On 29th June a long-running sub-project within the electrical restoration of 50030 took a substantial step forward. I got the proper reverser (Class 50 specification) fitted into Repulse, with help from Dave Rolfe, Peter Carter and Ian Kemp as it's so damned heavy. We had to jiggle it about to get it to fit properly, but did it in the end. I attached the divert cables at the rear, but didn't have time to do the auxilaries at the front as I showed two visitors round Repulse. We are always happy to show enthusiasts around our project so if you want to take a look inside our locomotives then get in touch with us either via the website or our Facebook pages and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Also on this date Dave, Ian and Pete also continued sorting fuel and water pipework recovered from 50030's power unit to replace damaged sections on the ex-50008 unit. This unit is destined for use in 50030 when complete - the existing power unit in Repulse was in acceptable condition when we acquired the loco, but has high engine hours and as part of our policy of overhauling our 50s to a very high standard in order to give them a long and trouble-free career in preservation we decided to overhaul one power unit totally. The existing unit in Repulse will be re-used inside 50029 because the engine in Renown has serious problems following the seizure which ended the loco's BR career. We don't know for sure but are aware of the possibility that the unit in 50029 may only be usable as a source of spares. Power unit work can be one of the most gruelling of the practical restoration projects as the same task often has to be done at least sixteen times, sometimes even 32 or 64 times!
On 14th July I attached the reverser auxiliary contact wiring after showing another visitor round Repulse. Meanwhile, Ian, Pete and Dave fitted the fuel feed and return pipes to the ex-50008 power unit that they had previously salvaged from the power unit inside Repulse.
Work on site over the weekend of 13-14 June comprised efforts by Dave Rolfe to finish off the last set of radiator grille louvre frames and slats. These have now been sanded and painted ready to reinstall into 50030 and will mean the locomotive has a fully overhauled set of radiator slats, together with the mechanisms for actuating and moving the temperature-dependent sets fully overhauled and operational for the first time in many a year!
Also on site were electrical officers Andy Rowlands and Steve Tripp, together with Sarah McCall the membership secretary. They carried on with the donor electrical cubicle. Following recent progress with removing the control units, attention turned to the wiring loom which we also intend to salvage in order to replace the damaged wiring in 50029. Initially the complexity of the loom and its many tentacles proved frustrating but Steve and Andy have devised methods for transferring it into Renown. All the cabling in all the side sections of the cubicle, namely that for KV10s, relays and control units, has been pulled out of the frame or into the middle section where it is more accessible. One more visit should have the whole wiring loom out and hopefully soon into its new home in 50029. We can then consider our options for the bulky frame of the donor cubicle which is taking up valuable space on site.
Our gas bottles on the trolley used to collect them; oxygen (black) and acetylene (maroon).
One of those "must get round to doing that sometime" tasks hanging over RRRG has been to collect a couple of cylinders of oxygen and acetylene with which to power our cutting and welding equipment. Although there is a BOC distributor just across the A6 from Peak Rail's Rowsley South site they have limited opening hours which are somewhat inconvenient for the regular on site RRRG volunteers. Tim and I decided we would head up to Rowsley last Friday night in order to be on site in the morning ready to collect the gas. So, shortly after 4 o'clock on Friday afternoon I hit the road to drive the 170 miles or so from Reading to deepest Derbyshire whilst Tim got a train from Peterborough to Matlock, where I would meet him. I got delayed by the usual Friday traffic whilst Tim got delayed when 66008 decided to investigate the ballast on the Midland main line near Duffield. (I did however make it through Bletchingdon on the A34 without incident after my two year anniversary earlier this month, and once on site, Dave was as helpful and complimentary as ever that my latest car was retaining its factory-fitted styling so well).
The cylinders are now in situ at RRRG headquarters. One of the main uses we will have for them is to heat up some bolts and pins on our spare bogies which are absolutely stuck fast and won't shift any other way. In particular there are some arms secured by pins and bolts which prevent the traction motors being removed from the bogies and we want to either free these off, or if necessary, cut them off (we have plenty of spares) in order to free the motors for removal to Bowers for overhaul.
Aluminium air intake manifolds destined for the ex-50008 power unit. The foreground example awaits the removal by wire brushing of years of dirt and grime to reach the standard of the background pair, which Dave Rolfe described as "Rolls Royce quality"!
After treatment with the wire brush, Tim and I set about red oxide primer coating of the manifolds we treated that day, as well as returning to some that other RRRG volunteers had already treated, just to ensure that "Rolls Royce finish"!
With the main excitement of the morning over, and after a few steadying cups of tea and brunch at the Peak Rail cafe, Tim and I set to work on wire brushing and red oxide painting of a number of air intake manifolds destined for the ex-50008 power unit. Chris Bodell's nascent music career meant he was playing a gig in Bakewell on Saturday night so he went home to practice and took his leave of us. Tim was diagrammed for transporting teenagers to a roller disco in Peterborough that evening and so, despite building up some momentum on the inlet manifolds, we reluctantly packed up and I drove us the 100 or so miles back to Peterborough, where the teenagers were transported and Tim and I undertook a mutual debriefing session in The Moorhen at Hampton Vale (Tim's local). Sunday was spent doing more work on the soon-to-be-launched new RRRG website (of which more in due course) and I then hit the road for the final time back to Reading, which was covered in a personal best time of 1 hour 50 minutes and brought my mileage for the weekend to a touch short of 400. But it's all good fun (allegedly!).
Dave was on site all weekend as usual, and was attempting to loosen the bolts on the radiators with an air-tool, but discovered it seems to be broken, so he went to remove some of the brake rigging from the spare bogies, but found all the bolts seized. Wes Needle paid a visit with his wife Keren & their two children on Sunday to look in on progress and take the family for a ride on the train. As I was working on 50008 last Sunday & therefore missed the workparty, I went up today & fitted the second small board behind the field divert contactors that houses the ETH detection relay HDR, the ETH earth fault relay HEFR & it's associated resistor Z62. I wired Z62 & HDR, but while wiring HEFR, I seem to have mislaid a wire from one of the ETH interlock relays, so finding it is the first job next time I am there.
It was quite a busy weekend with Dave, Chris, Tom, Steve & Sarah attending both days and Ian, Pete & Mark on site Sunday. Toby the dog, who could become un-official mascot with regular site attendance, was also there!! Ian & Pete continued with the quest of torqeuing up the big end bearing caps, only a couple left to do.
Tom repaired/replaced as required all the runner timbers below the droplights. This completes all the internal frame repairs in both cabs. The potentiometer stand in Renown was straightened, welded, cleaned and refitted by Chris - it had been damaged and bent during the removal of the ETH/aux gens before RRRG bought the locos. Dave continued cleaning up under the no1 cab floor in Renown, also assisited others.
Steve & Sarah continued identifying cut cables in Renown concentating at the cubicle end. They opened up the Battery Isolation Switch to identify cables, the rear section of the switch was removed to assist this process.
Mark removed floor-mounted conduits from the generator area in Repulse. The conduits will be replaced with those removed from 50040 prior to its scrapping. The cleared floor was cleaned.
Ian, Pete & Dave hoisted up and fitted another three overhauled cylinder heads to the power unit, and torqued them, and another head previously fitted, down to 600ft lbs. Chris B cleaned & painted some sections of intercooler & turbo pipework & I carried on tidying the small control cables with cable ties & attempted to fit the last three remaining sections of 185mm cable to the field divert resistors, but found them all apparently the wrong length and with crimps fitted at angles which at the moment prevents them from being bolted to their connections on the reverser.