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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LDG News Following AGM

The Llangollen Diesel Group held our Annual General Meeting on Sunday November 25th.

6940 Offered for Sale

Following a comprehensive review of our operations and resources carried out ahead of our AGM, the difficult decision was made to reduce our fleet size. Based on a careful appraisal of locomotive condition, we are reluctantly offering Class 37 6940 for immediate sale where seen lying to any interested party.

After initial announcement of this news via social media last week, there has been considerable interest in the locomotive and we are currently hopeful of concluding a sale by Friday 7th December. Any serious further expressions of interest should therefore be made ASAP to publicity@llangollen-diesels.org.uk.

We appreciate this will be disappointing news to a great many folk who have supported 6940 over the years and can assure you that it is not a decision we are taking lightly. Continued problems with the loco’s reliability throughout 2018, culminating in a failure of the vacuum system at our September diesel gala have shown us that 6940 is now in need of comprehensive mechanical overhaul. This work needs to include a full power unit and bodywork overhaul. With D5310 also facing an expensive and complex traction motor repair and arguably a more suitable machine for the group and the railway, tackling such an overhaul is beyond our funds, manpower and facilities. We are hopeful of giving 6940 a better future under new ownership but bringing the “Beast of Berwyn’s” legendary reign in the Dee Valley to an end is a very sad moment for us. Unfortunately it is not expected to be able to use her again on the railway as repairs to the vacuum system will be expensive and therefore not in the best interests of the Group with her likely to be leaving us imminently. With well over 1000 miles run in 2018, at least 6940 will leave us after providing many happy public miles to her followers.

The LDG also wishes to stress that this decision is in no way based on our relationship with the Llangollen Railway, which remains very strong. Indeed 2019 will see increased diesel running and another reason for making this decision is to allow us to concentrate our resources on providing two reliable Sulzer locomotives with a number of common parts and systems, rather than struggling to provide 3 unreliable ones.

Visiting Diesel Locomotive for 2018 & 2019

With D5310 and 6940 unavailable for traffic and 1566’s reliability still comparatively unproven, discussions were already underway with the LR’s Management about arranging for a visiting locomotive for the 2019 season before we made the decision to sell 6940. We are delighted to announce that support for a visiting locomotive has now been confirmed and would be delighted to hear from any interested locomotive owners that can consider a visit to the Llangollen Railway. This would ideally be for two seasons and with at least 10 operating days on offer covering running days, special events, driver experiences and out-of-season works trains.  Any interested parties should contact publicity@llangollen-diesels.org.uk. Our line is extremely scenic and previous owners of visiting locomotives have enjoyed themselves – with 33102’s recent stay being no exception.

 

D5310 – Repairs to be Actioned

The Group are in the process of discussing an opportunity to get D5310 lifted for traction motor repairs. This will be a large and complex job and will most likely need to take place away from the railway, as suitable lifting facilities are not available at Llangollen.

2019 Diesel Operating Days

Dates for your diary:
11 3 trip Running Days:
May 5th & 6th, 11th & 18th
June 2nd, 8th, 16th, 22nd. 29th
July 13th, 21st,
September 1st

3 Weekend Events:
6th & 7th of July, Classic Transport Weekend,
3rd & 4th of August, 1960’s Weekend
28th & 29th September, Diesel Weekend

3 Driver Experiences: (please contact the LR direct to book a place)
9th June
6th July
7th September

Traction is expected to be Class 47 1566 and our visiting locomotive, to be confirmed. It is hoped that D5310 will be repaired in time for our September Diesel Weekend, but this is very much subject to progress on repairs and hire by the railway we may be visiting to support us with repairs.

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Diesel Weekend – Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who supported our Diesel Weekend. The event was a success, with 33102 performing superbly and all timetabled trains running although with propelling moves on Saturday due to 6940 failing with vacuum problems. Our CME Mark Smales worked very hard to get her fit for the last train on Saturday – so it’s good to see that was appreciated by so many folk who waited for the last train.

6940 was in use again on Sunday, although the fault (AV2 valve and an air reservoir) reared its head again during the last train of the day, meaning the final run back from Carrog was double-headed.

The shunter workings proved fairly popular and 08195 performed faultlessly, a testament to the huge amount of work done on the loco by Tim Hines (seen in front of the loco in the photo shown above).

We’d like to thank the CVR and their dedicated team for loaning us 33102, which behaved impeccably all weekend.  The Channel Islands Boat Train headboard and Weymouth Tramway bell and lamp box seemed to go down well.

 

It was also brilliant to be have 1566 back in traffic. The loco performed well after extensive further work on the power unit. Many thanks to all those who have been involved with this. There was a very pleasant BR blue timewarp on Friday evening at Goods Junction during final shunting and fuelling preparations.

