Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A weekend of two halves.

The Saturday just gone saw a large group at Toddington MPD with work starting on finding fault and repairing 'Peak' 45149's expired No. 2 compressor. This compressor had become a little notorious given the noise it would make when it kicked in and had failed completely during our Summer Gala in July. Mike, Andy, Tony and Simon from the CMDG group made a start on removing the compressor from the 'Peak's' No.2 end nose and stripping the offending parts of the compressor. One of the high pressure cylinder scrapper rings was removed and replaced. By the end of the day the compressor was ready for testing and refitting.

Steve M continued on the stripping and removal of parts from his spares donor Class 20, 20035. It is hoped that over the winter shutdown an effort can be made on removing some of the larger items, such as radiators, from the nose of the Type 1 ready for assessment and potential overhaul.

Mark S continued with prepping the sole bar of 47376 'Freigtliner 1995' ready for welding in new sheet steel above the buffers. By the end of the day this had been completed and left to settle.

New steel welded to the sole bar of 47376 'Freightliner 1995' ready for painting.
Sunday was a different kettle of fish with only four of us in - myself, Mark S, Tim and Matt. On arrival at Toddington an unusual sight greeted those coming through the gate. With the Broadway extension seeing several ballast drops throughout the previous week, the ballast train was sat in Platform 2 with our ED, E6036, resting in Platform 1.

Clas 73, E6036, sat in a damp Platform 1 at Toddington on Sunday morning.
The empty ballast train waiting for its next call to duty.
With only the four of us in it was a touch on the quiet side - but still productive. With the Class 37's pretty much fit for service I carried on with the cleaning of the 'new' exhauster that was started by our YMG graduate, Chris. Not the most enthralling of jobs, but, if we are going to have a range of good quality spares across all the fleet to keep them all running, it'll be jobs like this that keep the back up stock healthy. Out came the needle gun and small wire brush to get off the more stubborn paint. Some of it STILL doesn't want to let go!

More stubborn paint is removed from the exhauster
Mark S continued with the body work repairs to 47376's sole bar. Having welded the new steel into place it was now a case of finishing them off, sanding down the welds and then painting. With this done, it was time to switch to sister machine, 1693 (or 47105).

Tim and Matt had continued with the cleaning, paint removal and repainting of the fuel pump gallery doors.

All clean and repainted. Ready for refitting.
Mark made a start on the No 2 end roof section removing some of the rotten metal work around the grilles before preparing new metalwork to weld in place.
No2 end roof section. Despite the metal work underneath looking rusty, it is in good condition.
The extent of the rust line across the grill.

Class 47s were notorious for the guttering at the boiler end (No 2 end) to rust away. The original damaged strip has been removed and a new section will be fabricated.
Despite it not being even 4pm, the light had started to fade quickly and the temperature had dropped to around 3C (overnight Sunday to Monday, Gloucestershire had the lowest temperatures in the country with -4C being recorded just 4 miles away at Winchcombe) meaning that time was running out to complete the metal work cut, prime and undercoat, and weld. By the time I downed tools, Mark had completed 4 sections with primer and had left them out to dry.

New Metal. Set out on the steps to dry.
Also in on Sunday, making use of the crisp winter sunshine and giving work on W55003 a rest, the DMU group were out in the yard giving L425 some much needed TLC. DMS W51405 has been out of the set since the Autumn Diesel Gala with issues relating to its engines. Some work has gone on, courtesy of George and the team, to get her back up and running before the Santa Specials. The remaining members of the unit, TCL W59510 and DMBS W51363, were split and shunted over the pits so that pre-exam work could be completed. George also used the opportunity to take care of some of the rectification of the ongoing issues with the engines on the W51363. With the unit in use everyday during the running session it gives the team precious little time to sort out any of the niggling issues that creep in. The following pictures are courtesy of the GWR Diesel Group/CDRC.

L425 sat in the yard. The DMU team undertaking some maintenance on TCL W59510. DMBS W51363 to the left and DMS W51405 to the right.
Into the pit! Underneath W59510.
DMBS W51363 after its wash and spruce up in the fading light.
Work on Class 24, 5081's wheel set paused for the weekend. However, progress has been swift with the first set of springs being placed and more of the brake rigging fitted. The Traction Motors have also had their first coat of black as have the brake cylinders.
Part of the brake rigging jacked up underneath the rear of 5081's wheel set. As you can see, the addition of the grey primer is now complete on the frame.
With 3 of the brake cylinders in situ (the fourth is on the floor centre left) the springs are now ready for fitting. The first can be seen in the centre of the picture.

Close ups of two of the springs positioned and awaiting attachment.
Finally, on a personal note, a couple of weekends ago, I was chatting with one of our longer serving volunteers. Derek Mills is one of our Departments' retail volunteers, an ex-operational volunteer in the department, and a former British Railways Fireman based at Bristol Bath Road during the late 1950s and early 1960s. We had chatted a lot over previous cups of tea of the fact my Grandfather was also based at Bath Road as a Driver from 1957 (moving from Newport, Ebbw Junction) and that we had a lot of common acquaintances that had worked there and/or St Phillips Marsh. Derek had been chatting previously with our HoD, Andy Durham, and had found out my surname in the course of the conversation. Having never previously known it, Derek surprised me with the information that he was my Grandfathers' first Fireman at Bristol Bath Road!

