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Restoration diary

Reports of restoration work on 50029 and 50030.

Work on site 4-5 May

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.

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Order placed for rebuilt KV10s and CU1 testing

Renown Repulse Restoration Group has placed an order with a noted locomotive electronics expert for testing of a CU1 main control units and the rebuild of KV10 load regulators using modern components.  The CU1 acts as the "central brain" of a Class 50, receiving and sending signals from and to all the other electronic control units in the locomotive.  There are two KV10 load regulators in a Class 50, one is denoted CU3 and controls the main generator output.  The other is denoted CU6 and controls the ETH generator.  A KV10 is transformed into a CU3 or a CU6 by means of pairing with a control card CU3A or CU6A.

As with many electronic components of the Class 50, the KV10 design is full of obsolete components and with an eye to the future we feel this work is essential to our goal of "future proofing" 50029 and 50030 and ensuring them a long and secure future in preservation.  The original design suffers from a tendency to "lock on", whereby faulty circuitry causes the CU3 to lock in the full position even if the power controller is at its minimum position.  The only real solution is to repair the faulty circuitry but that repair knowledge gets ever more scarce with the passing of time.  As a result, we feel that the decision to purchase four rebuilt units (one main and one ETH generator control unit for each of 50029 and 50030) is money well spent.

There are actually two sub-types of KV10, denoted B1 and B2 with slight differences in component types.  RRRG has over twice as many B1s as we do B2s but our stock of CU3A and CU6A cards are only confirmed to work with B2 type KV10s.  The rebuild process uses only the case, heat sink and thyristor from the original KV10 and as a result the control cards become obsolete as the components they contain are now integrated into the main unit.  We intend to supply type B1 KV10s for the rebuild project with a decision on disposal of the type B2 units and control cards to be taken at a later date.

The following two shots show a rebuilt CU6-type KV10 installed in 50008 Thunderer.  The first shot is taken from the Thin Man's side and the second is opposite the exhauster.  Click on either to enlarge (opens in new window).

CU6 mod a web thumbnail CU6 mod b web thumbnail

Needless to say, this work will not be cheap and we really need the support of the preservation community.  Perhaps you could donate to our project, or become a member of RRRG and buy shares, or browse our online shop for items of interest?  Your support is what has got us this far already and it is much appreciated.

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RRRG website outage

Apologies for the non-availability of the RRRG website earlier today.  This was caused by a hardware failure at our web hosting provider which has now been resolved and the site has been restored from a backup.

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Nene Valley Railway steam gala sales report

On 23rd and 24th February the RRRG sales stand attended the Nene Valley winter steam gala. The stand was predominantly coordinated and managed by Tim and myself; Mark was around on Saturday morning to bring stock down and help set up but couldn't stay because of a family appointment. It was cold. Very cold. So cold, in fact, that it was the first time in ten years of RRRG trading that we have had the sales stand out whilst snow has been falling... That said, it was nice to see a preserved line trying something new and trying to extend their operating season to make more money. Saturday trading was reasonable although in the afternoon the star attraction no 70000 Britannia unfortunately derailed at Yarwell Junction whilst backing onto coaching stock at the end of a run round manoeuvre. The non-availability of this locomotive undoubtedly affected attendance levels at the gala, which was a shame. We sold a mixture of items but no really high value items such as the boxed Hornby model sets you see in our online shop, sold, which was again a bit of a shame.


The final figures for sales were:


Saturday 23rd Feb: Total Turnover £161.55

Sunday 24th Feb: Total Turnover £137.25


Total RRRG profit after fees was £93.08 for the weekend, which was a respectable showing. Renown Repulse Universal, RRRG's commercial wing, also sold a number of items from the stand over the weekend to create profit which can be re-invested in RRRG and its activities (such as the hosting fees for this site!) and contributed to the putch fee.


Even though I fell ill late on Sunday evening with one of the worst colds I've had in many a year, doubtless aided by standing out on a freezing cold platform all weekend, it was still a worthwhile event and our thanks go to the Nene Valley Railway for inviting us to have a stand once again.

