The team are making positive but slow progress. Our current project is to bring the cabs, guard’s compartment and engine room up to a similar standard to our class 31. The crew seats have returned after being reupholstered by the excellent Jan Rag. They are now covered in the correct Network southeast material to match the exterior paintwork.
Work is progressing well in the power car cab, engine room and guards compartment. There is a vast amount of work to complete in the Driving trailer cab.
Thumper Trials and tribulations:
There is a big ‘however’, Just before the New year running a control system fault reoccurred resulting in traction power could only be obtained in notch one.
Over the Mince pie/ New year workings the DEMU was hauled by our class 31 and at times the class 37.
Preparing Epping and Ongar ‘Super power’ Class 31 and 37 top and tailing the Thumper DEMU on New Year mince pie specials.
Jim, our Electrical design engineer, gave the problem great thought and suggested a fix. It was believed there was an intermittent fault on H4 control wire.
Does this mean anything to you, me neither!!!!
A couple of the restoration team assisted one of our electrical engineers to rewired H4 control wire. When described the job sounded so simple but, being a 57 year old train, it proved not to be the case! But that is all part of the challenge.
We had to run a new cable from the main control cubicle in the Driver’s cab on the power car through the engine room, under the coach to the under slung reverser unit. (A big box full of moving electrical parts under the coach.)
After laying under the train for half the day running and securing the new control wire (not to be recommended at North Weald in February ) the old cable was disconnected and the new one connected.
Fingers crossed… run the tests… Hold breath… No change – the fault persisted.
Much gnashing of teeth!
After close examination and a lot more thought we found that wire H4 continued beyond the apparent terminal another meter inside a very complex wiring loom.
A further short length of wiring was cut in and a further tests made… Test seems o.k… everyone looking at me – as a Driver, I have been given permission from our engineer to power test the unit. Notch one, looking good; notch two, even better; three – four; fantastic!!!!! She took traction power in every notch without dropping out.
Running test were undertaken and she behaved, taking full power.
Furthers test were made next day by another of our engineers, as an independent person, checking our teams work before the Thumper was allowed back in service.
She passed without problem. I have to say I did get a bit of a buzz out of assisting (In a minor role) to clear this persistent control fault.
We have experienced a problem caused mainly through age with glass fibre type doors fitted to certain MK 1 coaching stock.
Glass fibre doors were made in a mould with a hard wood reinforcing frame with additional metal reinforcing at key points. Over many years of use and repeated slamming, the glass fibre frame tends to split allowing water to ingress. The water rots and swells both the hard wood and metal reinforcing frames and causes the fibre glass frame to split further.
Michal Fisher striping glass fibre type door to component parts , working out best methods of restoration.
Our team of skilled engineers have performed many effective spot repairs on this type of door but to cut down on-going repairs, the railway were looking for a long term solution.
Michael Fisher, our team’s highly skilled craftsman, was asked to investigate and suggest a way of rebuilding the doors.
Michael has removed the test door from the coach and completely stripped it to its component parts for examination. He is in the process of cutting out the damaged areas of framing, replacing with new hard wood and fabricating new metal framing as required then remoulding with glass fibre and final reshaping, making good to a high standard.
In a similar manner to class 31 doors, working out a fix (research and development) is very time consuming and highly skilled job but he is making excellent progress.
Class 47 Loco:
This loco has been in use for a recent night photo shoot. A small team lead by Sean has started work renovating number two cab – a very difficult job as there are so many pipes and curves. The cab has started to look very good with the first under coat on and dry.
Class 47 cab showing the damage that damp caused to the paintwork. The paint was stripped back to bare metal.
This Locomotive undergoing preventive maintenance. Number two traction motor blower motor has started to whine which indicates a bearing is wearing. The blower has to be taken out for refurbishment. It is rather inaccessible, being mounted in the electrical compartment below number two compressor and one of the very large main reservoirs tanks. The roof panel will also need lifting off. Quite a large job; our staff have started stripping out equipment to give access to the blower motor, which will then have to be sent away for refurbishment as they are not readily available ‘off the shelf.’
Awaiting body rebuilding, however some smaller repairs are on-going.
While working over New Year an engine fault reoccurred. At the moment she has been stripped down by our external engineers but is now awaiting further non-standard spare parts. Hopefully they will soon be sourced and she will be back in service.
03 170 is the main stay of North Weald depot, in constant use, possibly completing more work than any other loco.
03 119. Very good news – extensive work has started rebuilding this locomotives Gardner Diesel engine. We are fortunate to have a volunteer who has expert Gardner engine knowledge.
Until next time.