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As it is Bonfire Night here is a reminder of the firework display that took place on 2nd September 2017. During the annual steam gala, the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway rounded off the Saturday evening with pyrotechnics and music to mark a historic milestone; the preservation company had operated the railway for longer than the Cambrian, Great Western, and British Railways all put together.
A selection of more tradition gala photos are available in an album at the link below
About a month ago I was asked if I could ascertain why the one of the circuit breakers in a barn type building kept tripping out plunging the place into darkness. The structure consists of wooden frames cladding corrugated iron. It has been extended several times over the years and parts of it are now well over 50 years old.
Now I will be open and state that I am NOT a ‘proper electrician’ but I am an electrical test technician. So below is a verse of poetry to help keep me and others in a place of safety.
Lord Finchely by Hilaire Bellock
Lord Finchley tried to mend the Electric Light
It struck him dead: And serve him right!
It is the business of the wealthy man
To give employment to the artisan.
The first task was to determine which of the miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) were responsible for the lights. Then which of the switches turned on which lights. After that the lights were turned on and your author settled down with a flask of coffee to wait for the MCB to trip out. After half an hour nothing had happened; well after all, perhaps some rain might have leaked through the roof and caused a problem but had now dried up?
On the lighting circuit in question there were three Fluorescent strip lights that were not working and one only dimly lit. Might one of these be the cause of the problem ?
Before a physical inspection was attempted the MCB was switched off and the circuit proved to be dead. A clamp and lock were attached to prevent anyone else turning it back on . A tall pair of steps was fetched and the ceiling rose for the first disfunctional light examined. It was shall we say ‘somewhat unconventional’ inside but unlikely to be the cause of the MCB tripping.
The next one ‘out’ was about three lights further down the same run. I will let the pictures tell the next bit of the story.
Inside the ceiling rose was a fused mass of wire, terminal blocks and melted insulation. Almost certainly the cause of this mess was that one of the terminal screws had become loose in the forty years or so since it had been installed.
I will re-cap on the form of construction of the building. The wall frames, roof trusses and purlins are all made from timber and the cladding is corrugated iron. It heats up and cools down rapidly and when the wind blows it shakes and rattles. So anything attached to the structure is also being shaken. So no matter how tight the screws were fastened, way back when, over the years some of them will have worked loose.
After the ceiling rose had been replaced the MCB was better tempered and has not tripped out since. The people responsible for the building have accpeted that they will have to get a qualified electrician to undertake a Periodic Inspection which involves a physical check on the switches, sockets, etc., and electrcial tests to ascertain if the wiring is in good condition.
The small grey goods wagon, with a tarpaulin covering the load, is not quite what it might seem. Beneath the cover are two 1000 litre Intermediate Bulk Containiners (IBCs), interlinking pipework and hoses for the loading and discharge of the cargo. The vehicle is used for the storage and transport of the chemical compound Dihydrogen Monoxide also known by the initials DHMO.
This substance has a number of uses:
It is key ingedient in weed killer
Very efficient fire supressing agent
It is essential in steam locomotive boilers to preserve the lead cores of firebox crown sheet fusible plugs
A general purpose cleaning fluid
In 2018 DHMO was directly involved in 263 fatalities
Nearest Equivalent COSHH data sheet
A short promotional film, made by Tim Abbott, about one of the Welshpool & LLanfair Light Railway;s original steam locomotives made using historical and contemporary material.
The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway Fence2Fence Team were in action over the weekend of 25th & 26th January. The work area was between Tanllan and Mill Curves – a stretch of line of about half a mile. If you are old enough to have thought this post might be about Hammy Hamster then I am sorry to disappoint you.
After the November Fence2 Fence session, Willy, our long standing Team Leader stood down. In the photo above he is giving his farewell speech at the team’s annual dinner. Dave and Peter have volunteered to be the new leaders and organise the vegetation management sessions.
Saturday morning and Dave and Chris tackle a small patch of bracken opposite ‘The Lawn’. Due to the shape of the lineside bank the railway’s flail couldn’t get to grips with this. The following day we raked up best part of a cubic metre of debris from this short stretch of lineside. So a summer fire risk has been removed.
There was no heavy work scheduled for the weekend; just plenty of work with loppers trimming back coppice stools and stray saplings so as to maintain a good view of the River Banwy. In December 2017 we took down five large trees at this location. This was a pre-emptive move as they were too large for the soil they were in and they were at risk of toppling either into the river or onto the railway – either way we would have had to pay a significant sum to tidy up the mess.
Regular readers of this Blog may remember the poem A Lament For Five Brothers that appeared way back in December 2017. Verse five goes :
This band of brothers has fallen
But we will rise, not as five, but fifty!
Come Easter and new shoots
Will spring from our stumps
Well spring forth they did and we must have trimmed back more than five times fifty fifty shoots. Ae the same time we had the opportunity to inspect the state of the bank – which just here is protected by gabions that were installed in the 1980s.
Gabions are wire cages that are put in place and then filled with rocks. The ones in the river seem to have survived quite well.
The vegetation at the entrance to the sidings at Tanllan had started to encroach on the lineside and was restricting visibility during shunting operations. It is a safety requirement that the Shunter and at least one of the Loco Crew can see each other at all times. The Fence2Fence team had been tasked with trimming it back to ‘improve sighting’.
This was how we left it on 1st December; much better, but look closely and you can see that once the leaves are back on the trees it won’t be quite so good.
The same picture again:
The purple line identifies vegetation that will be covered in leaves in the summer. The tree inside the red line is dead and leaning towards the railway.
Dealing with most of the growth inside the purple line was relatively easy. The dead tree took a lot of thinking about before a strategy for eliminating the risk of it falling on the railway was worked out.
Rather than remove the tree at stump level it was decided to remove the branches just above the lowest fork. The branches were roped and then tensioned to control which way they fell and cut using a pole saw. The careful planning paid dividends and the task went well and yielded some useful lighting up wood.
A Diesel Driver’s view of the entrance to the sidings.
The brambles along the fence line have been cleared using a combination of a ‘slasher’ to get them out of the wire and then mashed down using a petrol powered brush cutter.
Sunday 26th January and some of the team are taking a well earned rest from working in the rain.
The very last job of the weekend was to clean out the wagon.
More pictures here
And if you really would like to catch up with Hammy Hampster, Roderick Rat and GP then you will find them over on Youtube