On With Their Heads

12 cylinder heads have waited patiently for 8 months since they were overhauled, but now their time has come. After much preparation of the top of the cylinder block, cleaning and repainting of various pipes, the heads are being reunited with the engine.

Quite a lot of corrosion and pitting was found where the transition bushes fit on to the block, and these were cleaned out and polished with some discs of emery cloth glued to a drill attachment. New rubber seals were fitted to the transition bush holders, and a thin coating of sealant applied for good measure. At this stage, the cylinder head nuts are being lightly torqued down to 170ft lb (230Newton metres I am repeatedly told, although I have my doubts about whether Sir Isaac Newton would want his name associated with those frenchies). The full torque tightening will wait until all the heads are fitted and checked for alignment with the inlet manifold.

As of this weekend, four heads are fitted, eight more to go!

Polishing the transition bush faces on the block

Pitted transition bush faces being restored with drill attachment

Four transition bushes fitted - these pass co0ling water from the block to the heads and are sealed with rubber bushes

Initial torque tightening of cylinder head nuts

The team complete head number four

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12 x 12

Its been a while since our last report, but not because there has been no progress, but just more of the same – 12 liners and now 12 pistons fitted to Sherwood.

We decided to change the piston with the damaged top face. So once again, 45106 lives on through one of its pistons recovered from Booths.

The final broken stud proved most challenging to remove from the engine block, as it was sheared off below the surface. We purchased a magdrill to carefully machine out the remains. The trick was to avoid drilling too deep and breaking through to the water jacket, as well as trying to avoid damaging the screw thread.  The old stud fought back by breaking a drill and smashing two expensive milling cutters, before finally surrendering after the best part of a nerve-wracking day.

In No 2 end cab, Carl has been restoring the insulation on the back wall, with new canvas tape, and Paul has made a start on painting up the brake cubicle.

Over the hill at Wirksworth, we are working through a B-exam on 33035, in readiness for the new season, and its next duties on Sat 22nd March for the “Home Fleet Weekend”.

Piston donated by 45106, prepped with new piston rings


Tightening up the big end bolts to line up scribe marks on hexagon nuts and con-rod

Machining out remains of a broken stud

New canvas strips glued to back wall insulation

Brake cubicle in much need of attention - compare to the finished job in a few weeks time!

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Honed, Lapped and Burnished

A6 piston being lowered into the block with collar to compress piston rings

In between the distractions of the festive season, work has progressed further with Sherwood at Barrow Hill. After the hiccup with the liner seals was sorted, all 12 liners were fitted before Christmas. We found that it was important to make sure they were pressed in dead vertical into the block, using a spirit level to check they were not going in at an angle. Fingers were crossed while the cylinder block was filled with water, but no leaks appeared underneath much to our relief.

25 years ago, we were shown how to remove a broken cylinder head stud by a wonderful Tinsley fitter called Dave Ward. Sherwood was being restored at the depot, and the staff there were constantly giving us tips and showing us the work they were doing on the Class 47 locos there. All these years later, that advice was put into practice on Sherwood to remove a stud broken at the top. Carl welded a cylinder head nut to the top of the old stud, and we then tried winding it out with a socket, T-bar and 6ft scaffold tube. It refused to budge! Problem was finally solved using the torque multiplier with a scaffold tube wedged into the side of the engine room to react the force. It still took three of us on the end of the long ratchet. So that was the easy one – the other broken stud that is sheared off inside the block and will require a different method of extraction – to be continued.

Next up are the pistons, and we once again welcomed Kev to give us some invaluable tips from his Derby Works days. He demonstrated how to burnish in the big end bearings using the back of a spanner and some oil, then polishing off with some scotchbrite. This flattens down any slight imperfections that could pick up on the crankshaft. We then lapped in the crankshaft journals with some fine emery tape and oil, again to remove imperfections that could score the bearings.

Before fitting the first piston, we honed out the liner using a special Sulzer tool that deglazes the cylindrical surface. Although we are refitting the original piston rings, Kev advised us to hone the liners so that everything beds in quickly. A6 piston was then lowered into the liner, guided in by a top collar to funnel in the piston rings. The big end cap with bearing was bolted back on from the bottom end, using the same “spoon” that was used to remove them some weeks ago.

