October 7th, 2015

Building Bridges – October 7 Update

Work has been progressing well on the North Weald Footbridge, though recent inclement weather is starting to slow it somewhat.

On September 29, Roger cut out sections of angle iron, to make space for new channelling to be installed.

Doug and David continued working lattice sections on platform 2, whilst John treated the timbers for the landing; after lunch, he and Roger fitted the wood on the platform 2 side. After a bit of cutting, it all dropped into place very nicely.

Platform 2 side landing

This week, the timbers shown above were securely bolted down, and channelling has started to be installed back on platform 1 side.

Weather aside, we are making good headway on the project…

Pictures & Information
Roger Emberson

September 7th, 2015

Diesel Department August 2015 Update

Another busy month at the railway, with the beer festival a huge success also being one of our busiest weekends ever.

And I almost forgot – Peppa Pig was also down. Having meet Peppa, I am now known as a close personal friend; this has given me a great deal of kudos with my younger grandchildren. After all, it’s not every granddad who knows the posh pig!

£5.00 cab Rides

The £5.00 Cab rides on the 37/47 Locos were, yet again, a huge success over the Mixed Traction weekend, with a long waiting list of people wanting to ride. The cost of the pass goes to the Diesel fuel fund, which allows us to finance the running of our fuel-hungry 100-ton beasts for extra weekends.


We’re often learning about the broad range of skills that our various teams possess, which is very beneficial for the number of jobs we have on the railway. For example, if our team is ever asked to restore a moon rocket, I know just the volunteer to consult – the retired rocket scientist of course. (Honest – we do have one!)


It came as a great surprise to discover that we have a bridge engineer in our midst – and a very good one at that.

If you have been down to the railway, you will have seen our 19th century Great Eastern railway footbridge, which was recovered from a footpath which crossed the Central Line at Woodford. It was partly re-erected at the eastern end of North Weald station, minus the staircases which were beyond repair.

Funds have been accumulating slowly since we opened and, with the great help of a large donation from a member, work has started erecting newly designed stairs.

The Diesel restoration team have been working in platform two on the class 37 project and have watched our volunteer bridge team, under the direction of our very own bridge engineer, slowly erect the kit of parts which were a joint design by external engineers and our great man.

Having had the chance to see the bridge returning to life close up, I have to say the designing and erection of a modern structure to blend in with the old lattice work bridge has proved far more complex than I would have thought. Making a modern, computer-designed laser-cut component mate with the original hand-built bridge (with a lot of the original components probably completed on-site by blacksmiths), it would appear to be a bit of a black art. Once the stairways have been completed, the team will then refurbish the main structure as required.

Footbridge steps installed

The bridge has been making rapid progress. The sides will be completed to a matching style of the main bridge.

Class 31 438

As is normal, the 31 has been hard at work on engineering and vegetation control trains, as well as some weekend passenger trains. She has been her reliable self, though sadly has had to be stopped with worn tyres, now pending tyre turning.

Class 37 029

The class 37 project has now been completed, with almost all the work required on the body work done. We have had to take a pragmatic approach to some of the small areas of bubbly rust as she is still a working machine. When working on the body, we cut down through remnants of DRS blue, rail freight grey and, on occasions, corporate BR blue/yellow paintwork, as well as lots of body filler – some dating back many years judging by the layers and thickness of paint. We completed the first Bronze Green top coat only for the skies to open, and a rain storm ensured. Not good for the final finish. This week, a rub down and another thin coat of Bronze Green paint.

The 37 recently disgraced herself by failing with low main air pressure, which was traced to a split brake cylinder seal. This has being repaired and she should be back in service shortly. Strangely, sourcing the new parts proved far more difficult than the repairs.

Rain begins as the final top coat is applied.

Chris Travers laughs as the inevitable storm starts – just after the final top coat was applied.

The team with the finished work

After 8 months of hard graft, the team pose with their finished handiwork.

Class 47 635

Now most of the highly technical faults have been cleared from the 47, Michael Drew – one of our engineers – has been working on mechanical issues, mostly on the air system. Sometimes, all that was required was the stripping of parts for cleaning and reassembling; some cases required a complete refurbishment. Lots of work in a very confined engine room space.

