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RRRG report for The Peak Express April 2012, Issue 31

Work on 50030 continues to progress well on many fronts including both cabs, electrical cubicle, generator room, power unit, radiator compartment and the electrical machines. During 2012 work overhauling the ex50008 power unit reached an advanced stage with all new/overhauled piston/liner assemblies fitted (including new bushes and bearings) and all the overhauled cylinder heads refitted. The pushrod tubes have all been cleaned and checked for cracks, and the push rods cleaned, checked for damage and oil ways cleared. The pushrod tubes and pushrods were all then fitted. All the cylinder head top surfaces have been cleaned and the intermediate covers fitted, the valve gear mounting studs checked (fitting new studs where required) and all the rocker gear refitted.

50030’s electrical cubicle is also now basically finished apart from some air pipes, the Z70 resistor and some control units which need to be overhauled. Now that Chris has copied the auxiliary contact mechanism and produced a replacement for the reverser for 50029, the reverser intended for use in 50030 is available to be fitted. Orders have now been placed for replacement CU2 and CU5 control units which are the last of the control units that needed sourcing for 50030. Preliminary discussions have been held with a good contact who can overhaul KV10s. For the uninitiated, a 50 has two KV10s: one controls the main generator field strength and the other the ETH generator field strength – the difference being the control cards in the KV10 which define its function. RRRG has a good number of both KV10s and control cards but their condition varies considerably, as such a visit has been arranged to help sort out the best four to send away for detailed assessment and repair.

Another area receiving attention is the generator room, where following removal of all of the damaged conduits, Mark is in the process of sorting out a good set from the sections recovered from 50030, 50023 and 50040. This task is similar to trying to do a 1000 piece jigsaw, consisting of very similar pieces, without the picture! Apart from the conduits themselves, approximately 50 conduit clamps have been recovered from the floor of 50030 and have been de-rusted and painted.

Work is also progressing well on the overhaul of No1 cab with replacement of all of the woodwork, fittings on the cab rear bulkhead, and the drivers instrument panel completed. Tom has also prepared the cab vestibule at no 2 end for repainting and carried out repairs to the ceiling trims, new cab light frames have been cut and replacement lights fitted.

In the radiator compartment Chris unseized the bolts securing the radiator fan ducting to the fan motor and freed off the radiator fan securing nuts. This doesn’t sound much but all are captive and were rusted solid so needed considerable work to avoid shearing and drilling out later. The two louvre grills on the east side of the loco have been removed (another job involving moving the immovable), and the louvres and linkages examined. They were all found to be seized solid and a number of louvers were out of place. These have subsequently been stripped down, heavily cleaned, lubricated, and refitted in the correct orientation and the mechanism reconnected. Both louvre panels now have louvers that actually operate! The linkage from under the floor which should open and close the louvres was also removed and examined. After years of sitting in water this resembled something off the Titanic not a class 50, but after much cleaning and oiling it was brought back to life, however part of it has been deemed beyond repair and will have to be replaced. One of the two louvres has also been repainted and is ready to be refitted.

Following stripping the brake gear off our spare bogies and assessment of the pile of spare brake rigging, we have confirmed that we have enough to make two good sets with some spares, and work has started on servicing some of the items in preparation for the coming bogie overhaul. A set of slack adjusters, and other components have been cleaned up, made serviceable and coated in oil to preserve them until we start reassembling the bogies.  Also early in 2012 the overhaul and testing of the two exhausters for 50030 was completed, and following completion of the overhaul of one of the motor blowers, work is now progressing on the second blower.

Work on 50029 has continued to be focussed on the huge task of tracing and identifying severed cabling. The process of belling out all the circuits has enabled not only the verification of the condition of cables, but also given the opportunity to label and disconnect every cable, remove, clean and repair/replace as necessary each of the terminal bars. All of the redundant cabling and the remaining relays have been removed from the cubicle to enable re-wiring from scratch.

Whilst checking the power cables from terminal bar (TB6) to the motor blowers, Blower No2’s circuit showed no reading which seemed strange, upon further investigation it was found the flexible rubber hose and cables to the connection box had been sawn through by someone prior to RRRG owning the locomotive. As an alternative to replacing these cables the plan is to reroute the conduit up the front of the blower which is a shorter route.

The RRRG sales stand opened it’s season with a visit to the Nene Valley Tornado and Thomas event this Easter, where Tim and Dom had a very successful weekend. The stand is a good fund raiser and by visiting other railways helps raise the profile of the group; this involves considerable behind the scenes logistics but is more than worthwhile. Generally we attend diesel galas, but occasional visits to steam gala’s are made as we do stock both steam and diesel merchandise, including new Hornby models, new and secondhand books, second hand models, DVDs, VHS, and toys all at very keen prices. Please keep an eye out for the stall, not only at Peak Rail, but also when visiting other railways.