July 18th, 2017



Visiting Class 20 D8001 (20001) departs North Weald during the Spring Diesel Gala

Its strange how certain visiting locos stir up long forgotten memories from your younger days. In this case the Locomotive English Electric Class 20 ‘D8001’ or has they used to be known to their crews as ‘Thousands’.

As a cleaner at Stratford loco I cleaned these machines and later worked on them as a second man (Trainee Driver), including from my memory D8001. I have a very vivid memory as a trainee of Driving one of these very dependable machines ‘Storming’ up Canonbury bank on the North London line at 3am with a mixed goods train. The exhaust noise and the loco vibrations under heavy load were fantastic. The noise the loco was making must have woken half of North London.

Naming Locos to impress the ‘Ladies’

As a young second man I was, as they used to say, ‘Walking out’ with what I thought of at the time as a very good looking young lady who used to commute to work by train. To impress her I came up what I thought at the time to be a very cunning plan by ‘naming D8056’ in her honour. I chalked a very magnificent name plate on both the locomotives sole plate:


It looked good and my girlfriend spotted 8056 carrying her name when it was running to Liverpool Street station with a set of coaching stock. The down side of the story was, the name plate only lasted for around two weeks before it was cleaned off. On my next working from Stratford shed with 8056 (when I thought no one was looking) I carefully started to reinstate the name plate ‘Dolly’. The only problem was that I was spotted by the Foreman who in the then very non  politically correct times offered me help and advice where he would put his very large steel toe caped size twelve boots, if I did not clean off the name plate immediately.

The upside of this story was the good looking young lady must have been impressed having a loco named after her be it was briefly, as she later married me. As for the Loco 8056, she still exists and still earns a living on private hire with Harry Needle’s fleet.

DMU Railcars: 

Class 117 DMS 51384

I am pleased to report after eight years out of use that the DMS has returned to service in April. A number of setbacks were experienced prior to returning to service. Number two engine was changed completely due to defects and number one engine has been fitted a refurbished cylinder head. Number two final drive has been rebuilt with a number of parts salvaged from the DMBS car. After further minor adjustments booth the body work and rewiring/ electrical work (as required) have also now been completed.

DMU engine

Stripping the original number two 11.1 litre normally aspirated diesel engine giving a out put of only 150m H.P. but untold amount of torque

The DMS is running in multiple with a hired trailer car which in its self has been internally refurbished complete with new seating.


Class 117 DMS / 121 DTS

These two vehicles have been paired up to make an operational unit

Both vehicles have been polished externally and are looking very smart. The crews take it upon themselves to try out the various destinations on the blinds which have been replaced (financed by generous donation from a couple of members and the volunteer society) in each cab, which causes much laughter and chatter amongst passengers. The railcar with its clear view forward, is proving very popular with the passengers.

The trailer car has had one of the vacuum brake cylinders changed after the original cylinder developed a leak.

Class 117 DMS 51384

Class 117 DMS 51384 in Epping Forest


Class 117 DMBS 51342

Much of the corroded metalwork has been cut away and new patches welded in certain places. Work is being focused around the guard and luggage doors, where there was significant wastage to the frames.

The new internal frame work is now taking shape but…

The DMBS is to say the least a very sad story, the more work we do it seems the more corrosion we find the further from completion we get. Some days when we had found more steel internal framework which will have to be replaced completely, I went home wondering what we had got ourselves involved in and if we had the capability of replacing such large areas of corroded framework let alone the nonexistent outer skin. Our engineer is rather stoic about the corrosion issue and only concentrates on the current job in hand.

To illustrate some of the problems our engineer faces, many of the framework parts have had to be designed by ourselves, the original having rotted away to the point of being non existent. Our engineer is having to work out where to bend, where to drill what type of holes and where to place certain required cut outs. We are using metric size replacement steel which we have to adapt to mate with imperil top hat sections. We are having to make curved parts for roof structure out of straight top hat sections. Every section is a different length (depending on the degree of corrosion) and depending on the actual length of structure we make the curvature changes as the curve progresses. This means we cannot make a batch of sections up. The work on last roof section we have made up was so detailed that has taken three working days to complete.

