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31st December 2021

General


It has been a long-held tradition for the group to have a "cold turkey" working meeting at Pentrefelin sometime during the Christmas - New Year period and this year was no exception but there was also a bonus "not yet cooked turkey" meeting just before Christmas so our festive productivity turned out to be somewhat higher than usual!


We were delighted to find that Santa had delivered the things on our wish list - namely these spare wheelsets, some of which will eventually be placed under the Gloucester Class 100 power car on the basis that they are in much better condition than the ones that it currently has...


Spare wheelsets

... and a couple of spare Leyland 680 engines that will, no doubt, come in useful at some stage. The elves at the North Pole presumably lacked the time or expertise to construct a custom-made tool to facilitate the removal of engine air filter bowls so we resorted to constructing one ourselves...


Custom-made tool for removing engine air filter bowls

A rationalisation of rolling stock in the shed at Pentrefelin resulted in some extra space which enabled us to move the class 127 vehicle 51618 to the back, where the ongoing extensive repairs to its bodywork can continue, and squeeze in the 2-car Wickham unit, which will benefit from the protection from the winter weather. The spare bogie was also carefully shunted into the shed for eventual overhaul...


Spare bogie

The aforementioned shunt included the rare sight of the 0-4-0 Yorkshire Engine Company Diesel locomotive "Pilkington" and Lowmac wagon inside the shed...


Diesel Locomotive Pilkington and Lowmac wagon inside the shed at Pentrefelin

The work does not stop when we leave our railway sites at Llangollen and Butterley and head off home because some of our members take (or are given?) homework projects such as this one where a collection of corridor connection fittings from the Gloucester and Cravens trailer cars (56097 and 56456 respectively) has been taken home and arranged ready for refurbishment...


56097 and 56456: Corridor connection fittings awaiting refurbishment



Unit-specific work


Wickham Class 109 50416/56171

The replacement of the 'canvas' on the corridor connection of 50416 was completed and the corridors of both vehicles were then fitted with some sacrificial 'top flaps' that will protect the gangway 'canvas' from the worst of the weather and hot exhaust particles, the idea being that the flaps can be replaced relatively easily (and cheaply?) as/when required. To complete the job, some welding work was carried out to improve the 'wedges' that align the corridor faceplates on the two vehicles, and various bits and pieces in the corridor area, including the treadplates, were given a coat of paint.




Hybrid class 104/108 (50454/56223)

The unit was given an 'A' examination which involves a number of checks, the topping up of oils etc., and, on this occasion, revealed a couple of loose underkeep bolts on 56223. Both of them eventually succumbed to tightening using a socket spanner, a long lever and an unexpected workout for the operator but one of them also required some heat before responding to the treatment...


56223: Applying heat to an underkeep nut to enable it to be tightened

56223: Tightening an underkeep bolt


Class 127 vehicle no. 51618 (undergoing bodywork repairs at Llangollen)

The new battery boxes were wired up, more corroded areas of bodywork had steel patches welded in, and the seemingly never-ending task of servicing doors and their components continued. With eighteen doors (or twenty if the double doors on the guard's compartment are classed as two) on the one vehicle there are a lot to process but we have, at least, developed what appears to be a winning formula. The following picture shows some door locks being serviced - a process that consists of dismantling, cleaning (to remove old, hardened grease etc.), reassembling and testing ...


51618: Door locks being serviced

... and the following one shows one of the doors being stripped of paint after the lock and 'scissors' (the spring associated with the droplight) had been removed...


51618: Removing paint from a door


Thanks to John Joyce for supplying the pictures.


Finally we would like to wish our readers a Happy New Year!

13th December 2021

Out and About


Although the group completed its scheduled public train services for this year in November, the hybrid class 104/108 unit was allowed out to play on Monday 6 December when it provided a special return trip to Berwyn for Sam Rowlands (Chair of the Senedd's Cross Party Group on Tourism) and several members of the Llangollen Railway Trust. Further information about the visit can be found in this Llanblogger article.

Unit-specific work


Cravens class 105 trailer car no. 56456 (undergoing restoration at Llangollen)

Progress continued with the cleaning and fitting of the outer frames to the 1st class windows on the secondman's side...


Class 105: Aluminium trim cleaned and installed around windows

... and all of the aluminium pieces that cover the wall panel joints below the luggage rack were cut and fitted to the secondman's side...


Class 105: Trim over wall panel joints



Wickham Class 109 50416/56171

The remaining connections were fastened to the recently repaired and refitted engine which then received some adjustments to things such as the idle speed, idle damper, throttle motor setup etc. as well as the elimination of some minor leaks...


Class 109: Making adjustments to the refitted engine

For the benefit of anyone struggling to get his/her 'bearings', the above picture was taken from inside the vehicle looking down on the engine courtesy of some missing floor panels.

It was also necessary to reconnect the bogies - something that involves a number of difficult-to-access (and difficult to photograph) connections in places where the sun doesn't shine as well as this one - the connection of the earth strap on the outside - which is somewhat easier on both fronts...


Class 109: Reconnecting the bogies

Various aspects of the 'B' exam were tackled included an oil change on the other (no. 2) engine and the servicing of the engine air filters...


Class 109: Servicing the engine air filters

The following picture and video show the engine in its rightful position, being started and briefly revved to gauge its liveliness.


Class 109: The repaired no. 1 engine back in position


The next milestone will be for it to earn its keep by providing some traction power once again.





Class 127 vehicle no. 51618 (undergoing bodywork repairs at Llangollen)

The painting of the underframe continued, three more door 'scissors' were cleaned up, and the secondman's door was tweaked into its correct alignment by warming up the top hinge.





Gloucester class 100 trailer car no. 56097 (undergoing restoration at the Midland Railway, Butterley)

Recent work has included a thorough cleaning of the 1st class cab wall, the production of some beading that has gone for staining and varnishing as a homework project, and some progress towards the fitting of a new passenger communication (passcom) system.




Thanks to John Joyce and Mike Martin for supplying the pictures and video.