47401 PROJECT           
Preservation News (2006)

Following 401's failure on the Sunday afternoon of the last Diesel Gala, repairs to the control cubicle have take place, including replacement of life-expired components and also a general cleaning, fettling up and repainting of the surrounding area. We are happy to report that 401 has been successfully run up and tested and all being OK has now been drained, sheeted over and put to bed for the winter.


47401's most recent workings took place at the Midland Railway's Diesel Gala on September 16/17th when the loco was booked to work two round trips on each day. While the first three trips were completed successfully, the loco unexpectedly shut down in Swanwick platform prior to relieving 50007 for its final trip, the Class 50 then having to continue working the train in place of 47401 which was retired to the shed.


Subsequent investigation has revealed that a cable from the auxiliary generator had parted company from its respective crimp in the lower relay cubicle (it had overheated and de-soldered itself due to heavy degradation of the paxolin resin caused by age and vibration leading to an increase in resistance and subsequent heat dissipation). This will take a bit of repair work to get back in traffic, and we will be taking the opportunity to undertake some general refurbishment work in the cubicle. Fortunately, early indications suggest that the generator and associated equipment are unharmed.

A slightly disappointing end to what has been quite an active and reliable year for 47401, however it is likely that 17/9 would have been our last running day of the year anyway so we have probably not missed any opportunities to clock up further mileage!
47401 & D1516 UPDATE 28th AUGUST 2006

47401 has put in an appearance working at the Midland Railway Trust's 25th Anniversary event, working two round trips on Monday 28th August (one of which was an unplanned extra vice 20001). Unfortunately we were unable to advertise this in advance as we were not told which day we were expected to run, the loco rosters for this event being planned at very short notice. The loco then next appeared in traffic on 9/10th September during a "Diesel & Steam Weekend" and once again performed admirably.


Meanwhile, work on D1516 has concentrated on fettling up the replacement roof section and silencer.


47401   had a very active few days during late July. On 21st July the loco was hired for a private charter for Class 47 bashers and worked nine round trips at the Midland Railway. It was hoped that a repaint into standard blue would be completed in time for this occasion however it was not possible to complete this in time. As a lot of preparation work for the repaint had already taken place, including re-metalling and needle gunning on the bodysides, it was decided to arrange a hasty touching up job of the existing large logo livery on one side only. Platforms at all three stations on the Midland Railway are fortunately all on the south side of the line so the north side of the loco is rarely on public display! Nevertheless, the team did not complete the repainting until one 'o clock in the morning on the day of the charter! Two days later the 47 was rostered to top and tail with steam loco 6233 "Duchess of Sutherland" owing to problems with the MRT's Class 25. The final trip included 401 piloting the Duchess which then returned to its depot leaving 401 to complete the last leg of the journey alone. Six round trips in total were undertaken this day. The following Saturday (29th July) saw 401 at rest on Swanwick depot with a Thomas the Tank Engine style face applied to both ends, though not booked to work at the "Day Out with Thomas" event. However, steam loco 73129 developed a fault during the afternoon and was taken off the train, resulting in our machine leaping into action again and adding a few more miles to the tally, working one more round trip, Swanwick-Ironville-Hammersmith-Butterley then light diesel back to Swanwick. We are pleased to report that the loco performed faultlessly during all three running days.

Six down, six to go! On one of the hottest days of the summer, the team undertook the strenuous task of pulling cylinder liners from D1516's "A" bank. One liner has subsequently been condemned, to be replaced with one from our spares stock.

The photos dated June 2006 on the 47417 Gallery page show the liner pulling operation in detail, together with our newly acquired roof section ex-47756 which has been purchased to replace the crumbling wreckage currently sitting atop D1516.


47401 UPDATE JUNE 2006

Recent activity on 47401 has centred on preparations for the repaint, several badly corroded areas on the locomotive's bodysides having been replated. In addition the roof has been patched with fibreglass filler until a replacement or more extensive repair (with roof removed) can be undertaken.


Several running days have taken place recently, including three days of hire in May to a commercial concern for testing purposes, for which the loco was renumbered to 97401 following in the long tradition of test train locos.


Then came an evening's hire to model railway manufacturer Bachmann Europe plc, who are planning a Class 47 model fitted with digital sound and required a real 47 to record from. Recordings were made by their sound engineer both internally and externally, of the locomotive starting up, idling, running under power (we took out Class 25 No. 7671 as a dead load), shutting down etc. We look forward to hearing the result on the forthcoming model of 47404 (which we will be selling of course)! See the 47401 Gallery page for pics of the test train working and body repairs.



