March 20th, 2016

Locomotive Department – March 2016 Update

North Weald Depot

Behind the scenes, a lot has been taking place on our motive power fleet, keeping the operational locomotives in service, and working on those out-of-traffic to get them running again.

Steam Locomotives

BR (W) Hall No.4953 “Pitchford Hall”

The overhaul of the front half of the loco continues at the Great Central Railway workshops. Following removal of the backhead, removal of the stays around the firebox has begun. The tyres have been turned on the driving wheels, and a new crank axle obtained following the discovery of fracturing on the old one; this particular piece of work was carried out at the South Devon Railway.

Wheels refitted to new crank axle

Meanwhile, at North Weald MPD, the tender brake rigging has been test-fitted to ensure that all components are present and fit correctly following some various attention. The tender itself will be departing to join the front half of 4953 at some point. There have been discussions of using the tender as an extra water tank during the June steam gala, providing it is fit to do so.

BR (W) Large Prairie No.4141

Due to the extensive nature of repairs required, the loco will be sent for professional repairs off-site. No decision has yet been made as to whom the contract for this will be awarded.

Hawthorne Leslie No.3437 “Isabel”

Led by Tony, the Saturday team has been making steady progress. In the yard, the boiler tubes have been fitted and expanded; Tony is nearing completion with the beading at the firebox end, and will then finish at the smokebox end.

The axlebox shimming bolts have had Locktight applied by the volunteers, and the frames lowered onto the wheels. The eccentric motion, rods and brake rigging were all cleaned, painted and fitting, before the rolling chassis was shunted out of the shed a short way to ensure all was well; a positive find was the absence of a knocking, which had been a persistent source of concern when she was withdrawn.

A start was made on the next layer of paint on the cab, tank and boiler cladding – EWS Maroon for those interested, which will be her livery once again.

Hudswell Clarke & Co. No.1731 (Samuel Fox & Co. No.20) “Jennifer”

The on-hire loco has made a valiant effort, despite being an ‘oscillating’ rider that is a common trait with industrial locos. She proved popular over Christmas, but unfortunately, on 23 December 2015, broke a spring, which led to her withdrawal from the last of the year’s services. The spring was removed and sent away for repair, being returned and refitted in time for the February 2016 Half Term services, after which she received a quick washout.

Diesel Locomotives

BR Class 25 – 25173

The overhaul continues at Shackerstone; the latest report indicates that all the rough areas of bodywork have been cut away and prepared for the new sections to be installed; one side has almost been completed, and the loco should be returning in the not-too-distant future.

BR Class 31 – 31438

Operational, though in need of tyre turning.

BR Class 37 – 37029

Operational, and currently the main engineering loco.

Class 47 – 47635 “Jimmy Milne”

Now withdrawn from traffic for attention to the bodywork, roof and pressure-reducing valves. This will likely be the next major job once the Class 117 DMU and North Weald Shed concreting has been completed.

Class 45 – 45132

The owners and support group are making steady progress with the major work being carried out, both on and off site. A full article will follow detailing the work to date.

Class 03

Operational, and generally restricted to yard use. The rods require some attention, similar to that given to 03170’s rods last year. The bodywork is also in line to be seen to.


Operational, though limited to yard use. The vacuum braking is being looked at, as a few issues have arisen with this particular braking system. Some other small outstanding jobs to the running gear and engine also being carried out.

Class 117 DMU


Restoration continues, with all the seating having been reupholstered. The roof of the DMS (Driving Motor Standard) has been completed, and bodywork rubbed down and prepared for the application of undercoat. The DMBS (Driving Motor Brake Standard) has been sheeted over until it can move into the Shed, which will be once the DMS is completed. In the meantime, the Carriage and Wagon team are working on the corrosion around the guard’s compartment, and trying to find the source of the water ingress.

Class 205 DEMU – 205205

Temporarily out of traffic; as previously reported, the unit ran out of fuel mid-run, due to a faulty fuel gauge. The fuel lines and engine have been cleared of ‘sludge’, though the unit is having trouble holding power. In the meantime, the springs have been removed, refurbished and refitted; once the power issues have been resolved, the unit will be released back to traffic.

Ruston & Hornsby – D2957

Operational, though unused due to its very limited capabilities.

Report compiled by Owen Hayward
Updates provided by Tony Goulding (Steam) and Chris Travers (Diesel)