Most of this work requires such a high level of skill which only our engineer possess. While I and my team mate Mick can claim our own skill set areas, much of this work is beyond us.

We have progressed to the stage where we started work on the first upright rib section, fabricated by outside suppliers. The rib which supports the guards van door. Straight away we hit a problem; where to weld the reinforced sections, which will take the door hinges. It has proved impossible to use the old structure as a guide as it had rotted away. The Engineer came up with the idea of using the old door to get the correct hinge placement. It was a great idea but in practice impossible as the hard wood frame had also rotted away.

PLAN B: Rebuild the door and then get hinge placement from that.

We have just taken delivery of the hard wood to make up the new door frame and surround. We have made a start shaping the wood in to a curve. Michael F our engineer has started to teach me some of his high levels skill such as welding and,  I hope, the use of a router. Welding appears to be more an art form rather than a skill as is the fabrication skill level required. The trouble is when you have ‘the boy’ leaning the job, work which would take the engineer, may be fifteen minutes, it takes me an hour.

Diesel Locomotives

Class 03 170

The 03 Loco is normally found shunting around North Weald but is due to have work on worn axle boxes. Used for Driver for a fiver during the spring diesel gala.

03119 working a passenger train

03119 on a rare passenger working during the Spring Diesel Gala

Class 03 119

Operated two scheduled trips into Epping Forest during the Spring Diesel Gala following a return to service earlier in the year; she also ran one trip to Ongar when Class 20 D8001 temporarily failed. Usually found around North Weald yard.

BR Class 25 173

Her extensive bodywork overhaul continues at Shackerstone.

BR Class 31 438

Once our  hired in Locomotives prove reliable, the class 31 will  withdraw from service to allow preventative maintenance work to be undertaken, including attention to the diesel Engine,  brake rigging and batteries. As always, the 31 is proving she is a very reliable locomotive.

BR Class 37 029

The class 37 is stopped awaiting replacement brake cylinder seals.

This loco has recently suffered from a vacuum brake control side leak which caused issues when running with vacuum braked trains. Extensive work has been undertaken to remedy this issue. Our diesel engineer Michael D has turned out to a bit of dogged detective tracing the cause of the braking issues to a number of defects.

BR Class 47 635 “Jimmy Milne”

Stored in North Weald Shed No.2 Road, awaiting work to commence on the roof.

DEMU 205205

Awaiting the return of the now repaired cam shaft, after which the diesel engine will be rebuilt and tested. Once this and other minor issues are completed unit will be available for traffic. The next job will be to attend the numerous rust and corroded patches of the bodywork.


Class 20 001

This locomotive has arrived on a minimum 18-month loan as an extra relief loco, whilst our own large diesels are out of traffic for repairs to be carried out. The class 20 which has just completed a major overhaul after being out of traffic for four years, failed during the diesel gala. After investigation, it was found that the voltage regulator which should keep the auxiliary machine, control, and battery charge voltage to 110 volts was in fact putting out 125 volts. This was causing significant issues throughout the locomotive. The voltage regulator is of the original carbon pile design dating from 1955 which has been causing problems. There have been some other minor issues but our engineering team are on top of them. The loco  has missed one round trip of its rostered workings, due to a rather unusual fault causing brake drag. One of the anti-slip buttons had slightly stuck in causing a brake application. Luckily the fault was quickly spotted and a drop of ‘magic spray’ and a tweak with a screw driver freed the button.

Class 33 002

For the year of manufacture (1959) this loco which has just left the railway, was very sophisticated and once initial teething problems were overcome prove very reliable in main line service much liked by their southern crews.