The cab at No 2 end is rapidly coming together, with heaters and secondmans seat refitted. Carl has also removed and adjusted the doors, overhauling the lock mechanisms and replacing the hinge pins, so that they now slam shut with that reassuring Peak clunk (far more manly than a Golf door!)

Carl welds a nut on to the top of the broken stud

Nut welded on the stud

Carl and Jacob applying immense torque to wind out the stud

Lapping the crankshaft with emery tape

Lightly burnishing the big end bearing shell with the back of a spanner and oil

Bearing shell after burmishing and polishing

Honing the liner, with rotary grindstones

Mick and Adam spinning the honing tool with an electric drill on slow speed

Big end cap refitted at top dead centre.

Cab door rehung and new plating in door well

Secondman's seat positioned on new flooring


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Gatwick Express

With the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway taking a winter break from passenger services, its the time of year for various maintenance tasks. 33035 will be having a B exam and a number of minor repairs, particularly the ongoing quest to seal the interior from our wet climate.

Today we were asked to test the air brakes on the ex Gatwick Express Mark 2 coaches, which have been stabled in the bay platform at Wirksworth as static buffet cars. The train pipe was charged from 33035 and all the brakes applied and released as operated from the loco train brake valve. A leakage test was also performed, proving that the coach brakes remained applied for 60 minutes (while the team headed off to the chippy).

A light engine run was made to Duffield and back to check the line for fallen trees, and a slow run-by check of the clearance with the newly reinstated platform at Shottle. Next Saturday we are planning some running brake tests of the Mark 2 set along the line.

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In the 8 weeks since its return to service, 33035 has been at work on the Ecclesbourne Railway for no less than 13 days, so far… 9 of these have been for Diesel Experience duties, usually on Wednesdays and Fridays, and there seem to be a steady stream of bookings through to next year.

This means we have been doing maintenance checks on the loco most Saturdays, and working our way through some minor jobs such as finally getting the cab heaters working, fixing a few last oil leaks and tinkering with the governor and load regulator. With the frosty nights arriving in the Alpine climate of Wirksworth, we pumped in a barrel of antifreeze this Saturday.

Winter also seems to have arrived in our other arctic base station known as Barrow Hill, so we were all wrapped up to fit another two liners (only four more to go), and completion of the new flooring in Sherwood.

Josh applying some elbow grease, or T-cut to No1 end

A new O-ring seal fitted to the governor vane motor


New flooring in Sherwood's No2 cab



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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back…

Adam and Reuben find damage to the seals after removing A1 liner

Why do restoration projects take so much longer than anyone expects? Well ask anyone involved and they may tell you that real progress is only made through a series of setbacks – nothing ever goes exactly to plan. Restoration work continues on Sherwood, and we thought we had turned the corner with the engine rebuild after fitting the third cylinder liner.

Once fitted, it is difficult to tell whether the seals have stayed in place, because the liners are inside the cylinder block. But shining a torch in from the adjacent empty liner position, some unwelcome slices of rubber seal were spotted. There was no option but to extract the liner, and this revealed the unpleasant sight of several pieces of the seals sliced off, and the nylon anti-fret band also badly damaged. The other two liners then had to be pulled back out to reveal similar damage. Considering the renewal of the liner seals was the main reason for the engine overhaul, this was indeed a serious setback.

After much measuring and checking of specifications, we came to the conclusion that the seals supplied were too large, and becoming crushed in the cylinder block. The original BR part number had been specified, but somehow they had been manufactured over-size. So a further set were ordered, this time with the sizes fully specified to match the liners. The 4 week wait was a frustrating delay, although the time was spent preparing more liners on the shopfloor.

This Sunday the team gathered for the second attempt at fitting liners, with the new set of seals recently delivered. This time they made a tighter fit into the grooves. The anti-fret rings were glued in place but given a slight gap at the ends to allow some compression. Finally, great care was given to ensuring the liner was lowered centrally into the block, with plenty of petroleum grease around the seals and ring to avoid any snagging. By the end of the day four liners were snugly in place, so we were back on course and one up on where we had left off!

