Restoration of W55003

Like to get involved in DMU preservation? Want to know what is involved? Ian MacDonald, owner of 55001/3 has kept a comprehensive diary of his work on these bubble cars. It is an amazing story, giving a wonderful insight into the problems, politics and of course the pleasures involved:



My initial interest started in mid 1995 when I had originally looked at buying a Class 20 from Doncaster or the Class 31 number 31418. After due thought and consideration I decided that I could better look after a 'lighter' unit. When the sale of the Class 122s came up at Glasgow I went for it. I first wrote to Jim McWilliam in November 1995 and my bid was accepted in December 1995.

Class 122 No. 55003 arrived on the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway on Saturday January 20th 1996 from MC Metals Glasgow, courtesy of Allely's Haulage Ltd..

Initial Observations

The unit was in a stripped state when it arrived at Chinnor as MC Metals had to ensure that no blue asbestos was left in the roof and compartment walls of the unit before sale. The unit is certificated as being asbestos free.

The cabs, however, although lacking in panelling and insulation, were intact. All instrumentation was in place and complete. The wiring, apart from a few loose connections, was also intact.

The engines were another story. One, No. 876 an ex 55012 engine, had a cracked casting/casing between the main block and the right angled drive but apart from that turned freely. The other, No. 124 was completely seized. The inlet and exhaust manifolds had been dismantled and water had got into the heads. The fuel pumps and compressor and all other auxiliary equipment on this engine were complete, if spread about inside the unit!

Both gear boxes appeared to turn freely and were oiltight as were both final drives.

One window glass was missing from the Guard's van which was immediately replaced on arrival at Chinnor. One large saloon window was cracked.

The doors in the unit, except the Guard's van doors, are aluminium and hence were in extremely good condition and complete. The window glass mechanism was fully functional. The steel Guard's van doors were in good condition and complete.

The footwell area of the doors in both passenger compartments had suffered from wood rot over the years. The rot had extended badly into the plywood flooring in the two doors on the No. 2 side of the small saloon. The Guard's van was completely gutted but most of the panelling sheets and lights were somewhere in the unit. Of the seating all frames were stacked in the main saloon, all seat backs were there, all 2 seater squabs were available but three 3 seater squabs were missing presumed nicked. All luggage racks were there. All lighting was available in both saloons but in kit form. All internal wood fittings including window frames were existent but again most were in kit form. The ceiling panels were missing but all the fibreglass was packed into plastic bags.

The exterior panelling of the unit was, in the main, in poor condition. There were a lot areas that required cutting out and replacing. Most panel bottoms, window corners, cab corners and top and most of the small saloon No. 2 side. The under floor panelling was in good condition as were the main frames and all supporting members. The roof was watertight but devoid of all covering. The guttering was in a poor state resulting in water overflowing everywhere but where it should!

The unit had full AWS and had been fitted with a high intensity headlight. These, although not original, are to be retained on the unit in full working order. The unit had been modified with red and white marker lights at both ends. The original lights however were two sets of WHITE lights only. The second set to be used incase the first set failed. The red light at the rear was a standard BR tail lamp. I was fortunate to acquire a brand new white BR tail lamp. It has been customised with special W55003 plates.

The bogies after an initial visual inspection appeared to be in good condition with minimal play in the brake rigging (bushing) and axle boxes. The only slight doubt about one axle box was that it appeared to have run hot i.e. the steel appears burnt and the axle box cover is scorched. The unit however ran freely when towed with no undue creaks, groans or bangs and the axle box in question remained cold.

Initial Observations

The first task undertaken in late January 1996 was to remove the two saloon heaters, both of which were barely hanging onto the heater ducting. The heater ducting was also taken down to be refurbished off site. Various mods will be incorporated to ensure the future stability of the heater and heater mountings. Both heaters have been replaced and the original ones dismantled, cleaned and overhauled as spare.

The next was to protect the body against the ravages of the weather until such time as the full body refurbishment could be undertaken. To this end all the rust patches and paint bubbles were scraped and wire brushed and painted with a proprietary rust preventative solution Dinitrol.

The unit was originally stabled on the line next to the Rugby Cement lorry wash and hence was not only open to the water from the washing plant but the cement dust blowing up from the road. The drains from the washer were also in a poor state of repair and were constantly overflowing. As the main pipes ran under the sidings the overflow caused a mixture of mud and cement to accumulate between the rails. This was not conducive to working under the unit, especially with a steam cleaner!

The first artefacts to be transported from the unit for refurbishment after the heaters and ducting had been removed were the saloon lamp shades and surrounds. The shades are the old hemispherical glass type and very fragile. All came up exceptionally clean and now look resplendent. The surrounds after years of neglect have been thoroughly cleaned and restored to their original silver alloy shade. The only broken shades were the two 'mini' shades from the front of the passenger saloon at number 1 end. One was cracked but has been completely refurbished. The other has a sliver missing but has been reconstructed with super glue. Eventually, over the following years, replacements have been acquired.

The light surrounds in the cabs were a mixture of ceramic and pressed steel with wooden base plates. Over the years succeeding overhauls only painted over these surrounds. The metal surrounds have now been replaced with properly restored ceramic ones. With a good deal of soaking in various solutions, mainly hot water, the paint was successfully removed. The wooden base plates are the original ones found on the unit and although cleaned and repainted are as they were found.

It was decided to start the restoration proper by refurbishing the batteries, dropping both engines and refurbishing both cabs in that order.

The batteries, after a visual inspection had found nothing amiss, were removed and checked for voltage. They ranged from 1 volt to a negative voltage on two batteries. They were recharged professionally to ensure those that had gone -ve polarity would recover correctly. They all recovered correctly and were to function adequately for another two and a half years until the failure of one cell necessitated a replacement.

Chinnor in 1996 was not blessed with any pits or inside facilities whatsoever so all work has been completed in the open or away from the railway.

After consultation with John Price at the Severn Valley Railway it was decided that the removal of the engines would best be achieved by using either a fork lift truck or in our case a pallet truck. The engines weigh approximately 750 kg. The task had to be performed on land where a solid base was available. To this end Rugby Cement allowed access onto their land to the concrete standing where the work was carried out. The engines had been put up only and had no pipework or electrical connections made. After the engine mounting bolts etc. had been loosened to a 'hand tight' fit the job was completed in approximately 1 hour. The engines were then craned onto pallets for later work.

An ongoing task was and still is, the acquisition of spares.

Once again courtesy of John Price (SVR), Don Almey, Barry Wheatley of J.F. Booth's of Rotherham and Jim McWilliam of MC Metals of Glasgow a quantity of spares has been amassed including spare engines and spare gearboxes. Other spares have been acquired especially on the electrical side, e.g. throttle motor relays and control panels, together with alternators and exhausters.

The interior refurbishment of the unit commenced with a decision to complete both cabs first, so that when the unit was re-engined it would at least be driveable. To this end work was started on the No. 2 cab in early February 1996.

All instrumentation and fittings were removed for refurbishment and testing. All gauges were in very good working order and minimal work had to be done on any of them.

The wiring was overhauled and repaired as required and a source of bulbs found to replace those that had failed. It's amazing how many different types of bulbs there are on a 'standard' unit!!

The driver's cab (water) heaters were overhauled and all tinwork cleaned and painted. The roof was degreased, cleaned and repainted in white to give the cab a lighter more airy feel. The wood work was cleaned down and revarnished and all paintwork either cleaned up or repainted. The melamine areas were left until the rest of the refurbishment was complete. The interior window glass was cleaned and the internal window blinds either refurbished or replaced with new ones.

The desk in No 2 cab was in a very poor state especially on the second man's side and was obviously the original 'melamine/bakerlite' material. The desk on the driver's side was not in such a poor state so that was left in situ. The driver's area was scraped down, rubbed down and repainted. The second man's side was removed and replaced with a more modern sheeting. It was also replaced with a view to ease of access to the fittings. For this the sheet was not in one complete piece but tailored to fit around and under the various fittings. It was drilled and screwed down with self tapping screws with proper collars to give a professional finish.

Whilst refurbishing the fittings various 'surprises' have come to light. The red emergency brake handles, painted and repainted over the years, were dismantled and were found to be the original fittings with brass operating handles. That'll keep the cleaners busy when the unit is running! The racking above the door from the cab into the guard's area or saloon was removed and found to be pure Swindon. The only change was the use of wire instead of the original string netting. The wooden bar used to hold the side brackets together was stamped in GWR style 55003 and the side brackets themselves were still in GWR/BR WR chocolate. This marking was also repeated on ALL the wood beading used in the main saloons. One bracket was marked BR/WR 1966.

The flooring, apart from lifting all inspection hatches and taking back the edges to expose the extent of the wood rot, was left until the saloons were refurbished, when a complete reflooring of the whole unit took place.

The No. 2 cab was 'finished' on Monday May 27th 1996 with the ceremonial replacing of the overhauled driver's chair.

Whilst the No. 2 cab refurbishment was ongoing the dismantling of No 1 cab was also proceeding. This cab was in a particularly grubby state but in a better physical state than No. 2. Because of this the replacement of various parts has been minimal. The instrumentation and all fittings have been overhauled, then repainted or re-varnished as required. The No. 1 cab received a full refurbishment (scraping and rubbing down) and repaint of the desk area and roof and was ready for service by mid August 1996 a little behind schedule. It was however in a sufficiently complete state to allow testing to take place in late July 1996 (see later).

As the refurbishment of the two cabs was nearing completion work was to be concentrated on the underside of the unit. With both engines and heaters out the access was very easy to the underside and associated equipment i.e. gearbox, alternator and exhauster. But as mentioned earlier the siding on which the unit was parked was not fit for the work. The unit was therefore shunted to the end of the other line in the siding and arrangements made for work to start. This included moving two wooden staging pieces originally used as walkways across the rails. As they were built to fit between the rails and of the correct height they were ideal. They were placed one each beneath where the two engines had been. No. 2 engine bay and all associated equipment was degreased and steam cleaned by early July 1996. No. 1 engine bay was tackled later that month. The underneath was not repainted as it was deemed in good enough external condition.

The steam cleaner was in itself a problem. The steam generator would not function as the heater's burner spray nozzle was continuously becoming blocked (dirty fuel). The Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME), Dave Potter, finally coaxed it into life on Sunday 23rd June 1996 but not before being singed as the diesel which had been spilt on the floor flashed. The next attempt to coax the steam cleaner into life occurred over the weekend 29th/30th June 1996 when Kevin Dingle's delicate touch got it to erupt, literally, into life. The burner emitting great clouds of smoke but at least hot water nay steam emanated from the nozzle. It continued to emit great clouds of smoke even after it was switched off as the residue of past use was burnt off the heater walls. Engines Nos. 876 and 1161, both spare gearboxes and the underside of No. 2 engine bay were cleaned. Then yours truly had to be steam cleaned after resembling an outcast from the Black and White Minstrel Show!!!!

No. 1 engine bay was cleaned during Saturday 6th July 1996. However because of the proximity of the coaching stock on the No. 1 road of the siding and the overflow from the land drains following a torrential storm the job will need to be done again in a more open environment in order to better see what has and has not been cleaned.

Cleaning the engine bays provided an ideal opportunity to do a 'visual' on all components before the engines were replaced on Sunday 7th July 1996. All the original pipework was there to be seen and the various modifications that had taken place over the years could easily be traced.

Two replacement engines, Nos. 900 and 275, were prepared for fitting into the unit to replace Nos. 124 & 876. After inspection engine No. 876 was deemed to be in good enough condition, despite the broken casting, to be rebuilt. Engine No. 124 was in no condition to be rebuilt and a decision was made to make it the spares donor for the other engines. No. 900 required various fuel pipes, oil filler pipes and the fuel lifter pump fitting from No. 124. No. 275 came complete from Rotherham. Both needed fitting with the special throttle cables as fitted to the AEC engined Class 122s.

To check each engine it was decided to start them both 'on the ground' to find any problems. As there were no heavy 'lorry' type batteries to start the engines the unit's own batteries were wired up with crocodile clipped jump leads to the starter motor of the engine. The fuel line was connected to a specially constructed fuel tank, an unused paint can with a rubber hose out of the bottom! Hanging from the fence using gravity feed it worked well especially when the return waste fuel was returned to the can by a Heath Robinson arrangement made of scrap copper piping.

Engine No. 900 was tried over the weekend of the 15th/16th June 1996 but was very sluggish in turning over. In fact it only managed to turn over once. The problem was purely battery power and voltage drop down the cables. Despite being charged by my own 2 kilowatt charger each weekend it was obvious that either the batteries were in a worse condition than originally thought or a lot more power was needed. To this end the compressor which incorporated a 4 kilowatt generator was placed ready for use on the unit.

The batteries and all connections were removed cleaned and checked on Saturday 22nd June 1996. It was found that two batteries were down to 1.0 volt and the rest were between 1.5 and 1.8 volts. The optimum value being between 2.0 and 2.1 volt. Three packets of 'Batt-aid' tablets were distributed between the cells to help clean the plates and they were put on charge. The generator was started and a charge of 35 amps gradually reducing to a steady 20 amps was put into the batteries for approximately 15 hours. Within 3 hours all batteries had begun to built up charge with voltages all up to the prescribed value 2.1 volts.

Late on Sunday 23rd 1996 engine No. 900 was retried but failed to start although it obviously wanted to go.

Why did it fail to start? Apart from only using the single jump leads I'd connected the input fuel line to the waste output on the engine!

After consultation with the CME it was decided to 'double wire' the connecting leads. Armed with one set of crocodile clipped leads, one set of welding leads and the fuel line now connected to the input fuel line another attempt was made.

Sunday 23rd June 1996 became a red letter day as engine No. 900 was started for the first time at Chinnor. The engine behaved impeccably and even the CME was happy. Engine No. 275 was subsequently tried. It turned over but did not fire successfully and the CME was not happy. Another attempt was made over the weekend of 29th/30th June 1996 when the batteries had been given a good charge. No problems were envisaged at this point as diesel was getting to the injectors and although the cranking speed appeared somewhat sluggish it was adequate. The only pointer to the injector problems to come was the amount of fuel flowing back through the waste pipe.

The weekend finally came around and the batteries were charged up. Engine No. 275 was wired up and ...... it failed to start. The engine was trying to start and as the oil pressure and circulation built up the turning engine became quite 'lumpy' but would not fire properly. The timing marks appeared to be untouched and the fuel pump had not been reset therefore it was concluded that the only explanation could be the injectors. As before the considerable amount of fuel was being passed back through the waste pipe indicated clogged up injectors.

The only solution therefore was to remove the injectors and see what was amiss. Presumably BR has an 'injector removal tool' I don't so once the rocker covers were removed and the retaining bolt and collar disassembled the injectors were removed by use of a long screwdriver down the back to release the injector barrel from the head.

The evidence was there for all to see. All injectors were carboned up very badly. Only three out of the six had spray holes showing and then only one per injector. Each injector has four spray holes each 8 thou. in diameter so it is not difficult to clog them up unless in constant use even at the ambient working pressure of 140 atmospheres. These, and the six from engine No. 124, were taken away to be overhauled professionally.

The injectors were ready for the weekend of July 6th/7th 1996. Before refitting the injectors a shot of engine oil was put into each of the cylinders to assist in providing lubrication and a good seal around the rings. The injectors were soon reinstalled in engine No. 275. One injector gave a small amount of trouble when the main fuel input stem came loose. After retightening it appeared to be allright.

The spare six overhauled injectors are to be used in engine No. 876.

The batteries on the unit were given a booster charge, the fuel line reconnected and the starter motor wired up. At midday the engine was tried but failed to start. After bleeding the fuel pump, fuel lines and injector pipes it was tried again without success. By this time I was beginning to wonder what could be wrong and what I could you next. I decided on the last recourse - Easy Start.

Leaving all my tools by the unit I went into Chinnor to buy some. Two minutes after leaving the site came the heaviest storm I've seen in many years. Hailstones the size of peas and not the ones from the moment the pod went pop, but those that were left out came down for thirty minutes. Chinnor and the railway were awash. Down the sidings the land drains overflowed and the site resembled a swamp. All my tool boxes were filled with iced water. When I returned I had to spend the next half hour drying my spanners etc.. Once dried out I decided to try the engine once more. With the can of unused Easy Start perched on the block the engine was turned over.

After a couple of turns it fired! The unit was enveloped in a cloud of blue smoke but the engine settled down to run quite sweetly. I think everyone on the site heard that engine fire because soon a whole crowd gathered around. The engine was tried again and it started first turn, and no Easy Start was needed. The CME was very happy.

The following day, Sunday 7th July 1996, was the last day that all the engineering staff would be together for two weeks. It was decided to put the engines back under the unit that day and the CME was unhappy. He had planned to work on Class 08 D3011 and Ruston 'Iris' in preparing the locomotive air tanks for insurance inspection. However with assistance from the other members of the engineering team the job was completed early on Sunday morning. This left the day open to re-engine W55003.

The last job done on the engines before putting them back was to fit the belts onto the rightangle drives. The job can be done with the engine in situ but is far easier out on the ground. It takes two persons, one to bar the engine over and one to feed the belt(s) over the pulleys. The job involved fitting two belts for each engine and then tensioning the drive itself. Remembering the problems already found with engine No. 876 the washers were inspected and all bolts done up as tightly as possible.

The CME provided the pallet truck whilst the engine mounting brackets were put in position under the unit. The unit was then shunted onto the concrete hard standing of Rugby Cement by the Class 20 D8001. The two engines were craned over onto blocks and the job started. It took two hours to get the engines in place. The CME was happy. D8001 then returned the unit to its position at the end of No. 2 road.

Once the engines were back in place and the unit back in position the task of connecting all the various pipes and wires began. Apart from the standard fittings such as starter motor connections, final drive connections, air intakes, oil pipes and driver's cab water heater pipes W55003 has 'A' series throttle motor connections.

The throttle connections are all by cable and not cable and rod as was made standard on all other BR DMUs. A certain amount of setting up was necessary to ensure the cable was in the correct position and length. It also involved swapping one of the arms off the new throttle motor(s) for one off the old throttle motor(s) to fit the cable end connecting bolt. The arm on the new throttle motor had too small a hole.

The driver's cab water heater piping involved altering the fittings on the water jacket casting and acquiring some extra flexible and copper piping. All these had to correctly fitted and filled with coolant, even if it was only water, because to test the engines in situ required all electrical fittings to operate correctly. This included the Mowbrey float switches on the coolant system which shuts the engine down on low coolant levels.

Engines Nos. 900 & 275 were refitted and ready to be tested in the unit on Saturday 20th July 1996.

Engine No. 876 had the cracked casting replaced with the one off engine No. 124. This required dismantling of the casing and right-angled drive on both engines. The casing came off engine No. 124 easily as the fuel pump had been removed during the setting up of engine No. 900. The removal of all connecting pipes AND the moving back of the fuel pump to clear the way for the connections to the drive was also required on engine No. 876. After fitting the engine was hand cranked over and appeared very free indeed. Quote the CME 'Are you sure there are any pistons in it?'. The main oil pipe and filler were then refitted.

The problem of the cracked casting was evidently a common problem during BR running days. It caused right angled drives to be 'thrown'. The right angled drive is a 'bolt on extra' to the engine held in position by a variety of nuts and bolts and tensioning mechanisms. It transmits the drive to the radiator fan. There are four 'legs' holding the body of the right angled drive firmly to a base plate. If standard washers are used on these 'legs' and the bolts are overtightened the washers distort. This allows the right angle drive to twist on the base plate as the belt drive from the engine crank shaft turns it. The base plate is attached directly to the casting by four bolts which bolt into the casting direct i.e. there are no associated nuts and washers to become loose. The movement causes considerable twisting forces to be set up on the casting at its weakest point, behind the bolt holes. Unless corrected immediately the forces can cause catastrophic failure of the casting as was the case in engine No. 876.

The right angled drive on No. 876 was only attached to the base with three legs not four as built and the washers were very distorted. I hope this failure was the cause of the severe accumulation of oil on the top of the block and that the oil pressure switches worked and shut the engine down with no damage. Only time will tell. Various bolts from the fuel pump and assemblies off No. 124 were used to refit No. 876. The oil filler pipe and filler casting were replaced and the injectors overhauled. No. 876 is now the third 'good' engine.

Engine No. 1161 was bought ostensibly as a non runner with various diagnoses from a severe carbon build up on at least one cylinder to a bent valve. Various parts were missing and the compressor was partially dismantled. The unit was covered in shards of broken glass. The unit was hand cranked over and as the oil circulated and the engine freed up the 'diagnosis' was infact an extremely good compression stroke, (said the CME).

The compressor was refitted on Saturday 29th June 1996. The missing electrical parts, two oil pressure gauges and the stop solenoid, were replaced with those from No. 124 on the same day. The people who had removed the stop solenoid had thoughtfully cut the wires from the main plug thus necessitating the removal of the complete wiring section from No. 124. As well as the stop solenoid they had removed the arm from the fuel pump to the solenoid. Once again No. 124 donated a vital spare. The replacement arm was fitted on Saturday July 8th 1996.

The water pipe assembly from the cylinder heads to the radiator and main pump was also missing. The piping from the top of the block had been modified to take one side directly to the water pump and the other to the radiator instead of both to the water pump as on the other engines. This necessitated a modification to the water pipe assembly removed from engine No. 124. On the inward side of the assembly were two blanked off holes one of which was unblanked and an appropriate fitting put in place. The copper piping from the top of the block of engine No. 1161 was cut back and a suitable flexible joint clipped on. No. 1161 also came with no rocker box covers so those from No. 124 were used.

In taking the rocker covers off engine No. 124 it was found that the rocker assemblies had been dismantled from one of the heads and all the nuts and bolts, together with some other nuts and bolts, had been stored out of sight in the cover! The injectors were then removed mainly to see how it was done. However this exercise proved beneficial especially in the case of engine No. 275 as mentioned earlier. The rocker box gaskets were replaced with newer ones as one side was missing and the other torn.

No. 1161 is now awaiting a main fuel pipe from the flexible input fuel line to the lift pump and the obligatory oil pipe and filler assembly. Once again all injectors have been overhauled. No 1161 is the fourth 'good' engine.

The CME fabricated some new parts for the throttle cable run for engine No. 900 and these were duly fitted with new cabling. Engine No. 275 was fitted with the cable runs and cables from No. 124.

These special cable runs were required as 55003 originally had 'A' series AEC engines and ancillary equipment and the two throttle motors were placed in accessible positions on the outside of the unit. Each throttle motor required a four foot (approx.) cable with return spring to activate the fuel racks together with a short two foot cable for manual ground starting.

Both throttle motors have been replaced with newer refurbished units but still situated on the outside of the unit. The old throttle motors are original AEC fittings complete with water drain plugs that had obviously never been used and the idea never perpetuated on later models. The actuating arm for the main cable had to be swapped from the old units to the new units as the bolt holes were of incorrect diameter.

The main throttle cable from the fuel pump to the throttle motor had to be fitted with care. At each end of the cable sheath was a metal fitting. This fitting had a circular groove cut into it. This was for the 'u' clamps to hold the sheath in place. The adjustment in the cable length was by the two end fittings. These end fittings were cut from standard throttle rods and were adjustable in length in exactly the same way as the rods, by screwing the end piece in or out and clamping in place by a lock nut. Once one end was set the other end could be adjusted accordingly.

Chris Hatton provided a quantity of 'Oildag' the correct lubricant for the throttle motors.

When it came to the replacement of the exhaust system it was noticed that certain parts of the original system were somewhat frail. Some of the curved pipes were very corroded and pitted. A idea was mooted to replace the piping from the engine to the silencer box with ex Class 108 components i.e. expansion box into large flexible pipe, then via a connector piece to the unit's own system.

The conversion would have been difficult because the engines on the Class 122s were hung 6 inches or so lower than that of the Class 108. Because of this the expansion box when fitted to the down pipe from the exhaust manifold was only 6 inches off the ground and 3 inches away from the rail head. This was not an ideal situation.

From the No. 2 engine the problem could be solved by laying the expansion box on its side. This gave the required clearance from rail level but the expansion box just fouled the air intake filter box. By using old pipe ends and cutting away everything except the bolt flange plates, inserts could be made to drop the box 2 inches sufficient to miss the air intake filter box.

Fitting the box this way gave would give a more or less the correct alignment for the flexible tube and connecting piece onto the silencer box. The silencer box has connecting flanges that are 90 degrees out from the flanges on the connecting exhaust pipes. To connect up to the Class 108 flexible tube a new connecting pipe would have to be made. The piece could be made by taking a standard pipe, cutting it in two, rotating one end through 90 degrees and rewelding together to the correct length.

On the No. 1 engine side the pipes passed under the engine as they went into the silencer. This did not give enough clearance for the expansion box and as another solution could not be found the idea was abandoned.

Because of the difficulties found with the Class 108 system the old exhaust was refitted. The old pipes were cleaned, treated with anti-rust solution and the painted silver. The only new portion was a new flexible pipe. The exhaust was refitted on Saturday 20th July 1996. All portions fitted together well except for the flexible pipe on engine No. 900. With all the other pipes in place there was a gap of approximately 3 inches. After stretching the flexible pipe manually the gap was still 1.5 inches. Some of the sections in the flexible portion had not expanded properly. To overcome the problem two long bolts bolted to the receiving pipe were used to draw the pipe out to fit. Once done the 'O' ring was inserted and ordinary bolts used to tighten up the whole assembly.

Shortly after delivery Kevin and I decided to have a complete week on the engine during the last week of Kevin's vacation. This was ostensibly to break the back of getting the unit mobile again although we didn't expect to do as well as we did as will be seen later.

The week in question was to be Monday 22nd July to Friday 26th July 1996.

The previous week had been absolutely glorious weather and this week began just the same. Chinnor is a sun-trap and during the days the best place to be was working underneath the unit the weather was so hot.

After the previous weekend both engines were now installed back in the unit. This meant that the first job was to check all connections for correct fitting. As I had set up the engines Kevin went underneath the unit to check.

During the previous weekend we had had offers of help from a few of the Chinnor staff and the first to arrive was Andy Fowler who was given the task of overhauling the buffers of the unit. They had not been touched since the unit arrived in Chinnor and were starting to rust in certain points. All the old grease was scraped off and both sides were cleaned down with a wire brush. Both sides were then coated with a rust prevention solution, Dinitrol, and after drying silver paint. The unit had started to look better all ready.

Meanwhile Kevin and I had finished the few remaining tightening up jobs required on the engines. All that was required was to fill up the radiators and try the electrics. Andy duly obliged by filling the radiators, then his sleeve, then his shorts, then his boots!

Disaster! There were no leaks! But as the water slowly displaced the air pockets drips started to appear all around the engine. The Gods had been appeased and all leaks were duly sorted out. The worst was a leak in the radiator core itself on No. 1 engine. This however took up as the unit warmed up.

Whilst this was going on the batteries were given a extra booster charge to ensure full power to turn the engines.

Engines on a DMU are wired into a complicated loom that ensures that all circuits must prove correct before the engine will fire. All wiring had been checked and any loose or broken wires mended but the big test was still switching the unit on for the first time.

Kevin did the honours from No. 2 cab and turned the unit on for the first time in nearly three years. Various lights lit up and all circuits 'appeared' to be functioning correctly even the buzzer worked. The fire protection circuit on both engines was tested on the ground and proved somewhat temperamental but after a few tries and a quick clean of the electrics performed to specification. The fire bell(s) could be heard ringing in each cab and the red warning light shone out brightly.

The next test was to try to run up the engines. The first engine to be tested was No. 2 engine No. 275. The throttle cable was pulled and the start button was pushed. The engine turned over and at a good rate. After three or four seconds the engine roared into life and the team was very happy. The engine had been connected to the exhaust system and as the engine revved up three years accumulation of rust and rubbish was blown out of the top of the exhaust pipe. After a few moments the engine settled down to tickover. We then checked the engine mountings and connections and all appeared in order. We checked the gearbox and cardan shaft and final drive and all appeared in order. So leaving No. 2 engine running we turned our attention to No. 1 engine No. 900.

As we crossed the track we could hear a squeaking noise coming from the outside of the cab. Looking up at the driver's windscreen the wiper had started working. As the air pressure built up the wipers at each end had begun to run as the switches had been refitted switched on. It proved we were getting air! They were duly switched off but at least we could see through the driver's windows.

The same attention was given to the No. 1 engine and the starter was pressed. No. 1 engine fired immediately to the great delight of all around. Andy who was standing at the exhaust end was showered in rust as the engine cleared the exhaust system. But he still smiled as the two engines revved up and gave that distinctive burbling throaty roar from the exhaust pipes.

Both engines were now left to raise vacuum and air pressure. Both did and soon the air system was at 80 p.s.i. and the vacuum was rising in the reservoir. Only one air leak could be discovered from a pin hole perforation in a pipe at No. 1 end. This was taped up until our CME could braze it up. Upon further inspection the No. 2 engine was in a bit of a distressed state with diesel dripping from one end. Upon delivery one of the injector pipes was broken and had been repaired and we feared that the repair itself had failed. It transpired that the problem was a union nut loose on No. 6 cylinder injection pipe. The one underneath the air lines from the compressor. After a struggle of some 20 minutes the union was tightened the spilt diesel mopped up and the engine restarted. The problem was cured.

On both the air and vacuum sides the required amounts were achieved. The vacuum reservoir was in particularly good condition and over the weeks testing it held its vacuum very well indeed. On the air side the unloader valve lifted at a cab indicated value of just over 100 p.s.i. Once again just as required. Over the next few days the air system cleared itself of any water in the system and settled down to operate in good order.

The brakes were tested and both vacuum cylinders behaved impeccably with no trace of any problems. They needed taking up slightly as the unit did not quite hold on 16 inches of vacuum.

Once the air pressure, a minimum of 75 p.s.i., was achieved the final drive(s) could be tested.

The final drive(s) are used to select the direction of travel i.e. forwards or backwards by engaging a 'dog' on one or other side of the cog wheels. These are engaged by use of air pressure with the engines stopped. If the engines were running these 'dogs' would snap under the force of the turning cardan shaft. Once engaged the 'dogs' stop the cardan shaft rotating until a gear is selected. The first few tests in engaging the drives proved difficult. The 'dogs' in the machinery did not want to go into position. This was put down to the three years of standing after withdrawal from BR. Eventually they did go into place. The reassuring 'clunk' as they engaged was music to the ears as it proved both final drives were sound.

So far the engines were good, the electrics were good, the vacuum system was good, the air system was good and the final drives were good. The big moment was to try the gearbox(es).

The unit had been parked at the far end of No. 1 road on the siding behind all other stock. However we had left sufficient room to move the unit a few yards each way. So with 'a full head of steam' not to mention vacuum and air No. 2 cab was shutdown and the key was turned in No. 1 cab. All lights came up apart from the No. 1 engine light. This was put down to a faulty oil pressure switch as all systems on that engine seemed to be in order.

The final drive had already been selected from the other cab and the 'spoon' slid reassuringly into place in No. 1 cab. First gear was selected, the brake let off and the unit stalled but the gear had gone in with no undue problems. The vacuum brakes held the unit on the down gradient. We tried again and catching the revs on the engine the unit moved. We had to open all windows to get our smiles out. The unit had moved but the real test was still to come.

That test was to return up the gradient in the siding. No. 1 cab was shut down and from No. 2 cab the procedure was repeated and the exhaust told the tale that W55003 was back.

She had moved under her own power for the first time in private ownership.

So ended the Monday. We were too elated to do any other useful work so we repaired to the local hostelry to toast our achievement.

Plans laid for Tuesday included running the unit up and down the yard to test all components. However the best laid plans etc. did not turn out that way.

Daniel Weston joined the team on Tuesday and with Andy they started dismantling and testing the interior lighting. The next task they undertook was to clean all the melamine surfaces used as facia panels in the saloons. Finally they renumbered all panels and ascertained what went where and what was missing.

In the meantime Kevin and I spent the day readjusting the throttle motors and cables to get the engines to run in synchronisation. This proved a somewhat frustrating task as we couldn't quite get No. 1 engine to synchronise correctly. It had begun 'sticking' and we couldn't prove which area was at fault. Whether it was the throttle motor, the cable adjustment, the fuel rack actuating arm or the return spring.

On Wednesday the weather was less hot and humid so Andy and Daniel began work on the roof by cleaning out the guttering. The guttering was checked and found to be in good overall condition but to be full of detritus including a two foot length of heavy duty wire and a half penny! After cleaning out it worked fine again. Amazing what a bit of TLC can do.

I had refitted the return spring arrangement on No. 1 engine by fabricating a new plate and using a stronger spring. Similarly I tightened up the cable. This proved to be too tight and it was slackened off. Once both throttle motors had been adjusted the engines were more or less in sync in throttle positions one, two and three. Fully open still caused problems with No. 1 engine not returning to idling quickly enough. This was to prove problematical for the next few weeks.

Thursday began with a problem. One of the belts on No. 2 engine had been thrown the previous afternoon. It had not come off completely but was running on the rim of the drive. I took the offending belt off. Kevin and I then put the belt back in position. This was not an easy task with no pit available and involved loosening the right angled drive. Andy and Daniel kept on with cleaning out the guttering and Kevin and I filling the right angled drives, fuel governors and fuel racks with the requisite amount of oil. With a final resetting of the cable and the throttle motors we decided to try a run up and down the siding.

Graham Symes came straight from work and assisted us with shunting the stock. Once clear the unit was cleared of ladders and buckets etc. and started up. Kevin was to do the test driving. At this point disaster struck. Both belts on the No. 2 engine were thrown again, not off but inverted in the drive wheels. We had no option but to replace both belts with newer ones. This task proved even more difficult than with one belt. Thanks to Kevin's doggedness and our combined brute force the task was eventually performed. It transpired that the two original belts were badly stretched and the right angled drive was at more or less full extension to accommodate the stretch. With the two new belts it was far tighter.

The engines were started and the belts held firm, the unit took first gear and the unit slowly moved up the yard. It went into second and third and came back down with no problems. We took the unit into the station and checked it over. No problems.

We had left Graham in the yard so we decided to return to pick him up and try a trip to the first level crossing at Donkey Lane.

With Graham as guard and with two on the buzzer we set off again pausing only for photographs in the station. The unit went up the gradient out of Chinnor in fine style and was soon approaching Donkey Lane. Kevin decided that all was well enough to continue to Wainhill Halt crossing. As the unit ran it became clear that once the cobwebs had been cleared she was running very well indeed. We decided therefore to test the unit on a full run of the line to Thame Junction. This enabled us to test the gearbox fully. It proved that there was no slippage in any of the four gears and that both gearboxes were in excellent condition. We found no trace of any hot axle boxes.

The unit was returned back to Chinnor in fine style accelerating strongly up the gradients.

Shortly after returning the unit to Chinnor the CME arrived.

We had decided the next test was to be a multiple unit test with the Class 117 to test the jumper connections. However one of the power cars on the Class 117 could not be started because of low batteries. The good car was started and the other car was put on charge.

W55003 was driven out of the yard and put at the head of the Class 117 in No. 2 road and the CME was amazed.

Friday was spent charging up the Class 117 and doing various small jobs about the unit. Andy and Daniel finished cleaning the guttering. Andy topped up the radiators with water and did not fill his boots whilst Daniel cleaned up the jumper connections. Kevin and I changed the oil in No. 1 engine together with the oil pipe and filler assembly. Some work was still needed to bend the copper pipe to fit. No. 1 engine had also caused problems in that one of the oil pressure switches had failed as mentioned earlier. Once the offending switch had been identified the other was double wired to provide the correct readings on the driver's panel. Two spares were obtained from John Price on the SVR. Similarly the high intensity headlamp on No. 1 end was broken on delivery so a new Halogen bulb was fitted.

The only outstanding problem was that all week we could not start the unit from the start buttons in the driver's cab at either end. No amount of tracing back could provide any answers. Our resident electrical genius Andy Diston proved that all connections and voltages appeared to be electrically sound but could not ascertain the cause. We needed a full wiring diagram and some inside technical expertise.

The Class 117 was proving slow on the charge uptake so no further testing could be done on that side. It was decided to leave the Class 117 test until the weekend of August 3rd and 4th when the batteries could be recharged and a test run arranged after the last service train had returned.

The week ended with W55003 an operational unit almost three years after withdrawal from BR and six months since arrival at Chinnor.

I felt physically and emotionally drained but we were well on the way to completion.

The following day Saturday 27th July Kevin and I visited John Price on the SVR and collected the seat bases required to make a complete set together with other spares. On Sunday I had a day off. Meanwhile at Chinnor the CME and Andy Diston were determined to sort out the starter button problem.

They unearthed two wiring diagrams that showed that these buttons were wired through the panel light test switch. This button in No. 1 cab had been left unwired as I had not had time to finish off this cab before testing began. Once correctly rewired all circuits came in and the problem was solved.

Once the Class 117 was fired up on Sunday 28th July 1996 the jumper cables were tested between the two units. Various 'ghost lights' came up mainly as a result of earthing problems through lack of use. However once they had settled down the engine panel on W55003 was showing car 5 & 6 to be attached. According to the book this is correct with the jumpers connected as we had. Even so when tested all engines fired from which ever cab was used. Another success.

The only jobs to finish on W55003's engines during the weekend of August 3rd and 4th 1996 were replacing the shock absorbers, the tie rod links to the engine eye bolts on each engine, one oil pressure switch on engine No. 900 and tightening up the engine mounting bolts to the correct torque. I had purchased a new pair of shock absorbers from John Price on the SVR and the CME was having a new set of tie rod links made up from the original pattern. The shock absorbers required 1/2" B.S.F. nuts to hold them in place.These were duly obtained.

The shock absorber dampens the rocking motion of the engine and the tie rod links take out any fore and aft movement of the engine as well as stopping any twisting motion. The CME provided the torque wrench as mine only went up to 135 ft. lb.. We required 260 ft. lb. on the main hanger bolts.

The throttle motors govern the speed of the engine. They were set up on W55003 according to the engine synchronisation method shown in HINTS. At the same time the throttle lever on the fuel pump governor on engine No. 900 was dismantled, cleaned and reset. The engine had been sprayed in grey paint, all over! This engine was the one that was not returning to idling speed correctly under certain circumstances. The set up on all engines had to be accurate. When driving from any given cab only the engine speed on the local engines can be checked not those in other attached units. Thus when more than one unit is coupled together the revs on the remote engines need to drop correctly for smooth gear changing.

These jobs occupied most of Saturday morning as they should ideally have been done before the exhausts and other ancillary fittings were replaced. The difference however is great with no motion now noticeable in the engines at idling and only a slight movement at full throttle.

At about 1400 hrs. the two units were started and left to make vacuum and air. Once the correct air pressure was obtained the two throttle motors on W55003 were reset to fine tune the engines. The jumper connections were also recleaned to ensure proper contact. The indicator panels were refitted with a new set of bulbs in both cabs of W55003 and various other small wiring jobs were either completed or sized up for the following weekend.

The Class 117 was beginning to smoke badly and one engine and final drive had to be switched out. This was because the engine was throwing oil badly. The risk of doing some damage to it was considered too great if it was left to run.

Eventually at 1915 hrs. the mainline was cleared and the test run could begin. W55003 and the Class 117 were taken slowly into the platform. All control gear on both units worked correctly in tandem. The pair then proceeded to Thame Junction with no problems. All axlebox bearings on W55003 were tested and found to be cool.

The return journey was made driving from the Class 117 and once again, apart from the Class 117 laying a smoke screen over the Icknield Way both units performed impeccably. The day ended with both units being retired to the sidings. The only problem noted on inspection was that engine No. 900 had spun a belt. This was rectified by removing both belts and replacing with two new ones.

The following weekend was back to earth with a bump. The unit was now in working order so the long slog in restoring the bogies and bodywork could be started.

It was therefore decided over the next three months up to November 1996 to start cleaning the bogies and repainting firstly in red oxide and finally in black; weatherproofing the roof and finally making a start on the interior ceilings and saloon floors.

Work was also completed in the No. 1 cab to finish off a few wiring jobs that needed doing, to replace the desk panelling and restore/clean the driver's seat. The driver's seat was stamped with the number 51302 which was the DMBS from Laira Class 118 No. P460. This unit gained fame as the one that was painted in yellow for a British Telecom advertisement.

The start on cleaning the bogies were left as Saturday August 10th was wet for most of the day. Chris Hatton from Reading Depot gave the bogies the once over and pronounced them fit for many more years. He pointed out one or two things that could be looked at i.e. the 'T' bolts holding the rubbing plates that were slightly bent at the No. 1 end second man's side and the bushes on all the brake hanger brackets. The brake blocks still had plenty of life in them and had not started to flange i.e. come over the rim of the wheel, so the bushes appeared in good condition. The springs also appeared in good condition with plenty of 'spring' left in the leaves. I had started oiling the springs a few weeks before so as to allow the oil to seep between the leaves. This allows the leaves to slide freely over one another when the unit is on the move. The problems in the jumper cables were looked at but all that was found in the junction boxes inspected on W55003 was in order. Further investigation will no doubt be done later.

Work continued inside the unit and all the seat backs were dismantled for cleaning by a professional cleaner. The seat bases and backs were finally removed from Chinnor on Friday August 16th. Upon inspection the seats were from a wide variety of previous owners. All were Class 116 vehicles nos. 50050, 50098, 50852, 50858, 50914, 51146 & 59326.

This left the saloons far more accessible as far as the floors and ceilings were concerned. During the afternoon the bulb fittings were removed and overhauled including replacing two badly damaged ones. The unit was then fitted out with a complete set of bulbs and tested. All lighting systems worked to specification. The light bases i.e. the fittings that hold the light shades to the roof of the saloon, were also removed and taken for cleaned to remove the many layers of paint put over them during visits to the works for attention.

Finally the panelling for the main saloons and the guard's van was measured up and consisted of 28 sheets of hardboard measuring from 5' x 4' (16 pieces) to 5' x 27.5'' (2 pieces). That's what I thought in fact I was two pieces short as will be seen later.

The next two weekends were spent on holiday in St. Ives, Cornwall so no further work was done on the unit until the weekend of September 7th and 8th. This was the weekend of the Diesel Gala and W55003 was to have its first public outing on the Sunday. To this end only minimal work was done on the refurbishment of the unit apart from preparation for the trip. From the No. 2 engine No. 275 a gallon or so of oil was removed to bring the amount down to the correct level as the engine had been overfilled when refitting. The radiators were topped up and the fuel tanks were dipped to ensure a sufficient quantity of fuel was available. It was. All lights were in working order including the destination indicator lamps that were refitted with correct bulbs. Both engines started on the first press of the button. This shows that all batteries are in good condition and holding their charge successfully.

The underframes, bogies and ancillary equipment were then brushed with the classic steam loco cleaner's mixture of paraffin and oil to provide a shiny finish for the photographers. The cabs were polished with an application of 'Mr.Sheen' and they did shine after I had finished.

