Friday, January 20, 2017

All change, we’ve now got a dry rear end!

The new hot water cylinder, in marine terms, calorifier, arrived on Thursday morning at Val and John’s following a cock-up by TNT on Wednesday afternoon. But the fact that it only took 3 days to make and deliver was exceptionally good service from Copper Cylinders Supplies.

Old and new…

…and cosy in it’s new home.

All the fittings were correct and in the same places, apart from the PRV connection which was at the top rather than the bottom so required a bit of minor re-plumbing.

No leaks when I filled up with water, nor on the engine and water heater indirect circuits. But the Webasto was reluctant to fire up, eventually getting there but gurgling and bubbling as the air pockets worked their way out to the header tank. Unfortunately after the initial run to check the joints, it wouldn’t start up again, no matter what I tried. They can be very temperamental, these diesel heaters. Still, that’s a fairly minor issue, and the major one has been resolved.

We’d travelled up from Ellesmere to Frankton Junction on Wednesday, out of the arm and then across to the services to top up the water tank.

Would you credit it, no boats around, then one appears as we try to join the main line!IMG_3297

The service wharf is part of the old maintenance yard which is contemporary with the canal. Beech House, to the left, was occupied by Thomas Telford during the construction of the canal, and then became the Ellesmere Canal Company offices.IMG_3298

The long building alongside the water taps covers the dry dock, which is still in use.

The canal is winding as it hangs onto the contour heading to Frankton, and there’s a particularly sharp bend around Val Hill, with two blind bridges crossing over.

Val Hill…

…and Bridge 65 IMG_3306

It’s pretty shallow along here, we often run aground under Bridge 61 where there’s an underwater shelf on the towpath side, and the approach to Bridge 67 always involves a scrape under the skeg.

Arriving at the junction we were surprised to see no other boats moored above the locks, handy though as it meant we could get as close to the small parking area as possible.

I stripped out the old cylinder, cut the lagging off in preparation to weighing it in, then had to wait till Val and John brought the replacement over the following morning. We’re getting used to having no hot water… the kettle is permanently ticking over on top of the stove.

Anyway, as I said, it installed OK, and the engine will heat the water. It’s just first thing that it’ll be cool without the Webasto working. So I had a cunning plan…

I was up early this morning, having arranged for a delivery from the local coal merchant. Not early enough though, he turned up at 08:15, while Meg and I were across the canal! We ran back, and by twenty-five past had another 10 bags of Exel smokeless on the roof.
It was a misty morning which finally cleared at lunchtime to give us a fine sunny afternoon. It’s getting colder, though.

With everything done and dusted we were free to leave, so got away at around half-eleven.

The top of Frankton Locks this morning.

Looking back at the junction as we rejoin the main line. IMG_3317

We may drop down the locks on our way back, and spend some time on the Montgomery Canal. But it depends on the weather. The last two times we went on the Monty we got frozen in, while the main line was still ice-free. It’s quite remote, no shops or services, so not a good canal to get stuck on.

Another awkward turn takes the canal under Maestermyn BridgeIMG_3319
The Narrowboat pub and Maestermyn Cruisers hire base are just the other side of the bridge.

Twenty past twelve and it’s brightening up!

Bridge 10W is a dismantled railway bridge which once carried the Oswestry, Ellesmere and Whitchurch Railway, a section of Cambrian Railways. IMG_3323
Opened in 1864 it connected the routes to the Welsh coast to the main Crewe to Shrewsbury line.
In 1897,  east of Ellesmere at Welshampton, a major accident occurred which resulted in the death of 12 people. A summer excursion from Barmouth on the coast, returning to Lancashire and consisting of 15 coaches hauled by 2 locomotives left the rails near Welshampton Station. An enquiry established that the speed of the train was too high for the condition of the line, but the Cambrian Railways always maintained that a brake-coach, borrowed from the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, caused the derailment.
The line was considered superfluous by the Beeching Reports of the mid-1960s. Passenger transport ceased in January 1965, freight carriage 6 years later.

I was planning on going up the two New Marton Locks and mooring above, but a sunny stretch of bank beckoned on the straight below the locks.IMG_3325
Stopping here gave me a chance to try out my cunning plan…
Early last year I swapped our aging Eberspacher heater with a reconditioned Webasto unit, after the Eber became unreliable. I’d ordered a new glow plug for the older unit which took several weeks to arrive due to it coming from Germany via Finland! It’s a long story…
Anyway, in the interim I decided to invest in the Webasto, which has been fine up till now. It had to come off for servicing and/or repair, and I’d still got the old Eberspacher, now with a brand new and well-travelled glow plug ready to be fitted. I should maybe explain that the glow plug is the initial igniter for the burner, which is self maintaining once it gets going. But a failing glow-plug makes starting poor and smoky.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I fitted the new glow-plug, re-installed the original unit, wired it up and pressed the start button, not really expecting much but hoping for the best. Amazingly it worked, after a few hiccups and burps and a cloud of smoke it ran quite happily for an hour till I knocked it off to tidy up the install. Result! It’ll stay on (and working, hopefully) till I get the Webasto sorted.

We’ll be moving up to Chirk Bank tomorrow, I reckon. It’s cold and frosty tonight, but should be fine and sunny tomorrow.

Locks 0, miles 6½ (since last post)


Carol said...

Glad you've now got your heating (water and central) in working order once again and that you've managed to get a coal delivery, you'll be needing all of that if these freezing cold nights continue. It was -8.6 on our roof this morning! Love to you both. xx

Chas and Ann said...

Wot a work up with your plumbing! Just as well the trusty fire burning coal and wood kept you warm n cosy.