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CU2 rebuild update

As long-term followers of RRRG will know, for some time now we have been investigating the remanufacture of CU2 field divert units to replace the ones missing from our locomotives.  Our contractors for the job, Industrial Electronic Services Ltd, had analysed a genuine CU2 kindly loaned to us by another Class 50 owner and were confident they could reproduce the circuitry and components in the unit, using modern equivalents where possible/necessary.  They had however hit quite a snag when it came to replacing the little relay in the original unit.  The CU2 is a really amazingly compact piece of equipment for mid-1960s electronics as seen in the photo of the loaned unit below.  The relay in question is the small black box seen in the centre of the picture.  It switches at the operating voltage of Class 50 auxiliaries, namely 110v DC which brings about the problem of how to find a modern equivalent.  Electronics is obviously one area where technology has progressed leaps and bounds in the near-half century since the Class 50 was constructed by English Electric and relays to operate at such high DC voltage, let alone such compact ones (it appears the original was custom-made for EE by ITT) are almost completely obsolete these days.  Most modern relays, even of a size too big to fit the case, would burn out very quickly if asked to switch 110v DC.

 

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We thought about various ways to overcome the problem.  Inverting the current to AC, using an AC relay and then rectifying it back to DC was suggested but dismissed as impractical.  50030 Electrical Officer Andy Rowlands suggested using a spare NR28 relay, as used elsewhere in the locomotive to switch 110v DC.  It wouldn't fit in the box for the CU2 (and the CU2 is deliberately designed to be compact as it fits into a very tight space in the cubicle) but Andy reasoned it could be mounted externally and wired in.  We supplied IES with a couple of NR28s to test the theory and they agreed it would work but felt the new divert unit would need some circuit modification if it were to be used.  IES decided to have another look at the relay market and managed to source a relay from the US which has a 24v coil and can switch up to 220v DC.  IES ordered a number of these relays on our behalf and have now advised us that they have arrived and appear to work fine in our 110v DC application.

We now expect progress to be rapid on the rebuild of these electronic units.  IES have invited Andy to inspect the new relays in person the first week in March and if approved by us, IES expect to finalise the design within the next couple of weeks with production of the two units requested following imminently thereafter.

A full description of the electronic units in a Class 50, and how many of each type RRRG has, can be found in RRRG newsletter Issue 23 (Autumn 2011).  Since that article was written, we have acquired one original CU2 from another Class 50 owning group however we still intend to have two units built by IES to cover for possible future failures.

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Nene Valley railway steam gala

RRRG will be attending the Nene Valley Railway steam gala with our sales stand at Wansford station on February 23-24.  We will have our usual selection of books, DVDs and keenly-priced Hornby models on sale and we thank the NVR for extending us the invitation to attend their events once again this year.  Come along and say hello, there's a good lineup of steam power on show including 70000 Britannia, and you can chat to RRRG representatives about the state of the project and how you can help.

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Website and sales updates

A few bits of news to report.

  • The RRRG sales stand has been around the model fairs over the past month or so.  We have raised a reasonable amount but high pitch fees and the general climate prevailing at the moment don't help.
  • Our online shop now features our full range of Hornby and Hornby Railroad models.  Take a look - there will hopefully be something to tempt you and at keen prices as well!
  • A major addition to the website is a full archive of all the Group's newsletters (except the current issue; this will appear in due course but will be viewable by RRRG members only).  These form an excellent picture of the Group's progress and achievements over the years and we hope you will enjoy reading them.  If you're not already a member perhaps they will encourage you to join RRRG and help our cause?
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Shop developments

We've been a bit quiet here whilst we all took it easy over the Christmas break.  Back to the grindstone now however! (At least for our regular day jobs!)  This weekend I made a few changes to the shop on the RRRG site.  I added a few new products and also comprehensively revised the Past and Present books in our used books section.  I added scans of a few sample pages from each one so you can see what you're buying, and also the maps from each volume showing the areas covered - again, so you know what you're buying!  The most significant change to the shop is the addition of second class postage options for some products and insured delivery for our higher value products.  I am personally a first class postage man, prepared to pay a premium for express service, but we realise that it makes sense to give the option of a cheaper service if you aren't insistent on having your items arrive quite so quickly.  This is only available for some items because items over 1kg in weight can't be sent second class, plus some models are more expensive than the insurance level offered by second class post.  However if an item from the shop is eligible for second class postage then the option will be presented when you check out.  We will be adding more merchandise over the coming days so keep checking back!

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Forthcoming RRRG sales stand dates

Forthcoming RRRG sales stand dates

The RRRG sales stand will be out on the following dates: Burton on Trent Town Hall swapmeet Wed December 12th 18.30, Castle Donnington Exhibition Centre Sun Dec 16th 10.30 – 15.30, Kirkby in Ashfield Sunday 6th Jan 2013 10.30 – 15.30 (location TBC), Stafford County showground 13th Jan 2013 10.30 – 15.30. Full details in Railway Modeller magazine!  We will have a great selection of merchandise and some very keen prices on brand new Hornby models.

