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Renown Repulse Restoration diary

A blog of factual reports and personal thoughts on the ongoing restoration of ex-British Rail diesel locomotives 50029 Renown and 50030 Repulse at Peak Rail in Derbyshire, UK.

I am the RRRG general secretary and co-webmaster.  I do some work on site but many of my posts concern technical website matters, Group news and developments and the odd spot of social silliness!

New air filter frames

The frames for the air filters at the radiators end of 50030 were corroded, warped and generally unusable after 25 years or more out of traffic. Although we had a number of spares they likewise were not much good having been stored out in the open or in damp environments. We decided to "bite the bullet" and place an order with an engin...
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2017 Annual General Meeting

The 2017 Renown Repulse Restoration Group Annual General Meeting will be held at The Alexandra Hotel, 203 Siddals Road, Derby DE1 2QE at 11:15AM on 9th December 2017. The meeting will be held in the lounge with the usual selection of hot and cold drinks plus bar food such as filled cobs, pork pies and crisps available.If travelling by public transp...
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Radiator lift from 50030

Radiator lift from 50030
We are grateful to a number of railway publications for publishing our press release at the start of 2017 describing the radiator lift from 50030.  We've deliberately held off putting anything on the Group website about this event in order to give the magazines some time to have exclusivity on the story. Now the story is well and ...
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Automatic voltage regulator purchased

RRRG has acquired a good condition, overhauled automatic voltage regulator (AVR) for use in 50029.  This continues our policy of obtaining spare parts whenever they appear on the market.  In this case the AVR was spotted as being for sale by RRRG volunteer Wes Needle, who informed Electrical Officer Andy Rowlands who in turn alerted me.&n...
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2016 Annual General Meeting and open afternoon

The 2016 Annual General Meeting of the Renown Repulse Restoration Group will be held at the Whitworth Centre Darley Dale at 10:00 on Sunday 25th September.  All members and shareholders are welcome.  Tea and coffee will be available for all attendees.  Following the conclusion of the AGM we will hold another open afternoon at our res...
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New sales items available!

​We are pleased to announce that a number of new models are available for you to purchase in order to support our project.​RRRG is able to supply brand new Hornby models at very competitive prices as well as some pre-owned models.  Our stock of pre-owned models tends to change quite rapidly and so we tend not to list them in our shop.  If...
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Website updates

​The first of what will hopefully be a few website updates over the coming days.  The most recent issues of the RRRG newsletter, issues 30 and 31, are now available to view.  Issue 31 is currently restricted to viewing by RRRG members until the next issue is released.Issue 29:Issue 30:Issue 31:
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A host of updates coming soon...

Apologies for the radio silence folks.  RRRG hasn't shut down and ceased to exist.  It's more that we've been busy both on group matters and with our own personal lives.  A number of updates should follow later today.
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Don't forget our open afternoon!

Don't forget our open afternoon!

Don't forget, this coming Sunday (June 21st) is your chance to come along and inspect the RRRG project at close quarters!  See how we are getting on, chat to the team, find out how the money is being spent, discuss what we still need to do and how we plan to go about doing it!  Have a guided tour of the locomotives and the RRRG infrastructure.  Maybe find out how you could get involved?  Get your RRRG branded merchandise from our sales stand!  All this from 2 PM onwards at our Rowsley South, Peak Rail base, just off the A6 north of Darley Dale.  As it happens there is a vintage bus rally at Peak Rail that same day so you can just follow the crowds to find us!

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Open Day 21st June 2015

Open Day 21st June 2015

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.

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Working party report 19th April 2015

Working party report 19th April 2015

During the work party of 19th April Andy Rowlands connected up the reverser air piston coils and tidied up the cables in the electrical cubicle in 50030, then started investigating the severed cables under the main cubicle walkway. They appear to be from the DSD relay box but further investigation will be required to trace them exactly.

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Peter Carter and Ian Kemp together with Dave Rolfe continued fitting oil and water pipes to the ex-50008 power unit (see previous report, Power unit progress) in continued preparation for its use inside the overhauled 50030.