The dismantling of D1516's power unit for overhaul took another step forward in May/June 2006 with the removal of "A" bank pistons, con rods and bearings. Photos (dated May and June 2006) are on the 47417 Gallery Page.


47401 UPDATE - 12th APRIL 2006

The first major operating commitment of the 2006 season has been met admirably by the former D1500, putting in (almost) faultless performance on both days of the event (8th and 9th April 2006).  


Apart from the previously reported activities surrounding 401 (preparing for repaint etc.) much effort has been made to make the locomotive coolant system more watertight.   Performance at the gala proved the worth of this work as the torrent of water that had manifested itself below the auxiliary room towards the end of last year’s operating season had all but disappeared. I know Brush 4s aren’t ever going to be dry as a bone but it does give a better account of the locomotive to not see it spreading its coolant liberally around the four-foot!   The work itself proved lengthier than anticipated as the increasingly watertight system found more inventive places to leak as the operating pressure increased due to lower losses. In addition the broken and heavily corroded stumps (allegedly the radiator fixing studs) required drilling, extraction and replacement. Always fun!


Inside and beneath the locomotive the electrical machines have been given their annual deep clean and check. The TMs have had the accumulated Motak removed from their pinion ends, which is leaking from the gearcase seals. This area of the locomotive will be coming under attention in due course but for the meantime the aim is to manage the leaks and prevent them from creating problems.


The engine room is the scene of ongoing activity to remove scale and deep corrosion.   When painted up again it also makes a much more pleasant working environment.


Those of you who attended the recent MR/B gala will have noted the patch repainting on B Bank side – No. 2 end. This is the result of early activity to establish the extent of corrosion in this area. It is evident that an area of the lower bodyside adjacent to the cab will require replacement as will the area surrounding one handrail.   While the plate surrounding this area is removed the opportunity will be taken to trial rust stabilising paints to protect the enclosed superstructure of the loco body. Interestingly the area where the steel of the cab side meets the aluminium of the cab front shows little sign of the galvanic corrosion you would expect at a joint of dissimilar metals.


Similarly, anybody who was around over the weekend of the 8th and 9th of April will have no doubt noted the red buffer beam and black headcode box at No. 2 end. If nothing else it caused a reaction! The main purpose of the exercise was to properly remove scale and corrosion on the buffer beam using a needle scaler, again as part of body preparation.


The upper half of the relay cabinet has been treated to a deep clean and light lubricate to increase reliability. This has involved removal and dismantling of the switch units prior to cleaning with detergent liquid to remove grease and oil, which contributes to the mechanisms sticking. Attention will (sometime) turn to exclusion of dirty exhaust/engine room air from the cabinets by augmenting the now tired rubber seals on the cabinet doors and improvement of the positive venting in this area.


Work will now concentrate on sister locomotive 417 as 401 is in satisfactory fettle for this running season.


The photos dated April 2006 on the 47401 Gallery page show the loco inside "C Bay" of the Matthew Kirtley building at Swanwick Junction, undergoing repairs to the cooling system, and during the Diesel Gala on 8/9 April 2006.


47401 UPDATE - MARCH 2006
Recent efforts on 47401 have focused on preparing the loco for the 2006 running season, including work on the cooler group where a number of leaking radiator elements have been replaced, checking and cleaning the generators, auxiliary machines and contactors plus the initial preparation work for the repaint.
The photos on the 47401 Gallery page show the dragbox and valance at No. 2 end after needle gunning, corrosion visible on the cab/bodyside which will require replacement with new metal, and one of the scrapped radiator elements.
A big step forward in the restoration of D1516 was taken on Sunday 8th January when the overhauled generator set was craned back into the locomotive and a start made on connecting it up to the diesel engine.
Other jobs undertaken in the engine room have included welding in new sections on the engine room floor/walkways to replace parts that had corroded right through and repainting of the engine room walls and associated air pipes and electrical conduits.

Prior to removing the pistons, con rods and cylinder liners a start was made on releasing a series of locking nuts. Once work on reconnecting the generator has been completed and we are able to bar over the engine again the pistons and liners can be removed for inspection.
Elsewhere on the locomotive, various air tanks and electrical machines have been disconnected prior to removal from the auxiliary room and subsequent inspection and overhaul or replacement as required. Photographs of the generator being collected from overhaul plus further progress in the engine room, can be seen on our 47417 Gallery Page (dated 7th January 2006).

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