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New RRRG restoration diary and blog!

New RRRG restoration diary and blog!

Welcome to the new RRRG restoration diary and blog!  This new section of our website incorporates many of the old postings both from our interim website at renownrepulse.wordpress.com and our old website that died in late 2011/early 2012.   There are some posts missing from July 2011 up until February 2012 which we do not appear to have copies of (even the Wayback Machine cannot help!)  However, from now on we will be posting RRRG restoration news, work party reports, reports of RRRG socials and personal thoughts to this blog.  It's not just RRRG Committee members who will be posting: any RRRG member with opinions to share is welcome to post here.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in contributing!

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New RRRG website is launched!

After much hard work and development we are proud to announce the launch of the brand new RRRG website at http://www.renownrepulse.com.

We are now able to launch a proper new on-line presence and wanted to launch now so that our online shop is made available to you in time for the Christmas market!  You can get as much as an additional 10% discount if you are a member of RRRG.

The site contains lots of information and photographs of the project.  It will be constantly updated and grown as a site so please do check back regularly for updates, new pictures and more online shopping opportunities!

We will be happy to receive your feedback and comments on the new site and we will gladly incorporate the best suggestions into the design of the site. We look forward to your visit!  Thank you to all RRRG fans for your support.

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Booths raid

A small RRRG party consisting of Sarah McCall and Steve Tripp visited Booths today to pick the remains of 47829 and 37428.  The pickings were unfortunately a bit thin as not much was left on these locomotives by the time they arrived at Booths.  The RRRG volunteers recovered a number of resistors (these are needed for Renown and we're getting closer to completing a full set), some insulators, turbo gauges and two dismantled arc chutes (complete ones were missing but these parts will help us repair our damaged examples) which made the day excursion worth it.  Well done to those who took the time to go along to Rotherham today.

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All quiet on the western front?

No, RRRG has not dissolved and ceased to exist!  Yes, things have been a bit quiet regarding posts here.  The main reason is that we are working frantically behind the scenes on a brand new website which will eventually supplant this Wordpress site as our window to the world.  Much effort is being devoted to this; in fact so much that we haven't had much time to update things here.  A number of RRRG Committee members attended a meeting at Peak Rail on October 14th where we decided on various strategies for the future of the project and the way ahead.  The fruits of this will become apparent in due course.  I can also report a successful sales operation during the recent diesel gala season where thanks to a number of railways kindly inviting us we made some good money.  I can also confirm that RRRG members will receive the next issue of the Group newsletter in early December.

So, yes, from the outside it looks very quiet in RRRG land.  But there's a lot going on behind the scenes and in the words of Shaw Taylor: "Keep 'em peeled!" - there will be some exciting announcements in the near future.

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Nene Valley diesel gala 29-30 September

The RRRG sales stand will be out at Wansford station on the Nene Valley Railway this weekend (29-30 September) selling our usual wide variety of books, toys and models. In particular we will have some brand new Hornby Class 56 models at highly competitive prices. We hope to see you there and help us match our takings from the NVR steam gala which provided valuable revenue to progress the restoration of 50029 and 50030. Thanks to the Nene Valley Railway for the invitation to their event where we are pleased to note the effort put in to give a good show.

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Nene Valley steam gala sales report

We were at the Nene Valley steam gala this weekend. Saturday was excellent: warm and sunny with crowds aplenty. Sales-wise we cleared about £310 profit. Today was always looking more risky, the weather forecast was for steady and persistent rain in the afternoon. This duly arrived about half past one and we decided to shut up shop rather than risk getting soaked for the sake of no punters anyway. A bunch of last minute sales took us up to a respectable £90 profit. Worth doing and with £400 profit for the weekend and disposed of some "long term inmates" from the sales stock. We will be back at Wansford next weekend for the diesel gala - thanks go to the Nene Valley Railway for the invitation to both events and for putting on a good show this weekend.

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Workparty report for 2nd September 2012

Today I are be mostly...sorry been watching too many episodes of the Fast Show. Dave had spent the week on site as he's still off work following his operation & he's cleaned & painted most of the water & air inlet piping for the ex-008 power unit. Mark B dug out of the stores the two sections of protective shields for the A side generator conduits & cleaned and undercoated them; one each for 29 & 30. He also sorted a third section of the gen conduits, loosened off the joints and began removing years of layers of paint. I and my girlfriend Julie belled out and marked both sets of wiring from the cab AWS sunflowers to the AWS relay box, though removing the lid of the relay box proved difficult as two of the fixing bolt heads had been broken off some time ago, and I had to put an angle-grinder through the one stud to release the lid. I brought away the shaped mounting bracket from No.2 cab and the sunflower dial from No.1 cab to clean the contacts.

