Preservation News (2009)

Please note that photos of 47401 and D1516 have returned to their respective Gallery pages as they wouldn't stay at the same position and size that we put them in when inserted on a text page.

CLASS 47 DATA FILE PART 2 - Update 21st December 2009

We have received the page proofs back from the printers and are currently checking through these before the book goes to press, a little behind schedule, but thanks to everyone who has ordered the book so far. Please keep ordering (the more we can sell in advance the more we will be able to pay the printing bill without dipping into the money we should be spending on D1516).

The book can be ordered directly through this website - see the Book Sales page - or by cheque/PO payable to '47401 Project' and sent to 21 The Oaklands, Droitwich, WR9 8AD.

PHOTO CHARTER NIGHT - 12th December 2009

47401 took part in a nighttime photo shoot on 12th December, organised by the East Midlands Railway Photographic Society (EMPRPS), originally planned to be a static exhibit, after the loco's tarpaulins were removed it was decided to fill our machine with coolant and give it a run, something which it normally doesn't get at this time of year, a good opportunity to warm things up a bit and dry out the electrics!

The loco assisted with various shunting operations and posed for photos in the shed and also with a freight next to the signal box on the main line. The loco fired up without a hitch and took power at the first attempt, you could tell it was cold though – oil like treeeaaaccllleeee……and took forever to fire evenly and create oil pressure! Meanwhile the Project shop reverted to its old role as a buffet and kept the freezing cold photographers supplied with tea and coffee!

Quite a successful night, we shut ‘401 down at 00:15 (or thereabouts).

Thanks should go to the Project's volunteers for staying late and also to the EMRPS for their generous donation.

CLASS 47 DATA FILE PART 2 - D1520-D1549

We are relaunching this series this month with a never before released volume, featuring the Eastern Region, vacuum braked, Brush built locos otherwise known as D1520 to D1549 (TOPS numbers 47001-47016 and 47421-47434). Following the format of earlier volumes (but now with a striking full colour cover!) the book tells the story of each locomotive in the batch with details of liveries, modifications, allocations, withdrawal and disposal. We have managed to include a photo of every loco in the batch with its pre-TOPS number, and there are plenty of never before, or rarely, published pictures.

The original co-authors Richard Levett and Peter Jaques have been joined by Ian McLean and Nigel Antolic who have added a great deal to the original research, and who are keen to press on and complete the remaining volumes of the series.

The book is now at the printers, and is available to order. Price £9.99 + £2 P&P for 72 pages including around 100 photos! The book can be ordered directly through this website - see the Book Sales page - or by cheque/PO payable to '47401 Project' and sent to 21 The Oaklands, Droitwich, WR9 8AD.


Progress continues to be made on 47417’s cooler group, the next major milestone in the locomotives restoration.  Extensive weld repairs have been undertaken by the Midland Railway Trust under the direction of the Project on the fabric of the roof section, which has seen a large amount of the “sump” replaced on each bank of elements. All elements have been removed, cleaned and then pressure and flow tested.  Failed or missing elements have been replaced with those from spares donor 47761, which is yielding many valuable components on a weekly basis, and more than justifying its purchase.  A full set now exists in secure storage awaiting refitting.  Silicon gaskets have been procured from Derby Gaskets in readiness for this task.

The fan motors have been removed, one ready for dispatch for overhaul at Bowers Electrical and the other retained for spares.  The latter motor was stripped heavily prior to the 47401 Project taking charge of 417, and its place will be taken by a spare motor which will also be refinished by Bowers.  Sadly the casting which supported one of the fan surrounds had sustained terminal damage in BR service, and the Project are presently exploring what may be done to replace this.

The balance pipes, and various other fittings, such as the header tanks and former urinal tank are to be removed for cleaning and painting of the items and the exposed roof structure.  All flexible pipework is to be replaced with new hoses and clips.

All new metal has been painted, though conclusions are yet to be made on best method of rust stabilising the untreated steelwork in the inaccessible areas behind the manifolds.  Deep cleaning of the roof void has revealed welded repairs undertaken in BR service, presumably a result of one of the fans failing. The damage appears as substantial tears in the steel sheet and gives some idea of the energy present when the fans are at full speed.  Various bits of aluminium shrapnel embedded in the roof were recovered during the clean up, the remains of one blade, slightly beyond repair!

Disappointingly, the “wings” have sustained damage since removal, by parties external to the Project, repairs to which will necessitate the replacement of four radiator slats. 

Meanwhile, overhaul of auxiliary machines continues, the latest deliveries from Bowers’ premises at Heanor being the two traction motor blowers.  The Northey exhausters recovered from 417 formed the return load and are currently being worked on.

The air tank replacement project has also been completed by TecForce of Derby.

Of benefit to both of our locomotives, the Project’s scout has been undertaking regular visits to messrs’ Booths of Rotherham to bolster the stores of spare Westinghouse brake equipment.  This valuable work fills in a fundamental spare part gap within the Project.


The 47 year old 47 has been winterised following successful completion of all operating commitments for this year.

The manifold faces revealed by the removal of the elements have been found to be in good condition, a pleasant surprise given the poor condition of the studs and generally the fabric of the roof section.  As a result, the faces have only required light cleaning to make them ready to receive the elements.  However the detrimental effects of the long term storage were manifested in the condition of the fixings, the majority of which were either scrapped on removal or snapped in the manifold (predictably in the most inaccessible locations conceivable!).  One hundred of the studs have been ordered to replace these.  The remaining stumps have been removed, and the threads repaired.  Given the location of these it has been an arduous and awkward task.

