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Restoration diary

Reports of restoration work on 50029 and 50030.

Rebuilt CU2s are delivered!

Rebuilt CU2s are delivered!

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.

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2014 calendar "Class 50 Now and Then" still available!

2014 calendar "Class 50 Now and Then" still available!

Don't forget that our 2014 calendar "Class 50s Now and Then" is still available priced at £6.95 plus P+P.  The image for September 2014 is one of 50035 Ark Royal in LoadHaul livery at Kidderminster station on the Severn Valley Railway together with a shot of the same locomotive in almost as-delivered condition and un-named, at Newton Heath Shed in 1975, photographed by Anthony Middleton and David Gray respectively.

September 2014 calendar image: 50035 at Kidderminster in 2013 and Newton Heath in 1975

Buy your copy now from our online shop: this project is an important fundraiser for us and we look forward to your continued support.

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Radiator louvres re-assembled

Fully overhauled and reassembled radiator louvre

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Radiator louvre slats and mechanism finished, donor electrical cubicle wiring loom progress

Radiator louvre slats and mechanism finished, donor electrical cubicle wiring loom progress

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!

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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.

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Work party report 29-30 June

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.

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2014 calendar is here!

2014 calendar is here!

We are delighted to announce that our 2014 calendar Class 50s Then and Now is available to order from our online shop.  The calendar has A4 sized pages bound in the middle to allow the month layout to drop down and reveal the accompanying photograph.  Each month features full page shots by noted railway photographers of a preserved Class 50 locomotive together with an inset of the same locomotive in its BR service days.  The calendar is available to order from our online shop, priced at £6.95 + P&P.  This production is a joint venture between RRRG and the Fifty Fund with proceeds going towards 50029 and 50030 as well as 50031, 50035, 50044 and 50049.  See below for page images of each month. The calendar is printed on high quality paper equivalent to the well-known Rail Photoprints/Platform 5 calendars and is of equal quality to these well-known publications. 

 

Month-by-month: Class 50s Now and Then 2014 Calendar
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Spare electrical cubicle progress

Spare electrical cubicle progress

If you have been following RRRG for some time, you will remember that about a year ago we purchased and collected a number of spare electrical parts from the owners of 50021 Rodney.  Amongst these was the electrical cubicle originally in 50011 Centurion before that locomotive was scrapped.  Our reason for purchasing the cubicle was to use as a donor for rebuilding 50029's cubicle; as a rule of thumb the items that were removed from 50030 before we bought the locomotive were carefully unscrewed and the wiring in the electrical cubicle was in good condition.  The same cannot be said for 50029 unfortunately, with many of the cubicle wires having been cut.  To save the headache of pairing loose ends we aim to transplant the relatively intact wiring loom from the ex-Centurion cubicle into 50029.  That there were a good number of other components in the donor cubicle that would be useful for 50029 was a bonus.  The actual frame of the ex-50011 cubicle is however not in such good condition as the cubicle frame already in 50029: many of the catches for the doors are either bent or broken and it is obvious the cubicle has led a hard life since the locomotive it resided in was scrapped.  For this reason we cannot just swap the cubicles around between Renown and Centurion and a process of making one good one from two halves is necessary.

These pictures were taken on 9th June 2013 and show progress on the careful stripping of this cubicle and some of the parts we have recovered from it.  Electrical volunteers Steve Tripp and Andy Rowlands are shown at work but credit must also go to Julie Rollason and Sarah McCall for their invaluable assistance with this sub-project.

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The complexity of the wiring loom is obvious from these pictures which show volunteers Steve Tripp and Andy Rowlands removing some of the last major components before we make a decision on how to tackle the wiring loom.  A good number of useful items have been recovered from this cubicle for re-use in 50029, as shown below.

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Shown below is one of the cubicle doors from the ex-50011 cubicle.  We have already refurbished the equivalent door and installed into 50030 and we have a better example in stock for 50029.  This is actually one of the better condition parts of the cubicle frame and speaks to the state that the ex-50011 electrical cubicle is in.

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The next task is to assess the wiring loom in the 50011 cubicle and how best to remove it.  As the pictures show it is a many-tentacled monster and will require considerable thought as to the best way forward before we dispose of the frame of the 50011 cubicle.  With the size of the "thin man's passage" inside a 50 round the side of the electrical cubicle now not befitting our volunteers' physical profiles, we may also look to lifting the cubicle out of 50029 as a way of proceeding.