There are bodywork repairs required on the 47, which are on the to-do list, which we must work through in a logical manner that is subject to both money and our volunteer skills & resources. Work was completed this week on the current task list, and the Loco was tested. She will be out again during our Diesel Gala.

Michael Drew, engineer, with an again operational class 47

At long last, the 47 emerges from the shed in running order, after a lot of hard work by Michael Drew (one of our engineers). He has just completed final air system checks, using the 37 to supply air so he can work in a quiet engine room.

Class 25 173

As you will see from the photos below, work on this locomotive’s body restoration continues well at our external engineer’s premises. Extensive areas of body work and internal framing have now been replaced.

Bodywork repairs for cab area

New cab corners and top sections have been fabricated and welded in place. Note that the gutter has been removed.

Body and interior structure have had many replaced areas

Large sections of both the body side panels and the internal structure have been replaced.

DEMU Thumper 205205

Work on the baggage compartment has now been finished, with a completely new celling and one wall, following long term water ingress damage; you may remember we repaired the roof last year. Smaller repairs have been completed to all the other walls and doors. The team issues in the baggage compartment similar to those in the 37 cab, with electrical components for the AWS equipment removed leaving wiring, conduit and opened relay contact boards which had all to be boxed in.

Whilst looking around the baggage compartment, at all the work performed by our teams of volunteers, I realised it looks just the same as before, the only give-away being the smell of new paint and, of course, the absence of a sagging roof and rotten walls.

Next week, we start work on repairing external body work rust. Once our repairs are completed, the Network SouthEast livery will be made good by respraying.

One weekend, I was asked “when are you going to return the Thumper to authentic ‘green livery’?”
Most of you will know that the correct livery for our rebuilt Thumper is the Network South East colour scheme she carries at present.

Michael Fisher constructs the wall for the baggage compartment

To look at the completed baggage compartment wall now, it just looks like any other tong-and-grove wooden wall. But each individual plank had to be tailored to allow for the large amounts of conduit housed behind the wall.

Installing the specially built wall

Fitting the last plank in the wall, which was a work of art in itself. The baggage compartment is now completed and repainted.

Engine room rust - the next task for the thumper.

Rust coming out from the Thumper engine room. The team have been asked to investigate and repair.

Class 117 DMU

You might remember that our colleagues in the C&W team have renovated the railcar set internally, but the external bodywork was found to require more work than anticipated. The project was temporarily put on hold, pending funds and resources. The project is once again on the move.

The Ongar end power car has been put in to the shed at North Weald, ready for the team to start work on repairing the external bodywork (which is a highly skilled job,) and for further mechanical work on the underfloor engines.

I am pleased to report work has started on the body work repairs and paint work.


Whilst working on the vegetation control train, in between shunts movements, I was watching the incredible amount of local wildlife that lives and hunts on and around our permanent way.

While working around the E&O, I have spotted Deer (both Fallow and Muntjac – one even came into the NW Depot one Thursday), rabbits by the score, squirrels, foxes, badgers (in the evening), small rodents, many species of bird, insects by the million, and last weekend a Buzzard flew in front of the train with a grey squirrel in its talons. Last Christmas I counted more than thirty Deer in the field behind North Weald signal box.

It would appear that the railway line is, for the most part, an uncultivated wildlife corridor, linking Epping Forest with many smaller woods across South Essex.

Next time you are at the railway, look out for the wild life – especially the Buzzards; fantastic birds which can be spotted along (or above) most of the line.

Until next time,

Chris Travers
Diesel Restoration Group

July 22nd, 2015

An Engine Called Isabel

With all of the big toys on the railway, sometimes the smaller ones get overlooked. In 2010, whilst still closed to passenger services, the EOR acquired its first Steam engine for the preservation era; an 0-6-0ST Hawthorne Leslie called “Isabel.”

Isabel in steam

Isabel – during one of her steamings – at Ongar.

Following arrival on the line on March 27 2012, she needed a fair bit of attention to get her working again. Unfortunately, in August that same year, she had to be withdrawn from service, having several faults and in need of a re-tube. Despite having roughly 3 years left of her boiler ticket, it was decided to fully overhaul her and bring her back with a full 10-year certificate. The overhaul was commenced during the Spring of 2014.

