The Western Locomotive Association is making good steady progress with the overhaul of D1013 and over the last few years the locomotive has benefited from literally thousands of hours of volunteer help, which so far has included a full electrical re-wire, component overhauls including pre-heaters, fuel pumps, cooler groups, cooling fans, cardan shafts, exhausters, air receivers, cab desk rebuilds, internal paintwork etc, and not to mention current on-going work to overhaul its two massive 65 Litre V12 engines.
D1013 was built and introduced into service in December 1962, and subsequently clocked up 1.32 million miles before withdrawal in February 1977. Its last overhaul was with British Rail (Western Region) over 45 years ago!
Of course general maintenance work has been carried out since the locomotive was withdrawn from mainline running as the locomotive has spent most of its time in preservation, operating primarily on the Severn Valley Railway. However, many major components were in need of major overhaul and the electrical wiring was getting to the point where it could become a potential fire risk. In the end, with safety being of paramount importance, the best and only option was to withdraw the locomotive from traffic and embark on its current major overhaul.
Once withdrawn from traffic, it was agreed that any work would be at least to the standard or better than BR would have achieved. This means that everything is overhauled in accordance with original equipment manufacturer's (OEM) specifications and requirements, using materials that are equivalent or better. Where necessary, specialist items (such as cardan shafts and brake valves) are returned to approved companies where the work can conform to safety standards, with full certification. In effect, all the work is being done to "mainline" standard and as if the locomotive were to return to the mainline hauling passenger trains over Network Rail. The philosophy is that "if the locomotive is fit for the mainline", then it is fit to run on privately preserved lines such as the Severn Valley.
Work carried out over the past 10 years has been above the solebar - above the bogie wheel sets. Consideration now has to be given to the bogies themselves as it is a fact that the locomotive has not been lifted for over 45 years! Experience gained by the Diesel Traction Group (DTG) with their locomotive D1015 Western Champion, and also with some experience gained by the WLA in lifting D1062 Western Courier, has indicated that D1013 will need a full bogie overhaul if it is to gain a new lease of life for the next 150,000 miles over the next 40 years or so. This work includes lifting the locomotive off its bogies for an initial assessment, prior to a complete strip down, clean, overhaul, repair and reassembly, A major part of this work will require the wheel sets to be re-tyred as currently they are virtually life expired on minimum thickness safety levels.
Whilst the WLA has some experience with bogie work, much of this will need to be outsourced to specialist engineering companies to make sure the work complies with safety standards and meets the specifications that were in place in BR days. The WLA is fortunate to be able to liaise with the DTG who have restored three bogies to mainline standard for D1015. A process of adopting appropriate paperwork is underway which will eventually lead to a specification for the overhaul of both bogies. This will include the strip down, shot-blasting and repairs to the bogie frames, overhaul of the lateral dampers, new thrust pads, springs and overhaul of the final drives, whilst the wheel sets are re-tyred. Once the specifications have been drawn up for each part of the overhaul, the work will be placed out to tender, to gain costings and a budget.
Following discussions with specialist contractors we now know that a re-tyre will cost around £27k per bogie. In addition, a full bogie overhaul has been estimated (post-Covid) in the region of £350k per bogie, including contingencies. We still have to clarify the extent of work required to the wheel-sets but this will depend on the condition of the axles and bearings when the bogie is stripped down. Costings for this will be provided later on in 2022.
Clearly, this project is a massive undertaking for any volunteer group and therefore, in addition to volunteer “hands-on” help, the WLA will need to seek help from private donations, sponsorship and will need to apply for funding with the National Heritage Lottery Fund (NHLF). The WLA will need to raise at least 5% of the costs involved so at least £20k, of which £13k has already been raised, as at August 2022.
A fully working locomotive that has had thousands of hours of volunteer labour spent on it, able to return to the Severn Valley Railway for the enjoyment of many thousands of people who visit for operating days, gala weekends and special events, plus the option of visiting other heritage railways and depot open days throughout the UK.
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The WESTERN LOCOMOTIVE ASSOCIATION is a company limited by guarantee - Registered No: 3873466
Registered Address: 5, Prospect Place, Millennium Way, Pride Park, Derby, England DE24 8HG. Charity No. 1115058