Thanks from the restoration team
Hi and thank you from the team to everyone (and there have been many) who have specifically come down to the Epping and Ongar railway to see and ride on the Thumper (which is one of the oldest examples of preserved UK Diesel main line traction.)
We have had a real mix, from families, former main line drivers, through to hardened enthusiasts.
We have been related lots of stories, such as going to school on the Thumper, or meeting their partners on our actual unit. Over the forty-seven years of the unit’s mainline service, so many stories and so much personal history intertwined with the Thumper.
If you are interested in our Thumper please speak to the crew. We have been giving tours (time permitting), talks and picture opportunities of the engine room and power car cab.
Looking forward to seeing you all.
The Thumper Roars again
I was working in the Thumper engine room when Jim and John – two of our restoration group’s engineers – returned to sort out a reoccurring fault on one of the low voltage control circuits.
Now as I am accepted as a sort of apprentice to the engineers, Jim took me under his wing and outlined what they intended to do. (It all sounded very complicated.)
Jim was talking very complex ‘stuff’ and pointing at a very large complicated wiring diagram.
I sagely nodded my understanding of the action plan, uttering a few, I hope, appropriate engineering type words at the correct moment. Jim must have been convinced I was up to speed as he let me hold his tools!!!!!!!
You will remember from our last Blog, we rewired 4 H control wire and we managed to gain full power, but we found this was masking another control fault which was causing chattering main power contacts, which in turn caused a problem getting away and also encouraged wheel spin.
Jim and John checking contactors, with temporary ‘jumper’ wiring in place.
Jim and John performed more minor modifications, further rewiring and after a battery of tests traced the fault to a 90 volt control relay on 4 h control circuit. The relay moving parts was found to be badly worn which in turn allowed to low voltage contacts to twist, make and then break causing the main contacts, which the 90 volt circuit controlled, to open and close. (Chattering)
Complicated ‘Stuff’ – John sorts out a wiring issue.
As this type of relay is no longer available, the guys dismantled it; with some adjustments, they managed to take the wear out of the majority of the moving parts but two sections were beyond repair. John disappeared with the defective parts returning about an hour later with replacement parts he had fabricated. The relay was reassembled and refitted, more tests.
All test results positive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Everything worked correctly, surely not – do the tests again; still good?
I was given the honour of driving the Thumper on the test runs.
For the first time since the Thumper was delivered from the North York Moors railway, we believed she would run without fault.
And she did, leaving North Weald climbing up the steep bank to the M11 bridge where we stopped on one of the steepest sections of the route.
The Thumper was given full power, with a roar she was away without any hesitation; in fact she had to be held back after a few seconds. A truly historic moment.
After a number of test runs she was still running without issue – no reoccurring faults!!!!
The following day our independent engineer tested the Thumper and once again she was passed for full service.
For me to drive the Thumper on this the first test run where she had fully operated as designed was a very special moment at the end of three years’ work and a huge amount of time given by so many people (and so much money invested) to get the Thumper to this stage of restoration.
The Thumper at Coopersale after completing its first fully successful test run. Just three of the many very talented people who have put in so many hours, materials and money into restoring the Thumper to its present restored condition:
John (Mechanical Engineer), Michael K (our engine room project team leader) and Jim (our Electrical Design Engineer.)
The Engine room project
It is now five months since the team started work in the Thumper engine room. If I was asked to describe the condition of the engine room when we started, I would say if you could imagine a Stone Age man in his cave keeping his cooking fire going for thirty years laying a covering on the walls and roof of hard carbon and add a garnish of oily soot you would just about get the picture.
The generator was a mass of flaking paint and rust with the engine in a similar condition but with the added delights of oil, diesel and water leaks, which only became evident when we degreased and cleaned the engine. The rear baulk head was covered in oil and slime.
Huge progress in the Thumper engine room – with the roof and bulkheads now top coated, the walls receive the first coat of red oxide paint.
Michael working away in the confined space of the engine room. At this stage the engine room had been cleaned, the engine /generator has been coated with anti rust paint and the roof is painted with red oxide.
The walls and roof of the engine room have been cleaned with heavy duty cleaner. (We looked like moon men with our protective equipment.) The Diesel engine and generator have been prepared for undercoating at the moment coated in antirust Paint.
As you will see in the pictures much of the engine room painting has now been completed.
A new exhaust cowl has been fitted around the exhaust outlet pipe to reduce the size of the roof exhaust outlet. It is hoped this will now prevent the exhaust fumes being sucked back in to the engine room by the negative engine room air pressure.
We have also hopefully repaired a minor water leak and a leak on the Diesel supply pipe work.
The Power Car Cab/ guard’s compartment
Almost all the cab repairs have been completed and Ken has almost finished undercoating.
Thumper power car cab is undercoated.
The guard’s compartment grey paint has been completed but the cream paint is on hold until we replace some further pieces of rotten wood.
The DT Cab
Still lots of work to do.
The Glass fibre coach door repair
Michael F. completed the extensive repairs to the MK1 coach door and it fitted first time without need to adjustment.
This proved to be a highly skilled time consuming job but hopefully Michael high quality work will last many years.
Class 31 Loco
The class 31 with roof removed ready for Blower change. Note the very important part of any engineer’s kit in the foreground – a cup of tea!
Back in full operating service after number two traction motor blower change, a huge job, removing the roof, main reservoir tank, number two (main) compressor, only then could the engineers get to the blower.
Class 37 Loco
Now back in full service after replacement engine parts were obtained and fitted.
Ready and waiting with an engineering train.
The Loco is still out of service pending body rebuilding, but a great deal of remedial electrical work has been completed.
Class 47 Loco
There have been earth faults developing on the lighting and cab heat circuits. The team have been working to resolve this issue.
Class 03 (119)
She is in an advance state of the engine rebuild. Waiting certain engine parts.
Class 03 (170)
Doing an excellent an excellent Job as North Weald Depot pilot.
Until next time,
Epping Ongar Railway Diesel Restoration Team