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Artless Bodger

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  1. Salt was used in water softening plants, to recharge the ion exchange resins. Aylesford paper mill took salt by the bulk lorry load in the 70s / 80s but probably by rail earlier. The water softening plant was adjacent to the west mill siding connection to the main line. The salt was tipped into a deep tile lined pit outside the building and covered by a timber cover which hinged up pulled by ropes like a drawbridge, the lorry backed up and tipped (10-20 t at a time) direct into the pit. If / when delivered by rail I'd expect salt was shoveled straight from wagons on the adjacent siding into the pit. The pit was kept topped up with water so that a saturated (as long as there was undissolved salt present) brine was kept ready and pumped out when needed. Incidentally papermaker's alum (aluminium sulphate) was handled in no 3 mill in much the same way, I don't know how kibbled alum would have been handled by rail but it was used in huge quantities and is as water soluble as common salt.
  2. Nice, rounded corners looks better than square to my mind. Lighter shade of green on the Q1?
  3. If the Midland had taken the B&E and South Devon early enough, then perhaps Churchward would have completed his apprenticeship in Derby rather than Swindon - then what? Would Derby have the lead in loco development, and Swindon followed a more traditional approach after Dean?
  4. Thank you John-Miles. A bit more OT but your information rang a bell, I'd watched a youtube video about the remnants of this line during SI ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiBqUhHdxhE ).
  5. It's interesting you are prepared to take the risk and try out on the model, I'd be too wary I'd make a mess and ruin a good paint job (thinking here of lining out a Union Mills SR T9). Which paint pens do you use? I've tried the Uni Posca ones which were suggested in the NGS Journal but even the thinnest - 0.7mm tip - give me lining 1' wide . I tried them on a couple of wagons first and decided not to risk the loco. Looks like you use a straight edge or do you have steady hands? Like Nile I think the white version looks good, if you lighten the green in the centre panels but leave it dark round the borders, it would show off the red lining better too I think.
  6. Didn't the Midland also reach Swansea from Hereford via the Neath and Brecon?
  7. There was an earlier proposal, partly constructed, for a canal to link Exeter with the Bristol Channel (The Grand Western Canal). The main reason was to avoid the long journey by sea around Land's End. Given the late 1700s date also suggests that French privateers might be one extra risk to shipping. So the prospect of some through traffic probably encouraged the B&E, especially as part of the canal would only take tub boats of around 20T.
  8. Yes, it was like that until the end - see photos on the Aylesford Paper Mills Traffic thread. The loco was later moved to East Mill via the mainline sometime around 1980. I think the small window was to allow the driver sight of the coupling? The SR prototype DE shunters had something similar. It was a nice easy loco to drive, just the throttle, air brake and reversing levers, duplicated each side with a cross shaft linking the two handles. If my memory serves, to start up: Open the front left hand bonnet panel and use the hand pump to pump some oil around he engine bearings, then into the cab. Check the power contactor key switch was off, open the throttle and open the starting valve to let air from the bottle turn the engine over until it caught, then shut the valve quickly to avoid wasting air. Then before you could move the loco you had to pump up the brake reservoir - the power contactor would not close until you had enough brake air to stop the loco, but if the key was on then as soon as the pressure reached the appropriate level, the loco would be off! When we shunted the last chlorine tanker off site the brake air pressure dropped enough to stop the loco part way up the siding and we had to have a blow-up before we could complete the shunt. Before shutting the engine down we'd make sure the bottle was well charged - I think the gauge went up to 300 psi? Anything over 200 psi would be enough. Then make sure the air valves were shut and pull the decompression handle to run the engine down. If there was not enough air pressure in the bottle to start the engine, there was a petrol donkey engine compressor in the bonnet just in front of the cab, behind the rearmost left hand bonnet panel. This had to be cranked by hand (holding down the decompression valve on the compressor) until it fired, then close the decompression valve, and wait for the air pressure to reach the level to start the diesel. We spent quite a lot of energy trying to get the compressor running one dinnertime - until we found there was no spark - someone had nicked the battery! It was an awkward job as the crank handle (spring loaded retracting handle) was low down and the footplate quite narrow at that point, quite a balancing act.