Initially booked as a guest for the Diesel Gala, her stay was extended. Looking very smart in all-over BR Green, she comes from the South Devon Railway. This loco failed in traffic, refusing to restart after being shut down on a mid-turn lay over. This fault was traced to a lose wiring connection in the starting circuit. She has now left the railway on another hire.

Visiting Engines at Ongar

Visiting class 33, 33002 and class 20 8001 side by side at Ongar during the Spring Diesel Gala

Engineering Vehicles

Badger our ‘on-track’ machine

This machine is in the process of an extensive overhaul by a dedicated team.

The overheating issues have been resolved by replacing a blown core plug on the engine. With new hoses and repairs to its leaking matrix, the heater system now runs well and the driving cab can now be kept toasty and warm. The crane hydraulics were tested and, whilst sluggish initially, it must be remembered this hasn’t been used for a good number of years. The front right body panel has been re-affixed following some re-drilling (to cater for the new and larger rivets used) and copious amounts of sealant – hopefully there will be no more leaks. The front axle is back and the assembly for it has been rebuilt in preparation for it to be refitted under the chassis. A new spacer has been machine for the front left wheel, and the front right wheel drive plate has been turned to fit; the drive coupling has also been fitted. Before this axle can be put back underneath, new brake assembly is being sourced.

Various electrical work, including a new screen wash motor replacement, wiper repair and washer jets, has been undertaken to get these various components working again (although it is advised you don’t walk past when the jets are being tested…)

The next job the team are undertaking will be repairing the cab roof, which has suffered extensive corrosion damage.

Until Next time

Chris Travers

Diesel restoration group.





June 30th, 2017

Anglia Catering

The Anglia Cafe Coach is an important part of the Epping Ongar Railway experience for our visitors; we provide refreshments and a good area for people to socialise. The EOR Staff can also interact with our customers and hopefully they will come back, or pass their experiences on to their friends who are then likely to visit. It is important part that we make the Epping Ongar Railway a bright and friendly place to visit.

During April, catering in the North Weald Anglia Cafe Coach got going and saw us work jointly with Woo Woo Foods to provide refreshments for our many visitors. At times, we were under a lot of pressure to provide hot and cold refreshments to our many customers. Each weekend produced a demand of varying kinds, depending on what was on. The Easter Weekend featured heavily with families, and was followed by the Diesel Gala bringing in enthusiasts and a demand for burgers and bacon rolls. The final April weekend had appearances from Peppa Pig, which once again saw lots of families with young children visit; all of these were very busy weekends for the volunteers behind the counter.

The set up was mostly in the marquee outside the Anglia Cafe Coach, but under cover, with the smell of freshly grilled sausages, bacon etc. travelling well around North Weald Station and thus creating much demand. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cakes, crisps, etc. were also available.

In order to provide for our customers, we need support from all sections of our volunteer society, and if you know anyone interested in being part of our friendly refreshments team, please contact me – you will be warmly welcomed and all help greatly appreciated.

Eddie Veckranges

April 17th, 2017

Isabel’s Overhaul – April 2017 Report

Since the last report (nearly two years ago!), our little Hawthorn Leslie has come on well. Whilst work isn’t happening fast, it is better to ensure a job is done well and once, than to rush and encounter problems later on.

So, what’s happened with Isabel?

First off, the wheels have been put back under the chassis, and all the coupling and connecting rods fitted. Following the re-fitting of springs, the frames have also been lowered and we have a rolling chassis once again – and it appears the knocking, which had been a cause for concern during her steamings in 2012, has cleared up. Other work included the fitting of a new brake column and bushes to the brake rigging; all this work was undertaken whilst the boiler was away in Norfolk.

Upon its return, the boiler barrel was jet cleaned before the tubes were installed and subsequently expanded. The bottom few rows of tubes were then beaded as required. Some of the firebox studs have needed to be replaced, along with new washout plugs, gauge columns and mudhole doors. The grate assembly also had to be entirely replaced, whilst the regulator has only needed repairs to a few worn areas.

