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Restoration diary

Reports of restoration work on 50029 and 50030.

Working party report 19th April 2015

Working party report 19th April 2015

During the work party of 19th April Andy Rowlands connected up the reverser air piston coils and tidied up the cables in the electrical cubicle in 50030, then started investigating the severed cables under the main cubicle walkway. They appear to be from the DSD relay box but further investigation will be required to trace them exactly.

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Peter Carter and Ian Kemp together with Dave Rolfe continued fitting oil and water pipes to the ex-50008 power unit (see previous report, Power unit progress) in continued preparation for its use inside the overhauled 50030.

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Sales and merchandise updates

Sales and merchandise updates

RRRG was at the Nene Valley Railway diesel gala at Wansford over the weekend of 11-12 April with our sales stand.  We always enjoy trading at Wansford and it was evident the NVR had gone to great lengths to put on a good show with a large number of visiting locomotives.  Pleasingly the gala was very well attended and we enjoyed a good sales performance.  Many thanks to all the people who dropped by to say hello and to those who bought something from us; we hope you enjoy your purchases and thanks for supporting us!  Thanks also to the NVR for the invitation to attend.

If you missed us at the gala, we are pleased to advise that our web shop has recently been restocked.  We have a fresh selection of brand new Hornby models as well as branded t-shirts, polo shirts, fleeces and mugs.  Restoring 50029 and 50030 is neither easy nor cheap.  If the enthusiast community wants them to run again, we shall need to draw further on your support to achieve that goal!

 

Article image: 50008 Thunderer double heading with 50015 Valiant at Peterborough Nene Valley station, during the Nene Valley diesel gala on 11th April 2015, courtesy Andy Rowlands.

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Power unit progress

Power unit progress

The restoration of the power unit ex-50008 Thunderer which was purchased by RRRG for use in 50030 is now almost complete.  This has involved removing all sixteen cylinder heads and either overhauling them or replacing them with overhauled heads, then removing all sixteen pistons and con rods before replacing both big and small end bearings, piston rings and if necessary pistons to effectively return the power unit to "zero hours" status.  Even with highly dedicated volunteer labour this has been a lengthy process but is now well into the "home straight".

Dave Rolfe has concentrated on an external overhaul of the unit, cleaning and painting especially auxiliary items such as water rails (blue) and oil feed pipes (pink).  This will enable us to identify potential problems such as oil leaks when the unit is in service inside 50030.  Ian Kemp, RRRG's mechanical team leader, and his fellow dedicated volunteer Peter Carter have been refitting the auxiliary pipework to the unit.  This has now reached the stage of refitting the lower cooling water rails.

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In common with other Class 50 owners we have decided to manufacture our own gaskets as this is much cheaper than buying ready-made items.  Ian and Pete were busy today cutting out and fitting the water rail gaskets to one side of the power unit before refitting and attaching one of the water rails.  This is not an easy task because the casting of the engine block makes accessing the fastening nuts very difficult!  The corresponding water rail on the other side will be refitted in due course.

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The tasks remaining to complete the overhaul of the diesel engine part of the power unit are to complete the refitting of oil and cooling water feed pipes and to test and overhaul the Woodward engine governor if necessary.  We also need to source a set of braided hoses which feed cooling water to the turbos - these were either missing or rotten when we bought the power unit.  The main generator attached to the engine is in good condition and will be detached and overhauled separately nearer the time the unit is ready to be installed inside 50030.

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The power unit currently in 50030 is also practically complete and serviceable.  We did start an overhaul of this power unit before the Thunderer power unit came on the market and it is turn intended for use in 50029, to replace the power unit in that locomotive which suffered a serious seizure that was the cause of 50029's BR withdrawal in 1992.  An exchange of main generators is possible, to mate the good generator on 50029's damaged block with the good block attached to the main generator with flashover damage that is currently in 50030 - however this is a decision some time in the future.

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RRRG members' newsletter issue 29 now available!

The latest issue of the RRRG members' newsletter is now available to view on the website!  However you have to be a current, paid up member of RRRG in order to view it.  If you would like to join and catch up on all the latest news regarding the project, please read about our range of membership benefits and options.  All users of our website are welcome to view the previous issue of the newsletter and all back issues.

