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RRRG report for The Peak Express April 2010, Issue 25

The Xmas holiday season usually slows progress but this time round we've been hampered by snow too!  The most unseasonal weather for the UK always clashed with work parties so progress at Rowsley has been rather slower than late last year. Thats not to say we've been tucked up at home in the warm resting on our laurels.

The sales stand has continued to be productive in this reporting period with visits to the GWR Christmas Diesel Day in December 2009, the ELR Steam Gala in February and the ELR Nightrider Gala in March. Also during the period RRRG have opened a trade account with a wholesaler of Hornby model railways, Corgi cars, etc, which are now also available via our Website. The RRRG 2011 Calender has been finalised and should have gone to print before you read this. Sales of the two RRU Class 50 and Peak Rail Train Simulator packages, available via our website and ebay, have been going nicely over the winter period since being launched in October and have made a healthy £500 contribution to the group's income.
As usual RRRG keeps a close eye on loco's going to the scrapyards for breaking up. The most recent tender saw several 37s and 56s sold for scrap. The net result following resales saw only 2 37s available for component recovery which meant we needed to be quick to ensure we acquired our parts before they were burnt up. Four RRRG volunteers attended Booths over several days in sub zero temperatures to ensure success.

Our main target was bogie brake cylinders as they are very prone to water ingress by design and lack of regular use soon results in extensive internal corrosion. All of Repulse's required replacement and Renown's are no doubt similarly pitted and unserviceable. Determined efforts saw all 24 inspected and amazingly we managed to salvage 17 potentially serviceable examples. With each one requiring up to an hour to remove due to the most awkward and tight mounting bolts imaginable it was not the most pleasant of tasks. Following last years huge spares recovery exercises other parts requirements were few but we managed to acquire several sundry items we've identified as wanting over the Autumn. This included draught seals for internal doors,  engineroom lightunits to replace corroded ones behind the radiator grilles, 2 inch pipework to enable the vacuum system to be re-instated in 29 and further electrical cubicle items. With the 2010 scrapyard distraction over, progress at Rowsley can now progress unhindered.

At Rowsley an examination of both complete camshafts found that there was water damage to some of the valve cam lobes on both A and B sides, after taking advice from others they will need replacing (Sounds like another trip to Booths!). We have made a start on removing the camshafts while we were waiting for the next lot of piston rings to come, and have removed the intercoolers and turbos from the free end of the engine and started to remove pipework and brackets to enable the camshafts to be pulled out. The camshafts will not actually be removed until all the pistons have been refitted. Once the outstanding items from European Diesels arrived attention was turned to refitting further pistons, 12 have now been completed leaving just 4 to re-fit.

During October the group made a few useful acquisitions that have helped progress at Rowsley, we now have a large metal workbench with vice, our own pallet truck, and more significantly a forklift truck. Dave has been putting these to good use and has made a start on overhauling the first of the turbo's removed from the ex 50008 power unit. To date the unit has been thoroughly cleaned internally, has been unseized, lubricated, bearings checked, and is now in the process of being cleaned up externally prior to repainting and storing in our second storage coach when it arrives at Rowsley.

On the electrical front all three field divert contactors are now complete ellectricall, and just require the air pipes to be fabricated and fitted. On the rear of them, the large cables to the reverser and divert resistors are being sorted out and fitted. Both cab warning light panels have been fitted and wired on top of the cubicle, and components have been obtained to make a new field divert electronic unit.

The 23rd October proved to be a busy day, the overhauled Class 50 Exhauster purchased from Doncaster Unipart last August was collected and moved to Bowers for a check and test. The opportunity was also taken to move the old spare Class 50 Exhauster that we had in store to Bowers to be used inconjunction with one of the Class 37 Exhausters to make a good Class 50 machine. The final motor blower that we had stored at Booths was also collected and moved to Rowsley. The plan is for us to take delivery of two overhauled exhausters and a motor blower from Bowers in April, these will then be swapped with the machines in 50030 No 2 end. The other item of major expenditure to report is that we have now secured a further ETH/Auxiliary Generator set. The machines are complete and basically in very good condition. They were 3/4 of the way through an overhaul when work was stopped about 3 years ago. As such the field windings from both machines and the ETH Armature are all in excelent overhauled condition. The down side is that 3 years undercover storage has took its toll on the smaller components, which will all need redoing, the biggest set back to the machine being that it needs two new bearings, and the Auxiliary Armature has an internal fault that is not economical to repair. Fortunately, unlike the ETH, the Auxiliary Armature is common to a Class 37 and RRRG have two spares in store.

Finally the AGM was held on 13th December, at its ussual venue in the Whitworth rooms at Darley Dale. The meeting went well, reviewing last year, taking stock of where we are, looking at future plans, receiving the financial reports and reelecting the committee. The only change being that Chris Thorn has picked up the role of Technical Officer from Andy Rowlands who retains the post of electrical Officer. Following the meeting everyone was invited to visit the locos at Rowsley, where the restored drivers desk panels had been temporarily refitted in No 1 cab of 50030 to illustrate the level of work being undertaken.