2014 Running Log
Summary of the year.
This was a very different year to what had been intended with the sale of Gentoo being arranged in May and the new Feldbahn 0-6-0 arriving much earlier than expected in July.  Until Station Road Steam showed me some preview photos of the new Feldbahn in early May I had never envisaged selling Gentoo, so its sudden disappearance in July and the lack of steam in my life until the Feldbahn was ready for running in September was quite a loss.
Gentoo was always reliable and had certainly clocked up more hours in steam than any other model I have owned.  Hopefully whoever purchases Gentoo will get as much pleasure as I did from owning and operating this much modified Stafford.

Date Location Activity Mileage Comments
19/01/14 REPAIR Roller clutch bearing in mechanical lubricator operating lever arm found to be defective and replaced.  Hopefully this will  provide full lubrication again.
16/03/14 Pinewood (Wokingham) Public Running 10.43 Fantastic weather for first public run of the year with heavy 3 coach trains all afternoon.  A perfect start to the running season.
06/04/14 Pinewood (Wokingham) Boiler Testing 8.81 Passed the Hydraulic & Steam tests OK.  Loco then given to the society junior members to drive for the afternoon.  Great 5 mile non stop run by one junior.
08/04/14 MAINTENANCE While cleaning, one of the unions on the main steam pipe T piece was found to need tightening.  The grate was also distorting at the baffle end causing the baffle to bend (see Log for 26/05/13).  About 3mm was ground off the edge of the grate to make it straight again, and the baffle was hammered flat.
20/04/14 Pinewood (Wokingham) Public Running 9.65 Very wet and cold today.  The morning's Birthday Party was held in the heavy rain of a thunder storm, and the afternoon's public running had very few customers due to the weather.
04/05/14 VAMES Quainton Road Visit 11.37 Visiting locos day with a great selection of locos attending.  Pulled passenger trains all day in super weather, and was made really welcome by VAMES.
14/05/14 MAINTENANCE Seals in glands of the boiler water gauge replaced following a "weep" during the boiler's hydraulic test.  Seals were OK at running pressure but changed as a precaution.
18/05/14 Pinewood (Wokingham) Public Running 9.60 New water gauge seals OK.  Gentoo driven by Paul Konig as I had the "official" role of Officer in Charge.
15/06/14 Pinewood (Wokingham) Public Running 11.14 A good day pulling 3 heavily laden coaches every lap, but disaster struck when taking the coaches to the carriage shed at the end of the day.  A sudden eruption of steam and hot ash from the ash pan door signalled the failure of (as later found) several boiler tubes at their joint with the firebox.  I'll report more as the problem is investigated and repaired.  Click here for the latest news.
11/07/14 Gentoo Sold After a total of 524 miles Gentoo was sold today when Station Road Steam delivered my new 0-6-0 Feldbahn.
Total mileage this year                    = 61.00
Total passenger mileage this year  = 52.19

Boiler Tube Leaks
Leaking boiler tubesStation Road Steam arrived within 24 hours of me notifying them of the problem to take Gentoo back to their works for investigation, and hopefully the tubes would just need expanding to seal them again.  The photo shows water leaking from the boiler while cold (0 psi on the gauge).  As the tubes were all tight and not weeping at the start of the day the cause of the problem is unknown.  However with only 524 miles run and about 250 hours "in steam" the problem was certainly unexpected.

Four weeks after the failure Station Road Steam had fully inspected the boiler using endoscopes to see inside and their comments were that the firebox end of some tubes showed more corrosion than expected at this age and that the fusible plug was scaled up on its inside face.  When discussing these findings with Station Road Steam they commented that the fusible plug should really come out at least once a year when the boiler is tested to check its condition and that the top surface is clear of scale.  
I admit that I have never removed the fusible plug from Gentoo's boiler, so this is something that I will be adding to my maintenance schedules.  No reason was found for why the tubes suddenly started leaking but I think it is likely that only one tube expansion joint actually failed and that the rush of steam / water into the firebox then quickly cooled the tube joints causing others to also start leaking, but obviously there is no way to prove that after the event.

As explained elsewhere on this website a deal to part exchange Gentoo for an 0-6-0 Feldbahn had actually been agreed before this problem occurred, so Station Road Steam have decided that they will fully retube the boiler before selling Gentoo rather than just expanding the leaking tubes to rectify the unexplained leak.  Whoever purchases Gentoo will thus have a boiler returned as near as possible to an "as new" condition.  Personally I have no concerns about the leak; it's just one of those things that can happen when you operate a steam engine and I have every confidence in my new Feldbahn.

Postscript.  Despite discussing this tube leak with many other model engineers and societies only one person has stated that he believes he knows why the failure occurred.  Another of my "hobbies" is working on the permanent way gang of the preserved Mid Hants Railway and during a coffee break in the mess room the problem was mentioned while talking with the railway's senior driver.  His immediate comment when I said that the cause of the failure was unknown was that "the loco had been driven too hard".  Apparently that's when tube joints spring leaks on the railway's full size locos.  Gentoo normally had quite an easy life as Pinewood prefers to operate with loads well inside a locos capacity, but there have been occasions when the loco has been worked to its limit (Frimley Lodge last year as an example).  Also the last lap at Pinewood before the leak had been made with a dragging vacuum brake somewhere on the train, so Gentoo had been working harder than normal.  Was that the cause of the problem ?  We will never know and I doubt that I will see the problem again.

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