BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901 - facts and sundries
|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|
Was the engine in 14 901 ever fitted to a Class 17 (Clayton Bo-Bo)?
Yes. SRPS members produced evidence to explain how, at a time when delivery lead times on engines were extended, an engineer at the GPO managed to aquire a complete power unit from a class 17 being scrapped at St Rollox and had it converted to run as a mains genset. A Rolls-Royce Service Engineer confirms this, having been called out by the GPO to resolve why the genset did not function properly - the governing was of a type used for Rail traction, not Mains generation, and the gross engine rating was 30hp less than the generator could absorb. It was this genset that subsequently provided the engine for 14 901 when the GPO changed the genset for another.
The Rolls Service Engineer fortunately kept his notes which have just come to light, giving us an engine number for the DV8 and at last confirming that it came from Class 17 D8587.
There remains the anomaly about power rating. It is confirmed that the DV8s fitted to the Class 17s were specially set up at 450bhp at 1500rpm to match the Paxman, but BR type tests with the engines were run at 595bhp at 1800rpm, either to prove their reserve capacity or with an eye to BR using the DV8 in other applications. Either way we do not currently know what hp rating our engine is in reality set for. At the moment we will leave the nominal DV8TCE rating in the data boxes but as and when the pump is recalibrated we will amend these accordingly.
Why stick with the 14 901 number and fictitious livery?
D9524 was only carried from December 1964 through to late 1970. Photographs of it in BP service show it with a BP logo on on the cabside and the plant number "144-8" on the fuel tanks. It gained the 14 901 number around 1991, so has carried this number far longer than any other in its career. The loco is unique, if only by virtue of having not one but two repowers in its life - an event which happens to few locos on main line or industry. For those reasons alone Andrew feels justified in retaining the SRPS-applied number AND giving it an attractive, unique livery. To repaint it into BR green would merely make it resemble any other 14 on preserved lines today.
How is it that Andrew has obtained the loco performance that the SRPS could not?
We were not around at the time of the SRPS's work so cannot be categoric. Remember that the Voith automatically selects its "range" (torque converter/gear train) by reference to 3 things - two internal pumps (giving a measure of actual input engine speed and output rail speed) and the throttle air setting, which indicates the desired engine speed. The air throttle valve (installed by Barclays) was faulty when the loco arrived at Elsecar - it gave full air pressure as soon as opened - and we have now had it confirmed that the SRPS were operating the engine throttle by pulling on a wire, and that the throttle valve was either not being operated, or delivering full air pressure. Either way that would confuse the Voith governing system and may well have caused to it stick in first converter.
Were any other Class 14s considered for re-power?
When Andrew's father joined locomotive manufacturer Thomas Hill (Rotherham) Ltd in 1978, his boss was confident of receiving an order from British Steel at Corby to repower an initial three class 14s from Paxman to Rolls-Royce DV8TCE, so much so that TH(R) had ordered 3 engines and radiators from Rolls' Diesel Division at Shrewsbury, which was also TH(R)'s parent company. Thus he had the opportunity to read and learn the technical specification of the work and was aware of the need to re-gear the Voith input-stage to suit the 1800rpm of the DV8. Ironically, when the Minerals Division of BSC had sanction for the "spend" turned down, the reaction of the Chief Engineer was to say "That's it, they're closing us down" - as it turned out to be, and so more 14s went into preservation! TH(R) was unable to cancel the order on Rolls and it caused considerable embarassment in cash flow! One engine was later sold to BSC Port Talbot for their repowering of Brush-Bagnall BoBos; the other two were built into "Steelman" locos delivered to ICI at Billingham.
- 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 - operational at last!
- BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901 - farther afield
- BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901 - 2011
- BR Swindon Class 14: 14 901 - 2013