The Thumper being restored to a high standard. With its Network SouthEast paint work, fully functioning heating, lighting and public address system, it is proving to be a big attraction for visitors. Last Saturday (November 15), the train – feeling warm and cosy – was completely full on leaving Ongar, in effect recreating rush hour in the Essex countryside!
The cab rides (£5.00 per – person see the Driver) and the engine room tours (free to our passengers – again, see the Driver) are both proving very popular.
Thanks to everyone who has come up and taken an interest in the Thumper.
After a year’s work, the engine room refurbishment of the unit has been completed. The team have done an unbelievable job, but I will let the pictures speak for themselves. A big well done to Mick and his team of volunteers.
Inside the engine room before work began.
The completed work, after many months hard graft.
A very proud Mick, team leader, in the completed engine room.
After many, many hours of work (and considerable expenditure,) the team has also now completed refurbishment work on both Driving cabs, the Driving trailer vestibule and the Guards compartment.
The external roof of the luggage compartment has been repaired. Now that the rain has stopped penetrating the roof, Michael (our skilled engineer) has started work replacing the internal celling panels. Another long job due to some of the complex panel cut-outs required.
Michael at work inside the Thumper’s luggage compartment.
After the roof has been repaired, the rotten wooden wall panels will be replaced, and a number of smaller jobs completed. The whole of the Baggage compartment will then be repainted in the appropriate grey with white roof.
It is intended to replace all of the upholstery with the correct Network SouthEast pattern material in the passenger compartment, and carry out a number of small jobs once the required substantial funds have become available.
Of all of our rolling stock, the Thumper covers the highest passenger mileage by far, and has proved very reliable since the completion of the remedial electrical work in May. She will still be keeping our engineers busy in the quiet period after New Year, with their to do list of preventative maintenance once we source the required parts. With old trains, obtaining replacement parts is always difficult and can prove expensive – especially if the old parts have to be re-manufactured.
Class 37, 37029 Locomotive (D6729)
The team has started work on our class 37 locomotive, bringing the cabs, which have been untouched since the loco was withdrawn from the main line service by DRS – up to a similar standard to the refurbished cabs of the Class 31, 03 locomotives and the Thumper.
Many of you will be aware that our class 37 was rebuilt in the early 1980s as a heavy freight engine. She was re-geared to a lower speed of 80mph (pulling much heavier trains at this lower speed), the boiler was removed and the water tank converted to long range diesel tank, holding a total 1800 gallons of diesel fuel. The external body was also modified and, at an earlier date, she was converted to a dual braking system. She was later also fitted with the modern main line requirements, such as data recorders and radios etc.
From the restoration teams point of view, the big dilemma with the Class 37 Locomotive is, it has been repainted externally as a she would have looked when it came in to service in October 1961 as a mixed traffic engine, in BR green body with a grey roof. If we refurbish the cabs to match the external 1960s paintwork, she should be finished in Green and cream.
In our refurbishment work, the team has abided to the principal of completing the loco/unit to the correct colour scheme and transfers for its body type/equipment. However, as a BR heavy freight class 37, the cab should be refurbished in grey and cream, but this would be out of place with the external colour. The feeling, however, is we should carry on with the 1960 theme and finish the cab in these colours.
Remedial work have started in both cabs – lots of rubbing down, spot repairs being carried out, a base coat of red oxide applied as required and a undercoat of white applied in number one cab. The white undercoat gives us a base to work off. The now empty Radio housing cabinets have been removed from the cab ceilings, leaving a very large hole to be repaired; the radio – and a lot of other equipment – was stripped for reuse on other DRS locos when our 37 was withdrawn from the main line.
Work begins inside the cabs of the class 37.
Mick removes the redundant radio equipment housing unit.
With the radio housing removed , we have to work out the best method of remaking the roof lining. The roof mounted ventilators were also removed for repair.
There is a great deal of work to complete. The “TO DO” list just keeps growing as we get into the job; it’s a case of the more we do, the more we find that needs doing.
Class 47, 47635 Locomotive
At present the Class 47 is stopped, awaiting engine parts.
Class 03 Shunting Locomotives
The Engineers have working hard to trace an electrical fault which was causing a starting issue. Like many of these, there was more than one fault that, when combined, prevented the loco from starting. This was traced to switch gear contacts that needed cleaning, and a defective cell in the batteries. The loco is now back in full working order as the North Weald Depot pilot engine.
The re-manufacturing of the side rod bearings is progressing well. The bearings are actually being cast and machined, then cold pressed into the side rods in our in our own workshops.
The repainted side rods, with the new “in-house” made bearings pressed into place.
03170 patiently awaiting the refitting of its rods.
Class 31, 31438 Loco
This loco is proving reliable and is in much demand, being fitted with electrical train heat supply. Dave has been cleaning and painting around the alternator in the engine room. She was in use this last Saturday (November 15) along with the class 37 for a night photo shoot. She was also the stand-by by engine for the Halloween specials, which were a huge success.
Dave back at work in the 31’s engine room.
Class 25, 25173
The class 25 had one last outing on October 11, replacing the class 33 on “Southern Saturday.” Despite being out of traffic for some time, after a quick service she performed without fault. She has now departed for her long awaited bodywork rebuild, and a long list of other remedial mechanical work.
Until we meet again – the class 25 has departed for major work to be carried out.
Until next time…
EOR Diesel Restoration Group