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10th November 2022


Friday 28 October marked the last scheduled railcar running day for this year. Some pictures taken on that day can be found in 'Out and About' below.

Some statistics for the 2022 operations by Llangollen Railcars are as follows:-

144 diagrams; 57 of them 4-car, so 201 unit diagrams altogether, across 136 operating days
Around 42,000 passenger single journeys recorded (figures missing for a few days), 701 being the highest in one day
Around 10,000 litres of Diesel used to cover 9,378 miles
13 assorted exams completed on the various sets, plus repairs arising
Class 104 car 50454 made it to 50,000 miles in preservation, which is a lot of round trips. Its partner 50528 is a little behind as it was stopped for bodywork.
There were a few long days keeping things moving, some things had to be coped with when they didn't quite work as expected, and one trip turned back at Berwyn due to a faulty fuel pump, but it's not bad going for machinery over 60 years old.

Even before the season's wheels had stopped turning, a team of people got together at the Pentrefelin depot during the weekend of 22/23 October and made a start on the winter maintenance plan. The first item on the agenda was the removal of a vacuum brake cylinder from the Wickham class 109 trailer car (56171), further information about which can be found in the Unit-specific work section below.

Out and About

In between driving duties Dewi Davies captured the following pictures of the class 108 on Friday 28 October, the last scheduled day of railcar operation for this year...

Class 108 at Llangollen Station on 28/10/22

Class 108 at Llangollen Station on 28/10/22

Class 108 at Llangollen Station on 28/10/22

Class 108 at Llangollen Station on 28/10/22

Class 108 at Carrog Station on 28/10/22

Unit-specific work

Wickham Class 109 (50416/56171)

The first job for the winter maintenance season was the removal of the vacuum brake cylinder and associated brake gear from the no. 2 bogie of the trailer car (56171). Although the performance of the cylinder met the prescribed requirements, the 'top side' vacuum had a habit of disappearing rather more quickly than we would like so it was decided that the time had come to give the cylinder a thorough overhaul. By far the best way to do that is to remove the cylinder from the vehicle although that is a rather tricky operation due to its location...

Class 109: Vacuum cylinder to be extracted from the no. 2 bogie

Fortunately we have a specially modified trolley jack that is tailor made for the job...

Modified trolley jack for extracting a vacuum cylinder

This clearance must surely be what is referred to as a gnat's whisker...?

Class 109: Extracting the vacuum cylinder from 56171 no. 2 bogie

Class 109: Extracting the vacuum cylinder from 56171 no. 2 bogie

Once the cylinder was out in the daylight it was placed on the recently-constructed stand that not only makes the stripping of the components quicker, easier and safer but has been craftily constructed to cater for 18" and 21" cylinders...

Class 109: Vacuum cylinder on the recently-created stand

Class 109: Separating the inner and outer cylinders

"Double double toil and trouble, Fire burn and cauldron bubble"

The above picture shows the inner and outer parts of the cylinder being separated prior to the piston being removed...

Class 109: Vacuum cylinder components

The cylinder will be cleaned, re-assembled with new components and tested. The other items of brake gear that were removed will also be cleaned, lubricated and tested to make sure that they pivot correctly etc...

Class 109: Various items of brake gear

It will then be a case of "Reassemble in the reverse order..." - something that is easy to write :-)

Thanks to Dewi Davies and John Joyce for supplying the pictures.