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27th June 2022

Out and About

Since the previous report, we provided twelve days of 'A' timetable services on Tuesdays - Fridays. In all cases a 4-car DMU was used, with the class 108 + hybrid class 104/108 working until the close of play on 10 June, after which the opportunity was taken to swap the hybrid unit for the Wickham class 109. That enabled the Wickham to venture into the light of day and show off its recently-painted roofs (or rooves if you prefer the old English version of the plural) and the hybrid unit to go into the shed for repairs to some (mostly minor) issues that had arisen during its outings.

Although the services were mostly fault free, the class 104 power car (50454) of the hybrid unit made life a bit more difficult for the drivers at one stage by introducing a delay between the throttle being closed and the engines slowing down - something that made gear changing somewhat more "interesting" than usual. The fault was traced to a lethargic throttle relay that was subsequently replaced.


After the Wickham was pulled out of the shed on Sunday 12 June and formed into a 4-car with the class 108, our chairman, John Joyce, managed to capture the following 'grab shot' of it being 'overtaken' by the service train hauled by class 26 D5310. The difference in height between the main line and the Pentrefelin sidings is just right for the passengers and crew of the service train to have been given a sneak preview of its resplendent roofs!

Class 26 D5310 passing 4-car Class 109 and class 108 at Pentrefelin depot on 12/06/22

For the benefit of those of us at ground level, the following picture provides a better view of the marked improvement to the Wickham's appearance...

Wickham class 109 with freshly-painted roofs at Pentrefelin

There follows an opportunity to compare and contrast the front ends of the Wickham class 109 (56171) and Derby class 108 (56223) vehicles as well as an opportunity to compare and contrast different types of flora...

Front ends of Class 109 (56171) and Class 108 (56223) at Pentrefelin

At Butterley (Midland Railway) our class 100 Gloucester unit, which is the only survivor of its type and which recently had its power and trailer cars re-united...

Class 100 Gloucester unit

...was put on display during the DMU Gala weekend (18/19 June) so that members of the group could explain to visitors just what is involved in restoring DMU vehicles and let them see for themselves the work in progress.

We try our best to ensure that our railcars enter service in a presentable condition (inside and out) and the task of cleaning the outside of them is always more user-friendly on a dry, warm, wind-free summer's day. On this occasion the commissioning of a brand new pressure washer provided extra enjoyment if only for the person doing the commissioning...

Class 108: Washing the outside with the aid of a new pressure washer

Please do not adjust your set!: As a homework project, one of our members has been painstakingly painting the lettering on the lids of a number of electrical boxes belonging to the various units. There are no prizes for spotting the 'deliberate' mistake with this particular lid which was presumably the result of a Friday afternoon casting...

Electrical lid with freshly-painted lettering

There are always plenty of "housekeeping" jobs that are not directly related to railcar restoration/maintenance but are, nevertheless, vital to enable the group to function and develop. Our electrical team took time out to install some additional CCTV cameras at the Pentrefelin depot and members of the Cravens/Gloucester restoration team continue to construct a much-needed "overflow" tool cupboard there...

Building a new tool cupboard

Building a new tool cupboard

It may not be a flat-pack from that well-known Swedish supplier of such things but we might still be able to think of a Swedish-sounding name for it. Answers on a postcard please.

A colourful passenger in the shape of a Cinnabar moth...

Cinnabar moth

Information about the work that was carried out on specific railcars at Pentrefelin and Butterley can be found in the unit-specific work sections below.

Unit-specific work

Hybrid class 104/108 (50454/56223)

As reported in 'Out and About' above, a niggling variable delay between the driver closing the throttle and the engines of 50454 responding was traced to a sticking relay which was replaced...

Class 104: Replacing a throttle relay on 50454

Class 104: Replacing a throttle relay on 50454

Other work included the refitting of a 'dovetail' to a door frame, the freeing of a stiff luggage handle on a guard's door, and a repair to a seat back in 56223.

Class 108 (51933/54504)

The unit was given an 'A' exam. Just in case you have ever wondered what the "Let's go and service a DMU..." starter toolkit looks like here it is...

Starter toolkit for servicing a DMU

Had another picture been taken later it would almost certainly have shown the tools in a state of disarray and having attracted plenty of dirt/oil/grease plus a few friends!

In most respects the exam went according to plan but it highlighted the need for a door repair...

Class 108: Door repair

...and it was also discovered that a flexible section of the exhaust pipe on the no. 2 engine was letting in daylight, or letting out exhaust fumes depending on whether or not the engine was running at the time...

Class 108: Broken flexible exhaust section from the no. 2 engine

Given that it was only fitted last November we are not sure why it failed so soon and are hoping that its identical-looking replacement will last considerably longer.