The in-house engineers have also manufactured a set of firebox doors and linkage, which will make firing Isabel much easier, and they envisage that there will still be many more pieces needing to be manufactured when reassembling begins. The ashpan and smokebox, amongst other components, were rubbed down and treated to a coat of protective red oxide – the smokebox has since been given a coat of black; both of these are also new, being made by Mervyn Mayes Engineering.

In March 2017, blanking plates were fitted where necessary and the boiler filled with water to check for cold leaks. Our Chief Engineer was comically relieved to find a few, commenting he would have been more worried if there were none! The following few weeks were spent tending to these and then a hydraulic test was carried out. Finally, at the start of April, the first fire was lit – a significant milestone in the overhaul, as it means we are getting closer. A few more drips were observed and have since been sorted – we even managed to get some pressure up!

A few more tests will be carried out to ensure the boiler is fit and healthy before we invite the boiler inspector in. If all goes well and it passes, Isabel could receive her 10-year ticket very soon, after which it will be all hands to the pump to reassemble the engine and prepare her for service.

In the meantime, the chimney needs to be sent away for repairs, and all the small pieces taken off of the engine over the years and stored will need to be found again. Once reassembled, testing of the locomotive can start, and final painting into her smart red livery can be undertaken.

It may seem a light report, but the work has been lengthy and often set back by the steam department needing to attend to the operational engines. New faces are always welcome, as being involved in the overhaul of a steam engine is a great introduction to those who want to progress to working on the footplate.

Tony Goulding
Head of Steam

December 11th, 2016

Diesel Department – December 2016 Update

It’s been a while since the last report, so here’s a rundown of what’s happened to our Diesels as of late.

Class 117 DMU

We completed the bodywork repairs and repaint on the DMS car in June 16, having started the railcar project in September 2015 – however, the project has since stalled.

On closer examination, the DMBS (the car with guards van) bodywork was found to be in a far worse condition than initially thought – both internally and externally – and we have been struggling to source the parts to make up replacement bodywork ribs. The shed working space was also fully occupied, which didn’t help. Some mechanical and electrical maintenance work did take place on the two cars, with the engines started up and maintenance on the final drive etc. Thankfully, after much hunting, a supplier of body parts was found.

The team required a sheet steel bender, which is a type of bodywork forming machine and a heavy-duty tool bench, to allow the fettling and bending of the fabricated sheet steel into the weird and wonderful shapes required to reskin a railcar.

The team were told that the railway had obtained a heavy-duty bender, which may be suitable, as a part of a job lot of engineering equipment sale. On examination the basic machine, which is very old, was found to be sound but had several key parts missing. One of our engineering staff – Barry – was certain he could fabricate/remanufacture the missing components. This entailed a lot of forming, milling, drilling and turning. I have to say that I was impressed with the standard of workmanship obtained. When compared with the original parts used as patents, a perfect match was obtained. I did my bit in cutting down and shaping the end of the new, heavy-duty steel bending handle.

mike f checks the railcar profileThe complete machine was rubbed down and given a coat of silver Hammerite, before being set up and tested. In common with many of us volunteers, she may be old and silver on top but she worked perfectly when making up a test piece.

We’ve also scoured North Weald Loco site, looking for second hand wood suitable for the new heavy duty tool bench. I was surprised that in the end that the only new materials required were heavy duty coach bolts and a special type of screw to hold the main frame. As with all things, we were fortunate to have an engineer to give direction and the correct tools for fine tuning a tool bench made from scrap materials.

Back to the DMU, the DMBS is now set up in the shed, complete with access tower and working room. We hope now, with all preparations complete, to start properly on the body in January 2017.

DEMU Thumper 205205

After the diesel engine started misfiring on start up, it was decided to overhaul the injectors. However, on stripping down the cylinder heads the cam shaft support bearings were found to be discoloured, having at some stage in their life run hot, and would therefore need replacing. On removing the cam shaft, the key way (which connects the cam shaft to the drive cogs) was found to be badly worn, which may have caused the misfiring.

