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Restoration diary

Reports of restoration work on 50029 and 50030.

Working party report 6th September 2015

A slightly frustrating day was had.  Ian, Dave and the mechanical team struggled all day to try and fit the last remaining piece of oil pipe to the power unit so they can pump oil round it, but despite cutting more and more off one of those big hardened steel plates holding the supporting sleepers together, they still co...
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Working party report 28th June 2015

Working party report 28th June 2015
This work party was attended by myself plus the "Three Amigos": Dave Rolfe, Ian Kemp and Peter Carter.  Dave and I fitted a couple more water and oil pipes to the ex-50008 power unit, I then swapped a water pipe from the power unit inside 50030 to replace a damaged one on the new power unit.
 
The main news from this Sunday centres around the heat exchanger which was removed from storage, due to the size and weight this was no mean feat but between the four of us and the use of our winch we managed to move it out for inspection. When we purchased the ex-50008 power unit we were told the heat exchanger had been swapped for the one currently in 50008 as it had a leak. When Ian inspected it, it was clear the end plate had corroded through in a couple of places (this plate is around 5mm thick so it's surprising it has rusted so badly). Thankfully the rest of the exchanger looks to be ok but we will need to pressure test it at some point. The rest of the afternoon was spent removing the end plate from the heat exchanger inside 50030; although this is quite rusty it appears to be in much better condition and should be easy(ish) to swap over.

 

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Working party report 31st May 2015

Working party report 31st May 2015

Ian Kemp, Peter Carter and Dave Rolfe carried on fitting oil, water and fuel pipework to the ex-50008 power unit, but on the side facing Renown, so no photo opportunities were possible today.

In preparation for the open day on June 21st, I washed down the outside of the electrical cubicle frame in 50030 and undercoated it, as it had become dirty from repeated handling since it was originally painted about five or six years ago. I also cleaned and undercoated the two cubicle doors from the fuse and MCB compartment. I brought three more cubicle doors home to clean.

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Just a reminder that we are having our Open Day on the afternoon of Sunday June 21st where RRRG members will be on hand to give guided tours of the project and discuss progress. We hope to see you there!

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Working party report 24th May 2015

Working party report 24th May 2015

Ian Kemp, Peter Carter and Wes Needle continued fitting coolant and oil pipework to the power unit, while Dave Rolfe carried on painting the other side of the power unit.

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I removed the battery charge contactor so I could clean and undercoat the compartment where the CU2 and CU7 go, then did the same for the compartment underneath where the CU1 sits, in readiness for having them temporarily fitted for the open day. Topcoat will be applied next workparty. I also cleaned the dirtiest two of the cubicle doors ready for painting.

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Working party report 19th April 2015

Working party report 19th April 2015

During the work party of 19th April Andy Rowlands connected up the reverser air piston coils and tidied up the cables in the electrical cubicle in 50030, then started investigating the severed cables under the main cubicle walkway. They appear to be from the DSD relay box but further investigation will be required to trace them exactly.

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Peter Carter and Ian Kemp together with Dave Rolfe continued fitting oil and water pipes to the ex-50008 power unit (see previous report, Power unit progress) in continued preparation for its use inside the overhauled 50030.

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Power unit progress

Power unit progress

The restoration of the power unit ex-50008 Thunderer which was purchased by RRRG for use in 50030 is now almost complete.  This has involved removing all sixteen cylinder heads and either overhauling them or replacing them with overhauled heads, then removing all sixteen pistons and con rods before replacing both big and small end bearings, piston rings and if necessary pistons to effectively return the power unit to "zero hours" status.  Even with highly dedicated volunteer labour this has been a lengthy process but is now well into the "home straight".

Dave Rolfe has concentrated on an external overhaul of the unit, cleaning and painting especially auxiliary items such as water rails (blue) and oil feed pipes (pink).  This will enable us to identify potential problems such as oil leaks when the unit is in service inside 50030.  Ian Kemp, RRRG's mechanical team leader, and his fellow dedicated volunteer Peter Carter have been refitting the auxiliary pipework to the unit.  This has now reached the stage of refitting the lower cooling water rails.