 

Here’s to next year!

 

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33102 Debut & Diesel Weekend Update

1566 is now sorted and strumming on 12 cylinders. Many thanks to Tim Hines and the ex-BR Crewe fitters he works with, who came and had a look over her with us on Saturday. They pointed out that the tiny copper washers you need on the end of the supply line to the injectors were missing on 6 cylinders – which was preventing the fuel line pressurising sufficiently to supply fuel the injectors. 

With the washers back in place the engine is now running well and 1566 made a short light engine test run to Pentrefelin Dock and back.  Photo by Mark Smales (who has continued to work very hard to get the loco back in traffic).

 

33102 performed well on Saturday, thanks to those who came along for a spin. Here’s an excellent shot from Frank Richards of the “Bagpipe Crompton” leaving Berwyn on her first public train in North Wales.

6940 was called upon to work a train yesterday morning in place of a failed steam locomotive. She’s seen here leaving the yard with all appearing well. Unfortunately she then failed herself with an air/vac relay fault. We’ve sorted that this morning so, for now at least, we have 3 machines ready to entertain you this weekend. The 104 has also been fully reformed for those who enjoy a properly noisy BRCW unit. Photo by Mark Smales.

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33102 Safely Arrived & 1566 Update

33102 has safely arrived for her Welsh holiday at the Llangollen Railway and is seen at Berwyn on Tuesday evening during a successful light engine test and crew training run.

A shame the weather was pants – a “warm” welcome to Dee Valley! A little bit of Crompton history will be made this Saturday 22nd when 33102 works her first public trains in preservation away from the Churnet Valley Railway and be the first Class 33 to work west of Carrog. 33102 will haul the 10, 12:15 & 14:30 trains from Llangollen. Normal fares apply

The Saturday PLEG/BLS charter for the 12:15 shunter shuttle on Saturday 29th September has sold out. We hope to have a list at the ticket office/shop where those wanting a shunter ride on the other two Saturday trips (and all 3 on Sunday) can reserve their place as they purchase their ticket. We appreciate this is likely to end up with folk being disappointed so our apologies that capacity is limited.

Unfortunately 1566 remains unfit. We have fitted 12 refurbished injectors (done last week by Colchester Diesels), changed the fuel filters and fuel pump and gear but can still only get 6 cylinders firing (3 on each bank). We’re at a bit of a loss as to what’s left to fettle – thanks to those who are already providing technical advice, but if anyone has any suggestions we’re all ears.

In the event that 1566 isn’t fit, the times of workings won’t change but locos will stay with their diagrams and workings back from Corwen will be a controlled propel, as per normal current working arrangements until the run-round loop and station at Corwen Central is commissioned some time next year.

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September Diesel Weekend featuring 33102

We are delighted to announce the visit of Class 33/1 33102 to the Llangollen Railway for our Diesel Weekend on 29th & 30th of September. The North Staffordshire Railway Company’s BRCW Type 3 has been based at the Churnet Valley Railway for nearly 25 years and has never worked a train in preservation away from the CVR. The loco should arrive with us in Mid-September for around a month’s stay. We are hoping to get 33102 out and about on some additional days to maximise the opportunity to sample a “Crompton” at work in the Dee Valley. This should include our September 22nd B timetable running day with others TBC. This will be only the second Class 33 to visit the Llangollen Railway, the previous one coincidentally being consecutively-numbered 33103 way back in 1997. We are very grateful to the CVR for making 102 available to us. Photo by Martin Pyrzyna.

13/9 UPDATE.  We are delighted to confirm plans for our Diesel Weekend. We are hopeful 1566 should be joining 6940 and 33102, but this is dependent on receiving fitting and testing overhauled injectors in time along with reassembly and test. Friday 28th will see 33102 on the scheduled 3 trip A timetable in place of the rostered DMU to extend the event (thanks to the LR Railcar Group for supporting this).

The DMU for the weekend should be the Class 104 (currently running as a 104/127 hybrid). 08195 will work 3 rare track shunter brake van shuttles each day taking in the line to Pentrefelin and part of Llangollen yard, following the same successful pattern used at last year’s diesel weekend. Places are first-come, first-served and limited to 12 people per trip. The BLS/PLEG are taking reservations via their website for those who wish to guarantee a place on the 12:15 – https://www.branchline.uk/current-fixtures.php. You can upgrade your BLS ticket to a full day rover.  Apologies for the limited capacity, but we only have two fitted vans available and one must carry a guard without passengers present.

