preserved railways, renovation


18 Jul , 2016  

As was previously advised, a few problems were encountered with 55 022 at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway last Sunday with some intermittent power production experienced. After some thought and consideration, I decided that it was due to low fuel level and intermittent due to the gradients, at times the power application was as expected and stable and at other times power produced was sporadic and varied up and down despite the engine revving smoothly. We managed to complete the day’s trains and return to Grosmont MPD after stopping and doing a ‘fuel prime’ just before Newtondale Halt, in a similar position to where we had done a complete shut done and restart on the previous down direction working. Both of these had the desired effects of restoring full power production. The fuel level was checked at the start of that day’s operation and found to be low, but considered in our experience to still be OK to complete that day’s work. Adding fuel to the loco had been discussed with some at the MPD for a few weeks prior, but none had actually been put in.

After parking the loco up on Grosmont MPD, a message was left on the signing on point blackboard asking for the loco to be fuelled. On Monday I sent an e-mail to our contact at the Depot as per the hire agreement advising that the loco needs fuel and if I could please be advised when the job has been completed and how much has been put in. As is usual following a low fuel situation with most diesel powered equipment, my plan was that we would then fit new filters, clean the fuel strainers and also bleed the system. All routine jobs to us involved with maintaining 22 over the last 10 years and bearing in mind that this job is on our soon to be completed annual exam, it would ‘kill two birds with one stone’!! I had not received any response, by Thursday, so resent the e-mail asking for a reply, I then received a reply saying that they had been busy and would ask someone else and answer. By Friday evening, I once again e-mailed advising that I have still not got an answer.

Late on Saturday morning I was browsing through some ‘social media’ sites and happened to stumble across a posting on the Grosmont MPD Facebook pages that a driver had reported problems with the Number 2 load regulator and it been examined and cleaned by staff. I was somewhat amazed by this and also that a driver with just one days experience could determine the cause of a problem, which seems to have been taken on board with no regard to the views of those who have over 10 years’ experience operating and maintaining this very loco. But it frequently appears that during this time myself and my team have learnt nothing about the loco and others have far greater knowledge picked up during an hour so!! Anyway, I then asked on the page if they knew if the loco had been fuelled as that was what we considered to be the problem and not our highly maintained load regulators. After a few hours, thankfully I was advised that the loco had been fuelled and there was around 400 gallons displayed on the gauges. By this time, I was away for a few days and planned to visit Grosmont sometime during the week after I had returned to Huddersfield to do the work on the fuel system.

I was advised this morning that the 55 022 Facebook page was giving information that the loco was working today, whilst not being surprised, as things can change very quickly with regard to loco rostering and us loco owners and maintainers usually being the last to know anyway!! By that time, the loco would have just about been ready to haul its first train, so I assumed all was OK and fingers crossed the loco would be fine for what was planned for today. I received a phone call late this afternoon advising that there was a power problem with 22 and what advice could I give, I advised to tell the driver to do a fuel prime and try get the train back to Grosmont and that I would get across this week with the parts and do the work on the fuel system. A few minutes later I received another call, this time from the driver as my number is displayed clearly in both cabs for drivers to contact me should they have any issues. I advised him to do a fuel prime and checked that he knew the procedure for that, he advised yes all was clear and that the Class 37 was on its way to rescue!!!

Hmmmm, oh well, I suppose a call no matter how late, is much better than none. From what I was told later 22 virtually pushed the 37 back and all was fine on that section. I then spoke to Grosmont MPD and was advised that the same problem had existed all day beginning with a different driver on the first train from Grosmont to Whitby in the morning, I was somewhat taken aback that the first call to me was on the last working and after a rescue engine had been called for………..

So, I am fairly confident that the recent problem will be resolved soon and easily as mentioned above, unfortunately due to prior arrangements early this week I can not get to Grosmont before Wednesday at the earliest. Welcome to another day of the amazing joys of being a loco owner.

Sleep well y’all,