The cab and saddle tank were removed and rubbed down, before attention turned to the rest of the loco, which resides at the back of North Weald shed. The boiler was lifted that May, and cleaned in preparation for an inspection to asses the work required.

Isabel's boiler lifted.

The boiler is lifted from the frames, allowing work to progress on Isabel’s overhaul.

The axle boxes were stripped down; a lot of side play was found, far in excess of what is the norm, together with the hornguides, which they sit inside. These are also worn, and will be removed from the frames to receive a little machining, which will make them square and true again. This will be done in-house, using the machinery fitted in the Machine Shop.

During the summer of 2014, the brake rigging crossbeams were straightened, using a new 50 ton press. New buckles were also fitted to the extension arms that run from each crossbeam, to rectify years of wear which have resulted in oval holes. The saddle tank and cab were further rubbed down, and given a primer coat of paint by the mid-week volunteers.

The boiler was then inspected by the EOR Boiler Inspector, and was been given the ok – subject to the following repairs:

  • new lower front tubeplate rivets
  • building up of the lower area on the front tubeplate
  • new crownstay nuts in the firebox
  • building up of the firebox plate under the fire hole door
  • the fusible plug area on the firebox crown sheet.

The backhead radius (shoulders) were to be checked for cracking by Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) ultrasonic testing. This was to be carried out by a specialist contractor; if there was anything found that could be a problem, additional repairs would be needed.

A new set of tyres were sourced and purchased, with the axles being sent off to Riley and Sons for them to be fitted. They were then machined to the correct profile, and returned in July 2015.

Wheelsets depart on lorry.

The driving axles are sent away for fresh tyres to be fitted.

While the wheelsets were away, the boiler received all-new crown stay nuts, which were machined up in-house. Wastage washers were fitted to the crown of the firebox. All the old studs that hold all the boiler fittings – from injectors clacks to the firebox door assembly and ashpan – have now been removed from the boiler and replaced with fresh ones.

Boiler on side for easy access

The boiler is laid to rest on its side, allowing access to the firebox.

Richard removes safety valve studs

The late Richard Goulding removes the safety valve studs.

New crownstay nuts and washers

New crownstay nuts and washers into the firebox crown.

Cab in red oxide

The cab, following a coating of red oxide.

All manner of other work, including inspections of the pistons and descaling of the frames, has also taken place. The boiler has since been sent away to Norfolk for the new tubes to fitted (amongst other jobs), whilst the on-site volunteers continue to work on the frames. It is hoped the boiler will be completed for October, after which a few finishing touches to it can be made, before testing begins.

The boiler cladding, tanks, cabs and frames have now mostly received an initial coat of blue paint. As the engine is slowly reassembled, this will be finished off and lined out, though what scheme exactly is yet to be decided.

Frames in blue

The frames also receive some attention.

Cab in blue

The cab receives its first base coat of blue.

Wheels returned anew.

The returned wheelsets, with thick, new tyres fitted and machined.

Boiler sent away.

The boiler has now been sent away to Norfolk for some of the work required, which will speed up the overhaul.

Overhauling a small loco such as ‘Isabel’ is a great way to learn the workings of a steam engine – and is particularly suited to younger volunteers, and those who would like to progress through the ranks of an engineman. There’s still much work needing to be completed before we will see our little industrial back in action on light services and brake van rides – if you’d like to get involved, you’d be more than welcome. You don’t have to have any skills; just be prepared to ask questions, learn as you go and, most importantly, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!

Work Reports by: Tony Goulding
Work Party Leader

July 22nd, 2015

Diesel Department July 2015 Update

Hello to all our followers. Where to start this time…

£5 Diesel Locomotive Cab rides: Recently, the Railway has increased the use of our home fleet of Diesel Locomotives at the weekends. This has proven to be one of the great successes of this season. To help pay for the additional Diesel fuel bill incurred in running these hundred-ton giants, we have arranged for cab rides with the locomotive driver to take place, for a donation of £5.00 towards the Diesel fuel fund. One Sunday, we actually had a waiting list of passengers wanting to ride on the class 37 locomotive. They all seem to have a fantastic time. To get one of these, speak to and show the diesel driver your valid travel ticket, pay the £5, then enjoy.