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Sales and merchandise updates

Sales and merchandise updates

RRRG was at the Nene Valley Railway diesel gala at Wansford over the weekend of 11-12 April with our sales stand.  We always enjoy trading at Wansford and it was evident the NVR had gone to great lengths to put on a good show with a large number of visiting locomotives.  Pleasingly the gala was very well attended and we enjoyed a good sales performance.  Many thanks to all the people who dropped by to say hello and to those who bought something from us; we hope you enjoy your purchases and thanks for supporting us!  Thanks also to the NVR for the invitation to attend.

If you missed us at the gala, we are pleased to advise that our web shop has recently been restocked.  We have a fresh selection of brand new Hornby models as well as branded t-shirts, polo shirts, fleeces and mugs.  Restoring 50029 and 50030 is neither easy nor cheap.  If the enthusiast community wants them to run again, we shall need to draw further on your support to achieve that goal!

 

Article image: 50008 Thunderer double heading with 50015 Valiant at Peterborough Nene Valley station, during the Nene Valley diesel gala on 11th April 2015, courtesy Andy Rowlands.

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Power unit progress

Power unit progress

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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RRRG members' newsletter issue 29 now available!

The latest issue of the RRRG members' newsletter is now available to view on the website!  However you have to be a current, paid up member of RRRG in order to view it.  If you would like to join and catch up on all the latest news regarding the project, please read about our range of membership benefits and options.  All users of our website are welcome to view the previous issue of the newsletter and all back issues.

We've also been doing a bit of website housekeeping.  Once you are a registered user of the site and logged in, you will now find a special Subs Renewals menu under the User Area menu.  With this you can easily join RRRG for the first time or renew your membership if it has expired.  As 50030 approaches the completion of its restoration, we appreciate your membership and support of RRRG.

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An Official Statement From Renown Repulse Restoration Group

It has come to our attention that a popular railway enthusiast periodical has recently published a rumour that 50029 is to be sold for parts to a main line operator of the type.  We wish to categorically state that this rumour is not true.  Whilst most of our restoration efforts are concentrated on 50030, we are not neglecting 50029 and it is still our intention to restore both locomotives in the fullness of time.  We have not been approached and we have not approached any other parties regarding the sale of either of our main assets. 

Many times we are asked "When will 50030 be ready?" to which our answer is "We aim to have Repulse ready for 2017 and if enough people want the locomotive to run by that date, it will happen, but if not it will take a little bit longer."  We are not short of money and we also have (or know how to obtain) practically all the parts that are required to complete both 50029 and 50030.  However we would welcome additional volunteers to work on the locomotives at Peak Rail as this will undoubtedly aid us in achieving our 2017 target.  We intend to hold an "open day" later in 2015 to allow interested parties to meet our team and inspect progress.  We hope that this will encourage more people to volunteer with us, regardless of your skillset.  Working parties are currently being held most weekends and the latest news and progress will be posted on our website.  Further details of the open day will be announced nearer the time.

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Cab restoration and electricals update

Cab restoration and electricals update

Recent work in the cabs of 50030 has been concentrating on freeing off the power controllers.  Ian Kemp and Dave Rolfe have sprayed them liberally with WD40 and worked them backwards and forwards.  As a result they move for the first time since 1992, albeit rather stiffly in the case of no 2 end controller at the moment.  Andy Rowlands fitted, tightened up and reconnected the cables on the replacement set of contacts Dave had removed from one of our spare power controllers, to replace the set found to be broken during our freeing-off of the controllers. To achieve this you need to unbolt the plate that holds the sets of contacts so it swings away from the cams, and refitting the bolts that hold the plate is difficult as the contact springs keep pushing the plate away from the cams, which makes it not the easiest job when hunched up under the driver's desk and you need three hands!

The controller in no 2 cab is still quite stiff despite repeated applications of various lubricants, but the one in no 1 cab is much easier to move. If we cannot make them easier to rotate, we may have to look at removing the entire controller pedestals and dis-assembling them totally to see if the nylon bearings need replacing.

