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31st August 2020

Out and About

Since the previous report the green/blue 4-car combination of the Wickham Class 109 and the BRCW Class 104 was used on several days to provide three return services to Carrog.

During the August Bank Holiday weekend Restoration and Maintenance work included the following...

Class 105

The restoration of the Cravens trailer continued with the cleaning and priming of some of the electrical boxes that belong underneath the vehicle...

Class 105 electrical box

Class 105 electrical box

and the stripping of several layers of paint from some of the panels of the cab desk so that they are now ready to prime...

Class 105 desk panels

Class 108

The old 'pyro cord' fire detectors, which dated from 1988/1991, were replaced by new 'wiggly wire' detectors...

Class 108 installation of wiggly wire fire detectors

and then wired to the fire alarm panels and tested...

Class 108 no. 2 fire panel

Investigations into the reason for rainwater finding its way into the cab of 51933 led to the discovery that some of the rivets had failed on a metal patch on top of the route indicator box causing it to lift and let in water...

Class 108 damaged roof patch

The patch was removed, cleaned, primed and painted and then reinstalled with plenty of sealant so the cab will hopefully now remain dry.

Class 108 painted roof patch

Class 108 repaired roof patch

Class 127

The bodywork repairs to 51618 continued with the following:-

Some substantial steel supports were fabricated for the hinges of a door in the guard's compartment. They replace some large wooden blocks and will hopefully result in the door requiring fewer adjustments and repairs in the future.

More woodwork was fitted to the inside of the new steel bodywork to facilitate the fitting of the wall panels and the varnished window frames, some guttering was reattached, and some grey paint was applied to an area of the roof.

17th August 2020

Out and About

Since the previous report the group has played its part in returning train services to the Dee Valley by providing non-stop Llangollen <-> Carrog railcar services on a number of days. Most of those trains were provided by the green/blue 4-car combination of the Wickham Class 109 and the BRCW Class 104 seen here at Llangollen Station...

4-car DMU at Llangollen Station

4-car DMU at Llangollen Station

4-car DMU at Llangollen Station

During the same period, a great deal of Restoration and Maintenance work was carried out at our Pentrefelin depot as will be seen below. As always there were plenty of opportunities for members to learn new skills including the art of gift-wrapping an engine...

Gift wrapped engine
Class 104

Two Electro-Pneumatic (EP) valves were replaced on 50454 because they were failing to seat properly and leaking air. For the benefit of new readers, an EP valve receives an electrical control signal originating from a driver's control and 'interprets' it to turn on or off the compressed air supply to the associated item of air-operated equipment as required. Items of equipment operated by EP valves are the throttles, gears and (forward/reverse) final drives.

Replacing EP valves on 50454

Class 105

The restoration of the Cravens trailer car 56456 continued with the installation of the electrical wiring for the driver's control circuit key, its associated light and the buzzer button...

Class 105 wiring for the buzzer button

Class 105 wiring for the key switch and light

the test fitting of the recently-painted panels that go either side of the destination box in the cab...

Class 105 cab panels

Class 105 cab panels

the cutting and installation of various wall panels, and the cutting and fitting of timber strips for those panels to fasten to...

Class 105 cutting wall panels

Class 105 trial fitting a wall panel

the trunking and old wiring was removed from underneath the vehicle...

Class 105 removal of old trunking and wiring

The insulation was completed in the ceiling of the driver's cab and some of the panels for the front of the driver's desk were located and subjected to the removal of several layers of paint.

Class 108

51933 received a replacement Electro-Pneumatic (EP) valve for one that was failing to seat properly and two of the pipes to the no.2 gearbox were modified to eliminate air leaks.

Class 127

The battery box framework was reattached to the secondman's side of the vehicle...

Class 127 battery box framework

part of the framework for the other battery box was given a coat of primer/undercoat...

Class 127 battery box

... some long defunct fire extinguisher holders were removed...

Class 127 redundant fire extinguisher holders

woodwork was generated for the guard's window surround...

Class 127 woodwork for the guard's window

repairs were carried out to the guard's door...

Class 127 guard's compartment

and a start was made on producing and fitting wall panels...

Class 127 wall panels

3rd August 2020

After a break of almost five months, passenger trains at Llangollen Railway resumed on Saturday 1st August when a 6-car DMU comprising classes 108+104+109 made three return trips to Carrog according to a modified timetable that omits the calls at intermediate stations for the time being.

During the previous week we ran some staff-only 'shakedown' services to test and practise the Covid-19 procedures that had been put in place and also provide an opportunity for staff refresher training etc. During that week, George Jones captured the following images:-

A six-car DMU passing Berwyn on one of the 'shakedown' specials and apparently bound for King's Cross...

6-car DMU passing Berwyn

Unfortunately the long shutdown appeared to have led a sheep to believe that it was now in charge of the line and it insisted on 'piloting' the above train all the way from Deeside to Carrog - a distance of four miles at speeds ranging from 0 to 10 mph - thereby delaying the train somewhat ...

Pilotsheep working

Pilotsheep working

Covid-19-compliant staff as staff (exchanging the staff) ...

Token exchange

and Covid-19-compliant staff as passengers ...

Practising social distancing in the class 109

It is a sobering thought that, in the sixty years or so since the heritage DMUs were built, this is surely the first time that passengers from different families have been expected to sit at least two metres apart.

And finally the class 109 Wickham unit arriving at Carrog during heavy rain. According to George this scene was remarkably similar to that of 17th March which turned out to be the last day of operation before the lockdown.

Wickham class 109 arriving at Carrog during heavy rain

At the Pentrefelin depot work has recommenced on the restoration of the Cravens trailer car 56456 thanks to the return of the internal restoration team and some attention by members of the electrical team. The cab roof insulation is now almost finished, some more woodwork to support the ceiling was cut and fitted at the rear of the unit, the cab desk was screwed in place and a start made on fastening the controls and gauges to it.

Fastening controls to the desk in the cab of the class 105

Securing dials to the desk in the cab of the class 105

On the electrical front the panel lights, tachometer, buzzer button, cab demister fan, tail and marker lights, destination and route indicator lights were all wired up and tested and the speedometer was also wired up but awaits a part for the compensator to finish it off.

Illuminating the front of the class 105

The junction boxes for the heater controls, plus their associated harnesses, were removed from the underside of the vehicle so that they can form another homework project.

Removing equipment from underneath the class 105

Heater controls from the class 105

On the Class 127 vehicle 51618 that is currently undergoing bodywork repairs inside the shed...

The guard's inwards-opening door on the driver's side was re-hung and now opens and closes as it should after some carefully-calculated shimming and modifications to the aperture, various bits of battery boxes and fittings were painted so that they are ready to refit, and measurements were taken of the wooden parts of the battery box so that the wood can be cut as a homework project in readiness for a repair at a future meeting.

The Class 109 Wickham trailer 56171 received a replacement light fitting in its toilet - something that was much more difficult to do than this single sentence suggests due to a subtle difference between the old and new fittings.

Wickham class 109 light fitting