We are at the stage that investigations on whether to repair or replace the cam shaft are ongoing.


Class 37 D6729

The Class 37 failed in service with an earth fault shutting down the engine; luckily, the engineer who looks after the diesel maintenance was driving the loco at the time. The fault was traced to the coolant fan clutch control circuit – this was a dead earth and could not be cleared in-situ, so the train was hauled back to North Weald by the Class 31.

The fault was found to be caused by the fan clutch having become worn and subsequently slipping, causing the housing to overheat, which in turn caused a relay control unit (mounted on the housing) to melt and short out the wiring, that then caused the earth fault. We also found that the seals on the fan clutch control box had perished, and rain water was seeping in.

The fan clutch was replaced (quite a substantial job) and the control circuits were rewired. The control box was stripped, rebuilt and remounted in number one cab, in the space once occupied by the cooker.

While performing daily maintenance on the 37, it was noted a strange noise was being emitted from the main generator, later found to be defective insulators. Remedial work was performed by specialist external engineers.


Class 31 31438

Apart from the normal maintenance work, which includes cleaning traction motor and main generator commutators, this loco has been her normal reliable self. At present, she is providing Electric Train Heat and assisting with traction power for the Santa specials.

While working one of these, she failed with a very unusual fault. The feed cutoff valve (which is part of the loco safety system, feeding main air in to the braking system) did not open from number two cab. Our engineer quickly changed the valve, but the fault did not clear. A quick think and check of the mechanically controled air valve, housed in the base of the driver controller pedestal which in turn controlled the feed cut off valve, turned up the cause to be the valve was sticking. Our engineer freed it up, and the feed cutoff valve then opened and the main air system fed the braking system as normal.
Large sighs of releif were heard, and on we went with the Santa specal.  At the close of service, our engineer stripped and cleaned the valve.

Class 47 47635 “Jimmy Milne”

The class 47 is stopped pending repairs to the roof. At present, the two middle sections have been released, ready to be removed for repair – all awaiting shed space for the work to be carried out.

Class 25 25173

Making slow progress on the body work overhaul with our external engineers.

Class 03 03170

Ongoing maintenance work on the braking system, con-rods and axle boxes.

Class 03 03119

This Loco was stopped due to being unreliable. The diesel engine was shutting down without warning, the cause being the diesel engine guvnor; remedial work has been carried out.

Class 55 55019 “Royal Highland Fusilier”

37 Meets 55

When I was a young trainee train driver, we had jobs where we went over to Finsbury Park to pick up freightliners. We used to watch Deltics pass through, coming from and going into Kings Cross, their distinctive engine note like no other.

Apart from helping move them around Stratford Loco Depot to the DRS Repair Shops for engine changes, I never had any Deltic experience, so you will understand why I jumped at the chance to spend a day piloting and driving the visiting locomotive during the Autumn.

I must admit, even at my advance years, I was very excited at the prospect. I helped with preparation duties and organising the shunt movements; however, I was not prepared for the strange sounds on engine start up. The Deltic engine sounded more like a cement mixer than a highly tuned diesel engine!

My overall memory of the Loco was – aside its unbelievable amount of tractive power which required extremely careful handling – the noise; on engine tick-over, my body was vibrating with hum; at times, the noise was so great that it became painful. I have to admit gave up the chance to work on the Deltic for a second day – my hearing would not stand it. I elected to downgrade myself to driving a visiting 08 Loco instead – a much quieter ride…

Until next time.

Chris Travers
Diesel Restoration Group

November 7th, 2016

Carriage & Wagon Department – November 2016 Update

This update is the first for a quite a period of time; due to the absence of the usual writer, there are bound to be gaps in the reporting of what has been achieved. Hopefully, this article covers as much as possible from the last 3 months.

We have a section on the BR MKII TSO M5136, due to the vast amount of restoration work that has been undertaken on this particular vehicle. This is, of course, not intended to exclude other sterling work carried out by the group.

