BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901 - operational at last!
|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|
Getting the engine to run was a significant step, and it wasn't long before we had the output shaft of the Voith transmission turning too. But applying air to the cylinder that operated the Hunslet "650" forward/reverse gearbox gave us nothing. Clearly it had jammed through lack of use (Hunslet gearboxes are all splash-fed, so a loco standing for long periods may suffer from all the oil draining away from internal surfaces). It was not too accessible either, being below the cab floor and under two propshafts. Andrew squeezed in with a selection of hydraulic jacking heads and packing material, and in the course of two weekends, pumping the selector shaft to-and-fro with a hand pump, we got the shaft to free up so that it could work properly on air. By the end of March 2009, the loco was ready to test, but it was struggling to make air pressure, so we hooked it up to Andrew's Drewry 72229, and set off part way down the line in convoy. A week later, bouyed up by that and having sorted out the compressor and sundry air leaks, a repeat run was made solo, reaching all the way to Hemingfield.
First solo test run, 5th April 2009
Andrew was sufficiently confident to promise the loco for the August Diesel Gala, so the publicity began, as did the pressure. We were unhappy about the SRPS's rear engine mounts, which were packed out with washers and such, so had new plates machined and the old brackets stiffened. The loco had as yet no vacuum braking - certainly we had renewed 95% of the SRPS's through pipe, replacing it in steel throughout, but there was yet no exhauster nor control gear. A 4-pot exhauster from a Class 31 was fitted in the rear compartment in early August, driven by a layshaft and belts from the rear PTO of the Voith. (We were assured you could not convert a 110V motor-drive exhauster to belt-drive, but we did!). The same shaft also drove the re-positioned 24V alternator (SRPS vintage and apparently secondhand from a DAF truck) as its previous location was completely wrong.
By mid August we were sufficiently far advanced to give it a go, and it worked a couple of test trains - only for a coolant hose clip to blow.
By the time of the August Gala, we were more confident and found that the loco would indeed handle 4 Elsecar coaches up the very steep gradient of this former colliery line, and sounded pretty good doing so. It didn't look so good, as there had been no time for anything cosmetic - a rub over to get the best of the paintwork it had from Bo'ness had been our limit. We were even cutting new floor boards only the day before! Sadly, as the Gala drew to a close, the engine died on our last run and we found that the primary fuel filter was blocked. So with the Gala out of the way, we drained off all the fuel, opened up the tanks, cleaned them out and resealed them, and on November 16, another running day resulted in passengers journeying from as far away as Devon!
- BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901
- BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901 - first steps in preservation
- BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901 - developments in Yorkshire
- BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901 - farther afield
- BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901 - 2011
- BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901 - 2013
- BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901 - facts & sundries