D7535 Diesel Weekend Visit Confirmed!


Photo courtesy of Alex Raybould showing D7535 leaving Bewdley on the SVR in May 2019.

Thanks to superb support towards funding transport costs, we are delighted to confirm that D7535 WILL be visiting us for our Diesel Weekend on September 28th & 29th! Joining our two season resident 31271 and home fleet 1566, this is now looking like a tasty event and we think it’s also our first gala with TWO visiting locomotives! We are still welcoming further donations towards transport https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/7535-v – every little helps a lot! We can’t wait to welcome a “Rat” back to Llangollen after an absence of over 10 years since 25313 left us in 2009. Big thanks are due to the South Devon Diesel Traction Group and Great Central Railway, whom we are working with closely to make the visit happen.

08195 and a DMU will also be featuring in the event and we’re planning an interesting timetable with an evening working on the Saturday. Hopefully a brakevan trip will also run along the full line for the first time in many years, subject to stock availability and operational approval.

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July Update

D7535 – Gala Visit!

With 5310 now unavailable for our Diesel Weekend on 28th & 29th of September, we felt it would be a good idea to see if we could source a further visiting loco for the event. We have been very generously provisionally offered Class 25 No D7535 from the South Devon Diesel Traction Group. This would be the first time this machine has visited Wales in preservation and the first Class 25 to work on the LR since 25313 last ran in 2008. The Railway is very supportive of the visit but sadly does not have the funds to bring in this wonderful machine by road.

Photo of 7535 on the SVR in May by “TrainsNearCheltenham” and used with thanks.

We have therefore launched a funding appeal to raise sufficient funds to cover the road transport after a 4 week or so stay in North Wales. Nearly £1,500 has already been raised from donations made by our working members, so an additional £1500 is sought to reach our target of around £3,000.

All funds raised will be donated directly to the Llangollen Railway to pay for the road transport. Any excess funds will be used to fund the operational costs of the loco during her stay.

We appreciate every bit of support. In the event of the locomotive not visiting the railway, we will return all funds donated.  See our Crowdfunding appeal at: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/7535-v

31271

The loco has now completed 5 days in traffic and performed faultlessly so far. We are very grateful to A1A Locomotives Limited for all their support. They attended her first two running days and have supported conversion training for 5 LR drivers to operate the loco. Some running maintenance has been performed, with a brake application valve, a brake cylinder seal and a full set of wiper blades all replaced. The latter are particularly useful in our part of the World! She is seen below at Goods Junction during Classic Transport Weekend, 6th July. Photo by Tez Pickthall.

31271 will handle the Saturday 13th’s scheduled B timetable diesel working, covering the 10, 12:15 & 14:30 from Llangollen. We are also expecting her to cover the Sunday 14th July steam diagram – the 11, 13:15 & 15:45, working alongside a DMU. The 21st of July running day is also penciled in for 271.

1566 – AVR Failure

1566 unfortunately failed on 14th June, when called to cover the day’s steam service. The locomotive shut down after arriving in the station to collect her train and would unfortunately not re-start. Investigations subsequently found the Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) had failed in a rather spectacular style, with the brass shunt melted through and broken into several pieces, which were found in a tidy pile underneath the unit!

We have a spare AVR, but it was missing one of the control cards, which we removed from the original damaged one on the loco. Initially the replacement AVR would not operate, leading us to suspect the card we used from the original had been damaged. Much effort is underway to source more spares and make arrangements for repairs to the damaged parts. However, during testing on Tuesday 9th July it miraculously sprang back into life, with the reassuring buzz from the thyristors. We were then able to successfully start the loco and take power. Whilst this is excellent news and shows that no further damage occurred to the loco when the AVR failed, we do need to perform some further careful testing before the loco can work a train. We’re also concerned as to why the AVR started working again when we really hadn’t done anything other than measure voltages. We will therefore to continue to source spares and have the original unit repaired.

