straight and level
In all eight concrete sleepers were put in position before bad light stopped play as the digger has no lights.
There was scheduled to be a committee meeting to discuss the programme and operating details for 2017, but with few members in attendance this was cancelled.
The “Fowler boys” were also a miss, as the track boys were hoping to hear the sound of the loco emerging from it’s long hibernation…
However it turns out the Fowler team were in attendance on the Sunday instead.
A small amount of diesel was put into the tank and primed through, the rockers were lubricated and the rocker boxes refitted and then battery leads were fitted to the starter and the solenoid engaged. The engine fired up very quickly and was run for a short period as the cooling system is still being worked on. This shows that the fuel system is okay, and that the head and block are sealed enough to maintain compression to fire. The oil pressure also was at a satisfactory figure.
Work will continue on the Fowler over the next few weeks.
Picture credits to Baz and Jim