We've also been doing a bit of website housekeeping.  Once you are a registered user of the site and logged in, you will now find a special Subs Renewals menu under the User Area menu.  With this you can easily join RRRG for the first time or renew your membership if it has expired.  As 50030 approaches the completion of its restoration, we appreciate your membership and support of RRRG.

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An Official Statement From Renown Repulse Restoration Group

It has come to our attention that a popular railway enthusiast periodical has recently published a rumour that 50029 is to be sold for parts to a main line operator of the type.  We wish to categorically state that this rumour is not true.  Whilst most of our restoration efforts are concentrated on 50030, we are not neglecting 50029 and it is still our intention to restore both locomotives in the fullness of time.  We have not been approached and we have not approached any other parties regarding the sale of either of our main assets. 

Many times we are asked "When will 50030 be ready?" to which our answer is "We aim to have Repulse ready for 2017 and if enough people want the locomotive to run by that date, it will happen, but if not it will take a little bit longer."  We are not short of money and we also have (or know how to obtain) practically all the parts that are required to complete both 50029 and 50030.  However we would welcome additional volunteers to work on the locomotives at Peak Rail as this will undoubtedly aid us in achieving our 2017 target.  We intend to hold an "open day" later in 2015 to allow interested parties to meet our team and inspect progress.  We hope that this will encourage more people to volunteer with us, regardless of your skillset.  Working parties are currently being held most weekends and the latest news and progress will be posted on our website.  Further details of the open day will be announced nearer the time.

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Cab restoration and electricals update

Cab restoration and electricals update

Recent work in the cabs of 50030 has been concentrating on freeing off the power controllers.  Ian Kemp and Dave Rolfe have sprayed them liberally with WD40 and worked them backwards and forwards.  As a result they move for the first time since 1992, albeit rather stiffly in the case of no 2 end controller at the moment.  Andy Rowlands fitted, tightened up and reconnected the cables on the replacement set of contacts Dave had removed from one of our spare power controllers, to replace the set found to be broken during our freeing-off of the controllers. To achieve this you need to unbolt the plate that holds the sets of contacts so it swings away from the cams, and refitting the bolts that hold the plate is difficult as the contact springs keep pushing the plate away from the cams, which makes it not the easiest job when hunched up under the driver's desk and you need three hands!

The controller in no 2 cab is still quite stiff despite repeated applications of various lubricants, but the one in no 1 cab is much easier to move. If we cannot make them easier to rotate, we may have to look at removing the entire controller pedestals and dis-assembling them totally to see if the nylon bearings need replacing.

 

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Ian and Peter Carter oiled the main big end bearings and barred the engine round.  Andy Rowlands has also been working to refit the reverser air piston in the electrical cubicle of 50030.

 

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New CU5 radiator fan control unit completed

New CU5 radiator fan control unit completed

Adrian Spencer of the Cotswold Mainline Diesel Group, a good friend and contact of RRRG, volunteered to construct a modernised version of the CU5 control unit for use in 50029 and 50030, as RRRG has none and these items are rarely made available for sale by other groups.  The work to build one unit has now been effectively completed barring minor cosmetic details such as securing the wires to the circuit boards with cable ties.  The replacement unit has been deliberately designed to physically resemble the old unit as much as possible such that it will be easy to mount into the existing space in the electrical cubicles.  However the insides employ a modern microprocessor to replicate the functions of the original unit - this is necessary because the original Norlog integrated circuits are no longer made and no modern equivalent apparently exists.  The original unit contains many auxiliary components which aren't necessary in the new build because the microprocessor duplicates their respective functions.  Three printed circuit boards on the old unit are reduced to one in the new unit.  A number of diagnostic LEDs are included to indicate which contacts are closed at any given time - this will enable the correct functioning of the new unit to be monitored.  The new unit also employs optical connections to isolate it from interference from other cubicle equipment.

 

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The CU5 radiator fan unit basically decides when to increase the speed of the radiator fan, and depends on the temperature of the power unit cooling water. The fan initially runs at a low speed, and the CU5 switches in three faster speeds as the water temperature increases, via banks of resistors in the roof of the passageways past the radiators, placed there to keep them cool. The programming of the microprocessor in the new unit can be altered if it turns out not to perform as the original did.

