Preservation News (2012)

Following the two successful 50th anniversary events over the summer and a final running day on October 13th, 47401 has now been taken out of traffic for the long awaited traction motor change, which will involve the loco being lifted for the first time in preservation and the fourth loco lift undertaken by the Project in recent months (47417 once and 47761 twice).

We should also mention, should anyone be concerned about the loco's state of heath following the usual tales of woe and failure in the wider railway press that 47401 did not fail during the Mid-Norfolk weekend, but was stopped as a precautionary measure for a check and clean of some of its brush gear, no fault found.

Extra pictures have been added to the Railex gallery including a line up of all six 47s, and some photos of the October 13th running day in the 47401 gallery page.

47401 will be running this Saturday, 13th October, top and tailing 46233 "Duchess of Sutherland" (event is a two day Steam Gala with visiting locomotives, see MRB website for details).

A selection of photos from the Mid-Norfolk weekend is now online on the Mid-Norfolk 2012 gallery page. 47401 is due to return home to Butterley tomorrow (26th September).

47401 has now arrived safely at the Mid Norfolk Railway. The move was on Wednesday 19th September with 47798 providing the traction, in a round about journey from the NRM to Norfolk collecting 47703, 47401, 47375 and 47292 from their respective homes en route. A photo of 47401 passing its birthplace can be found on the Mid Norfolk Golden Jubilee page. More photos to be added to this after the weekend hopefully.


Following the Railex event, 47401 was taken out of service for re-certification of its air tanks. This can now be done in situ for a three year certificate, thus it was a much less time consuming task than the previous occasion when 401 was out of traffic for air-tank inspection and re-certification! Having passed muster, the loco has subsequently undergone an ultrasonic axle test and fitness to run exam and is all set to move to the Mid-Norfolk for their 47 event this coming weekend (21st, 22nd & 23rd September). More info on the event can be seen here.

A selection of photos from the weekend can be found on our Railex Gallery Page. A good time was had by all with 47401 sharing duties with visitors D1501 (from the East Lancashire Railway) and Colas Rail 47749. Because of 47749's air brake only status, 47401 spent much of the weekend acting as "translator" between it and the MRB's vacuum braked coaching stock. However a very special working took place on the Saturday evening with 47401 and D1501 double-heading, complete with the "Brush Refiner" headboard, last used back in 1991 when the locos last worked together on their farewell trip on BR. Back then 47401 was the green machine and 47402 was blue!

A further visitor to the event was 47270 which delivered D1501 and remained on static display for the weekend. Combined with non-runners D1516 and 47761, this gave us a total of six Class 47s on site. We are not aware of anyone getting a photograph with all six locos in view (unless you know better!), but a line up of the three surviving "Generators" 47401 (D1500), D1501 (47402) and D1516 (47417) was arranged on Sunday afternoon at close of play.

D1501 (47402) and Colas 47739 are confirmed subject to availability for this Bachmann sponsored event. Tickets are priced at £10 for the day which includes unlimited travel plus entry to the model railway layouts and trade stalls.

The Project's sales outlet is now based in the National Fork Truck Heritage building which is located between the Buffet and the narrow gauge line at Swanwick and will be in operation on both days of the Railex event (as well as most other operating weekends at MRB).