There are shorter sections on the Class 117 DMU, which has seen the non-brake end used in the running rake of normal carriages, whilst the brake and guards end is awaiting extensive body repairs awaited to be carried out. External carriage cleaning of the running rake has also taken place due to the build up of diesel and smoke exhaust residues – a very time consuming task.

Class 117 DMU

Whilst in service, the doors on the Southern side had become very stiff to to open, thus they all had to be freed up to allow easy access/egress. Internally, access to the driver’s compartment had become difficult and insecure due to door track malformation, which has been re-aligned and refitted.

TSO 4925

This carriage had outstanding collision damage to the Epping-end vestibule from earlier in its life; this was completed quite recently. Some door panels had also rotted and needed be replaced.

BR MK11 TSO 5136

This carriage had already had the North Weald end restored some while back, retrofitting the old rotted formica side panels with stained wood panels. The floor was replaced in its entirety, windows re-sealed and upholstery repaired. It was decided earlier in the year to carry out the same restoration work on the Ongar end, which was in the same condition as the North Weald end before restoration started.

The following images are a sequence of works carried out over the last 3 months. It is fair to say the the whole of the C&W group have been involved in the works, with floor insulation laid in place over a base layer of plywood. The insulation was been glued in place and weighted until set. The vestibules had the same repairs carried out as the main cabin, with ply lower floor, insulation, and upper ply replaced prior to lino being laid; brass thresholds have also been fitted.

Cleaning of the Running Rake

As said earlier, the running rake of carriages had accumulated a lot of residual dirt, believed to emanate from diesel exhausts and steam loco emissions. It has been an arduous task to work through both sides of the running rake, but the improvement in appearance is significant. The set is also being treated to a polish ahead of the Santa Special services.


Until next time
Richard Savill
Carriage & Wagon Group

July 13th, 2016

Building Bridges – July 2016

I recently  had some time out from the railway, and upon my return one of my first ports of call was the foot bridge; what had the guys achieved whilst I was away? When I looked at the bridge, everything seemed to be covered with a thick layer of greasy soot, apparently from the Steam Gala. It took me a few moments to get my bridge-spotters eye in.

It turns out the team had been very busy; their work – being of such a high standard with the new-for-old replacement work, then painted green and overlaid with a thick layer of soot – made it very hard to spot, but the main giveaway was the use of bolts instead of rivets, though even these are getting harder to spot in places (the team are using dome-head nuts which, when painted, look like rivets.)

I asked our bridge engineer how things were progressing and he said, in a very Churchill-like voice, it is not the end of the work, but the beginning of the end – I’m sure I have heard that before. On closer inspection, after stripping away the paint some of the original riveted reinforcing strap pieces were found to be internally corroded, and these sections are being cut out, new sections fabricated and subsequently fitted.

Lots of progress, new decking fitted, more replacement of wasted metal, and one of two smoke deflectors fitted.

Chris Travers

July 7th, 2016

Diesel Department – July 2016 Update

Class 117 DMU

Class 117 trailer used in service

Moan Moan Grumble Grumble!

Railway restoration can be, if you allow it, a very frustrating business.

As an example, as part of our Railcar restoration project, the team has almost completed the DMS car but the work on the DMBS has not only stalled but has gone further backwards – what to say……..? Just when you think the team has bottomed out the corrosion issues, our professional body repair man found extensive rust that had, at some stage, been filled with body filler in many, many places.

bodywork corrosion Upon examination it is clear that large areas of body work are likely to need cutting out and new sections welded in.

That is not the end of our sad story, we are still having problems sourcing  new profiled top hat rib sections – these give the railcar walls their strength. In some places, the original (along with the top) connecting rails are so badly corroded that they have just crumbled away leaving… well, nothing!

As we can only cut out small sections of bodywork at one time to maintain the body profile, the job (as far as the DMBS) goes has effectively stopped.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. We have been informed of a supplier who can roll bespoke rib sections, and other specialist parts, providing they have the measurements/ exact profile and drawings. Hopefully next week we can get on with measuring up.