The aim is to have 1566 working on the Saturday of our 1960’s Weekend on 3rd & 4th of August.

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June Update

31271 Debut & Further Running

31271 made a successful debut to traffic on Sunday 16th June. Our sincere thanks to A1A Locomotives Limited for supporting her first running day and arriving the day before to prepare and check the loco over. She looked and sounded superb. The sun even came out between the showers – the first time it had been seen this month I think!

31271 at Carrog in a rare sunny moment during her first day in traffic at Llangollen. Photo by Tez Pickthall

Following problems with 1566, 31271 will cover our two remaining June B timetable running days on Saturdays 22nd and 29th of June. She should also be in use for at least one day of Classic Transport Weekend on 6th or 7th of July.

5310

5310 was moved to the Gloucester & Warwickshire Railway’s Toddington HQ on the 4th of June. The aim was to lift the locomotive and fit an overhauled replacement traction motor that we have been able to source from the Cotswold Mainline Diesel Group, who look after D5343. This would then have allowed 5310 to return to traffic and take part in their summer diesel gala. She is seen on the Reid’s wagon at Llangollen on the 4th of June.

Photo courtesy of Kieron Rigby

Unfortunately during unloading and preparations for lifting at Toddington it was found that Number 4 traction motor has also sustained a bearing failure. As the photo shows below, the damage to the commutator was extensive but is fortunately repairable. Regrettably the loco will therefore not now be able to take part in the GWR gala.

Photo courtesy of Simon Townsend

Following further discussion with the GWR and inspection of the motors with Dave Hesketh from Edgar Allen, we are hoping for getting 5310 running again. This will involve removing and overhauling 3 more motors in order to ensure we do not need to worry about this happening again. Suffice to say this job is therefore likely to take a good while longer and involve a bigger spend then we were initially hoping for.

We are very grateful to both the GWR and Cotswold Mainline Diesel Group for all their support to date. We hope that 5310 can still work some trains on the GWR at the end of her extended stay, but there’s a long way to go yet!

1566

The loco has been through one of its most intensive periods of work in over a decade, completing 7 days in traffic through May and June. This included two extra days of running on 6th & 7th of June covering for 80072, which was undergoing an exam.

1566 at Llangollen on 7th of June after successfully covering the day’s A timetable. Photo by Tez Pickthall.

She failed on the 18th of May with a defective contactor on the Compressor Control Relay, which was repaired but not in time for her to work the days’ service, which was covered by a DMU.

The offending faulty contactor from the CCR. Forutnately we hold spares.

Unfortunately a further failure occurred on Friday 14th June when 1566 was due to cover the day’s A timetable for 80072 again. All appeared well until she shut down after arriving in Llangollen station to collect her train. Again, a DMU was able to step in and cover the working. Investigations have found that a shunt on the AVR has failed. The red circles below show where two busbars are missing from the component. Without this in the place the locomotive cannot be run.

Photo by Pete Edwards

We hold a spare and are hopeful that the failure mode is a result of age and vibration, but want to be sure that it has not occurred due to a defect in one of the electrical machines. As a result we will need to carry out thorough checking and testing of all DC machines and the auxiliary generator before we can fit the spare shunt and start the loco again.

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31271 Debut – Sunday 16th June

We are pleased to announce that following her arrival with us on Tuesday 7th May, 31271 is due to make her debut to traffic on the Llangollen Railway on Sunday 16th June, working the 10, 12:15 and 14:30 trains from Llangollen.

We are very much looking forward to seeing her run and would like to thank A1A Locomotives Ltd for providing their superb loco to us for the next two seasons. Please note trains are only running to Carrog at the moment due to the delayed opening of Corwen Central station. This is still under construction and awaiting connection to the running line following reinstatement of a section of missing embankment just outside the station.