On the Sunday the unit was readied for a 12:30 departure for to Bledlow Bridge. The photographers were not expecting the unit to run and quite a stir was made as it ran into the station. The enthusiasts on the platform were quite willing to pay for a ticket and ride in the unit despite it being more akin to a workshop than a passenger carrying vehicle!

The trip to Bledlow was uneventful except for the fact that my hat blew off after leaving Donkey Lane crossing. With each outing the unit was running more and more freely and the speed limit of 25 m.p.h. could easily be bettered both up and down hill.

My hat was retrieved on the return trip and the unit was retired back to the sidings where all bearings were cool and the engines, gearboxes etc. were all in good order. The oil and paraffin mixture had soaked into the dirt on the bogies and this was left until work could begin on cleaning them off and repainting the following weekend.

After soaking for a week most of the oil & paraffin had penetrated to the base of the rust and dirt on the frames. With an electric drill and wire brush attachment a start was made on one side of the No. 1 bogie. It took a good few hours to get the majority of the accumulated rust and dirt off. The worst accumulation was on the strengthening pieces welded behind the frames to give strength to the top of the axle box guides. This amounted to about an inch worth of compacted dust and grime and virtually caused a 'brown' out it was removed by the drill. Not only are goggles a must but a breathing mask also! Once cleaned down the frame was degreased and then repainted with red-oxide and left to dry.

On Sunday September 15th a platform was built around the No. 1 end of the unit in preparation for the following weekends welding. This platform will also be used to gain access to the roof and guttering along the sides of the unit.

The next weekend September 21st & 22nd was designated welding weekend. I was fortunate to get the services of Tony Cross an ex aircraft welder from Rolls Royce and his son Matty. The sides of the unit were inspected and 8 incisions made with the angle grinder to remove all the badly rusted areas. The inside of the patch area was cut back and cleaned down to bright metal and treated with red oxide. As all the interiors of the patches are accessible from the inside of the saloons any further strengthening will be done from the inside.

These were patched using arc welding gear. The railway does not possess any oxy-acetelene equipment and the MIG welder was inoperative hence the use of arc welding techniques. Rugby Cement and the railway's management seem extremely reluctant to let standard engineering equipment be stored on its site. This makes the job of bodywork patching very difficult but still perhaps time will avail the situation.

The most difficult patch to fabricate was a piece below the guttering on the secondman's side of No. 1 cab. This piece is not only curved around the corner but also into the guttering. With a true craftsman's care the piece was eventually fitted and with a bit of filler and paint no one will notice where the patch was done.

Once in place the whole area was coated with red oxide to protect the metal. These patches ensure that the unit would be weatherproof for the winter. The paintwork was given a week to dry and then the patches were filled and rubbed down to the correct contour of the body side. As both cabs are now complete the interior metal surfaces can be sprayed with Dinitrol Wax Spray to ensure an adequate protection from condensation and further rusting. Similarly the interior insulation and panels can now be replaced. This leaves just the woodwork to be rubbed down and revarnished and the interior cab door panels to be replaced with a melamine substitute.

During the weekend of September 28th and 29th work continued on the filling of the patched areas and cleaning down the bogie frames. A start was also made on cleaning down the underframes proper and any ancillary equipment. The ancillary equipment were the electrical boxes and the heater air intake with associated metal work The air receivers will be left until they are tested and recertified sometime.

The main frames entailed, on one side, removing the cable trunking that contained the wiring for the driver's cab heating and other late additions to the loom. The footsteps were also removed for easier access and for later refurbishment or replacement. Most of the bolts and screws holding the footsteps in situ were rusted too much to remove by using spanners. So a resort was made to the trusted angle grinder. Oh for oxy-acetelyne cutters! Most of the wood was not in bad condition but will most probably be replaced with new boarding and anti slip patches for passenger safety. The frames were taken back to good metal by use of a chipping hammer and wire brush and/or angle grinder then treated with Dinitrol then painted with red-oxide. Over the years it appeared that no more than two or three coats of paint had been used and the original black, still with original transfers/sign writing, was easily distinguishable.

The ancillary equipment was cleaned, degreased then painted with the ubiquitous red-oxide for later topcoating. The air intakes for the heaters were particularly bad and a good layer of dirt was removed from the inside before repainting could be considered.

As winter was nearing the opportunity was taken on the Sunday to drain the coolant, which at this point was pure water, and replace with an antifreeze mixture of ethylene glycol mixed 1:3 with water. Draining the coolant ensured that any accumulated rubbish in the system from the years out of service was also flushed out. The cooling system takes approximately 49 litres of fluid (11 gallons).The unit is to be run every 2 or 3 weeks during winter to keep all parts moving and free and the next run was planned for Saturday October 12th. These runs will include some night running and will certainly test out the lighting on the unit. It will also give the cab heating systems a good test after refurbishment. They were switched into the unit's coolant system over the weekend of the 28th/29th September when the antifreeze was added and were found to be watertight. The test will come when they heat up and get under pressure.

The following weekend, 5th & 6th October the unit was not touched as Kevin was rostered for BR work on the Saturday and C&PRRA work on the Sunday and I was enjoying a weekend away in Germany drooling over DB & DR Class 01 and 18 Pacifics.

The internal ceiling measurements had been taken earlier in the year and the white painted hardboard to complete the job was purchased on October 10th.

I was 46 on that day.

It was cut from standard 8' x 4' boards and transported in Alan Vigar's van from Bletchley Timber. The local builders merchant in Chinnor being unable to supply and cut to size. The offcuts will be used for patching either on the unit or on one of the Association's MK I coaches.

The work on the main frames continued over the weekend of 12th and 13th October. The two worst areas were in the door recesses of the small saloon on the secondman's side of No. 1 cab. Here the severe rusting most probably due to this side being the seaward side on the St. Ives branch where the unit eked out its final years. Once ground down to good metal and treated properly with Dinitrol and red-oxide the actual amount of metal wastage was small. The amount of rust removed however was a few millimeters deep. It shows how large an Iron Oxide molecule is compared to a steel molecule.

The other metalwork to have suffered badly were the door pillars in the small saloon. One will need complete renewal whilst two of the others will need patching. Similarly the window steel has also suffered badly.

The outer plating is spot welded onto a metal frame and the window frame, made of aluminium, is bolted into the outer plate. The internal saloon window frame is made up of two separate sections, the base and the inner frame. The base is of four pieces of wood, one up each side and one each along the top and bottom, screwed onto metal spacers both of which run the full length or width of the window. The metal spacers are in turn welded onto the frame. The inner saloon window frame is in turn screwed into the four base wooden pieces. The metal spacers have in most cases suffered severe rusting and in some cases are non existent. These will be removed entirely and will be replaced with new hard wood spacers, of two or three inches in length, secured onto the metal frames by brass bolts countersunk into the wood. The wood attached to the metal spacers has also suffered from dry/wet rot. This wood will be replaced, once again with hard wood, then screwed onto the new replacement wooden spacers. This will allow more air to circulate around the frames and minimalise the problems of condensation. The other cause of panel rusting has been the blockage and/or removal of the drain pipes from the window frames.

The Class 122 was built so that the gap between the main frames and the outer body was covered with metal sheet. Because the window condensation drain pipes were not threaded properly through these plates the water collected not only on the plates but was soaked up by the insulation and thus caused rusting. This was compounded by the fact that air was not able to circulate thus not allowing evaporation of the water to take place. All windows will be repaired to allow proper drainage. The plates that are rusted will be removed, those that are in good condition will be retained.

The following weekend, October 19th and 20th, the work on cleaning down the main frames on the No. 2 side was completed and the cleaned area was coated in Dinitrol and then painted in red oxide. The unit had not been started since September 8th and plans had been made to give W55003 a run on the Saturday. The unit was switched on and the No. 2 engine started. To my amazement the engine fired up immediately. It was left to tick over whilst I checked the water piping to the cab heater. No leaks were found. After a few moments running the engine was going to be stopped and I pulled the throttle cable to rev it up before shutting down. The engine stalled. I started the engine again and it fired up but refused to run. There was obviously a problem.

The only way to sort out a problem like this is to think it out. Kevin arrived and we started going through the usual procedures. The first thing we checked was the fuel. The tanks had not been replenished since arrival at Chinnor so 75 litres, approximately 16.5 gallons, was put into each fuel tank. The engine cut out solenoid was checked to make sure it was operating correctly. The fire alarm was tested and showed no problems so the engine was tried again. The same result it fired up but would not run. Checking the main switch box showed that something was tripping out as soon as the engine fired up.

The only thing that had changed since the last running was the fact that I had drained the radiators and refilled with an antifreeze mixture. When done the cooling system was full, or so I thought. Checking it showed that after running the system required another 14 litres, 3 gallons, to top it up. I assume that as there are no visible leaks from the system that air locks cause a considerable amount of problems. Reading Hints and Tips merely confirmed this. Once both systems were topped up both engines fired up immediately and ran with no problems. This showed that the Mobrey float switches, certainly on the No. 2 side, are in full working order. The only slight leakage was from the No. 1 cab heater. I suspect a leak in the radiator itself as all connections are tight.

The final drives took two attempts to engage, the first attempt by me and the second by Kevin. The reason they did not go in at the first attempt was simply 'the knack', and I evidently hadn't got it. Not only should the cardan shaft be turned but given a good shaking! Once engaged they proved no trouble for the rest of the journey switching in and out with a resounding clunk. The two trips down to Wainhill Crossing and back proved the unit is in fine mechanical and electrical condition.

The Class 122s and indeed most of the units built to that general specification have a tendency to roll. On poor track this can become quite alarming. W55003 will prove to be a good track testing machine as she found a particularly bad spot just south of Donkey Lane crossing where the ballast had not been packed correctly.

Once returned to the siding the unit was shut down and the final job to red-oxide the frames was completed before the rains set in.

Sunday dawned bright and fair but soon settled down to a dismal grey. The task of refilling the tanks continued and the No. 2 fuel tank was soon full. The gauge was reset to show a correct reading on the No. 2 side the No. 1 side gauge still reads half full. The No. 1 tank was also nearly full when the rains started with a vengeance. There was no option but to begin working on the interior.

The small saloon had been earmarked for putting back the ceiling panels first. But before that could commence the wiring had to be put back into the correct channelling and the insulation replaced

. The wires are held in the channelling by hardboard clipped over by metal clips, or in W55003's case insulation tape! There were only three metal clips in the whole unit. I had been given some 3M nylon tape and this was used to attach the hardboard to the channelling. Once stuck down I don't think this tape will come apart. The next task was to find the correct pieces of insulation for the roof. To this end I donned face mask, gloves and hat and opened the first of the plastic bags with the insulation in.

Careful inspection narrowed down the choice of bag to open and luck gave us a bag that more or less had the correct pieces in. The Guard's van end was first to be started and apart from getting my eyes full of the dust most of the pieces fitted correctly. The panelling had been purchased and cut to size previously, well nearly. The panelling was cut to a 5' length the actual length required for the ceiling arc was 54". It was now that my mistake in purchasing the correct number of pieces became apparent. I had purchased only two 27.5" pieces for the small saloon not four as was required. I had misread my own drawing!

However I had also purchased all the offcuts so with four spare pieces the correct panelling was soon fabricated as two 20.5" and two 7" pieces. The first piece, the 7" strip, was put in place at the Guard's van end above the luggage racks before the light failed completely. The method and the problems encountered will stand us in good stead for the reminder of the panels.

The final weekend of summer '96 was October 26th and 27th. That weekend was started by refuelling the unit to capacity, including heater tanks, and resetting the gauges. The remainder of the time was utilised in finishing off the insulation in the small saloon and fitting the ceiling. The main problem in fitting the hardboard was fitting it behind the passenger communication cord castings and around the light bases. This involved pre cutting the sheets to fit and manoeuvring them into position. The emergency cord fittings are at the tightest curve of the hardboard and because they have only limited movement a lot of effort was expended in getting the boards into place. The easiest manner was to use a 'T' piece. This involved lifting the board more or less into place and holding up by the 'T' piece against the roof. The board could them be moved into position and the 'T' piece used to bend the hardboard to the correct contour. Then with an offcut of wood and a hammer the board was tapped from the other end into position and screwed into place. It was essentially a one man job learned from my student days on the building site as a plasterboarder.

The only cutting not done was for the air vents in the ceiling. These were measured up as 1' from the centre of the light fitting for all light fittings through out the saloons. Actually the BR positioning was approximately 18" away from the light centre line. This placed the vent underneath the fibreglass insulation so I will utilise the 1' position which is underneath the body of the air vent. A selection of vent covers was procured from the old LMS saloon as the originals had gone the way of the original roof and vanished. Fourteen were required and I took them off site for cleaning during the week. They were just dirty and soon cleaned up to a brilliant white.

Once all panels were in place in the small saloon the final job was to ascertain how to fit the lights. The light assembly has four separate sections. The light fitting in which the wires and bulb are held, the contour plate that fits to the curve of the roof, the base plate that holds the light fitting and fits to the contour plate and finally the light shade. The problem was that no matter how the assembly was fitted no more than two screws held the whole lot to the roof without stressing one or other of the components unduly. We could not solve the problem without recourse to a real example. Luckily there was a Sandite unit formed from a Class 122 at Bletchley so arrangements were made to 'inspect' the fitting.

Sunday the 27th October was the first day after the clocks had gone back, spring forward, fall back so as the weather was atrocious and the light was fading by 1530 hrs. work was abandoned until the next weekend when work will continue with the main saloon. The final observation was that since the guttering had been cleaned they were working to specification with 99.9% of the water coming out of the drain holes in the corners. This has made a great difference in the unit as virtually no water is coming in through the side panels and door tops. Any work done on these panels will have a much better chance of survival than before. Also if the guttering is repainted with a water proof membrane liner it should cure all problems of water leakage and hence rusting. All these are of course jobs for next year.

During the week I had 8 spare gauge glasses cut for the fuel tanks. The first job on Saturday November 2nd was to replace the two broken glasses on the tanks.

The main saloon was started by covering in all the wiring with strips of hardboard cut from the remaining off-cuts of the small saloon. Next the remaining bags of glass fibre insulation were opened. By means of trial and error the pieces of insulation were fitted into the roof panel voids. Once completed the hardboard ceiling panels were cut and fixed in place. The weekend saw all fibre glass in place and 12 out of the 16 panels in position. Only one disaster occurred when I pushed too hard on the 'T' piece and it punctured one of the hardboard panels. This will be pulled out and treated as required.

Once the main panelling was underway Kevin cleared out the small saloon and began looking at the flooring. The decision had already been made to replace the linoleum flooring and with this in mind work could begin on looking at the dry/wet rot in the floor sheeting. Once the flooring had been taken back it could be seen that the floor panels were cut from 3/4" 'multiply' marine plywood sheets of varying width and most of the rot was confined to two sheets on the No. 2 side of the small saloon.

The main door pillar in the small saloon that was in a severe state of rusting was inspected by Dave Potter. A method of building up the steel was agreed. This method was to weld 2mm. thick steel strips lengthways along the sides of the pillar after grinding back to good metal and suitable treatment. This method will be used on all other pillars that require welding. Because the steel strips are flexible the curve on the tumblehome will be easily followed and hence the shape preserved.

Sunday night left 4 panels to be fitted in the main saloon. These were finished later the following week. The original idea was to paint the ceiling panels in white once they were in place. This was abandoned after the panels were cleaned down with degreaser and polished. The final surface being good enough to leave as it was.

During this week I received from Derby various electrical diagrams, drawings and the original specification for the new build of Lot 30419 as specified by Derby Works in 1957. This last mentioned item contained all sorts of useful information. The most pertinent to the unit at this time was a complete list of all required internal panels. It transpired that the roof was covered with 9' 'Laconite' panels not the 54" ones I had put up. Nine feet of course being 2 x 54". The side panels were formed from 'Formica' on Lloydboard the pattern being 'Bleached Mahogany'. As most of theses panels had seen better days I decided to replace them all with a more modern variety.

These panels were duly measured up the following weekend and although nearly the same as the original size were different enough to warrant a new set of measurements being made up. On Saturday November 16th the light fittings were put back in place and all went well until the last two small lights were being fitted at the No. 1 end. The holes cut by myself in the sheeting were 1" out of place and in order to fit the lamp fitting properly a recut was necessary. I pushed the wires into the hole and drilled. Success, the hole was in the right place, but failure I had nicked one of the wires and the whole lighting set up went haywire! All the lights worked but at much reduced voltage and with a variety of intensities as you went along the circuit! I was not convinced it was purely the lights at fault as the batteries were by now requiring a good charge not having been run for a month. Even so both engines started on the first turn and were left running.

'Young' Arthur Leeder was on site and after looking at various fittings and bulbs we reluctantly, it was raining heavily, repaired to the fuse box to inspect the lighting circuit fuses.

The lighting has two separate circuits, L1 and L2 in order that half lighting can be used via the guard's switch. I had blown the -ve fuse on the earth side of circuit L2. Arthur found a spare No. 5 fuse and this was duly changed. One half of the lights, circuit L2, came on bright and clear. The other circuit, L1, was dead. On the grounds that electrics and I do not mix, and Arthur was working on the BSK, I decided to leave the problem until the following morning. The time was approaching 1600 hrs. so after testing the final drives I called it a day, shut the engines down, cleaned up and went for a pint with Kevin.

On Sunday I fired up the engines as soon as I arrived and left them ticking over for the day to charge the batteries. I decided to check the fuses for a blown power fuse, i.e. one on the +ve side. This I found on the L1 side and it was duly replaced but as soon as I switched on the lights it blew again. I replaced it again but before switching on the circuit I took down the light fittings to check for loose wires. I found none so I called for assistance from Andy Diston who traced the problem to my wiring in a lamp socket. The red insulation of the power lead and the black wire from were in contact and were causing a short. This was fixed and the lights worked perfectly, at least on circuit L1. The circuit L2 was as dead as a Dodo. As we didn't have a voltmeter available to test the circuits the lights were left until the following weekend. Once again the final drives were tested and engaged successfully in both directions.

Work continued however with a concerted effort to remove the rotten plywood in the small saloon. This resulted in two pieces being removed. Replacement pieces of 3/4" plywood were obtained and prepared at home for replacement the following weekend.

A certain amount of woodwork will be needed to ensure the replacement pieces are strong enough to withstand the force of people constantly walking across them. To this end both pieces are to be fitted with 3/8" (9mm) dowels to fit into the remaining panels. The end towards the door will be secured by self tapping screws and of course the metal strap that runs the length of the saloon. The smaller piece is under a seat and although will need less secure fixings will be attached by the same means. The asbestos sheet under the floorboards is in a complete and good condition.

The final thing on the Sunday was to look at the rotten door pillar in the small saloon. I had on the unit a large sheet of 2mm. steel so I had the materials to complete the job. The other problem areas in the unit were also inspected and found to be mainly problems with the guttering. As it had rained incessantly since the Saturday lunchtime the gutters were sodden with the remaining dirt and accumulated leaves and detritus. The only cure will be a complete clean out with water and air line and either complete renewal or 'painting' with a waterproof membrane. That is for next year and in a different position in the yard. I decided to leave the rest until next weekend and left the site at 1530 hrs.. I was very disappointed about the lights as I suspect some if not all the light fittings and the ceiling panels will need to be taken down to trace the fault.

My suspicions of the preceding week were to come true as the lighting circuits still refused to work properly. With circuit L1 running circuit L2 blew and vice versa. As mentioned the only option was to drop all the light fittings together with the ceiling panels on the secondman's side, facing No. 1 cab, far enough to be able to get at the wiring conduit. The test then was to try the lights with no bulbs in; success, neither fuse blew. Each light was tested in turn and all lights performed faultlessly. This showed that the wiring loom was in good condition and the problem was in the light fittings. The conduit was sealed during Sunday November 24th and the lighting tested. It worked correctly. The ceiling was then replaced and once again the lights tested. They all worked correctly. Each fitting was then replaced and tested. Once again all lights worked perfectly. The only rewiring done was on the two lights in the small saloon. These lights had the main wires coming to a terminal block before two small wires went to the bulb holder proper. These wires were, most probably, the original as they were covered by white woven material. These were replaced with new BICC wire. Once all the lights were in place the final test showed both circuits were behaving properly on full and half lighting. The final job on the ceiling was to remeasure the gaps between the lamps for the beading.

The flooring was replaced with 3/4" plywood and using dowels was fixed into position. The doorside ends were screwed down using self tapping screws. The weekend was wet and miserable for most of the time. The Sunday was especially bad as it sleeted for most of the day. The final hour was spent in ascertaining why one specific window on the driver's side, facing No. 1 cab let in so much water. Upon close inspection it was found that a 1/2" hole had been drilled between the top of the window frame and the guttering effectively bypassing the guttering itself into the main saloon. Until I can weld the hole up a rubber bung will be inserted ASAP.

The rubber bung was dutifully inserted the following Saturday. But it didn't rain so the efficacy of the insertion could not be tested.

The first job of the day was to start the No. 1 engine to top up the batteries. The engine fired up first time. The next job was to replace the second of the small light fittings at the No. 1 end of the main saloon. Once this was done the lights were tested and all systems functioned correctly.

The beading to finish the ceiling was brought onto site already varnished and cut to size. I could not put the beading up as I found I had not got any screw cups to fit the screws I was to use. A visit to the builder's merchant will sort that out for next week. The rest of the day was spent in using the angle grinder to remove the remains of the internal window metals and cleaning up the side panels.

The internal window wood is made of 1"x 1 5/16" x 43" (horizontal) and 36" upright hard wood inserts. These were bolted/screwed into place on 5/8" steel spacers. On the bad windows the spacers had rusted to almost nothing. The wood and the metal remains were cut out and the areas cleaned up. The new spacers will be made from 5/8" x 1 1/4" hard wood with brass bolts to hold the inserts and spacers in place. This will allow more air circulation and better drainage from condensation.

The water drainage pipes from the windows are made from black plastic tubing clipped into place on the outer skin framework. These were removed from the bad window areas and will be replaced by flexible rubber or composite tubing. The whole of the unit will eventually be done. In total 36 lengths of 3' each will be needed. The tubing will be extended through the plating between the outer panel and mainframe to provide proper drainage and to alleviate the rusting problems in this area.

An attempt was made to remove the wooden door frame pillar from the badly rusted steel pillar but was a conspicuous failure as I had no drills that would make an indentation in most of the screws. I don't know what they are made of but it's very hard indeed. As it transpired the wood did not need to be removed as the badly rusted areas can be patched from the other side of the pillar.

The steel areas were then painted with Dinitrol RC800 and when dry repainted with red oxide. Two windows were completed including the very rusty main door pillar in the small saloon as mentioned earlier. The door pillar will be patched where required and a new upright plate will be fashioned in one piece cut out of 2mm steel sheet and welded in place.

The following Sunday was spent at Shackerstone inspecting the line's Class 122 M55005, and the Class 116 twin set both of which are in an as withdrawn condition. The day was most profitable as certain small problems, as far as the reconstruction of 55003 was concerned, were sorted out. For units only two apart in the sequence of building the detail variation is amazing. Similarly the problems I have had with 55003 are now becoming apparent in 55005 especially on the bodywork. A close association of both groups will be of advantage to all.

The next Saturday, December 7th, work commenced on cutting out and cleaning up the last, and worst, of the internal steel panels. This panel will need to be replaced over half its area. This area includes the window. In order to minimise water ingress the outside was layered with special self adhesive 'tin foil'. This allowed the interior to be cleaned down using the angle grinder and then coated with RC800.

Once completed the previous week's work was painted with red oxide. The afternoon was spent in putting up the beading down the centre of the ceiling panels. It sets the work off quite well and closes the gaps where there was no complete centre line wood beam was available to secure the panels to. Finally I went across to Bletchley to pick up the wood for the window interior supports and door inserts from Bletchley Timber.

The timber used in the door inserts and the window supports was made of Cedar and as it is extremely expensive to purchase I opted for a cheaper hard wood called Ramin. The first part I fabricated was a new horizontal window support. This progressed extremely well and was soon finished. The next part was its corresponding upright support. At this point the flaw in my plan was noticed. I had planned to use brass bolts countersunk into the wood and fastened into the upright pillar. It was then I realised you can't get at the bolt if it is the upright.

After a bit of headscratching I had three further ideas. One was to use self tapping screws into mild steel, the next to use Rawlplugs fitted into suitable drill holes and the third to use flat right angled plates to hold both. I am yet undecided about the Rawlplugs but am quite happy to use the right angled plates. This is mainly due to the fact that the uprights will need a considerable amount of welding and therefore not be in a suitable state for drilling at least too much.

The first door insert was fabricated. I was going to use 2" brass screws to hold it together. However the first screw snapped whilst being screwed in. I forgot brass was softer than steel! After this I decided to cease fabrication and take the fabricated parts home to be treated with wood preserver and varnished. The window inserts can be used as templates and the three pairs were manufactured over the following two weeks. The door inserts will need to be individually made as the variation in size is as much as 1/2" in 26".

The final job undertaken on Sunday was to put all the luggage racking back in position. I know they will need to be removed when the panelling is replaced but in order to clear the floor and provide suitable storage space for all the bits and pieces it was carried out. This has left the interior ready for welding, clearing and eventual reflooring.

The last weekend spent working before Christmas was the weekend of December 14th and 15th. On the Saturday further work was done in preparing the new door inserts and finalising the correct measurements of the window frame supports. Work was cut short at 1100 hrs as I was called into work.

One problem noticed after running the engines up was that the unloader valve was frozen up. There was a heavy frost and a ground temperature of -5 degrees C. This resulted in the air pressure building up to well over 100 psi. Fortunately no damage resulted showing the air receivers to be in good condition. The problem was got around by opening up one of the wiper motors run switches on the second man's side. This relieved the air pressure as no wiper is fitted so the excess air pressure bled off.

Although not yet achieved I will have to dismantle the air intake ports and associated tank. The tank is filled with an anti air freeze mixture originally meths but lately a proprietary solution 'Killfrost'. One problem that became noticeable with the use of 'Killfrost' was that the seals especially in the gearboxes and final drives became hard and cracked causing air leakage problems. This was not prevalent during the use of meths so it's back to meths we will go. The tank will need cleaning out as the 'Killfrost' leaves a black mess as residue whereas meths is more or less self cleaning. When the air receivers are dismantled for certification the whole system can be blown clean.

The Sunday was spent at home doing the cutting and preparing of the wood for the door inserts and window frames.

The saloons as mentioned have been tidied up ready for reflooring and a plastic bag full of broken window frames was taken home ready to be sorted out. After sorting into individual frames it was discovered that only one corner piece was missing. This will need to be refabricated by Bletchley Timber. The rest is salvageable but will need a considerable amount of work to bring them back to a good condition. The remainder of the window frames are in one piece and in good condition. The work to restore them will begin when the better weather returns as they all require sanding down restaining and revarnishing. This can be done as a background task during the week outside and during the summer months.

The window frame inserts were finished off over the following week and the door inserts are now ready for replacing. The No. 1 side door inserts will be fitted when I can get the unit moved so I can open the respective doors.

The unit was started during Sunday 22nd December with no troubles and the batteries kept topped up with charge. Hopefully a run can be arranged before the year end to keep the unit rolling properly.

After Christmas the next two working days were Saturday and Sunday 28th and 29th December. The engines were run up and engine No. 275 was shut down after oil was seen to be escaping from the exhaust. Work continued on the inside with the door inserts being fitted and measured up for any final alterations. The new interior window frames were fitted and the new tubings for the window drains were also fitted. The beading remaining on the floor was removed to allow complete freedom to remove the old flooring. The sheet metal pieces that are screwed to the floor panels and welded to the side frame uprights in order to take the fixings for the interior side panels were measured up for replacement fittings where required.

Sunday was spent at home in making the replacement metal fittings, cleaning down the foot plates for the door wells and finishing and varnishing the door inserts.

As the end of 1996 approaches I can say it has been a very exceptional year. The unit as bought was in a mess. It is now an operational unit with 5 runs up and down the branch to its credit. The internal refurbishment is proceeding apace and the acquisition of spares is also proceeding quite well.

However with problems regarding the possible loss of the secure sidings at Chinnor due to the closure of the Rugby Cement Works and the transfer of the line's Class 117 to Long Marston I am unsure of the unit's future here. As a result I am in the process of finding a suitable permanent new home for the unit. 1997 will be a year of even more progress maybe not as dramatic as 1996 but will see the unit more or less fully functional once again 5 years after withdrawal.

1997 dawned cold and snowy and on January 1st the unit was topped up with antifreeze and meths but was still slow to start. After the week before when I shut down the No. 2 engine I had spoken to Keith Jackson about the problem. He advised that the unit had been idling too much and the cure was to run the engines hard i.e. about half throttle to burn off the excess oil form the exhaust pipes. This was duly done and for about 45 minutes the exhaust pipes bubbled and smoked and the exhaust itself burned blue. After that the exhaust was totally clear on both engines.

The only problem was a sticking EP valve. After shutting down the engines I attempted to seat the errant valve but only succeeded in disengaging one of the final drives! I discovered this as I started up the engines to see what effect I had had. The engine in question was shut down immediately and hopefully no damage has been done except to my nerves as the last thing I want is a failed final drive. As Kevin would be down the following weekend when the unit had to be prepared to be moved I left the job until then. The Class 117 is to be moved off the railway during the following week so 55003 will need to be towable again.

The new door fittings were screwed into place and apart from having too much draught exclusion foam fit a treat. All cleaned foot plates were refitted to all doors where applicable.

The following Saturday January 6th was still cold with snow on the ground. The first job was to top up the radiators with antifreeze and the air system with meths.. This proved that about 2 litres of coolant either evaporated or leaked away during running from each system and that once the engines were warm the aroma of meths could distinctly be smelt showing it was reaching the parts it wasn't before.

The yellow fibre glass rolls were transferred to the FO for C&PRR use as I was to use slab glass fibre insulation in the side panels. This left the guard's van half empty so the two-seat frames were restacked and the old interior panels and guard's van panelling were stored here out of the main saloons.

The heater vents were lifted and taken away for cleaning and refurbishment. This left the floor completely clear for lifting. The metal side pieces were brushed clean and red oxided for protection. The replacement pieces were drilled and red-oxided ready for screwing into place. One of the final two door inserts was prepared and taken away for finishing and varnishing. The final one will be fitted when I can open the door far enough! So much for all the facilities available at Chinnor.

Once Kevin arrived No. 2 engine was fired up and after sufficient air pressure was built up both final drives were isolated with no further worries. The engine was run above idling speed and the exhaust burnt clear. The leaking EP valve still would not seat properly and will be left as is until the better weather arrives.

Sunday was spent, at home, cleaning and refurbishing the heater vents ready for replacement when the saloons are refloored and finishing the final door inserts.

A supplier of glass fibre insulation slabs has been found and over the next few weeks I will be reinstating the insulation into the panels that are in order ready for refitting of the new internal panelling itself.

The following Friday, January 10th, I bought a pack of the slab insulation and ordered the new beading for the side panel fitting. This beading is cut so that the internal melamine side panels sit on the beading about 0.5" off the flooring. The beading is then screwed onto the metal panels that form the join between floor and metal side panel. This fixing holds the melamine panels in place.

On Saturday, January 11th, began the replacement of the insulation in the small saloon. The initial task was to finish off grinding down and removing any other rust patches on the internal body panels and coating with red oxide. Next the new window drain tubes were threaded through the holes in the cover panels. By mid afternoon the small saloon was completely reinsulated and ready for the final welding and replacement of the internal melamine panels.

The metal strip that the seats are screwed to and that had been removed to allow renewal of the rotten floor boarding was refurbished and refixed to the floor. All the floor seat fixing strips will need to be cleaned down and red oxided then accurately measured. This is required as they will be covered by the flooring when replaced and the fixing points for the seat bolts/screws need to be known for easy refixing.

About 11 o'clock Andy Fowler arrived and assisted by making a good start on removing the flooring from the large saloon. By the mid afternoon 75% of the large saloon was completed. Following on Sunday the flooring in both saloons was removed by Andy. The whole unit was devoid of flooring by lunch time. One curious find was a hole about 4" x 3" in the floor above the No. 1 gearbox. As I could think of no reason for it's existence I plated it with 3/8" plywood.

The unit was cleared out and is now ready for the final grinding out of any rust patches so that the new drain tubing can be inserted and the insulation cut and fitted to the side panels. The final job undertaken was to change the oil in the generator.

It transpires that the hole was cut out to facilitate the fitting of a hot water type heater similar to that found in the cabs. Evidently it was not a success.

The next Saturday, January 18th, the body side panels in the main saloon were ground down and painted with Dinitrol. The only panels that were not touched were the two panels directly behind the No. 1 cab. These panels were fitted with insulation ready for interior panelling. One base frame in one of the windows was found to be extensively corroded so it was removed and ground down ready for Dinitrol and red oxide. The door footplates were lifted and the wooden areas painted with a proprietary wood preservative for rotten and slightly damaged wood. The infusion had to be left for a week to ensure it had dried properly. The solution soaks into the wood and dries as a resin thus ensuring the longevity of the remaining good wood. The penultimate floor/side panel was redoxided and is now drilled and ready for fitting as soon as the welding is complete on the interior framework.

Sunday I spent the day at home working on the interior window frames and fabricating a new base frame for the removed one. Andy worked on the unit during the Sunday and finished off the red oxiding of the remaining interior metal panels ready for the fitting of the insulation during the next weekend.

During the week the first of the interior window frames was finished. All that is still outstanding on this frame is the fitting of corner pieces and putting in place. The woodstain colour chosen was teak. Saturday, January 25th, saw the fitting of new window drain pipes in the remaining windows of the main saloon, the new window base frame, the fitting of the remaining insulation in the main saloon by Andy and the filling with 'plastic wood' in the door wells ready for refitting of the foot plates. The two cabs were also made ready by myself by red oxiding the exposed metal panels above the driver's desk and the subsequent fitting of the insulation in the recesses.

Kevin arrived in the early afternoon to discuss the situation of the running agreement and the 'board's' decision to ask me to remove the unit by the end of February. It appears that not all the board knew what was going on and that the decision had upset a lot of people. The board meeting to discuss the situation is on Wednesday, January 29th. As I have already asked three railways, the NVR, SVR and Shackerstone, for permission to move the situation is quite delicate and at present I am disposed to move. Just in case the unit is to move the springs and other requisite points were oiled and made ready. The interior of both saloons is now more or less ready for reflooring and once the internal welding is complete ready for the new internal panels. The two cabs are now ready for internal panelling to be replaced. A start can now be made on the exterior of the unit with especial attention being given in the short term to the guttering, the roof and the plating between the tumblehome plating and the mainframes. Once these are in order the major task of the main body work can start.

Sunday, January 26th, was spent once again at home fabricating the final floor/side panel out of a piece of thin gauge sheet metal. All that is required is that it is drilled, red oxided and screwed in place. Later the beading that attaches the internal formica side panels to the floor/side panel metal pieces was painted with wood preservative and late on Sunday given its first coat of teak stain. At lunchtime Kevin and I had a trip out to look at 55023 which is now on the scrap line at BY depot. Similarly the last remaining Class 116 driving car was on the depot and in good overall condition but with thrown exhauster/alternator belts.

During the following week more pieces from the internal window frames were cleaned down, stained and varnished. A start was also made on replacing the broken ends of the corner pieces of the frames. The pieces will need filling and rubbing down before staining and varnishing but the new corners should last for some considerable time. I have also had 10 new corners fabricated in Mahogany by Bletchley Timber using one of the old corners as a template. The finish is excellent and the fitting is also very good. I will have 4 or 5 spare corners at the end of the rebuilding. The beading for the internal panels was restained and varnished and is now ready for putting in place once the vinyl floor covering has been relaid.

The following Saturday, February 1st, the batteries were put on charge utilising the new battery charger. The most that appeared to go into the batteries using my generator was 3 or 4 amps on 12 volts and is not satisfactory. I will split the batteries into two banks and retry. The engines were tried at the end of the day with a singular lack of success although the battery condition indicator indicated good batteries but not fully charged ones. The starter motor(s) did not even engage.

The door footplate fittings were refitted into the refurbished foot wells. They have all taken properly and are now fitted securely. The last floor/side panel was red oxided and fitted. The final trimming of the flooring around the sliding door fittings was finished and the saloons were swept out ready for reflooring.

At last two outstanding jobs from the end of last year were tackled. The two belts on the No. 1 engine, No. 900, to the right angled drive were changed and the gearbox final drive end bearing seal, also at No. 1 end, was dismantled ready for replacement. The seal, seal housing and bolts were taken home for cleaning and replacement. The seal has to be driven out of the housing and the new one driven in. After much head scratching I completed the task by using the old seal to drive home the new seal to its full extent. Easy when you know how. The manual was followed explicitly and the seal was packed with the correct grease. When dismantled there was no grease on the seal edges at all. I had also been given a set of rubber 'O' rings by John Price on the SVR for what I did not know but I was to find out.

The gearbox final drive and seal is held in place by a huge castelated nut, washer, 'O' ring and split pin. The 'O' ring on the gearbox output shaft when dismantled was flattened and dry. The washer used with the castelated nut is backed by a rubber seal and with the 'O' ring seals the drive flange end to the gearbox output shaft. In undoing the nut very little effort was expended so I suspect that the main seal was in fact in good order but the 'O' ring was failing and the nut was undertight. I sealed the washer with Loctite and tightened the nut up an extra notch. All the nuts on the connecting bolts to the final drive were replaced with new Nyloc nuts. The gearbox turned with no undue noises or effort and a litre of gearbox oil was put in. Another litre of oil will be required and the gearbox tested.

The week was spent on the continuing refurbishment of the remaining broken window frames

Saturday, February 8th, was spent at work and as Sunday dawned wet and windy Chinnor was given a miss and more work was done at home on the window frames.

The week was spent on refurbishing the remainder of the broken window frames and I will soon be in a position to be able to make up these frames. This leaves just the 'good' frames to be refurbished and the broken frames to be rebuilt.

During the week I took delivery of a new battery charger from Deakin Davensets of Rugby and Saturday February 14th was the first day of trying it out. After arrival at Chinnor I tried to start the engines but apart from a 'click' as the stop solenoid came out no movement was discerned from the starter motor on either side. I wired the charger into the BR charger socket but the use of crocodile clips from the charger leads gave problems so this idea was abandoned.

Wiring the charger across one bank of batteries terminals but charging each bank in parallel i.e. two sets of 12v batteries as opposed to one set of 24v, gave an input current of approximately 3 amps. I was most disappointed as I expected a far higher charging rate. I left the charger going for most of the day but did not try to start the engines again.

Of the three railways that had been contacted regarding a future home for the unit only the Severn Valley railway had responded albeit in the negative. I decided therefore to approach a railway more or less on my doorstep, the Northampton and Lamport Railway. I spoke to Mark Herbert who gave me the telephone numbers of the railway and of the Chairman, Bob Faulkner.

I telephoned the railway and as luck would have it they were talking about future developments on the railway one of which was an extra DMU to supplement the Class 108/117 hybrid unit already on the line. The Class 108 is a driving trailer and the Class 117 is a power car. Therefore if the Class 117 fails the whole unit is a failure. With 55003 the railway will have the possibility of running a 1, 2 or 3 car set. with the bubble covering for a failure in the 117 and vice versa. A meeting was arranged for the following Sunday February 15th. The meeting went well and a verbal agreement was arranged subject to board approval etc.. The board meeting was arranged for Wednesday February 26th and a visit to inspect the unit for Saturday March 8th.

I spent the next two weekends on holiday in Germany photographing eastern German narrow gauge.

Upon return on Sunday March 2nd Bob had called to ensure the visit was on. So on the following Saturday I arrived at Chinnor at 0830 and began recharging the batteries. I split the banks into two and charged each set up separately. On one bank all batteries were at 2.1 v each but on the other bank two batteries were down at 1.9 v. I think this is the problem of the starting. I polished both cab desks and made sure 55003 was in as good a condition as possible. However the inspection went well and formal agreement was reached for 55003 to go to Pitsford.

I oiled all round to make sure the unit was ready for movement and decided to retry the engines at about 1530 hrs.. The batteries were reconnected and as if in anticipation of the move the engines fired up ON THE FIRST TURN and I was happy. I checked the No 1 gearbox seal and the box was dry. I started work on the frames and chipped off the old paint from the No. 1 cab end buffer beam and painted it in red oxide then retired to the pub for a welcome beer.

The move was agreed with Bob and Allelys' for delivery to Northampton on Thursday 27th March. The move is to be a double move as Kevin has been successful in purchasing Class 121 55023 from Bletchley depot. This will be a good acquisition for Chinnor as it is in a more or less complete condition. Although some work will need to be done on making 55023 water tight and replacing interior panelling and it comes with no spares.

The last of the 5 dismantled interior window frames was glued together during the week and a start was made on the 'good' complete frames. I expect to be able to complete one a week during the spring and summer.

The following Saturday was spent at work however I ordered a MIG welder from a firm in Nottingham. This will allow me to get on with welding the unit in my own good time. I managed to get to Pitsford Station during the Sunday. I had gone ostensibly to explain the moving situation to Bob and Dave and after a walk up and down the line assisted Dave and Martin in cleaning down the traction motor blower assembly off 26010.

The week following was spent in cleaning down the six small window frames and gluing new corners on where required. The final weekend at Chinnor was Saturday and Sunday March 22nd and 23rd. On the Saturday I succeeded in removing the top steps from the No. 1 side despite being hemmed in by the recently arrived Class 25 D7529. The engines ran up with no problems and after leaving for a while to warm up were run hard to clear the exhaust passages. This was achieved well within 30 minutes when the exhaust ran clean.

In the No. 1 cab I noticed that below the indicator box the melamine panelling had been forced out of its position and when pressed showered rust. I removed the panelling and found the reason to be water leakage from the glass front down and under the route indicator box. This had caused the wooden base piece of the box to rot and the main cross member to rust. The metal pieces in the indictor box were duly cleaned out, coated with Dinitrol RC800 and when dry red oxided similarly the main cross member. Whilst Kevin was on a 'steam fireman's' course I took time to solder the contact light in the No. 1 cab into place only to find the bulb had gone. Finally in the cab I measured up the side panelling ready for purchasing and fitting.

Whilst running the engines up I noticed that the air pressure had risen to well over 100 lb./ and had not been 'unloaded' by the unloader valve. I released the air by opening one of the air valves on the No. 2 side until Kevin and I could take a closer look at the unloader valve itself. I oiled round to make sure everything was in order for the shunt and move.

Kevin came down shortly after noon and we ran the unit up. Once sufficient air pressure had built up Kevin blew down the air tank on the unloader or No. 1 side. A fair amount of water came out. Once cleared the system was allowed to blow through to clear the pipes and tanks of any further water. The unloader was tried again but failed to work. After consultation with Dave Potter we slackened off the adjuster on the unloader and tried again. The unloader began to work albeit somewhat slowly and now does not allow the air pressure to exceed 90 lb./

Finally the unit was shunted into position ready for removal by Allely's on the following Wednesday evening.

