A long overdue update from Llangollen! We hope all our supporters are safe and well following such a challenging few months. The good headline news is that services on the LR should resume on Saturday 1st August, with diesel-hauled trains playing a significant part of the operation. Diesel-haulage is currently scheduled for the 3rd, 8th, 12th & 16th, 19th, 22nd, 26th, 30th & 31st of August.
Taking things a few steps at a time, 31271 successfully worked the 3rd August is also scheduled for the 8th, 12th and 16th of August. She is seen below running round at Carrog during shakedown testing on 30th July. Please visit the LR website or Facebook page for details on travel arrangements and bookings. Advanced booking is required, but this can be done on the day if there are seats available and you arrive in good time before departure.
After a lengthy lockdown hiatus, 5310 returned from the GWSR on Monday 6th July and with volunteers now allowed back on site, work to complete the final stages of her traction motor overhaul has continued apace. The loco was successfully started and moved under her own power for the first time in over 2 years yesterday, July 23rd. Further work has been carried out on testing and adjusting the brake systems, with several minor leaks and valve gripes sorted. Making the most of ETB being in place between Llangollen station and Goods Junction during shakedown running. 5310 was able to make a series of light-engine test runs on the 30th of July. Iain Ross’s photo below shows her back in Llangollen station for the first time in over 2 years and preparing for another gentle trip up to Goods Junction and back.
There are still some jobs to attend to on the loco, along with some further careful light-engine running-in along the whole line. Particular care is being paid to the overhauled suspension bearing on the No 1 axle to make sure it is staying cool and oiling correctly. Provided all is well, we hope 5310 should be able to work a public train before the end of the summer.
The Llangollen Diesel Group are extremely grateful to all who have assisted us through a challenging job. We’ll start with the John Pepper and Ant Philp at the Northampton Type 2 Group for loan of their lifting beams. Next we have all at the GWSR for allowing us to use the railway’s lifting jacks and for all those who helped us to do the work. The photo below shows the loco just after lifting on Monday 2nd of March and the brilliant team from the GWR who supported us at short notice. L-2-R are Simon Townsend, Tim Leverton, Tez Pickthall (LDG), Andy Durham and Mark Stanley. Kev Jarvis also assisted and kindly took the photo. Thanks a lot gentlemen!
The Cotswold Mainline Diesel Group at the GWSR need a special mention too. Thank you to Simon Townsend, who got in touch shortly after the first motor failed with the offer to help us. Little did he know what he was letting himself in for! The CMDG have allowed us to use their 2 spare motors and provided much advice, encouragement and graft along the way. Andy Durham as both a CMDG member and Head of the GWSR Diesel Department has done much behind the scenes to help us at Toddington and also fitted the brackets with me for the second lift of the loco). We hope to be able to return the favour to Simon and Andy and assist them in getting D5343 back into traffic following its power unit problems. Dave Hesketh of EAMP has done a cracking job of overhauling all 4 motors and finally we have Ken Joy, Stuart Sellar and Ant Philp, who have all provided expert Sulzer Type 2 advice, encouragement and support with the numerous challenges we have dealt with along the way. The spirit of preservation is truly alive and well!
The dedicated team from A1A Locomotives were also with us on July 23rd, conducting an annual exam on 31271. The loco was started, moved under her own power and pronounced fit for traffic. Public trains are expected to recommence on the LR from Saturday 1st August. The loco seems to have suffered no real issues over the prolonged storage period other than some deterioration of the paintwork around the nameplates, which the A1A chaps were hoping to attend to before heading home. It goes without saying that their support is very much appreciated – they travel a long way to support us in far and now in far-from ideal circumstances