47401 has received an invitation to this event and will be attending subject to the necessary requirements for being hauled over Network Rail being met ie. ultrasonic axle test and air tank certification and these being completed in the available time following the August Railex event.
This event which has been organised by Bachmann and the Midland Railway Trust (with some input from Project members) aims to build on the success of last year's Railex by including further attractions running on the full size railway in addition to the model railway side of the event. The organisers wished to have a 'theme' for the event and suggested the 50th anniversary of the Class 47s. 47401 will of course be running, subject to availability. It is also hoped to have a Colas Rail 47 running and maybe one or more further full size Brush Type 4s, plus a display of Class 47 models. Watch this space!
1960s GALA 14/15 JULY
47401's most recent outing was during the busy 1960s event which featured a range of steam and diesel locos on passenger duties as well as demonstration freight and parcels trains. Though not quite looking the part for the 1960s, 401 did at least appear on the timetable departure boards as "D1500"!
We are pleased to report that on a weekend which has seen the UK baking in temperatures in the high twenties, 47401 performed without fault and delivered all that was asked of it and more as the fifty year old locomotive covered for an increasing number of its ailing shedmates. After inspection the locomotive was declared fit for traffic on the Friday and didn't miss a beat until she rolled onto shed Sunday night. The diagram assigned to us rapidly changed on the Saturday as the 25 and 45 succumbed to the extreme temperatures. By the end of play 401 was last man standing covering the entire diagram - and given the indifferent reliability once associated with the eponymous locomotive it does give us satisfaction that she delivered – in an emphatic manner. 
In their inimitable style the Peak Loco lads had cured the ills of their immaculately presented 45 but sadly too late to partake in Sunday's entertainment. However the groups worked together as usual to keep the available locos in traffic.  One hundred gallons of fuel was transferred by hand from the unfortunate 45041 into 47401 to allow us to cover all diagrams, a task which should not be underestimated!  The whole process took under an hour and those involved deserve credit.  More victims were yet to succumb to the extreme temperatures and unusual duties - and once again 401 stepped into the breach.  This time it was the “Jocko’s” (08590) turn to expire – leaving just us and the 20 (which had been removed from duty early on the Saturday to preserve their fuel load for the Sunday) to complete the weekend.

It was a disappointing weekend for the railway and also for those who had worked hard to get the locos ready for the weekend, and we hope you all understand and sympathise with the problems inherent with operating classic traction such that the railway can be forgiven for not providing what was advertised.  However, everyone at the railway worked hard to keep the weekend as operationally interesting as possible given the circumstances, and from a personal point of view it was a roaring (fan related pun!) success and a real boon for the small band of lads in the Project who have put so much effort into keeping the former D1500 in traffic for her fiftieth birthday year.

47401 will be running this weekend (26th/27th May), along with other MRB based locos (08590, 20048, 25321, 45041) in a 'diesels only' weekend.

Departures from Butterley Station: 

Saturday: 10.00, 11.10, 12.20, 1.30, 2.40 & 3.55.

Sunday: 10.00, 10.40, 11.20, 12.00, 12.40, 1.20, 2.00, 2.40, 3.20, 4.00 & 4.35.

For more information ring Butterley Station on   01773 747674

The loco's first trip out after winter storage was on 8th April with three round trips of the line which proved thankfully uneventful, the winter weather not having created any major issues for once.

In other news, spares donor 47761 now sits on 47417's (now motorless) old bogies and awaits final recovery of parts prior to disposal.

D1516 was united with its new bogies on 3rd March following further attention to its underside including welding repairs to the drag boxes. Once the reconnecting of the bogies claws, TM cables and brake pipes has been completed attention will shift to stripping all useable parts from the old bogies. Some further pictures are on the 47417 Gallery page.

First website update of the year, but the Project team has not been idle over the winter. Our volunteers seem to have spent a good portion of the last few months shunting 47 bogies from pillar to post around the site, from top plane, to C Bay, to the diesel shed, the museum and then the workshop! Other than that, work has concentrated mainly on preparing the bogies ex-47761 for use under D1516, and the latter machine was finally lifted on Saturday 11th February 2012. The bogies which have been underneath D1516 since we purchased it were not the ones that it was withdrawn with, a swap taking place after withdrawal presumably because 47417's bogies and/or traction motor(s) were required for another machine. Following the lift it was discovered that a number of small parts were missing from the underside of D1516 which would have been removed when it donated its bogies, including insulator boxes and also some small wooden blocks which hold the traction cables in place where they attach to the loco. Fortunately, spares donor 47761 was still on site and has been able to supply the missing parts.

Photos of the lifting operation are on the 47417 Gallery page. 

We have also been completing the engine room repaint inside D1516.

47401 has spent the period in 'winterised' condition but all being well should be running during 2012, its 50th anniversary year and may be taking part in one or more events to commemorate that milestone. As 2011 proved to be a poor year for the Project, having suffered from spares thefts, the enforced closure of our shop at Swanwick, and a much increased financial burden associated with our residence at Butterley, it is hoped that 2012 will bring better fortune to our two 'Generators'.

As mentioned in the final report of 2011, this book has finally been published and is selling well. The team has moved on to work on Part 9A which features Eastern Region 47/3s D1782-D1806.

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