33102 will haul two evening workings to Glyndyfrdwy on Saturday 29th. Bottled real ale will be available and we will also offer mini-driver experiences during the layover at Glyndyfrdwy for £15 per person (again, limited availability and subject to crew’s discretion).

Suitable embellishments are being prepared for 33102 to recreate the atmosphere of the Weymouth Tramway in the 80’s, including a special headboard and the light & bell box the locos used to carry on their buffing plates whilst working on the tramway.

The timetable and the event poster are displayed for your information. A pdf version of the timetable for printing can be downloaded here.

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August Update

Thanks to all those who came along to support 6940 running over the 60’s weekend. Another 150 miles or so in the bag with the old girl soldiering on. One trip was completed to Friday 6th to support a wedding train as steam working was suspended and then 3 trip diagrams were completed for 60’s weekend each day. The weekend saw two new traincrew to our roster, me passing out as driver and George Walker as second man. Well done to George and thanks to everyone who has supported me over the 12 years I have been involved with the Group.

6940 continues to be rostered for all future running as our only loco in traffic.

D5310 unfortunately appears to have sustained a failed No 2 traction motor bearing after developing bogie problems on 7th July. We need to conduct some more investigation work, but the nature of the damage to the commutator would suggest the armature has dropped onto the bottom set of brush gear. If this is indeed the case, the loco will require a lift, bogie strip and motor repair. We are looking at all options for this but if you can assist with technical advice, have a spare motor to sell or can assist with portable lifting jacks we would love to hear from you!

We will be looking at 1566 in the next couple of weeks with the aim of trying to tighten the cylinder heads to see if that cures the leaks. If this is successful then the 47 may be back in traffic before the end of the season.

We are also looking for a visiting loco for our diesel weekend on 29th/30th September and our “Along Cambrian Lines” gala on 12th & 14th of October. If you’re a loco owner or owning group member reading this and are interested please get in touch. We’ve got an amazing line to sample!

Finally, here’s a photo of 6940 at Carrog on Sunday afternoon under the continuously blue sky we are becoming increasingly used to. Some rain would however be very much welcomed, with the wild fire on the Llantysilio mountain above the valley still flaring up after over two weeks of burning. Our thoughts are with the local fire crews who continue to work around the clock to keep it under control.

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Classic Transport Weekend

Classic Transport Weekend on 30th June and 1st July will see 6940 working 3 return trips on both days – 10, 12:15 and 14:30 ex-Llan trains.


Over 100 vintage cars, buses and lorries on display at Glyndyfrdwy, with free bus rides. One steam loco and a DMU also in use each day. Lots to see along with the usual array of superb cakes, pies and ales at the line’s eateries. Cambrian Real Ale Bar should be open at Glyndyfrdwy too.

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Sunday 17th June – D5310

This Sunday’s running day will be handled by D5310 in place of 1566, which has unfortunately been declared unfit for traffic due to injector problems and the development of new water leaks on the power unit.

D5310 should then (finally!) head undercover later this month for repainting.

Looking ahead to Classic Transport Weekend on 30th June and 1st of July it is expected that 6940 will work the 3 Llan-Corwen return trip diesel diagram on both days. The 37 performed well on the 9th of June running day following replacement of the fan clutch and repairs to a blocked and leaking air pipe under No 2 end cab. She is seen below at Carrog carrying a well-travelled charity memorial headboard brought along by one of our passengers.

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Spring Update – 6940 for June 9th

Sorry it’s continued to be a bit quiet on here of late. A big thanks to those who came along to support our running at the Western Changeover Gala last month. The event proved a challenge for us, with both 6940 and 1566 suffering failures. 1566 was quickly remedied thanks to a late night repair of a coolant hose and back in traffic for the Saturday and Sunday of the 3 day event. 6940 was also repaired with a suspect control circuit breaker but unfortunately failed again on the Saturday, so was replaced with D5310 making for a rather pleasant “Sulzer Sunday”.

6940’s failures were traced to the breakdown of the coil in the electromagnetic fan clutch. A replacement was sourced, fitted and successfully tested last week. This wasn’t the easiest or cheapest of jobs but Mark Smales managed to fashion an excellent tool for removal of the clutch and Unipart Rail remarkably still had a clutch on the shelf! 6940 should now be fit for our 9th of June running day and 10th June driver experience, pending a test run in the next week or so.

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1566 completed her 22nd April running day successfully but there were a few issues that came to light that require attention. We will confirm if she is fit for her 16th June running day in due course.

D5310 continues to be available but we plan to withdraw her for repainting as a matter of priority and as soon as we can get her under cover in order to replace cab window seals and attend to some minor bodywork corrosion.

Loco allocations for Classic Transport weekend in July and 1960’s weekend in August will be confirmed in due course.

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