Class 37 (D6729)

Since the completion of the class 37 Locomotive Driving cabs refurbishment, the team have been working on the exterior of the Locomotive.

Rust on bodywork

We have been experimenting with different methods of rust spot repairs. Before we started work, the whole loco was surveyed, and least eighty four areas of rust-affected body work were found. (Some very small, some much bigger.)

The cause for most part was internal, with dust and dirt wedging between the external body work skin and the supporting frame work becoming damp. Rusting can also form around gutters that become full of damp debris. There was no real method of rust proofing used on this type of Loco; as it was reckoned to have a design life of about twenty five years when built, rust would not have been an issue. Add a further twenty nine years on to the design life, rust and corrosion is a real ongoing problem. There is a rusted area around one of the gutters, which will need to be re-plated with new metal. This is a highly skilled welding and fabrication job.

Cutting out affected guttering.

…before moving on to cutting out rust on one of the gutters.

Stripping back affected paintwork

Mick cuts back the original Bronze-Green Paint and filler to get at the source of the rust…

Filled in areas

A rust-proof coating, followed and filler is the next stage of the job.

Red oxide on the filled areas.

Graham adds a coat of Red Oxide to help protect the area.
What follows are several sessions of rubbing-down, to create a smooth surface, followed by two thin undercoats and the final top coat application.

The finished job.

The finished job.

We are also carrying out repainting of faded areas such as the yellow fronts and buffer beams etc.

Working on the yellow warning panel

Mick continues his work across the class 37 bodywork, and soon finished up the area on the yellow warning panel.

The class 37 along with the 31 has been working most recent weekends. Both Locos have also been used recently on several occasions for filming work.

The team pose after much hard work, with a fully functional class 37.

Looking ‘cool’ on an otherwise hot day – some of the team pose to show off their handiwork. The loco is in denial about her age, claiming to be 6 years younger than she actually is; the headcode boxes have done well for 54 years, and now have new light fittings. All external lighting has also been rewired, and is now fully functional once again.

Class 25 (25173)

The Class 25 was withdrawn from service some time ago and was transferred to ‘HTRS railway engineers’ (based at the Shackerstone Station on the Battlefield Line)  for body refurbishment and other remedial work. The engineers – Simon and Adrian -have sent us photos of number two cab to give some idea of progress made.

Lightweight cab structure.

Closer up to the sub-floor area, which gives a rough idea of just how the lightweight cabs were built.

Sub-floor of class 25 loco

The rebuilding starts here. On the left is the Drivers desk, and the second man’s position was on the right.
This is all that is left of the sub-floor of number two cab after our external engineers’ started to cut away the wasted metal and clear the rust.

In the photos, the cab floor has been almost completely removed, exposing the metal sub-floor (or what’s left of it.) The Locomotive’s lightweight construction can be clearly seen from the photos. The cab walls were single skin; Diesel Locos were not built to be totally water proof – the trick was to ensue water drains out the bottom of the Loco (clearly not the case with our class 25.) Internally, water pooled on the intersections of the main structure, causing extensive rusting to external panels from the inside. Water also built up under the main cab floor.

Looking at the pictures, it does not look like the engineers have a lot of sub floor framing to weld to. (Interestingly, you can see the small shovel and crowbar the guys had to use to clean the rust and debris from the sub floor.) To right of the pictures, you can see where a large section of the rusted cab wall has been cut out. Whilst we are all looking forward to the loco’s return, it could be some time yet.

Class 31 (31438)

The Class 31 Loco has been in almost daily use since November. She is proving to be a real work horse. At times she is just too good looking; despite being in constant use, she is very clean and polished. Recently, whilst she was sitting in the platform, awaiting her next working, some of our non-railway visitors believed she was a non-working museum piece. Considering she was withdrawn from main line working nineteen years ago, she doesn’t look too bad at all.

A clean and smart class 31 in service

A recent picture of our Class 31 Loco, looking very clean and shiny. She is proving to be a real maid of all works, from providing electric train heat for our winter passenger trains, right through to the run of the mill – but essential – engineering trains. She has also, with our class 37 Loco, ‘starred’ in some recent filming work.