31271 in Llangollen Yard, Tuesday 14th May. Photo by Tez Pickthall

1566 has performed well at our first 3 running days of the year on May 5th 6th and 11th , but unfortunately failed on Saturday 18th with a faulty compressor control contactor. This was very frustrating as we had thoroughly inspected and tested the loco on Tuesday 14th to make sure she was ready for another day in traffic. Such faults can occur at any time and are very hard to predict in such complex and aging equipment. Fortunately we hold spares of such components and the fault was repaired by the late afternoon, although sadly too late for 1566 to make her booked workings. The 12:15 and 14:30 trains were covered by the Class 126 DMU.

1566 on 18th May before unfortunate failing due to a fault with the CCR contactor. Photo by Tez Pickthall
The offending CCR contactor – amazing that such a small component can stop 117 tonnes of loco!

1566 has another busy month ahead. It will work the 2nd, 8th, 22nd & 29th B timetables and a driver experience on the 9th of June. We are also pleased to announce a new driver has joined our ranks, with group stalwart Pete Edwards passing out on Saturday May 11th – well done Pete!

Pete Edwards passes out as a driver after assessment on 1566 on May 11th. Photo by Mark Smales.
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1566 Ready for May Running Days

We’re all looking forward to a Sulzer-powered Bank Holiday weekend! Following successful de-winterisation and testing, 1566 is currently scheduled to handle all 4 of our May diesel running days – that’s a B timetable on Sunday 5th, Monday 6th, Saturday 11th and Saturday 18th May.

1566 is seen during a short test run to Deeside on Tuesday April 16th.

31271 is due to arrive with us some time next week and will make her Llangollen debut in June. We’re really looking forward to hosting this superb machine for a two season stay.

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Hello to 5310!

The Group are delighted to unveil 5310 in her new livery of early 1970’s-style BR green with full yellow ends and D-less numbers. This is the culmination of a lot of hard work that has taken place in Pentrefelin carriage sheds since she moved there at the end of January.

We have been able to achieve a lot more than the basic tidy-up of the badly faded and peeling bodysides that was initially planned. The roof, front ends, sole bars and bogie components have all been prepared and repainted. A considerable amount of work has also taken place inside the engine room, with the power unit, generator, some of the inner body sides and pipework all receiving new paint. A new driver’s side windscreen and sealing rubbers have been fitted at No 2 end along with new fuel filters.

We would like to thank everyone who has got stuck in with the loco over the last few weeks. The next stage is to get the air tanks tested before hopefully moving 5310 to a location where we can lift the loco and swap the damaged traction motor for a refurbished spare. This spare motor has been acquired through the generous support of another Class 26 owning group and is currently under overhaul by a specialist contractor.
Both photos by Mark Smales.

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Work Starts on D5310

A belated happy new year to all our supporters. After a busy end to 2018, 2019 continues to find us plenty to do on our fleet. Discussions are ongoing to find a partner to allow us to lift and repair D5310. We are hopeful of being able to make a positive announcement about this very soon.

In the meantime we have been kindly given a space in Pentrefelin carriage shed to carry out some much-needed body work on the loco. She moved undercover on Monday 21st January. Body sanding has started in earnest, with one side around 2/3 complete by Tuesday 22nd. A leaking windscreen at No 2 end has also been removed for seal replacement and some metalwork.

Considering the loco was last painted at the end of 2005 at the Great Central Railway, the paintwork has stood up extremely well, although there wasn’t much of it left on this side of the loco, which faces the river valley and most of the daytime sun. The metal underneath is largely in excellent condition for a 60 year old locomotive, with previous repairs also holding up very well. Some filling will be required around the radiator grille and on the GRP doors.

We will carry out a basic renovation to make her more presentable when she heads off on her travels for repair. The full yellow ends will remain as is and the bodysides will be repainted in plain green without the white stripe or window surrounds. Whilst this was not a livery variation carried by D5310, it was carried by another class member in the 70’s. It was applied in a similar vain – to tidy up badly weathered bodysides. She will carry the number 5310 to represent pre-TOPs condition. Provided traction motor repairs are successful we will then carry out a full repaint and further bodywork in the winter of 2019 or 20 and return her to original BR green, initially without any yellow warning panels.

