Spotlight on Sherwood

Since our return from the Nene Valley Railway diesel gala, the spotlight has shifted back to Sherwood, and the result of the last few weeks of progress now sees the loco up and running again after its 3 year engine overhaul. We originally thought it would take about 18 months, but as usual there have been distractions along the way. Anyway, it is finally coming together for 2015.

The engine assembly was completed with all coolant and oil pipework fitted, and the valve tappets set up. The inlet manifolds and exhausts were left off for a test start and the triple pump run for about 20minutes to circulate the oil and check the pressure was holding. With finger on the engine-room start button and the rack held open, the engine turned over a couple of times and it fired up – obviously keen to get back in business, deafening the bystanders with the exhausts blasting straight out the top of the cylinder heads! It was pleasing to see the exhausts quickly cleared and the engine was running smoothly. Even more reassuring was no sign of water leaks from the liner seals and transition bushes, but a few external leaks from pipe joints that needed tightening.

Over the following weeks the inlets and exhausts were refitted, and two troublesome water drain valves stripped and re-seated to stop leaks, as the engine will soon be filled with expensive anti-freeze.

Carl has spent many weeks meticulously rebuilding the headcode box mechanisms for No 2 end. These have a complicated gear shift to wind each blind, and the whole lot easily seizes up with corrosion and lack of use. The mechanisms have been fitted into the housings and the fronts re-glazed after removing the domino dots. Finally a tangle of wiring was sorted into order thanks to a wiring diagram and the front of the loco was illuminated in time for Christmas.

Jacob and Reuben came to the rescue of one of those jobs that was started and left unfinished for the last two years. The noise of needle-gunning in the roundhouse is not popular at weekends, so some hours were put in mid-week to strip one side of No2 bogie of 50 years of paint and crud. Three more sides and two ends to go…


Lowering one of the exhaust pipe sections on to the heads

Checking the oil circulation round the rockers with engine running

All the vital signs reading good on the instrument panel

Its winter so we are working in the dark again - needle-gunning the bogie side

Jacob spraying a coat of red oxide to keep the rust at bay

Matching bogies and nameplate?

Fixing the Christmas lights!



Posted in Barrow Hill, News, Restoration | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Gala Delight

It has been a short but intensive summer for 33035, starting with the Keighley & Worth Valley Diesel Gala, four Saturdays working the Wirksworth-Duffield service, and rounding off with another delightful visit to the Nene Valley Railway. Three years ago Sherwood Forester took part in the Nene Valley Railway Diesel Gala and returned home to Barrow Hill for its overhaul. 33035 has followed in its footsteps and is now delivered safely back at Barrow Hill after a smooth ride back on the mainline courtesy of DCR. Assuming no more phone calls, the loco will be wintering at Barrow Hill and receiving further maintenance work, which will be reported here in the coming months.

Farewell to the NVR as today's consist waits the RA for the Fletton branch connection to the ECML

View from the cab running into Peterborough

Speed maintained at a steady 60mph

Back home at Barrow Hill

Posted in Barrow Hill, Events, News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ready to Face the Music

Recent visitors to Barrow Hill Roundhouse will have been surprised to find it has almost been emptied out, leaving just five locos huddled together in one corner. All the other roads have been boarded over and the turntable pit filled with a steel frame to provide the base for the Jools Holland concert this coming Saturday (13th). While all this has been going on, work on Sherwood has continued unabated.

The new box headcodes have been away for zinc plating to provide long term protection against corrosion that was the weakness of the original design. British Railways realised this part way through the build and changed the design to mounting the boxes inside the nose, no longer needing the central section for end doors. Sherwood later had the boxes completely removed and the nose end modified to the plain marker light design, which remained until it was withdrawn. After preservation by the PDLG, the nose ends were modified back to the original design using boxes salvaged from 45053 and 45036. The new boxes will look identical, but with improved sealing and weather proofing.

Carl has also refitted the various brackets and grabrails to the nose end, applied two coats of undercoat and one coat of yellow warning gloss, to make the loco presentable for this Saturday’s concert and the Barrow Hill Model Rail Live Event on 27-28th September.

Meanwhile down in the engine room, the spanner gang have almost completed assembly of the top of the engine. The rockers have been fitted and connected up to the pushrods, and the valve tappets set with feeler gauges. Oil pipes are being refitted with new copper seals, and the replacement heat exchanger being prepared after its pressure test. Outside, the batteries have been inspected, topped up and cleaned, so this is a sign that we are not far away from pressing the start button!

Headcode box frames after zinc plating, ready for etch primer

Carl checks out the boxes in position

A coat of blue gloss for the nose crown

Starting to look the part again with a coat of gloss yellow

Setting the valve tappet clearance with feeler gauges

The tappets are set with each piston at top dead centre, shown on the timing marks, following the firing order as the engine is carefully barred round.

Tappet clearance is adjusted and locked with the screw thread on the push rods

Jacob and Stephen cleaning up batteries on B-side of the loco

Mick cleaning up yet another oil pipe while Adam blows out the heat exchanger tubes with his long tool


Posted in Barrow Hill, News, Restoration | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Under Pressure

With various summer distractions including a long weekend away for 33035 at the K&WVR Gala, progress with Sherwood has been steady, and is now picking up again. All twelve cylinder heads have been fitted and torque tightened down. The top water rails connecting the heads were bolted on, and blanking plates made up, so that the block could be filled with water and pressure tested. Normal running pressure is 20psi, so the system was tested up to 30psi just to make sure.

It is best to pressure test at this stage, before connecting up the rest of the pipework and exhausts. One head sprung a leak from a transition bush, so this was lifted off and found not to have seated correctly. After refitting, the system was tested again and proved to be water tight all round. The next stage will be fitting the rocker gear and setting the tappets.

Carl has returned to manufacture two new headcode boxes for No 2 end. The old ones can only be described as rust held together with paint, but they are serving as patterns and the internal mechanisms are being restored. One is ex 45053 and the other 45036, so bits of them live on!

Torque tightening cylinder head nuts - method 1 with two torque multipliers in tandem

Method No 2 with original "Sweeney" special Sulzer tool

Each pair of nuts are tightened one division at a time up to 5 divisions, or 105 degrees from paint mark on head

Air inlet manifolds stripped down and repainted

After 50 years of British weather, its time to retire the old headcode boxes

First stage in fabricating new box

Posted in Barrow Hill, News, Restoration | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Oily Interlude

This year’s B-exam on 33035 concluded with an oil and filter change. Two barrels of oil were ordered up, and a new set of filters delivered. The Class 33s do not have a sump drain, as this was removed long ago by the Southern, and so the old oil had to be pumped out from the engine crankcase. It was definitely time to change the oil, as there was an accumulation of sludge in the bottom of the sump, which had to be mopped out and cleaned with a couple of buckets of diesel. The filters were also filthy, but fortunately there were no signs of metallic bits that could indicate bearing problems. Continue reading

Posted in Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, News, Restoration | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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. Continue reading

Posted in Barrow Hill, News, Restoration | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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. Continue reading

Posted in Barrow Hill, News, Restoration | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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. Continue reading

Posted in Barrow Hill, News, Restoration | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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. Continue reading

Posted in Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, News | Tagged , | Leave a comment


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. Continue reading

Posted in Barrow Hill, Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, News, Restoration | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment