Renown Repulse Restoration Group is holding an Open Day on Sunday 21st June 2015 from 2 PM onwards at our Rowsley South, Peak Rail base. We hope to attract new volunteers and investment into our project. All are welcome, whether experienced preservationists or complete beginners! RRRG members will be on site to show you around 50029 and 50030, as well as discuss our facilities, restoration plans and how you can help as a future volunteer for RRRG. We look forward to seeing you then and there. Peak Rail are also hosting a classic bus event on the same day, providing an additional attraction for visitors to the railway.
The restoration of the power unit ex-50008 Thunderer which was purchased by RRRG for use in 50030 is now almost complete. This has involved removing all sixteen cylinder heads and either overhauling them or replacing them with overhauled heads, then removing all sixteen pistons and con rods before replacing both big and small end bearings, piston rings and if necessary pistons to effectively return the power unit to "zero hours" status. Even with highly dedicated volunteer labour this has been a lengthy process but is now well into the "home straight".
Dave Rolfe has concentrated on an external overhaul of the unit, cleaning and painting especially auxiliary items such as water rails (blue) and oil feed pipes (pink). This will enable us to identify potential problems such as oil leaks when the unit is in service inside 50030. Ian Kemp, RRRG's mechanical team leader, and his fellow dedicated volunteer Peter Carter have been refitting the auxiliary pipework to the unit. This has now reached the stage of refitting the lower cooling water rails.
In common with other Class 50 owners we have decided to manufacture our own gaskets as this is much cheaper than buying ready-made items. Ian and Pete were busy today cutting out and fitting the water rail gaskets to one side of the power unit before refitting and attaching one of the water rails. This is not an easy task because the casting of the engine block makes accessing the fastening nuts very difficult! The corresponding water rail on the other side will be refitted in due course.
The tasks remaining to complete the overhaul of the diesel engine part of the power unit are to complete the refitting of oil and cooling water feed pipes and to test and overhaul the Woodward engine governor if necessary. We also need to source a set of braided hoses which feed cooling water to the turbos - these were either missing or rotten when we bought the power unit. The main generator attached to the engine is in good condition and will be detached and overhauled separately nearer the time the unit is ready to be installed inside 50030.
The power unit currently in 50030 is also practically complete and serviceable. We did start an overhaul of this power unit before the Thunderer power unit came on the market and it is turn intended for use in 50029, to replace the power unit in that locomotive which suffered a serious seizure that was the cause of 50029's BR withdrawal in 1992. An exchange of main generators is possible, to mate the good generator on 50029's damaged block with the good block attached to the main generator with flashover damage that is currently in 50030 - however this is a decision some time in the future.
Mark brought two of the refurbished KV10s, paperwork, test sheets and circuit diagrams up to site. After a test fitting they were removed once again! Dave, Pete, Ian and I hoisted one of the intercoolers up onto the ex-50008 power unit and bolted it in place. The other is ready to be refitted but needs painting first. Dave started making a hoist arm to be fitted on a corner of the container over the workbench. I started fitting the cubicle air circuit pipes, which was somewhat difficult with all the cabling in place, so if I ever do that again, the lesson is fit the airpipes before the cabling, then the cables wouldn't be in the way!
The new airpipes are just visible in the photo below, between M4, M5 and M6.
I discovered the air connections on the reverser air cylinder are a different thread to all the others, so I brought it home with me to take to the supplier I got the other fittings from to see if they can provide the correct-thread fittings for it.
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.
Work over the weekend of 29-30 June involved stripping and painting the last of the louvre mechanisms for the radiators in 50030, hopefully to be refitted in 2-3 weeks. Photos to follow.
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.
Mark Burrows and Dave Rolfe were on site over the weekend of 4-5 May.
Dave came to Mark's house on Sunday morning, and together they loaded five fire bottles in to Dave's car, and put three in Mark's. This took somewhat longer than expected: over an hour to load up! However this was partly because one of the bottles was full and they decided to partially blow it down to make it a bit lighter. The fire bottles are now stored on site at Rowsley. They originate from scrap 37s at Booths and are probably in better condition and easier to recertify than the ones already inside 50029 and 50030.