Both engines were successfully started Tuesday, and this half of the unit moved under its own power some 400 yards. A number of problems were identified, namely reverse gear not engaging and the right-hand engine not giving third and forth throttle revs, and not shutting down. The fuel rack therefore may need adjustment. As it may have not moved under its own power for nearly five years, this is probably a good result.applying finishing touches to DMS

All battery and isolater connections labelled and drawings updated.

And the good news…

It not all bad news on the railcar front – the DMS car, resplendent in its new green livery and with refurbished interior, has been pressed in to service as hauled coaching stock as a short term replacement for a MK 1 coach currently undergoing heavy repairs; it’s proving very popular!

Odd Job Man

While our team’s ‘Railcar’ project is ‘stopped waiting parts’, you may ask what I have been up to. Well, I have been doing a number of very different jobs; apart from driving some of our engineer’s trains, I have been acting as the lovely assistant to our Battery Expert, working on the railcar wiring and, I may add, we managed to start one engine as a test load.

The railway has been tackling a number of P-Way jobs lately, including rail and sleeper replacement.

The railway has been tackling a number of P-Way jobs lately, including rail and sleeper replacement.

I have also been fabricating off-cut panels for the C&W team who are re-skinning a MK 1 coach end.

New platework on a mark 1 coach endThe C&W guys have a quite a production line going, and the skills levels increasing (I know my place). First, the wasted metal was cut out; I then measured up and cut the new panel to the exact shape. Next, my colleague fettled the panel to the exact profile by carefully bending, and later gently tapping with a ball pain hammer. Lastly, our very skilled engineer tack-welded the panel in place, pending full seam-welding.

I must say, as a team there is something very satisfying about starting with very rusted – or in some cases non-existent – metal skin and raw steel plate, and finishing at the end of the day with the profile of a Mk 1 coach, ready to be fully welded.

The C&W team had previously cut away and welded in new sections of the support structure, such as the collision pillars.

Class 31 438

Apart from a slight oil leak she has been her normal reliable self.

During the winter months, the railway ran a series of training days which were open to all staff. One of the training scenarios was ‘Fire on a Train’. During the last trip of the day during the Diesel gala, copious amount of smoke (but we assure you no flames) was spotted coming from under the bodywork above number one bogie. Although the loco had recently been steamed cleaned, investigation showed that a very small shelf – which formed part of the main framing – had not been completely cleaned and a spark off one of the brake blocks had lodged on a small area of oil-soaked brake block dust, causing impressive amounts of smoke.

The crew, who had all attended the winter ‘Fire on Train’ training course, dealt with the incident and were on the move with only ten minutes delay; no real damage was caused to loco, and the crew even received a round of applause from the passengers!

This minor incident proves the worth of quality training offered by the railway.

Class 37 029
In traffic but is still receiving ‘planned maintenance’.

Class 03 170
Also receiving planned maintenance on her axle boxes and side rods. She has also been steamed cleaned.

DEMU Thumper 205205

The Thumper recently failed when the main reverser (in its pannier module under the motor coach) returned to mid-position and would not respond to the controls.

water dripped onto the cables and caused an earth faultTest indicated that the two relevant control wires were ‘dead’ and in fact earthed. The trick then was to find the problem, which was very much easier said than done. The control cables run from end to end of the unit, and to all control areas, so it was a game of “hunt the earth”!

After much testing and head scratching, the fault was traced to a 32-way bolted jumper holder between coaches. A seal on an inspection cover had failed, allowing a small amount of water to drip on the back of connection block over a long period, which caused the earth fault. Our engineers completely replaced the connection block, which required a lot of rewiring.

engineer repairs the fault

The Thumper is now back in full working order.

Diesel Gala

Don’t forget  our next diesel gala with a Deltic locomotive! 55019 will be running at the September event.

Until Next time.

Chris Travers
Diesel Restoration Group