The sign of things to come! The D has been sanded off leaving just the numbers – how she will be numbered during her temporary repaint into plain BR green with full yellow ends.
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2019/20 Visiting Locomotive

Concluding what has been a very busy period for our Group behind the scenes, the Llangollen Diesel Group are pleased to announce that, thanks to the support of A1A Locomotives Limited, Class 31 No 31271 will be spending the 2019 and 2020 seasons on the Llangollen Railway. Subject to final agreement and outstanding operational commitments, the 1961-built Brush Type 2 should arrive in North Wales some time in April next year for a two season stay.

This will be the second visit of a Class 31 to the railway, with A1A’s 31162 spending two successful seasons with us in 2011 and 2012. We are very much forward to welcoming them back and seeing 31271 at work in the Dee Valley. In working beyond Bonwm, which was as far as 31162 could venture back in 2012, 271 will also offer new mileage for the class in reaching Corwen Central.  

With the sale of 6940 to Boden Rail Engineering Limited earlier this month, 31271 will ensure that the tones of the legendary English Electric 12 cylinder engine continue to reverberate around the Dee Valley (albeit without an intercooler in the 12SVT configuration).

More news about 271’s visit and her running dates will be confirmed closer to the time of her arrival.  She will share running days with resident Class 47 1566. We’d also like to thank the Management Team at the Llangollen Railway for supporting the visit, funding transport and hire costs and offering an increased number of diesel running dates in 2019. The photo kindly provided by the A1A team below shows 271 at Peterborough on the Nene Valley Railway back in 2009

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6940 Back on NR Metals

6940 left Llangollen on Monday 17th December on an Allelys low loader. This was the first time she had left NR metals since her arrival in Wales back in 2002. This was a rather sad occasion for us all and even the old girl herself seemed reluctant to leave, her guard irons needing removal when they dug into the cinders as she was winched up the ramp onto the enormous trailer provided for her transport. She is seen below loaded safely on the trailer, which is turning round in the Eistedffod Ground car park to head out of Llangollen. Photo by Mark Smales

6940 leaves Llangollen for one final time. Photo by Mark Smales

She arrived at her new home the following morning and is seen here shortly after arrival at Boden Rail Engineering’s Eastcroft Depot in Nottingham in the company of a Class 56 (and possibly a Class 67). This is the first time 240 has been on mainline-connected NR metals in 16 years. We look forward to seeing her head through that (open!) gate in the future! With thanks to Neil Boden for the photo. We wish him all the best with his slightly early Christmas present.

6940 after arrival at Eastcroft TMD on 18th December 2018. Photo by Neil Boden

This concludes the chapter in the life of 37240 as the “Beast of Berwyn”, for now at least. We are sad to bring it to a close, but equally excited to see what her future holds and wish her owner as much enjoyment as we’ve had (alongside the blood, filth and sweat!).

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6940 Sale Concluded

We can confirm that 6940 has now been sold to Neil Boden at Boden Rail Engineering Limited and is leaving Llangollen today, December 17th 2018. It will be very sad to see her leave us, but the loco has a very bright future ahead with Neil and his team – he hopes to return her to the mainline with his Class 50’s. The loco’s sale has allowed us raise some much-needed funds to repair D5310’s traction motor.

We are sorry that a farewell running event has not been possible, but thankful the loco was able to offer so many miles throughout 2018. We would like to thank everyone who has shown interest in 6940 and wished us well with our future plans. We were surprised by the number of responses and received several very serious offers. We wish Neil every success with 240 and look forward to seeing her receiving the mechanical attention she deserves.

Finally, we would also like to thank everyone who has supported “The Beast of Berwyn’s” running at Llangollen over the last 15 years. As Dr Seuss once said, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened”. Photo by Mark Riley.

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