Here’s the thing, we want the lovely LMS Period 1 Third Open 7828 we’re working on to have working toilets, but with Period 1 and 2 coaches you have to scramble up on the roof with a hose to fill the tanks, not a good idea. So we brainstormed a low level filling system – the first version attempted to fill via the drain but we found the internal pipework gave a ‘virtual head’ of water causing the fill to take the easy way out of the breather pipe – it worked if someone went on the roof and blocked the breather with their finger but you’re back to square one. OK so version two was to cut a hole fairly high up in the tank and fit a bog standard 15mm compression brass tank fitting (£2.17 from Toolstation). But, how are we to get it through the hole we’ve drilled given that the roof filler is too small to get a hand through into the inside of the tank – unless you can borrow a small child? This is where a piece of wire comes in and the good Dr Ben Riley says this is like a medical procedure.
So it went like this, first a 22mm hole was cut in the tank, as far as possible in line with the roof filler and avoiding the baffle in the tank. Then while I was up the ladder Bob Matkin pushed a length of electrical wire through the hole and I hooked it out from above and tied it off. Then the tank fitting was given some sealant and threaded onto the wire, and Bob below told to standby. The fitting was released and by some miracle shot down the wire and straight out of the hole! By the time I had come down the ladder Bob had already screwed the retaining nut on and there we have it! We had a backup plan to use a couple of ‘L’ shaped hooks to pull the fitting through the hole but didn’t need them in the end.
A ‘T’ piece and two non-return valves will be used with concealed hoses down to solebar level to enable the filling. It doesn’t happen very often but now and again things do work out nicely!
Link: Carriage Preservation — further articles on carriage preservation techniques.