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Power unit restoration progress

Power unit restoration progress

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.

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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.

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The Peak Line for Microsoft Train Simulator price reduction!

The Peak Line for Microsoft Train Simulator price reduction!

For a limited period we have applied a promotional price discount to our highly-rated addon for Microsoft Train Simulator, The Peak Line.  This addon models the much-missed Ambergate - Matlock - Buxton/Chinley route as it was in the early 1960s just as diesel began to displace steam and you can now save £5 on the recommended retail price together with a further discount if you are an RRRG member!

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Rebuilt ETH KV10 completed

Rebuilt ETH KV10 completed

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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.

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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.

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RRRG mugs are here!

RRRG mugs are here!

 

We are pleased to announce that a series of new RRRG-branded mugs are now available in order to raise money for our project.  Currently we have available mugs featuring side-on drawings of 50029 and 50030 individually (which we have taken care to make into what we hope are the most accurate Class 50 drawings on the market!) as well as a special design featuring both 50029 and 50030 as if posed around the turntable at Old Oak Common.  This latter mug design is to celebrate the unique nature of RRRG; the only Class 50 preservation group to own two locomotives!  Click on the images and captions below to be taken to the appropriate product page in our online shop.  RRRG members will get a 10% discount if logged into our site as a recognised member (you may need to go through site registration to attain this status).

 

50029 mug 50030 mug Two locos mug
50029 mug 50030 mug Two Class 50s mug

 

 

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Class 50: The Large Logo Years now available!

Class 50: The Large Logo Years now available!

Renown Repulse Restoration Group is delighted to announce the availability of a keenly-awaited new publication: Class 50s - The Large Logo Years. This is a 192-page perfect-bound hard-backed book, priced at £25.00 with profits being put towards the upkeep and preservation of a number of Class 50s including 50029 Renown and 50030 Repulse. This limited edition has received rave reviews in enthusiast periodicals such as Railways Illustrated and is sure to be a welcome addition to any enthusiasts' library.  Full details can be found in our online shop, however with with specific chapters including a review of the Doncaster Works era, freight operations, the Sir Edward Elgar story, the 1988 railtours over Shap, the inside story of the Laira F-exams and a close look at the various liveries carried by the 50s and a Foreword written by Geoff Hudson, Area Fleet Manager at Laira depot during the locomotives’ final years working for Network SouthEast, this publication is a real treat for the reader.  

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Latest restoration pictures added

Latest restoration pictures added

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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2014 calendar - appeal for images

The Fifty Fund and Renown Repulse Restoration Group are producing a 2014 calendar to help raise funds for our respective ongoing projects. This will be published in the next few months. To complete the set of images we are looking for a good shot of 50050 in preservation and a number of pictures of certain Class 50 locomotives in BR service.

BR service shots required of:

50017, 50030, 50031, 50049, 50050.

Can you help? If we use your photo you will receive a free copy of the calendar and your will be credited. You will retain copyright of course, so they must be your photos.

Ideally the images will be well lit and at least 2000x1500 pixels, preferably more.

Tim Snowball (RRRG Chairman) and Joe Burr (Fifty Fund Chairman) will be judging the images submitted and look forward to seeing what you can provide. Please send your images to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 14.00hrs UTC (15:00 BST) 21st May 2013.  Thank you in anticipation of your help.

The finished calendar will shortly be available to purchase from both organisations’ online stores. 

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Nene Valley railway diesel gala

The RRRG sales stand will be out at Wansford next weekend (18-19 May) for the Nene Valley Railway diesel gala.  Come along and have a chat about the latest Group news and progress, we will also have some new items of branded merchandise including mugs and t-shirts on the stand to tempt your wallet with!  Many thanks again to the NVR for extending us an invite.

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New delivery options for online shopping

We are pleased to announce that we are now able to offer a coulogorier delivery service for purchases from our online shop, in addition to the regular Royal Mail services.  Royal Mail raised their prices and changed their services as of April 2013 and regrettably we have had to pass these alterations on to our customers.  A side effect of the changes to Royal Mail's prices has been the effect on our ability to offer fully insured delivery for valuable items purchased from us, such as our range of Hornby models.  Delivery by courier can be more competitively priced and just as quick as Royal Mail, with a two day service available in most cases.  As a result, our range of Hornby models can now be purchased at very keen prices and with even more competitive delivery options!  Why not check out our range?  Remember you'll get discounts of up to 10% on the published prices if you are an RRRG member!

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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).

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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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