Wasps have attacked one of the wooden blocks under the ex-50008 power unit, which is now not too healthy. We had a choice of either getting a mother of a crane in to lift the power unit and replace the block, or do something else. After giving it some thought, Mark devised a brace that should stop the wooden block collapsing. We have bought some 10mm thick metal plates from Booths, who cut them to size for us, but they now need drilling. Mark picked them up and took the plates to Bowers last week. At Rowsley we have some inch threaded bar, with nuts and washers. Mark's idea is to use this, with some that Bowers are going to buy for us, to fasten the plates either side of the wooden block. Mark intends to take it to Bowers to show them what we are after.
Chris Thorn also asked Mark to take some air horn back plates to Bowers to get them drilled out to accommodate class 37 style air horns, so he picked them up this morning, and will take to Bowers with the threaded bar.
Whilst on site at the weekend, Mark also removed five sections of conduit from 50029 (basically to allow access to a piece that were wanted for 50030. He has removed the section that we actually want to use in 50030 and has cleaned it up and fitted it in 50030. The damaged section from
50030 that this section is to replace, has also been cleaned, as Mark intends doing a "cut and shut" on it, to use it in 50029.
Dave has been internally cleaning oil and water pipes off the ex-50008 power unit; the oil pipes are full of sludge and the water pipes have a
significant amount of loose rust in them. He has also been painting some of the large mounting brackets off the power unit.
Myself, Sarah and Toby the dog attended site and the usual weekender Dave was there when we arrived. Dave spent the Saturday erecting a shelving unit the group acquired courtesy of one of our volunteers employers (enough said) and having a general tidy up.
We spent the day working on assessing our KV10's. A couple were found to have damaged PCB connectors, I have found a source for acquiring replacements.
Dave was on site all weekend working on cleaning and painting one of the bodyside radiator grilles.
Ian and Pete with some assistance from Dave continued working on the ex-50008 engine replacing some of the head covers.
Steve and Sarah assessed traction motor contactor arc-chutes so spares and paxolin to replace missing parts can be ordered.
The long process of verifying all the cables from the electrical cubicle to equipment in 50029 was started. Each cable was to be tested with a multi-meter to confirm continuity. The first cables checked were those from terminal bar TB6 with blower No1 cables testing out ok. Problems were then encountered as we checked Blower No2 but could get no reading and eventually realised this was because the cables and flexible conduit had been cut about an inch from the connection box.
As it is too difficult to pull any slack through we have decided to dismantle the conduits with a view to reinstalling via a shorter route up the front of the blower negating the need to replace the cables.
We will be on site the weekend of 17-18 March to continue restoration work. Anyone in the area is welcome to drop by and say hello although we are planning to have a Committee meeting on Sunday which may take up a good few hours with much to discuss.
A good attendance this last weekend, others will contribute their own reports in due course. New volunteer James Andrews arrived on Saturday for his first working party and we were also blessed with the presence of Paul Sturm on an impromptu trip from the Netherlands. Dave Rolfe was the usual permanent fixture on site as Tim and I arrived at about midday on Saturday. Later on Sunday we were joined by Mark Burrows, Ian Kemp and Peter Carter.
Tim, Paul and I concentrated on the continued cleaning of brake rigging equipment where a large stash was extracted from storage:
Although not in the "Chris Thorn" level of restoration skill the wire brushing of these took much elbow grease and many cups of tea and ready meals during the day. The gradual accumulation of brushed parts into a pile for Tim to hone with the smaller drill was quite satisfying:
Meanwhile Dave and James had removed one of the adjustable radiator louvres from 50030 with a view to getting the shutters to work again. The linkage was seized utterly solid and heavily rusted. However Paul brushed it up and when Ian arrived on Sunday their combined efforts made for an amazing transformation: