A good day on site today. Former regular working member Wes Needle joined us for today's workparty. Since getting married and starting a family, Wes hasn't had much time to indulge his chosen hobby, but because they had taken a break in a holiday cottage not far from Rowsley, he was able to take a day to join us while his wife Keren and the nippers went on the train.
Dave Rolfe continued cleaning and painting power unit pipework, then he, Wes, Peter Carter and Ian Kemp finished overhauling one of the intercoolers and reassembled it. They also started unfastening one of the compressors on 50030 ready for it to be removed as there is an overhauled one ready to take its place.
I located the fittings and tubing I had purchased some time ago to replace the air circuit in Repulse. There are different threads that have been used on these fittings at various times, so it was a bit of a gamble whether we had chosen the right thread, but fortunately when I tried the fittings in the motor and divert contactors, they screwed in fine. I had made a diagram some time ago of the routing and connections of the air circuit in 50021, so I am now able to copy it in Repulse. I also finished off connecting up the newly-fitted reverser in the electrical cubicle of 50030 with all its wiring and connections. Even the weather was kind to us!
Dave Rolfe and I had a very wet Saturday at Rowsley last weekend (I'd gone on the Saturday as Sunday was my Wedding Anniversary), the weather finally cleared around 5 o'clock!
Given the weather we both found things indoors to occupy ourselves, Dave spent part of the day unbolting and freeing off sections of the radiator louvre operating mechanism. His remaining time was spent sorting out the various fittings, clamps, etc, that are needed to refit the fuel rails to the power unit, and checking their condition, cleaning and painting the metal sections of the clamps. I spent most of the day in 50030's generator room sorting out the best sections of conduit, from our collection of bits ex-50023, 50030 and 50040, to make up the remaining set of conduits. By the end of the day, I had cut sufficient sections to lay out the last of the conduit runs, all that remains to do now with this job is to strip the years of paint and dirt off them, thread the ends of the cut sections and fit the relevant couplers and locking nuts. Hopefully another day's work should see the conduit conundrum resolved. In the process I also identified ¾ of a set for one side of 50029.
If you've been following RRRG for some time, you might know that we have in our spares stock a genuine Class 50 reverser and a Class 37 example, which is similar but not identical to the Class 50 part. We had removed the genuine 50 reverser in order to use it as a template to modify the 37 item to Class 50 spec, and in the meantime the ex-37 reverser was installed in 50030's electrical cubicle so that I could judge how long to make the wiring whilst rebuilding the cubicle.
On Sunday May 25th I disconnected the main cables from the back of the ex-37 reverser, and with Dave Rolfe's help, got it out of 30 and into the container. I cleaned the main power contacts on the the proper 50 reverser and labelled each contact bar while Dave was finishing drilling out sheared bolts around the removable grille that gives access into the No.1 end clean air compartment. Whilst cleaning I happened to notice the auxiliary contact blocks appeared to be facing the wrong way, so I went to Washwood Heath during the week to check 50008 Thunderer, and found they had indeed been refitted the wrong way round after we had taken them apart to make a replica second set to modify the 37 reverser for use in 29.
Whilst working around the cubicle area in 50030, I was impressed by work that Mark Burrows has been doing to restore the cable conduits for the traction cabling to the main generator. This has been a laborious task using the best parts of conduits salvaged from 50023 and 50040 before those locomotives were scrapped a few years ago.
On 1st June Ian, Pete and Dave refitted the decompressor plugs into the power unit, then spent the rest of the day cleaning parts of the power unit ready for painting.
On the same day, I removed the auxiliary contact blocks from the Class 50-spec reverser and fitted them the right way round, in the process realising that the internal cams had been rotated out of their correct positions, so they wouldn't open and close in the correct sequence. The afternoon was spent getting them back into the correct alignment. Now that the reverser has been properly adjusted, my next task will to fit it back into the electrical cubicle in 50030.
One of the electronic control units in a Class 50 locomotive is the CU5 radiator fan control unit. It works together with the CU4 coolant flow control unit under the control of the CU1 main control unit to maintain the correct cooling water temperature by adjusting the speed of the radiator fan. Both RRRG's locomotives are missing this unit. The original was designed by Hawker-Siddeley for English Electric and utilises components that, by the standards of the 21st century, are thoroughly obsolete.
A good friend of RRRG, based at the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway, offered his services to construct a compatible replacement unit using modern electronics - needless to say, we were and are extremely grateful for this offer! Shown here is the item which is now nearly complete. The main circuit board has been deliberately left unattached to the case at this stage, as the next step is to test the unit by connecting to a suitable 110 volts DC source in order to ensure it performs correctly.
An original unit was borrowed from the 50021 Loco Association, and this new unit has been produced to resemble it physically, while using greatly-simplified circuits (as the original was over-complex for what it needed to do), modern components and utilising a small programmable microprocessor to replicate many of the functions of the original. We will provide more updates on this sub-project when they become available.
Following on from news and developments earlier this year on the work we have commissioned to build two CU2 field divert units for use in 50029 and 50030, we can report with great pleasure that this project reached a successful conclusion today. Our contractors invited 50030 Electrical Officer Andy Rowlands to view the rebuilt units, and demonstrated as the relay in each unit was energised and gave output to the correct terminals. Each unit was tested multiple times with no problems arising. We were pleased to note that our contractors have managed to replicate the original solder tracks from the sample unit supplied as the template. Now that we have taken delivery, the units can be taken on site for trial fitting and cabling up, before being stored securely off site until such time as they are needed. Photos courtesy of Mark Brown at IES. This work has not been cheap and we would greatly appreciate the support of Class 50 enthusiasts either by joining RRRG and buying shares or supporting us via our online shop.
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.
Here are some photos from the ongoing restoration of the power unit we acquired from 50008 back in 2006. This power unit is being restored with new internal components to restore it to effectively "zero hours" status and will be deployed into 50030 Repulse once completed. The power unit currently inside 50030 will probably be reused in 50029 Renown in due course; the engine inside Renown suffered serious damage when the B4 cylinder seized. This was the cause of 50029's withdrawal from BR service in early 1992. The main generator on the ex-50008 power unit is in good condition as is that on the damaged block inside 50029; 50030 suffered a main generator flashover and we plan to perform a generator swap with 50029 at some stage to create a good power unit/generator combination.
This set of pictures shows again the level of commitment RRRG is investing in the rebuild of 50029 and 50030. We intend 50030 to re-enter traffic by 2017 as effectively a brand new locomotive with fully overhauled internal parts and to ensure it a very long and secure future in preservation. The same policy will be applied to 50029 when the time comes.
We are pleased to announce that the first of our rebuilt KV10 electronic units has been completed. As we reported in April, we placed an order for four rebuilt KV10 units, two per locomotive using modern electronic components as opposed to the obsolete 1960s versions of the original. This picture shows a rebuilt CU6 ETH KV10; we have ordered two of these plus two rebuilt CU3 main generator units (the originals are identical to each other and are transformed into CU3 main generator or CU6 ETH generator KV10s by addition of a CU3A or CU6A daughter card but the rebuilt versions incorporate the electronics of the daughter cards into the main unit and so differ from each other). The two photos above show both sides of the rebuilt unit's circuitry. By way of a comparison, below is a view of the original 1960s vintage circuitry in the KV10.
The completion of the first rebuilt KV10 marks a further important stage in the restoration of 50029 Renown and 50030 Repulse. The cost is just over £1000 per unit and we need the help of the enthusiast community to help us fund future stages in the restoration project. Can you buy something from our online shop or consider joining RRRG and buying shares to become part of this exciting locomotive rebuild project? We are keenly aware of the anticipation in the enthusiast community for 50029 and 50030 to haul trains once again but we are going to need your help to achieve this.
RRRG Officer Mark Burrows recently visited our electrical contractors to view progress on a number of electrical machines we are having overhauled for use in 50029 and 50030. Here are some pictures of the work we have in progress on electrical machinery.
We have amassed a number of "duplicate" electrical machines over the years, partly with the intention of locating better condition items than are already inside 50029 and 50030 (the major electrical machines are intact in both locomotives but in poor condition after years of disuse) and so reduce the cost of overhauling them as well as the cost of extracting the machines from inside the locomotives in the first place. For example, in addition to the exhausters inside 50029 and 50030, we have two others currently with our electrical contractor. One was obtained from a scrap Class 37 at Booths and the other was purchased in almost fully overhauled condition from Unipart Rail some time ago. The latter had been in store for some considerable time and had deteriorated slightly as a result. Both of these are now finished with the ex-Booths machine having had an oil leak repaired and the ex-Unipart motor blower having received a light overhaul to bring it up to the "as new" standard we are aiming for with our restoration project.
|Two overhauled exhausters seen in April 2013.||A traction motor blower which is at an almost complete stage of overhaul, waiting only for a new bearing before it is complete.|
Each of the electrical machines we send for overhaul and refurbishment is fitted with new brush gear as illustrated in this close-up of the fan motor in the newly-overhauled traction motor blower, and the opportunity is also taken to refurbish the "snail" casing for this machine.
|Close up of the fully overhauled brush gear in our overhauled traction motor blower.||The "snail" fan casing from the motor blower has received an overhaul and respray too.|
A full set of pictures from the visit can be found in the RRRG image gallery.