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RRRG report for The Peak Express October 2009, Issue 23

During June the group had a hectic few days moving some of the larger items of spares around. We took the opportunity to clear some of the large items that we were never likely to use, e.g a spare bogie spider, roof panels, electrical cubicle shell etc, and send them for scrap. These are large items and had been cluttering our area of Rowsley South yard for some time. As they are Class 50 specific items, we had made a number of attempts to see if any other groups were interested in them but without success, so the decision was taken to weigh them in along with a number of scrap cylinder liners, connecting rods, brake cylinders and some cylinder heads.

We have also recently taken delivery of 17 pallets of spares from C.F Booths scrapyard in Rotherham, which included 21 cylinder heads, 12 Mk 3 cylinder heads, four buffers, two exhausters, three traction motor blowers, an Auxiliary generator, a water pump, four small air tanks, some brake cylinders, cam followers and various other items, which was the culmination of many work parties that have been held at Booths during the first half of the year. I am certain we've had more work parties at Booths this year than we have at Rowsley South!

Amongst other things, the work undertaken at Booths involved the complete stripping of two Class 37 power units, which has involved the group manufacturing a number of specialist tools, including a device for removing cylinder liners, a number of lifting beams for removing the pistons, an injector puller, and we borrowed a tool for removing the Auxiliary Generator's armature. Without these tools the work would not have been possible and would certainly not have gone as smoothly as it did.

As we are not planning on having any work done for some time on the spare ETH and Auxiliary Generator set for use in 50029, it has been moved from Bowers at Heanor to Rowsley South, along with the two spare traction motors that had been at Bowers for assessment. Two exhausters and two traction motor blowers (ex-Class 37 from C.F Booths) have moved in the opposite direction and work has started on their thorough overhaul. We had intended to send the radiator fan motor and exhausters to Bowers next and clean up two of the motor blowers ourselves. Unfortunately, due to a mix up at Booths, two of the best of the motor blowers were scrapped by mistake and as such we decided to send two of the remaining ones to Bowers for overhaul next.

The plan is for them to be completed before the end of the year, which will mean that Repulse will have six of it's 17 electrical machines in fully overhauled condition. The remaining movement, which should take place before you read this is to move the overhauled ETH/Auxiliary Generator set (which is still at Bowers) to a secure, heated storage facility. We are also in the process of arranging the collection of another Auxiliary Generator that has been purchased by one of our members, but needs removing from it's power unit and moving to Rowsley.

Quite a significant amount of work was undertaken in preperation for these few hectic days. The roadway down to the shed had to be cleared and checked for sharp objects, sorting of the spares was undertaken, identifying items for scrap, re-shuffling them to take up less space, new racking has been fitted in the coach to aid this process. A number of items including a set of cubicle doors have also been re-fitted to 50029 to save space in the shed, which also has the benefit of helping us see exactly what we are short of for her.

The recent Peak Rail diesel gala saw 50029 Renown cleaned up and put on display, it's been a couple of years since Renown was pulled out of the sidings and it was nice to see her standing in the sun next to the turntable at Rowsley South providing an excellent backdrop to the groups sales stand, which also had a very good day.

The latest delivery of new engine components arrived in mid-April, which has enabled work to continue on the overhaul of the ex-50008 power unit, which has included fitting further four overhauled pistons into their liners, along with their new piston rings, new big end bearing shells, new stretch bolts, nuts and washers and con rods and fitting further overhauled cylinder heads. The total now stands at four cylinder heads fitted and eight pistons/connecting rods. The order for the next set of new components has just been placed with European Diesels.

Some of the old piston and con rods assemblies that were obtained as spares at the time the locomotives were bought from Operation Collingwood have been sorted out, and the gudgeon pins removed from six of the worst. Where found to be in good condition, the pins were cleaned and greased for storage, the pistons have been set to one side as spares, and the worst of the connecting rods put on the scrap pile (some have been cut and some were in a very poor condition following years of outside storage at the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway).

Finally, one area of progress not previously mentioned that is really starting to come together is the refurbishment of No 1 cab in 50030. All the loose paint has been removed and all internal surfaces sanded, the cab vestibules have been repainted to a very high standard, replacement ceiling vents, warning light cluster, cab lights, fault light panels and AWS horn have been refitted and wired up, all of which have been overhauled to a very high standard. The cab lights in particular need seeing to believe - I am not sure how or what Tom has done to them, but they look like brand new ones!