2013 Running Log
Summary of the year.
All of the experimentation and modifications made during the previous years have proved their worth throughout 2013 as Gentoo has performed faultlessly all year on a variety of different tracks (and with some heavy loads on steep gradients).  A couple of parts have required replacement this year, but with over 463 miles having been covered since new it is not surprising that some parts are showing signs of wear.  Work scheduled for the winter maintenance period includes an examination of the mechanical lubricator which is not pumping as much oil as it used to and a thorough clean of the connecting rod oil pots because several of them are no operating very well (probably dirt blocking the oil exit hole).  With Gentoo running reliably I have had some free time for doing something else and a petrol hydraulic Hymek locomotive has arrived in my garage for restoration.  Once work has progressed far enough there will probably be a report about it in the "Other Projects" pages of this website.

Date Location Activity Mileage Comments
31/03/13 Pinewood  (Wokingham) Public Running 9.19 Successfully passed the annual Steam Test.  No problems all day but very cold weather seemed to use more coal than usual.
21/04/13 Pinewood  (Wokingham) Public Running 8.36 Only ran in afternoon due to excess of available locos.  No problems all day.
05/05/13 Wherwell (Andover) Visit 10.61 Great days run on their newly extended woodland track.  No problems.  Clacks perfect even when left injector not fully working at 115 psi and 1/2 tank of water.
19/05/13 Pinewood  (Wokingham) Public Running 11.70 No problems all day.
26/05/13 REPLACE Grate baffle replaced.  Click here for more information.
01/06/13 Pinewood  (Wokingham) Freight Working 9.89 Shunting and working goods train, and then driver training using heavy wagons as a load.  No problem all day.
05/06/13 REPLACE Piston rod glands required new packing to be fitted.  Click here for more information.
16/06/13 Pinewood  (Wokingham) Public Running 7.56 Only ran in afternoon due to excess of available locos.  No problems all day and repacked piston rod glands OK.
07/07/13 Pinewood  (Wokingham) Public Running 13.37 Pinewood Festival.  4 hours pulling 3 loaded coaches.  No problems and updated vacuum brakes working very well.
21/07/13 Pinewood  (Wokingham) Public Running 7.96 Only running in afternoon and both injectors / clacks OK despite very high temperatures (28 degrees C).  Whistle has gone "out of tune".
REPAIR As the removable section of the footplate was replaced after cleaning the engine an M6 bolt fell to the floor.  Eventually it was found to have been one of the 10 bolts that hold the right hand cylinder block to the frame.  Quite why one had worked lose (and luckily fallen out at home) is unknown.
27/06/13 A Private Garden Railway Charity Run 0.78 Rain so heavy that the speedometer stopped working so most of days distance not recorded.  Otherwise no problems.
03/08/13 Amners Farm  (Reading) Visit 9.97 No problems all day.
10/08/13 Frimley Lodge Public Running 17.35 A visitors day with public running in the afternoon.  Also we set a record day's distance for Gentoo, and the bark from its exhaust as it hauled 3 very heavy coaches up the steep curved gradient into the station was simply superb..  Running at 110+ psi all afternoon and no problems.
18/08/13 Eastleigh Lakeside Railway Public Running 14.93 A visiting locos day on their dual 10 1/4" - 7 1/4" gauge 1 1/4 mile long track.  Fantastic "main line" style running and a 400 foot long tunnel as well.
21/09/13 Hady  (Chesterfield) Visit 8.96 Visiting Locos Day.  A fantastic multi route track with very steep gradients to climb and descend (including a spiral climb with a tunnel).  Six hours "in steam" without any problems.
20/10/13 Pinewood (Wokingham) Public Running 10.43 Torrential rain, thunderstorms, and flooding.  An awful day but passengers still came along to ride (and get soaked in the process).
01/12/13 Pinewood (Wokingham) Santa Specials 8.63 No problems all day, and frequently pulled 3 fully laden coaches.
Total mileage this year                   = 149.69
Total passenger mileage this year  = 99.62

Grate Baffle
Warped grate baffle from my Station Road Steam StaffordThe baffle plate at the front edge of the grate had been slowly warping for some time, but with over 350 miles of running completed the metal had become very thin on the bent sections as can be seen in the photo on the left.  With less than 1/3rd of the original thickness remaining it was time to fit a new baffle plate.
For about a week the two fixing bolts were given a good soaking in PlusGas (penetrating oil) and the two fixing bolts were then easily removed and the new plate obtained from Station Road Steam was fitted.
The photo also shows how the grate fire bars have slightly distorted with the result that the slots have narrowed.  So far this does not seem to have affected the way that the fire burns.

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Piston Rod Glands
From time to time the piston rod (and slide valve) glands had required tightening to retain the steam seal, but with over 350 miles of running completed both piston rod glands were fully tightened and new packing was required.  A talk with Station Road Steam confirmed that they had not found anything better than graphited yarn for the task, and they recommended soaking it it steam oil before fitting.  Fitting this yarn is a very messy task so unfortunately I did not use the camera to obtain any photographs.
My very early Stafford has three studs through each gland (newer versions only have two) so the first task was to remove the two nuts from each stud (main nut and locking nut).  From previous experience when adjusting the gland packing I new that the studs were loose in the cylinder blocks, and that ideally they could do with being retained to stop the entire stud from simply unscrewing itself.  So the first task once the nuts and studs had been removed was to slide the gland bush back along the piston rod and then to try and degrease the stud's holes.  All three studs on each cylinder were then fixed in place using an oil resistant grade of Loctite.
The old gland packing (what very little of it that was left) was the hooked out with a Dental Pick.  The oil soaked graphited yarn was then wound around the piston rod before being eased into the gland recess using a small modeller's spatula.  The length of yarn required depends on the diameter of the yarn, but I found that almost 3 feet of 1/16" diameter yarn was required to properly pack the gland.  Thankfully the oil helps the yarn to adhere to the piston rod, and once a few turns have been wound on it becomes possible to rotate the growing "wrap" on the piston rod to wind on the remainder of the yarn.
With the yarn packed into the gland recess the gland bush can then be fitted into place and retained with its nuts.  The gland bush then requires adjustment to properly "pack" the gland.  Make sure that you tighten the retaining nuts evenly so as not to tilt the gland bush, and push the Stafford up and down a length of track between adjustments.  Initially you will be simply compressing the yarn and squeezing out the steam oil, but the aim is to just nip the gland against the yarn once the initial compression is over.  I don't find this very easy, and it's really a case of trial and error with adjustments being made over several days of running.

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