Although next month will see a huge number of days operated at both sites at the moment the 108 is the only member of the fleet seeing public service, and is working weekends at the Midland Railway, where at times the weather has been less than hospitable.
Despite working regularly work's been continuing to bring this unit back up to scratch as part of its M-Exam. Various jobs have been completed this week including fitting a new panel to one of the walls in the van of 51907, fitting a new ladder strap and repairing woodwork on one of the van doors. Inside trailer 54490 only three seats now await retrimming and work has started on repainting the seat frames, with the top half of one saloon now complete.
At Pentrefelin works inside Cravens Class 105 Trailer 56456 work has continued on the cab wiring. The marker and tail lights have been connected as have been the throttle and gear controllers from the main junction box on the secondman's side.
Derby Suburban Class 127 51618 is coming along nicely with the new metalwork now being added around the driver’s cab window. Rubbing down has revealed the former extent of the yellow panel which the unit had in BR green days.
The defective Pascom on the Wickham trailer has now been completed after it was finally found that the fault arose because the original chain was a tight fit in the tube - this has now been replaced with something slightly smaller.
The end sliding door on Class 104 vehicle 50528 has had new BSW screws fitted into its sliding gear and has had the cab door striker reattached. It has also received a replacement handbrake wheel as that fitted when we got it all those years ago was out of the Mk1 coach. Finally the floors of both the Class 104 and the Wickham units have been cleaned up ready for February’s services, with the first class of 50528 getting special attention.
The awful weather has put paid to much progress being made in Wales, apart from some work on the bodywork of 51618 which we will report more on ext week, but there was a working party at Butterley during the week.
After a lot of hard work the new floor in the guard's van area of Gloucester Power car 51118 is now completed. As you may remember the old floor consisted of some redundant corrugated roof sheets screwed down to the floor members with sub-standard wood screwed on top. We now have a floor made up of 3mm sheet steel with new steel corrugations welded on top and then finished off with a double layer of high-quality plywood. This will now last many years and will enable the inside of the van to be finished to a standard that will enable it to accommodate wheelchairs and prams.
The Class 108 was out both days of the weekend covering the winter service diagram for the Midland Railway - Butterley. Unfortunately we have now found that the unit is not charging its batteries and the reasons for this are being investigated. However it managed to cover all its obligations without any problems.
During the week some more jobs were ticked off the unit’s 'M-Exam' which is having to be done piecemeal. These included checks on door condition, cleaning and lubricating the sliding lights, checking the emergency equipment, wipers and so on. More refurbished seats have been fitted as has a replacement for one of the fire extinguisher straps. Several pieces of aluminium trim have been manufactured to replace those that have gone missing and these have been refitted.
Plenty of ongoing projects this week at both workshops, with progress made on jobs on several members of the fleet.
Class 127 Driving Motor Brake 51618 has received its new cab front corner which arrived from the fabricator last week. In the end the whole corner has been replaced due to the amount of corrosion that was found. We also received the first length of replacement gutter which we have had made.
Work has continued on the fan drives from Wickham power car 50416. The no 1 drive, which had a new bearing last week, was fitted with a new angle-drive and a new drive shaft which has quietened it down a little. The assembly that was removed from the coach the other week was dismantled and then reassembled using new bearings. This will eventually be fitted to the other side, as that has loose blades.
Inside Cravens Trailer 56456 the first vestibule partition is now finished and has all the necessary timber fastened to it. Some wall supports were also fitted but there are many of these still to do.
Further pieces have been fitted to the floor of Gloucester Driving Motor Brake 51118 and now await fastening down. This job is now almost complete and there is only one further piece of timber to manufacture.
The troublesome final drive on Birmingham set 50454 was investigated again as it wouldn’t reverse following the fitting of a new dog the other week. The situation did not get much better when another dog was fitted and so the air system was checked out. The result was that the final drive changes over but takes its time.
The toilet door on 50528 was adjusted as it was dragging on the floor while preparatory work was done on 51618's ceiling and internal walling.
Finally the 108 worked its now usual Sunday diagram at the Midland Railway. The unit had new batteries fitted midweek and had its wiring altered to take a more modern type. Eight more new seats have been fitted in trailer 54490.
It's been a busy week down in the workshops at Pentrefelin, Wales, with one of the jobs tackled being the replacement of a final drive in Class 104 Driving Motor Brake 50454. The old one was very worn for reasons unknown. Installing this involves a partial dismantling of the final drive under the vehicle, in cramped and dirty conditions.
Further down the siding the no 1 radiator and its associated fan was removed from Wickham power car 50416 so that a refurbished fan could be fitted. This was accomplished within a day and the components that had been removed were taken into the workshop and dismantled so that they too could be brought back to good order.
A few other jobs were also tackled, such as changing a tired jumper cable on 50454 and also freeing up the corridor end door on Class 104 DMC 50528 as it had come off its runners.
Meanwhile over at Butterley there has been work going on on the 108 and the 141. The 108 has had five more new seats installed, as well as a set of replacement destination blinds, and some of the interior jobs for the M Exam were also tackled. All the first class armrests have been resecured as one had fallen off and a spring that was missing from a battery isolation switch was also replaced.
The 141 has had a replacement wiper motor fitted to the driver's position of 55513, a job that involves dismantling half the cab interior above the screen to get it out.
The New Year has started off with a busy weekend with two and a half of our sets involved in operations at the two sites.
Llangollen hosted its two-day 'Winter Warmer' event which saw the Class 104, unusually paired with Class 108 trailer 56223, as one of the attractions. On one run the unit was 'assisted' by the Class 26.
Over at Butterley the 108 spent three days working the steam diagram over the New Year which proved to be a nice relaxed start to its period of service there.
The Gloucester Power Car 51118 spent the Christmas period on show in Butterley station but has now been moved back to the yard so that restoration can continue.
In the workshops at Llangollen some time has gone into finding a mysterious fault which is causing the Pascom chain to stick on one side of Wickham trailer 56171. Despite carious amounts of dismantling and a few false leads this problem is as yet unsolved. In the same coach a damaged hockeystick was changed over while both coaches had an 'A Exam'. Class 108 Trailer 56223 has also had an 'FP Exam' due to the amount of mileage it has worked while its companion power car has been in the workshops.