Volunteer’s View – February 2nd-9th

Here’s another update by Graham Clarke from the DPS depot at Barrow Hill. It covers the early part of February:

Over the past couple of weeks it’s been busy, with working parties during the week as well.

Work continues on 55019’s winter maintenance, especially the stripping and painting of no.2 cab and both cab roofs. The engine room floor is also receiving major attention with all the tread plates removed, cleaned and painted on the back. This done to stop galvanic corrosion between the aluminium tread plates and the steel floor. The floor has been cleaned and painted as well. It’s difficult to get the oil out of everywhere, because it soaks into the metal. It’s taken several rounds of cleaning so far. Thanks to Darrell, Steve, Beth, Nigel, Nat, Stuart, Wizz, John, Bob, Martin and Mark for their hard work so far.

On the agenda next is steam cleaning under the loco ready for mechanical and electrical maintenance. It’s been too cold to entertain recently. Thanks Mike, it’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it!

Mike and John have also been busy tidying the stores. It’s amazing how much space there is when you throw out the junk and put stuff away. That’s not a hint, honestly!

Power units have moved forward significantly. No. 451 now has its phasing gearbox sealed up, alignment dowels fitted and loosely bolted in place. Prior to that the engine was filled with coolant and left to stand for a couple of weeks to check for leaks from the new hoses inside the triangle of cylinder blocks. This area is inaccessible without removing the power unit from the loco, removing the main generator and phasing gearbox. Leaks inside the triangle are expensive, difficult and unwanted! Thanks to Pete, Mick to the power of 2 and Dave.

Meanwhile over on 55015, Steve has been working on the threads that the buffer cowl fixing screws go into. Many had broken screws in them or damaged threads. There are lots of jobs like this on a loco that are not glamorous, are not seen, require real skills to do them and take a lot of time. It’s jobs like this that take up most of the time needed to complete a major repair to a loco and not installing completed major components. That may seem counter intuitive, but it’s absolutely the reality. Thanks to Steve and all those who dedicate the time to these tasks. It makes all the difference to a top quality end result.

I’ve been struggling with the last three traction motor connections as described above and I’ve also been working to get the insulation resistance values of the cab heaters up to specification. The end result is that all the cab heater elements on the loco and in our stores are not useable. That’s another bugger of a job to sort out! Fortunately, or maybe not, the manufacturer still exists.

Darrell has been busy as usual with the sales stock, managing our rented out space and leading midweek working parties. Thanks a lot for all your efforts. It makes a big difference.

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