Our gas bottles on the trolley used to collect them; oxygen (black) and acetylene (maroon).
One of those "must get round to doing that sometime" tasks hanging over RRRG has been to collect a couple of cylinders of oxygen and acetylene with which to power our cutting and welding equipment. Although there is a BOC distributor just across the A6 from Peak Rail's Rowsley South site they have limited opening hours which are somewhat inconvenient for the regular on site RRRG volunteers. Tim and I decided we would head up to Rowsley last Friday night in order to be on site in the morning ready to collect the gas. So, shortly after 4 o'clock on Friday afternoon I hit the road to drive the 170 miles or so from Reading to deepest Derbyshire whilst Tim got a train from Peterborough to Matlock, where I would meet him. I got delayed by the usual Friday traffic whilst Tim got delayed when 66008 decided to investigate the ballast on the Midland main line near Duffield. (I did however make it through Bletchingdon on the A34 without incident after my two year anniversary earlier this month, and once on site, Dave was as helpful and complimentary as ever that my latest car was retaining its factory-fitted styling so well).
The cylinders are now in situ at RRRG headquarters. One of the main uses we will have for them is to heat up some bolts and pins on our spare bogies which are absolutely stuck fast and won't shift any other way. In particular there are some arms secured by pins and bolts which prevent the traction motors being removed from the bogies and we want to either free these off, or if necessary, cut them off (we have plenty of spares) in order to free the motors for removal to Bowers for overhaul.
Aluminium air intake manifolds destined for the ex-50008 power unit. The foreground example awaits the removal by wire brushing of years of dirt and grime to reach the standard of the background pair, which Dave Rolfe described as "Rolls Royce quality"!
After treatment with the wire brush, Tim and I set about red oxide primer coating of the manifolds we treated that day, as well as returning to some that other RRRG volunteers had already treated, just to ensure that "Rolls Royce finish"!
With the main excitement of the morning over, and after a few steadying cups of tea and brunch at the Peak Rail cafe, Tim and I set to work on wire brushing and red oxide painting of a number of air intake manifolds destined for the ex-50008 power unit. Chris Bodell's nascent music career meant he was playing a gig in Bakewell on Saturday night so he went home to practice and took his leave of us. Tim was diagrammed for transporting teenagers to a roller disco in Peterborough that evening and so, despite building up some momentum on the inlet manifolds, we reluctantly packed up and I drove us the 100 or so miles back to Peterborough, where the teenagers were transported and Tim and I undertook a mutual debriefing session in The Moorhen at Hampton Vale (Tim's local). Sunday was spent doing more work on the soon-to-be-launched new RRRG website (of which more in due course) and I then hit the road for the final time back to Reading, which was covered in a personal best time of 1 hour 50 minutes and brought my mileage for the weekend to a touch short of 400. But it's all good fun (allegedly!).