As we approach the halfway point of 2017, it seems like a good time to to look back at what RRRG has been doing this year and our progress to date.
The major work (and expense!) this year has been on the overhaul of the radiators for use in 50030 as we progress towards at least being able to fire up the engine in this locomotive. Along with the radiators we have needed to overhaul a radiator fan and motor as well as prepare the radiator compartment inside 50030 to receive the overhauled items.
This article is about the work we've had done to overhaul the radiators in 50030 and the internal work inside the bodyshell of the locomotive once the radiators were removed to refurbish the radiator compartment and prepare for the return of the radiators. The second part of this article will look at the other work we've done on 50030 so far this year. It's important to stress that we haven't forgotten about 50029 but that all work is being directed towards 50030 right now.
Radiators in 50030Lifting them out, assessing their condition and arranging overhaul
In an activity that had long been planned, the radiators were lifted out of 50030 in late November 2016 and sent to a specialist contractor for assessment and overhaul. We had already done much of the preparation work for the lift in advance, including ensuring that the radiator fan was already freed off. The roof panel was removed followed by the four radiators - with some care, as the space they have to fit through is actually very tight. Once the radiators were out we had the roof panel replaced as other Class 50 owners have experienced problems with the panels distorting if left on the deck for too long. The operation proceeded smoothly thanks to all our forward planning with the lift completed by 13:00 that day and the radiators arriving at the contractor by 15:00.
Once the radiators were out of the locomotive it was obvious that nearly 25 years (50030 was withdrawn by BR in early 1992) of disuse had taken their toll. Large piles of rust were left on the floor of the radiator compartment and it was obvious that this had come in large part from the bottom tanks of the radiators themselves. They were in no fit state to hold water! This was confirmed as soon as our contractors did an initial pressure test and observed plenty of air bubbles coming out of the radiators, although the radiator cores were actually found to be in reasonable condition..
The radiator cores were found to be in reasonable condition but the bottom tanks had completely rotted away following 25 years of disuse.
The radiator fan was taken out of 50030, followed by the roof panel and then the four radiators. The roof panel was then replaced to avoid any problems with distortion.
A gallery of the radiator compartment and surrounding areas in 50030 following removal of the radiators. We took the opportunity to clear out a load of rust, refurbish the radiator fan motor duct bellows and overhaul the radiator louvre activator mechanisms. The last two pictures show the new radiator bottom tanks fabricated and the overhauled radiators being loaded back to us.
Overhauling the radiatorsNo choice but to cough up!
Overhauling the radiators alone has cost us £7200.But it was worth it considering the work required!
It was immediately obvious that we had no choice but to pay a large bill to our contractors to overhaul the radiators that we had removed from 50030. Although we do have a number of spare radiators, they presented exactly the same problem: they'd been out of use for 25 years or more and hadn't even had the shelter of being inside a Class 50 bodyshell and so were in even worse condition. The radiator cores were in reasonable condition but they were full of rust as they'd probably never had a good washout since 50030 was refurbished in the mid-1980s. Our contractors advised us that the overhaul process involved thorough cleaning externally and internally (which included removing a large quantity of rust from inside two of the radiators), fitting what amounts to two new bottom tanks (as described above, what seemed like half the old tanks was left behind on the radiator compartment floor) and repairing the other two, fitting new braces and spacer bars, new baffle plates between the two pairs of radiators and various other new fittings. A number of the fins were loose and have had to be reattached, and virtually all of the outside fins realigned (They have a habit of getting flattened as people squeeze past). We are advised they are now up to 100% water flow with two of the radiators at 100% air flow and two of them at around 90% which is pretty good. At £7,200 the bill was one of our heaviest for an overhaul, but considering the amount of work undertaken was a relief and considered value for money. The radiators were delivered back to Rowsley on the 12th May.