It's amazing how small this world can be sometimes!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Winter is drawing in.

After a few weeks absence I finally managed to find a free day that I could head up to Toddington MPD and see what was in the offing. The Saturday had seen the penultimate GREEN  timetabled day with 37215 and D6948 top and tailing the maroon rake. The Sunday saw 45149 and D5343 following suit. Sadly, I didn't make it for the pair of 37s on Saturday, however, one of our fellow volunteers was on hand to get a splendid photo of the pair approaching Greet Tunnel. Cheers Stuart!

D6948 leads 37215 towards Greet Tunnel on 28/10/2017. (Courtesy of Stuart Carrick)
There are also some epic photos of the day on the Growler Group Facebook page, which can be found HERE. D6948's boiler provided some much needed heat (it was apparently a little chilly to start the day) and worked reasonably faultlessly throughout the day - as did both locos. Sadly, the same couldn't be said for the Sunday where D5343 managed one and a half round trips with 45149 before being retired.
A disgraced D5343 returns to shed after blowing a hole in its heat exhauster on  29/10/17.

Water seeps out from any orifice as a consequence of the blown heat exhauster.
On arrival at Toddington, whilst working the 1205 ex Cheltenham, the crew noticed water leaking out from the bodyside. On inspection a small hole was found in the casing of a heat exhauster causing water to leak out over the engine room floor. The decision was taken to withdraw the McRat from service and leave the 'Peak' to continue on its own. A repair is scheduled courtesy of the welding talents of Mark S during the winter break. It was remarked that it was lucky that it happened now as the '26' has spent a lot of 2017 at various railways around the UK. If it had happened away from the GWSR it would have made repair more difficult. 

Away from the running day it was a fairly busy day in the shed with a lot of jobs being undertaken - primarily on the long term projects 47105 and 5081. We also had a number of escorted group visits coming through the shed taking a very interested look at what we are doing and what motive power we have. First order of business was a large shunt in order to get locomotives in the right places ready for the winter maintenance period. This meant a complicated shunt to ensure that 37215 and 47105 were adjacent to the respective owning group's containers. It also meant that I had to curtail cleaning off the left over 'boiler juice' on the bodyside of D6948. This is a consequence of having the boiler running - streaks of dirty water and soot that run down from the vent on the roof.
Under a slightly threatening sky, 47105 and D8137 sit on Road 9 during the shunt. E6036 sits on Road 6, behind, as D6948 is shunted back towards Road 10.
37215 is moved back out of the shed by the Class 04 before being place on Road 11.
On completion of the shunt, work restarted on the wheel set of Class 24, 5081. Work has progressed quickly and, with primer and undercoat now on the frame, it was time to look at fitting the four brake cylinders back to their bases. Ben E and Chris, one of our new recruits, a graduate from the GWSR's Young Volunteers, were busy refitting the cylinders and securing the nuts and bolts.

Chris (L) and Ben refit one of the four brake cylinders to the refurbished frame.

One fitted and secured.

All four are now secured to the frame. This means that all the remaining rigging can now be fitted after undercoating.
5081's brake rigging sits awaiting its first application of grey undercoat. 
One of the two traction motors awaiting its turn in front of the paint sprayer.
Chris was also given the task of cleaning up one of our spare exhausters. Not a very challenging task but one that we will all, at some stage, take on. It is always satisfying when one is tested and works well after the effort of stripping and cleaning.
The stripped exhauster gets the wire brush and scraper treatment. To the right is a fully refurbished exhauster ready for its call to arms.

All of the groups carry containers full of spares however, on occasion, new pieces of equipment may be required and purchased from other groups. As the number, and sources, of spares becomes smaller and smaller, having a good number of usable and fully refurbished spares is important to keep the whole fleet running. These can arrive in any condition but they will all be checked and then either refurbished or stripped of reusable parts.

Work was also continuing on 47105's long term refurbishment.Tim and Matt were busy refitting cab furniture and dials. I was commandeered to help out with fitting the piping to fuel pump push rod covers. The metal work had all been cleaned and repainted but new rubber piping had to be cut, softened and then secured.

A tub of oil containing jubilee clips, 12 metal tubes requiring 12 lengths of rubber before fitting to 47105's fuel rack.
Hot water to soften the rubber tube. Old school solution to an old school problem!
While 47105 was continuing to have things added, its sister was having things removed! 47376 'Freightliner 1995' has been suffering with metal fatigue for some time. The issues around number 2 ends sole bar were becoming more of concern with the metal plate starting to curl away, as well as rust through. Mark S had started to remove the offending steel in readiness for welding some new plate. The pile of rust that had accumulated on the buffer beam and on the shed floor was testament to how bad it was.

At the start of the day the evidence of the metal fatigue was clear on 47376's sole bar.

