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RRRG report for The Peak Express January 2011, Issue 28

Despite the weather doing its best to prevent it, the RRRG AGM went ahead on the 28th November. The significant snowfall fell too late to cancel, so a number of the committee struggled to Darley Dale and with some of the working members the meeting managed to rustle up enough members to be quorate, although numbers were light as a result of the weather. The main change that took place was Steve Tripp changing posts from Deputy Chairman to "50029 electrical officer", which is a change that has been made as thoughts have now started to turn to looking at 50029's internals. Following the AGM the group went to Rowsley for a short work party although I have to say I don't think I have ever experienced the weather being so cold before, and suspect it significantly hampered real progress that day.

The group has continued to step up its commercial operations, as planned the sales stand attended both days of the peak rail shunter gala, and with a significantly expanded stock of new and second-hand model railway equipment has since attended a number of toy fairs at Burton, Stafford and Alfreton, as well as continuing to make use of e-bay and the RRRG website for sales opportunities.

Work on 50030's electrical machines continues to progress at Bowers electrical who have now completed the overhaul of one of the exhausters, unfortunately when tested a small oil leak was identified on the mechanical part of the machine, which Bowers are looking into. The other exhauster for 50030 was purchased as a fully overhauled item from Unipart Rail and should have been tested by Bowers by the time you read this. Once the oil leak has been attended to (and the weather improves), the intention is to exchange the overhauled machines for those currently located in Repulse which will be put into store for use in 50029. At the same time the radiator fan motor and scavenger fan will be removed and sent for overhaul.

The newly acquired 50037 cab was swiftly descended upon as the temptation to refit missing parts that were slumbering within our stores became too great. Within days it had regained headlight, taillights, marker lights, horn grilles, brake hoses, bulkhead doors and its multi jumper. The plan is to rapidly sort its appearance after years of neglect and the roof and all surface corrosion was attended too before the winter really set in. Work on the ex 50008 power unit continues, although the weather has understandably restricted progress. The last four pistons have had new rings fitted and the pistons refitted into the cylinder liners, and the remaining four overhauled cylinder heads have now been refitted. All 16 cylinder heads are now back in place, and 14 of the big ends reassembled with new stretch bolts and bearing shells, etc, just leaving two big end caps and shells left to fit, these should be fitted by the time you read this.

Inside 50030 the No 1 cab has seen both wood frames supporting the droplights remanufactured as the originals had long ceased to exist. Now we have frames to screw into, the replacement sets of internal wood mouldings have been prepared and just await final painting before refitting. New feeds to the air horns within the No 1 cab roof have been installed following removal from 50037's cab.

On the electrical front a colleague from another loco owning group brought his hydraulic crimpers to Rowsley during December and we crimped new lugs onto some of the last 16mm & 35mm cables that had had their original lugs cut off. These cables were then fitted into the cubicle. A set of specifications have been obtained for jointing heavy cables within locos, which indicate that if done correctly the use of large insulated crimps is acceptable. A 185mm through crimp was brought to site in December so that we could do a test joint on the severed traction motor and ETH cables under the cubicle. A spare piece of cable was fitted with the crimp, which was then insulated and tested for earth leakage with our 1000v Megger, which showed a full-scale deflection of the meter, indicating such a joint is usable on the severed cables. This would therefore appear to be a reasonable route forward to repair this damage which could save a considerable amount of time and expense. Finally, a start has been made on removing the damaged conduiting from the generator room in preparation for refitting the conduit salvaged from 50040, to date all of the conduits on one side have been removed and the end pieces saved for future use. We have also taken the opportunity to cover both locomotives with tarpaulins for the winter. Class 50 roofs are not particularly watertight at the best of times but until we get around to properly attending to these areas cosmetics can take a back seat and the drier environment is noticeable already.

As 50030 is now in an advanced state and is expected to be completed in the next two to three years, thoughts have turned to 50029 which has to date, other than cosmetic restoration and our ongoing spares purchasing policy, basically been stored. RRRG is now in the process of drawing up a plan to allow restoration work to start on Renown, although one important aspect of the plan that all are agreed on is that it cannot be allowed to detract from progress on 50030. A full survey into the condition of 50029 has been undertaken and an inventory made of items that we do not already have in store for the loco's restoration. In 2011 a new effort will be directed to repairing the severed wiring loom within 50029. This damage will be a very time consuming repair so the thinking is to let it progress as a separate project.

Thus giving 50029 a head start for when 50030 is completed. To this end late 2010 saw considerable efforts un-mothballing the interior of 50029. All the loose pipework and exhaust pieces stored within the cabs and engine room walkways were extracted and relocated to alternative storage. Work has been undertaken to weather proof the No1 end cab (No2 was weatherproofed sometime ago), fluorescent tubes have been installed throughout the insides and missing metal floor plates replaced. The plywood cab floors were extremely rotten and dangerous so new board has been acquired and so far 2 of our 5 cabs have been treated. Following acquisition of new screws 50029 like 50030 now has a complete set of door handles and locks courtesy of several Class 37's and 56's.