BR Swindon Class 14 : D9500
|Weight in working order||48tons|
|Power unit||Perkins 3012 to be installed
|Final Drive||Hunslet "650" frame mounted|
|Train braking||Vacuum and air (planned)|
This loco, the prototype of the Class 14s, emerged from Swindon in July of 1964, and worked initially in the South Wales area. It is pictured at Durley in Gloucestershire in May 1966, here but was put into store at Worcester a month or so later. Returned to traffic early in 1967 and allocated to Bristol, it returned to Cardiff by late spring but was back in store again by December. Back into traffic at Cardiff by October 1968, it was noted in store once more in February 1969 and officially withdrawn in April at Cardiff. It was bought by the NCB in November 1969 and taken to the North East Area; allocated to Ashington as their "No.1", and painted in an NCB blue livery (see photo here).
The Ashingtion system closed in October 1986, but shortly before this, D9500 transferred to Lambton Engine Works with reported "propshaft problems". Finally, together with D9502, it was bought for preservation in 1987, travelling first to the Llangollen line, then Swindon (where it was, briefly, started up and moved under its own power) and then on to the D&EG at Williton, where the loco was stripped for detailed assessment (see here). The Paxman engine - run at Llangollen in 1988 and said to sound "like a bag of ****" - was by then in a bad way, and funds to overhaul it were simply not available from its owner. In due course it was aquired by members of the South Yorkshire Railway, and was put back on its wheels for transport to Meadowhall. In 2004 it appeared at Barrow Hill for the "first of the breed" event, for which its side rods were refitted and a repaint in BR green applied. No attempt was made at a mechanical restoration - the Paxman engine remained in pieces and D9500 has not had brake rigging in place since 1992!
Arriving at Peak Rail under Heritage Shunters Trust auspices c.2007, appeals were made to locate a replacement Paxman without success, and in summer 2010 its owner reached a deal with HNRC to acquire D9525, with D9500 being taken in part exchange. Since the likelihood was that the loco would otherwise go for scrap as no-one was likely to take on a rebuild project of such magnitude, Harry kindly approached Andrew and a deal was struck to acquire it.
The Paxman 6YJX inside D9500 photographed in August 2010 - 18 years after it was stripped for assessment. It has not been retained.
Andrew intends to rebuild the loco in a similar manner to 14 901, based on his extensive experience of that loco and its potential. It will however be a longer term restoration. It is likely to be stripped to bare frame, even removing the Voith for examination (and possible re-gearing) as there were reports of brass debris in the oil (this may be related to the "propshaft problems" it was reputedly stopped for). Preliminary plans include a new design of cooler group to suit whatever prime mover is installed, with the Voith oil being cooled direct to atmosphere, rather than to engine coolant as standard. As D9500's fan and hydraulic motor have been put into use of 14 901, a wholly-new fan drive system will be incorporated.
There are a number of detail differences between the first 5 locos and later ones. D9500, for example, lacks grease nipples above the hornchecks that lubricate the spring pillars, and has a couple of pipe/conduit runs below the running plate under the cab on one side where Swindon had "run out of room". Later locos had these and other deficiencies corrected. In all, there is a very considerable amount of work to be carried out on D9500 in overhauling and enhancing the loco.
Initial work has been to identify components worth retaining and those better sold to other class 14 owners as a means of raising some funds towards the new prime mover and other parts required. (The engine block, for example, has been used to restore D9504 to life.) It would have been nice if the loco could have been made operable in time for the celebration of the half-century of the class (on the East Lancs) in July 2014, but no serious start will be made until the Geoffrey Briddon Building is up and functioning. Andrew is tempted to finish the loco in BR Black with lion-on-unicycle emblem "as though the D prefix never happened", and Amy Adams has kindly produced the following 'artists impression'.....
...which of course is purely speculative, though another observer has commented that that livery, plus that of 14 901, would 'top-n-tail' the Teddy Bear story!
Details of D9500's BR service life taken from the "Railways in Worcestershire" site of the Malvern Industrial Archeology Circle