33035 took the lead on the Wirksworth Thunderbolt today at the EVR, bringing the guests and VIPS on the 10-20h from Wirksworth for the re-opening of Shottle Station. Approxinately half-way along the line, Shottle will be the passing point for trains when the adjacent loop has been signalled and a new platform built on the down side. In the meantime, trains will be stopping at the refurbished up platform in both directions. Anton Shone and John Snell posed for the massed ranks of press photographers alongside our loco decked out with bunting and sporting the Golden Arrow headcode.
On Saturday 33035 had some tantrums on the Ravenstor shuttle service, with the governor and load regulator seemingly misbehaving. The governor was stripped down and re-assembled in between a couple of trips, as one does, with nothing obviously wrong, although adjustments were made to the idle speed. There was some improvement but it was still struggling to build up power. So as a precaution, we decided to top and tail with 31414 on the two afternoon runs from Wirksworth to Duffield, where it continued to have difficulties maintaining power. On the final run, it seemed to settle down and perform better, with a little help from Alistair on the fuel rack to smooth out the wild fluctuations of the load regulator.
After much scratching of heads, poring over manuals and schematics it was time to phone-a-friend with a call to Dr Diesel at Swanage. The Good Doctor and font of all Class 33 knowledge quickly pointed us to a probable cause, as apparently 33057 at WSR had very similar problems recently, and this was found to be fuel starvation. This was also causing the governor to behave erratically. Several symptoms are suggesting this may be the same with 33035, as we had already found the idle speed had dropped to about 310rpm instead of the set 325rpm, and the engine firing has been a little rough. Rather than strip the fuel system apart in the middle of the gala, we decided to leave things alone on Sunday, and we got through the day with the engine behaving fairly well. Interestingly 31414 was also struggling for power, unable to get much more than 20mph flat out, so there may be a suspicious connection, as both locos were refuelled last week. Our first job next time we visit will be to remove the fuel filters and see if they are blocked.