This meant that no further work had to be done on the unit at Chinnor and so Sunday was spent at home finishing the small window frames. The corners were already in place a so with a bit of plastic wood and sandpaper were rubbed down to the correct profile. Three coats of stain were applied and by 1900 hrs. all six frames were ready for varnishing. In between coats I managed to rub down two of the remaining five large window frames ready for fitting with new corner pieces and staining.

I was at work on the following Wednesday, March 26th when Kevin phoned with the news that the rig that was to transport the units had failed with a split oil pipe on the return journey from the Mid Hants. The rig was returning to Warwickshire for repair and the operation was to be put back 24 hours.

I still took the Thursday off and arrived at Bletchley depot at 1130 hrs. to the sight of no one. I waited until 1200 hrs. when Kevin arrived. He telephoned Allely's who informed us that the transporter was well on its way and would arrive within the hour. It arrived at 1230 hrs. 55023 was loaded up by 1530 hrs. and both rig and assembled volunteers set off for Chinnor.

We arrived at Chinnor just as the rain clouds were gathering at about 1700 hrs. The rig arrived at 1930 hrs. having suffered various adventures on the way. 55023 was unloaded by 2100 hrs. and 55003 was loaded by 2200 hrs. The crew then left for home as another crew were booked to move 55003 the following morning. The trailer was then parked up and I left for home arriving at 2330 hrs.

Good Friday dawned fair and I was at Pitsford for 0930 hrs.. Bob had already contacted the crew who were already on the way to Chinnor. Kevin called home and Angie called the railway to say that the unit had left for Northampton at 1010 hrs. Later that morning the local bobby called in for a 'social call' and we mentioned the pending arrival. The Northamptonshire Police Traffic Division had not delegated anyone to meet the transporter so our local bobby did the job himself meeting the rig in the A14.

We had just brewed up when a call came in that the whole ensemble was only 10 minutes away from Boughton Crossing. We all jumped into the train and set off hot foot, or hot wheeled, for the end of the line. Andy Entwhistle and his gang had already removed the fence, slewed the buffer stops and laid the connecting rail. He set off in the dumper truck with the keys to open the gate at Boughton Crossing. As we arrived at the crossing we saw the first police car arrive and stop on the Northampton side of the crossing whilst our local bobby who had followed the load stopped on the Chapel Brampton side of the crossing.

The rig was positioned so that any residual build up of traffic could clear. It was then allowed to negotiate a three point turn and proceed up the walk way to the railhead. Without many problems 55003 was unloaded and hauled onto NLR metals gathering a fair number of interested persons on the way. The rig was duly reassembled and sent on its way and the unit was towed into Pitsford Station by D5401 & 25035.

55003 was positioned at the south end of the run-around loop and I prepared her for a start up the following day.

Easter Saturday, March 29th, was a glorious day and I began to strip down the No. 1 side frames ready for painting. I ran the unit up and tested the unloader valve to make sure it was functioning properly, it was. It was decided that we would move 55003 and position it as follows, the Class 117 at the south end, the Class 108 trailer in the centre and the Class 122 at the north end. 55003 fired up with no problems and was soon running with a clear exhaust. Dave Stokes then came down and after I had reengaged the final drive the engines were restarted, the brakes released and the unit was moved for the first time on the NLR. It was duly coupled up to the two car set and all three cars were repositioned in the loop. So ended my first day on the NLR.

Easter Sunday was spent continuing with the preparation of the frames when Bob and Dave came to say the first official run was to be that afternoon after the 1400 hrs. steam train departure. Because the whole line is fully signalled there are no problems running more than one train at a time. The units were run up and sat at the inner home signal awaiting the departure of the service train. At precisely 1403 hrs. the Peckett took the service train out of Pitsford southbound. The DMU followed as soon as the road was clear and ran into the Ironstone Sidings with no problems except for a slightly dragging brake on 55003s No. 2 bogie. Later that afternoon the exercise was repeated in reverse with the three cars running non stop through Pitsford for the north. A goodly amount of people saw the first official run in glorious weather.

After another couple of hours work I left for home tired but very happy. Bob was so pleased that he was planning to run the unit(s) in the same way the following day for the gathered crowds. The railway had played host to over 1300 people on the first two days of Easter. Everyone was happy.

I spent Easter Monday in finishing off the small window frames and preparing the final five large frames for staining and varnishing. I also tested my new MIG welder. The railway on the Easter Monday played host to 995 people making a grand total of over 2200 people to have visited the line during the holiday period.

The paint duly arrived from Masons on Thursday April 3rd ready for my weeks work in during the first week in May. I also purchased some 'liquid rubber' compound for the guttering. This will be utilised as the roof is repainted and should eradicate all leaks into the main body of the unit. The final five large window frames were finished on Friday April 4th, at last, and now all complete windows are stored in the garage ready for refitting.

I spent the next weekend April 5th and 6th at Pitsford. On first arrival I noticed something strange about the driving cabs. I could see through the windows! Bob had spent a couple of hours on the Easter Monday cleaning off the cement dust with Brasso and Scotchbrite pads! Compared to earlier in the week the windows were now in pristine condition. They will need finishing off properly but show what a mess the whole of the unit had become whilst at Chinnor. I'm extremely glad I moved. In between calls from work I managed to finish cleaning down the frame on No. 1 side including removal of the piping down this side. The bolts will need to be replaced as all are wasted and some snapped on removal. I would have red oxided the frame but I forgot to bring my angle grinder so this had to wait until the Sunday. The man from GRA flooring did not turn up so the flooring is still to be sorted out.

Because I had forgotten my angle grinder I could not do any welding until Sunday. I began by making up two 'L' section cross pieces to finish off the frame and after seeking assistance from Richard Boardman I welded them into place as I had managed to get the welder to fail. It would not drive the core wire through to the welding tip. Evidently this is a problem with a gasless MIG welder. Still you live and learn. I then fabricated and welded into place the bottom half of the door upright in the small saloon. This allowed me to fix the floor/side member so that the flooring can now be completed in the small saloon as and when we require. I was very pleased with the result as my welding got better the more practice I had.

The rest of the afternoon was spent grinding down and then red oxiding the No. 1 frame ready for painting. This leaves the underside of the tumblehome to be cleaned and red oxided and the bogie frames on No. 1 side. On the No. 2 side the underside of the body panelling need looking at and them a complete clean down ready for re-red oxiding. I can then paint the frames and bogies in the customary gloss black.

Tuesday April 7th on the railway was a lecture by Bob Bullock on the Safe Working Of Trains. This included an old LNER film on signalling and an overhead slide show give by Bob. Altogether a most illuminating evening which made me extract my old notes from the loft of my BR correspondence course to swat up on. Another visitation by a flooring company has been arranged for this Saturday at 1000 hrs..

The flooring company representative called as requested at 1000 hrs on the following Saturday April 12th. The job presented no problems and will take two or three days. One for latexing the floor and generally preparing it and the second for laying the actual flooring. The colour does not exactly match but is a dark blue with a dark fleck pattern. I'm glad that's sorted out as it will represent a major step forward in the restoration.

The underside of the No. 1 body side tumblehome was then finished and red oxided. The clips that hold the copper piping in place were then cleaned and red oxided.

I spent the rest of a delightful spring day in finishing the under sides of the No. 2 tumblehome. I cut out where required and ground down the rest ready for red oxiding. The frames on the No. 2 side had already been re-oxided but were gone over again and repainted together with the underside.

Sunday was once again a fine day so I started by fashioning and welding into place the final floor/side panel in the main saloon. I was intending to finish off the buffer beam ready for red oxiding but decided that some work on the No. 1 bogie brakes was in order.

The brakes had progressively got tighter and tighter as the unit had been run. I originally thought that the problem was in the linkages between brake cylinder and brake blocks being choked with either cement dust and/or rust. After removing and cleaning down a couple of pins I realised the problem was not within the linkage itself but within the vacuum cylinder. It would rise but would not fall the full distance, being about an inch short of full travel. This of course held the brakes on just sufficiently to bind badly.

Once the pin between piston rod and linkage was removed the brakes came fully off. The piston had to be reconnected with help from a jack and some packing to get the arm in position.

Kevin and Angie arrived on the railway at about 1430 hrs. just in time for dinner and a good look around. Both were duly impressed with the railway and personnel. After Angie rode off home Kevin, Dave Stokes and I re-addressed the vacuum problem. With the Class 25 providing vacuum we attempted to free the recalcitrant piston but to no avail. It only appeared to stick slightly more. In the end I knocked out the pin and left the brakes free. At least the unit can be moved with no binding brake troubles.

The general opinion was that because the piston was rising the rolling ring is in order and the problem is being caused by the rod sticking. A word with Nick and Dick will be arranged for next weekend.

Kevin in the meantime had acquired a new 'top-hat' and seal for the piston gland packing from Bletchley. I will fit these next Saturday after Kevin arrives. Similarly with a quick rub over with the Sporting Times or more exactly a fine emery paper I will clean the piston rod of any rust or cement.

I contacted John Price on the SVR who had had the same problem and he recommended a complete greasing and oiling around of all the brake rigging and a full lubricating of the whole vacuum system with graphite. To this end I am trying to find some graphite powder to lubricate the whole cylinder. I shall also have a word with Chris Hatton at Reading Depot when he returns to work on Thursday. I shall also remove the release valve and clean that up as it does not look in too good a condition.

During the following week I bought 5 litres of Shipley's Chassis Black Gloss paint ready to paint the mainframes and underside of the bodyside tumblehomes. Providing the weather remains fine this is one job I shall undertake over the next weekend.

Chris was at work on Thursday when I contacted him and his immediate pronouncement was a twisted rolling ring. He outlined a method of getting the piston and hence ring back into position but I suspect that doing that will only be a temporary fix. He said do not under any circumstances put graphite in the system. The graphite was used on old GWR style vacuum cylinders with a fixed ring not on the later BR equivalent with a rolling ring.

That left the decision already made. I would not touch the assemblies now but remove both vacuum cylinders and have them overhauled by contract. I could then overhaul the rest of the brake gear. How to do it was another problem. I was under the impression that I would need to take out the bogie(s) to effect the removal of the cylinder(s) from above so I made enquiries to the cost of a crane hire. It worked out at £550 per 8 hrs. The other method was to jack and pack. Neither idea appealed so I decided to ask Nick and Dick the Tyseley lads on Saturday. I also inquired about the SVR overhauling the cylinders and will contact Alun Rees next week for a quote.

On Friday the quote from the flooring company arrived and although it was more than I had hoped for I was quite happy to accept it. Work on the floor will be done over the week I am working on the roof.

Saturday, April 19th, came and as soon as Nick and Dick were in I asked about the cylinder removal. Word had already reached them via Dave so Nick was ready with the answer. No need to lift the body or remove the bogie simply drop the front portion of the brake rigging undo the cylinder retaining bolts and drop it down. Easy when you know how. I felt a lot better. Tyseley has got a special hydraulic lift device that they use when replacing vacuum cylinders. Nick will ascertain the availability of this useful tool. I felt even better. The job will be done over the summer when the unit is on the back road being repainted.

Although the weekend was fine it was cold with a north easterly wind blowing. However onward ever onward so I started to paint the frames and body side underpanels. It took me two days constant work to complete both sides but they do look good. The piping on either side can now be repainted and refitted. I shall also purchase some signal red paint for the buffer beams and hopefully, complete the frames for the diesel weekend.

Kevin came down for the Saturday afternoon and we sorted out various spares for 55023. We did not need to undertake any further work on the unit so we finished about 1730 hrs. I would like Kevin to be there when we drop the cylinder(s) as we will no doubt need the expertise for 55023 someday.

Because of the cylinder problem I have asked that the unit only be used with the two car set. I would like to leave the errant cylinder disconnected as I would not like to risk a failure in traffic. Bob has agreed to amend the plans accordingly even if 55003 is only used as a static exhibit.

Sunday, April 20th, came and went as I continued painting the frames but at the end I was in a far happier frame of mind than at the start of the weekend. May will see the completion of a couple of large parts of the restoration.

During the following week I purchased paint for the buffer beams and electrical piping i.e. signal red and orange and a light grey for the air inlets for the heaters. I also purchased a paint of Hammerite 'smooth' silver for the speedo and other ancillary piping. The gods must have realised this because from Friday until Sunday morning it rained. The land certainly needed the rain and in the end it was a godsend for me. When I looked in the main saloon the floor was soaked from water leaking in during the heavy rain.

I decided therefore to clean the guttering and to investigate the main leak on the unit on the No. 1 side. I found the guttering still cluttered with years of rubbish even though the lads at Chinnor had made a valiant attempt to clean it out. Once clear, well as clear as I could get it, I found that the guttering and indeed the whole body work sags in the middle about 3/4 in. on the No. 1 side. This has been caused by repeated removing of the guttering and replacement of the body panels. This caused the water to collect above the waterline of the guttering and galvanised steel roof sheets on both sides. Hence the rusting.

Eventually I found the point of ingress of the water into the saloon and once the rains had abated on Saturday afternoon I cleaned out the hole. This of course made things worse and the bucket used to collect the water on the inside, 2 gallons, filled up in 25 minutes!! I stopped the hole up with wood and material jammed into the guttering and left it until the next fine day. The water seeped away between the joints in the guttering and the inside remained dry. This of course caused the problem of rust in the body panels and window frames.

Sunday, April 27th, dawned damp and overcast but as the day drew on the weather brightened up. I decided that the best solution to the leak was to grind out the rust hole and fill with body filler. For the guttering itself I decided to put a drain at the point the guttering went above the two small windows between the two saloons. This being the low point of the sag. The unit originally had been fitted with drains on the four corner holes with pipes running down the cab hand holds. I will refit drains at these points but not the full length piping as this gets clogged up too easily. The centre drain was made by using an 'L' shaped piece of metal with a fluted brass drain inserted. The guttering was drilled and the piece fitted to the outside and underside of the guttering by brass bolts. This takes the water away from the body side. Once fitted the guttering was tested and the fitting proved a success. The brass drain will need to be sealed better to minimalise water leakage down the body work.

Sunday afternoon was quite warm and the sun eventually broke through. I painted and refitted the high side vacuum pipe along the number one side. I also painted the wiring run along the number two side ready for refitting. Both were done in chassis black. I washed down the bogies on the No. 2 side ready for topcoating also in black. Various other ancillary bits were also cleaned down and painted black.

We finally agreed that the unit will not be run during the diesel weekend but will be put in the bay for static exhibition. This will also allow me better access to the unit for the jobs planned.

The week before the diesel weekend, May 5th to May 9th, I decided to have a weeks 'work-in' to get various large jobs completed. The first was to clean and paint the roof area, the second to get the flooring relaid and the third to clean the seat squabs and backs. To this end I had already ordered the roof paint from Mason's Paint of Derby, arranged with the flooring layer to start on the Wednesday and for the carpet cleaner to come to Cranfield also on the Wednesday. However due to the vagaries of the English weather this did not work out as planned.

The weekend previous, May 3rd and 4th, was fine and warm and I began on the arduous task of stripping down the roof. The centre of the roof between the two sets of air ventilation inlets was scraped down during Saturday, May 3rd. Because of shunting movements I decided to leave the roof until later and bolted down the No. 2 side wire run that I had painted black the previous weekend. The unit was then moved into the bay platform on Saturday afternoon so that access to the roof was easier off the platform. Saturday evening was spent in Bletchley yard assisting in the scrapping of Class 117 No. 51359. Sunday was spent in wire brushing the centre area to remove the cement dust that had set on the surface from the years sojourn at Chinnor, This was the easy part of the job.

Monday, May 5th, was a bank holiday Monday so work was conducted around the gathered throngs. It consisted in chipping off the old paint from the No. 1 side and wire brushing off the cement dust. The final job that day once the public had departed was to clean out the guttering on the No 1 side completely.

Tuesday, May 6th, was a day of cold winds, rain, hail, snow and bright warm intervals. I spent time chipping off the paint on the No. 2 side and cleaned out the saloons ready for the floorer on Wednesday. After speaking with the carpet cleaner we decided to give the seat cleaning a miss until better weather was forecast.

Wednesday, May 7th, was very much like May 6th, cold and wet. The floorer arrived prompt at 0800 hrs. and began work. I assisted with some small jobs he requested to make the flooring better. However by noon it was obvious that the floor was in a worse state than was originally envisaged. The floorer had to use a lot more latex screed to level the floor than was anticipated. By 1500 hrs. the floor was screeded and was then left to dry. I continued chipping paint off the No. 2 side of the roof.

Thursday, May 8th, was again very much like May 7th, cold and wet. It did brighten up in the late afternoon. The floorer arrived at about 1300 hrs. He did what he could as the floor screed was not dry in all areas. In fact such was the weather that it had begun to 'sweat' in some areas, was dry in others and had not set in others. I continued chipping and wire brushing down the No. 2 side of the roof. I also cleaned out the No. 2 side guttering completely.

Friday, May 9th, dawned bright and fair and was to remain so except for a few light spots of rain in the late afternoon. I was able to finish off the No. 2 side cleaning down and managed to get the first coat of etched primer on the roof. This will protect the roof until I can do the undercoat and topcoat(s) later in the year.

Saturday, May 10th, was the first day of the diesel weekend and the floorer came in at 1300 hrs to commence laying the linoleum. By the end of the day he had floored the small saloon and one piece in the main saloon. Everyone said it looked good and I agreed.

Sunday, May 11th, Angie and I arrived at about 0900 hrs. and the floorer was already hard at work. By 1400 hrs. the floor was complete. It definitely looked good. During the afternoon with Dick and Brian's assistance a door window was changed. This was the first time any of us had changed a glass in an aluminium door.

With the remains of the flooring Brian Ashby now has enough to replace a piece in 9102 and Kev now has enough the patch bits in the RBR. Brian also took the fibreglass insulation off cuts to make seat 'ears' for 5100.

The week ended with half the goals achieved. The flooring was a total success and is now complete in both saloons. The roof has been cleaned and primed and awaits undercoat and topcoat. The guttering is clear but now requires removal in places in order to replate the rusted side panels. The seat backs and squabs are still in my garage uncleaned. One door window has been replaced and the broken main window is ready to be replaced by Dick and or Brian next weekend.

The next major task is to refurbish the side panels. This will be started next weekend with the removal of the guttering. I'm not looking forward to this but Nick and Dick say it is the only way.

As is the way with the English weather when the following weekend arrived it was forecast for rain. I began with grinding down the body side panel by the guard's van. However the two car had to painted green ready for the Thomas weekend over the next bank holiday so I volunteered to assist before the rains came.

Dick and Nick arrived about 1000 hrs. and we set to replace the broken glass in the main saloon. The removal of the glass was no problem and the soap was soaked ready for the replacement. The disaster struck. The piece of glass that Bletchley depot assured me was a DMU side window glass turned out to be 1.5'' too short i.e. it didn't fit.

In order to cover up the window I cut up a piece of white boarding and replaced the glass with that. I shall remove all the glass and replace with board so that all the glass can be cleaned and the panelling can be properly sorted out.

Dick and I checked the various stores about the line for a replacement window but our luck was out. However Dick did find a box of air filters so I can replace the temporary ones fitted.

We started on the two car and finished both ends and one side of each car when the heavens opened up and the railway was deluged.

Sunday I went down to Chinnor to photograph 55023 for Kevin.

Monday I telephoned City Glass who can arrange for replacement toughened glass panes to be cut in about a week. I will have 3 main panes and 3 small panes made. One each for Kevin, Dick and me.

The following weekend was late May bank holiday weekend and also the railway's first Thomas weekend. The gods smiled and throughout the weekend the weather was excellent.

The unit had been moved to the back road behind the Class 45. Access to the sides and roof is at the best poor on this road but I had decided to make a start on re-etching the roof in preparation for undercoating. So with the aid of a ladder and some scaffolding the job was started.

Nick had gone for three weeks holiday in South Africa so only Dick arrived on the Saturday. After a brief conflab on the unit roof we decided to remove the remainder of the glass at the end of the day after I had finished the roof and Dick had finished sorting out the PMV.

The roof took all most of the day from 0900 hrs to 1630 hrs. Once finished Dick and I removed the glass and I stored it in the main saloon. Then with the aid of Kevin's jig-saw I cut out the necessary hard board inserts. Dick then inserted them in the window frames and the job was completed by 1815 hrs.

The following day, Sunday May 25th, started warm and got warmer. I began undercoating the unit at 0900 hrs. and finished at 1900 hrs.. When I weighed myself I had lost 8 lbs. in weight!!! The undercoat is a deep blue colour and even if I say so myself looks extremely good. It has covered in one coat and the roof now awaits the top coat of matt black. It will have to wait a few weeks as I'm fed up of going onto the roof at present.

Richard came by and we discussed the welding to be done on the panels. He was of the opinion that Valentine's will not be needed and all of what we need to do can be achieved by patching. That's good news as he will also do the welding.

I myself was very tired by this time so I decided to have a break on the bank holiday Monday and help out in the signal box as I'd put my name down for the signalman's course.

Monday once again dawned very warm and I managed a couple of small jobs on the unit before going into the box. One door on the unit had been jammed ever since I had taken delivery of it. I managed to kick it open and discovered the problem. A new wooden pillar had been inset and the wood had warped thus causing the door to jam. With a quick plane down the door now opens a lot better but still needs more attention. I also swept out the unit and laid the remaining paper to protect the new flooring. I then retired to the box.

Saturday had seen 1500 people attend the Friends of Thomas event, Sunday 2500 people but Monday exceeded all expectations with approximately 3000 people! The signalbox was open to visitors. I spent a very hard working but pleasant day being taught the ropes but then being able to explain things to the people who came up to see the box. Finally a whole gang of us went down in the Class 25 to move the bufferstops across so that 'Thomas' could leave for the SVR on the following Wednesday.

Angie's dad and step mother were visiting Bedford on a short break so all four of us came to the railway for a short visit on the Tuesday. This was the first time that John and Gay had seen the unit. What they made of it I'm not sure. I think it was a lot bigger than what they expected. Both engines fired up on cue and everyone was pleased, me especially. I think the unit feels at home I know I do.

Next Saturday, May 31st, we are going to remove my spare engines and gearboxes from Chinnor. Gordon Titmuss has arranged the HGV. All I need to do is pay for the diesel. Sunday will see a start on the guttering.

Saturday May 31st arrived and I was at Chinnor by 0900 hrs. ready to get the engines and gearboxes prepared for transportation. By 1130 hrs. the wagon duly arrived. It was a bit of a slog getting the machinery onto the wagon as it had side curtains and the crane jib would not fit under the top. By 1330 however by good old brute force and ignorance we had the wagon loaded and were away from the depot by 1400 hrs.

Arrival at Chinnor was by about 1530 hrs. and as soon as Dave was available the three engines and two gearboxes were craned off. Once again we had trouble with the crane jib fitting under the side sheets. By 1600 hrs. they were stored and covered on the ground ready for eventual storage in one of the flat wagons. The tarpaulin donated by Harry Balchin covered all three engines and two gearboxes with plenty to spare.

Sunday was the day I had designated to start removal of the guttering. I decided which pieces were to be removed and duly set up the scaffolding to be able to reach the roof. 5 pieces were to be removed which would allow access to the body panels that needed attention.

The coach bolts were removed by grinding off the nuts and knocking through. A couple were unbolted to ensure I could get replacement bolts. The guttering was screw fitted over the doors but 90% of the screws either sheared off or refused to move and had to be ground off.

By the evening all 5 pieces were off the on No. 1 side. I made a start on removing the rusted panel next to the guard's van door. As it was well welded in place I left the final removal until the next weekend.

I managed to get replacement coach bolts easily from Bletchley Timber which surprised me. 136 in all!!. During the week I cleaned up the guttering at home ready for replacement the next weekend. I also took delivery of the Mason's green paint needed for the repainting on Friday June 6th..

The roof panels and the side panels are not joined together instead there is a 1/2" gap. This is because the roof is galvanised and the side panels sheet steel. The roof panels are welded onto curved roof formers and these are in turn welded onto the side frame formers. The side sheets are in turn welded onto the side formers. It is the guttering pieces that form the seal between roof and side panel and therefore needs to be properly sealed.

The removal of the rusted piece proved to be time consuming job not being completed until late Friday afternoon. Most of the interior metalwork had rusted through and the grey internal window frame had to be removed. This will need to be rebuilt. The wooden to metal window frame fitting had rotted and was removed for renewal as per the main saloons. The cutting of the replacement piece was relatively straightforward even if I did cut it a bit short! This was held in place by screw fittings and ready for welding by Dick for Saturday June 7th.

Dick tried my MIG welder but it is evidently not up to the job. We refitted the piece reusing the screws so that the guttering could be refitted and left the welding until Dick could bring his gas welder. The other smaller pieces I managed to weld into place quite successfully and with a touch of filler finished the job.

The roof panels and top of the side panels were patched and/or cleaned down and primed and painted. The gap was filled with best silicon lead and plastic pipe sealant. The guttering itself was coated with a liberal coating of sealant and refitted. The bolts were reasonably easy to refit and by the end of the weekend three of the five were back in place. The screw fittings above the door however were not so easy to refit and I had to redrill the guttering to take new screws. The old holes will be filled and rubbed down to size.

The final two pieces will be refitted over the weekend of June 14th & 15th. Once completed the No. 1 side is ready for preparation for repainting.

Kevin has given me some plywood sheets that may be suitable for the inner door inserts. I shall make one up to the measurements of the old sheet steel inserts and see how they look in teak stain and varnish.

On Thursday June 12th I was passed out for shunter/guard by the Guard's Inspector from the Great Central but I'm not going on the roster until the unit is ready. The inner door panel was tried and found to be approximately 1/4" too wide. I shall trim it down ready for the weekend.

Saturday June 14th was a day that started fine but dull and got worse. However I managed to get the final bits of welding completed, the roof/side panels cleaned down and the remaining two pieces of guttering back in place and sealed up. When it started to rain there were only two small leaks immediately noticeable and neither were behind the guttering but through two of the holes left after redrilling. These can be tackled during the next dry spell. The door insert fits well and with a small adjustment the remainder can be made to the same size and pattern.

I tidied up the saloon and left at about 1600 hrs.

Sunday dawned grey and rainy so I decided to have a day off. In fact I managed to reconstruct the guard's van window and finish off the first of the door inserts for trying later in the week.

During the following week I managed to get a half day in on site on Tuesday June 17th. The last major piece was cut out of the body panel and a new piece fabricated and welded in place. The guttering was inspected and the two leaks tracked down. All bolts were tightened up using a spanner. Upon testing the guttering appeared to function correctly. The insides of both saloons were then swept out and tidied up.

This leaves the guard's van welding to be completed then the No. 1 side is ready for cleaning down and filling where required ready for painting.

I have asked for the unit to be separated from the Mk. 1 coach and the Class 45 so that I can work on removing the brake vacuum cylinders. Similarly it will facilitate the use of the scaffolding when working on the repainting of the front of the cabs.

The following weekend was one of rain and winds so any work on the outside was abandoned apart from getting the scaffolding in place for Dick.

I ran up the engines for an hour first thing in the morning. Both engines started with no problems. Saturday was spent in removing the No. 2 side internal door panels and renovating the window mechanisms. All windows and mechanisms in the main saloons are now in full working order. Even the 'unglued' ones on the No. 1 side work reasonably well.

The rest of the day was spent in cleaning down the glass starting with the eight small glasses and ending with one of the large panes.

On Sunday June 22nd the unit was shunted. After discussions with Nick and Dick I am now ready to begin the removal of the two vacuum cylinders. Dick finished off the welding on the guard's van and now the No. 1 side is complete except for the rewelding of the bottom corner(s) of the side panels. These can be done from the ground when the scaffolding is across the rails on the front of the unit. The top half of the No. 1 side can now be rubbed down etc. ready for filling and painting. The guttering is holding up fine to the weather. I may spend a few days and top coat the roof as it is but we will see how the vacuum cylinders come out first.

The removal of the vacuum cylinders will require removal of one set of brake gear from one end of each bogie. On the No. 1 bogie the main brake actuating arm will need to be removed but not on the No. 2 bogie. The No. 2 bogie has enough room to ease the cylinder forward and down but the No. 1 bogie does not. The main problem will be the tightness, and size 11/16 Whitworth (30mm), of the bolts and the lack of room underneath the bogie. I believe that if the cylinder is dropped between the sleepers then by pinch barring the unit from over the cylinder we can manually lift it out and then crane it into Dick's wagon.

The following week was the wettest week in June for many a year and by Friday the unit was stood in a sea of muddy water. Friday morning was spent in digging out the remains of the brick arch very conveniently left in the four foot in front of the unit. The sleepers it was left on were then moved into a position outside the rail on the number two side to provide better footing on that side. Drainage channels were dug along the No. 2 side to alleviate the flooding of the sleepers and by 1100 hrs. the waters were receding enough to start work.

two metal sheets approximately 4 ft. square were placed under each bogie and a pallet dry enough to sit on was placed under the buffer beam at each end. The No. 1 end was tackled first as it had the most to dismantle. The main arm from the cylinder rod to the brake gear has a bracket to stop excessive movement in case of any pin failure. This is held on by four bolts and was the first piece to be removed. This allowed the arm to rotate clear of the cylinder and brake gear.

The brake adjusting bars were next to be released by knocking out the pin at the rear of the wheel and unscrewing the adjuster at the front. One side came off easily the other needed a bit of persuasion.

The brake hangers and bar were next to come down. The hangers and bar are held in position by two pins situated above the bogie. The hangers then pass through a channel which allows fore and aft movement as the brakes are applied and released. The hangers have oil lubricated rubbing plates to minimise wear in this fore and aft movement. The bar that holds the two hangers in place have two fixings on each hanger. The upper holds the brake block assembly and the lower the bottom end of the hanger.

The bar was packed up and the pins removed. The packing was then removed and the assembly allowed to fall to the ground. The pins were then replaced in the hanger brackets. I think the whole assembly will need to be dismantled and the bushes looked before replacing. If it is a one man job it definitely will need to be in its constituent parts before rebuilding.

The main bar which takes the up and down motion of the cylinder and converts it into fore and aft movement of the brake rigging is held in place by two 'V' shaped brackets. These brackets are held by 4 bolts each and are not easily removed with the bogie still under the unit. However after much heaving and straining it too fell to the ground.

The final task was to remove the vacuum release valve and associated pipework. This was an easy task with all nuts, bolts and jubilee clips coming undone relatively easily after an application of WD40.

On Saturday the No. 2 end was started. The same task had to be performed at this end with the exception of removing the main bar. I began at 0830 hrs and by 1030 hrs was soaked to the skin. I had managed to remove the brake assembly only. I decided that that was enough for the day and was about to go home and get dried. At this point Dave Stokes decided to dig a drainage channel to alleviate the flood in the main part of the yard where Colwyn's frames were stood. This was for two reasons. One, the frames were due to be removed for restoration and two the two SR box vans were due to be moved there on a length of track shortly after.

I decided to help. We dug out a channel across the road and along the No. 1 siding and this seemed to clear the water albeit slowly. Dave then found a length of steel pipe that could be laid across the road and be left permanently in situ. This we did and the waters slowly subsided. By this time the weather had taken a turn for the better so I had lunch and stayed.

Eventually I managed to remove the stop bracket and all the piping etc. except for the cylinder rod cover. This I left until Sunday.

After an afternoon of shunting and signalling I left about 1730 hrs in the middle of a torrential rain storm.

Sunday came and was misty but not raining. I finished off the No. 2 cylinder and prepared for Dick to arrive to assist in removing the cylinders. As I couldn't remove the rods from the cylinders I made a wooden piece to stand on top of the trolley jack to accommodate the bottom of the rod and support the bottom of the cylinder whilst we removed the bolts.

Kevin, Nick and Dick arrived at about 1100 hrs and despite Dick's hangover both the cylinders were out by 1300 hrs.. Two people working together certainly make it a lot easier. Nick and Dick rolled one down the yard ready for craning over and Kevin and I rolled the other one to the same place. The two cylinders on the back of Dick's pick-up by using the yard crane.

They were dropped off at the SVR on the Tuesday afternoon.

The rest of the Sunday afternoon was spent in looking at the Class 117s brake gear and noticing it was exactly the same as 55003's. This weekend has seen another big step completed and hopefully with the cylinders back in late July or early August the unit will be a rolling chassis by the end of August.

Following on the removal of the vacuum cylinders attention was then refocused on the body work. Starting on Saturday July 5th at the secondman's side of No. 2 cab the refurbishment was begun. The rusted spots were ground out and the surface was then 'roughed up' by using a rotary drill and discs. This was a mistake as all the uneven marks on the surface were there for all to see once the red oxide was applied.

As I worked along the side and by the guard's door I found the best way was to use wet and dry paper and just rub down the surface. The ground out sections need filling and rubbing down to the correct contour.

By Sunday evening I had reached the first compartment door and left it there.

The following week I was on holiday. I spent the Monday at home with a cold but continued with the rubbing down on Tuesday morning. I had purchased some coarser wet and dry of 180 grade. This made all the difference. The surface came down nicely and I was going to use it for the rest until I spoke to Dick the following Saturday.

Dick and Gary had used a DA sander on the Peak and this produced a good surface to paint on. So after speaking to Dave Young, who will bring in the sander next weekend, I can continue then.

The brake gear was further dismantled so that one person can now replace the parts once the cylinders are back in situ. Similarly all the component parts were wire brushed and repainted in chassis black. New split pins have been purchased to replace those removed.

The main job on Sunday July 13th was to clean down and apply polish to the flooring in the saloons. Dick's father provide an suitable 5 litre bottle of liquid polish and both saloon floors were treated appropriately.

I arrived late on the railway on Saturday 20th July but Dave was there and had brought the DA sander. As I was so late all I had time to do was clean down and repaint the remainder of the dismantled brake rigging.

Sunday however was spent in sanding down the work I already had done on the body sides. By 1600 hrs. I had managed to sand down from the cab corner to the guard's van door. It was then painted with another coat of red oxide and is now ready for flatting and undercoating. Brian Burgess put the window glass back in and the rubber fits perfectly. Altogether a good day. It's a pity I didn't have the DA sander when I started it would have made all the difference.

Speaking to Dave Stokes the unit is to be moved across onto the No. 1 siding soon. I will need to clamp up the brake rigging for the move. This will give better access to the No. 1 side and cab ends for when the vacuum cylinders are replaced.

During the previous week I had spent some time on the East Lancs. Railway at their Diesel Gala. Earlier Brian Ashby had mentioned that an acquaintance of his, Craig Emerson, had purchased W55001, the Class 122 used since 1968 for route learning duties. I had mentioned the fact that I might be interested in buying it off him. So a visit to Longsight was arranged where the skeletal remains of W55001 were laying. The unit has all glass (except two sheets) intact and two good bogies plus vacuum equipment.

After the visit it transpired that the DMU group on the ELR had had most of the spares. A quick call to Craig and he decided not to continue with the purchase. So giving Railtrack a week I put in my own bid.

It transpired that Railtrack upon notice of non sale had put out a cutting up order on the vehicle. My offer is the last chance to save it for spares. Notice duly came and the cheque was despatched so I now am the proud owner of two (10% of the Class) 122s. W55001 is to be used as a store and for spares.

By the weekend of July 26th and 27th the unit was still in its place in No. 2 siding. However the coach No. 9102 had been moved and the Tkh pushed back. This allowed D5401 into the bay for painting for Tim's daughter's wedding photos the following weekend.

Saturday was a day of mixed weather and between showers I managed to rub down the remaining badly scored panels and re redoxide them.

Sunday was the first day of using the DA sander on a virgin panel. It took most of the morning to rub down the panel and prepare for painting.

We decided that the unit should be painted in green up to the guard's van door so as to blend in with the dark green Class 27 on the opposite road when the photographs were taken the following weekend.

So history was made as the panels were sanded down with the DA sander using 240 grade fine and the first coat of green undercoat applied for over 30 years. It certainly made a difference. A top coat will be put on next week to complete the effect. It will also give me a good idea of any further work required on the panels before I continue down the side.

In fact the top coat was never applied as the undercoat was deemed adequate. The weekend August 2nd and 3rd was spent in the continuing saga of the bodywork. One door and one panel was completed on the Saturday. One half of the No. 1 side had now been rubbed and red oxided. Work has now ceased on this side as I cannot get the scaffolding down the side of the unit due to the overhang of the Polish Tkh 0-6-0 on the next road.

Dick has marked the areas needed for cutting out so we can reweld patches in during the weeks work in next week.

The Sunday was spent on the front of the cab. One of the exhaust stacks was removed to provide full access to the window areas. The second will be removed next weekend. The window frames are aluminium and look good when cleaned down to bare metal. They will be properly prepared with the correct etching paint before repainting.

The weeks work in was arranged for August 11th. - 15th. to coincide with Dick and Nick coming down from Tyseley.

The weekend before was spent on finishing the No. 2 cab end. The other exhaust stack was removed and areas marked out for renewal. All bolts were drifted out and will be replaced with stainless steel bolts and plates. The plates will be used on the interior to protect the melamine surfaces. Both windscreen wiper areas were badly corroded and will need to be replaced as well as both outer tops of the window areas. The whole area is now in red oxide.

During the previous week I had ordered two vacuum cylinders from Railpart to replace the two sent to the SVR for refurbishment. The cylinders were ordered to be delivered and fitted during the weeks work-in.

Saturday was very hot and the best and coolest place was under the body working on the bogie frames. Thus Saturday afternoon was spent cleaning out the vacuum cylinder area under No. 2 end and repainting in chassis black.

On Saturday Bob had asked me to cover the Guard's duty on the following day as the DMU was in service. I duly arrived for duty and with Bob prepared the unit when Clive arrived and took over the duty. I took the unit out as driver. The rest of Sunday was spent under the No. 1 end cleaning out the vacuum cylinder area at that end. Once repainted I began on the task of cutting out the rotten areas of the No. 1 side.

Monday was spent in cutting out the patch pieces for the No. 1 side. Dick, who was primarily working on the Peak, welded in three of the pieces including the whole bottom 7'' of the worst affected part.

Tuesday was spent in doing more of the same but especially the No. 2 cab end. The wiper motors were originally cut through the panelling with no strengthening plates. Once the panel rotted a small strengthening plate, with wiper mounting fittings, was used. These plates were screwed into the original panel which was still rotten. Eventually the rot also caused the screws and hence the small plates to fall out.

The only way to combat this was to cut out the rotten pieces and weld in new ones. To this end replacement pieces 12" by 3" were cut out. The small panel was duly fitted and riveted to the new plate and the new plate then fitted under the guttering, duly sealed, and to the top of the window frame once again duly sealed. The two outer edges were welded into place.

Wednesday saw more rotten patches cut out on the No. 2 side and painted ready for work. The bolts for the vacuum cylinders were overhauled and greased up ready for the arrival of the cylinders.

The SVR called to reaffirm that of the two cylinders sent away for overhaul the failed one was indeed a failure and only just about fit for duty. The other one was overhauled successfully. Both will be used as spares.

RAIL magazine then called to ask about W55001 and after a long chat to the editor I managed to get back to work. The rest of the day was spent in cutting out patch pieces and starting on the No. 2 body sides. This consisted of removing the lettering on the cab door, the double arrow insignia and the old West Midland logo and red oxiding.

Thursday started hot and after telephoning Doncaster to ascertain the whereabouts and likely arrival day/time of the vacuum cylinders, Friday for certain, I spent the first couple of hours cutting out patch pieces. About 1200 hrs. however the two vacuum cylinders duly arrived.

Nick and Dick fired up the crane and by 1300 hrs. the cylinders were in position ready for assembly. Kevin arrived about this time and proceeded to do a couple of dismantling jobs to fill in the time until I could finish the cutting.

About 1500 hrs. Nick, Kevin and myself started to reassemble the vacuum cylinders. By 1900 hrs. they were both up and ready for testing. The engines were fired up and both cylinders tested, successfully. All in all a good days work.

Friday Nick, Dick and I reassembled the brake rigging and by the evening all that was left was to tighten up the bolts, put in the strings and run the unit. The unit was tested in situ with complete success. Dick found a No. 9 fuse had failed and replaced it. Nick showed me how to toggle up the gear box and we left once again with a job well done.

After I arrived home my brother Stuart and family arrived from Somerset for a brief stop over.

On Saturday Nick and I tightened up all the bolts and I attached the strings. By noon we all had had enough. Dick's welder had packed up and in any case he was at work that night so both he and Nick wanted to get away. I was just plain tired. Angie, Stuart and family arrived about 1200 hrs. for a look at the railway as Nick and Dick were on their way home. So after they had gone I tidied up showed the family around the site and went home.

Later that afternoon Stuart, Bryce and I went for ride on the Bletchley-Bedford line and managed two Class 117s Nos 707 & 724 and a trip behind 55031. This unit had just come back from Ilford and was being used as backup power as the two car (724) had two of the four engines out.

On Sunday Stuart, Val & Bryce went for a ride on the railway and I did nothing. It made a nice change.

As the work on the vacuum cylinders was complete I arranged for a test run to be made on the next Thursday, August 21st. The trip was a complete success with only a minor adjustment required on the No. 1 bogie brake settings and to the No. 2 engine throttle control motor. We even managed to retune the horn.

On Friday news came from Gloucester archives that the only photographs taken of the class were of W55013. I therefore have requested 10x8 prints of all 5 shots.

The next weekend was late August Bank Holiday weekend and I only had the Saturday to work on the unit. Sunday being taken up with a christening and Monday with working in the signalbox under the supervision of Simon Crowe.

Dick and Nick came down and brought the two repaired vacuum cylinders from the SVR. These are now in store with the spare engines and gearboxes.

The day was spent in cutting out and fabricating two new patch pieces. The first for the Guard's van door side on No. 1 side and the other for the top outside window areas on the No. 2 cab. These pieces together with the lower patch piece were duly fitted, welded in place and red oxided. The remainder of the front was DA sanded with 240 grade and repainted in red oxide. The work was continued down the No. 2 side to include the rest of the cab front and driver's door. The corner of the No. 2 cab corner is the worst on the unit but is now ready for filling, rubbing and painting.

The plan is to use the unit coupled with the two car during the two days of the Diesel Gala. To this end I hope to continue working on the No. 2 side and paint in green undercoat the corresponding area to the No. 1 side i.e. down to the Guard's van doors. I might even put in the yellow warning panel.

Saturday 30th August started wet but cleared up later on in the day. To start with I measured up, once again, the internal panel for the doors. The original one made earlier in the year is a good enough template and so I now only have to make another 15! They must be waterproofed on the inside though to minimise water damage from the drop lights in the doors.

The one door window glass that required attention was duly fixed by the use of an old inner tube. Three pieces 1" by 3" were cut and placed in the bottom glass holder. The glass was then forced into the holder using the rubber pieces to hold the glass in situ. Apart from a crack on the knuckles from the scissors mechanism the window glass is now secure and the mechanism works without hitting the side of the door.

