Tuesday, 28 March 2017

A Long Overdue Update

Its been a little while since our last blog update. During the winter shutdown a lot of work takes place on the more major issues with the fleet that can't always be rectified during the operational season. With that now over work will start  apace on getting our mainline and DMMU fleet fit for the new operating season.

On Sunday (26/03/17) there were 8 of us present at Toddington working across four of the home fleet. Out of the major projects, Sulzer Type 4 (Class 47) 47105 is currently in the process of having a full top end overhaul and Matt was busy in No 2 cab sanding down and prepping for the next applications of primer and top coat. The Type 4 Group volunteers have recently had all 12 cylinders overhauled and refitted and are also in the process of refurbishing and repainting the engine room. This is one thorough job and there is plenty of work remaining on the roof, bodywork and chassis before she is back to operational status.

Another of the more major projects is with Class 24, 5081. The loco is a minor celebrity having been the last of the class to be in BR revenue earning service. The Sulzer Type 2 has been a regular and efficient performer over the last few years but has had to be removed from traffic due to requiring work on its suspension with springs needing removal and overhaul. Not a small job as these are under the loco and will likely require lifting to get them removed. A few other, smaller, issues can be attended to at the same time. Out in the yard, Paul and Mark E were enjoying the delights of the Road 9's pit assessing the extent of the work. It is likely that 5081 will be out of service for sometime.

Also enjoying the warmth of Toddington MPD yard was green liveried Class 20, D8137, receiving some attention to the exhauster and compressor group. Although a regular and popular performer the '20' is an ongoing restoration with any work being undertaken between turns. One of three Class 20's owned privately by the same person, D8137 is resident at the GWR along with 20035 which is a source of spares. The third, 20228, is currently at Barry being restored.


20035 (still wearing CFR livery and number 2001 from its time in France) is now a source of spares and will eventually be scrapped.

Back in the shed more work was going on to iron out some of the niggling issues with Class 37 (English Electric Type 3) D6948. After its 5 year rebuild and overhaul to as close to 1964 condition as possible - including installation of a steam heat boiler - most of the major work surrounding its engine and electrical supply has now been resolved, however, issues have continued with the efficiency of the boiler and ongoing work has seen a number of volunteers work on it to try and iron them out. These were always temperamental during BR days and this one is certainly continuing the tradition. On Saturday, the owners enlisted the help of one of our friends from the DEPG at the West Somerset Railway who was able to rectify a number of issues with the boiler. On Sunday, this allowed Dean and Mark S to spend most of the day refitting heat shields and lagging to the boiler and roof of the loco. At the other end of the engine room I was busy repainting the pipework in and around the engine itself.

D6948 gets its first timetabled run (away from our gala's last year) during our GREEN timetable on the 1st and 2nd of April which is also the GWSR's Recruitment Weekend. If you would like to come along and see what we do during the weekend the shed will be open (with a couple of locos on display), come and say 'Hi' at the Diesel Department stand.