No 2 cab has been a no-go area for the last few weeks, while Carl completes the underfloor descaling and painting, and repanelling the floor plates with new lino. He has also been re-hanging the doors to adjust for wear in the hinge pins. Also unseen but steady in their progress, our painters Paul and Pete have been toiling away in the engine room despite the oily pawprints left by the engine team clambering around them.

Damaged seals and nylon anti-fret ring

Will laps in the liner sealing face on the cylinder block

Will and Mick carefully lower the liner back into the block

The liner is pressed into the block with a hydraulic ram

Cab floorplate after covering with new lino

Underfloor pipework and conduit cleaned and painted


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Service Now Resumed

Mike thanks Dave from Bowers, with Adam, Jacob and Carl at Ravenstor after the first test run up the incline (Stephen Miller)

After a five month interlude for generator repairs, 33035 burst back into life yesterday, starting first time as if it was just five minutes since its last run! The exhaust and inlet manifolds had been re-fitted, batteries charged and wiring checked over, and the engine turned over with decompression plugs removed to make sure nothing was loose.

Once fired up, the engine quickly settled into the usual Sulzer 8-cylinder beat, with a nice clean exhaust. Dave from Bowers was on hand to check over the generator and make sure there were no sparks from the brush-boxes, and he bedded in the carbon brushes by running some emery cloth over the commutator.

Brake tests were carried out and all seemed to be going too well. However, the loco was up to its old tricks again, refusing to power up above 500A, so another phone call to JC identified a fault with the load reducing circuit staying on when it shouldn’t, so this was temporarily isolated. After that there was no holding back the power, so some test runs were made up the 1 in 27 incline, recording a maximum of 2000A with the crew bracing themselves against the G-forces.

The overhauled governor and turbo-charger also appear to be performing well, with just some oil leaks at pipe seals to sort out. A closer check of the load regulator circuits will hopefully trace the intermittent power problems that have plagued the loco in the past. Finally, a big tidy up next weekend should see us hand the loco back to railway in readiness for the forthcoming Diesel Weekend on 21/22 September.

Bedding in the brushes with emery cloth while the generator is running off load

Shunting a freight train after the test runs at Wirksworth (Stephen Miller)



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Special Delivery

A 9 1/2 ton special delivery was signed for last Thursday, when the generator returned from Bowers.  As you might guess, the refitting was the reverse of the removal, with the generator loaded first, followed by the turbocharger and the exhaust stack. Finally the roof was dropped back into place. It sounds simple but the whole process took 8 hours with the crane, mainly lining up the coupling between the generator and engine. There are 12 large fitted bolts and all the holes must line up perfectly, so this took a great deal of adjustment with the crane and persuasion with a selection of pinch bars. After four bolts were driven in, the supporting tie bars were removed, and the generator could be barred round to fit the rest.

Once all the bolts were in place, they were each tightened by Kev using his special flogging spanner and a “precision” sledge hammer. The real precision job then started – alignment of the generator to the engine crankshaft. The generator armature is supported at the far end by a roller bearing, but the inner end is bolted to the end of the crankshaft, and so half the weight is supported by the engine main bearings. It is therefore important that the position of the roller bearing is exactly in line with the crankshaft, so that the weight is evenly spread. At the same time the outer casing of the generator (with the field coils) must maintain a small but even air-gap clearance with the armature – it not being advisable for the two to make contact.

Kev fitted a DTI clock gauge to the generator fan, to check the air gap, and a Sulzer crankshaft deflection gauge between the crank webs of No8 piston. The generator casing was adjusted from side to side, at front and back, barring the engine round and checking the clocks until the changes in readings were at a minimum. Side to side adjustment of the generator is made by pulling it across the bed-plate with side bolts, and then locking into position with “bobbin” bushes that clamp the side of the generator. Fortunately the vertical deflections were almost identical, so the shims did not have to be altered for the generator height. The crankshaft deflections were reduced to just over +/- 1/1000th of an inch, side to side, which Kev declared satisfactory.