At lunch time Richie Marcus arrived with 6 EP valves, blue and green, that I swapped for 6 white ones I had in my possession.

Once the rain had stopped I started on cutting out the rot in the No. 1 end cab sheets. This, and fabricating the replacement pieces, took the remainder of the afternoon. Once the pieces are refitted the rubbing down can continue.

On Sunday I only managed a short half day on the unit as I was working overtime during the morning. Once again the weather was patchy rainy but remained fine for sufficient time to allow me to DA sand the front with 240 grade and repaint in undercoat green.

I will not be working on the unit for the next two weeks as Angie and I are taking a well earned rest in St. Ives. The jobs to be done upon return will be the welding of the pieces and the continuing of the rubbing down on the No. 2 side ready for the Diesel Gala in early October.

Well the holiday came and went and on Sunday 14th September I made a visit to the railway to see what had been done. The welding is still to be started but the unit had been shunted and is now 6 ft. further down the back road in even more nettles! I have asked Jim to do the necessary with the strimmer. I also re-erected the scaffolding on the front of the unit ready to refit the exhaust pipes.

I took home the heater air intake for refurbishment and during the week repainted both the intake and the two heater output ducts in chassis black.

Keith Jackson has agreed to come over next weekend, September 20th, to help me reset the throttle motors so that the unit can run in sync with the 117. I will clean out the motors with paraffin and get the Oildag ready for use.

During the week on Wednesday John Bowyer finally arrived to clean the seats. I laid out the required backs and squabs which took up most of the front drive! There were 63 pieces in all.

I left for work at 0830 just as John was arriving. When I returned at 1630 John had just finished. What a difference a clean makes. The rather jaded and faded red was transformed into a colour two shades brighter. Well worth the expense and all the seats are now ready for refitting.

By Saturday September 19th the unit had been moved out of the back road and into the loop. So much for Jim's strimming! I spent the first part of the day in replacing the exhaust stacks where it stood. We then started the unit and ran it into the bay for the Sunday. I erected the scaffolding and began rubbing down the No. 2 side with the DA sander and preparing it for red oxide painting on the Sunday.

Sunday came and the No. 2 side down to the guard's van doors was red oxided. Dick brought the welder and welded the pieces into the No. 2 side. We also removed and refabricated a large piece of the secondman's side of the No. 1 cab.

Keith arrived at 1500hrs. and we firstly ran up the engines to operating speed i.e. got them hot. Keith tested the throttle motors and agreed they did need resetting. So off with the casing front and out with the spanner. Eventually all motors were readjusted to give the correct characteristics. We also discovered that the No. 3 & No. 4 throttle motors were not resetting quickly enough. This caused the No. 1 engine not to return to idling speed quickly enough. This could cause problems when in a multiple unit formation when changing gears.

The solution was to strip the pots down and oil with Oildag.

On Friday September 26th the quote came through for the internal panels. I have agreed it and they should be ready for late November.

The next weekend was the late September 'Thomas' weekend and because of shunting difficulties 55003 was not moved to the mineral sidings until 1130 hrs. thus losing 3 hrs. work time. In the event I only managed to strip down one set of throttle motors but it did the trick and now both engines come down as required. I also refilled the fuel governors and right angled drives on each engine and greased and oiled where required all joints and cables.

On Sunday I was in the signalbox all day. However as Dave brought the unit back from the sidings he noticed that the brakes on the No. 2 bogie were not coming on. I did a cursory inspection of the bogie and nothing seems to be amiss, i.e. hanging off, so it remains to see just what the problem is. I spoke to Dick over the telephone and he will inspect the brakes next weekend. The problem is that it is the Diesel Gala and 55003 is due to be out with the Class117/108 twin set. Providing nothing too drastic is found it should make it.

Next weekend I am in Germany so no more work will be done until October 11th weekend and I will be 47.

The problem with the brake cylinder is that air is passing the ball valve in the piston when the brake is applied. The piston does not rise. After speaking with Kevin it appears that this is a common problem of late with overhauled pistons failing between 30 & 40 applications. Evidently 20 is the test application pass mark.

The unit took part in the diesel gala coupled with the 117/108 twin set but with the No. 1 engine isolated and no brakes on the No. 2 bogie - great! The No. 1 engine was evidently not down on No. 4 throttle setting so Dick isolated it. I had evidently overfilled the governors and this can cause this problem.

I returned to the railway on Saturday 11th and sorted out the oil problem in the governors. All throttle motors seem to be working properly now. The weather was rain all day so by midday I was soaked and cold. I decided to call it a day and left.

The following weekend I had decided to drop the failed vacuum cylinder and refit the good spare. There were only two problems, the unit was left at the far end of the loop and the spare cylinder was by the gate in the yard.

On Saturday October 18th I dismantled the brake gear etc. only to be told there was to be shunt for the next two hours. The weather however was good so I had an easy lunchtime. By 1530 hrs. the cylinder was ready to come down so with the help of Nick Gibbon it was lowered. After discussions we decided to move the cylinder on the trolley on the Sunday morning so I packed up and went home.

Sunday dawned misty but fair and soon the sun had burnt off the mist. However I could not start moving the cylinder as the trolley had gone with Graham for signal equipment reclamation from Stourbridge way. Robert, the PW man's trolley was broken so eventually after the first train had run Andrew Entwhistle picked up the cylinder with the JCB and took it to the unit. He then removed the failed cylinder back to the yard ready for Kevin and I to remove to Doncaster on the following day.

Kevin arrived at about 1300 hrs. just in time to help me rebuild the brake system. The cylinder was soon in place with all vacuum connections in place. The test took place and showed the cylinder was good. It just left the rest of the brake gear to reassemble.

This was the only part of the job that proved troublesome. The brake rigging had come down in one piece but would not go back in one piece. I had already removed the brake blocks and had managed to get one side in position and pinned into place. The other was about 1/4 inch out of true and would not line up. I was not a happy chappie!!

The answer was to slacken off the bolts holding the lower square actuating bar and the brake hanger. This then gave the necessary flexibility to the structure to go back into place. The job was completed by 1700 hrs.

On Monday Kevin and I transported the errant cylinder back to Railpart at Doncaster for inspection and eventual replacement. Next weekend I can start the Winter jobs.

The week was mainly good weather but very cold with a slight ground frost. On Saturday 25th October I began 'winterising' the unit. After painting and refitting the removed guard irons from the No. 2 bogie the first job I tackled was to check the batteries and grease the battery terminals and links. All battery solution levels were more or less correct and very little corrosion was evident on the terminals or links. The next job was to fill the air intake tanks with methylated spirits. When air is drawn in the meths is also drawn in and prevents the sir system from freezing up. The final job was to top up the cooling systems with antifreeze. The No. 1 engine took a considerable amount of liquid whilst the No. 2 engine was more or less full.

Once these jobs were done Dave and Martin came down to test the unit since the brake cylinder change. The unit however failed to fire. The No. 2 engine turned over very slowly so there was no alternative but to give the batteries a quick charge.

Following a cup of tea, for me, and a quick charge, for the engines, the engines fired up successfully. The brake test was carried out and was completed successfully. The unit is, once again, fully functional.

The rest of the day was spent in fabricating and welding in place the pillar inserts in the small saloon. The job was brought to a premature end because I ran out of welding wire.

Sunday October 26th was also dry and frosty. I spent two hours in cleaning out the guttering of leaves and rubbish from where the unit is parked. Once again the guttering is clear but will not be clear permanently until the unit is put back into the siding. The rest of the day was spent in grinding down and painting the welding that I had managed to complete and fitting the side panel holding floor strips.

I had had the long strips cut to 48''. They should have been 50''. Still by utilising the old strips where possible I had to fabricate only 4 extra 50'' (2 x 25'') pieces. These will be fitted next weekend. I drilled and fitted the pieces with screws and shoulder cups at home.

The next weekend came and went and no work was done on the unit as my brothers and families came down for a family party and I was at work on the Sunday.

November 8th and 9th was the next weekend for work on the unit. On the Saturday I cleaned out the guttering, again!!, finished off 'winterising' the unit and started on the rest of the internal welding. I inserted a new welding wire spool and soon had the upright welded in place. I followed this up by red oxiding the metal work and reinserting the window piece.

The next job was to start fitting the side panel floor retention strips. These are the 'L' shaped pieces screwed into the side pieces that take the internal side panels and hold them in place on the floor.

I finished the job off on the Sunday in between turns as guard on the DMU. The unit is now ready to have the seats refurbished and refitted in the small saloon and down the No. 1 side. The No. 2 side will have to wait for next summer.

Following on the next weekend I once again cleaned out the guttering. Nick and Dick came down and whilst Nick worked on 45118 Dick and I finished off the welding on the No. 1 side. At last it is now complete. I can now start on the internal refurbishment. Whilst Dick was welding Kevin and I started preparing the internal woodwork. We first began by removing all the pins, screws and other nails from the woodwork. I then coated all the wood surfaces with Cuprinol wood preservative and replaced the insulation.

Sunday came round and the first job was to grind down the welds and paint in red oxide. I then began to pin the lino in the small saloon so as to prevent it lifting whilst in service. This took two packets of tacks so the main saloon will take another four. The wooden door frames were then inspected to ascertain the extent to which I will need to replace the draught excluders. Basically it means all will need to be renewed, all 224 feet of it. If the wood needs to be replaced it will need 3/4 x 3/16 x 72" pieces as uprights and 3/4 x 3/16 x 23" along the tops. The top pieces will then be 1.5 x 3/16 x 72" etc.. The draught excluders will be pinned between the pieces.

At about 1500 hrs. I retired home to prepare the final two pieces of floor trimming.

During the week the final two pieces were stained and varnished ready for fitting. The fitting was done as the third job on Saturday 22nd. The first two jobs were, cleaning down the guttering and preparing spare antifreeze.

Once the two pieces were fitted I finished off tacking the lino down along the No. 1 side. I also prepared the rest of the woodwork, including treating with wood preservative, around the windows and doors for the panelling whenever it arrives. Hopefully it should be ready sometime the next week. I refitted the draught excluder beading in the door in the small saloon.

The next job tackled was to look at the trim left over from when the unit was stripped for asbestos contamination checking. I found that 80% of the original trim is still available and usable. This included all the upright trims (12 in all) for the hinge side of the door and all the top cross pieces. The uprights for the open side of the door had faired somewhat badly and I may need to replace a certain amount.

I was working during the Sunday but managed to strip down some of the trim pieces at home. They will look good in varnished plain wood. This job has continued during the week at home. One upright has snapped across a screw hole. Luckily it is below window level and so once mended will not be too noticeable. I will however have to perform some skilful surgery on this upright to glue it back together again. One of the cross member pieces was stamped 50898 9T from an old Class 116 vehicle.

Percy Lane has come up trumps with the window rubber seals. I have ordered 100 metres at £2.16 per metre. I have also received from them a copy of the old Beclalite manual complete with a picture of DELTIC on the front. This will allow me to renew all the window rubber and have some spare for Kevin's 55023. I will also be picking up the interior panels from Bennetts of Bedford this Friday so the interior panelling can begin this weekend November 28th and 29th.

The panels were ready when I arrived at Bennetts and I soon had then in the car. I must admit the headlights pointed somewhat upwards!

The first job the next day was to carry the panels from the car to the unit. The only problem was the fact that the unit is now parked at the far end of the loop! The job took 2 hours. Finally I made a start on the small saloon. By nightfall, 1530 hrs, I had managed two sets of panels, one on the small window and one on the large window. The panel above the large window was drilled ready for the luggage rack to be fitted but will need two persons to fit it.

On Sunday I managed to finish the small saloon and two panels in the main saloon. This leaves three more sets to finish, two large and one extra large. This I will continue next Sunday as I am in the signal box on the station next Saturday with Simon for the first day of the Santa Specials.

The freshly overhauled trim was tried in situ but I am now going to replace it all with 1.5" varnished wood. This will match the roof trim.

I took home four luggage racks and hand cleaned them during the week.

Saturday 6th of December was the first day of Santa Specials so I spent the day in the signal box on the station. I should be able to get passed out for this box in the new year once I can learn the rules and regulations. The day was quite eventful starting with the box at Pitsford Siding requiring a spring clean because the paraffin heater had 'smoked'. The 1330 hrs. train was diesel hauled as the steam loco required coaling and watering and could not be done in the turn around time. I was second man on the Class 27 with Dave Stokes.

On Sunday I began cutting the wooden trim for the small saloon and by lunch time had nearly finished all main pieces. I also refitted the two cleaned luggage racks. The final job was to fit another main piece in the main saloon. This leaves only two main pieces and all the upright pieces to finish. Hopefully this can be done next week.

The following week I yacht varnished the pieces and will refit them next weekend. I also purchased a jig-saw during the week so I can now cut the pieces under the emergency brake chains.

The weekend of December 13th and 14th were free so I could concentrate on finishing the saloons. The Saturday was started in cutting out templates for three pieces under the emergency brake chains with my new jig-saw. Using these templates I cut out the three actual pieces, and they fitted!! I then began fitting the wooden trim in the small saloon and by 1500 hrs. had finished. I had to give up at this point as I had run out of battery power in both screwdriver and drill.

On Sunday I fitted the window frames. I found out that they are fitted to each window and they are a very tight fit. However with use of the DA sander and a bit of brute force and ignorance I fitted out the small saloon plus two in the main saloon. I then continued to fit the panels in the large saloon leaving only two top pieces, including the long one and the remaining four emergency brake pieces. Fitting these pieces revealed a small problem. The number 6 door on the No. 1 side would not close. This was due to warping caused by rust in the top cross members. I opened the door and with the DA sander sanded down the cross pieces to fit. This caused great consternation as the Santa Specials were running by the open door. Still if I can't get into the sidings I must make the most of what I have. The last job was to yacht varnish the window frames in situ.

December 20th and 21st was also free to work on the unit. On the Saturday I fitted the two above the window panels and cut out and fitted the four emergency brake pieces above the doors. The rust above the number 6 door was given a good thrashing, most was removed and the rest treated. This eased the tension on the top cross member and the door fitted better as a result. At this point I realised that the two luggage racks for the fitted panels were both uncleaned so I abandoned any further work and was about to retire to the car when Bob asked if I could man the box on the station for the rest of the day. This I did with no problems.

On Sunday I was feeling tired so I contented myself with handing out the Christmas cards and working on the trim in the saloons. I made up the rest of the trim for the small saloon utilising my new mitre. Why didn't I buy one sooner! No cut or sore fingers and joints that fit! I also fabricated all the roof/side wall trim for the main saloon. At lunch time I gave up and went home.

At home I cleaned the two remaining luggage racks, rubbed down the trim and Cuprinoled the pieces. The last job was to glue the above door trim pieces together ready for varnishing and fitting.

The yacht varnishing was done during the following week ready for refitting after Christmas.

I purchased more trim during the week from Bletchley Timber. The trick is that the trim comes in two 35mm. types, Ramin and Hardwood. The Ramin is best used in the upright pieces whilst the Hardwood is more flexible and can be used as the ceiling pieces. I also purchased extra brass screws (5/8" 6s) and cups for the small trim. This was required as the small trim has little or no back wood to screw into i.e. only the metal uprights are behind the main panels the rest is covered with window frame or upright trim.

After Christmas on Saturday 27th the final two luggage racks were refitted together with the small trim pieces. The weather however was extremely wet and I had to pay attention to the guttering which had blocked, again.

On Sunday 28th December I had come down with a bad head cold so only the morning was spent on the unit. I measured up and manufactured the remaining door trims. These I took home ready for Cuprinoling and varnishing ready for New Year's day when I could refit them.

As the end of 1997 approaches I can say once again it has been a very exceptional year. The unit has found a new home and will be joined by a sister machine, W55001, as soon as removal can be arranged from Longsight. W55003 is still an operational unit with runs up and down the line to its credit. Both brake cylinders have been replaced with new ones. The external refurbishment is complete on the No. 2 cab and No 1 side with repainting waiting for the better weather. The roof requires top coating but has proved to be sound and the undercoat is holding fine. The internal refurbishment is proceeding apace with the refurbishment of the No. 1 side of both small and large saloons on track for an early new years finish. I doubt if the remaining work will be finished in 1998 but by the end of 1999 the unit should be in service.

Finally although most of the work has been done by myself thanks must go primarily to Kevin Dingle for all his help and encouragement.

On the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, Dave Potter (CME C&PRR), Andy Diston, Andy Fowler, Daniel Weston, Arthur Leeder (Snr.), Arthur Leeder (Jnr.), Alan Vigar and Graham Symes for all their assistance.

On the Northampton and Lamport Railway, Bob and Barbara Faulkner, Dave Stokes, Brian Ashby, Brian Burgess but especially Nick Wilkes and Dick Morris for all their assistance.

Personal thanks go to Mark Herbert and Keith Jackson. Lastly to Angie, my wife, without whose support and understanding I could never have taken the project on.


New Year's day 1998 was on a Thursday so with no hangover and a car full of varnished trim I set off to continue the fitting out of the saloons.

I managed to refit the four small pieces of trim in the small saloon to finish off that part of the job, the corner trim in the main saloon, the corner of one of the window frames and one complete set of door trim before Simon called.

They had not rostered a guard for the Mince Pie Specials so would I do the duty. I was not in the best of health as I had a bad head cold and a migraine so I decided a nice easy day was preferable.

The day passed reasonably well except for forgetting to take the handbrake off on the first two trains!! We carried over 300 passengers. We also took two gas bottles down light engine to the 2-8-0 in Pitsford Mineral Siding and did some shunting as a last manoeuvre. Thus ended the season and I could look forward to two months of concentrated work with no distractions. Some hope.

Dick has asked for the Peak to be moved into the loop so work can continue on the internal refurbishment and the bubble to be put in its place in No. 2 road. Hopefully W55003 will be able to stay there all year so that work can be done on the No. 2 outside.

The first weekend in 1998 coincided with the worst gales for many years. Angie was going to come and assist with the cleaning of the partition surfaces ready for the refitting of the seats but the weather was so bad that only I came onto site. The trims around the last two doors were duly fitted and one of the last two window frames refitted. The guttering was still not clearing properly so once again I had to clear out the debris. I finished about 1500 hrs. as we were going to see Brian Blessed in Peter Pan at the Derngate that evening.

Sunday was just as bad weatherwise but I managed to refit the final window frame. I measured up and cut the small trim ready for treating and varnishing over the week and also cut three of the ceiling trims ready for fitting. I also secured all window frames in position, except for seven screws for which I had no collars. The frames were cleaned up in readiness for yacht varnishing next weekend. The whole of the No. 1 side internal sheet fittings will be finished next weekend. This will leave only the door panels to be fitted as and when ordered.

The unit has been shunted onto the main line in readiness for moving into the siding. Dave wants to drive the unit in but I have my doubts about starting it as the unit has not been run for some time. Once in the No. 2 road I will be able to fabricate the final inserts ready for welding when the weather brightens up most probably in March.

The move into the No. 2 siding did not materialise so the unit was left at the back of the stock parked on the main line. On Friday the vacuum cylinder sent away to Doncaster was finally returned. I arrived on the railway just as the pick-up was leaving. Luckily Dave was on site to crane the crate into a suitable position.

During the afternoon I refitted the final pieces of trim in the main saloon. I also tried starting the unit but the batteries were well down and the No. 2 engine just about turned. I therefore put the batteries on 12v charge. Dave, however, gave me a proper charging socket courtesy of Nick and Dick so that I can now charge at 24v. through the proper charging circuit.

The batteries were in a predictable condition. The No. 2 side batteries were in good condition whilst the No. 1 side batteries had three below 2.0v at 1.8v. Dick says that Class 47 batteries can be utilised in place of them so if the worse comes to the worse a swap will need to be done of all the batteries on the No. 1 side.

On Saturday, January 10th I arrived and started to charge them at 0930 hrs. By the time I left at 1530 hrs. the No. 2 engine turned over but not enough to fire. Two of the No. 1 side batteries were still down but slowly coming up. Once the No. 2 engine fires the alternator will charge up the batteries properly. Once both fire then the batteries can easily be kept topped up.

During the day I finished varnishing the internal window frames in the main saloon. Once that was completed I began fitting the internal cab sheeting beginning with the second man's side in both cabs. The sheeting was cut to the original sheet specification and fitted well in both cabs. The driver's side indicator panel in No. 1 cab also fitted but was a bit of job to do because of the indicator panel fitting. The art of it was to fit the indicator panel back plate to the back sheet then fit the indicator panel to the front of the back plate as a last job. The indicator panel had to be bodily hauled up to its full extent without disturbing the wiring to fit sideways through the back plate. Also the panel slotted into the front window needed to be fitted first so that the side panel can be easily lifted into place.

On Sunday I dropped some Batt-aid tablets into the batteries to help with the charging. I managed to get a couple of hours of charge into the batteries before the unit was shunted onto the river bridge for an hour or so.

This was to allow Rob to replace some decayed timbers in the loop. It ended up being there all day whilst most of the loop was retimbered!!

With a bit of brute force and ignorance I 'bent' back the wiring conduit pipe in No. 1 cab and fitted the final piece shortly after Sunday lunch. After that I sorted out what trim would need to be acquired for the next weekend. I also refitted blue lights to both indicator panels as per the original design specification.

During the week I discussed with Dick and Keith the various things that would need to be looked at for RESCO certification. I decided finally that a UAT (Ultrasonic Axle Test) would benefit the unit ASAP. I will arrange with Dick to get a quote from Tyseley to do the job as soon as the weather gets better. At this time I shall also arrange for an axle bearing test. This will set the seal on whether to continue going for certification or not. I may also get W55001's axles tested as well.

The following Saturday was spent in the cabs preparing the trim. Dick arrived at about 1230 after inspecting some grounded bodies at the GCR. We discussed the UAT and he is going to speak to the Tyseley boys about doing same. He also said not to bother with my small charger but to get the unit on the main charger(s) in the station.

The weather on the next Sunday was atrocious and once again I had to clear out the guttering to get the rain to flow away properly. One good point though no rain gets into the bodywork on the No. 1 side. The only ingress is via the door windows. I also topped up the batteries and the air intake meths containers as we are due to have some snow and/or cold weather next week. By Sunday lunch time I had finished the trim cutting and was started to fit the panelling along the lower side of No. 2 side. I managed two panels before I ran out of power. I took all the trim home for varnishing then realised I had left one of the main cab door uprights in the No. 2 cab! Ah well it will have to wait for a week.

Before I left I had a cup of tea in the buffet and Bob told me that Allely's had been in contact with a possible movement date for W55001 of sometime the week after next. We live in hope.

Next weekend I will refit the cab trim, start on the roof trim and continue with the panelling on the No. 2 side. I can panel up to the tops of the windows, except on the external panel that is to be removed. This will allow access to the guttering bolts that will need to be replaced for the guttering to be resealed. Once the internal panelling is in place I shall refit the seats on the No. 1 side. I was going to paint them in black but I think if I can get a decent match in the paint then I will repaint them into the original beige colour. This will match the new panelling and varnished wood trim and give a lighter appearance to the saloons.

My brother Stuart called during the week to find out the progress and asked if I would be interested in taking the unit to the ELR for a visit when finished. The ELR are organising a DMU event in a year or so's time. Providing the terms are good the answer is a definite yes.

So yet another weekend came around and the first job was to refit the trim in the cabs. I first fitted the trim in the No. 1 cab then spent an hour or so assisting Nick and Dick in the Peak. In the afternoon I refitted the trim in the No. 2 cab. After that I decided to have a go at the cab windows in the No. 2 cab with the 'slapper'. This I duly did and removed the majority of the old varnish. It looked better but the flakes went everywhere!! I borrowed the vacuum cleaner from the 117 and cleaned up the cab ready to start preparing the wood.

I repaired to home with the one upright piece of trim I had forgotten the week before and recharged all batteries.

Sunday was a cold frozen day with a bitterly cold easterly wind. The first thing I did was to coat the window woodwork in Cuprinol. I also coated the exposed woodwork around the small saloon No. 2 side doors as water was leaking in. I decided to sort out these leaks and once again ascended the ladders to sort out the guttering. Most of the water had frozen so with two rags I stopped off the flow and cleaned up the joints ready for sealant. When I had finished the leaks were stopped. Of course the only proper solution is to remove the guttering but this will have to wait until I am in the siding and the weather is better.

Throughout the day I managed to fit all the interior panels, except for the tops in the small saloon. The small window next to the Guard's van was not leaking and the guttering above it would not need to be removed so I fitted the top piece and also the window. This window was the correct one for the panel and fitted with very little problem. The last job I did was to stain the cab windows in No. 2 cab ready for next week.

Next week I will finish off staining the cab windows and hence have them ready for varnishing the week after. Once the windows are varnished only the old trim, the indicator box and the pipework will require painting so this cab can be left until a later date. I shall also continue with the No. 2 side partitioning then make a start with the seats. If I can get a colour chart I will match the original colour of the seat frames.

The week's work included varnishing the single piece of trim and the control handle box. Other than that it will be an easy week.

The next weekend I only had one day on the unit, Saturday January 31st.

I refitted the door trim and stained the cab windows once in the morning and the final coat at 1500 hrs in the afternoon. This leaves the No. 2 cab window frames ready for varnishing next week. I also managed to refit the panelling behind the No. 1 cab on the No. 2 side. This included refitting the top piece, luggage rack and the window frame. I can therefore varnish this window frame and the one on the same side behind the Guard's van.

This leaves the panelling adjacent to the saloon divider and the next one along to be refitted before work on the internal panelling can cease. The ceiling strips need to be fixed and some made up for the No. 1 side then efforts can be concentrated on the seat frames also on the NO. 1 side. These will need cleaning down and repainting in situ but before refixing. This should take up to Easter and the better weather when outside work can start once again.

Sunday was spent at Keith Jackson's where I got a copy of the RESCO door lock manual. Work for home was limited to revarnishing the various heater boxes from the cabs and the remaining control box and fittings.

Apart from varnishing the various fittings during the week the weekend started a day early. Kevin was on a long weekend so we decided to work on the unit on Friday and Saturday. Kevin could then work on 55023 during Sunday and I could do my darkroom work.

On the Friday, February 6th, we finished the interior panelling on the No. 2 side as far as we could. I varnished the No. 1 cab windows and left them to dry. I also fitted the four roof strips. They certainly set the roof off nicely and only one snapped. It was however in place so I have left it where it is. I fabricated the remaining 6 pieces and will varnish them next week for weekend fitting.

First thing on Saturday I revarnished the cab windows. They now look extremely good and a final coat next Saturday will see them finished.

Kevin and I cleaned out both saloons and readied the No. 1 side for the 3 seat frames. We had to manoeuvre them out of the Guard's door and back in via the side doors. There is a definite art to doing same. The base has to be passed in with the under frame gap to the non hinge side. The gap then passes down the bodywork until the head piece will pass through the door. The other base then follows nicely. To quote Sid Field 'What a performance!'.

Most of the frames were in reasonable condition but a few were somewhat bent. Not so that you will not be able to use them but enough to require some brute force and ignorance. Kevin and I finished off the day by cleaning off the facia panelling on the saloon divide walls and cleaning down the frames ready for repainting next weekend.

I worked in the darkroom on Sunday but managed to get the ceiling strips Cuprinoled and a first coat of varnish applied. Nick and Dick were at the railway engaged in getting my engines, gearboxes and vacuum cylinders in a flat wagon in order to get them stored away properly. Dick was going to look at the seat frames to ascertain the requirements for bending them straight!

The main job done during the week was to finish off the driver's cab luggage rack brackets. Three of the four had been undercoated in white whilst the fourth was still as original. I therefore recleaned the three undercoated ones and cleaned down the other one. They were then repainted in red oxide and top coated two of them in mid-brown. On one of them there is a cast date of BR(W) 121156.

The weekend started off rather late as on the Friday, February 13th, night Angie and I had gone to see Ken Dodd in Bedford with an extremely late finish. The first job was to take off the remaining trim from the No. 2 cab ready for refurbishment later the following week. The freshly exposed melamine was cleaned down. The two rack brackets were put into place but will need new screws to ensure they are secure. The varnished cross rod was also fitted. I will have to have a proper cord mesh made to fit. With the cab windows finished I refitted the control handle box on the window frame. It looks very good finished in yacht varnish. I also refitted various screws that I had forgotten about in the window frames. If time permits I may remove all the other screws and replace with standard cupped ones.

The rest of the day was spent in fitting the ceiling trim down the No. 1 side. This cost me two drills a 2 mm and a 2.5 mm one.

Sunday started with the fitting of two of the pieces that cover the lighting loom coming out of the floor in the small saloon and going up the partition into the ceiling. I have at least got all the pieces and they all fit correctly.

The rest of the day was spent in cleaning down the No. 1 side seat frames (3 seaters) and painting them in red oxide ready for top coating next weekend. Once these are done I can refit the seat cushions proper. I also measured up from the Class 117 for seat covers for my unit. These will fit over the cushions and keep dirt and damp off the seats whilst not in service. I also measured up the panel that is to be replaced as I had lost the original drawings.

As the Guard's van is now half empty I can consider fitting the new roof insulation and ceiling panels.

The work on the loop continued but should ready for next weekend when, at last, I will be going into the No. 1 siding behind the PMV. At least I will be near power for recharging the batteries and able to get the scaffolding up for the side refurbishment.

the week's work was refurbishing the No. 2 cab's remaining trim. This was duly accomplished for the following Saturday, February 21st.

I refitted the trim and revarnished the indicator box in the No. 2 cab which is now all but finished. I also refitted the indicator blind rollers ready for the new blinds when they arrive. I decided to rub down one of the inside panel windows using my new DA sander. A BIG MISTAKE. The sander is too fierce and eventually I managed to mark the glass. So I stopped and took all the trim off by hand. This included the two panel windows and the door window. The final job was to start painting the seat frames in gloss black, £80.00 for a 5 litre tin!!! I managed one before the big shunt began.

The shunt took the rest of the afternoon but now W55003 is in No. 1 road of the siding. The last jobs done on the Saturday were to put the unit on charge and set up the scaffolding for the exterior. The battery took an initial charge of 42 amps that soon died down to 30 amps. Dave left the charger on a lesser charge but overnight so that a start-up can be attempted in the morning.

Sunday arrived bright and fair and by the time I arrived on the railway the Class 117 was ticking over. The first thing done was the charger was switched off and the unit started. It did so on the first attempt and was left to make air and warm up. All systems functioned admirably and W55003 was left to charge its own batteries for an few hours or so. The last two seats were painted black ready for leaving until next week for seat fitting. The No. 1 cab was stripped of its remaining trim ready for revarnishing.

Nick and Dick were up on the Sunday and Nick gave me a quick lesson on the crane. Not as difficult as the JCB and I think I can manage it reasonably well, at least after a few test lessons under Nick's guidance. Dick has managed to get me a complete electrical schematic of a Class 117 so I will photocopy same for Kevin.

I left the railway about 1500 hrs and after arriving home stripped down the window trim ready for staining and varnishing. The first stain was applied on Monday morning and with three coats should be ready for varnish by Tuesday night.

The trim was duly completed by Thursday night and baked on the radiator and in the airing cupboard for refitting during the weekend. On Friday I measured up the drill sizes for the seat frame fitting screws. A 6 mm. hole fits perfectly. I also took four seat backs and four seat bases, three seaters, and aired them ready for refitting also over the weekend.

Nick and Dick were up working on the Peak over the weekend and the next few days so by the time I arrived on Saturday, February 28th., the unit was already running to provide air for Dick's power tools. I started by refitting the aluminium guard over the lighting wire hole in the small saloon. A small amount of trimming was required but now it is fully fitted and screwed down in place.

The window trim took most of the rest of the morning as I confess I am not a dab hand with putty. But eventually they were in place and look good.

The next job was to fit the seats. The seat backs need fitting and fixing first. I found that the trick was to fit the seat base, fit and secure the seat back then remove the seat base in order to be able to measure up for the frame screws. I had marked the position of the steel securing strips under the lino so taking measurements from these I marked out the holes for the seat that attached to the Guard's van partition and drilled. Much to my satisfaction all holes went correctly through the steel. The seat was then screwed down with 8 fitting screws and screwed into place on the partition. With the seat base now back in position I had at last got seats back in the unit. Another major milestone achieved. The other two seat frames went into place easily enough and by the end of play on the Saturday I had seats all down the No. 1 side of the small saloon.

As a final job of the day I removed the window surround from the Guard's door for refurbishing during the week.

Sunday was spent in cleaning down and red-oxiding three more seat frames ready for next week. Nick and Dick help me 'bend' the rest of the frames into some form of straightness so that they can be painted next weekend. I removed the glass trim from the large saloon side of the internal partition also for refurbishing during the week.

News of the seats had obviously got out and various members of the railway came to inspect and try them out. I must confess I am quite happy with the result.

I am on the railway on Friday and Saturday next week, March 6th. and 7th., so I will be able to top coat three frames and red oxide the other two. This means that over the weekend March 14th. & 15th. I will be able to refit another 5 sets of seats and on March 21st. & 22nd. will finish off the No. 1 side. Already you can see space in my garage so in another three weeks you should be able to see the best part of the floor.

Kevin and I are going to the Mid Norfolk Railway to inspect W55006 on March 8th. That should be a nice day out and will be interesting to compare the two.

I ran a 5K race on Wednesday, time 24.52, but was in no fit state to do anything on Thursday morning so I had a day on the sick. It was quite useful as I managed to finish off the window trims for refitting on Friday. I also loaded the car up with the remaining seat backs and put the three seat squabs in the front bedroom to air.

Friday was wet and cold and I managed to red oxide the remaining two frames and top coat one single three seater and one double three seater frame. I refitted the door trim on the small partition to Guard's van door. The rest of the day was spent in the signal box doing a 'big shunt'.

On Saturday I refitted the large saloon partition window trim. I also managed to finish top coating the remaining three seater double frames. To finish off with fitting one single three seater back and squab and one double three seater back and squab. All that is left is the other three seater bases to refit with cushions and screw down then all the winter work is complete.

Later on Saturday Martin arrived with the destination blinds. I shall fit those either next weekend or the one after.

On Sunday Kevin and I went over to the Mid Norfolk Railway to see W55006 and W55009. W55006 is in good order and running well. The external body side panels are in a much better condition than mine but the paintwork is poor with a very dubious shade of green being used. The inside panels and trim are the old panels and trim recycled. The bottom, i.e. the panels under the window, are plywood painted over. Most of the varnished woodwork has certainly been cleaned and I think had one coat of varnish applied The droplight window panels are the old blue material/metal ones painted over in a yellow beige colour. The doors have been painted internally with the same yellow beige colour. All doors appear to fit far better than on W55003. The Guard's van is as per the original except with the exception of the Guard's Pigeon Hole wire basket which is missing. W55009 is stood aside in green undercoat but complete except for a gutted interior.

At last my Winter's work is complete. The following weekend, March 14th and 15th, saw the remainder of the three seater seats fitted complete with backs and squabs. I also fitted the remaining window trim and, for the first time in over 10 years, a West Midland destination blind in the No. 2 end.

During the week I bought a dust sheet, 12' x 9', which I split in two. These have proved to be ideal for using a seat covers.

Most of Sunday was spent in tidying up the PMV with Nick and Dick. I managed to extricate various parts of windows and other small items. I also have got enough wood, of the correct type, to fit out most of the running boards on the unit. The first three 7' 8" pieces came out and were sawn into two for use on the passenger doors. A spare piece can be used for a Driver's door step. They will be rounded off and then 'painted' with a non-slip compound before fitting. I have also commandeered the spare oil filter. I can now replace the oil in the No. 1 engine together with all the filters and have it ready for service. I must also rebuild the No. 2 throttle motor.

During the week I made a start on the steps by Cuprinoling them. I also made a start on drilling the ends of the steps for strengthening bolts to be inserted. I bought the replacement wood for the PMV and also the anti-slip paint all £75.00 of it!! I had better be worthwhile.

On Saturday March 21st I began by marking out the steps properly against the step brackets. I have now enough steps to do all the passenger door steps and by utilising the best of the rest I can do the Guard's van door and the other Driver's door all down the No. 1 side. Internally I fitted four more dust sheets and now only one single three seater is uncovered. I removed the trim from the internal saloon to cab windows and dismantled the cover over the Driver's sliding door for refurbishment. Most of the pieces were screwed into place but some are pinned and I think I will need to ask Brian Burgess for a bit of assistance in removing them without wrecking them.

The Saturday was also for the big shunt when, once again, the unit is to be moved. This time onto the platform at the top end of the No. 1 siding. This is better for working on the side and roof but is too close to the shop and buffet to be of any use especially when sanding down the paintwork. It is also not so good for fitting steps and general work under the solebar on the No. 1 side. The No. 2 side will be just as difficult to get at as the other road is too close to get the scaffolding up.

The unit was started and after a very rough shunt, I had asked for the unit to be driven out but my request was denied, the unit performed more or less faultlessly. The throttle motors on the No. 2 side will still need dismantling and coating in Oildag.

Sunday was spent at home cleaning down the woodwork I had brought home and getting the first coat of stain on them. I also had to rebuild one end of the door cover assembly. The foot steps can wait until after next week.

I was off work on Friday 27th March so I spent the day at home finishing off the woodwork and preparing it for the Saturday. I only had one day on the unit the following weekend as Angie and I were off to St. Ives for a few days away for our Silver Wedding Anniversary. I refitted the window and the rest of the door trim and removed some more trim from the inner door of No. 1 cab. I left the railway early in the afternoon and went to Bletchley Timber to collect my new spokeshave.

The next week was spent at St. Ives so it was not until Friday morning, April 3rd that work began again. I stripped down the inner door trim and managed to get a first coat of stain on it. I also prepared for stripping down the throttle motor the following day.

Saturday dawned wet and windy but brightened up sufficiently for work the start on the motor. All pots were soon cleaned down and only No. 4 required swapping with a spare. I then ran up the unit and when nice and warm tested all the throttle motors. They all now come down nicely but the No. 3 motor on the No. 2 side does not come up sufficiently. I suspect I have nudged it out of line when cleaning down. Once Dick has ten minutes I will reset it with his assistance.

The weather had taken a turn for the worse by lunchtime so I began sorting out the Guard's van for refurbishment. I began by removing two panel's worth of screws. I then decided that the door frame trim could come off. I managed to remove the catch plate side of the trim but could not figure out how to remove the rest without removing the door. I will need to speak to Brian. I had enough new fibreglass to more or less fill two panels ceiling voids so that was the next job to be undertaken. Once I had done this I had had enough as fibreglass dust was everywhere. I tidied up and left for home.

Sunday was also wet so I moved some two seater frames into the main saloons to give me more room in the Guard's van. I then opened up the remaining bags of old fibreglass and managed to salvage enough to do two more panel's worth of ceiling.

I then retidied the main saloon and took out all the boards required for the Guard's van ceiling. I am two short and will have to have them cut especially. Nick and Dick were having a tidy of the PMV so four more boards were made available for use as foot boards. These were duly cut to size, marked and drilled to size. Well not drilled completely but enough to give a pilot hole starting point.

Brian Burgess and I looked at the doors and decided that the outer door frame must be attached by the door hinges. So it looks like I will have to remove the doors anyway. Brian had also brought the two ceiling vents I needed to finish off the guards roof. I took the inner door trim, aluminium, from the No. 2 cab and also the wooden top to the draft partition (?) in that cab ready for refurbishment. I think a new one will need to be made.

The boys had been working on 45118 so at about 1600 hrs. all pretence of work was given up and the final half hour before firing up was watched by myself. The locomotive fired up with no apparent problems except maybe a few small leaks. After the last train of the day, the 1615, was cancelled the path was used to test the loco. All went well and I must confess I enjoyed a ride in the cab of the Class 45 in the second man's seat.

After that we went down to the end of the line to remove the stop block in preparation for the arrival of W55001 next Wednesday. After nine months I hope this is the real thing!!

First the bad news. On Tuesday I was telephoned and told W55001 would NOT be coming in on the Wednesday as Longsight could not switch off the power as they had a Eurostar on the depot. What difference this makes I do not know.

The good news. It will be delivered on the Thursday.

Thursday dawned and the Northampton area, and indeed most of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, suffered torrential rainfall. I bought the requisite fibre glass for the wall and ceiling and also bought the coach bolts for the foot steps.

After a call to the rig they had loaded all four vehicles that were to be removed and were just waiting for the power to be switched off. My brother Stuart, who was on a site visit to Blackburn, managed to get to Longsight for the departure and captured it on video. The unit left at approximately 1130 hrs. for the long wet haul down the M6 in pouring wet.

I arrived on the railway, which was nearly underwater, about 1430 hrs.. Gordon and I watched as the rain poured down. It was a good job Jim had reroofed the mess cabin. Later on Bob, Dave and Nick arrived.

All went well until the M6/M1/A14 junction where all traffic was stopped because the roundabout was under water. Eventually the load got moving and Nick Gilbert and I went out in Nick's Land Rover to escort the load in. The weather abated somewhat and the drive up the old trackbed was no problem.

The unloading went without a hitch and soon No. 1 was hauling W55001 on NLR metals.

The rig was sorted out and was soon on its way back to Warwick. After closing off the gate Nick, Bob and I returned to the station in the Land Rover. After a quick look over the unit in the gathering gloom I made my way back home in flood water! The M1 was at a stand, the A508 was closed so I had to take the back road via Hackleton. It took me over an hour to get home but get home I did. Thank heavens for diesel engines!!

Good Friday, the 10th April dawned still very wet. Parts of Northampton were under water so discretion being the better part of valour, i.e. I didn't want to get stuck anywhere, I stayed at home. I worked in the darkroom for all the morning and until the early afternoon. I managed later to clean down and get lots of splinters from the door piece that I was working on. I also got the first stain coat onto it.

Easter Saturday saw most of the main roads open so I ventured out to the railway. After a good look at W55001 I started work on W55003. I finished the ceiling and all the No. 2 side. I also extricated the panelling ready for replacement. I will use the old panels and repaint at my leisure.

From W55001 I removed one makers plate and two old style tin detonator boxes, one of which was marked 'W55026 cab'. The unit has still got two throttle cables which will fit the Class 117. Martin can take one off and replace the broken one which will be refurbished. I also removed some wood trim that has been replaced with aluminium on W55003. There are 5 3 seat and 5 two seat squabs in W55001 in old grey with red and white fleck. Theses can be reupholstered and used in the small saloon on W55003. This will give me enough and some over as spare and release the blue/green ones for possible sale.

Easter Sunday was spent in the box at Pitsford Siding. I had my first ride in W55001 on the return ECS in the evening.

Easter Monday was spent at home as I was feeling very tired. I managed to finish the staining and get the first coat of varnish on the door trim and clean down, glue and stain the wood trim ex W55001. The main job, however, was to finish the foot steps. This involved in fitting the coach bolts and fixing bolts to 8 of them and turning down the corners and sanding down on all 16 of them. They are now all ready for painting except of course for the two Guard's van door steps which will need to be cut when I can get the wood out of the PMV.