Here's one for devotees of the 1980s comedy series 'Allo 'Allo: "It is I, LeClerc. I am trying to find the leak de vacuum using my homemade ear trumpet"...

Class 108: Listening for vacuum leaks

The leak was traced to the piston gland of a vacuum cylinder and, unfortunately, it was still audible under some circumstances after the gland was replaced so the cylinder will be given a good dose of 'looking at' after the end of the running season.

Wickham Class 109 (50416/56171)

As well as a shiny roof the power car (50416) now has a shiny front following some repairs to the driver's side front corner which had an argument with a dead tree...

Class 109: 50416 shiny front

And no - the tree in the dead tree sketch was not a Norwegian Blue! :-)

The driver's and secondman's doors were fitted with internal handles that had been acquired from a scrap class 108...

Class 109: Fitting an internal handle to the secondman's door on 50416

Although the class 109s never had those internal handles they do make it considerably easier and safer for crew members to climb in/out to/from ground level. There was a treat for the passengers too because they were provided with some new rope handles in the corridor connections...

Class 109: New rope handles in the corridor connections

Thanks to Allen Chatwood, John Joyce and Mike Martin for supplying the pictures.

6th June 2022

Out and About

Eight days of 'A' timetable services have been provided since the previous report, mostly by the hybrid blue/green class 104/108 unit working alone but ably assisted by its friend, the class 108, on days when a 4-car unit was required to provide the necessary seating for pre-booked parties. The following picture shows the 4-car unit on its way back to Pentrefelin at the close of play on Monday 30th May...

4-car Hybrid class 104/108 and class 108 returning to Pentrefelin depot on 30/05/22

Even though the aforementioned workings were largely "run of the mill", two of our drivers nevertheless spotted some opportunities to secure unusual photographs. Firstly, the hybrid unit was pictured in the locomotive yard at Llangollen during a detour to obtain the single line token at the start of the day...

Hybrid class 104/108 in the locomotive yard at Llangollen on 27/05/22

Secondly, the combination of a mirror on the wall of the cafe at Carrog station, and the position of the class 108 in the platform, resulted in the following optical illusion of a class 108 single-car railbus...

A virtual class 108 railbus at Carrog!

The driver concerned assured us that it was something that happened naturally and was not the result of precision measurements and/or precision DMU parking!


Information about the work that was carried out on specific railcars at Pentrefelin and Butterley can be found in the unit-specific work sections below.

Members of the Cravens/Gloucester restoration team were encouraged/persuaded to take time out from their usual duties and temporarily assign their carpentry skills to the construction of an overflow tool cupboard...

Construction of a new tool cupboard

Unit-specific work

Hybrid class 104/108 (50454/56223)

The unit was given a wash and brush up on Sunday 29th May in readiness for its use on the following week's services...

Hybrid class 104/108 being washed on 29/05/22

Wickham Class 109 (50416/56171)

The high-level work continued with the refurbishment of the roof of the trailer car (56171). The first step was to use the tried-and-tested method of protecting the vehicle sides, front and back by constructing a 'surgical gown' out of plastic sheeting...

Class 109: 56171 wrapped up in readiness for work on the roof

...and that was then followed by preparation and the application of primer, undercoat and top coat in that order.

Class 109: Painting the roof of 56171

Class 109: Painting the roof of 56171

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

A new guard's door pillar had to be constructed for the secondman's side of the vehicle due to the amount of corrosion on the original. The following picture shows the old and (in-progress) new door pillars. In the latter case the 'top hat' has to be slotted, bent and welded back together to match the curve of the lower bodyside.

Class 127: Old and (in-progress) new door pillars

It was also necessary to construct some more body skin to replace another corroded area...

Class 127: Cutting some replacement body skin from a sheet of steel

Class 127: Installing some replacement body skin

Regular readers will know that a recurring theme with the restoration of this suburban vehicle is, "The doors, the doors!" so here is yet another one being sanded...

Class 127: Sanding a guard's door

...and some handles that had been cleaned and primed...

Class 127: Door handles after cleaning and priming

Gloucester class 100 51118/56097 (undergoing restoration at the Midland Railway, Butterley)

Work continued with the fitting of wall panels, insulation and beading in the first class and middle compartments of the trailer car.

The following pictures effectively provide 'before' and 'after' views even though they are of different vehicles. The first one shows the small compartment in the power car (51118) and provides a reminder of what the corresponding compartment in the trailer car looked like prior to restoration...

Class 100:  The small compartment in the power car 51118

This is what the compartment in the trailer car looks like now...

Class 100: The small compartment in the trailer car 56097

What a transformation!

Thanks to Adam Boddy, Allen Chatwood, John Joyce and Mike Martin for supplying the pictures.