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In common with other Class 50 owners we have decided to manufacture our own gaskets as this is much cheaper than buying ready-made items.  Ian and Pete were busy today cutting out and fitting the water rail gaskets to one side of the power unit before refitting and attaching one of the water rails.  This is not an easy task because the casting of the engine block makes accessing the fastening nuts very difficult!  The corresponding water rail on the other side will be refitted in due course.

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The tasks remaining to complete the overhaul of the diesel engine part of the power unit are to complete the refitting of oil and cooling water feed pipes and to test and overhaul the Woodward engine governor if necessary.  We also need to source a set of braided hoses which feed cooling water to the turbos - these were either missing or rotten when we bought the power unit.  The main generator attached to the engine is in good condition and will be detached and overhauled separately nearer the time the unit is ready to be installed inside 50030.

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The power unit currently in 50030 is also practically complete and serviceable.  We did start an overhaul of this power unit before the Thunderer power unit came on the market and it is turn intended for use in 50029, to replace the power unit in that locomotive which suffered a serious seizure that was the cause of 50029's BR withdrawal in 1992.  An exchange of main generators is possible, to mate the good generator on 50029's damaged block with the good block attached to the main generator with flashover damage that is currently in 50030 - however this is a decision some time in the future.

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An Official Statement From Renown Repulse Restoration Group

It has come to our attention that a popular railway enthusiast periodical has recently published a rumour that 50029 is to be sold for parts to a main line operator of the type.  We wish to categorically state that this rumour is not true.  Whilst most of our restoration efforts are concentrated on 50030, we are not neglecting 50029 and it is still our intention to restore both locomotives in the fullness of time.  We have not been approached and we have not approached any other parties regarding the sale of either of our main assets. 

Many times we are asked "When will 50030 be ready?" to which our answer is "We aim to have Repulse ready for 2017 and if enough people want the locomotive to run by that date, it will happen, but if not it will take a little bit longer."  We are not short of money and we also have (or know how to obtain) practically all the parts that are required to complete both 50029 and 50030.  However we would welcome additional volunteers to work on the locomotives at Peak Rail as this will undoubtedly aid us in achieving our 2017 target.  We intend to hold an "open day" later in 2015 to allow interested parties to meet our team and inspect progress.  We hope that this will encourage more people to volunteer with us, regardless of your skillset.  Working parties are currently being held most weekends and the latest news and progress will be posted on our website.  Further details of the open day will be announced nearer the time.

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Cab restoration and electricals update

Cab restoration and electricals update

Recent work in the cabs of 50030 has been concentrating on freeing off the power controllers.  Ian Kemp and Dave Rolfe have sprayed them liberally with WD40 and worked them backwards and forwards.  As a result they move for the first time since 1992, albeit rather stiffly in the case of no 2 end controller at the moment.  Andy Rowlands fitted, tightened up and reconnected the cables on the replacement set of contacts Dave had removed from one of our spare power controllers, to replace the set found to be broken during our freeing-off of the controllers. To achieve this you need to unbolt the plate that holds the sets of contacts so it swings away from the cams, and refitting the bolts that hold the plate is difficult as the contact springs keep pushing the plate away from the cams, which makes it not the easiest job when hunched up under the driver's desk and you need three hands!

The controller in no 2 cab is still quite stiff despite repeated applications of various lubricants, but the one in no 1 cab is much easier to move. If we cannot make them easier to rotate, we may have to look at removing the entire controller pedestals and dis-assembling them totally to see if the nylon bearings need replacing.

 

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Ian and Peter Carter oiled the main big end bearings and barred the engine round.  Andy Rowlands has also been working to refit the reverser air piston in the electrical cubicle of 50030.