Class 03 Shunt Locos

Both of our Class 03 shunt locos are in use at North Weald, as depot and Station pilot engines.

Body work and cab of 03170 are in good order, having been refurbished at North Weald. However, while a great deal of work has been completed on 03119’s diesel engine, the bodywork and cab are still on our hit list.

Class 47 (47635)

You may recall that our engineers have spent a great deal of time and money in resolving a number of electrical and electronic faults – they completed repairs only to experience a compressor failure while testing the loco. After examination of the auxiliary machine, a decision has been made that will have to be replaced by a refurbished machine. There is also an issue with water ingress from some of the roof sections; plans are in hand to remedy both faults as funds become available. At the moment, she resides in the back of number two road in the shed to keep her out of the rain.

DEMU Thumper (205205)

The Thumper is use on most passenger workings. Our colleagues in the C and W Department have replaced a broken driving cab emergency door window, after the window spring-operating mechanism ‘self-destructed’, smashing the non-standard size window in the process. The same guys have also repainted most of the luggage compartment walls grey, and roof white. Michael Fisher is in the process of finishing the replacement of one complete wall, and the last few touches to the celling. As previously reported, C and W guys have continued to replace the worst of the passenger seats with new Network Southeast pattern material. They have been using material recovered from the damaged/worn seats to patch others. I am very impressed with the standard that has been achieved.

We have now run out of our stock of Network Southeast material – if you have access to any, please get in touch.

Class 45 (45132)

 The team working on the peak are making excellent progress rebuilding the Locomotive. We are Looking forward to seeing her in service.

Until next time

Chris Travers

Diesel Restoration Group

May 11th, 2015

Class 37 – Cab Restoration Complete!

The diesel renovation team have, at long last, completed the first stage of the class 37 project: Renovation of both cabs.


In the final stage of our work, the team completed repainting and applying transfers; the final piece in the jigsaw was spot-replacement of the number two cab flour covering.

The team started work in October, but have spent quite a lot of time diverted on more pressing work. Special thanks to Jan Ragg (who renovated the crew seats), to Michael (for his hard work keeping the 37 mechanically sound), and to everyone else who lent a hand.

There’s be much attention to detail: Marco has managed to obtain reproduction 1960s  transfers, as well as the required 2015 “Health and Safety” required transfers. Chris Marsack also obtained replacement maker’s plates for the controllers.

Ken puts the finishing touches to a D6729 transfer in the cab.

Ken puts the finishing touches to a D6729 transfer in the cab.

a copy of the original driver's control cover

We have paid much attention to detail; a copy of the original driver’s control cover is fitted.

Historic transfers and completed paintwork.

We have tried to keep our work as historically accurate as possible, with the transfers on the engine room door and the English Electric Logs dating back to the first 1955 modernisation plan Locos! We have also had to include modern “Health and Safety” required transfers. Mick, meanwhile, has clearly made an excellent job of the straight line between the cream and the green. This job proved far harder than we first anticipated.

It should also be noted that new head code light panels have been fabricated, and fitted by our external engineers, so we now have fully lit head and tail lamps at both ends.

The next stage of the project is spot repairs and repaint of the external bodywork, in areas where rust has started to rear its ugly head.

Chris Travers
Diesel Restoration Group

May 8th, 2015

Diesel Department May 2015 Update

In our May blog, I have attempted to give a snapshot of the teamwork required, involving many talented people to not only keep our home Diesel Locomotive fleet maintained and running, but also to strive to constantly improve their general condition.

It also shows how many of our volunteers – skilled or otherwise – are willing to move out of their comfort zone and learn new trades. If you have ever thought you would like to get involved with Railway restoration, be it Locomotive, Carriage and Wagon, railway buildings etc, then why not come down and talk to us, and see what it’s all about. You do not require any special skills – everyone has something to bring to the party, and it’s not just a ‘man thing’, everyone’s welcome.

The Diesel restoration group normally meet on a Thursday around 09.00, but we are flexible. (Other groups meet at different times.) There are also lots of ‘Operating’ volunteering jobs for those interested in ‘running a railway’.

Diesel Gala

The team spent several enjoyable days cleaning the Locos and performing spot repairs, in readiness for the recent Diesel gala, which proved a big success. The locos now look clean and shiny.