To check the armature bearing was still running true, a depth gauge was used to check the position of the rollers relative to the inner race. Finally the vertical mounting bolts were tightened, after reamering out the two middle bolts which are a transition fit into the bedplate to take any shear forces. All bolts had to be tightened evenly, barring round the engine every time to check the clearances and deflections. This whole alignment task took another day to complete.

The rest of the team made a start on rebuilding the rest of the engine, connecting up a new leather gasket between the turbocharger and the inlet box. The two halves of the sealing plates at the end of the engine were bolted back in position, having been cleaned and fitted with new gaskets. The electrical braids between the generator and underfloor busbars proved particularly troublesome, especially when it was realised that there was a mixture of imperial and metric bolts, with certain holes having been enlarged. We retired at the end of an exhausting 4 days to allow our wounds to heal before resuming the battle next Saturday.


Looking down on the coupling bolts, armature support bars still in place

Tightening up the nuts on the coupling bolts, support bars removed

Kev torque tightens the nuts for the coupling using his calibrated device

Ex works turbocharger waiting to be loaded

Turbocharger being craned into 33035

Turbocharger and exhaust stack mounted back on top of generator

Crankshaft deflection gauge mounted between webs at No8 piston

Dial indicator mounted on fan, measuring inside edge of outer casing

Checking the air gap clearances as generator is barred round

Carl reamers the vertical fitted bolt holes for the generator mounting to the bedplate

Satisfactory end to a long weekend - generator aligned and bolted down tight!

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The Tide has Turned

After many months of taking things apart, we have finally made a start on building the engine back up on Sherwood. This turning of the tide was signified by fitting of the first liner back into position B1 of the engine.

New rubber seals were fitted to the liner, which may not seem much, but they are the main reason for going to all the effort of dismantling the engine. Hopefully, the new seals will allow us to antifreeze the coolant without any leaks, and keep the loco in service throughout the year. After all the careful preparation, we were very pleased the liner pressed easily back into the cylinder block. One down, 11 to go!

Carl has nearly completed restoration work under the floor of No 2 cab, and is preparing the floor plates for some new lino.

Meanwhile, over at Wirksworth, the governor has been refitted to 33035, and the restoration of the area around the generator is nearing completion. The turbocharger has been finished by Bill and Doug and is on standby to return next weekend. Thursday 15th August is the big day for refitting the generator, so we are busy getting all the parts and tools ready.

Stephen fitting the Goretex seal to the top of the liner

Some corrosion pits are metal filled

New rubber seals and anti-fret ring fitted

Lapping the top face of the cylinder block

Liner lowered into B1 position

The liner has landed!

Under the cab floor at No2 end. Green equalising pipe for the boiler water tanks.

Governor refitted to 33035

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Generator Assembly

Yes its that big! Generator Field Frame

The last two weeks have seen much activity with overhaul of the generator, turbocharger and engine governor for 33035. Banding tapes were wound on each end of the main, auxiliary and ETH coils of the armature, then cooked in the oven for several hours. The armature was then dipped in varnish and baked yet again, and finally a coat of anti-tracking red applied. This lengthy process should ensure the insulation resists many more winters. All the remaining parts of the generator have been overhauled and await final assembly and testing at Bowers over the next week or so.

Bill and Doug have finished off cleaning and inspecting the turbocharger components, and hope to have it re-assembled in the next week.

At Barrow Hill, the governor has been stripped down and all wearing parts carefully measured up. New 0-ring seals were fitted and the complicated linkage and valvegear reassembled, referring to the pictures taken during the strip down (see the tab “Instructions & Reports”). The mechanism now operates freely, and it will be interesting to find out if the engine performance is improved.

In the loco at Wirksworth, the engine bedplate and generator connection box have been cleaned up and given a coat of primer, and many other parts are being prepared at Barrow Hill. The only question now, is how to put it all back together again!

Generator field frame at main gen connection end

Finished armature showing auxiliary and main gen commutators

Main generator brushgear around field coils for auxiliary gen

Turbocharger rotor (compressor on left, turbine on right)

Turbo casing being reassembled

Top of governor after reassembly

Generator connection box showing busbars under compressor


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