 

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Work party report 5th October 2014

Work party report 5th October 2014

Ian, Pete and Dave spent the day unfastening the bolts to allow the main generator fan to be removed.  The fan is between the generator and power unit (but bolted to the main generator itself) and is normally hidden by the surrounding cowling. It sucks in cold air from under the body to help cool the gen and the cowling keeps the air circulating round the gen rather than blowing it all round the engine compartment. It has to come out to give access to the next layer of bolts that actually connect the engine to the generator. This proved to be a very fiddly task in the limited space between the fan and engine block.  Ian is seen proudly displaying his dirty hands after the day's work!

 
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I continued cutting and fitting the cubicle air circuit, with the same difficulties as before, today was the turn of the field divert contactors. The pipe itself is easy to bend and the olives go on fine, it's getting my hands and a spanner to the connections round all the cables that's the problem. I should have done these pipes first before cabling, but as ever, wise after the event.
 
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Work party report 21st September 2014

Work party report 21st September 2014
Dave, Pete and Ian disconnected and removed the four sections of airshaft round the power unit flywheel and bolted up the second intercooler, which Dave then painted. I continued cutting and fitting cubicle air pipes, removed the Z23 resistor and a now-redundant cable from it to the CU6, in preparation for fitting an electronic device in its place as part of the CU6 upgrade.
 
As we were packing up we were greeted by the sound of eight Rolls Royce Merlins as both the preserved airworthy Lancasters flew over Rowsley.
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Work party report 7th September 2014

Work party report 7th September 2014

Mark brought two of the refurbished KV10s, paperwork, test sheets and circuit diagrams up to site. After a test fitting they were removed once again! Dave, Pete, Ian and I hoisted one of the intercoolers up onto the ex-50008 power unit and bolted it in place. The other is ready to be refitted but needs painting first. Dave started making a hoist arm to be fitted on a corner of the container over the workbench. I started fitting the cubicle air circuit pipes, which was somewhat difficult with all the cabling in place, so if I ever do that again, the lesson is fit the airpipes before the cabling, then the cables wouldn't be in the way!

The new airpipes are just visible in the photo below, between M4, M5 and M6.

I discovered the air connections on the reverser air cylinder are a different thread to all the others, so I brought it home with me to take to the supplier I got the other fittings from to see if they can provide the correct-thread fittings for it.

 

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Work party report 24th August

Work party report 24th August

A good day on site today. Former regular working member Wes Needle joined us for today's workparty.  Since getting married and starting a family, Wes hasn't had much time to indulge his chosen hobby, but because they had taken a break in a holiday cottage not far from Rowsley, he was able to take a day to join us while his wife Keren and the nippers went on the train.

Dave Rolfe continued cleaning and painting power unit pipework, then he, Wes, Peter Carter and Ian Kemp finished overhauling one of the intercoolers and reassembled it. They also started unfastening one of the compressors on 50030 ready for it to be removed as there is an overhauled one ready to take its place.

 

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I located the fittings and tubing I had purchased some time ago to replace the air circuit in Repulse. There are different threads that have been used on these fittings at various times, so it was a bit of a gamble whether we had chosen the right thread, but fortunately when I tried the fittings in the motor and divert contactors, they screwed in fine. I had made a diagram some time ago of the routing and connections of the air circuit in 50021, so I am now able to copy it in Repulse. I also finished off connecting up the newly-fitted reverser in the electrical cubicle of 50030 with all its wiring and connections.  Even the weather was kind to us!

 

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Work party reports 29th June and 14th July

Work party reports 29th June and 14th July

On 29th June a long-running sub-project within the electrical restoration of 50030 took a substantial step forward. I got the proper reverser (Class 50 specification) fitted into Repulse, with help from Dave Rolfe, Peter Carter and Ian Kemp as it's so damned heavy. We had to jiggle it about to get it to fit properly, but did it in the end. I attached the divert cables at the rear, but didn't have time to do the auxilaries at the front as I showed two visitors round Repulse. We are always happy to show enthusiasts around our project so if you want to take a look inside our locomotives then get in touch with us either via the website or our Facebook pages and we will do our best to accommodate you.