Diesel Cab Rides

Don’t forget, normally you can ride in the cab of one of our Main Line diesel locomotives or the DEMU Thumper for only £5.00. Just talk to the driver.

First Great Western 08 Shunt Loco

We had a rare chance, on a preserved railway, to compare our own restoration work directly with a main line equipped Loco which had just received a major overhaul.

This 08 loco has similar issues as our main line locos with a highly modified cab, lot of additional air pipes, electrical conduit and water pipes crossing the cab. We have always attempted to achieve a main works standard and our work, whilst not perfect, compared well with the standard achieved on the 08 loco cab and external body work (which pleased the team.)

It has been many years since Chris last drove a main line registered 08 shunt loco, and he clearly  is enjoying the experience. The cab is a good illustration of how difficult it is to restore the paint finish, with multiple pipes etc. running around the cab.

It has been many years since Chris last drove a main line registered 08 shunt loco, and he clearly is enjoying the experience. The cab is a good illustration of how difficult it is to restore the paint finish, with multiple pipes etc. running around the cab.


The 08 Loco running round the Thumper at Ongar during the Diesel Gala. Some of the modifications can be seen on the Loco that allow to make trips in to Paddington.

Class 37

After some weeks with the team diverted to other duties, we are now coming to the final stage of the cab restoration of the class 37. We had a ‘big push’ this week to complete the odd jobs still outstanding. At one stage, four of us attempting to work on different jobs made for cramped working conditions in the cab!

We have, for the most part, stopped spot rubbing down, after spotting odd paint blemishes, as they are ‘Historic’ paint blemishes that we had earlier left as part of the Loco’s history.

Our restoration brief was  to restore the cab, but our work had to respect that the loco has been in service for more than fifty years, and is still very much a working machine; the cab should, to an extent, retain some ‘wear and tear’ (or as we called it, a “knocked around look”!)

I spent the morning making up and fitting the new draught proofing skirt around the driver’s desk, spending many hours hunting around for similar material (a type of black ‘Leather Cloth’) to that donated for use in number one cab. In the end I found a good match.

Chris fits skirting

Chris fitting the new draught- proof ‘skirt’ to number two driving cab.

Mick spent most of the day finishing the straight lines between the green and cream on the rear bulk head covers, and then surveying the locomotive exterior. As the Loco is over fifty years old and the bulk head panels are off a later build loco, and have been modified (with a big hammer) to fit, you can’t measure or use a spirit level; Mick had to apply the masking tape in a very time consuming – manner by eye.

Ken spent the day painting air and vacuum pipes white. Graham specialises in all the odd colours – such as orange pipe work, grey AWS, black Driver’s desks etc.

Painted cab

Graham painting the AWS equipment grey. In this picture you can also see the repaired roof sections, refurbished crew seats, the refitted roof vent, and not forgetting, the cab’s complete repaint.

A start was made in applying transfers. We have obtained a supply of replica engine room warning transfers, which date back to the introduction of diesel locomotives.

The team have started to plan the next stage of the restoration – spot exterior repairs of the 37 bodywork. Graham and Mick have been surveying the work required; from their notes, it is clear the team will not be running out of work any time soon!

Mick surveys bodywork

Mick is now surveying the exterior bodywork, looking for areas in need of attention.

Our external engineers have fabricated new head code boxes, (you may have noticed the change of head codes) and we now have full frontal lighting. I was impressed with the standard of the work and it’s a shame it is out of sight .

For the most part, the recent work we carried out to seal the roof seems to be effective.

Smart class 37 in service

Our very clean and polished Class 37, waiting in the sun for it’s next turn as part of a top and tail Epping Forest service.

During the recent 150 year celebration gala, after a steam engine failed, the class 37 (which was standby loco) was pressed in to service as a replacement Locomotive.


During the two day diesel gala, all the locos performed well, with the exception of 03170, which was top and tailing a three coach train with our other 03 loco. Suddenly, it decided to have a mind of its own, and operate the emergency brakes via the DSD system. This fault was later traced to a defective air valve within the DSD system.

The two 03s on a top and tailed service at Epping Forest, our new limit of operations.

The two 03s on a top and tailed service at Epping Forest, our new limit of operations.