47401 successfully operated two round trips on the first day of the MRB's "Derby Works Open Day Weekend", Saturday 29th August. The weekend prior to this saw D1516 on the move again, being shunted down to the workshop area at Swanwick to have its auxiliary compartment roof section craned off for contract repairs. The radiator elements have all been removed for testing and replacement as required and an oil change has been carried out on the loco (although it will still be a while before the engine runs this has been done to avoid condensation/rust forming in the empty power unit after the sump was emptied of the old oil).

The Project is facing some fairly heavy expenditure over the coming months. We estimate around £10,000 of further expenditure on D1516 in the next year or so, including around £2,500 on constructing or rebuilding the remaining three air tanks, overhauls to fan motors and exhausters at around £700+ per item, lifting 47761 and D1516 to carry out a bogie swap (£1,000 per lift) and new lubricating oil for D1516 (£800+) to name a few individual costs. Most of our sales at the moment are generated in our sales stand/shop at Butterley, however to help cover these extra costs we will be trying to boost our mail order and online sales. We have always listed a small selection of sales items on this website, and the few sales it generates have been sufficient to cover the cost of maintaining the site and little more. There are many items we can add, but please tell us what you wish to see listed here!

We will also be increasing our eBay sales of railway and other bric-a-brac (our eBay seller ID: 47401project).

Readers may well have noticed the new Paypal donation logo on this website! This can be used by anyone who would like to make a one-off donation to the Project without having to bother writing out and posting a cheque or setting up a monthly standing order, or for anyone who makes a purchase through this site and wishes to add a little extra in the form of a donation. It's very simple to use and you don't even need to have a Paypal account, anyone with a credit or debit card can make payments to us via Paypal. The final push to get D1516 going again starts here!

47401 RUNNING DAYS 1st & 2nd AUGUST 2009 + BRIEF D1516 UPDATE
47401 operated three round trips each day this weekend (the MRB's "Anything Goes" weekend), times, including some double-heading with another class unfortunately. Meanwhile D1516 has a roof over its head for the first time in a few years as it was moved into "C Bay" this week ready for the work mentioned below on the auxiliary compartment roof.

D1516 UPDATE JULY 2009
Hydraulic testing on D1516's power unit was successfully completed in June and attention then turned to fitting the missing air manifold to the power unit and also cleaning out the sump ready for new oil to be put in. Meanwhile, the overhaul of the blower motors has been completed and these are expected back on site soon and will be replaced in the overhaul sequence by the vacuum exhausters. One of the four new air tanks has been received with the other three still at the design stage. As soon as covered space is available we will remove the auxiliary compartment roof section. The fan motors will be removed from this and overhauled and the radiator elements will be replaced as required. The roof section itself will undergo some structural repairs while it is off.

47401 RUNNING DAY - SUNDAY 21st JUNE 2009
Another successful running day with five round trips completed without any problems.

UPDATE 13th JUNE 2009
D1516 was dragged out of its long term home beside the museum annexe today and moved across to the other side of the museum building for access to the high pressure water supply to enable a hydraulic test to be carried out on the completed power unit. This was passed more or less successfully, with a little remedial work to be carried out the following week. Full details to follow. Meanwhile, 47401 had an unexpected extra running day today, thanks to the failure on shed of 5MT No. 73129, and with loco and crew available was quickly scrambled to work the 1115 departure ex-Butterley to Ironville and back to Swanwick complete with BBC Radio Derby in attendance, where 73129 was able to take over its turn.

UPDATE 30th MAY 2009
The assembled team tackled the floor of the auxiliary room this week, undercoating the previously rust-stabilised metal prior to a top coat of gloss.  Meanwhile, the brake frame has received varying shades of gloss following months of deep cleaning and undercoating plus fault rectification where necessary.  It is an understatement to say that the party involved will be glad to close this task out!  The power unit has had the incoming and outgoing coolant pipes blanked with steel plates, in readiness for its hydraulic test – currently pencilled in for late June – but pending a huge shunt to extract the green machine.
UPDATE 16th MAY 2009
he initial plan this weekend was to ready 417’s power unit for hydraulic testing, however this was scuppered by the lack of electricity following the previous days storms. Thankfully 47400 (the Projects’ portable third “Generator”) was bought onto site for lighting allowing some tasks to press on – despite the Romanian Class 56 building conditions….

The power unit has had the newly acquired rubber seals in the crank case doors installed, a time consuming and surprisingly frustrating task when attempted with the doors still in the dimly lit loco body!  Next door, downstream from the colourful language in the engine room, more of the lads were scraping twenty years of accumulated grime from the aux’ room floor and coating the exposed corrosion in the old faithful SRC 02.  This miserable task will brighten this area up immeasurably. 

The brake frame continues to progress, with undercoating applied liberally around the bare metal framework.

MRB DIESEL GALA 25th/26th APRIL 2009
47401's most recent outing was at the MRB Diesel gala on 25th/26th April. The loco was booked to work the following two turns on both days and performed well at this successful event which featured around a dozen working locos, one of the best galas for a long time at Butterley.

47401's DIAGRAM
Swanwick dep 11.20 for Hammersmith
Hammersmith dep 11.42 for Pye Bridge
Pye Bridge dep 12.08 for Swanwick
Swanwick dep 13.00 for Hammersmith.
Hammersmith dep 13.22 for Pye Bridge
Pye Bridge dep 13.48 for Swanwick

47401's first outing of the season was on Easter Sunday 12th April 2009, a successful day in terms of the loco's performance but unfortunately some mileage was lost due to some random and unnecessary on the day meddling with the timetable, very disappointing.

Pictures of 47401 can be seen on the 47401 Gallery page and photos of the work taking place on D1516 may be found on the 47417 Gallery page.

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