 

 

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Also on this date Dave, Ian and Pete also continued sorting fuel and water pipework recovered from 50030's power unit to replace damaged sections on the ex-50008 unit.  This unit is destined for use in 50030 when complete - the existing power unit in Repulse was in acceptable condition when we acquired the loco, but has high engine hours and as part of our policy of overhauling our 50s to a very high standard in order to give them a long and trouble-free career in preservation we decided to overhaul one power unit totally.  The existing unit in Repulse will be re-used inside 50029 because the engine in Renown has serious problems following the seizure which ended the loco's BR career.  We don't know for sure but are aware of the possibility that the unit in 50029 may only be usable as a source of spares.  Power unit work can be one of the most gruelling of the practical restoration projects as the same task often has to be done at least sixteen times, sometimes even 32 or 64 times!

 

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On 14th July I attached the reverser auxiliary contact wiring after showing another visitor round Repulse. Meanwhile, Ian, Pete and Dave fitted the fuel feed and return pipes to the ex-50008 power unit that they had previously salvaged from the power unit inside Repulse.

 

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Work party report 15th Jun

Work party report 15th Jun

As it rained almost all day yesterday, even though the forecast was for dry weather, I decided not to cart the reverser outside as I've cleaned it, so I test fitted the newly-made CU2 field divert and CU7 ETH detector units into 50030's elec cubicle. While the CU7 can go in its original position, the original position for the CU2 had the cable connections very close to the cubicle frame, so I drilled a couple more holes to put it in a better position.
 
Inbetween the heavier bursts of rain, Ian and Pete removed the fuel feed pipes from 008's power unit as they'd been bent during the lift at Crewe when we bought and moved the PU about 8 years ago. Dave was painting pipes taken from the PU inside Repulse to replace them.
 
I also took the opportunity to get some more pictures of Mark's work last weekend on the generator conduits.
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Work party report 7th June

Work party report 7th June

Dave Rolfe and I had a very wet Saturday at Rowsley last weekend (I'd gone on the Saturday as Sunday was my Wedding Anniversary), the weather finally cleared around 5 o'clock!

Given the weather we both found things indoors to occupy ourselves, Dave spent part of the day unbolting and freeing off sections of the radiator louvre operating mechanism. His remaining time was spent sorting out the various fittings, clamps, etc, that are needed to refit the fuel rails to the power unit, and checking their condition, cleaning and painting the metal sections of the clamps. I spent most of the day in 50030's generator room sorting out the best sections of conduit, from our collection of bits ex-50023, 50030 and 50040, to make up the remaining set of conduits. By the end of the day, I had cut sufficient sections to lay out the last of the conduit runs, all that remains to do now with this job is to strip the years of paint and dirt off them, thread the ends of the cut sections and fit the relevant couplers and locking nuts. Hopefully another day's work should see the conduit conundrum resolved. In the process I also identified ¾ of a set for one side of 50029.

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Work party reports 25th May and 1st June

Work party reports 25th May and 1st June

If you've been following RRRG for some time, you might know that we have in our spares stock a genuine Class 50 reverser and a Class 37 example, which is similar but not identical to the Class 50 part.  We had removed the genuine 50 reverser in order to use it as a template to modify the 37 item to Class 50 spec, and in the meantime the ex-37 reverser was installed in 50030's electrical cubicle so that I could judge how long to make the wiring whilst rebuilding the cubicle.

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On Sunday May 25th I disconnected the main cables from the back of the ex-37 reverser, and with Dave Rolfe's help, got it out of 30 and into the container. I cleaned the main power contacts on the the proper 50 reverser and labelled each contact bar while Dave was finishing drilling out sheared bolts around the removable grille that gives access into the No.1 end clean air compartment. Whilst cleaning I happened to notice the auxiliary contact blocks appeared to be facing the wrong way, so I went to Washwood Heath during the week to check 50008 Thunderer, and found they had indeed been refitted the wrong way round after we had taken them apart to make a replica second set to modify the 37 reverser for use in 29.

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Whilst working around the cubicle area in 50030, I was impressed by work that Mark Burrows has been doing to restore the cable conduits for the traction cabling to the main generator.  This has been a laborious task using the best parts of conduits salvaged from 50023 and 50040 before those locomotives were scrapped a few years ago.

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On 1st June Ian, Pete and Dave refitted the decompressor plugs into the power unit, then spent the rest of the day cleaning parts of the power unit ready for painting.

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On the same day, I removed the auxiliary contact blocks from the Class 50-spec reverser and fitted them the right way round, in the process realising that the internal cams had been rotated out of their correct positions, so they wouldn't open and close in the correct sequence. The afternoon was spent getting them back into the correct alignment.  Now that the reverser has been properly adjusted, my next task will to fit it back into the electrical cubicle in 50030.