Class 31

The 31 is still in everyday use. Apart from receiving normal maintenance, she has operated without issue. To give you an idea of the scale of the diesel engine sumps on our English electric Locomotives, when I recently performed a service check on the 31, to top up the sump (which was not on minimum), I put in 14 full standard-gallon watering cans worth of sump oil.

Class 47

This Locomotive has been in ill health for some time. She is a very complex and much modified machine, and as fast as the team cleared one fault, another materialised.

Jim (one of our very clever electrical engineers) along with John (another clever mechanical engineer) have been working as part of a small team to get on top of the issues. Jim has put pen to paper to tell the simplified story of the past nine months of our class 47’s life…

“Last year, 47635 would frequently fail to take traction power, and was lacking power when operating. The Sulzer 12 cylinder engine has a mechanical governor, which does many things as can be seen in the attached diagram. The vane motor, that is shown on the diagram, controls the field of the main generator using a power module containing thyristors – a semiconductor device that converts AC to DC. Investigations indicated that the drive from the vane motor to variable transformer, which feeds the power module, was badly worn and had probably disengaged. This was easily fixed by reversing a pin. Problems persisted however, and 47635 failed towards the end of the Autumn Diesel Gala.

Expert assistance was brought in, and it was found that the diaphragm in the speed control cylinder had failed. The speed control cylinder is an air cylinder operated by the driver’s power controller. The whole governor assembly had to be removed and sent away for repair.

This was returned at the beginning of this year and refitted, but a number of additional problems were identified. The first problem was that the repaired governor would drive the vane motor round to the full load position on engine start up, preventing 47635 from moving (unless something was shorted out). The second problem was that metal was found in the engine lubricating oil due to a worn cam follower on the camshaft.

The first problem was fixed by re-positioning a lever in the governor, and the second by replacing the cam follower.

Lack of power remained a problem and this was eventually traced to a couple of faults within the thyristor power module, the inside of which is shown in the attached photo. A module was borrowed and 47635 was finally fixed and performed well at the Spring Diesel Gala. We have now managed to repair the original power module ourselves and 47635 is now back in service using this module. Unfortunately a compressor motor has now failed, but she completed all her booked duties on the diesel gala without any further problems.

This 'thyristor' power control module was cutting edge technology in 1975, when it was fitted to the locomotive as part of a modification. But in 2015, Jim had a hard  search using the web to find the obsolete replacement components required.

This ‘thyristor’ power control module was cutting edge technology in 1975, when it was fitted to the locomotive as part of a modification. But in 2015, Jim had a hard search using the web to find the obsolete replacement components required.

Jim's diagram for the Class 47 governor.

Jim’s diagram for the Class 47 governor.

Jim Packman”

Thumper DEMU

Work on this unit is progressing well, with the new internal roof of the baggage compartment in place, with the exception of the fillet pieces which will be fitted once the work on the walls is complete. Michael Fisher, who is the lead on this job, is now in the process of removing and replacing the baggage compartment wall that makes up the wooden internal walls on the second man’s side of the power car. There was rot caused by a roof leaking over many years – this has been traced and sealed.

The whole of the wooden wall required replaceming - including the metal sub-support structure. Michael start to methodically remove the old wooden plank walls.

The whole of the wooden wall required replaceming – including the metal sub-support structure. Michael start to methodically remove the old wooden plank walls.

Our colleagues in the carriage and wagon group, who are our specialists in seating repairs, are making progress in replacing or repairing the Thumper’s passenger seats; the crew seats were reupholstered by Jan Ragg as part of our cab refurbishment.

It is the intention to replace all the passenger upholstery with new Network Southeast pattern material, when funds become available. But (and it is a big ‘but’) because Network Southeast material is non-standard design, the cost is eye watering – double that of standard material!

C & W department have a small stock of Network Southeast material, which they are using to recover the worst seats, then using any recoverable material to patch repair the other seating. If you are aware of a surplus stock of Network Southeast pattern material, please get in touch.

Spot-repaired fabric

The C&W team are making spot repairs, utilising salvaged material from upholstery being replaced throughout the unit.