Dick came down on the next Saturday, April 18th, and between us we inspected W55001 and refitted a window glass, completed the welding down the No. 1 side of W55003, finished welding the large panel on the second man's side of the No. 2 cab, and reset the errant throttle motor on the No. 2 engine of W55003.

I think W55001 may very well be rebuilt as an observation saloon eventually.

I refitted the varnished wood fittings and detonator case and began clearing out the Guard's van. Kevin arrived about 1300 hrs. and we soon had the van a lot clearer than it had been. This will make the interior work a lot easier. From W55001 I have enough ash trays to refit the small saloon. Yes I know it's going to be non-smoking but it adds to the originality.

Kevin brought another small light shade for the large saloon. This means I now have three apart from those already fitted. Kevin and I repaired home where I extricated some window corners for use in W55023. I took home most of the seat squabs from W55001 for reupholstering. The final two 3 seaters I will take home next weekend.

On Sunday I refitted the insulation in the No. 1 side of the van then refitted the No 2 side wall sheeting between the van door and the cab. Likewise the sheeting was also refitted on the No. 1 side. I then measured up for new sheets between the van door and small saloon for both sides. I ran up the engines to test the throttle motor and found No. 2 EP valve was leaking and the engines would not come down properly. After attention by Dave Stokes the problem was solved. The next and final job was to remove all the screws from the roof fixings ready for putting the ceiling up next week.

The new sheets were cut from some packing cases I had and were undercoated ready for fitting the next weekend. I took the spare three seater squab in correct moquette to Block & Son in Woburn Sands so he can find a suitable match. The reupholstering will give me one spare 3 seater and four spare 2 seaters for the main saloon and one each for the small saloon.

The first job the following Saturday, April 25th, was to refit the new panels. All went well until I realised I had fitted them in the wrong order and the centre panel was too narrow. After all I had written on the back which was which but I still got them in the wrong order!! Anyway I made a new one up out of the panel destined for the other side and then began on the ceiling panels. I began at the No. 2 cab end and by close of play I had got all panels bar the one above the Guard's seat in place.

Nick and Dick had come down, principally to work on the Peak, but had cleared more room in the PMV so I managed to extricate the two lengths of wood for the Guard's van footboards. Even better Nick found a piece already cut to size so that will save a lot of cutting.

I took home the remaining three seat squabs ready for recovering.

Sunday was again wet and miserable so I was glad I was working under cover. I finished off the ceiling panel and tried fitted the lights and air vents. The air vents no problem. The lights were another story. The wire/bulb fitting was screwed directly to the ceiling panel. Between the porcelain and the ceiling is/are or were circular wooden spacers. At home I found I had only four 'thin' spacers but lots of 'fat' spacers. I took 5 'fat' spacers for the unit. Mistake. With these spacers I could not fit a bulb into the fitment once the spacer and porcelain were in place. I removed all the bulb fitments and cut spacers from the off cuts of hardboard and refitted them. Four out of the five fitted perfectly. The last one I found was a bulb with a shorter neck! I replaced that bulb and tested the circuits. Unlike the main saloons all worked perfectly first time.

The last job inside was to refit three of the four windows. They went in a lot easier than in the saloons. Finally I cut one footboard to size and drilled the bolt holes for both.

On Monday morning I received a call from Henderson Fabrications who will have the new panel ready for Monday May 18th.. Cost approximately £105.00.

Speaking to Martin Harris on Sunday he found out that MC Metals had three engines and three gearboxes for sale. After a phonecall to Jim McWilliam on Monday afternoon it transpired that those engines had gone but 51334 had just arrived from Springburn Works more or less complete.

After a quick call to me I faxed Jim and arranged for both engines and gearboxes to be saved for me as I was the only one who could afford them. The next day I arranged for more or less all the spares off 51334, plus some others, to be removed and stored for me. This means that I will have enough spares for W55001's rebuild plus some more. Gordon has arranged for a box van to go up on Monday/Tuesday 18th/19th May to bring the spares home.

The early May bank holiday was over the weekend of May 3rd and 4th. I was in the box at Pitsford on Saturday all day. I managed however to measure up for the headboard lamp brackets which I cut out and made up ready for Sunday. One interesting fact is that with the exhaust pipes at the No. 2 end the brackets had to be made with an extension piece forward to miss the pipes.

Because of the Diesel Gala the following weekend I decided to do minimal work on the unit. Instead I tidied up both cabs ready for service. I had repainted the Driver's cab luggage rack hangers and also the flag/detonator box from 55026 in GWR brown which were duly replaced in No. 1 cab.

I then continued with the Guard's van. I now have the drop down racking in place and in use courtesy of two self tapping screws off W55001. Similarly I have refitted all the trim etc. and have refitted the Guard's buzzer box on the No. 2 side. I removed six more ashtrays from W55001.

After the unit was tested with the Class 117/108, result positive, I made a start on the Guard's corner in the van. The metal flooring between floor and side panel was rusted through so it was removed. Because I have also removed the under panels there is now air circulating hence the amount of condensation in that area is likely to be minimal. I therefore decided not to replace the flooring with metal but to utilise a plywood piece suitably fitted. This leaves the side panels to be ground down and repainted. Also a new window frame needs to be fabricated. I can then refit the internal panelling in this corner and most of the Guard's van will then be complete.

Monday was spent at home where I cleaned out the ashtrays and fabricated one of the headboard brackets then spent the most of the rest of the time in tidying the garage ready for any parts that may need to be stored from Glasgow. I have readied the new Guard's van seat for repainting and fixing in W55003. I know it's in NSE colours but it's in better condition than the one already fitted.

After the mayhem of three days Thomas the following weekend the railway went straight into a Diesel Gala. The visiting locomotive being Class 14 D9555 from Rutland Railway Museum.

I visited the site on Friday evening with the two headboards for the unit. My measurements must have been reasonable as they fitted more or less perfectly. The only problem with the unit was a broken belt on the No. 2 alternator.

When we returned on the Saturday Dick showed me how to replace the belt with 'Brammer belting' and the job was done within 30 minutes.

Angie was with me for the weekend so I had W55001 positioned so that we could set up a small stall with badges etc. for the unit. Over the weekend we took over £100.00 pounds for the coffers.

Stuart and Bryce came down and Stuart set of with video and has produced a magnificent video of the weekends events.

The weekend did not go as planned. On Saturday morning the Peak would not start. Dick traced it to a failed oil primer pump causing a lack of initial oil pressure. The pump was removed and Nick, Dick and myself replaced the failed end piece with one off a seized pump. Once replaced the unit functioned perfectly and the Peak fired up. It eventually failed with an AVR fault towards the end of the day.

The Class 14 worked all day as did the Class 25, the Class 117/108 and finally W55003 was given two trips and worked perfectly.

Sunday started badly. The Peak would not charge and therefore could not be run and the Class 14 would not start. Dick took the AVR boards out and they were checked and a suspect joint resoldered. Once put back in the AVR the same problem occurred. Dick, Mervyn and I then went through the whole system to check and recheck each bit. The boards were removed and checked again then replaced. The last chance was to reset everything and fire the engine up again. The loco started with no problems, all reset switches switched in and the system immediately began charging at 40 amps. It steadied of at 10 amps and the AVR voltage was reset at 210volts and left. The locomotive then ran faultlessly all day.

The next job was to get the Class 14 working. The problem was in the fact that the starter motor has a sensor in the head of the actual motor and is not a standard solenoid and motor starter. The owner was filing (!!) down the copper contacts to the voltage relays to make a proper contact. This however was just causing arcing. The solution was to press the starter then kick the relay into place thus throwing the starter motor pinion into place and action. The Class 14 was then no problem.

I did some work in W55003 by putting up the lettering above the doors on the No. 1 side. The now read L1 through to L6 in white letters on green. I also replaced the missing strip in the Guard's van on the No. 2 side ceiling/side wall join. I then replaced the guard on the No. 1 side window. Dick and I discussed the replacement of the side panel and we are now ready for next week's work-in. I took home the last two remaining luggage racks for cleaning.

The last run of the Diesel Gala was a trip with W55003 up and down the branch. Once again it ran faultlessly.

The long haul on W55001 was begun by Dick on Sunday afternoon when one of the missing AWS panels was replaced.

On Monday I rang Henderson's and they are going to deliver the new panel next Thursday.

Thursday came and the panel was delivered. All we need to do now is fit it. Ha ha easier said than done.

This years weeks work in was during the week Saturday May 16th to Monday May 25th inclusive. Dick was down for five days from Saturday to do the panel. I was on site for Saturday and Sunday but in Glasgow for Monday and Tuesday. Anyway the weekend started reasonably well weather wise and by lunch time I had the guttering off and Dick was making inroads into the panel itself. It soon became apparent that the door upright of door B3 was too far gone for salvage so it would have to be replaced. It would however have to wait until Monday.

The panel was eventually removed and the extent of the rot in the cross members was soon apparent. Dick, however, ever resourceful, found a suitable piece of 'S' shaped angle iron and the bad sections were soon replaced.

I, in the meantime, had measured up the panel for refitting the window surround and soon had the holes drilled and the surround in place. The panel was ready for fitting. The fitting took most of the afternoon but by evening the panel was in place and red oxided.

Sunday was spent in finishing off the panel, removing the other rotten parts of panelling and generally getting ready for the week ahead.

On Monday I telephoned the SVR but they were unable to assist in providing a new upright. It was back to Henderson's who could fabricate a replacement section. It would not be ready until Wednesday morning. Once Dick came down he took the sample piece down to Henderson's and occupied the rest of his time in finishing off the other patching together with other work.

Meanwhile Martin, Gordon and I wended our way northwards to Glasgow. We arrived at MC Metals by 1530 hrs. After a quick word with Jim McWilliam's we were let loose on the two remaining units in the yard 51394 & 59489. Jim had said that they shut the yard at about 1630 - 1645 hrs.. By 1730 we were still at work and locked in!!!! After various calls to the Glasgow Constabulary Jim came back to let us out.

We found a hotel in Renfrew Street and had a most pleasant evening in Paparino's Pizzeria. The next day we continued to take what we wanted and eventually loaded up by 1330 hrs. The van was down on its stops and we had to leave some stuff in Jim's care. We were on the road by 1400 hrs. and arrived back at Northampton by 1900 hrs..

We decided to rent the van for another day as we were in no fit state to unload that evening. I dropped Gordon home in Wellingboro' so that the van could stay on site.

After picking Gordon up we went into Northampton to pick up a cylinder of CO2 for Dick who had run out. The van was unloaded and the amount of spares acquired was soon apparent, lots. The triangle between the units and the RBR was soon covered with spare parts. The two engines, Nos. 8063777 & RFS 527, and gear boxes were unloaded in the field and covered over. The rest were reloaded into W55001.

I now have 90% of the parts required for W55001 and some spares for both. All in all an excellent foray to MC Metals even if my bank balance has taken a good pounding.

Dick in the meantime was having welder trouble and he only just managed to get the upright in place before finally giving up.

I finally finished putting the parts away by 1700 hrs..

Thursday was spent dismantling Harringworth Signalbox with Graham and others.

Friday I spent in sorting out the finances for the spare parts and sorting out what parts I had taken home.

Saturday was spent in refitting the wooden door uprights and making a new backing piece for the door striking plate. This took me the best part of the day and I still was not happy.

Sunday was spent in refitting the guttering. I have now nearly finished that horrible job with only the gap that called the original problem to finish. I will fabricate a new section to fit this 1" gap.

By Sunday night I was all in. I stayed at home for Monday and after two unsuccessful attempts I managed to fabricate a backing piece for the striking plate that I was happy with. I gave up at that point and had a rest. I was knackered.

On Wednesday. May 27th, I was at a DB2 meeting at IBM Warwick so after the event I arrived on site at about 1600 hrs.. I filled the one of the guttering with sealant and began manufacturing a piece for the gap end. It wasn't very successful.

I eventually decided as I couldn't find the piece to fabricate one from the metal tape given to me by harry. The only problem was how to make it watertight.

Saturday came around and I arrived first on site. By about 0900 hrs. I decided the piece MUST be somewhere but where? The only place I had not looked was in the box containing my angle grinder that had failed on the first Saturday of the weeks work in. I telephoned Angie and .... there it was put away for safe keeping!!!!! I called Dick and told him if I ever ask if he has seen something to remind me I've put it somewhere safe.

I took the bull by the horns and decided that I should fit the door striking plate. I did and it fitted correctly much to my amazement. The blue cross has been ceremoniously removed from the door.

Dave Young was in doing door repairs on 5001 and after I offered him one of my door handles he in return offered me enough to refit W55001. This was duly completed with the screws bought as replacement for one of W55001's driver's cab handle, 1 1/4" 12s.

The weather was glorious all day so I began in grinding, rubbing and painting the No. 1 side panels. I finished one door and one panel before I called it a day and went home.

That night it rained hard but in the morning the drizzle abated by 0900 hrs. and the sun shone. I began by replacing the piece in the guttering and sealing up the gaps. I then had to seal the window frame that was leaking on the inside of the aluminium frame.

Nick and Dick arrived and between us we finished off the welding. We also refitted the lower door hinge on door L4 using the 2 1/4" size 14 screws I had bought for the door striking plate. No welding will need to be done just a spot of filler.

This means that I can now concentrate on grinding down, rubbing down and priming the body on both sides. The only welding required now will be any on the No. 1 end around the wiper mechanisms. The last job was to measure up for the window frame inserts. Most of the original wood had disintegrated but the two surviving pieces and the replacements already made by myself can be tailored to ensure an easy fit.

According to the weather forecast Saturday June 6th was to be fine with a possibility of showers but Sunday was definitely rain with occasional bright spells. So with a will I started on undersealing the new panel and all the patched pieces on the No. 2 side. Almost immediately I was collared to assist with the loading of the sleepers for the Harringworth Signalbox move. I finally got started about 1100 hrs.

As most of the crew had gone to Harringworth only Martin and I were left on site. Dave and Clare arrived about 1300 hrs. and so between us we did the shunt and marshalled the train in readiness for that evening's special.

By 1800 hrs. I had ground, rubbed down and red oxided a further two doors and two panels. This leaves one passenger door, L1, the driver's door and the panel in between on the No. 1 side to finish next weekend.

Sunday dawned fair but soon the showers came. I started by cleaning out, once again, the guttering on both sides of the unit. The guttering on the No. 1 side was clogged up with the remains of blossom off the hawthorn trees/bushes. The No. 2 side was more or less clear but I had to ensure that all the leaks were stopped. This I did by smoothing over the lip between the gutter and the roof with sealant. The No. 1 cab is a whole weeks work in itself.

As the rain was now more or less persistent I began indoors doing what little I could. I refitted the window frame with the exception of the bottom piece which will need longer bolts. I also fitted the bottom panel on the other panel left open. This will ensure less dust is generated by the glass fibre insulation. In the Guard's van I fitted the piece in the corner left when I fitted the window frames.

Eventually the weather became more predictable and I managed to get rubbed down two doors on the No. 2 side. I did not attempt the side panels as I did not want to get the metal wet before painting.

I called it a day at about 1430 hrs..

The week continued to be of miserably wet weather and the following weekend was no exception.

I continued therefore to work inside the saloons doing next winter's work. I refitted the new window frame in the new panel. By Saturday night, June 13th I had replaced all the internal panels around the windows and luggage racks bar 1. By 1100 hrs. on Sunday I had completed that.

Sam, her husband and friends came to visit so whilst they were on the steam train I began refitting the internal window frames I had brought from home. I now have only two large frames to refit. I managed to split the edge off one upright but will be able to refit it with no noticeable damage. I also refitted the cover to the lighting loom which goes from floor to ceiling in the small saloon. The only internal panels now needing fitting are the panels above the doors on No. 2 side. I hope next weekend is better weatherwise if not I will have to start on the two seater frames.

The following week continued to be miserable and rainy but by Friday the forecast was for sun and warm temperatures so I booked Friday June 19th on holiday.

The day started dull but dry but brightened up later on. So much so in fact that I managed to complete the No. 1 side and half the No. 1 cab. The cab side was the most troublesome with a large amount of filler to be removed. The top of the cab front on No. 1 cab will need some remedial welding work around the wiper motors.

Saturday was not as forecast and the heavens opened up again until lunch time. I managed to replace the two final window frames inside the unit. The final one though is not a success and will need to be refitted as and when possible. This will be sooner than later as will be seen shortly.

In the afternoon I managed to prepare and red oxide the two previously rubbed down doors and the panel in between.

During the day I started up the No. 2 engine but failed to start the No. 1 engine. Dave was on site and we put the batteries on charge for 10 minutes @ 30 amps. This did the trick and the No. 1 engine roared into life at the second attempt, Dave still hasn't got the hang of the starting quirks on the unit. We did the usual run up procedures and toggled up the gearbox. The unit is now ready for moving next weekend when the Class 27 is to be lifted.

Sunday was better weather wise and I managed another panel and door. In the afternoon I began another panel but this proved that even more replacement of skin and uprights need to be done. The panel is the double one in the small saloon No. 2 side and was the one that I had patched some of the upright from the inside of the saloon. It transpired that the upright is rotten along at least a 2 ft. section mainly of the straight part and had also come through the external skin in quite a few places.

I removed the outer skin and found the full extent of the rot. Dick and I have sorted out what needs to be done. The spare section left over from the other upright can be used and the outer skin can easily be fabricated from the sheets we have in the Guard's van. We will replace the section(s) in a couple of weeks time during the weekend of July 25th/26th..

I will, therefore, have to remove all the internal panelling and hence can rectify the problem as mentioned earlier.

So the long weekend was a success. I managed 5 doors and 5 panels and am now approximately 75% of the way around the unit. By the end of July the basic bodywork treatment should be finished. I will then turn my attention to the front of the No. 1 cab. Then it's fill rub down, fill rub down etc. ready for an undercoat in late Summer and a top coat next year. As all the guttering has been replaced I can now make plans for top coating the roof.

Over the year that the undercoat has been on no evidence of flaking has made itself evident. This shows that proper preparation and using the correct etching primer etc. pays dividends. I will need to clean the roof down however and degrease ready for the topcoat.

The cab roofs are made of fibreglass. I will, therefore, need to get some expert advice on how to remove the paint that is peeling badly from them. Similarly to restore them to pristine condition in white may need some careful attention.

During the following week I considered the options in replacing the pillar. I have ordered a new 4 ft. piece of top-hat section and a new panel insert from Henderson's

Fabrications in order to do a proper job on the rotten upright. It will necessitate removal of the patch pieces I inserted but will ensure a proper job is done from the outset. We will also utilise the 22" spare piece of top-hat as well.

The next Friday I had off to assist Dave and the lads to prepare the 27 for lifting including rerailing one of the spare Class 26 bogies. The following day Nick & Dick came down and the lift was completed by 1800 hrs. utilising the 120 ton hydraulic jacks from Tyseley. Unfortunately I injured my hip on the Saturday afternoon, the old war wound you know, and am now recovering. I hope to be in one piece again for next weekend.

Dave had said that he would like W55001 to be part of the floating rake in order to release room in the sidings. So the Tyseley lads set to and now W55001 is a nearly fully braked unit again. The brakes are fully functional on both bogies and she can be operated from both ends.

After spending most of the week on my back I was at least able to do some work over the weekend of July 4th and 5th. I managed to prepare and red oxide 3 doors and two panels. The only work to be completed now is the No. 1 end, seconds man's side, door L6, the panel between L6 and the Guard's van doors and the Guard's van doors themselves. I expect to get everything except the No. 1 cab end finished by the weekend of July 18th/19th. I can then concentrate on the No. 1 cab. This should enable me to commence filling and rubbing down ready for the first undercoat by the end of August.

On the Saturday I refitted the speedo head onto the axle of the No. 1 bogie of W55001. Dave then took both units out so I could photograph them. We then washed W55001 down with super strong industrial cleaner and it looks a lot better than it did. Even the yellow front has come up well. We can do the other side when it is in the rake and in the main platform. We can also replace the cracked window.

On Monday July 6th I took delivery of the top hat section and new panel from Hendersons. They are now in the unit ready for fitting by Dick next weekend.

I spent Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, July 8th to the 10th respectively, on the East Lancashire Railway's Diesel Gala with Stuart and had a thoroughly good time. The finish on some of the locomotives is excellent.

So straight from Swinton I came down to the railway on Saturday morning arriving just after 0930. The weather forecast was for rain and high winds. I made a start on removing the rotten upright and by 1100 hrs. I had removed a 4 ft. section. This was from the base upwards.

Dick made the section to fit and soon we had the upright in place and red oxided. We then started on refitting the panel and by 1500 hrs. it was more or less in place. I began to grind out the final panel but it then began to rain at about 1600 hrs.. I managed to paint all exposed areas before the rain became too heavy. I then gave up and went home.

Sunday was just the same weatherwise. I managed to refit the wooden fittings and the strike plate. The door now closes properly and the upright is, as it should be, firm. The weather took a turn for the worse and the rain came down quite heavily.

Since Nick & Dick had piped W55001 it had been placed in the 'floating rake' i.e. the rake of spare vehicles that traverse the line to Pitsford sidings each operational day. The unit was therefore in the main platform and so Dick replaced the broken large window in W55001 so the unit is now completely water tight. Dick and I had a discussion about W55001 and we then took a walk down the line to inspect the cabs. Dick has in mind to rebuilt one cab and the electrical connections at the other end. This will allow the unit to be utilised as a driving trailer. With one cab finished we will know what parts are required for the other cab. I left for home at about 1530 hrs. with a spare door lock and strike plate. I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning them down.

Whilst Dick was sorting out the cabs one of the vacuum gauges was removed. This gauge was operational but glassless. I therefore had six circular 101 mm. glass inserts made, one for this gauge and 5 spares.

The weather forecast for weekending July 18th and 19th was good, at last. I therefore arrived at the unit early on the Saturday and began on the last doors and panel. The work consisted of the final passenger saloon door on the No. 2 side, the panel between this door and the Guard's van doors and the Guard's van doors themselves. The job was completed by 1730 hrs. and now, at last, the unit is no longer blue and grey, hallelujah!

Sunday was spent on Guard's duty and training.

The final work on the body is now the No. 1 cab which I will begin next weekend. This will involve removal of the wiper motors, the cutting out and replating of the areas above the windows and finishing the side panel from the front to the secondman's cab.

Once this is complete I can then concentrate on grinding out those areas that have since come through the old red oxide and filling and rubbing down the whole area for the first undercoat. Once in undercoat I can then finish off the guttering in aluminium primer and undercoat and hopefully get a top coat on the roof. This should take me through to the start of the winter period when I shall finish the interior.

For once during the Summer the weather forecast was for dry sunny periods all weekend. I began on the No. 1 cab and by lunchtime had the bottom half ground down and red oxided. Dave and I charged the batteries and we started the unit and shunted Sir Giles so that I could re-erect the scaffolding around the front of the No. 1 cab. I then began on the upper reaches. I first removed both wipermotors, well the No 2 side came out OK but the No. 1 side cone would not come off. So the work went on around the motor and wiper blade plate. The top 2" all around the cab is suspect but I removed what I could to leave sound metal. The parts needing replating are the top pieces between the cab corners and doors on each side, the piece on the upper outer Driver's window, the wiper blade plate and the bottom outer corner of the Secondman's side. These I left until Dick could assess the situation on Sunday. The rest will be filled sealed and rubbed down.

Nick & Dick duly arrived on Sunday morning, July 26th and the weather was good, not too sunny. We decided to go for the plating. The first job was to remove the wiper motor cone which Dick did with the crowbar. He also lost the cone somewhere in the vicinity of the Ruston. I then proceeded to cut out the rot and make up the plates as required.

We decided that W55001 should donate one of its spare wiperblade plates for W55003 so off down to the sidings we went. I had brought up the spare controllers for W55001 so we then decided which end was to be refurbished. It is to be the No. 2 end cab with the No. 1 end bufferbeam connections. The wiperblade plate came out with no bother and a look at the cab metal work confirmed W55001 is in a much better bodily state than W55003 was.

The job continued throughout the day and by 1700 hrs. all the patching had been done. I gave up at this point and red oxided the areas that had not been ground down ready for next weekend.

So another milestone has been achieved. The unit is now all red oxide and ready for filling and painting. I shall begin on the No. 1 cab next weekend. If I can proceed well enough I shall attempt to get an undercoat onto that end also next weekend. This will be a major boost to my self confidence and the project as a whole.

Once again the weather forecast during the week said the weekend weather would be good. Once again it wasn't. Saturday August 1st began wet and miserable and got worse. In the end all I did during the morning was to clean, again, the guttering on W55003. I then started on the guttering on W55001 which although flowing was not exactly pouring.

Eventually around 1200 hrs. the weather turned and the clouds began to break. Before lunch I ground down the remaining welds and red oxided them just before it rained again! Ah well such is life so I had lunch. Gary was also having fun and games dodging the showers trying to line out 3919.

After lunch blue sky broke out and I started filling and skimming the front. I used the remainder, about 1/2 tin of David's P38 on the worse areas. I then rubbed them down using the DA sander. After rubbing them down I opened the Easy 7 filler. This filler is much more fluid and fine and true to what it says does sand down easily. So much so that I ended up looking like a ghost by the time I had finished!

By this time the day was getting on so I red oxided the areas filled and rubbed down and called it a day.

The next day was much better with only high clouds and a warm breeze. I began by refilling the indentations left from Saturday's efforts.

This was then interrupted by a spell of shunting to get the first train ready. It always amazes me how only one or two of the steam department can turn up to prepare the engine on a Saturday but nine or ten on a Sunday and none of them appear willing or capable of assisting in getting the stock moved and service train ready. However, perhaps it should be left to the experts.

By lunchtime the fillings were all rubbed down as smooth as I could get them so I red oxided them and had lunch. Richard and Mark had papers back from the Safeway course so I sat with them and went through the questions and their answers.

The afternoon was dry and sunny and I excavated the Mason's undercoat green paint from the Guard's van. It went on very well and by 1600 hrs. I had undercoated all the front of No. 1 cab and the Driver's door.

The fillings may need some more attention but I shall wait until Nick & Dick come along next weekend to discuss the matter. I am pleased with the result but think it could be slightly better. I'm not sure though whether it is feasible to spend an inordinate amount of time on it.

The summer of 1998 final arrived on Tuesday August 4th and stayed with us through the following week.

I decided the best plan was to grind down and sort out the doors on the No. 1 side first. So on Saturday August 8th I began to refit all doors on that side beginning with the No. 1 Driver's door. By mid morning all doors fitted on the No. 1 side. Yes they now open and close without having to slam them or swing on the handles to open them. The first time in many a moon. I then ground down and cleaned up the inner parts of the aluminium doors ready for primer. Once primed it was time for dinner.

After lunch I red oxided all the doors and by mid afternoon I could begin on the undercoating. I managed to undercoat three of the doors and door frames. By 1800 hrs. I was extremely tired so I gave up and went home. I left the doors on the latch to dry off properly. What I forgot to do was to put the lid back on the paint tin after draining the paint pot back into it. I therefore had to come back to the railway just to put the lid back on!!

On Sunday the day was just if not even warmer than on the Saturday. I decided that I would finish off the seven doors I had prepared and call it a day. By lunch time the No. 1 Driver's door and the six passenger doors were all refitted and in green undercoat.

Nick and Dick had arrived from Birmingham with a wagon full of goodies. Nick brought a spare air cylinder from home so I am now only one air cylinder short of a full set, or so people say. Dick had brought a laser rev counter set for DMUs. We set up both the Class 117 and W55003 and measured the engine's speed. All four engines were more or less exactly the same on 450 r.p.m..

I have in my store of goodies some Class 108 seat backs and Robert of D9555 fame asked about purchase of them for the Class 108 at Cottesmore. He had already promised me an engine/air indicator panel so I suggested that no cash change hands but a fair swap occurs. I shall bring the seat backs to the railway next Saturday. This will clear some room in the garage.

The next job is to finish off the doors on the No. 1 side and then start on the side panels of the unit. I hope to have the No. 1 side completed by the end of August.

The summer continued the following weekend after a brief period of rain on Saturday morning. I arrived at 0900 hrs and began by putting the Class 108 seats in W55001 ready for Robert's collection. I then made a start on the panels down the No. 1 side from the No. Driver's cab door. They took a lot of working on and of course required filling, rubbing down, filling rubbing down etc.. By 1700 hrs. I was read to begin painting. I started with red oxide and then, as that dries reasonably quickly, the green undercoat. I first did the large panel between the Driver's door and the L1 door. I then realised that if the undercoat did not dry quickly enough when I put the window inserts and rubbers back I would get into a right mess. I decided the paint around the window surrounds first and give them a fighting chance. By 1930 hrs. the job was done and the first four panels were in undercoat. I'm not too sure of the quality of the filling, I might need to redress that in certain areas but on the whole It looks a lot better.

I should be able to finish the No. 1 side over the next weekend providing the weather remains fair.

During the previous week I had prepared a working timetable for the October Diesel gala. The copies I passed out to Bob, Graham & Simon for perusal. I also looked at W55001 in view to replacing the marker lights so the unit can run with W55003 over the October Gala weekend. I will also need to replace or even place a Driver's seat in the No. 2 cab.

Once the weather brightened up I had arranged for a late Summer holiday between Friday 21st August and Monday 31st August inclusive. I arranged for a visit to MC Metals in Glasgow during the Monday & Tuesday.

The holiday started early. On Thursday morning I dropped of a double and a treble seat squab for Mr. Block to start cutting out the new covers when the rear end of the car's exhaust fell off. I took the afternoon off to get the vehicle fixed for the following day.

The holiday proper however started well and on the first Friday I managed to fill and rub down two further panels on the No. 1 side. I also replaced the marker lights on the No. 2 end of W55001.

On Saturday I finished filling and rubbing down the No. 1 side of W55003 and marked up the areas I will need to go over again. Quite a few actually. I also replaced the headlight on the No. 2 end of W55001.

Sunday was wet and stayed wet most of the day so I had to work indoors. I cleaned down and red oxided three seat frames.

On Monday Gordon, Kevin & I set off for Glasgow. We arrived by 1545 hrs. and Jim showed us the collected items from my shopping list. The engine I was to have was a fully functioning 1595/0 7760708 with only the stop solenoid and a part of the water jacket missing.

We collected a few other spare parts and repaired to McLays' Guest House. This time the room was on the third floor, Room 64, down a maze of corridors and up and ancient spiral staircase. Our evening meal was at Paparino's and breakfast was in breakfast room 3.

After loading we began the return trip about 1045 hrs. Whilst filling up with diesel Gordon noticed an oil leak out of the van. This leak was from the engine and I think we left a trail all the way from Glasgow to Northampton.

We weather got worse as we proceeded south with rain and consequent spray and poor visibility all the way from Lancaster to the south of Birmingham. We finally arrived back at Pitsford at 1730 hrs.. The unloading took place quickly apart from putting the seat frames away. These we found we had to dismantle completely to get into W55001.

The glass we split between the two of us with Kevin taking the Driver's glass. I had bought two sets of glass which turned out to be a Driving car set and a centre car set so there was plenty for all.

The engine took a while to extricate from the back of the van. In the extrication we managed to tear off the trim from the rear of the floor. The oil leak was cleaned up and the engine craned into a place by the side of the Class 25 cab by 2130 hrs. We all went home very tired.

Wednesday was a miserable day. I began by putting the cash Kevin had paid for the glass in the Halifax. This wouldn't have been too bad except the Halifax didn't open until 0930 hrs.. This made me late. I also ordered the Dmarks etc. for the trip to Germany & Austria in September and converted my Gilders for Sterling.

Eventually I arrived at Pitsford by 1030 hrs.. I tided up the parts we had put into W55001, I managed to smash one small pane of glass, and took stock of the situation. I have now about 95% of the parts required for W55001 and once again more spares for both units. The engine turned over with good compression on all cylinders.

During the afternoon I cleaned down and red oxided 1 double and 1 single seat frame.

Thursday was fine and I began on the No. 2 side. I managed to complete the corner panel, the Secondman's door and the first panel. Altogether a good day.

Friday continued fine and two doors and 1 1/2 panels were completed. I also repainted the guttering along the complete No. 1 side.

Saturday a further 2 doors and 1 1/2 panels were completed and on Sunday 2 panels and one door were completed in between firing a couple of trips for Anthony. This leaves, on the No. 2 side, 1 panel and one passenger door, the whole of the Guard's van and the corner of the cab Driver's side. A further 3 days work to complete. Then back to the No. 1 side and No. 2 cab front to finish off. Robert Staines dropped of a Smith's heater for the unit in exchange for the seat backs.

The week ended with me taking a days break on the Bank Holiday Monday. I needed it. I watched England get thrashed by Sri Lanka at cricket. Ah well some things never change.

Once again the week's weather wasn't bad but the weekend was miserable. On Saturday I managed to red oxide the three remaining seat frames in the small saloon. That afternoon the two owners of 55009 visited and a pleasant time was had by all. It's nice to meet other owners.

Sunday, September 6th started fine but ended up just like Saturday, wet. I started by filling the panels on the Guard's van before retiring to paint the seat frames in top coat. Once again I managed to paint the three seat frames in the small saloon in gloss black.

The next weekend I was in Germany with the SVR gang so no work was completed.

On Tuesday, September 15th, I took the remainder of the seat squabs to Mr. Block's. They comprise of seats from W55001, 2, 6 & 59059.

Work recommenced the following Wednesday, September 16th, by filling and rubbing down the final passenger door on the No. 2 side together with the next panel and the first of the Guard's doors.

Thursday I was accompanied by Angie who cleaned out the two saloons. What a difference a good clean makes. I continued down the No. 2 side finishing off the second Guard's door, the Guard's van panel AND the Driver's door. Altogether a good day.

Friday a bit of history was made as the unit was returned to green for the first time in over thirty years. I finished the Driver's cab corner and the No. 2 cab front. I'm pleased with the overall finish and will be even more please when I have finished the patching.

Talking of which I began sorting out the patching on the No. 1 side on Saturday, September 19th. This leaves three panels on the No. 1 side and the No. 2 side. I managed to complete a good half of the side. I had Sunday at home to get ready for work, ugh!!

The following weekend, September 26th & 27th, was the railway's late 'Friends of Thomas The Tank Engine' weekend. I was Operating Officer on the Saturday. All went well except for having to fail Thomas with a hot box during the afternoon. W55003 had been charged up, by Dave, for two days but still refused to fire on the No. 1 engine when required. We still managed to get it to Pitsford Siding with the PMV on one engine only but the poor unit struggled a bit. I topped up the batteries ready for recharging. That evening it was put back on charge for the following day.

Sunday dawned wet but the unit fired up on both engines at the first time of asking. I stayed with the unit and painted, in black, three seat frames, 1 single and two doubles. I was then 'called out' to work.

If the weather is good next weekend I will finish off the patching and painting on either side. If not then I have only two seat frames to finish painting in black then it's onto the interior trim etc.. I've already started on the roof trim and varnished the spare lengths from the No. 1 side. The No. 2 side proper will take 19 lengths of trim, 12 for the doors and 7 for the ceiling/side join. I will, of course, have to finish refixing the window frame in the small saloon before refitting the partitioning.

Well the next weekend did dawn fine and fair well dry anyway. I managed to finish off the patching on both sides and also the red oxiding and undercoating. At least the unit will be in overall undercoat green for the gala.

On Sunday Nick & Dick came down and we were going to check over the unit for a possible gearbox problem reported by Dave the previous weekend. The first problem was that we could not start either engine. I therefore went over all the cells and checked them out. There was one bad cell with 0 volts. This was replaced and the whole bank recharged. After half an hour both engines fired up on the first try. Dick then proceeded to check out the charging circuits and we found the No. 2 circuit was not charging.

We then checked all the usual problems concerning the charging circuit including 'flashing the field' but no luck. We then checked the resistance across the alternator. It read approximately 12 M ohms. It should have read more like 12 ohms. The alternator was obviously at fault. We checked the NJV for a spare alternator but with no luck. The only spare one was the one I had come back from Glasgow with for use as a spares donor.

We brought it back to the unit and greased it up. After a few turns the grating noise was starting to subside. Possibly some rust on the inside. The brushes were changed and the resistance checked. It was about 1400 ohms much more like it. We refitted this alternator and tried again. No luck it still did not charge on the No. 2 circuit. We may have to change the control box.

At least the battery power is now back to normal so the starting problems should have ended. As long as the No. 1 engine fires then the batteries will receive a good charge from that alternator and that should be sufficient. I shall get the failed alternator checked out and rebuilt as and when. I shall also take a look at the other alternators I have in the garage at home and get Dick to check them out.

We were shunted up and down the loop as Dave and the team had finally got the Class 26 to move and wanted to take it out on test. After the final train of the day the loop was shunted and the Class 25 and 26 coupled together. After a couple of runs to the sidings and back, the test was pronounced successful. The Class 26 did the shunt to rearrange the loop and the Class 25 brought back the floating rake. I then tidied up and went home.

After speaking to Dick he is of the opinion that one alternator has main winding failure and the other has small winding failure. If this is the case then a single good alternator should be able to be rebuilt from the two failed ones. I can then get the failed one rebuilt.

With the completion of the external undercoating all external work has now ceased for the winter. I shall now concentrate on finishing off the interior.

Mr. Block should finish the recovering of W55001's seat squabs soon. I will also have to drill and refit the final window frame in the small saloon before refitting the panelling. Then the first priority is to fit the panels above the doors and then the main wall trim.

The seat squabs were ready for Wednesday October 7th so I picked them up. They do look good. Friday October 9th was spent on Bridge 13 helping Andrew et al to gritblast and paint the bridge. Andrew hopes to be 2 7ths of the way through the job by the end of the weekend. I also brought the squabs and fitted them. They look good, far too good. I also put the unit on charge.

The unit was left on charge overnight so that on Saturday October 10th the unit would have a fully charged set for the Diesel Gala Weekend. I went to Bletchley where I had an invite to go on a run of the Fragonset 31s top and tailing on two coaches up and down the Bletchley to Bedford branch.

I was 48 on the Saturday.

Nick and Dick arrived and before we fired the unit up Dick and I changed the alternator for spare one and started up the unit. After changing the fuse the alternator began to work, excellent.

The unit was booked for two return trips each day during the weekend which it performed with ease. The only problem was a worsening of the leak on No. 1 engine of the seal between the crank and the fluid flywheel. I'm not sure if the job can be done in situ but Nick and Dick didn't seem too worried. We have all winter to look at it.

Stuart & Bryce came down for the weekend to do some videoing and the weather was good especially on the Sunday. Stuart obtained some good action shots and Kevin, who came down for the Sunday afternoon, took some good shots of W55003 in No. 1 road in Pitsford Sidings. I should have taken my camera.

Saturday October 17th was the last day of the 31s on the branch so I took the day off and spent the day photographing on the line. W55029 is now named Marston Vale and the 17th was its first day in traffic so named.

The following day I spent at home preparing 13 of the trim pieces ready for next weekend. I also developed the four films taken during the previous week. I also felt very weary so an easy day was thoroughly welcome. Bob phoned during the evening to make sure I hadn't died and generally have a natter.

Well next weekend came around and with all the 13 pieces of trim and enough squabs and backs I set about re-starting the interior refurbishment. The weekend was a success and I managed to complete three sections of panelling and replaced one single two seater and two back to back two seaters.

The following week I was on a seminar in London so any evening work was curtailed. The following Saturday, October 31st, was the day when the Class 27 was to be re-bogied with the refurbished bogies. The day was wet and got wetter but the locomotive was rebogied by 1600 hrs..

Sunday dawned bright and cold and once again I continued with the interior, once I had cleared the guttering of leaves! This was from being stabled down the loop for the bogie replacement the previous day.

I managed to finish all but the small trim in the main saloon side panels. I also refitted two single two seater frames in the small saloon.

At last the following weekend was good weather. Shame I was working inside! I finished off the large saloon trim and refitted the remaining seats on Saturday 7th November. I also revarnished the window surrounds in gloss yacht varnish in both saloons. I refitted the heating vents in the main saloon on Sunday and refitted the aluminium window frame in the small saloon. By this time I had run out of varnished trim so I will have to leave the small saloon until a future date. My final job of the weekend was to refit the double backed seat in the small saloon with its backs and squabs.

The unit itself will be moved from the bay into the floating rake for the duration of the Santas.

The week will be spent in preparing and varnishing the trim ready for a start on the installation next weekend.

the weekend of November 14th & 15th was the weekend of the Grand Work-in at work. Basically this is to ensure a goodly amount of overtime for the Christmas pay packet. I managed to complete all the tasks by 1000 am on Sunday so I went off to the railway.

We had taken delivery of PWM651 the previous Tuesday so Nick, Dick and myself spent the day in getting it working. I only managed to transfer the air tank into W55001 and deposit the varnished trim in W55003 as far as the units were concerned.

PWM651 worked its first train, the return Pitsford Empties, on Sunday November 15th.

The following week I spent in refitting the window frames and internal panelling in the small saloon. All went well until I refitted the panel over the window. I had to resite the holes for the luggage rack bolts slightly upwards on the right hand side and being an idiot used a drill just too big for the self tapping screws/bolts.

I refitted some trim and left the luggage rack until the next day.

Come the Sunday I dismantled the offending panel and associated trim and started to weld up the holes so as to retap the threads anew. Dick arrived in the meantime and we eventually used his more powerful welder. I then redrilled the holes and off we went again. The panel is now refitted and all bolts fit perfectly.

I refitted some more trim and now the two single two seater frames are ready for screwing down. The double two seater frames will be done next weekend.

This will be done next weekend and hopefully this will leave only the ceiling trim to complete before Christmas.

I received the latest Railcar during the week and have put a bid in for some spare seat backs and squabs in the correct colour for W55003. I also replied to an advert for the Derby Lightweight Group who require a generator and panel set. I just happen to have one. I also hope to be able to exchange some of the 115 seat squabs for EP valves at the same time.

The weekend of November 28th & 29th was partly a working weekend for Christmas overtime. So Saturday was spent in refitting the final trim on the side panels and screwing down the seats. The unit now has all its seats in place for the first time since 1993. Dave was testing the Class 27 so I had a few rides and a quick driving turn around lunch time. Because of the testing the unit had to be shunted into Pitsford Sidings. Not very conducive to working.

I have three pieces of trim above the doors to refit then it's onto the ceiling. Although I have enough wood to do the job I will have to make one piece from two smaller ones.

I finished work at dusk around 1530 hrs. then was Guard on the return empties using the Class 27.

Sunday was spent in work until 1100 hrs.. I then went up to the railway where I found the unit already down in the sidings. All I did was to tidy up the both main saloon and small saloon. I will need to completely tidy up the saloon areas after I have finished the ceiling trim. I also swept out the Guard's van ready for the work to start on the panelling by the Guard's seat.