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Radiator mounting nuts

Radiator mounting nuts

No, we haven't packed up and ceased to exist.  Yes, we have been a bit quiet.  Sorry about that - normal service to be resumed but a number of us have had things other than RRRG to deal with and our day lives have got in the way.

 

Ian Kemp and Dave Rolfe decided today to tackle a job we started some time ago but ended up leaving to another day.  This was to remove the remaining radiator securing nuts, so that we can lift the radiators out of 50030 and have them sent away for overhaul.  Given that the radiators were most likely last removed at refurbishment in the mid-1980s it goes without saying that the fastening nuts were stuck on very firmly indeed.  We had previously managed to remove three of them, leaving five left to do.  A potent combination of elbow grease, tools (and broken tools), purple language and in the case of one particularly stubborn nut, chiseling has now freed all eight nuts and the radiators can now be lifted out.  It's the seemingly little tasks like this that end up taking so much time.  Photos courtesy Ian Kemp.

 

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New merchandise available!

New merchandise available!

Just in time for Christmas shopping season, RRRG is pleased to offer a number of new lines of merchandise.  We now have fleeces, polo shirts, new designs of t-shirts and mugs plus keyrings and phone cases!

Don't forget our other merchandise such as mugs and t-shirts or Hornby models!

 

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Also, please don't forget our 2014 calendar.  All these items are important fundraisers for RRRG!  They would make great presents for someone or even yourself - maybe that distant relative needs some suggstions about what to get you for Christmas?!  Point them towards the online shop at renownrepulse.com or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you need shopping assistance.

 

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Nene Valley Railway Winter Tornado gala - sales stand!

Nene Valley Railway Winter Tornado gala - sales stand!

With many thanks to the Nene Valley Railway for inviting us, RRRG will be operating our sales stand at Wansford station during the the Winter Tornado gala this coming weekend (2nd and 3rd November).  Any railway enthusiast must acknowledge the sheer achievement that the successful completion of 60163 Tornado represents and we are proud to help support the A1 Steam Trust as their locomotive stars in what should be a very good event.

We have recently taken delivery of a chip and PIN credit card terminal, allowing us to take credit card payments easily on the sales stand.  This aplies not just to this event but to all future sales stand operations.  We believe this flexibility in accepting payment, coupled with our keen prices, will make our stand even more appealing to our loyal customer base.  We look forward to seeing many of you over the coming weekend.

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CU5 replacement under construction

CU5 replacement under construction

One of the electronic control units in a Class 50 locomotive is the CU5 radiator fan control unit.  It works together with the CU4 coolant flow control unit under the control of the CU1 main control unit to maintain the correct cooling water temperature by adjusting the speed of the radiator fan.  Both RRRG's locomotives are missing this unit.  The original was designed by Hawker-Siddeley for English Electric and utilises components that, by the standards of the 21st century, are thoroughly obsolete.

A good friend of RRRG, based at the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway, offered his services to construct a compatible replacement unit using modern electronics - needless to say, we were and are extremely grateful for this offer!  Shown here is the item which is now nearly complete.  The main circuit board has been deliberately left unattached to the case at this stage, as the next step is to test the unit by connecting to a suitable 110 volts DC source in order to ensure it performs correctly.

An original unit was borrowed from the 50021 Loco Association, and this new unit has been produced to resemble it physically, while using greatly-simplified circuits (as the original was over-complex for what it needed to do), modern components and utilising a small programmable microprocessor to replicate many of the functions of the original.  We will provide more updates on this sub-project when they become available.

 

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Have you got your 2014 Class 50 calendar yet?

Have you got your 2014 Class 50 calendar yet?

Our A4-sized appointments calendar Class 50s Now and Then is still available from our online shop!  Priced at £6.95 plus P&P, each month features important dates in Class 50 history such as dates of introduction or namings.  The calendar is produced to the same high quality finish as the Rail Photoprints/Platform 5 series.  October 2014 features shots of 50015 Valiant at Bury Bolton Street station in a night shoot at the East Lancashire Railway in January 2011 by Mark Burrows and in Dutch livery at Hereford in 1991 by Chris Holland.

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