 

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Work party report 5th October 2014

Work party report 5th October 2014

Ian, Pete and Dave spent the day unfastening the bolts to allow the main generator fan to be removed.  The fan is between the generator and power unit (but bolted to the main generator itself) and is normally hidden by the surrounding cowling. It sucks in cold air from under the body to help cool the gen and the cowling keeps the air circulating round the gen rather than blowing it all round the engine compartment. It has to come out to give access to the next layer of bolts that actually connect the engine to the generator. This proved to be a very fiddly task in the limited space between the fan and engine block.  Ian is seen proudly displaying his dirty hands after the day's work!

 
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I continued cutting and fitting the cubicle air circuit, with the same difficulties as before, today was the turn of the field divert contactors. The pipe itself is easy to bend and the olives go on fine, it's getting my hands and a spanner to the connections round all the cables that's the problem. I should have done these pipes first before cabling, but as ever, wise after the event.
 
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Work party report 21st September 2014

Work party report 21st September 2014
Dave, Pete and Ian disconnected and removed the four sections of airshaft round the power unit flywheel and bolted up the second intercooler, which Dave then painted. I continued cutting and fitting cubicle air pipes, removed the Z23 resistor and a now-redundant cable from it to the CU6, in preparation for fitting an electronic device in its place as part of the CU6 upgrade.
 
As we were packing up we were greeted by the sound of eight Rolls Royce Merlins as both the preserved airworthy Lancasters flew over Rowsley.
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Work party report 7th September 2014

Work party report 7th September 2014

Mark brought two of the refurbished KV10s, paperwork, test sheets and circuit diagrams up to site. After a test fitting they were removed once again! Dave, Pete, Ian and I hoisted one of the intercoolers up onto the ex-50008 power unit and bolted it in place. The other is ready to be refitted but needs painting first. Dave started making a hoist arm to be fitted on a corner of the container over the workbench. I started fitting the cubicle air circuit pipes, which was somewhat difficult with all the cabling in place, so if I ever do that again, the lesson is fit the airpipes before the cabling, then the cables wouldn't be in the way!

The new airpipes are just visible in the photo below, between M4, M5 and M6.

I discovered the air connections on the reverser air cylinder are a different thread to all the others, so I brought it home with me to take to the supplier I got the other fittings from to see if they can provide the correct-thread fittings for it.

 

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Work party report 24th August

Work party report 24th August

A good day on site today. Former regular working member Wes Needle joined us for today's workparty.  Since getting married and starting a family, Wes hasn't had much time to indulge his chosen hobby, but because they had taken a break in a holiday cottage not far from Rowsley, he was able to take a day to join us while his wife Keren and the nippers went on the train.

Dave Rolfe continued cleaning and painting power unit pipework, then he, Wes, Peter Carter and Ian Kemp finished overhauling one of the intercoolers and reassembled it. They also started unfastening one of the compressors on 50030 ready for it to be removed as there is an overhauled one ready to take its place.

 

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I located the fittings and tubing I had purchased some time ago to replace the air circuit in Repulse. There are different threads that have been used on these fittings at various times, so it was a bit of a gamble whether we had chosen the right thread, but fortunately when I tried the fittings in the motor and divert contactors, they screwed in fine. I had made a diagram some time ago of the routing and connections of the air circuit in 50021, so I am now able to copy it in Repulse. I also finished off connecting up the newly-fitted reverser in the electrical cubicle of 50030 with all its wiring and connections.  Even the weather was kind to us!

 

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Work party reports 29th June and 14th July

Work party reports 29th June and 14th July

On 29th June a long-running sub-project within the electrical restoration of 50030 took a substantial step forward. I got the proper reverser (Class 50 specification) fitted into Repulse, with help from Dave Rolfe, Peter Carter and Ian Kemp as it's so damned heavy. We had to jiggle it about to get it to fit properly, but did it in the end. I attached the divert cables at the rear, but didn't have time to do the auxilaries at the front as I showed two visitors round Repulse. We are always happy to show enthusiasts around our project so if you want to take a look inside our locomotives then get in touch with us either via the website or our Facebook pages and we will do our best to accommodate you.