The railway's Santa Trains got off to a very cold start on December 5th. I brought all the purple fleck squabs plus the three RR type squabs up to put in 55001. However it took over an hour to get them into the unit as both W55003 & W55001 were parked the other side of the road bridge!! I wasn't pleased.

I eventually stated work on the trim in W55003 at about 0945 hrs.. This coincided with the unit being shunted to Pitsford Sidings. It was bitterly cold and I eventually gave up working at about 1300 hrs.. I was just too cold. I walked back with my drills etc. to Pitsford Station for a cup of tea and a warm up.

Adam invited me onto the footplate of the Tkh so I spent two trips firing, just to show these whippersnappers I hadn't forgotten how to fire. What is a whippersnapper anyway??

The rest of the day I spent helping Nick & Dick in rebuilding and replacing the donkey pump back in PWM651. Once rebuilt it can now pump up to the required 300 lbs. p.s.i.. The engine would still not fire however as it was so cold. We suspect the fuel has waxed to a certain degree although blocked injectors may cause the problem.

On Sunday December 6th I had arranged to go the Shakerstone to pick up some spare red seat backs and a couple of seat squabs. The seat backs will allow me to replace all of mine in W55003 should a disaster occur.

I picked Dick up at about 0930 hrs. and we set off in brilliant weather. Dave Pratley was there to meet us and we soon had the backs in the Transit. I had taken a couple of blue/green three seater squabs so a good trade was done by all.

After a look around at all the DMU vehicles we wended our way back to Pitsford. I dropped Dick of and set off for home. I got more or less to the M1 when I found Dick's keys so back to the railway I went. I eventually got home at about 1440.

I had lunch and emptied the van and prepared to set off to return the van the Newport Pagnell. I couldn't find my own car keys!!! I took the van back and on the windscreen of my car was a phone number. I had left my keys in the door of the car when I left the yard!!! I took the van back to Cranfield, picked up my keys, returned to Newport and came home.

By 1700 hrs. I had all the spare squabs and backs safely put away and under cover in my garage.

What a day. I needed a sit down, oh, and a beer!!!

As I had booked myself for Guard's duty over the weekend of December 12th & 13th I took a day flexi on the Friday to do some work on the unit. The unit itself was parked beyond the bridge so it was damp and cold instead of just damp. I started to fit the ceiling trim and by midday had fitted the three that I had prepared the previous weekend. I then prepared the saloon end pieces for the ceiling ready for varnishing.

During the afternoon I had a change and began on the last bit of side panelling that needed completing. This was in the Guard's van by the side of the Guard's seat. I took out the Guard's seat which promptly fell into two pieces. The tubular construction of the seat frame does not take kindly to being bent to far and disintegrated into a back and a base portion. The side panels were ground down and 'Dinitrol'ed the areas. As the day was damp and overcast the application of Dinitrol was not drying so I had to leave the red oxiding and undersealing until another day.

The Guard's window I cut back and it is now ready for a new refabricated inner frame. The outer panelling is complete except for the piece under the window. This I will make from some spare plywood donated by Kev when I first arrived on the railway.

I have a spare Guard's seat to replace the broken one. I also coated the wooden supports for the Guard's seat in 'dry rot' preventative solution. This will ensure the new seat will have something solid to sit upon.

As mentioned earlier Saturday and Sunday were spent on Guard's duty as well as training the Trainee Guards.

The weather during the following week continued to be very cold and so it was into the weekend of December 19th and 20th.

I decided to concentrate on the Guard's van panelling on the Saturday. The Dinitrol had dried so my first job after being shunted into Pitsford Siding was to red oxide the exposed areas and then underseal them. I then began constructing the inner frame for the window. The old window must have been slightly smaller than the replacement one that is from a Class 117 although I don't quite understand why. Anyway the frame was soon built and in place. The only problem is fixing the top right-hand corner bracket. I will have to take off the vacuum gauge to get at the corner properly.

The two remaining original top panels were soon tacked in place and the window frame slotted in. All that remained was for the panel for under the window to be fabricated. This was made from a spare Kevin donated Nokia box panel. Once all panels were fitted in place I dismantled the lot and filled the cavities with fibreglass. I then replaced everything and tacked them into place. I shall screw them in place next weekend.

The fabricated panel I took home and undercoated ready for fitting.

As it was getting windier and windier and colder and colder I decided to abandon any further work after removing the aluminium door cross pieces ready for scraping down and repainting. I finished work after lunch about 1400 hrs. and made my way back to the station.

During the week I began work on the window cross pieces but the going was very slow. I initially tried some Ronseal paint remover then used a blowlamp. I am now going to try grinding the paint off using 'flapper discs'. If this doesn't work it's back to the blowlamp. I would like to get these finished by the year's end.

Next weekend is Christmas so I will only be able to work on the unit during Sunday & Monday December 27th & 28th then it's off into another year.

As mentioned earlier I had started on the door cross pieces. I had gone into MK Tools & equipment and bought myself a new angle grinder and cordless drill. The angle grinder is a 4 1/2 " Atlas Copco and with this I began on the cross pieces. The flapper discs removed the old paint admirably and by Christmas Eve I had five of them finished and in bare metal. I promptly used the etching primer on them ready for undercoating later.

The etching primer I am not convinced about. Nick & Dick assure me it is aluminium etching primer but as soon as undercoat of any variety is put on top it lifts and is absorbed by the undercoat itself. However by Christmas day evening I had five pieces ready for top coat.

On Boxing Day morning we went to Joan & Keith Jackson's for lunch then back home via Kempston. In the afternoon I applied the first top coat of beige to the cross pieces.

Well the 27th was wet and windy so I didn't even bother going to the railway. I cleaned down the other seven pieces and etched primed them. I then finished off the first five with a second top coat. Two of the pieces deserve mention. One is off a Class 119 no. 51104 whilst the other is off Class 116 no. 50096. This unit has the distinction (?) of being one of the first two withdrawn because of fire damage in 1972. That evening the chap from the GCR (Nottingham) DMU group called to see if he could pick up the seat squabs.

So I was off to the railway early in the morning of the 28th to get them out of W55001. Dick gave me a hand and we soon had them in the Escort ready for transfer. I also took the undercoated piece of panelling for W55003 and made sure it fitted. I also checked to see that the vacuum gauge in the Guard's van came off easily so I can finish off the inner window frame correctly. It requires a 9/16th Whit spanner and does come off easily.

The chap arrived at about 1115 hrs. and went for a ride on the service train with his wife and daughter.

As there was no booked Guard, Adam asked to stand in. I went with Adam on the first run and was quite happy to let him Guard for the next couple when Chriss had asked to take over.

After the run we transferred the squabs across and I was paid the required amount. It is good to speak to other groups to see what is going on and how they are doing.

Back home for the afternoon I put the first coat of undercoat on the remaining seven pieces. I will put the second on tomorrow and top coat ready for the end of the year.

As 1998 comes to a close I must look back on another momentous year. W55003 has run faultlessly on both Diesel Galas, has all her seats back in, is now in full undercoat green, has the Guard's van fully panelled and is ready for finishing off during 1999.

W55001 has finally arrived and I have purchased enough spares to rebuild her more or less completely.

I have also cleared out my stock of surplus seat squabs and backs and have acquired a full set of spare seat backs in the correct colour for W55003.

PWM651 is a working locomotive although requires some remedial treatment to most parts, basically a full inspection and overhaul where required.

The railway has started expanding, at last, both North over Bridge 13 towards Merry Tom and South across the Viaduct towards Boughton Crossing.

Finally although most of the work has been done by myself thanks must go primarily to Dick Morris, Nick Wilkes and Kevin Dingle for all their help and encouragement.

On the Northampton and Lamport Railway, Bob and Barbara Faulkner, Dave Stokes, Brian Burgess, Martin Harris and Gordon Titmuss.

Personal thanks go to Mark Herbert and Keith Jackson. Lastly to Angie, my wife, without whose support and understanding I could never have taken the project on.


Friday January 1st dawned wet and windy so off to railway I went with an armful of repainted door panels. I only intended to finish off the panelling in the Guard's van and that is precisely what I achieved.

I removed the Guard's vacuum gauge to get the top right hand corner angle bracket in place and then drilled and screwed the left hand upright. The panels and window fitted very well and I soon had them all screwed in place.

This left the panelling above the Guard's door to finish off. All the pieces were salvaged from the remaining pile of pieces and with a bit of trimming here and there it was soon in place. The last thing to screw down was the Guard's buzzer box. This is held in place by two screws, one flat onto a cross piece and the second through a backing piece into the ceiling panel. I still have to make this backing piece.

The Guard's van panelling is now more or less complete and ready for trimming, tidying up and repainting in 'fawn'.

Rob Smith called by and mentioned the doors in the 'Siphon'. We agreed to move them ASAP.

I finished at about 1500 hrs. and wended my way back home.

Saturday January 2nd, I had originally planned to sort out the Guard's van trim but that is not what happened. We decided to move the doors etc. on the Sunday so I had to clear out the Guard's van area in W55001 to provide room.

This involved removing all the piled heaps of seats and seat frames from the van. They were them dismantled and the seat frames put back. I still didn't have any more room than when I started! But it looked a lot tidier and I now know the seat score for W55001, 6 x 3 seater doubles, 6 x two seater doubles, 3 three seater singles & 5 two seater singles. W55001 itself has 2 three seater singles and 2 two seater singles in situ that can be utilised as spares plus other assorted 'lightweight' seats that can be sold on.

Dick and I then checked W55001 for final drive requirements. We need more or less two full final drives to complete the unit.

On Sunday the weather was horrible, very wet and windy. I began by cleaning out the guttering on W55003 so that no leaves were clogging up the flow. We then had a meeting in which Bob outlined the plans for the railway for the next year. By this time it was noon and we fired up the Class 27 and off we went up the line to the Siphon.

We extricated 12 doors plus 5 interior sliding doors and one hinged door. The interior doors are from Class 120 TBSL No. 59292. I also removed enough aluminium trim to refurbish W55001. We also found various other 'goodies' for the spares box.

Andrew was working on the South end of the line towards Boughton Crossing and we all went down to remove the bufferstops for the arrival of a ballast wagon the following Friday.

Dick and I then returned to the Siphon to dismantle an old ex LMS Guard's door for the handle and fittings. We then spent the next two hours fitting it to W55001!! You would expect one Guard's door to be much the same as another Guard's door but they're not, as we found out. Eventually we fixed both No. 2 side Guard's doors on W55001 so that you do not fall off backwards when you open it. All that is still required is a wooden block fixing onto the base of the blank door to take the eye that guides the bolt that fixes into the footplate.

We also checked the door locks on W55003 and ascertained the requirements for fitting. All of them close but in order to pass the RESCO test we will need to work on four out of the six passenger doors.

Next weekend I will continue with the Guard's van ceiling.

During the week I made a start on the saloon edge trimmings. I had already cut them to size all they needed was treating and varnishing. I took delivery of my new battery powered drill. Much better than my old 7.2V one. Chris Ling telephoned from Butterley and I shall go up and fetch the EP valves on Friday.

There are also rumours that some units are to be moved out of Bletchley Depot for Jim's in Glasgow. I think I shall have to make sure I get my hands on one, especially one with a full set of final drives!

Bright and early on Friday January 8th I left Cranfield for Butterley and arrived in surprisingly good time at 0915 ready for tea. Chris found the bucket of EP valves and we extracted 10 of the required colours green, blue and yellow. W55001 has now got a complete set.

Chris then took me on a tour of the site and we looked at all the DMUs etc. on site. The lads have done an excellent job on all the units.

We then took a look in the 46203 Princess Margaret Rose shed. Oh for a shed like that where Mick and his mate were working on 46233 Duchess of Montrose. Of course Mick and I go back a long way to steam crewing days and a lot of reminiscing took place. The phone rang whilst we were there and it was Brel Ewert so after a 10 minute chat with Brel it was back to reality. I really miss the camaraderie of the support crew(s) but do not regret my decision to move on. Perhaps a few more visits to my old pals could be fitted in during the year. Anyway, I transgress, we all then carried a long piece of brake actuating gear off the Duchess down to one of the other shops on site for machining and continued our tour. I was away home around 1200 hrs and arrived back at Northampton in the early afternoon.

I put the EP valves in W55001 and had lunch. After lunch I continued to remove more trim from the siphon. All in all a good day with a tremendous amount of suitable trim now in store.

The various units that the trim came off bear noting. Class 116 No. 50133, Class 119 Nos. 51054, 51060, 51073 & 51104, Class 118 Nos. 51306 & 51321, Class 117 No. 51410, Class 115 No. 51680, Class 123 No. 52104, Class 116 No. 53878 & 59032, Class 119 Nos. 59419, 59424 & 59435 and finally 4-CEP unit 1597 No. 70510. I took them home and stacked them in the garage ready for sorting later in the weekend.

On Saturday Dick arrived shortly after me and we decided to start up W55003 if possible. The No. 2 engine started on the third turn. That one dead battery cell caused all the starting problems. We left the unit to warm up as Dick filled the air inlet tanks with meths to lubricate the air system. Evidently this was a fitter's mate's job and was the first time Dick had ever done the job. Dick had found one of the right angled drives to be noisy so after starting the No. 1 engine we stopped the No. 2 engine to investigate. The drive was cool at the back with sufficient oil but the nut was slightly loose at the front. Dick undid the nut and found the pulley wheel to be firm so we just replaced the nut and split pin and left it. I think the problem is that the drive has turned ever so slightly and the pulley bearing is most probably under too much tension. But that's only my opinion. The No. 1 gearbox is also low on oil. I can replenish that next weekend.

We helped the railway take delivery of a ballast wagon about noon and then Dick and I liberated another load of trim. I did however manage to fit the remainder of the side panel trim in W55003. This includes a strip from Class 118 W51306. I think I shall mark it as such for posterity's sake. Dick was working on the Guard's van of W55001 and we now have a proper block to guide the bottom bolt home. The door itself will require and bit of reseating to close fully but at least it closes again. My new cordless drill works very well with considerable power.

That evening I had been invited to Steve Roger's for an evening of railway films with David Percival. After a few industrial strength films of Mardi Collier, Mountain Ash etc. Dave gave a slide show of 'Steam in the 60's'. Very very good indeed. He also showed shots of 51206 at Agecroft, a Black 5 and Jubilee, 45663 Jervis I think, at Patricroft and a Black 8 leaving Agecroft. I have requested a print copy of each. I got home about 1900 hrs. and disgorged the trim into the garage.

I arrived at the railway about 0900 hrs. on Sunday morning January 10th and set about the ceiling trim in the Guard's van of W55003. The unit is still in the floating rake and as a large shunt was being undertaken the unit was up and down the railway all day. In fact whilst I had my lunch I lost the unit completely! By the middle of the afternoon I had refitted all the ceiling trim in W55003's Guard's van. The final job of the day was to fit the edge trims on the Guard's doors. For this I decided to use four of the aluminium door edge trims out of the Siphon. With suitable cutting down to size they fitted perfectly. All in all a good days work.

I left the station at about 1500 hrs. and went home to sort out the trim.

It took until about 1715 hrs. to sort the trim into size and shape and using masking tape to tape them up into suitable bundles.

I now have just got the four corner pieces in the guard's van to complete plus the ceiling edge pieces. These I have already got in the van and shall complete next weekend. Apart from two ceiling pieces, a piece along the bottom of the small panel on the No. 2 side 33"x4"x3/8", refitting the Guard’s seat and a repaint the Guard’s van is complete.

During the week I finished varnishing the ceiling edge trims for the main saloons.

The weekend of January 16th and 17th was a weekend when I had only one day on the unit.

Saturday January 16th the unit was parked down the line towards Bridge 13 so it took me over 30 minutes to carry my gear down to the unit and get ready. By this time Graham had arrived so I boiled the kettle and we had a chat about signalling training and the new rule book.

I began by topping up the No. 1 gearbox with oil using my new pourer. It took about 1/4 litre. It’s amazing, with the right tools things are so much easier.

I noticed that the rain had got into the saloons via the drop down door windows and that on the No. 2 side the lino was beginning to lift in certain areas. I therefore did what I had done to the No. 1 side and tacked the lino down in all the door wells.

Then I started work in the Guard’s van. I refitted the ceiling/wall trim followed by replacing the corner pieces. I had also brought up the new Guard’s seat and cushions. Well the seat was all right as was the back, but I had brought the wrong seat squab. I had brought the jockey seat’s back by mistake!!

By lunch time all jobs were done and I began tidying out the Guard’s van. All the old wood from the original trim has now been disposed of. I shall move most of the paint pots into W55001 to leave the van clear, well clearer than it has been. I then gathered up all the door grab handles and removed them to home for grinding down and repainting.

The Siphon was in the platform so I helped myself to some more trim. I also noted that there were quite a few aluminium ‘steps’ allocated to unit 59260. This is a Class 120 buffet as preserved on the GCR. I had sent a mail to the Red Triangle Group about the internal doors off 59292. They are no good to me nor the Class 177/108 so they may as well make use of them. Similarly the trim off 59260 is only of use to the right unit.

After arriving home I extricated the correct seat squab from the spares in the garage. I wasn’t sure whether or not I hadn’t got rid of it in the big clear out.

Saturday evening we went over to Keith and Joan’s for a stop over. Most enjoyable. Keith and I are going to get together to put together a maintenance procedure primarily for W55001, 3 & PWM651 but also one that may be of use for the rest of the NLR’s fleet.

If W55003 & PWM651 are to go to OOC in 2000 I think it best that they are fit to run as per RESCO & Railtrack specifications.

The wet weather continued over the next week with the end of the week very cold and foggy. By Saturday January 23rd it had moderated somewhat and although cool was bearable. The day was spent by finishing off the ceiling trim in both saloons. Sunday was spent in finishing off the eight corner pieces in the saloons. The trim is now complete, thank heavens, it was one job I did not enjoy. The last job on Sunday was to refit the Guard’s seat in the Guard’s van.

Both saloons are complete except for the doors. They will have to wait until the spring. I can now start on the No. 1 cab. Once that is finished I can make a start on the underneath by cleaning down and getting ready for painting.

Two jobs I must finish are the insulation in the front panels of both cabs and the refitting of a correct diameter glass in the high side vacuum gauge in the No. 2 cab.

When we lift the unit to remove the bogies we can do the following jobs, oil leak on No. 1 engine, oil leak on No. 1 gearbox front end & greasing the final drive and gearbox seals.

I decided to spend the next weekend on the ELR at their steam enthusiast’s weekend. To this end I went up the Stuart’s on the Friday, January 29th. We both went over to the ELR where I had some business to transact with Graham. I managed to have a good look around both Ian Riley’s workshops at Baron Street and the Diesel workshops at Buckley Wells. The amount of work required on the Cravens Class 105 is quite phenomenal but the job as usual is up to the ELR’s high standards. The Class 110 was used as the shuttle during the weekend and is in good condition. I had a good look at the unit and am quite pleased with my own efforts in comparison.

The Saturday & Sunday were spent on photographing, and videoing, the BR steam locomotives in use, the only exception being 60007 in BR Blue. This was my first steam event on the ELR and was a most enjoyable weekend.

Monday was back to Northampton to sort some stuff out on the DMUs and pick up the locks that Dick had removed from W55001. These locks, off the Driver’s doors and the Guard’s doors, together with eight spare passenger door locks are going to be sent to Heysham for refurbishment for RESCO certification.

During the week I bought a new flapper abrasive wheel for use on the internal window trim of the No. 1 cab which I recommenced finishing during the weekend of February 6th and 7th. I also bought a new set of screw driver bits for the battery drill. They are excellent and I can now dispense with the rather dubious set from the old drill. I also made up the final piece of trim for the Guard’s van, the floor piece of the No. 2 side by the tools cabinet. This I duly fitted on the Saturday morning. I then set about the No. 1 cab after pinning down a piece of trim in the No. 2 cab.

The first job was to sand down the window frames ready for varnishing. I managed to sand them down, Cuprinol them and get three coats of stain on during the weekend. They are now read for varnishing. I even managed to get out most of the burn marks from where someone had attempted to set fire to the cab. I fabricated a small piece of white hardboard and inserted into the broken Formica’s place adjacent to the Driver’s wiper motor. The rest of the trim fitted nicely except for the box cover of the heater duct where I had to cut a piece out to accommodate the AWS piping.

The last job of the weekend was to remove all the trim from the inner windows of the No. 1 cab for sanding down and revarnishing. I managed to sand down all the pieces and glue together a couple of pieces that had obviously seen better days. They should be ready for replacement by next weekend.

Dick provided a new strap for the ladder so I will replace the fire extinguisher strap that was in its place. This will lessen the rattle at least. We also inspected W55001 for which other parts we still needed and came up with yet another definitive list.

During the week following I stained and revarnished all the interior window trim. It was ready for replacement by Thursday evening February 11th.

I duly arrived on Saturday February 13th and began by putting on the first coat of varnish onto the No. 1 cab window surrounds. Once this was finished I replaced the interior cab window trim. This took until about midday when Graham asked for some help in moving and dismantling two LMS corridor connections for use on the Hawksworth. We finished that job and decided to repair to the tea room to put together a notice regarding shunting manoeuvres into and out of Pitsford Station Sidings after the previous weekend’s fiasco.

Once sat down in the RBR it became a ‘committee’ notice with everyone having their sixpenny worth. Trevor and I sat down to talk about HSE matters and this took another half an hour. By this time it was almost two o’clock.

One other job I wanted to do was replace the glass in two gauges. I managed to do this quite easily with only one broken glass and that was due to my own stupidity!

The next job was to replace the destination blinds in the No. 1 cab. I found that the box had a full set of rollers and that all I needed was the blind itself. Still another set to go back into the spares box. I cleaned up the interior and replaced the blind. It now proudly shows ‘Stoke on Trent’. I also found the one piece of trim that had been eluding me. I could not figure out why I was the piece of trim that was placed below the destination blind box missing when I had all the others. I had obviously put it in the destination box ‘for safe keeping’ and forgotten it! It is now at home being restored and will be replaced next weekend.

The last job was to put a second coat of varnish on the window frames and destination box.

On Sunday February 14th I arrived at about 0900hrs. and immediately put the varnish, I had left it in the unit overnight, into some hot water to liquefy it somewhat. Once done I put the last coat on the window frames and destination blind box. I then replaced various pieces of tin work and tidied up the cab.

Apart from painting the pipework and a few tidying up jobs both cabs are now complete and apart from the door panels the whole interior is now complete.

At that point the rains set in so I contented myself with lubricating the window mechanisms and tidying up all the saloons.

The unit was then due to be shunted back into the No. 1 road. To do the job 45118 & PWM651 were started up. The Class 27 refused to start because of battery voltage problems.

In order to facilitate the move Dave decided to let W55003 shunt itself together with the Blood & Custard Mk I into the siding. So once everything had been cleared we fired up W55003. Yes, even after this length of time the unit fired up first time. We ran the unit up and down a few times to warm it up and then propelled the Mk I into the siding.

Now W55003 is in the siding I can set to clean the roof ready for a springtime painting. I can also get the newly readied steam cleaner out to finish off the underside ready for the bogie lift.

Dick is having the week of March 1st on the railway ostensibly to replate the RBR. I will have this time off also and get some more work done on the unit or possibly on W55001.

Next weekend I will make a start on the underneath of the unit.

The final piece of trim was cleaned down and revarnished by Thursday morning. Keith had telephoned the previous evening to make arrangements for the door locks to go to Heysham for refurbishment. They were duly despatched that following day.

Dick and I will go through the unit during the weekend and decide which doors will be kept and which will be closed off. I can then do some work on those doors during the weeks work in during the first week of March.

The final piece of trim was put back in the No. 1 cab on Saturday February 20th. All that is required is that we refit the wipers and repaint the Driver’s desk in chassis black.

The doors were sorted out and the ones I had already earmarked for use were the correct ones. I can now commence on the other doors and order the panelling.

I cleaned out the guttering on the No. 1 side which as it transpired I needn’t have done. Since the steam cleaner has been in use it has proved most useful. Simon cleaned down the blood and custard coach during the morning and I had use of the machine after that.

I began on the roof where I had applied a coating of heavy duty cleaner. The steam cleaner worked a treat and now the roof is cleaned down ready for final painting. There are only two places where I will need to retouch the undercoat. I also used the cleaner to clean out the gutters. This it did admirably. It also took a lot of the black paint off the fibreglass cab roof. This will facilitate refurbishment in the summer.

I then began on the underneath of the unit. As the unit is in the dock I could not get at the No. 1 side too easily. However I managed to clean down enough without going too mad. The No. 2 side however was away from the platform so I could get underneath properly. I gave as much as I could a good clean and a lot of grime came off as well. When the bogies are taken out I will give the internals another good going over.

After the steam cleaning I oiled the springs etc. to ensure rust did not set in too quickly.

The final job of the day was to fit the door stop for the No. 1 cab to saloon door. This was in a bit of a state but when refitted properly will do the job efficiently. I took the piece home to glue, stain and varnish. I shall use a suitably cut up piece of rubber to provide the buffer surface.

Sunday was spent at work so only a spot of staining was completed. I actually managed to tidy up part of my office as well much to Angie’s pleasure.

Nick & Dick were having a weeks work-in during the week March 1st to March 5th so I arranged to take some time off as well.

The weekend started with more jobs being completed in the unit. The first job completed was a repaint of the No. 1 Driver’s desk. I had managed to get silver paint onto the desk when I painted the tops of the controllers many months before at Chinnor and it had always looked a mess. I used chassis black and repainted the top. The only trouble is that I will now have to repaint the whole desk not just the affected areas. I also repainted the whole of the No. 2 side frames in chassis black. It looks good.

The Sunday was spent in recertificating the Guards so very little time could be put to jobs on the unit. All I had time to do was unload some spares from Dick’s pick-up and then retire home.

The week began as it was to remain all the rest of the week, wet & windy. I began by refitting the No. 1 desk. I then spent a good while fabricating the final two ceiling pieces for the Guard’s van out of 2" wide aluminium. The rest of the day was spent in removing and refitting the locks that are to be locked out of use. Only one gave any trouble and I will need the use of an impact driver to move the screws.

Tuesday started with the removal of the final door panels in the Driver’s cabs ready for refitting with new panels as per the rest of the unit. I also made a start on removing the locks that are to be replaced with overhauled locks. The three on the No. 2 side will not budge so once again recourse to an impact driver will be made. The final job in the unit was to sand down, stain and revarnish the internal doors. I managed to sand down all doors and stain them with two coats of stain ready for varnishing on Friday.

PWM651 had had a complete floor collapse earlier in the year and we bought enough ply to replace the affected areas. This took most of the rest of the day to complete.

Wednesday I had planned to take off and work in the dark room whilst the car was being serviced.

Thursday was used to order the door panels from Bennetts of Bedford. I also ground down and repainted the heater ducting remaining at home. The smaller ducts were in a bit of a state as I had only wire brushed them down before repainting. They are now in good overall condition.

Friday was spent in varnishing the door frames etc. assisting Dick on the RBR and making a start on the last job in the Guard’s van that of sanding down, staining and varnishing the Driver/Guard’s van sliding door upright. I first began by removing the lock and rebuilding it. I also removed the stop block on the Driver’s/Saloon door ready for fitting, at home, with a rubber stop block made up of a cut up rail pad.

On Saturday I refitted the stop block on the Driver’s/Saloon door, sanded down the Guard’s van upright and managed three coats of stain. All that is required is varnishing. I also removed the internal window surrounds from the No. 2 cab to take home and treat.

The big job on Saturday was to tidy up the Guard’s van. I threw out all surplus items, even though some of them may come in use ‘sometime in the future’. I even found 2 x 2.5 litre tins of white undercoat and top gloss paint!! When I bought those I haven’t got a clue. It took me a while to figure out what it was to be used for.

Sunday was spent at home. I cleaned down the trim and managed three coats of stain and one of varnish. I shall replace them next weekend.

Keith picked up the locks from Heysham during the week and I shall take delivery of them next week sometime.

The window trim were duly finished during the week and by Saturday March 13th Spring was not so much just around the corner but fairly marching up the main street. I replaced the trim and varnished the driver’s door upright into the Guard’s van.

I had purchased a new impact driver set so my next job was to remove the saloon door locks from the No. 2 side. All came off and with only one exception all the retaining screws came out as well. The one that sheared off will need to be drilled and retapped for the new lock. I will leave that to Dick’s expert touch. I also removed the cross pieces from the Driver’s doors ready for taking home for grinding down and repainting.

As an aside I took a plastic container down to W55001 and sorted out the final drive mechanisms. It appears with the spare parts acquired from the ELR we now have enough to rebuild the drives completely. Excellent. I also tried to refit one of the air filters onto W55001 but only succeeded in getting it half way where it stuck firmly.

By this time, early afternoon, the weather was very nice indeed. I began to grind down the No. 2 buffer beam. By 1600 hrs. I had done the whole buffer beam and got a first coat of red oxide on.

In the evening I ground down the door cross pieces at home and after washing down left them to dry ready for repainting on Sunday.

The next day dawned fair and warm. I decided to do a job that I was unable to finish during the previous Summer, the insteps of the No. 2 side doors. I also had missed the No. 1 side cab door of the No. 2 cab so that was started first. By 1030 hrs. I had all the door insteps ground down and by 1100 hrs. coated in red oxide.

Dick and I went down to W55001 where Dick confirmed the position on the final drives. I stayed down and refitted the battery box doors on W55001. At last a start has been made. Upon return to W55003 I painted the door insteps in undercoat green and left them to dry in the afternoon sun. I also put a first coat of signal red on the buffer beam.

I had bought during the week a ‘window or glass scraper’ in order to remove the transfers off the windows and surrounds. I does work well and I soon had all the ‘please close the door’ transfers off the windows. The door surrounds were a bit more problematical but I think with a bit more perseverance will come up all right.

Once home I put the first undercoat on the door cross pieces. I will finish them off during the week. By Wednesday evening all cross pieces were completed.

Keith brought the locks over on Thursday and we then spent a day on the branch photting the units, 55029, 55031 & 117 406. I also got my first shot of a 66, 66038 and a Class 170 which was on a test run. All in all a good day.

Once the weekend came around I had managed to pull a muscle in my shoulder/neck and was having great difficulty not looking like Quasi Modo. However duly muffled up I went off to the railway ostensibly to prepare the cardan shafts for removal to Birmingham by Dick and then return home.

I removed two of the spare shafts from W55001 and soon had them labelled up for transportation. My shoulder was easing off so I continued with refitting the doors on the No. 1 side. All doors are now an easy fit. I will need to refabricate some trim from above the doors but have enough pieces spare to complete the job.

All the wooden uprights in all the doors on the No. 1 side were scraped down and repainted in green undercoat. I also managed to rub down and paint all the inserts where the door bottoms sit in. Most were just flaky but some will require inserts manufacturing and fitting. Some will require the foam draught excluders removing. All they do is absorb water and cause rot in the woodwork.

The window scraper was used to finish off removing the ‘please close the door’ labels on the drop down windows. I used the flapperdiscs to remove the ‘do not lean...’ labels off the inside door tops ready for cleaning down and undercoating. This can now be done for the whole of the No. 1 side. I can then refit the locks. I tried one of the door cross members and it fitted well and looks good in place. It will match perfectly when the door interiors are repainted.

The day was now quite warm and so I continued with the No. 2 end bufferbeam. It is now completely repainted in signal red paint.

Sunday was a day arranged to be spent at work. I managed to get finished by 1130 hrs. so after taking Angie to work to pick up a spare table I got to work in the garage at home.

I had removed all the door grab handles and two of the Driver’s door grab handles and taken them home for safe keeping. I ground then all down to bare metal and managed to get one coat of red oxide and one coat of chassis black on during the Sunday afternoon.

Monday, March 22nd, was the day when 31601 was to be named ‘Bletchley Park- Station X’ at Bletchley at 1030 hrs followed by a special run up and down the branch. Keith has been appointed ‘Travelling Inspector’ for the duration of the Class 31’s stay at Bletchley so I will be going out at lunchtime to photograph the special returning from Bedford. I shall endeavour to finish the grab handles before next weekend and then I can return them to the unit ready for refitting.

The unit is to be shunted into position for lifting this Monday evening so I can prepare it for the lift starting next weekend and hopefully lift it over Easter.

The grab handles are now ready for fitting although I won’t fit them until the unit is repainted. The shunt wasn’t done during the week so the unit is still in the same place.

Saturday March 27th I brought the door panels and the locks up to the unit so we can refit them at our leisure. During the last Sunday someone was repainting various tanks out of the Class 26 next to W55003. As a result I now have red oxide splashed down the No. 1 Driver’s door! It’s a good job it wasn’t in top coat!!!

The rest of Saturday was spent collecting some extra spares for W55001 and returning them to Pitsford so no further work was done on W55003. I also obtained a spare 17" interior door for Graham on the ELR.

Sunday was a very warm sunny day and Dick and I started by putting the batteries for W55001 on a slow charge. They came round nicely and stabilised at around 23 Volts after a couple of hours trickle charging. They should be a good set. Maybe it will be worth swapping this set for the older set in W55003.

The next job was to refit various covers on W55001. I couldn’t refit the BIS cover as three out of the four eye bolts had been removed.

I returned to W55003 with the spare BIS cover and swapped it for the one on the unit. The one off W55003 is stamped as being off M51659 a Class 115 driving car. I then ground this one down ready for repainting at home during the week. I also trimmed down the body panel that was replaced originally at Chinnor. This makes the whole of the body line straight, more or less.

During the afternoon Chris Bull and the chaps from the Dean Forest came up to look at the Class 108 trailer. They came in and looked over the W55003. It’s good to have one’s peers look at your work it makes it all worth while.

I then dispatched myself off home to undercoat the BIS cover ready for repainting.

Next weekend is Easter and I’m on Guard’s duty on Saturday. I’ll still get three days in and if the weather is good I may start on the roof.

The BIS cover is now resplendent in orange with ‘ON’ and ‘OFF’ stencilled on so I can remember which way the switch goes. I have got enough white spirit to clean the roof of any grease or oil and if the forecast holds I can get it painted in the top coat of matt black. I have also obtained 20 8mm/10mm eye bolts to replace all the broken ones on W55001 & W55003.

Steve Witton called and the cardan shafts are ready and will be available for collection from Sutton Coldfield late next week. That should tie in nicely with us lifting the bogies out for inspection and testing in mid April.

Easter '99 was over the weekend April 2nd to 5th.

For once the weather forecast was good all weekend. So it turned out. I returned the repainted grab handles to the unit ready for refitting on Friday morning. The rest of the early part of the day was spent in fitting the No. 2 side doors, grinding down the insets and undercoating. The weather was so good that I managed to clean down the No. 1 side passenger & Driver's doors and get the first undercoat on them.

Saturday was spent on Guard's duty but I still managed to get the second coat of undercoat on the No. 1 side doors.

Sunday was spent in getting the first top coat of beige on the No. 1 side doors and on Monday the final top coat was applied. All that is required now is to refit the locks where required, top coat the outside of the doors, refit the grab handles and cross members, apply the transfers and refit the internal panels then the No. 1 side doors are complete. I rescued enough bright screws from the tin for the cross members on the doors and the screws are now in place ready for the panels.

I also removed more electrical covers ready for repainting and refitting. These were ground down at home ready for priming and painting.

Dick and I measured up the wheel sets and the dimensions are as below :-

Wheel Number Flange Thickness (mm) Flange Height (mm) Tyre Thickness (mm)
1 24 31 55
2 24 31 60
3 25 31 53
4 22 28 55
5 22 27 54
6 24 27 56
7 22 26 60
8 24 28 55

The tyre thickness is fine with a minimum of 17 mm. of metal to turn down with. This will enable at least 4 turnings to take place. I suspect the best thing will be to get the wheelsets turned down at Tyseley when we remove the bogies. At least that will mean we will most probably not have to do them again in the foreseeable future. They can also do the UAT on the axles and spin test the bearings.

The cardan shafts will be ready for collection late this week and Dick will collect them late next week ready for the lift.

Next weekend I will prepare the unit for lifting. Stuart is coming down to video the lift and that will be for the video for OOC.

PWM651 was being worked on by Nick and the proportional valve has been located and the locomotive now works correctly with the stock it is working. It is now a fully functional locomotive ready for service. All that is required is a good clean down to get it back to pristine yellow for its unveiling at the June Diesel Gala.

The railway was expecting Class 25 No. D7529 to be delivered by Goodmans during the week. It finally arrived on Saturday April 10th.

I arrived on the railway at 0900 hrs ready to get W55003 ready for the bogie lift next week just as Dave was getting the floating rake ready for shunting down to Pitsford Siding.

I went down in the Guard's van and did the shunt. We took the Class 27 and the blood & custard Mk I as barrier vehicle. Dave decided that he would rather have the Class 45 for power so he swapped locomotives.

Meanwhile the unloading saga continued. The loading ramp was finally constructed and the Mk I was dropped off the end of the track ready to couple up with the Class 25.

The rig however could not be used as per Allelys as the cab end did not have a winch and the unit could not be turned within the width of the path.. So we lashed up a chain around a suitable tree bole and rigged up a cable so that the rear winch could be used to let the locomotive down.

The only other problem was a 3 inch splay on the end of the rails used to offload the locomotive off the trailer.

Very gingerly the Class 25 was rolled off the trailer, was coupled to the Mk I and very slowly the Class 25 hauled the consist up onto NLR metals.

The Class 25 was immediately whisked away to Pitsford for work to start on the heads. The No 1 siding was shunted and the floating rake was returned to Pitsford.

All this took until 1400 hrs. so half of the day was gone before I could begin on readying W55003 for the lift.

By 1830 hrs. the unit was ready. I had taken off both cardan shafts, cut off both main casting retaining bolts, disconnected the AWS, vacuum brake system, hand brake system and final drives.

That night my left shoulder was in great pain and by the following morning I was not fit to do anything.

I eventually arrived on the line at about 1030 hrs.. All I was allowed to do was carry the tea tray or a little bit of steam cleaning. The only 'heavy' work that I did was to fit the lifting bar retaining pin to W55003 to make sure the lifting points were in order.

I left the railway at about 1300 hrs. in a sadly distressed state.

The following night was no better.

The next day I booked an appointment with the physiotherapist. The diagnosis? I had put a vertebra in my neck out of place. This was causing the shoulder pains not a torn ligament or Trapezius muscle. The physio put it back and I now feel like a spring chicken, if a slightly sore spring chicken. In fact I can turn my head so far I can see myself coming back!!!!

During the week I purchased a can of aluminium etch primer so I can now paint the aluminium box covers.

Jim telephoned from Glasgow and MCMetals will be no more after May 15th. A great loss to the preservation movement. I have agreed to purchase various spares from Jim as and when Tim and the lads go to Glasgow to collect the Sulzer spares.

The Bletchley Class 117s are on the move to Jim's yard so once again I have agreed what spares I require and Jim will ensure I have them. The main spare being a complete power car bogie.

The aluminium box covers were duly primed, undercoated and top coated and are now ready for refitting on the unit. The distribution box covers were done in Hammerite Silver with black lettering.

I agreed with Dick to take a couple of days off after the next weekend so we could get the bogies out, steam cleaned and checked by the RESCO men.

Saturday April 17th came and because of problems with the new Class 25 D7629 work was concentrated on lifting the heads, again! Dick and I went off to pick up some spares for W55001, after fabricating a new rear window for the pick-up, and when we returned the unit was in place for lifting.

Sunday morning arrived and the unit was prepared for lifting only to find that Dick had forgotten the starting handle for the pump!! We went off to Tyseley to get the spare one.

Eventually we began lifting the unit initially with the intention of lifting both ends separately. This proved to be unsuitable so we had to return to the original idea of lifting both ends. The unit was soon clear of the bogies and was down on the sleeper packing prepared.

The bogies appear to be in good condition with minimal wear in all pins and joints.

Monday April 19th was spent in steam cleaning both bogies and the underside of the unit. All frames are in good condition and more or less ready for repainting. The bogies are a pair both fitted to W55003 during its last works overhaul in 1991.

The following day Dick and I removed the oily spares from W55003 and took them over to W55001 parked on the far side of the road bridge. We fitted an exhauster, an alternator and one of the spare radiators.

The weather was extremely wet as the air tank inspector came onto the railway. All tanks including W55003 and PWM651 are now passed.

Keith arrived with the RESCO inspectors at about 1215 pm and after discussions, a tour of the unit and then of the railway pronounced themselves satisfied with the work in progress. They were also impressed with the railway itself. Once the unit is reunited with the bogies I shall call them again.

Keith and I have decided to put together a dossier of spare parts and start an identification system to identify what is where and in what condition.

Stuart's video of the preservation of W55001 & 3 arrived and with a few alterations will be OK.

On Wednesday after a word with Dave Newbury at Tyseley and a fax to confirm what work needs doing I will arrange with Allely's to move the bogies to Birmingham for the work to commence. All I need to do is arrange with Dick and/or Nick to use the crane to lift the bogies on and off.

The following Saturday I worked on the inside door panelling and fitted three panels with minimal recourse to the sander. Then I cleaned down and red-oxided the No. 2 end buffer shanks ready for red top coat. I also cleaned down and repainted the buffer heads in black.

One interesting fact from Michael Mensing's photographs of the Class 122s was the fact that where the coupling hook came out of the bufferbeam was painted black. This I copied and it looks splendid.

I replaced the repainted lighting fuse box covers, the heater connection box covers and the charging socket cover. They all look resplendent in their new coats of paint.

Sunday was to be the day when we lifted the bogies out into the car park ready for transportation. Lifting the bogies in and out of the siding was to prove problematical.

The No. 2 bogie was rolled out just where the slope up to the platform was and because of this and the overall weight needed to be 'broken up' in order to remove it piece by piece.

The hornstay rivets were taken off and the horn stays removed. The torque reaction linkpin was removed. This will need to be replaced. Finally the brake actuating bar under the No. 4 axle was unpinned and dropped.

The frame was lifted only as far as required to allow each set of wheels to be rolled out and lifted clear with the frames coming out last. As it transpired there was not enough room to remove the No. 4 axle without first having removed the bogie.

The problem with trying to lift a frame with unequal length cables was to prove a large hurdle to overcome. Eventually we managed it and soon all wheels were in the frames again ready for hauling into the car park.

Getting it through the gate was also a bit of fun and games as the bogie would not run where we wanted it to. By 1800 hrs however the job was done and we were all glad of it!

I suspect the No. 1 bogie will require the same treatment.

During the week I found that Jim had sold 51386 complete. There went my spare bogie!!

After consultation with John at Bletchley he recommended the No. 1 bogie off 51375, which I duly 'reserved' with Jim and arranged with Robert Allely to get it transported back.

I took the following Thursday afternoon, April 29th, in order to get the No. 1 bogie prepared for lifting. The two bogies are a matched pair Nos. 1316 & 1317.

The lads arrived back from Glasgow with the spares. I have now got most of everything I will need for a good few years, I hope!! One part of the chocolate & cream unit T305 No. 51368 has been saved i.e. all the glass. I know I've got it.

