Andrew Briddon Locos

Andrew Briddon Locos

preserved railway vehicles

BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901 - first steps in preservation


At Bo'ness c.2006

Works Number D9524
Built December 1964, BR Swindon Works
Wheel arrangement 0-6-0DH
Weight 48tons nominal (in working order)
Power Unit Rolls-Royce DV8TCE
Gross Rating 640bhp at 1800rpm
Transmission Voith L217U
Final Drive Gearbox Hunslet "650"
Train Braking Vacuum and twin pipe air
Present Location Peak Rail, Darley Dale
Photos Gallery

The SRPS's repower of the locomotive came about through aquisition of a Rolls-Royce DV8TCE (32 litre V8) engine from the basement of a Post Office in Glasgow. The DV8, originally conceived as a 1000hp engine but in practice never offered commercially above 750bhp, had a number of applications in rail, primarily in industrial locomotives, though two of the "Claytons" (Class 17) were also fitted with them. (We do now have conclusive poof that the engine came from one of these Class 17s: for a summary of the evidence, see here.) The damaged Dorman 8QT was discarded, and the DV8 grafted in, although the greater width of the 60 degree Vee form fouled the vent pipes over the fuel tanks and these had to be removed. 

A typical gen-set mounting for the DV8 used the rear feet of the generator and, being rigidly bolted to the engine, required only two feet on the Rolls, and R-R provided a "girder sump" for this purpose comprising an RSJ set through the middle of the engine sump, roughly at the mid point of the engine. The SRPS volunteers used this, and manufactured some additional rear feet to secure the engine. Being unable to get the R-R fuel lift pump to operate, they dropped a 12V (garden fountain type) pump into the left hand fuel tank and with cooling and fan drive systems adapted to the original plumbing, and one of the BroomWade compressors lined up with the DV8's front crank pulley, the locomotive was made runnable.

The matter of speed limiting was resolved when the SRPS found and removed the plugs from the transmission governor, but try as they might (and the group had relocated to Bo'ness during the period in question) they seemed unable to get the locomotive to operate satisfactorily, and the stories about the Voith invoice indicating a permanent impediment to "proper" operation gained credence. The SRPS did however re-paint the locomotive into BR blue (c.1993), and, reflecting BR practice of allocating a fresh class "sub-type" when major changes were made, applied the number 14 901 - which has been a bone of contention with some enthusiasts ever since!

Although various attempts were made to get to the root of the problem, the locomotive languished outside the shed at Bo'ness and eventually the decision was made to put the loco up for sale, although reputedly this did cause considerable disagreement within the ranks of the SRPS members. Once again the spectre of "it's been modified so it won't do more than 15mph" arose and there were no takers, until in 2006 it was bought by Middle Peak Railways, and taken to the works of RMS Locotec in Wakefield.

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