 

 

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Also on this date Dave, Ian and Pete also continued sorting fuel and water pipework recovered from 50030's power unit to replace damaged sections on the ex-50008 unit.  This unit is destined for use in 50030 when complete - the existing power unit in Repulse was in acceptable condition when we acquired the loco, but has high engine hours and as part of our policy of overhauling our 50s to a very high standard in order to give them a long and trouble-free career in preservation we decided to overhaul one power unit totally.  The existing unit in Repulse will be re-used inside 50029 because the engine in Renown has serious problems following the seizure which ended the loco's BR career.  We don't know for sure but are aware of the possibility that the unit in 50029 may only be usable as a source of spares.  Power unit work can be one of the most gruelling of the practical restoration projects as the same task often has to be done at least sixteen times, sometimes even 32 or 64 times!

 

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On 14th July I attached the reverser auxiliary contact wiring after showing another visitor round Repulse. Meanwhile, Ian, Pete and Dave fitted the fuel feed and return pipes to the ex-50008 power unit that they had previously salvaged from the power unit inside Repulse.

 

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Work party report 15th Jun

Work party report 15th Jun

As it rained almost all day yesterday, even though the forecast was for dry weather, I decided not to cart the reverser outside as I've cleaned it, so I test fitted the newly-made CU2 field divert and CU7 ETH detector units into 50030's elec cubicle. While the CU7 can go in its original position, the original position for the CU2 had the cable connections very close to the cubicle frame, so I drilled a couple more holes to put it in a better position.
 
Inbetween the heavier bursts of rain, Ian and Pete removed the fuel feed pipes from 008's power unit as they'd been bent during the lift at Crewe when we bought and moved the PU about 8 years ago. Dave was painting pipes taken from the PU inside Repulse to replace them.
 
I also took the opportunity to get some more pictures of Mark's work last weekend on the generator conduits.
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Work party report 7th June

Work party report 7th June

Dave Rolfe and I had a very wet Saturday at Rowsley last weekend (I'd gone on the Saturday as Sunday was my Wedding Anniversary), the weather finally cleared around 5 o'clock!

Given the weather we both found things indoors to occupy ourselves, Dave spent part of the day unbolting and freeing off sections of the radiator louvre operating mechanism. His remaining time was spent sorting out the various fittings, clamps, etc, that are needed to refit the fuel rails to the power unit, and checking their condition, cleaning and painting the metal sections of the clamps. I spent most of the day in 50030's generator room sorting out the best sections of conduit, from our collection of bits ex-50023, 50030 and 50040, to make up the remaining set of conduits. By the end of the day, I had cut sufficient sections to lay out the last of the conduit runs, all that remains to do now with this job is to strip the years of paint and dirt off them, thread the ends of the cut sections and fit the relevant couplers and locking nuts. Hopefully another day's work should see the conduit conundrum resolved. In the process I also identified ¾ of a set for one side of 50029.

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Radiator mounting nuts

Radiator mounting nuts

No, we haven't packed up and ceased to exist.  Yes, we have been a bit quiet.  Sorry about that - normal service to be resumed but a number of us have had things other than RRRG to deal with and our day lives have got in the way.

 

Ian Kemp and Dave Rolfe decided today to tackle a job we started some time ago but ended up leaving to another day.  This was to remove the remaining radiator securing nuts, so that we can lift the radiators out of 50030 and have them sent away for overhaul.  Given that the radiators were most likely last removed at refurbishment in the mid-1980s it goes without saying that the fastening nuts were stuck on very firmly indeed.  We had previously managed to remove three of them, leaving five left to do.  A potent combination of elbow grease, tools (and broken tools), purple language and in the case of one particularly stubborn nut, chiseling has now freed all eight nuts and the radiators can now be lifted out.  It's the seemingly little tasks like this that end up taking so much time.  Photos courtesy Ian Kemp.

 

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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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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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