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 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!


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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