On the Thumper Diesel engine front, recent exhaust bellows repairs have worked well. However, while I was driving the unit in service, I noticed a additional ‘Diesel Engine knock’ and called in the skilled engineers.

The unit was briefly taken out of service, and the fault was traced to number one cylinder head tappet rocker. The rocker had accumulated extra wear allowing certain sideways movement. The engineers tell me that she is ok to run but will be monitored; another planned job on the heavy maintenance list when she is next stopped.

I was asked, with the all the bangs and rattles that this type of English Electric ‘Thumper’ diesel engine normally makes, how did I know there was a fault? The truth is you just get used to the sound of the engine. and pick up on any unusual noises.

Until next time

Chris Travers
Diesel Restoration Group

April 1st, 2015

Diesel Department March 2015 Update

A lot has happened since our last blog:

205 Thumper DEMU

As part of the winter shut down maintenance, a split exhaust bellows, located between the fixed exhaust pipe and the turbo charger, was changed by Michael and Neil. It was quite a big job but well planned and completed within a day.

The failed exhaust bellow.

The failed exhaust bellow.

The new and old parts for the exhaust bellows.

The new and old exhaust bellows.

Repaired exhaust

The engine exhaust, back in full working order.

03 Shunter 03170

The locomotive’s Dynamo was found to be defective, and a decision was made to replace it with a more modern alternator. It was clear a fair amount of redesign, re wiring and fabrication of parts was required to fit the chosen high-output alternator on to a nineteen fifties design of Gardner diesel engine. At the same time, a new electronic rev counter was also to be fitted.

A mock up wooden pattern was produced prior to fabricating to finished metal parts to check all fitted correctly. The new alternator output (which has a built rectifier and control unit) is almost three times that of the old dynamo.

Alternator fixing kit

Doug, our own electrical design engineer, fits a wooden-pattern fixing kit for the new alternator. Based on this design, a new metal fixing kit will be fabricated.

Fitting the alternator

John, one of our highly skilled mechanical engineers, fits the new alternator with the fixing kit he fabricated. The Alternator has test wiring in place prior to complete rewiring of the charge circuit.

Class 47

Both our own and external engineering staff have spent many hours working on the complex load regulator system which was defective. The loco was being tested as I wrote this blog – the indications were good. The team seem to have gotten on top of the problem.

Class 37

We have made lots of progress, with many strands of work progressing. We have performed work to seal a leaking roof section above the battery box, remedial work on battery has taken place, new frontal light equipment is being fitted along with new wiring as well as other repairs.

There was a major problem in number one cab, being the driver’s desk rubber-mounting strips perishing with age, allowing the desk to fall out of its mounting. This proved a very difficult job to not only repair, but source the replacement industrial glazing strip.

After much hunting about, we managed to source the glazing strip and the special tool required to fit the rubber strip which holds the main strip in place. The glazing strip had to be specially ordered, thus proving to be rather expensive.

The real problem came refitting the desk, with the air pipe and electrical connections that had to be partly dismantled to be able to twist the desk at an angle to allow the rubber strip in place.

I was really struggling with this job. Luckily, one of our external engineers, Simon, and Michael Fisher – our own top engineer – were to hand, both having experience with this type of industrial glazing strip fitting.

After a further two hours, lots of dismantling, brute force, and washing up liquid being applied to the glazing strip (as lubrication), accompanied by a lot of cursing, the final section of glazing strip went into place. Just the small task of refitting and adjusting the parts we removed from the desk and final checking of electrical and air connections, which all proved good.

You will see from the photo, the desk, with its three coats of shiny black paint and the new draught proof skirting around the base of the desk, looks very smart. In fact, thanks to the teams hard work, the desk probably has not looked this smart since the loco was new.

Cab pre-refurb

No.1 cab prior to refurbishment.

Completed No.1 cab

Completed No.1 cab, with new draught-proof skirting around the driver’s desk.

Class 31

The Class 31 has been a real workhorse during the close season, having been in almost daily use on engineering trains. With have put lots of resources in to work to upgrading the track as we get ready to extend our passenger service past Coopersale into Epping Forest. The 31 has also been in use on the vegetation clearance train.

Until next time

Chris Travers
Diesel Restoration Group

31438 in the forest

31438 with an engineer’s train in the forest.