The beginning of the month had the repowered class 03, officially dubbed 03 901 but as yet un-named, finally operate tours on the steelworks at Tata Scunthorpe for the AFRPS diesel gala.
Much of the painting work on the loco had been carried out by the 'Scunthorpe crew' of Toby, Stephen and Ashley, which was primarily a glass black external with handrails picked out in white. The window frames, which had previously been painted over, where cleaned off to reveal that they were in fact brass, which was given some polish, as were the two air horn trumpets. The casing door grab handles had been removed, shot-blasted and powder-coated in white. The cab internals, and further underframe work, will be progressed later. A new cab floor has been fitted in plywood, but will be rubber-coated before much longer.
On some test running the weekend before, a screaching noise developed but too late in the day to be investigated. On the weekend of the gala this turned out to be the water pump bearing, causing the loco to leak coolant as well as emit a noise, once the throttle was opened, reminiscent of a circular saw going through tree trunks. Consequently on the Saturday the loco was held back, causing some visitors to assume that it was struggling up the 1 in 80 bank around the far side of the Tata site, whereas in reality it simply wasn't being allowed to rev significantly. On the Sunday, with the knowledge that things hadn't got much worse, a more cavalier attitude prevailed and the loco easily handled the train at higher speed.
Subsequently, a new water pump has been obtained and should be fitted by mid-November. The exhauster drive arrangement is being progressed, and the belt-drive arrangement should be ready soon for installation, as well be 4 replica code light boxes, using red/white LEDs. The tacho drive cable has been installed to drive the generator, and requires wiring back to the control panel.
New wagon acquired
During September, negotiations went on to aquire a new wagon - a 1913-built Midland railway bogie well wagon, which had been standing at Crewe works and was close to being scrapped when spotted by an enthusiast. It was brought to Rowsley on the 23rd October by Reid Freight and will receive attention in due course.
14 901 at work
14 901 continues to carry out service operation on Peak Rail. In addition to its booked days, it was twice turned out to deputise for D8 - the first time merely for a single journey after D8's batteries were a bit under the weather, and secondly for a full day after volunteers rostered to drive the Peak forgot to bring their keys and no others could be found!
Andrew is anxious to implement some of the planned modifications this winter, including the re-plumbing of the cooling system.