Mark S has continued to remove the expired steel to expose the cavity under the nose of 47376. Some of the debris remains on the coupling hook and buffer sleeves.
As it was the last scheduled running day for the diesel fleet a final opportunity to 'ride the cushions' for the last time this year was too good to pass up. After cleaning up it was a quick jaunt across the car park to Toddington station to get the 1555 to Cheltenham and 1640 return service.
As the sun begins to lower in the sky shadows are cast over 45149 as she waits to leave Toddington with the 1555 to Cheltenham.
With no services throughout November it means that all motive power and rolling stock can have some well needed R & R before the run up to Christmas.


Thursday, 26 October 2017


Apologies for no updates on the diesel fleet over the last few weeks; sadly, life has required other things from me and the GWSR has had to take a back seat. However, I am reliably informed that things continue unabated on all fronts with winter maintenance now being planned out on all the mainline fleet ready for a big year in 2018! I am sure many of you have been keeping up with the blogs showcasing the continued work at Broadway and, I have to say, with the scaffolding down the station is starting to look very impressive! In line with this work the Class 73 has been busy with the ballast train ferrying new ballast, sleepers and track to and fro. The ED lends itself very well to this kind of work given that the English Electric 4SRKT Mk II diesel engine only generates 600hp, but it is very responsive to the driver's 'instructions' and maintains excellent control at the slow speeds needed for laying ballast evenly.

A hastily borrowed pic of the E6036 from our Extension Blog. (Courtesy of GWSR Extension Blog)
Speaking of winter, this weekend sees the last outing for our mainline fleet for 2017 on regular timetabled services. We have the GREEN timetable over Saturday and Sunday with three round trips top and tailed. On Saturday D6948 and 37215 will be exercising their English Electric 12CSVT engines (D6948 will also have the boiler running) whilst on Sunday its 'Little and Large' time as 45149 and D5343 have the chance to stretch their Sulzer engines - the Class 26 for the last time this year. The Class 117 will also be running shuttles between Buckland and Winchcombe.
37215 and D6948 will be out on Saturday 28/10/17.
The CMDG are out on the Sunday with D5343.........

.......and 45149.

On the DMU front, work continues on Class 122 'Bubble Car' W55003. Control desk modifications have continued with the replacement of wiring, the Cotswold side doors have been hung, and in some cases rehung, trying to get the door profiles just right and, the last few pillars have been prepped ready for priming.
W55003 door pillar and newly fitted door. (Courtesy of the CDRG/DMU Group)

Newly primed door pillar on W55003. (Courtesy of the CDRG/DMU Group)
 Class 117 DMS, W51405, is still out of set L425 having had engine works. No2 engine has had some faults that ended up with full failure at the end of September. It has now been removed from the unit and has been stripped down ready for refurbishment and eventual refitting. In the meantime, the BR Blue DMBS, W51360, continues to fill in. The Class 107 DMCL, Sc52029, has also received some preliminary work carried out to try and get some of the smaller jobs off the rather long list! 

Away from the fleet, the previous blog stirred some memories of early diesels from another of our railway's volunteers. John Dyer is a Guard and also a Booking Office Clerk at the GWSR and he contacted me through the Head of Department, Andy, as his mind was jogged by reading about the steam heat boiler on D6948. John had sent through a photo of Class 55 'Deltic' D9002 on 'boiler blow down' at York in 1962.
'Deltic' D9002 blowing down its boiler at York. April 1962. (Courtesy of John Dyer)
Subsequently, John has allowed me to select a few and to share them with you via this blog. His pictures were taken in various places around the UK between 1955 and 1962. He hopes that it will jog some memories but also showcase some of the diesel types that were around at the time. I hope you enjoy them. All photos are shared with kind permission and courtesy of John himself. Thanks, John!

L.M.S pioneer diesel electrics (BR Class 16/1) 10000 and 10001 prepare to leave Crewe with the down 'Royal Scot' - 5 October 1958

Bullied-designed prototype diesel electric (BR Class 16/2) 10202 arrives at London Euston with an express - August 1959

English Electric prototype DP2 about to depart Rugby for London Euston ex Liverpool Lime Street - 13 June 1962
D84 (later Class 45/0, 45055 'Royal Corps of Transport') at Derby Midland - 24 February 1962

English Electric Type 4, D210 (later Class 40, 40010) at London Euston - August 1959. The loco was named 'Empress of Britain' in 1960.

'Warship' D802 'Formidable' enters Bristol (Temple Meads) from the South West - July 1964

'Warship' D859 'Vanquisher' rumbles into Crewe from Shrewsbury - July 1963

Brush Type 4, D1734 enters Bristol (Temple Meads) - July 1964. This loco was to be involved in a serious incident at Coton Hill, Shrewbury, 6 months after this photo was taken and, was withdrawn and cut up at Crewe Works in April 1965.

'Hymek' D7004 on acceptance trials at Swindon - 22 August 1961
Finally, some shots taken by John in the late 1960s at Pewsey, Wiltshire. These show the much lamented 'Westerns' on services to/from Paddington. Wouldn't it be nice if we could get one of these fine machines for our first Broadway Diesel Gala?

Now.............there's a thought!!!!