We haven't posted anything for a while by way of updates. Winter is always a quiet period for RRRG; Peak Rail is often closed in January and we concentrate on off-site work before resuming work parties in March. Except of course this year the global coronavirus pandemic struck and non-essential travel was curbed. So we couldn't resume on site work on 50030!
Fortunately our electrical contractors have been less affected by the shutdown. During February we took delivery of a fully overhauled air compressor for use in 50030 and we also placed orders for the overhaul of a number of other key electrical machines which will be vital to our medium-term goal of firing up the engine in 50030. We actually sent two compressors for overhaul but one was found to be severely water damaged inside and we decided to select another one from the number of spares that we hold to be overhauled in its place. A photo gallery below shows "before and after" shots the work being done to the compressors at our contractors as well as photos of the water damage (all pictures by RRRG Chairman Mark Burrows). You can see photos and an account of the rest of the day's activities in issue 42 of the RRRG newsletter. As with other electrical machines, our policy is to always fit overhauled machines to 50030 such that the locomotive will have a long and reliable career on the preserved line circuit.
Meantime inside 50030 RRRG volunteer Wes Needle has made good progress with refurbishing the no 1 end cab. Most recent work has been concentrating on the secondman's side with overhauled cab equipment such as horns, windscreen wiper and washer valves being installed. Much of the desk panelling has also been either overhauled or exchanged for better condition items, with some "adjustment" being required in places as the replacement items were slightly different shapes – a common problem when trying to fit parts originally from one Class 50 to another. Another photo gallery below (by Robert Burrows) shows recent progress inside the no 1 end cab of 50030 and the "thin man's passage" area beside the electrical cubicle.
Over the course of 2019 we set about identifying the best of our turbos (we have numerous spares in addition to the ones inside 50029 and 50030 when we bought them as well as those on the spare power unit destined for 50030 in due course) with a view to getting them professionally overhauled. These were due to be delivered to the contractor in March, but unfortunately the contractor has had to stop all work due to self-isolation of key staff, these will therefore be dispatched as soon as possible.
Most of our other work has been preparatory in nature for what was to be our "big event" of 2020 – the lifting of the existing power unit from 50030 so that the engine room could be properly cleaned out and repaired prior to the replacement, overhauled power unit being lowered in after its main generator is overhauled. This lift would be a major job and we are determined to do it properly. We did plan to attempt it late last year but as the days started getting shorter we decided not to risk rushing the job in potentially fading light and we decided to postpone it until spring 2020. We had completed the extensive site preparation work – a Class 50 power unit weighs over 35 tons with generator attached and the nature of the job, reaching over and into the locomotive through its roof means a large crane with appropriate reach and a large footprint is required and the nature of our site at Peak Rail implied constructing a large area of hardstanding both for the crane and a bed to lower the power unit onto. We had also obtained quotes for both the crane job itself and the transport of a dedicated Class 50 power unit lifting beam owned by our friends in the Fifty Fund, which is currently residing in the Devon area after use by the Devon Diesels Society to lift the power unit from 50002 Superb. At which point the coronavirus shutdown hit us and "rain stopped play". But rest assured as soon as things return to normal and we are able to collect the lifting beam and dispatch the turbos, we will be picking these jobs up with vigour to get as much as we can done this year.
You can catch up with all our recent news in the newsletter archive section of our website: https://renownrepulse.com/news-reports/press-publicity-archive/rrrg-newsletter.html which we have now revamped to be more easily navigable. Of course the very latest news is for members only and if you want to read that, you'll need to join RRRG!
It also goes without saying that all of this progress costs us money and we encourage you to join RRRG and support us. However we also have a large number of new products in our online shop including a number of brand new Hornby models at very tempting prices! We would obviously encourage you to spend heavily – we are still shipping orders despite the current shutdown! We will be adding more items over the coming days so please check back. On behalf of RRRG, we thank you for your current and future support of our project.
And if you are interested in railway modelling, we operate a mailing list offering our latest deals on both brand new and pre-owned models with discounts for RRRG members. Deals get advertised there before anywhere else (such as our website or social media outlets) so if you'd like to hear about the latest bargains, please contact us with your email address and we will add you to the list.