Dick, Gary & I then lifted the No. 1 bogie out into the car park with minimal fuss.

I got back home at about 2100 hrs just as the phone was ringing. It was Eric Smith, one of the owners of 55034 at Tyseley. He informed me that he and Bret had bought 51375 complete from Jim.

I was not happy, I thought another bogie had been sold from underneath me, as they say.

After explanation though Jim had only allowed 51375 to be sold on the condition that I had the No. 1 bogie complete. Eric and I have agreed that the bogie goes to Tyseley with 51375 and remains there until the unit is scrapped when it will be returned to me at Northampton.

All told this is a suitable arrangement to all concerned and I have made more contacts from within the movement.

The No. 1 bogie was moved on the Friday, April 30th but not without problems. I think a larger crane will need to be hired to crane them back into place.

The early Spring Bank Holiday weekend also coincided with our Thomas Weekend so no work was done on the unit at all.

I was Guard on Saturday & Monday morning turns and did my first firing turn for some years on the Sunday. You don't loose the touch, your back just aches a bit more the next day!!

Stuart has sent the proofs of the video cover and with minor adjustments will be fine. He has also finished the changes to the video and a copy will be down with me soon. Hopefully we will have copies ready for the Diesel gala in June.

Next weekend it will be back to painting the underframes and preparing the brake rigging that we dismantled, for when the bogies are returned.

The video arrived on Wednesday and is fine. Only a couple of minor points that I think are only noticeable by someone in the know. It will certainly do for the Gala.

I sold my first W55003 sweatshirt to Anita at work for her brother.

Good news arrived during the week when Dick pronounced all the axles had passed their UDT examination. By Sunday he had managed to regrease two of the axles and will do the rest next week with Nick's help. The wheel sets will also be turned down next week. The operator recommended a 5 mm. off each wheel to bring the flanges back into correct alignment. This will mean a tyre thickness of 48 mm. on the worst of the tyres. This means the tyres still have 4 good turns left in them.

Following telephone conversations with Bret & Eric they want to keep 51375 intact. This will involve getting me a replacement bogie. They have arranged for two power bogies to be sent down from Glasgow next Wednesday. Having seen the bogies at Bletchley I doubt if they will be any good.

The weekend after Thomas, May 8th and 9th started fine. On the Saturday I managed to red oxide all the frames in the bogie wells and as much as I could under the rest.

Once the red oxide had dried I them sprayed the main frames etc. with Chassis Black. By this time the weather had set in for rain so I abandoned any further work whilst I unstuck my eyes from the black paint!!!

Sunday dawned fair also and stayed good all day. I got all the eight brake adjuster rods cleaned down and painted in Chassis Black. I also painted the other two bogie brake rods in Chassis Black. The No. 2 end buffer beam and buffer stocks also received an extra coat of red paint.

The bogies should be returned by the weekend of May 22nd/23rd. However, whether the unit will run in the Diesel Gala on June 12th/13th will depend on the family of Wagtails nesting on the No. 1 air intake oil separator. There are two eggs in the nest at present.

The lads trip to Glasgow provided me with two Driver's brake valves and an extra vacuum relief valve for under the desk. I loaded these into the car and after speaking to Dick took them home for cleaning down.

Next weekend will be down to painting all the pipes and conduit in the bogie wells ready for reassembly.

The following Tuesday I had arranged a last visit to MCMetals in Glasgow at the invitation of Jim.

I arranged for a long wheelbase Ford Transit and started off a 0300 hrs. in the morning.

After picking Dick up at 0415 hrs. we finally arrived at Springburn at 0830 hrs..

A quick tour around the site found various items that would be of benefit..

The spare bogies going down to Tyseley will not suffice as a replacement for my bogie off 51375. They will need to do a bogie swap.

For the first time I managed to photograph the site.

We removed various items off a Class 101 unit, 101 651 No. 53201, in the yard and were about to leave when I noticed the light fittings in an old Class 304 Sandite unit. They were the same as in W55001 & W55003!!

The only unfortunate thing was that there was no glass in them. Dick & I dismantled them all and I now have 15 complete light fittings, 6 without the glass holder but all including the base plates. This means I can replace the broken/missing ones off W55003 and refit W55001 completely.

We drove back, I dropped Dick off and then returned to the NLR to drop off the spares. I don't think Bob could understand where all these spares were coming from. Still, never mind we've got them and they will prove most useful in the future. I dropped the van off by 2000 hrs. and was in bed sound asleep by 2130 hrs. All in all a very good day.

Bob and I discussed the provision of a 20 foot container as a spares hold all. I agree this is what I now need for all the extra spares.

On Wednesday morning Dick called to say that the wheels had been turned and to arrange for Allelys' to transport them down. I called Bob who will arrange for the crane man to be available for Saturday 22nd May. This will leave the Bank Holiday weekend and the weekend of June 5th and 6th to ready the unit for the Diesel Gala.

Bob and Malcolm, the crane man, duly obliged for 0800 hrs. on Saturday 22nd May. With a telephone call to Allelys' the bogies should be back and ready for repainting, rebraking and greasing up during that weekend and the unit readied for the Diesel gala as mentioned above.

Whilst working on the spare marker lights brought down from Glasgow I found traces of brown paint which means that 51368 will live on W55001.

RESCO replied to the visit on April 20th with a letter confirming all we had talked about. No problems there. Both Keith and myself were very pleased with the reply.

Thursday afternoon provided another milestone in the restoration with the news from Dick that the bogies had passed all tests with flying colours. I relayed the information to RESCO, Doug Lindsay, Keith and Bob Faulkner. The bogies will be returned as mentioned above and will be reunited with the frames over the weekend of June 5th & 6th. Provided I can finish off all other tasks the unit WILL be available for service during the Diesel Gala.

After the news that the bogies were to be returned on May 22nd I had to knuckle down and get the rest of the underframes cleaned and painted. To this end the weekend of May 15th and 16th was spent under the unit. On the Saturday I finished off the cleaning and managed to undercoat all the electrical conduit in orange and all the air piping in white. On Sunday I finished off all the conduits and piping in top coat gloss. I also moved all the batteries from where we had charged them, onto a trolley ready for putting the main set into W55001 and the 9 spares into storage. Various spares were removed from W55001 and taken home for rectification work to commence and/or storage off site.

Discussion has been taking place about acquisition of either a 20' or a 40' container. Colin wants one for the Tkh spares and I could do with one for the DMU spares. W55001 is seriously overweight and will need emptying before restoration can commence. Dick will supply some sleepers ready for levelling off the site and sitting the container off the ground.

Louise Moore brought her sister-in-law and little boy, Mark, for a ride on the railway. I think the little lad was a bit overawed with it all, but they all enjoyed the visit.

Well the day the bogies were to be returned arrived, Saturday May 22nd, broken clouds but dry. I arrived on the line by 0730 hrs and got everything ready. The bogies arrived by 0900 hrs. and the crane..... 1100 hrs. I love it when a job goes right.

The No. 1 bogie was craned in with difficulty as the crank from Jim's had been moved out of the 4 foot and left too close to the running rail. It broke one of the running boards on the Secondman's side.

The No. 2 bogie required a shunt. The crane, an 18 tonner, would only operate with its legs out so a firm and level base had to be found. This was only available at the top of the slope beyond the shop area. The other locomotives were moved out and the second bogie was swung in with minimal problems.

The only things I noticed about the No. 2 bogie was that one of the axle boxes was inverted and that the No. 4 axle was in the wrong way around.

Once in place I could begin with cleaning them down for repainting. I began with the No. 1 bogie. The job is at the best of times a dirty one and by the time I had finished cleaning the frames I was black.

The day had brightened up and I got the two coats of red oxide on without any problems. After a belated lunch I applied two coats of Chassis Black. The bogie looks resplendent in its new coat.

On Sunday Dick arrived with a pick-up full of sleepers which we deposited down by the spare engines. Dick and I then transported the batteries to W55001. We put the 12 charged ones into the battery boxes and the 9 spare ones into the No. 1 cab.

After this I spent the day cleaning down the No. 2 bogies frames and repainting in red-oxide followed by Chassis Black. I ran out of Chassis Black during the second coat so had to revert to a can of Ford Black I had. The final coat gives the frames an almost glass like finish.

During the week I had spoken to Bret who asked if I could assist with EP valves for 51375. As it happened I could so I extracted 10 and deposited them in Dick's pick-up.

I telephoned Bret, on Monday, and he is making up the Torque Reaction Link Pins.

John Collins telephoned and the official size of a 'blue square' is 100mm square.

The late May bankholiday weekend was a weekend off. We had arranged to go to Buntingford to stay with Pat & Pete for a few days. Ostensibly this was a restful weekend but after a day at Duxford, well worth a second visit, and a few 'sherberts' I felt like I needed another rest to get over it!

On the Bank Holiday Monday I went up to the railway. It was not a good day.

We began by reassembling the brake gear on the No. 1 bogie and made good progress. The No. 2 bogie had to be lifted to rotate an axlebox and also have its brake gear reassembled. Unbeknown to me the bogie had been 'shunted' and the gap between the unit and the Class 25 was down to a few inches. So close that I could not get round the bogie without an effort. I certainly couldn't walk round like the previous weekend. Because of the movement all the scrap left by the line was in the way of removing or tightening the hornstay bolts from the No. 4 axle.

The final straw came when the lads decided to steam clean parts off the guest Class 25 next to the bogie gap at the No. 1 end. I was not pleased after all the work I had done in getting the underneath steam cleaned and painted.

After a let off of steam the problems were either resolved or ignored but Nick & I eventually accomplished all we required to do. I was glad to go home and have a rest.

The work done over the weekend meant that the bogies were ready for putting back. This duly happened on Sunday June 6th.

The Saturday before was spent in getting the hornstay bolts tightened up and the remaining brake rigging in place. The pin missing from the No. 2 bogies was eventually found, 'in a safe place', with the other hornstay bolts. The only pins missing, and I haven't got a clue where they are, were the two pins holding the hand brake rodding in place. I had one spare and robbed one off W55001.

We started the engines to give them a run to make sure there were no problems. They started first turn, once again showing the batteries are in good order since swapping out the one bad cell. When the engines were stopped I topped up all the battery cells with de-ionised water.

The last job was to 'oil' all the other pins with a mixture of oil and paraffin. Oh yes, and to fill the final drives with oil, a small but potentially disastrous omission!!

Sunday dawned bright and we soon had the packing ready for the lift. Nick and Dick soon had the unit 'high and dry' and the bogies were in place by noon. It is all on video.

This left the various pipes, air and electrical circuits together with the new cardan shafts to be connected. The brakes were adjusted up as required.

Once again with Nick & Dick's help the unit was ready for testing by 1500 hrs.. The engines were started and air was allowed to build up. Once ready the final drives were engaged and the gear boxes tested. The unit moved successfully under its own power both ways. I had to change a bulb in the No. 2 cab engine indicator panel and once the unit had been under power for a few minutes the electrics settled down and works perfectly.

After this we cleared the site of the packing and put the lifting gear all together for returning to Tyseley. We now have enough packing to lift almost anything. I wonder when we will do the Class 45?

I had booked a test run after the service had finished and at 1600 hrs. I restarted the engines to warm them through. Dave then gave the unit a full check and pronounced that he was satisfied and ready to go onto the main line.

We coupled up with the Class 27, which was doing the shunt, and off we went. As we went along there was a knocking noise from the No. 1 bogie. After investigation it was found to be the brake adjuster rigging safety bracket catching on a balance weight bolt on wheel No. 2 The safety bracket had been bent out of shape during the trip to Tyseley. Once back at Pitsford I 'bent' the bracket straight, well far enough to cure the problem.

By 1800 hrs. the unit was parked at the No. 4 signal ready for the following week's Diesel Gala. I went home very tired but happy that another milestone had been reached.

Stuart and family came down on their way to Paris on Monday and returned on Thursday evening. Both Angie and I had arranged to have Friday off to get the unit cleaned ready for the weekend. Stuart and family came up also and Stuart did some video of the internals of the unit together with some stock shots of the outside.

The unit was duly prepared inside and out and was ready by 1700 hrs.. Both final drives had held their oil level well and the right-angled drives only need a topping up.

During the week I had stripped down the failed right-angled drive and I have arranged with Bret to have it looked at his works. I have dropped the drive off with Dick for delivery to Tyseley.

Saturday June 12th was the first day of the Diesel Gala and the weather was miserable and got worse before getting better.

Due to a lack of available signalmen I had to man Pitsford Siding Box for the morning. It meant however that I kept dry and Stuart who was videoing the South of the line got some good shots.

W55003 was attached to the South end of the Class 117 which meant that my painting of the bufferbeam and Martin's resplendent yellow front end were obscured. We arranged for the units to be swapped at the end of the day.

All proceeded well with only the Class 25 D7629 causing a problem because of oil throwing.

During the afternoon I managed to accompany Martin on the unit. The only problem being the oil seal leak on the No. 1 engine. To minimise problems I shut the engine down when it was not required.

The fun occurred when we swapped units at the end of the day. The shunt was done at Pitsford Siding. All went well until we coupled the two units together. We could not get vacuum, at all. In the end we had to request assistance from the Class 27. The problem was a broken retaining lug on the high side vacuum hose at the No. 2 end. Although it sat on the dummy correctly thanks to the top lug the bottom, because it was not secured, sat 1/2" proud and hence no vacuum could be made in the system. As soon as the two faces were put together it all worked correctly.

With this in mind the following day the head was tie-wrapped together to ensure a good fit. This worked admirably.

The Sunday was a total contrast with good weather all day. We were running the three cars on three engines, the No. 1 engine on W55003 being shut down because of the oil leak, when a bleed pipe on the No. 2 engine of the Class 117 failed causing a total loss of coolant. We were therefore still running on three engines with the No. 2 engine on the Class 117 shut out this time!!

Dick and Mervyn replaced the elbow pipe and the engine was soon back on line. We then shut down the No. 1 engine on W55003 for the rest of the day.

Apart from a few minor problems the three cars worked fine together and looked good in the Sunday sunshine, especially with a 'Swinton' destination on the Class 117.

The main attraction of the weekend was the first passenger workings of PWM651. This locomotive worked well and was very well received by all passengers all weekend. A resounding success.

Apart from the fact that we did not sell many sweatshirts or T-shirts the weekend went well. Angie manned the sales stall all weekend and kept the profile of W55003 high even if it was with marmalade, chocolate cake and fruit cake!

Stuart has got over three hours of video so a good two hour video will be available for sale in a month or so.

I shall replace all the vac hoses next weekend to prevent any further problems. Not that we will have any as the unit is not booked to work until next October.

The unit was still parked in the middle of the loop with not much chance of being shunted during the weekend of June 19th & 20th. I decided therefore to take a weekend off and concentrate on getting the video of the branch finished. I also watched the Cricket World Cup Final between Australia & Pakistan.

The work required on the unit is now of such a nature that a permanent place needs to be secured to finish off the welding & painting. It is also required to allow work on the engine & vacuum systems to be completed in safety. Once agreed and the unit is in place I shall arrange for two weeks leave to complete the job.

During the week I spoke to Graham Thornton regarding the Adtranz spare bogies. I sent in a minimum bid to Jason Mayo nevertheless, even though the minimum considered bid is a bit on the high side for basically scrap bogies with parts missing.

After a week off I was ready to go back to work on the unit the following Saturday, June 19th. Dave Stokes was going in to do a shunt on Thursday which was to get the Class 117 towards the RBR ready for steam cleaning. Martin, however, wasn't sure if W55003 was going with it. I didn't want it to as I wanted to get clear access to both ends.

On Friday evening Martin telephoned to say the units had not been split and that we would do it on the following morning.

Once repositioned and split I commenced to replace both vacuum hoses on the No. 2 end. I then removed the vac bags off the No. 1 end and began to grind down the bufferbeam for repainting. I managed to get it red-oxided by lunchtime.

By 1500 hrs. I had the bufferbeam and buffer stocks in signal red and the buffer faces in chassis black.

The final job was to clean down the axleboxes and paint in chassis black.

Sunday was spent at home getting an article for Brian Morrison completed.

Speaking to Simon on Monday the unit should be back in the bay in the next two weeks ready for the final welding and painting to be undertaken. This will hopefully be during the middle or last two weeks in July to coincide with Dick's long weekends off.

At last the final stretch has arrived. Once painted and with a new seal in the No. 1 engine the unit will be 99% complete and will soon after be ready for certification and

service. I will get Angie to have the plaque readied for an October completion date.

I finally decided on the fortnight of July 12th - July 23rd for the painting. This coincided with Dick's next long weekend when we can get the final bits of welding completed and the Driver's windows replaced.

Before that however was a final weekend down the loop. I came in on the Saturday, July 2nd, and cleaned out the guttering!! Even in summer that loop is a menace to any unit with standard guttering. I then checked the dummy vacuum hose mounts for decent rubber seals. Non required replacement. The next little job was to check the highside vacuum hose that was a little tight in the holder. I will need to file/grind the pin lug down a little to ensure a snug but easy fit. This will prevent the lug being snapped off at a future date. Once that job had been done I commenced painting the remainder of the parts below the frames.

I ground down the EP valve box covers and the rest of the steelwork as best I could, degreased all the surfaces and got the red oxide on by lunchtime. After lunch I applied the top coat of Chassis Black and began applying the orange to the requisite pipework. All that was left on the No. 1 side was the air pipes to be done in white.

I will need to get some more Pastel Orange for the No. 2 side as well as an extra can of thinners. Speaking to RESCO about the upper orange line has resulted in the decision to paint the guttering in orange as the upper limit under the wires.

Brian Ashby now has the quote for the containers and they will hopefully be in place by the end of July or early August. We can then clean out W55001 and also my garage. You never know I may be able to put the car in it again, a real luxury!!

Dick came down with the repaired right angled drive, a good job done & quickly completed. Bret & I agreed a price over the phone. Eric Smith has purchased the two complete bogies from Adtranz and my spare bogie off 51375 has now been taken out and is in the car-park at Tyseley. I will have it moved as and when I can arrange all parties to be available in the right place and at the right time.

The unit is to go into the bay next Saturday. I can then commence the big push to get the unit painted. I shall start with the roof, then the welding and replacement of Driver's window, the half and half coat and finally the top coat. Once dried I can apply the small yellow warning to each end. And all in a fortnight!!

Jason Mayo telephoned to let me know that I had been successful in my bid for DD10/020 one of the 'good condition, some parts missing' bogies at Adtranz. A date of July 12th has been arranged to view the bogies. DD10/079 & 080 had not attracted any bids and were open to offers. Dick is in Adtranz for a course during the week so if he can get a look at the bogies a visit can be avoided.

If I go ahead with the purchase I will arrange with Eric to have his two and my one transported to Tyseley from Derby and then to continue down the M1 with my other spare one, from 51375, picked up from Tyseley and taken on to Pitsford.

I decided to go for broke over the fortnight July 12th - 23rd in order to get the painting done. This coincided with Dick having July 16th - 18th off when we could also make a start on the No. 1 engine crankshaft seal.

I continued painting the underneath of the unit during Saturday July 10th then spent an afternoon collecting some spares in Dick's pick up. The unit was shunted back into the bay platform so the No. 1 side can be started ASAP. Sunday was spent on the No. 2 side painting below the frames.

Monday was spent going to Derby with Dick to inspect the Adtranz bogies. Basically they are all scrap bogies in what can only be described as Barry Scrapyard Condition. The one I was allocated was minus ALL brake gear. Even the final drive was well warn. We decided that the best approach was thank you but no thank you.

Eric and Bret came back to look over the unit and Bret took away an exhauster for refurbishment.

They left with Dick at about 1500 hrs. so I set to work and cleaned down the roof ready for top coating the following day.

By mid day the roof was complete and although a bit patchy is now complete. All that is now required is to clean down the two fibre glass cab sections, repaint with etch primer filler and paint white.

Tuesday afternoon was spent in cleaning down the unit with de greaser ready for the application of the half-and-half coat. By the end of the day I had the No. 1 cab in half-and-half.

Wednesday was spent in continuing around the unit and by the close of play the No. 1 side was complete in half-and-half. Thursday saw the completion of the unit in half-and-half.

Dick was coming in on the Friday so I spent the morning in finishing off the 'bits & pieces' i.e. the door edges and inside parts and the afternoon in getting the No. 1 engine ready for dismantling. This involved removing the curved exhaust pipe, the bellows exhaust pipe, the air intake filter and oil bowl, the free wheel shaft retention bracket and free wheel shaft itself.

Nick and Dick began work on the engine during the afternoon. The job ended up a lot more involved than originally thought. The flywheel once drained was soon split and with suitable bolts was removed from the crankshaft. The engine was supported and the mounting bracket was removed. To get at the seal the next plate is a split plate, split vertically. All the bolts came out, except one. This one bolt required the whole of the sump to be removed. This virtually required the dismantling of the whole engine.

There was one consolation however. Once dismantled we could get a good look at the crank, pistons and bearings etc. Dick pronounced them all in tip top order. All that was required was to order the requisite seals and joints and rebuild.

I ordered the seals etc. from Volvo Bus & Truck at Milton Keynes and they were ready for Wednesday. I also purchased 35 litres of Flushing Oil, enough to flush both engines.

Saturday was spent in finishing off cleaning the parts and especially the centrifugal oil filter which had about 1.5" crud stuck to the inner paper. Hardly conducive to good running. In fact the engine was severely 'gunged' up. This we believe accounts for the seal blowing by simply letting it get dry and cracking.

Sunday was spent in rubbing down the No. 1 side to get rid of the hairs shed by the roller on the cab end and to get the both sides ready for the first top coat. The No. 1 side was re painted in half-and-half and the No. 2 side was also made ready for the first top coat by lunch time. By knocking off time the No. 1 side was in top coat except for the door innards.

Monday morning, July 19th, saw the No. 1 side completed and the No. 2 side main panels in top coat. Monday afternoon saw the No. 2 side door parts all but finished in top coat.

Tuesday morning Dick came in whilst I finished off the No. 2 side. Tuesday afternoon saw the refitting of all the main glass panels. They are now all kite marked and held in by four rubber lugs. The new rubber posed a few problems so we decided to wait until the weekend when I could bring the 'rubber gun' in and we would attempt to do the job with that.

Some of the drop lights will need replacing as they too are plate glass and not kit marked toughened.

Dick continued with fitting the new locks on the No. 1 side. All doors on that side now close correctly. Late Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday evening saw both sides being rubbed down ready for the second top coat. These were duly applied during the Wednesday ready for a day off on the Thursday.

Friday was spent in finishing off the door fittings and inner parts and painting in the small yellow warning panel on each end together with the ivory lining on the front ends. Gary will undertake the rest of the lining out. The late afternoon saw a start being made to the to the orange cant rail a.k.a. the guttering. This was finished off on the Saturday together with the luminous yellow/green edges to the doors so we can now see the passengers falling out more easily.

Sunday was a day off for me but Dick has now rebuilt most of the engine except for the sump. The sump gaskets that I have in my spares locker are for Albion engines not Leylands, aaaarghhhhh! I have ordered the required part and we will finish off the engine next weekend.

I say Sunday was a day off but in fact I finished off the step boards ready for fitting. They have all been coated in a non slip coating.

The light is beginning to grow at the end of the tunnel and with the refitting of the glass W55003 looks like a unit again, at last.

Late on Sunday W55003 was shunted into the back row more or less where she was put originally. We shall finish most of the rest of the restoration there.

W55003 looks even better after the weekend of July 31st and August 1st. Gary Austin has painted the two ivory lining bands down the No. 2 side of the unit and they look immaculate. I painted the blue squares on the cab ends of the unit on Sunday and all that is left is the lining out of the corners, the top line on each cab and the lining out of the No. 1 side. Gary has asked for the unit to be back in the platform for the final lining out of the No. 1 side. We will need to discuss the refurbishment of the fibre glass cab ends.

I refitted and painted the stepboards over the weekend and promptly hit my shins on the ones on the Guard’s van door!!

Dick with my feeble assistance finished rebuilding the No. 1 engine. We found an oil filler pipe that actual fitted with no bending required and so for the first time since the engine was put in, back at Chinnor, it ran without the filler pipe rattling. After a few teething troubles like the fuel pump being 180o out of line, the engine fired up and ran freely. I had half filled the engine with flushing oil to give it a good clean out. Once we have run it for 10 minutes or so we will drain the oil, change the filters and refill with standard Diesel oil. We will then do the same with the No. 2 engine.

The next step will be the glass followed by the door locks then the door panels. After that it’s down to a final repainting of the insides including the Guard’s van then on to W55001.

Early indications of the engine rebuild are that the oil leak has been sealed on the crankshaft end but there is a slight leak at the ‘O’ ring on the fluid flywheel. Dick has said to leave it until next week to see if it takes up. This is because the ‘O’ ring seal may have dried out slightly whilst being off the crankshaft end and therefore requires a while to expand to its original shape. If necessary it is an easy job to replace.

During the week Dick and I discussed the heaters for the unit. We will ascertain which are the latest overhauled ones and use them. I have two heater support slings from a Class 108 which we can adapt for use on W55003 as the aluminium venting is all but useless for fastening the end ducting onto. If necessary we can adapt the slings to use threaded rod to provide adjustment for height etc.. The removal of the heating system was the first job I undertook at Chinnor and now the wheel has almost turned full circle. I am now ready to replace them.

I did very little work for the unit during the week and the following weekend was to be a single day on the line. I had arranged to go the Northants to watch the cricket on the Sunday.

Saturday August 7th dawned wet but warm and remained so until lunchtime when it stopped raining. Gary continued on with the lining of the cabs and now both cabs are fully lined out as is the No. 2 side.

I drilled and fitted the screws to the underside of the stepboards down both sides. They are now complete. As the weather was against outside working I made a start on painting the inner doors on the No. 2 side. I removed the internal door panels I had made and also the cross pieces I had fitted. The transfers were removed by using a glass scraper and the whole surface was cleaned down with a grease remover.

By the time the weather improved I had undercoated all the internal areas as required. To do the outer edges of the door required use of the ladder and various wooden blocks to steady the whole contraption. By 1500 hrs the job was done and I shall paint them in top coat next weekend, weather permitting.

The No. 1 fluid flywheel had only dropped a few drops of oil even so I decided against starting the engine until Dick was available.

Nick and Dick arrived about 1600 hrs. just as I was going home. I was having a Sunday off and had planned to go to the cricket with one of my work colleagues. This proved somewhat of an optimistic hope as it rained all day from 0930 onwards.

I spoke to RESCO during the week and they are going to furnish me with a list of the paperwork they require to get me and them to the same point. As far as the examination and test is concerned they are happy to leave us alone until we are ready. The only thing I had not planned for was the provision of windscreen wipers on both sides of each cab. I may have to take two out of W55001 only because they have the correct backplates. This will allow me to fit them directly without having to make new backplates. The air lines are still in situ, and working remember when we started the engines for the first time, so that part is no problem.

Saturday August 14th started somewhat better weatherwise. Nick and Dick arrived at 0900 hrs. and we began work. Nick started to dismantle the fluid flywheel, coating himself in oil at the same time. Dick started to install the NRN radio in the No. 2 cab whilst I started on the window rubbers. I found this job to be nigh on impossible even with the proper application tool or gun.

Nick rewired the freewheel shaft and by early afternoon we were ready to drop the flywheel. However I was still struggling with the window rubbers so Dick assisted by Nick and myself continued the job. It was then that the heavens opened and all three of us got a severe soaking. Eventually we had all the rubber except for two large windows installed down the No. 2 side. One window frame will need extra set screws putting in the hold the frame and panels tighter than at present.

The radio meanwhile was going in a treat and by 1600 hrs. was ready for testing. It worked beautifully and this was without the roof aerial. We fitted the roof aerial, once again quite easily, and threaded the coaxial cable down through the roof into the cab. Dick lashed up the connection, as we couldn’t find the soldering iron, and the radio performed faultlessly. Excellent.

The fluid flywheel was left until Sunday as we retired to the pub for a well earned drink and a meal..

The first job on Sunday was to solder and thread the coaxial lead. This was done with minimal fuss. The radio tested out faultlessly. I shall pin down the coax next weekend.

The next job was to dismantle the flywheel. This we did and soon found the cause of the leakage. The mating face from flywheel to crank shaft was metal to metal. When assembled previously some ‘Mylomar’ or other sealant had been used and we had not cleaned it all off properly. Once cleaned down and reassembled, with the assistance of ‘Mr. Green’ aka Gary Austin, we soon had the engine up and running again.

The engine ran witha slight blue exhaust and very smoothly. All that is required on that engine is to drain the flushing oil, replace all oil filters, refill with lube oil, replace the air intake oil filter and run up. We will do the same with the No. 2 engine also.

The weather forecast was for heavy showers during the afternoon so I decided to paint the inside areas of the No. 2 side door frames. They are now ready to have the edges painted and will then be ready for the new locks. My final job was to refit the bottom hand grab rail on the No. 1 side No 1 end of the Guard’s van. All grab rails are now fitted. All that is left to do is paint the green ones black.

I have also started planning the official ‘unveiling’ of W55003 to take place on October 9th.

There are some weekends you go in and you seem to take two steps forward and three backward.

Such a weekend was August 21st and 22nd. Dick and I worked on the unit on the Saturday and between us we managed to fit the pan on the No. 1 end. This included taking out two pieces to allow the air vents to poke through without the need to remove them.

Once this was done I drilled and tapped the corner of one of the windows that needed pulling in. I must confess that my countersink has seen better days and it took a fair while to countersink deep enough. Once the self tapping screws were put in I filled the area with filler ready for rubbing down and painting on Sunday.

Dick finished the rest of the window rubber down the No. 2 side whilst I fitted the new passenger door locks and handles. Two out of the three fitted easily but the third one would not go in right. The door was not fitting correctly so I had to take off all the paint down the spine of the door and also in the wood recesses of the frame. Once we had ascertained where the door was catching I ground down the offending area and the door now fits.

The locks however were not so easy. Three locks from Lancaster Coach were not the same size as the ones taken off the doors on the No. 2 side. The ones fitted to the No. 1 side were of the same size as the original ones and therefore fitted properly. I have other locks taken off Class 117s at Glasgow that are still in date so I tried them the following day.

Gary, meanwhile, had been given the task of applying the W55003 transfers to the No. 1 cab secondman’s side. This he did well and by 1600 hrs. the unit was numbered W55003 once again.

On Sunday Dick was working so I made a start on replacing the errant lock. After a little more ‘fitting’ the door now closes fully but according to Dick not quite as it should. We will look at it more closely next weekend.

I rubbed down and painted the window corner and made a start on varnishing the W55003 numbered panel. The varnish gives a covering of about 1/1000" and protects the fragile transfers as well as giving a deep gloss to the paintwork. It made a big difference. I decided therefore to varnish the whole unit. I made a start on the lower half of the No. 2 side and by mid afternoon had it all varnished.

Dick arrived about 1600 hrs. and between us we looked at the locks as mentioned above. I shall bring some new strike plates up next weekend.

During the week I ordered the ‘Door Out Of Use’ stickers for the doors from MK Markings.

October 9th seems to be coming along nicely with about 67 guests expected. I have ordered the grub from Kingsthorpe Upper Crust all I need to do is give exact numbers nearer the time.

Next weekend is bank holiday weekend and I will get Nick to sort out the oil in the engines, Dick to look at the locks and I will make a start with replacing the heaters and if the weather is fine Gary can continue with the remainder of the varnishing.

The late Summer Bank Holiday for once was a good three days. The weather was fine and dry and not too hot. Saturday started with a concerted effort on the two cab roofs. I scraped them both down and painted them with the correct filler/primer. As I had no white paint I decided that the next best colour was Ivory. It took a fair while to top coat but once done the cab roofs look vey good. Gary was whisked off to help out whilst Dick fitted the other cab radio. The two numbers are, No. 1 cab L5382 and in the No. 2 cab L5569. To round off a good day Dick fitted four of the window rubbers on the No. 1 side leaving three more to go.

The locks are still proving troublesome so we refitted an original one to see how the locks matched. The difference between the ‘DMU locks’ and the ‘MK1 locks’ is as follows. The is a 2 or 3 mm. difference in gap between the tongue and the lock bolt. The MK1 being wider. This makes it almost impossible to fit into the striking plate unless the doors are exactly square in place. We noticed this as the bottom of one strike plate had been removed, ground off.

I have enough good DMU locks to replace the MK1 ones but would like to use brand new ones if possible.

On Sunday Gary and I put on the BR roundel on the No. 2 side. It looks excellent. Gary then varnished the remainder of the No. 2 side and both front ends. I painted the remainder of the No. 2 side doors interiors ready for Gary to fit the labels. Once done Gary fitted the labels to the doors and above the emergency cords. I refitted the heater air inlet box on the No. 2 side and then set about painting the parts under the solebar.

By Sunday evening most of the orange parts had been repainted.

On Monday all three of us worked on the unit. Nick sorted out the No. 1 engine. It is now fully operational with clean oil and new filters. He also fitted the heater air inlet box on the No. 1 side. Dick finished off the window rubbers so now the whole unit is glazed. He then sorted out the wiring on the the No. 1 engine started panel. The No. 1 engine would start from this panel but would not stop either engine. He quickly ascertained that it was a loose wire and a failed push button switch. The wire was quickly sorted out and I will bring a spare switch from home next weekend. I varnished the door interiors where Gary had put the transfers. I then started on the underneath parts again. This time I repainted all the springs and spring pads in car tyre black. I also repainted the step boards in Chassis Black. The final job to top up the batteries.

During the week the new containers arrived and so now I am the proud owner of a 40ft. container with nothing in it. The first things to go in were some spare parts brough down by Dick.

The DMU Group has taken possession of 51402 so we spent some of the weekend sorting out that unit.

The good weather continued into the next weekend. Saturday September 4th was spent in sorting out the door locks. We refitted two ‘old’ style locks on the No. 2 side and one MK1 type. All doors now close correctly. We started the engines but could not get the final drive/axle light to come on in either cab so after consultation with the wiring diagram Dick decided the problem was actually in the snap lock itself. Once dismantled the No. 2 final drive snap lock was found to be extreemly coroded. We swapped it for a spare out of W55001 and all systems came up working properly again. I shall clean up this snaplock and it can go into the pool of spares.

The No. 1 engine was also giving a bit of starting trouble caused by a sticking engine stop solenoid. We discovered that the stop solenoid was out of line with the actuating mechanism. Once realigned it now works as required. The engine burns with a minimum exhaust much to Nick’s disgust. We shall do the No. 2 engine in due course.

The only fault we can now find is the fact that the DSD (Driver’s safety Device) is not coming on after the regulation 5 seconds. The problem seems to be a sticking solenoid. I will replace the solenoid next week.

Once the unit had been shunted into the dock Gary made a start on the lining on the No. 1 side. By close of play he had already got the first coat of ivory on.

Sunday was just as warm so whilst Gary finished off the lining out I busied myself on the No. 2 side. I repainted the electrical connector boxes and connectors and started on the air pipes. These were painted in white. The next job was to do the wheels. I cleaned down all the available wheel and red oxided them. I also did the bolster ends. Once dried I painted the wheels and bolster ends in chassis black.

Gary was second manning during the afternoon so I spent the time varnishing the No. 1 side. I managed all but three door and three panel bottom areas. These will be finished next week.

Once varnished Gary and I shall put on the transfers and revarnish and I shall make the door panels for fitting during my weeks holiday. I shall also replace the Driver’s locks and the Guard’s van door locks. After that the only major tasks are to refit the heaters and test and refit the wiper motors and blades. After that it’s all minor jobs.

The East Lancashire Railway’s main event of 1999 was the ‘Classic Traction Weekend’ over September 10th - 12th in conjunction with EWS & Traction Magazine. I went up and stayed at Stuart’s for the weekend and got some good shots on slide and also video as Stuart was Guarding for a morning on the Saturday.

The following week I was on holiday so on Monday I went straight to Lancaster from Swinton and picked Keith up. We then went to Heysham to drop off some locks for me and then to Carnforth to do some work on an RBR for him. After that a quick (?!!) drive down the M6 saw a few hours spent on the branch videoing L720 & the bubbles.

The rest of the week was spent on the unit. Wednesday saw the rest of the passenger door locks refitted and extraneous door handles removed. Thursday, Angie came up and started cleaning out the saloons. I continued with fabricating and fixing the internal door panels. By Thursday night all the passenger saloon panels had been fitted and the saloons were looking a lot cleaner. The cleaning took its cost however in that the washing machine, Angie was washing the dust sheets, blew up closely followed by the vacuum cleaner. Friday saw the Driver’s doors completed with new locks fitted and panels put in place. I also repainting the buffer beams, cleaned down and repainted half the wheels, the bottom half. On Saturday Dick sorted out the AWS and the DSD which now both work. The AWS was suffering from a bad attack of the clappers, they didn’t. We had to dismantle the bells and clean up the actuating mechanism. Then they did. The DSD required a replacement part from W55001 but is now in full working order. Gary fitted the BR roundel, the W55003 transfers, the No Smoking triangles and the Door Out of Use stickers. He then painted the new panels in the Guard’s van in grey. The paint is not quite a match for the rest of the van but I will do that after October. The final thing we did was move the unit a half turn so I could paint the other half of the wheels on Sunday.

Sunday was wet and got wetter. I cleaned down the other half of the wheels and repainted them. It then got wetter so I gave up and went home at about 1400 hrs. ready for work the following day.

During the week I overhauled the DSD valve that was sticking. It is now available for use. I now have three snaplocks spare of which two are in good condition.

The light at the end of the tunnel is definitely getting closer. The next weekend was the Thomas event on the railway. I excused myself and stood as spare fireman for the weekend.

Dick was on the line early and he got two 1997 dated heaters out of W55001. I, meanwhile, had brought the original two taken off W55003. We fitted the No. 1 side and measured up the extra clamp bracket. Likewise the No. 2 side was readied but not fitted as I had not brought enough securing bands. During the afternoon I cut down the clamps and Dick welded the threaded bar in place.

Gary did some remedial work to the roundel then varnished it in place. Now the whole unit has been varnished. He also fitted some ‘Please Close the Door’ transfers to the working doors. Theses transfers are original BR transfers in original DMU Malachite Green. I busied myself touching up the wheels in chassis black. I also painted one of the exhaust pipes in Chassis Black. The other job half completed was to drill and fit the makers plate onto the No. 1 side. It looks a treat even though I say so myself. I also painted up the second makers plate for the No. 2 side. I took home the final piece of Guard’s van trim that I need to replace. This I shall do during the week and refit next weekend when I do the big clearout.

On Sunday September 26th I brought the securing bands from home and secured the No. 1 and No. 2 side heaters in place. After that I measured up and drilled the holes for the new retaining brackets. This involved removing the heaters which was a bit of a fiddle. By noon both heaters were in place and clamped.

Nick and Mervyn came down and took over fitting the fuel pipes to the heaters. Once completed both heaters were fired up. The No. 1 side heater worked a treat and soon the saloons were being treated to warm air circulation. The No. 2 heater would run but would not fire up. We will replace this with one of the 1997 heaters next Saturday.

My final job was to fit and line out the No. 2 side makers plate. This is the first time in many years that W55003 has run with makers plates. I had to go into work on Sunday afternoon so worked ceased by 1330 hrs..

Keith and I will visit the unit next Thursday prior to a meeting of Nick, Dick, Keith and myself to discuss the main line ticket question.

October 9th is getting closer and I look forward to a successful conclusion to the restoration when I shall have a few days off.

Keith and I visited the railway on Thursday September 30th. Keith inspected the unit and pronounced himself satisfied with what he could see. He even tested the doors to his own satisfaction and my relief.

Saturday October 2nd came around and I arrived on the railway to find Nick & Dick already there. After sausage sarnies we set to work. I got one of the spare heaters out of the container and with Dick’s help proceeded to fit it.

We ran the heater up and it burst into life. We now have a fully heated unit. Dick then spent a lot of the rest of the day in refitting the wipers in the cabs. I contented myself in painting the unpainted bits and a few more besides. We were still having trouble stopping the No. 2 engine. Dick, after checking the electrics, pronounced that it was the stop solenoid on the engine. We eventually replaced it with one off one of the spare engines. It worked a treat.

By 1500 hrs. the unit was ready for photographs to be taken. Dick took the unit up to the boarded crossing where I proceeded to take the necessary photos.

The No. 1 engine would still not come down properly so Nick & Dick inspected the throttle motors only to find them in good condition. It was down to the governor on the fuel pump. When checked it was found to be bereft of oil. Suitable filling followed and the engine now comes down a whole lot better.

I then tidied up the tools and spare heaters etc. whilst Nick & Dick went to assist Dave Young remove part of the vacuum system on 5001. Once finished I went and assisted also. We all then repaired to the local hostelry for pint and an evening meal.

I had started with a cold and by the time I arrived home was ready for nothing else than bed. Dick came round the following morning to collect a spare wiper motor and other parts required for Sunday. I stayed at home and sniffled my way through the rest of the day.

The final transfers have arrived but I confess that I had to ask for assistance in applying them. I shall apply them later this week when I get to the unit.

All is now ready for October 9th except cleaning out the Guard’s van and cleaning the unit inside and out. We can then finish off the small jobs and get ready for the main line certification.

The cold I had got steadily worse but by Thursday I was on the road to recovery except for coughing fits every now and again. The unit was in the platform so I worked on cleaning out the Guard’s van. In the process I got the car stuck down by the container. Eventually I got it out but with about 3 tons of mud caked on the underneath!!! The last job on the Thursday was to fit the commemorative plaque for Saturday and test the curtains. All worked as they should.

On Friday October 8th Dick and I continued cleaning out the guttering. I then drilled a drain hole half way along the No. 2 side to assist in the water drainage. The unit was in a position so that I could finish off painting the exhaust pipes in Chassis Black. I then finished off cleaning out the Guard’s van and fitted the final pieces of skirting board. Dick removed the errant screws on the final locked out door and that is now sealed. I touched up the window edges whilst Dick touched up the interior door cross members. We put the batteries on charge ready for the following day.

Jim arrived during the day and brought the sign for the guests for the following day. What a good sign it was and in the correct colours, green and ivory.

During the afternoon Issy & Dick washed down the unit whilst I cleaned down and polished the Guard’s van walls. The final job was to refit the lifted seat in the main saloon and cut, trim and refasten the lino opposite that seat.

By 1800 hrs. the unit was ready, well as ready as I was going to get it. We left the unit on charge until the morning.

The great day arrived and the weather was reasonable, no rain. I busied myself with getting all the stuff ready and Angie set up the Guard’s van with the sweatshirts etc. and then manned the gate.

The unit was pushed into the loop but in such a place so that with the sun shining good shots were for the taking. And I did. I went round and dusted off the cobwebs etc. and general fussed around like an mother hen. Well after four years I think I’m entitled to. Then disaster. The No. 2 engine would not start. Not only that but was totally lifeless. Dick went underneath and started it with a screwdriver across the starter motor terminals. After that it functioned faultlessly all day. The fault is therefore in the control circuit. We will find it later.

