BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901 - developments in Yorkshire
|Built||December 1964, BR Swindon Works|
|Weight||48tons nominal (in working order)|
|Power Unit||Rolls-Royce DV8TCE|
|Gross Rating||640bhp at 1800rpm|
|Final Drive Gearbox||Hunslet "650"|
|Train Braking||Vacuum and twin pipe air|
|Present Location||Peak Rail, Darley Dale|
The arrival of 14 901 in Wakefield - within sight of Kirkgate station - caused some interest, and there are a number of pictures to be found on the 'web, e.g here. Middle Peak's plans for the locomotive however fell through with little work having been carried out, and RMS in due course bought the loco with a view (perhaps) to it being used either at Okehampton (Dartmoor Railway) or Weardale, then coming into the fold of RMS' then parent-company Ealing Community Transport. In April 2007 Andrew and his father, who then worked at RMS, were asked to carry out the minimum work to get the loco into a runnable condition in their spare time (there was insufficient test track at Wakefield and the work required was uneconomic using RMS fitters), and RMS moved it to the Elsecar Heritage Railway for them to commence.
On arrival at Elsecar however, an unforseen problem arose. Hiding under the cab floor was a cat and its newly-born kittens. Whether this feral feline hailed from Wakefield or Bo'ness was academic - she was very wild and wily, and extracting her from the loco, sadly with the loss of one kitten, got the loco and Elsecar local TV and newspaper coverage. In fact, it also gained Andrew an award from the RSPCA!
Andrew managed to capture this photo of mother cat by hanging upside from the cab floor. It was much easier - and safer - to photograph her than actually catch her!
During 2007 we largely found ourselves taking stock of what we were getting involved in. Pipework and electrics were obviously going to require a lot of attention, having clearly been installed rapidly in order to get the locomotive runnable in Scotland. There was no point in charging in and trying to run it straight away, it required a thorough checking before getting too far involved. As all this went on, a dispute arose between Andrew and RMS, ultimately settled by Andrew taking ownership of 14 901, early in 2008.
There was now even more impetus to get the job absolutely right, so the decision was taken to re-plumb and wire the loco throughout. That meant a new control cubicle, traywork front to back, new e.p (electro-pneumatic) valves, etc. As received, it did not seem to have any sort of throttle control (we have been assured that a full air throttle was fitted in Scotland, but we found no evidence - merely a length of garden wire with a wooden handle on one end) so this was manufactured. Meanwhile assuming that the 12volt lift pump was related to starting issues, we re-plumbed the Rolls-Royce lift pump up through the filters to a new header tank so as to gravity feed the fuel pump itself. The cab roof leaked (you could see daylight around it) so this came off for re-sealing. Starting too, was going to be an issue. Although Rolls-Royce in its internal technical information was adamant that a DV8 could be started at ambients as low as freezing point on one starter, they would have excluded such additional loads imposed by the Voith and its internal pumps, hydrostatic fan drive, compressor, etc. The starter motor could barely turn the engine over, even after we had had it overhauled and its clutch-pack renewed, so we added a second starter motor in the provision on the other side. Finally, having identified that the injectors had been plumbed to the fuel pump in the wrong order, we got the engine to start. You can see that here.