 

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Ian and Peter Carter oiled the main big end bearings and barred the engine round.  Andy Rowlands has also been working to refit the reverser air piston in the electrical cubicle of 50030.

 

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New CU5 radiator fan control unit completed

New CU5 radiator fan control unit completed

Adrian Spencer of the Cotswold Mainline Diesel Group, a good friend and contact of RRRG, volunteered to construct a modernised version of the CU5 control unit for use in 50029 and 50030, as RRRG has none and these items are rarely made available for sale by other groups.  The work to build one unit has now been effectively completed barring minor cosmetic details such as securing the wires to the circuit boards with cable ties.  The replacement unit has been deliberately designed to physically resemble the old unit as much as possible such that it will be easy to mount into the existing space in the electrical cubicles.  However the insides employ a modern microprocessor to replicate the functions of the original unit - this is necessary because the original Norlog integrated circuits are no longer made and no modern equivalent apparently exists.  The original unit contains many auxiliary components which aren't necessary in the new build because the microprocessor duplicates their respective functions.  Three printed circuit boards on the old unit are reduced to one in the new unit.  A number of diagnostic LEDs are included to indicate which contacts are closed at any given time - this will enable the correct functioning of the new unit to be monitored.  The new unit also employs optical connections to isolate it from interference from other cubicle equipment.

 

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The CU5 radiator fan unit basically decides when to increase the speed of the radiator fan, and depends on the temperature of the power unit cooling water. The fan initially runs at a low speed, and the CU5 switches in three faster speeds as the water temperature increases, via banks of resistors in the roof of the passageways past the radiators, placed there to keep them cool. The programming of the microprocessor in the new unit can be altered if it turns out not to perform as the original did.

 

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Radiator mounting nuts

Radiator mounting nuts

No, we haven't packed up and ceased to exist.  Yes, we have been a bit quiet.  Sorry about that - normal service to be resumed but a number of us have had things other than RRRG to deal with and our day lives have got in the way.

 

Ian Kemp and Dave Rolfe decided today to tackle a job we started some time ago but ended up leaving to another day.  This was to remove the remaining radiator securing nuts, so that we can lift the radiators out of 50030 and have them sent away for overhaul.  Given that the radiators were most likely last removed at refurbishment in the mid-1980s it goes without saying that the fastening nuts were stuck on very firmly indeed.  We had previously managed to remove three of them, leaving five left to do.  A potent combination of elbow grease, tools (and broken tools), purple language and in the case of one particularly stubborn nut, chiseling has now freed all eight nuts and the radiators can now be lifted out.  It's the seemingly little tasks like this that end up taking so much time.  Photos courtesy Ian Kemp.

 

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New merchandise available!

New merchandise available!

Just in time for Christmas shopping season, RRRG is pleased to offer a number of new lines of merchandise.  We now have fleeces, polo shirts, new designs of t-shirts and mugs plus keyrings and phone cases!

Don't forget our other merchandise such as mugs and t-shirts or Hornby models!

 

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Also, please don't forget our 2014 calendar.  All these items are important fundraisers for RRRG!  They would make great presents for someone or even yourself - maybe that distant relative needs some suggstions about what to get you for Christmas?!  Point them towards the online shop at renownrepulse.com or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you need shopping assistance.

 

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Nene Valley Railway Winter Tornado gala - sales stand!

Nene Valley Railway Winter Tornado gala - sales stand!

With many thanks to the Nene Valley Railway for inviting us, RRRG will be operating our sales stand at Wansford station during the the Winter Tornado gala this coming weekend (2nd and 3rd November).  Any railway enthusiast must acknowledge the sheer achievement that the successful completion of 60163 Tornado represents and we are proud to help support the A1 Steam Trust as their locomotive stars in what should be a very good event.

We have recently taken delivery of a chip and PIN credit card terminal, allowing us to take credit card payments easily on the sales stand.  This aplies not just to this event but to all future sales stand operations.  We believe this flexibility in accepting payment, coupled with our keen prices, will make our stand even more appealing to our loyal customer base.  We look forward to seeing many of you over the coming weekend.

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