  9. A couple of photos of Reed's 165 DE at Aylesford paper mill on Historic England. https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/item/AA101388 https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/item/AA101389 A couple from my collection below Also some on the thread And for the record, taken from my notes in the same thread: APM Diesel Shunter ‘Hornblower’. Details taken from the engineer’s dept record card, c. 1984. Ruston -Hornsby 165DE Wo 416211 Engine 6VPH 416586 Front axle 30 cwt Rear axle 34 cwt Total weight 29T 2 cwt Less wheels 26T 2 cwt Full width 8’6” Full height 11’0” Full length 21’11” Cab roof – centre line lift holes 7’8” Lift to clear wheels 2’6” Compressor Broomwade TN13 No /340719 spec. 314/0507 Engine data: Firing order124653 Bumping clearance 0.060” ± 0.004” Valve clearance 0.015” Big ends and Mains 0.0025” – 0.005” max Injectors 3000 psi BHP 150 Max RPM 1250 Bore 5.375” Stroke 8” Injection 30° BTDC Fan belts B79 – 2 off Compressor belts A86 – 3 off Engine water pump races 620422 Hope this is of interest, regards
  10. Photo 20. The east abutment, in the foreground by the concrete posts is where one of the barrier mechanisms stood. Visible here is one of the substitute level crossing control lights as speculated earlier. Photo 21. The east abutment viewed from the west side of the line further up New Hythe Lane. Photo 22. View from further back up New Hythe Lane after the bridge beams had been craned into place, west side crossing control lights visible here. Photo 23. The completed bridge showing how it crossed the line on the skew above the level crossing, this is a view from the east mill side looking west. Photo 24. The view posted before, NH signal box and the shadow of the bridge on the old road.
  11. Three photos of progress on the eastern ramp. The greenish corrugated bit of the building in the background is the covered wharf enclosure extending out over the river, the travelling crane inside the warehouse ran out over the river under this. The North Downs in the backgound above Eccles / Burham / Wouldham.
  12. Have just found this thread: ideas for the future when I cannot manage to fumble with N gauge anymore (as someone notably said, 'I've got N gauge tastes but O gauge fingers' or something like that anyway). Having recently discussed change of scale as a future proofing exercise with Head Gardener, I found her remarkably supportive, even suggesting narrow gauge (thinking back to a holiday in north Wales a couple of years ago and visiting Penrhyn Castle). However, to the point; your whimsy on common user narrow gauge networks (the early standard gauge lines were intended to work like that weren't they?), there are many youtube videos of people with their own runabouts in Europe and the USA that they use on disused or narrow gauge lines, especially in Russia (turf railways). My favourite is this one in Romania as the driver reminds me of one of my old colleagues who was a forever and patch up and bodge merchant especially when it came to his car, and the built in turntable is just pure him; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zeBIxI7n1I There is another video in which the vans meet an oncoming steam train - they just pull into a handy spur, let the steamer go past, then back out and continue - no sign of a tablet.
  13. Short passenger trains could use the bay, there's a photo in the Middleton Press book, Strood to Paddock Wood, with a 4MT tank and a Mk1 3 set plus SR CCT in the short bay, destined for Reading, the loco and much of the front coach are off the platform though. There's also a much better version of the Manning Wardle tank on the temporary bridge at Tovil in this book.
  14. Another memory of MW in the early 60s - there was an exhibition train parked in the yard, for the Milk Marketing Board or some such. There were live cows on board and information about milk production and processing plus a milk bar. The side of the coach with the cows in opened up if I remember correctly. I've also seen photos in a magazine (Back Track?) of the experimental road-railer freight van in the sidings at MW, again as part of an exhibition. I had a plastic kit for that - road unit, trailer and adaptor wagon. Can't remember who made the kit.
  15. Useful, thank you. The Tonbridge bay at MW when I was young was the long one that ended at the gents on the Strood bound side, as the short bay that has the grampus in it was only used for parcels traffic at that time, and it wasn't electrified as far as I'm aware, though the Tonbridge bay was, having caught electric trains from there in the 70s. I'd have seen the H just before electrification from Paddock Wood. Some 2014 photos attached, the track has since been lifted. You can just make out SE&CR 1910 on the chairs. MW yard had a 350HP shunter in the late 60s - early 70s; waiting for a train to New Hythe to work on 31618 of an evening I'd see it pull a cut of wagons away towards the signal box, then the odd 1 or 2 would roll back into view to clank against ones already in the sidings - I suppose that was fly shunting, though I thought that was frowned on.
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