ETH generators to be examined on failed '50s'

Examination of 50031 Hood, following its failure at the Swanage Railway diesel gala on May 9-11 (RAIL 749), shows that one of the bearings may be failing, leading to the commutator rotating irregularly.

It is therefore planned to remove both the electric train heat generator and auxiliary generator from the ‘50’, to enable more detailed examination and repair. 

In view of the findings with 50035 Ark Royal’s ETH generator (see below), the Class 50 Alliance, which owns and operates Hood, feels it is beneficial to send both units away to its preferred electrical contractor (Bowers) for inspection and repair.

The failed ETH generator in Ark Royal is to be replaced by a spare unit. This is already in overhauled condition, but following recommendations from Bowers on the type of banding used in these generators, the unit is to be inspected and will receive further attention before fitting. Due to the location of the overhauled generator, the group has to source a ten-tonne hire fork truck to despatch the spare from its current location. 

Meanwhile, preparations for repainting 50035 into BR Blue livery are almost complete at Eastleigh.

Work is also continuing on the two main line-certified C50A locomotives.

At Wabtec Rail’s Brush Traction, Loughborough, apart from the removal of 50044 Exeter’s fuel tank to facilitate a repair on a fractured air pipe, little work has been completed on the locomotive. 

The Portuguese engine bought last year has been installed in the locomotive, but requires the fitting of several camshaft pieces before the engine is completed. These are being sourced, ready for fitting. 

And with the failure of 50035’s ETH generator in mind, it has been decided to also remove the ETH generator from 50044 and send it to Bowers for inspection, cleaning and repair. 

On 50049 Defiance, work has progressed slowly on rebuilding its engine at Kidderminster.

So far, nine of the 16 ‘new’ piston and connecting rod assemblies have been refitted into the engine, and the torquing up of big end bolts has commenced.

Each has a reconditioned piston (not the same ones that were removed), new big and little end bushes. It is planned to refit the remaining seven piston and connecting rod assemblies, along with as many cylinder heads as possible. At present, eight cylinder heads have been reconditioned. 

In other areas of 50049, both cab floors have been lifted, and two sets of replacement floor panels have been manufactured. A number of underfloor air pipes have been identified as being at risk of fracture, due to corrosion, and are to be replaced. New pipes and fittings have been sourced, and await fitting. 

The underfloor areas have also been comprehensively cleaned, and a number of items have been removed, including 1970s cigarette wrappings, corroded drivers’ keys and a set of dentures. Repairs have also been made to the cab window drains, which were blocked in several positions.

Prior to returning 50049 to the main line, the C50A would also like to replace at least one windscreen, which is showing signs of delamination. However, the sourcing of replacement window seals (Beclawat R205 & R306 sections) is proving difficult. 

Finally, Network Rail contractors have twice visited Defiance, to install upgrades to the GSM-R signalling equipment.

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