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Workparty report 12th August 2012

Ian & Pete cleared various debris out of the sump of the power unit, and started cleaning & painting sections of inlet air piping. Dave...supervised, as he is still recovering from being under the knife for a hernia and is excused duties for the moment. Mark cleaned & sorted another section of conduit for the generators, to go with the two sections he had previously done, so three down, 13 to go. This is not as easy as it sounds, as most of the lengths of conduits had been separated from each other for easier storage, so it was a case of multiple visits inside Repulse & our stores to find the right sections.

I test-fitted one of the new Z70 resistors, and found it fits the existing brackets perfectly. I just need to properly space the tapping bands, then it can be fitted permanently.

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Never a truer word...

Sharp-eyed Mechanical Officer spotted an interesting addition to the livery of 66030 at Hereford on 11th August.

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Collecting gas bottles

Gas bottles on trolley

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.


Intake manifolds

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"!


Air intake manifolds with red oxide primer

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!).

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Recovering parts acquired from Rodney Group

A large amount of heavy boulders blocking the path to the container where our purchased spares were.

On Friday 29th June 2012, Sarah and myself set off together with our trusty hound Toby to meet up with the contacted transport company at a site near Worcester to collect electrical items we had purchased from 50021 Rodney Group, this also included a Radiator Fan Motor and Traction Motor Blower for the D400 Fund.

When we arrived at site, we introduced ourselves to the Lorry Driver Nigel Chapman. The first problem we encountered was that due to the heavy deluge the day before, a delivery of large boulders had been delivered and dumped in front of the grounded curtain-sided truck body that our items were being stored in.

After a little head scratching it was decided we could get into the other side of the body if we removed the site security fencing. When we obtained access to the other side of body, the next obstacle was to release the tensioning mechanism, which through the passage of time had sunk into the ground, and after some digging with spades and persuasion with the site dumper truck which lifted the sunk body out of the ground we gained access.

We moved some fencing to gain access to the other side of the container.

With the transport lorry manoeuvred into position and stabiliser legs down the next problem encountered was a temperamental hydraulic hi-ab which with the technical know-how of Nigel, eventually played ball. The first two items strapped up and lifted out were the Cubicle and Rad Fan Motor. The two compressors and traction motor followed soon after. The items were secured down and we then drove to where the traction motor blowers and spare power unit (ex-50045) were stored. One blower motor was lifted and secured down.

We needed the site dumper truck to force our way in...


RRRG's main purchase, the electrical cubicle, safely loaded onto the lorry.

Once everything was checked to be secure we set off on our journey North, up the M5, M42 etc heading for Derbyshire with Bowers Electrical being our first port of call. We had anticipated the journey to be difficult with the usual Friday afternoon traffic, however also had the added problem of road closures along the A6 between Derby and Rowsley due to the Olympic Torch relay, fortunately the journey went without delay or incident. At Bowers we had the assistance of a forklift and very quickly off-loaded D400 Fund's Rad Fan Motor and Blower Motor together with our two compressors.

RRRG's haul included two genuine Class 50 compressors, ex-50011, seen being guided onto the lorry.


We then set off for Rowsley, arriving at site about 4:45pm, where we were met by local “BG” resident Dave Rolfe. Once on site we discovered one of our ETH generators (in worse condition than the others, which is why it was never sent for overhaul) was obstructing the route of the lorry to our storage shed, incidentally we also needed this moving, so with the Hi-ab on site we took advantage and relocated it dropping it near Renown together with the Traction Motor.

A further spare traction motor was also included in the deal.


A short break was had whilst we retired to the BG for a brew. Once refreshed we returned to our storage shed to off-load the electrical cubicle although this was not without problems as the hi-ab could not manoeuvre the cubicle all the way into the shed so with a solid steel bar and some brute force we pushed the cubicle in. Space in the shed being what it was, we had to man-handle the cubicle in at an angle until the doors could be closed and locked.  Everything was then sheeted up, secured and we eventually left for site calling at Frankie & Bennies for a very well earned bite to eat and pint, eventually getting back home some 15 hours after starting out earlier that morning.

After some manhandling to make it fit the available space inside RRRG's designated facility, the newly-purchased cubicle was safely stored awaiting future work. With this final act, a long and satisfying day finally came to an end!

A big thank you to Nigel Chapman the jovial lorry driver, who was a tremendous help on the day, enjoy your retirement!!  Photos by Sarah McCall.

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