Class 117 DMU
Moan Moan Grumble Grumble!
Railway restoration can be, if you allow it, a very frustrating business.
As an example, as part of our Railcar restoration project, the team has almost completed the DMS car but the work on the DMBS has not only stalled but has gone further backwards – what to say……..? Just when you think the team has bottomed out the corrosion issues, our professional body repair man found extensive rust that had, at some stage, been filled with body filler in many, many places.
That is not the end of our sad story, we are still having problems sourcing new profiled top hat rib sections – these give the railcar walls their strength. In some places, the original (along with the top) connecting rails are so badly corroded that they have just crumbled away leaving… well, nothing!
As we can only cut out small sections of bodywork at one time to maintain the body profile, the job (as far as the DMBS) goes has effectively stopped.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. We have been informed of a supplier who can roll bespoke rib sections, and other specialist parts, providing they have the measurements/ exact profile and drawings. Hopefully next week we can get on with measuring up.
All battery and isolater connections labelled and drawings updated.
And the good news…
It not all bad news on the railcar front – the DMS car, resplendent in its new green livery and with refurbished interior, has been pressed in to service as hauled coaching stock as a short term replacement for a MK 1 coach currently undergoing heavy repairs; it’s proving very popular!
Odd Job Man
While our team’s ‘Railcar’ project is ‘stopped waiting parts’, you may ask what I have been up to. Well, I have been doing a number of very different jobs; apart from driving some of our engineer’s trains, I have been acting as the lovely assistant to our Battery Expert, working on the railcar wiring and, I may add, we managed to start one engine as a test load.
I have also been fabricating off-cut panels for the C&W team who are re-skinning a MK 1 coach end.
The C&W guys have a quite a production line going, and the skills levels increasing (I know my place). First, the wasted metal was cut out; I then measured up and cut the new panel to the exact shape. Next, my colleague fettled the panel to the exact profile by carefully bending, and later gently tapping with a ball pain hammer. Lastly, our very skilled engineer tack-welded the panel in place, pending full seam-welding.
I must say, as a team there is something very satisfying about starting with very rusted – or in some cases non-existent – metal skin and raw steel plate, and finishing at the end of the day with the profile of a Mk 1 coach, ready to be fully welded.
The C&W team had previously cut away and welded in new sections of the support structure, such as the collision pillars.
Class 31 438
Apart from a slight oil leak she has been her normal reliable self.
During the winter months, the railway ran a series of training days which were open to all staff. One of the training scenarios was ‘Fire on a Train’. During the last trip of the day during the Diesel gala, copious amount of smoke (but we assure you no flames) was spotted coming from under the bodywork above number one bogie. Although the loco had recently been steamed cleaned, investigation showed that a very small shelf – which formed part of the main framing – had not been completely cleaned and a spark off one of the brake blocks had lodged on a small area of oil-soaked brake block dust, causing impressive amounts of smoke.
The crew, who had all attended the winter ‘Fire on Train’ training course, dealt with the incident and were on the move with only ten minutes delay; no real damage was caused to loco, and the crew even received a round of applause from the passengers!
This minor incident proves the worth of quality training offered by the railway.
Class 37 029
In traffic but is still receiving ‘planned maintenance’.
Class 03 170
Also receiving planned maintenance on her axle boxes and side rods. She has also been steamed cleaned.
DEMU Thumper 205205
The Thumper recently failed when the main reverser (in its pannier module under the motor coach) returned to mid-position and would not respond to the controls.
Test indicated that the two relevant control wires were ‘dead’ and in fact earthed. The trick then was to find the problem, which was very much easier said than done. The control cables run from end to end of the unit, and to all control areas, so it was a game of “hunt the earth”!
After much testing and head scratching, the fault was traced to a 32-way bolted jumper holder between coaches. A seal on an inspection cover had failed, allowing a small amount of water to drip on the back of connection block over a long period, which caused the earth fault. Our engineers completely replaced the connection block, which required a lot of rewiring.
The Thumper is now back in full working order.
Don’t forget our next diesel gala with a Deltic locomotive! 55019 will be running at the September event.
Until Next time.
Diesel Restoration Group