The guests had already started arriving and so I had to go and do my mingling as a good host should. The event was newsworthy enough to be mentioned on BBC Radio Northampton on the 1000 and 1100 o’clock news bulletins. Dave drove the unit all day and W55003 performed faultlessly and the sun even shone.

We also had PWM651 out with a short rake of engineers wagons.

All too soon the day was over. W55003 was retired to the loop with her job well done and many more admirers.

I was 49 on the Sunday.

Sunday was an easy day for me. I brought Nick back from Cranfield and all I did was to cover the seats with the dust sheets.

W55003 is now well and truly launched and the next few weeks will be used to repaint the Guard's van and apply the final transfers. After that it is main line time.

During the week I telephoned EWS with regard to the OOC Open Day. I have now sorted out what needs to be done and by when. It is all systems go.

Stuart has already got the 'Into Preservation with W55001 & W55003' video ready and is now planning the OOC videos. Angie is also planning the sweatshirts etc. that we will need. Nick and Dick are also looking towards the main line certification.

The following weekend found W55003 in the loop. The sooner I get it out of there the better as the leaf fall bungs up the guttering something terrible and I'm not prepared to have all that plus dampness after I've spent all that time and money on restoration.

After a conversation with Simon W55003 is going into the floating rake with W55001 taking its place in the loop. At least I can clear out W55001 ready for a start in the new year.

W55003 was not going to start on Saturday October 16th so Dick and I fired up PWM651 and towed the unit into the platform. We then put it on charge. Dick sorted out the electrics and engine starting problems whilst I busied myself with fitting the Guard's van door locks and the Driver's internal door handles.

The final job was to drill out the broken studs for the door grab handles and replace with new studs. By 1600 hrs. the new studs were in, welded in place and painted. By this time Dick had sorted out the electrics and W55003 now starts and stops on all buttons as designed.

Keith, Nick, Dick & I are to meet next Saturday to ready ourselves for the RESCO certification.

Sunday, October 19th was spent in collecting the two 680/1s I had bought from Bletchley. They are both complete and should, with a good overhaul, provide the backup engines I need for W55003. Gary took the transfers and was last seen striding purposefully towards W55003.

During the week the three locks I left with Lancastrian were returned in overhauled condition. The certificates will follow shortly.

I visited Bletchley to inspect 51359. I have bought what remains of the vehicle for spares and to my delight there is more on the vehicle than I first thought. The set of batteries is also safely tucked away in the Guard's van.

The unit is to be moved on October 29th.

October 23rd and 24th were not very good weather days. On Saturday Dick started fitting the new pyro boxes and cables. After removing the old flame switches and the firing loom the new boxes could be fitted. The new cables were then fitted in place of the old exploding pyro cable.

On the No. 1 engine the firing loom and head to the Graviner bottle were found to be in a woeful state. I doubt if they would ever put out a fire! I replaced them with a new cable and pyro bottle obtained from Jim's in Glasgow. The old bottle is still good bit will need a new electrical connector fitted.

Gary continued with the transfers and. I bolted down the door handles now the outside of the unit is complete. Of course I will have to retake the official photos!!!!

I began painting the Guard's van in Silk Grey an lighter shade than on the walls already. This makes the van much more light and airy.

On Saturday afternoon Keith, Nick, Dick and I held a meeting to discuss what was required to be done to prepare for the RESCO certification.

The list came out as below :-

1 Test air tanks,

2 Test new Pyros,

3 Check internal saloon Fire Extinguishers,

4 Calibrate Gauges,

5 Print Supplier List,

6 Do Megga test,

7 Clean Up Alarm Chains,

8 Have plates for closed out door locks made,

9 Put extra Track Circuit clip in each cab,

10 Do ladder exam and date accordingly,

11 Fix Driver's/Main Saloon door.

I supplied an extra set of gauges to Dick and once we have taken the straight air one off 51359 Dick will have the set recalibrated. The speedo will need to be recalibrated separately.

The unit is parked down the loop under the trees again. I will be glad to get it off the line to somewhere where it can at least be parked in the open.

Friday October 29th soon came and I went off to Bletchley to see the unit being loaded. Bad move, the unit had already gone at midnight the night before! I telephoned Dave at Pitsford who had only just arrived and had just started up PWM651. He then received a call saying the rig was 15 minutes away from Pitsford. I telephoned Dick but could not get through. I then drove up the M1 to J15A where Steve, the rig driver, called me to say he was at the Valley Way and ready for us. I replied we would be with him in 20 minutes. I then telephoned Dick again who by this time was almost on the railway. He then called me to say he would go and meet the rig whilst Dave and I shunted the stock and took the train down to the unloading point. By the time we arrived the rails were in position and the packing was underway. Once the packing was ready the unit was carefully rolled down and onto the rails. After a couple of abortive attempts, the rails were not in quite the right position, the unit rolled steadily down. We attached 51359 to the BSK and PWM651 hauled it onto NLR metals. The rig was readied for return and the rails hauled out of the way and all by tea time. Who said moving stock was easy!!!

We took 51359 into Pitsford where we removed for safe keeping various spare parts. I covered up the remaining seat backs and put back the rear door. Yes I know the windows are missing but it's the thought that counts!! The straight air gauge was put with the rest of the spare gauges ready for Dick to get them to the recalibration company.

By 1500 hrs. I had had enough. The weather was getting worse so I took myself off home to get ready for the morning.

On Saturday Dick finished off the pyro on the No. 2 engine whilst I busied myself painting white lines on the wheels. I cleaned out the guttering AGAIN!!!!. I was amazed how much water is held in the leaves. I brought and fitted a spare vacuum hose in the Guard's van.

Dick and I then wired up a spare set of batteries in preparation for recharging. They were all about 1volt and soon were coming round. The unit would not start, as mentioned earlier, so a dead cell was the first suspect. I tested the batteries and found a completely dead cell. This was replaced by one of the spare ones out of W55001.

Despite not having been charged since acquistion the battery still had 1.4 volts across the terminals. We tried the starter again but still the unit would not start. It will need a quick top up charge when I can get it into the platform again.

Work ceased about 1600 hrs. as the rains had set in.

On Sunday the weather was brighter but breezy. Nick had acquired some AWS seals and sealing implement, a new repair book and a ladder test indicator. This last item I fitted to the ladder in the Guard's van and dated it accordingly. The AWS seals were replaced and sealed up. The repair book was labelled up for W55003 and put in the No. 1 cab. The broken door lock on the Driver to main saloon door was repaired. Two extra Track Circuit clips were fitted one in each cab.

After that I went home and watched the rugby on the television. All that is left is to clean up the alarm chains, test the air tanks, fit the door lock blanking plates and fit the recalibrated gauges then the unit is ready for the big test. I envisage this to occur sometime after early in the new year.

On Monday November 1st I contacted the air tank testing man with a view to getting the unit tested in the next week or so.

The testing was finally agreed to be Friday November 12th.

The weekend of November 6th & 7th was an easy weekend. I cleaned up the alarm chains in both saloons. Dick set up the charger for the new battery set and left them overnight for a good charge. I treated them to a Bataid tablet each.

We all retired to my house for the annual bonfire night celebrations at the football club opposite.

Dick and Issy went off to Bletchley early on Sunday morning and I took Nick back to the railway later on.

The following week I was laid low with a virus so very little was done. I went to the railway on the Thursday and with Dick's help we exchanged to batteries for the new set. The engines fired up immediately.

We checked the air system and found that the safety valve was not operating at its designed 105 psi blow off setting. Dick showed me haow to strip one down and reset it. We refitted the gauge and reset the blowing off setting against our 'master gauge'. It now blows off at 102 psi.

I also cleaned the guttering again!!

On the Friday the air tank man, Bob Sturgess, came as arranged at 0900 hrs.. His first task was to measure up the tanks and check the internals. Dick and I ended up taking off the drain cocks and unloader/one way valves so that he could inspect them correctly.

We then fired up the engines and checked the safety valve. It blew off at exactly 102 psi against his master gauge. The only problem we had was that the unloader valve would not shut off properly. I shall strip it down and clean it out in due course.

The unit passed its air tank inspection with flying colours. So now it's only the gauges that need to be replaced to finish the job then it's RESCO inspection time. This should hopefully be early December.

The gauge people will need to replace only one gauge of the nine I sent off. This is because the new type gauges are notorious for going out of sync very quickly and therefore Pressure Gauges will not certify, or should I say give them a warranty, for the standard year.

W55003 is now in the floating rake and W55001 is in the loop. I shall therefore be able to start on W55001 as soon as I have some racking in the container and I have overhauled the two spare engines I got from Bletchley.

During the week Michael Mensing sent me the Class 122 prints I had ordered. They are much better then his original rough prints and will make an excellent chapter in the book.

Doug Lindsey phoned from RESCO and I am on the 'Roller Bearing' course at Fragonset in the APT building at Derby next Wednesday.

The weekend of November 20th and 21st was an easy one. I had bought from Signage two 'PRIVATE' transfers for the Driver/Main Saloon door and the Guard's van/Small Saloon door respectively. I fitted these first. Once you get the hang of these transfers they are easy and look good. The second job was to fit the 'DOOR OUT OF USE' stickers on the inside of the door locks.

I noticed a leak on the first window behind the the Driver's seat. I think either the guttering or the joint between the fibreglass cab roof and the main saloon metal roof will need looking at.

Nick & Dick arrived and they started working on the Class 117 51402. I continued and stripped down, cleaned out and refitted the unloader valve. I then started up the engines and the unloader valve worked perfectly.

Dick then used his electrical know how to sort out the alternator that was not charging. He checked all the fuses, the voltage relay boxes and the alternator itself all of which proved the system should be working correctly. He then flashed the alternator and eventually, reluctantly, it began to charge. We left it running for a few hours.

It had started to rain so I cleaned out the guttering again!!!!

Nick had acquired a couple of electric 'NOT TO BE MOVED' boards. They only need new batteries to be in full working order.

Dick and I spent a few minutes sorting out some spares that he had obtained. This includes another brake beam plus other assorted lids and covers etc.. Hopefully when he dismantles his garage we can reerect it next to the container on a concrete base and use it for a work shop in which to overhaul the engines.

We discussed taking W55003 to the cavalcade on the Stockton and Darlington line at the end of August 2000. I think I shall put the unit forward and see what transpires.

On Sunday I stayed at home and worked in the dark room. I have now got most of the 10x8 prints I need doing of the unit. I only need to do another day to get the 35mm negsatives printed and I will have enough to complete the story of the rebuild of W55003.

Speaking to Keith on Sunday he is also on the Roller Bearing course next Wednesday so we will travel up together.

The roller bearing course was a success. I learned a fair amount and now have a certificate to prove it! How many times Dick will have to retake the course remains to be seen. This one was the third time he has been 'certified'.

We followed up with a visit to Brian, Keith's son, in Leicester. A nice break.

Saturday Nevember 23rd was an easy day. I spent most of the morning and early afternoon removing parts from W51359. One set of parts that were missing from W55003 were the hangers for the drop down racking in the Guard's van. There were three in W51359 so I removed them with one of the chains and refitted W55003. Another job done.

Sunday Joyce and harry called so I didn't go up to the railway at all. We went out for Sunday Lunch and had a pleasant afternoon in.

Dick phoned about 1600 hrs. to say that the racking had arrived for the container. We need 8 8'x4' 3/4" chipboard boards to make up the decking. I will arrange this during the week.

The decking was ordered from Bletchley Timber and collected on Friday December 3rd. My poor Escort was well weighed down after I had loaded the boards and my tools.

We started to erect the racking down the left hand side of the container and by 1200 hrs. had most of it in place. Dick had measured the boarding correctly and by 1400 hrs. most of the decking was in place. Nick & Robert came down and helped move the spares around and onto the correct shelves. Later on Martin Percy arrived and with a bit of luck if he can obtain some more racking, even if it is of a lighter grade, we can fit a third top shelf without decking. This shelving can be used by the seat squabs and bases out of W55001. It will also ensure that they are in the driest place.

If another full set can be obtained then a second set of racking can be put down the righthand side of the container. This will leave enough room to access both sides. The front rack can be left open and utilised as a work bench.

When W55003 is back in the platform I shall remove the generator and set it up in the container. If any of the lads needs light or power then they can run it off the generator.

I shall have to look at the provision of labelling for the various racks and shelves.

Dick had picked up the overhauled gauges. They look splendid, especially the brass Guard's van vacuum gauge. I must confess Pressure Gauges have done an excellent job. We shall replace the gauges in W55003 next weekend.

On Sunday I spent most of the day in the darkroom. I printed up the 35 mm. negs ready for inclusion. I now have a full set of pictures for the book.

This was the first weekend since I bought W55003, except for holidays, that I haven't worked on the unit.

During the week I telephoned Pressure Gauges about Railtrack certification of the gauges. I had forgotten to ask for a certificate of conformancy. They will post one on to me at home.

Once again a weekend of not having to do too much. Dick and I took the gauges down to W55003 in Pitsford Sidings and whilst I assisted Graham in lubricating the points rodding Dick made a start. After I had finished helping Graham I went and helped Dick. Between us we managed to fit all the No. 2 cab gauges and all bar two of the No. 1 cab gauges. The two missing from the No. 1 cab are the straight air gauge, which requires a different piping to that used in W55003, and the high side vacuum gauge, which only half worked. That is until we got the gauge back to the container. I then commenced to work faultlessly. I have taken it home to dry it out.

Both air gauges were of a non-standard pattern so the piping had been modified to fit. We managed to retrieve the correct piping from the cab of W51359. Once again this unit has proved its worth as a donor vehicle. We still need to fabricate a new pipe for the No. 1 cab air gauge but Dick has both ends and can soon manufacture the middle piece as required.

We tested the gauges late on in the afternoon. Both engines fired up on the button showing the new set of batteries were in very good condition especially as they had been left for two weeks.

All systems functioned correctly and the new gauges show a distinct improvement over the old ones. I would never have thought that so much variation could be seen. The vacuum system is much better for a weekly run up and down the line and both high sides seem to hold better.

Sunday December 12th was spent at home. I sorted out what is to be taken to the container next weekend. I also went through my box of spare gauges and packed them correctly for movement.

I think the racking in the container may not accommodate all my spares. I hope Martin can come up with some more.

On Wednesday the documentation from Pressure Gauges arrived.

The next weekend December 18th and 19th was spent helping Graham on the signalling side.

I had Tuesday - Thursday December 21st to 23rd off on holiday. On Wednesday I fitted the last two gauges courtesy of the air gauge pipe from W51400 and the dried out highside vacuum gauge. I also applied the gauge conformity stickers, the 'MAX SPEED 70 MPH' transfers in both cabs and the No. 1 wheel arrow on the frame above the No. 1 wheel.

Basically the unit is now finished and ready for RESCO certification.

On Wednesday and Thursday I brought up more items out of the garage for storage in the container. Now it has been organised and tidied it looks a lot more professional and orderly.

Another year is drawing to a close. Once again it has been a momentous one for the unit. It is now in full mid 1960s Brunswick Green with small yellow warning panels and fully overhauled and certificated to Railtrack/RESCO standards.

The spares situation is also in good shape with the acquisition of a spare bogie from 51375 and the skeletal remains of 51359. The container is half racked out and the spares from my garage are slowly but surely being transfered into it.

Once W55001 is back in the loop I shall begin the task of transferring all the spares from it into the container.

The railway is still confined to the same 3/4 mile track but the unloading rails have moved across the viaduct onto solid ground. Bridge 13, despite all the efforts of Andrew and his gang, is still not crossed but efforts are still continuing to restart again in Spring 2000, contractor and council permitting.

January 8th 2000 has been set as the date for the test run through for RESCO certification by Dick and Keith.


The first day of a new Millennium dawned and I was suffering that well known medical condition 'Liquor Mortis' or more colloquially a hangover.

The second day was much better so I ventured onto the railway. The day dawned bright and fair in Northampton so I went down to the unit in Pitsford Sidings and painted on the vacuum release 'stars' on each corner and then 'UAT 6/99' on each bogie. That should do for the lettering.

I took home the 'NOT TO BE MOVED' boards and on the third day of the Millennium spent the day stripping them down and cleaning them up.

I had to drill out most of the rivets of one to be able to refit the two halves and refit the light board. I will let Dick rerivet the parts back on. The other one had already been 'modified' and I shall have to use small brass bolts to rebuild it.

The batteries are of a standard 6v type so I shall acquire 4 and, hopefully, have two fully functioning boards by the time the RESCO certification occurs.

I spent the rest of the day assisting the steam crews.

January 8th came around and how soon we came back to earth.

The B exam was completed and we have 23 defects to be rectified.

They are :-
1 No. 1 final drive torque arm bush and pin u/s,
2 No. 2 final drive torque arm bush and pin u/s,
3 No. 2 bogie earth strap to be changed,
4 Both final drives to be topped up,
5 No. 2 alternator belts to be changed,
6 No. 2 exhauster belts to be changed,
7 No. 1 fuel pump leaking,
8 No. 1 end Driver's door not closing correctly,
9 No. 1 end Secondman's door not closing correctly,
10 B3 door catching on top corner door frame,
11 No. 2 end demister not working,
12 No. 2 cab heater leaking,
13 No. 2 side battery box cable connector to refit,
14 All floor access panels locks to free and refit,
15 No. 1 end high side gauge not working,
16 Hand brake No. 1 end stiff,
17 No. 1 engine slow to return to idling,
18 Engines to synchronise,
19 No. 1 end low tone horn not working,
20 No. 3 axle brake gear spacer clip bent,
21 No. 2 bogie final drive suspension u/s
22 No. 2 end No.1 engine light out,
23 No. 2 side Guard's buzzer not working.

Nothing mind boggling and certainly nothing to fail the unit on. W55003 started on the button and ran most successfully all day. Dave, Keith and Dick both agreed that they were satisfied with the outcome and we have tentatively agreed to go for a RESCO certification at the end of February.

The documentation worked perfectly which pleased me. Keith agreed that from this point of view we are ahead of the game.

We replaced the Guard's van buzzer on Saturday afternoon. 22 to go. The torque arm pins and bushes were tested and the new pin was sent away with an old bush to TMA Engineering to have new bushes made. 21 to go.

On the Saturday night I took the floor access panel locks home and soaked them in paraffin. before leaving I coated the metal runners for the access panels in oil.

On Sunday with a touch of brute force and ignorance I got them all to move freely. I shall refit them next weekend. 20 to go. I shall also top up the final drives next weekend, refit a new base unit for the horn, replace the bulb in the No. 2 cab. 17 to go. The hand brake requires 'graphite' applying to both surfaces to lubricate it NOT oil or grease as that will eventually dry up. 16 to go.

The fuel pump we will change for a spare one in due course. This we believe is the root of the problem of the engine not coming down properly. The governor is not working as intended because of the leak and hence the problem. We will also remove and if necessary replace the flexible air pipes to the throttle motors although with one engine working properly this is nor deemed a problem. The belts will be replaced with Brammer belting. The rest of the defects we will work on as time permits.

Keith dropped off the literature on what should be displayed on any given locomotive or unit. The only thing I have not got is an indication of which cab is which. I have faxed Steve at Signage to make up two transfers 'No. 1 Cab' & 'No. 2 Cab'. That should suffice.

The next weekend came around in due course and I set off for Pitsford on Saturday January 15th with a boot full of spares and plenty of jobs to do. Unfortunately Dick was not able to make it as he had rearranged the shape of the Peugeot the day before.

I managed two jobs, changing the horn base plate and refitting the access panel locks. They all work now and all panels are back in position.

I was intending to go up to Birmingham to see Dick but he and Issy had come down to Northampton in the pick-up so I didn't bother.

I busied myself by removing the torsion bar suspension arm from the spare bogie off W51375. The unit came off easily and appears to be in excellent condition. We will swap it for the one on W55003 next weekend provided the torsion bar pins and bushes have been returned.

Graham was busy getting a 60' length of rail onto the trolley in Pitsford siding so I spent a fruitful hour assisting him.

Once back at the station I spent the rest of the afternoon unloading the car and getting the spares into the container. We have now got three spare fuel pumps from which to choose one for the No. 1 engine.

I then helped Martin who was busy getting the side panels of 51402 ready for removal. The worst job was removing the guttering. Even though it was the newly refitted guttering it still took an age to remove all the bolts.

By 1600 hrs. the first panel was ready for removal. We left the job then ready for the next day.

The next day I spent in the darkroom getting the Phoenix photos ready for inclusion in the box that had arrived during the week.

I managed to get a flexi day in Friday 21st but had other things to do before I could get to the railway. Eventually I got there about 1215 hrs.. Gordon was there sorting out some logs left by the council workmen. I brought more spare parts for the container and then got down to sorting out the sticking doors on the unit.

All three doors have now been eased and open and close correctly.

The floor access panel in the Guard's van requires two new end pieces fabricating. I began by removing one of them to get the measurements. They should be easy enough to fabricate. Once in place the access panel will close on the locks properly.

The rest of the day was spent in helping Martin get 51402 ready for welding the two half panels in place.

Saturday, January 22nd, all three of us were at the railway. Once again I brought a car full of spare parts for the container. I will definitely need a second set of racking for the rest of the spares from W55001. Mind you I can nearly get my car in the garage at home!!

After moving all the spares Graham, Nick, Dick and I spent some time 'ballasting' the area around the container to give better access, especially with my car.

After lunch I began by helping Dave shunt the stock so Dick & Nick could begin the welding preparation on 51402.

Next I topped up the final drives with Shell HST Crankcase oil.

The next job was to change the frayed earth strap which I eventually found on the No. 1 bogie.

My afternoon job was to refit the brake bar spacers. I managed to fit three sets out of four. The fourth set will be fitted when I can release the handbrake on W55003 most probably next weekend. Why couldn't I release it? Safety, W55003 was last brake van in the rake and the lads were working on another vehicle.

Daryl helped out by moving the controllers and reversers from W55001 into the container. He's a good lad. He finished the Safeway No. 1 paper with excellent answers and all computer printed, well done to him. he also wants to know about TTI exams!! I think at 13 he's a bit young but we don't want to put the chap off so I think I'll include him in the Guard's training program.

The 'No. 1 Cab/No. 2 Cab' transfers arrived from Signage but I forgot to apply them. I'll do that next week.

Well next week duly came around and I took the two crates full of AWS & gauges to the railway. The previous week I had helped Graham in putting down some hardcore in front of the container and out into the field. This meant that I could drive the car down and stand a good chence of getting it out. It worked a treat. With the weather the previous week being dry the car went in and out with no problems.

I continued on with the outstanding items on the 'B' Exam.

I transfered the 'No. 1 & No. 2 Cab' transfers onto the fibreglass ceiling above the 'Max Speed 70 mph' transfers.

The Guard's van floor access panel was next but I found I had failed miserably in that the wood I was to use was too short for the job!! I fitted new screws to the metal surround of the panel and it now is complete.

I fitted the final brake bar spacers to the No. 2 axle and started up the unit. It started on the first press of the button.

The first job was to ascertain why the highside vacuum gauge was not working. I made the requisite vacuum and applied the brakes as required. Sure enough the gauge was only half working. I left the vacuum in the system and began to remove the gauge by undoing the clamp that held the gauge to the desktop.

To my surprise the gauge moved. Only a mite but it moved. I then undid the clamp completely and the gauge worked perfectly. All I had to do was tighten up the gauge not too much to ensure the finger did not rub on the perspex inner liner. All tests proved the gauge to work perfectly as long as the clamp was not overtightened.

The next job was to swap the No. 2 cab Driver's heater. I had a near new one in the spares container so I used that one. The first job is to remove the Driver's seat then I took off the old heater that leaked, and as coolant flowed across the cab floor I realised the new one was for the other end cab i.e. it was the wrong way around!!

Luckily these cab heaters are easy to swap around so I soon had the new one in place and working, if a bit soggy!!

The next job was to check the engine light in the No. 2 cab. It had worked upto the 'B' exam but not since. I removed the bulb and tested it. It worked. This means either the wiring has failed or the diode panel has caused the problem. Dick recommended that we leave the bulb and look at it later. I have spare diodes therefore it's just a case of making sure I get the right position.

The weather was still good and the unit was in the right position to paint the remaining white markers on the bogie wheels. Whilst painting the wheels I realised I had replaced the wrong earth strap the previous week. I soon had the swap done. I think that's most of the outside jobs done.

The last hour or so was spent helping Dick and Martin with 51402.

Nick, Dick and I will spend the next two weekends finishing off the 'B' exam requirements then it's up to the RESCO men.

Saturday February 12th was meant to be wet and windy but dawned dry and cold. I went up to Northampton with a boot full of cab heaters and light fittings for W55001.

Firstly I emptied the boot and then made a start on fitting the new piece into the Guard's van floor inspection panel. The first piece fitted well but the second piece will need working on as the whole panel nearly fell through!! I think I will need to replace all the wooden surrounds properly. By this time Nick & Dick were on site trying to start the crane. After a while they gave up and we started on the unit. Nick & Dick spent the time on replacing the final dry torsion beam pins and No. 2 suspension bracket. I dropped the air intake filter and cleaned and replaced the oil. I also replaced the centrifugal oil filter's filter and made the engine ready for next weekend and a full oil change.

I had made up two pressure caps for the radiators at home during the week these were duly fiitted. W55003 now has two proper pressure caps not just the two plastic ones it came with. Finally I oiled the bolts holding the footsteps onto the brackets as they were starting to rust.

The unit is to be used during March for the service on the line. I will need to wash and polish it ready for March 5th.

The weekend of February 19th and 20th was one where we took 2 steps forward and three steps backwards.

I took more spares up to the container including the three spare Driver's seats and the saloon water heaters.

Dick arrived and began to do the welding on W51402. I started to do the oil change on the No. 2 engine. I firstly replaced the filter which included robbing the bottom plate off another filter. I then began the long process of draining the sump. Once drained I put in 15 litres of flushing oil and started it up. I then began to remove the fuel pump off the No. 1 engine by undoing the pipes from the pump to the injectors.

Once the No. 2 engine was warmed through I drained the oil and refilled with standard engine oil. I then restarted the engine and let it run.

Dick came down and removed the old fuel pump and we swapped the requisite bits. The lift pump on the spare was broken.

The pump was refitted by midafternoon but upon firing up the engine would only run at full throttle. Despite all Dick's efforts the engine would not run properly.

Once sufficient air pressure was obtained I tested the horn. It did not work. I therefore had to change the base unit again!! I eventually got the horn to work but it will need fine tuning.

The fuel pump has left me in a quandry. Do I try to get the spare pump to run properly, replace it with the old pump or do I get a new pump from Leyland Auto?

The last job was to find the spare triple pump for the Peak and get it into Dick's van.

Sunday was spent in the darkroom so no more work was done on the unit.

This only leaves next weekend to get the unit into a state good enough for the RESCO men to inspect. Not what I wanted.

On Monday I contacted Leyland Auto about a service exchange for the fuel pump. If one is not forthcoming I shall refit the old pump and worry about a new one after the inspection.

Good news. Leyland Auto have a spare refurbished 680/1593 fuel pump in stock. They are sending it down to their Northampton depot for my collection.

I spoke to Dick on Monday night and the general concensus was that because the spare pump had been out of use for at least 4 years, it came off engine 124 when I got the unit, the bob weights in the governor had stuck. This would explain why it would not come down when started, the bob weights had stuck open.

Either way I have decided to use the Leyland Auto overhauled pump as this will come with a guarantee to work. I shall take Thursday off and remove the old pump and exchange it. Nick can then do the necessary in setting it up on Saturday.

I will also investigate how to fit a 680/1595 fuel pump onto a 680/1593 fitted engine. The difference between the pumps is that the 680/1595 pump has an oil feed off the engine whilst the 680/1593 pump has the manually filled sump on the governor. If I can find out where the feed is taken from I have two spare 680/1595s in the stores, both in working order.

I arrived at Pitsford at about 0800 hrs. and began by checking the differences of a 680/1(1593) and a 680/1595 fuel pump.The 680/1595 fuel pump takes it feed off the sump and a separate fitting is required. The injectors should also be changed from white cap to green cap but I'll bet the injectors were used turn and turn about no matter what colour they were.

After collecting my tools I began the removal at 0830 hrs. By 1000 hrs. the old pump was off, the lift pump changed and I was ready to find Leyland Auto.

The place was in Brackmills and I soon found it. After swapping the pumps and having a good chat to the chief chappy I decided that I would return the other pump to them for overhaul.

I returned to the railway via the garage where I bought 50 litres of diesel to tide me over until the Shell man arrives.

Whilst I was away Andrew had arrived and was busy about the site doing civil engineering things.

I had a cup of tea and began fitting the pump at 1130 hrs. By 1300 hrs. the pump was in and fitted. I had some lunch and then did sonething I have been meaning to do for 4 1/2 years. I took of the rocker box cover and tightened up the vent pipe!!

I finished at about 1500 hrs. and went off to Leyland Auto to leave the spare pump for overhaul.

Nick phoned at about 1900 hrs. to discuss the weekend's events. I think he was happy that I have fitted a new pump, I most certainly am.

I arrived back at Pitsford at 0900 hrs. on Saturday 26th. I emptied the car of spares and placed then in various locations in the container. Now there is mainly large heavy objects left in my garage and I think I will need a van or Dick's pick-up to move them.

The first job was to fill the tanks with the diesel I had bought. The next was to syphon enough diesel out of Martin Bell's Class 25, there was over 300 hundred gallons in the tanks, to give the unit a fighting chance of survival. In the end about 30 gallons was removed and shared between the two tanks.

Nick phoned up and Martin & I went to collect him from Long Buckby.

Once changed Nick soon got to grips with the new pump and after a few turns it fired! Even better it came down, just. The problem we thought was in the throttle motors, but no, I had forgotten to reconnect the return spring! After that the engine came down just as it should. In fact both engines come down as near as perfect as makes no odds.

I retuned the horn, nearly deafening myself in the process. I then assisted Nick in sorting out the missing engine light. I transpired it was a duff bulb, although I am sure it worked the week before. Never mind though it works now.

That was basically that the unit was in a good enough mechanical condition to face the RESCO men.

I tried all the windows and found one that was stuck solid. I dismantled the panelling and found a bolt I had put into the lock was too long and had bent the window channel such that the glass would not run.

I removed the bolt cut it down and refitted it. The window now works as designed.I then refitted the panelling.

On Sunday the first thing was to wash and polish the unit to get rid of all the steam loco soot. I used Simonize wash and wax and the sides came up very well. All we need is a bit of sunshine to show off the colours on Monday.

We shunted the stock until I was at the correct end of the line ready for Monday. In shunting the stock Dave and I noticed a pool of diesel under the No. 1 engine. Upon investigation it was a slight leak on one bank of injector pipes out of the pump. I undid the bank of three and refitted and retightened them up. I also refitted and retightened up the other ends into the injectors themselves. The leaks were gone.

Monday February 28th was to be a red letter day for W55003.

It began wet and getting wetter but by the time I had collected Nick from Long Buckby the sun was breaking through. Martin met us at Pitsford. I started the engines on W55003 and also the heaters. The No. 2 heater was giving problems and required three attempts to get it firing properly. Once it had blown through whatever was causing the problem it worked a treat and along with the other heater soon had both saloons roasting warm.

Keith and the three RESCO men arrived by about 1030 hrs. and we congregated in the small saloon. I had placed all the documentation on the drop down shelf anf even if I say so myself it looked good.

Whilst Nick, Martin, Chris and Wayne began the mechanical exam, John, Keith and I sat down to undergo the management briefing. This lasted almost two hours but both Keith and I know what we are letting ourselves into.

Wayne set up the speedos and now they are accurate to 0.5 m.p.h. at 70 m.p.h. well within tolerance. After a break the inspection continued. The main problem being the doors. Being MKI by construction they suffer the vagaries of the weather. This winter has caused the wood to swell anf three of the doors would not quite pass the final 'granny' test. The other problem being that there should be a 0.5 mm gaps between top and bottom parts of the hinges. There were none on any of the hinges!! This will require replacement of all the hinge balls and a clean out of the intersection gaps. After all the work we put into getting those doors to work I was bit downhearted.

Eventually, however, we set off down the line for the rolling test.

After this the RESCO men gave me the bad news there were various jobs they would require to be done before they would issue the main line certification. Then the good news, when would I like the certificate to start. We agreed they could issue the certificate at the end of March.

The next time they want to see the unit is when it is ready and waiting on Railtrack metals for it's test run. Brilliant.

The sun by this time was shining and we all disembarked to take photos.

I was so pleased to find RESCO stickers on both ends of the unit. Even better was the news that 55003 was still on TOPS and that I could have my old number in the new world.

Believe it or not because 55003 was on TOPS the Deltics had to be given 98xxx numbers as TOPS cannot cope with two 'locomotives' with the same number and also it cannot take letters e.g. W55003.

The photos were taken, farewells were exchanged and the RESCO men rode off into the setting sun.

I should have been pleased, as this was a first. The first DMMU in preservation to get back on the main line!!! But I wasn't, I had no feeling, no emotion. Despite all the congratulations I felt absolutely dead.

We also had to get the Fowler off the low loader and onto the rails. We had it all sorted by 1800 hrs..

I walked back in the dark to Pitsford from Broughton Crossing after locking up once the low loader had departed, jumped into the car and went home. I had a meal, a beer and was in bed by 2200 hrs..

I awoke at 0500 hrs. with the previous day spinning in my mind. The problems of yesterday were soon laid to rest and in fact of the 16 points only one is what you may consider a big job. Changing the 'balls' on the passenger door hinges. I shall leave it to Saturday until Nick, Dick, Keith and I can get together and work out what to do. The rest of the jobs are small jobs easily accomplished with a bit of forethought.

I have already started by purchasing an 'electric pen' for engraving the vacuum gauges. The two 'top side' gauges I shall reletter myself and the door letters I shall purchase from MK Marketing.

The following weekend was to be a long one. On Friday night Angie and I went to keith & Joan's for a meal and a stop over. We toasted the unit in a old bottle of Bollinger I had been saving for a special occasion. I can't think of anything more special than the first DMU back on the main line.

The next day Saturday. March 4th, I took Angie home and went off to the line. Keith followed later.

By mid afternoon, with Daryl's assistance, we had 6 of the outstanding items done and 5 in abeyance. Keith and I started on the worst of the doors. After changing the balls in the hinges I ground down the wooden uprights until the door closed properly and still gave a 0.5 mm gap in the hinge itself. Dick and I will complete the other 5 doors next weekend.

That evening most of the motive power department met for a meal in the Swan. A most enjoyable time was had by all. Nick, Dick and I discussed getting a small, but not too small, air compressor for the various jobs we have to do that need such a machine, including engraving the gauges. Dick will look into it for next weekend.

Sunday dawned fair and I went up to the line with only two jobs to complete. These were soon done except for the fact that I was parked in the headshunt at Pitsford Siding about as far away from my tools and facilities as it is possible to get!!! By lunch time the other tight door had been freed and all the luggage racks have now been fitted with a full complement of bolts. I then painted the door pillars in undercoat green ready for top coating next weekend.

This leaves 8 items outstanding of which 4 are in abeyance and 4 to be started.

On the way back I checked the shackles on W51359. The No. 2 end is slightly worn but the No. 1 end is virtually brand new. I shall exchange them with those off W55003 next weekend.

With that job done I finished at about 1500 hrs. and made my way home a lot happier.

The roster had W55003 on the service train for Sunday 12th March. So on Saturday I was on site early to start work on the items outstanding from the RESCO inspection.

The first job was to unbolt all the door hinge pins ready to change the ball mounts. With Robert's assistance and Dick's know how we soon had all the mounts changed. By lunchtime I had all the doors opening and closing correctly and by early afternoon had all the undercoat on.

Dick and I then changed the shackles as required. I don't think they will need changing for a good few years.

Dick had brought the four bolts needed to refit the speedo head so I fitted them. The last job was to change the one bolt in the lock that was non standard. This leaves 5 jobs to do, one of which is in abeyance and the hardest of which will be the AWS mounting bracket.

Before I left I washed down the unit with the Simonize wash & wax and left it to dry. It certainly looked good in the afternoon sun.

Sunday dawned warm and sunny. I was on site about 0900 hrs. for an 1130 first train. I removed the seat covers and swept out the saloons. The unit was ready and looked a treat. The engines fired up on first time of asking, which shows how good the batteries are, even after leaving the lights on overnight.

The crew, me driving, Martin Harris driving instructor, Mervyn Hing second man and Charlie Coleman Guard. We only had one problem all day. The low tone on the No. 1 end horn failed, then started working again later in the day! I will need to look at it a bit more closely next weekend.

All in all it was a very good weekend. The unit is now back in service for the first time since August 1993 and performing faultlessly.

After the service was over we were told there was film assignment arranged for the evening and were we staying. As the only available motive power we didn't have much choice!!! Eventually the filming ended, the shunt was done and we left the site at 2030 hrs. very tired.

During the week Dick purchased a air compressor for me so that I can now use the engraver properly. I will also be able to use it for spraying etc..

John Collins rang and informed me that it was L702's last day of service on Saturday 18th March. He was arranging for it to work various services on the branch that day. I went down to Stewartby early to get the 150s and was surprised to find L702 on the diagram early. I managed 4 shots of the unit before leaving Woburn Sands at 1130 hrs. for Northampton.

The age of the Class 117s on the branch and indeed in Britain is now over.

After depositing more spares in the container my first job was to fix the door numbers in the appropriate places. Nick and Daryl then put fuel in the unit. Why it cannot be done when the tanker is on site I do not know. Dick with a little assistance from me then repositioned the AWS pick up.

This left the gauges to do. The first job was to reletter the two top side gauges. This was accomplished reasonably easily. Then they were scribed using my new air driven etching pen. Apart from thinking your fillings are coming out it worked fine. I then scribed all the other vacuum or air gauges except the Guard's vacuum gauge. This gauge has the calibration sticker on the face.

All the work required by RESCO has now been done and the unit is ready and waiting for its 'proving run'.

Keith and I are off the Derby to see Fragonset regarding the run on Tuesday, March 21st. After the meeting we went to Chesterfield to photograph the 'crooked spire' from the railway bridge.

The meeting with Fragonset went well and the Fragonset management team are coming down on Saturday 1st April to inspect me and the unit.

I have put myself on an PTS course in Derby beginning on April 3rd.

The weekend of March 25th and 26th went without a hitch. Stuart and Bryce came down and we had the added excitement of videoing D172 Ixion both ways on the branch on Saturday night. Sunday was forecast fair but getting wet late on. That was not how it panned out. The day remained bright with intermittent clouds all day. We managed to get some good footage and some good stills shots.

The unit was cleaned down on the Saturday and performed faultlessly on the Sunday. There was once again a good turnout of passengers.

As I am fast approaching 50 I have arranged for another medical with the Queensview Medical Centre in Northampton for the PTS course.

The unit was in action again on the 29th March. This time for a vist of the local school. The children were treated to a tour around the site and a visit to the cab of PWM651. They were then given a ride up and down the line in W55003. Once again the unit performed faultlessly. The medical was also passed successfully. I picked up the overhauled fuel pump from Northampton. I now have it in stock ready for use.

On Thursday morning the RESCO certificates arrived, hooray, together with the bill, boooo!! I shall copy the certificates and have them displayed in the Guard's van. This will ensure anyone who needs to see them can have ready access. Roll on the main line test.

April 2000 rolled in and with it the weather deteriorated.

The first weekend, April 1st and 2nd, I attended the railway only on the Saturday. This was the day the Fragonset chaps were paying a visit to 'inspect' the unit.

The four of them finally arrived and whilst Roger inspected the unit Ken Bott did a full audit on my paperwork. Four hours it took. Afterwards I was brow beaten and shell shocked. Although there were no major gaping holes Ken found 19 CARS (Corrective Action Required) and 5 OBS (Observations).

When they had gone I sat down and took stock. If nothing else my procedures will pass ISO9001 when I've finished, but it does take the gloss off running a unit having so much paperwork.

I refitted the glass in the No. 1 end high side vacuum gauge and replaced the wiperblade on the secondman's side at the No. 2 end.

Once that was done I had had enough so I contented myself with helping Dick and Robert on the Peak.

On the Sunday I went over to Keith's and we went through the RESCO and the auditors notes. We will not sign off the RESCO part until we have in our possession all the correct documentation.

I spent the next two days in Derby where I passed my PTS.

The rest of the week was spent in getting the auditor's recommendations actioned. It will be a long tedious job but I suppose it has to be done.

The next weekend was an easy one for me. On Saturday, April 8th, Angie and I went to Kevin & Charlotte's wedding in Reading. On Sunday I prepared the unit whilst Bob drove. I spent the rest of the day in the container tidying it up.

On Monday I rewrote the W55003 Group General Safety policy document to include drugs & alocohol and safety critical working hours. Roger Scanlon is going to assist me by obtaining another set of standards appertaining to the above.

Keith telephoned to say Mike Burke, of NSE fame, was reading my safety case and would comment as he sees fit. I will get this document correct if it takes all year!!

The weekend of April 15th/16th was an easy one. The unit was not in service so I didn't need to be on site to prepare the unit. I spent a very wet and windy morning videoing and photographing 55029 and 55027 on the branch. Both are now in Silverlink colours.

I arrived at Northampton at about 1500 hrs. and set about replacing the injector in the No. 2 engine. Whilst replacing the injector I noticed a small leak of water out of the No. 1 injector housing tube. Dick reckons that it should take up with use of the correct expanding tool. I hope so. I hope it isn't a cracked head. The engine ran up well enough for all that. I shall have to keep a good eye on it. We will need it sorting before the unit departs the NLR.

I applied the two 'W's to the '55003's at either end of the unit. Dick and I looked at the window rubber and decided to leave it until a better day weatherwise. We repaired to the pub and Dick and I went through the working documents so as to tie up the VMI examination schedule to our examination schedule. We also amended the Driver's Daily Exam to include a check of the marker lights and signed off the 'B' exam with a Deferred Exam for the remaining small items.

Easter was late this year, April 21st - April 24th. On Good Friday I spent the time in the dark room printing up the negative of W55017 at Eastleigh together with another couple of negatives of Bedford and Willington.

On Easter Saturday I was on Guard Duty.

Nick and Dick used the injector tube expander tool and expanded the No. 6 tube on the No. 1 engine. It is now watertight again. Whilst doing the job they noticed that only one rocker arm was pumping oil onto the valve springs correctly. The other five were bunged up.

Easter Sunday was spent in the pursuit of more spares and putting them into the container. I hope it doesn't rain I think the container might sink!! The weather was reasonable and so I put on the 'Battery Isolation Switch' transfer on the BIS box. Whilst doing this I noticed that another belt had been 'spun' on the No. 2 end.

Easter Monday was an easy day watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang etc. and generally lazing about.

During the week I overhauled a spare set of rocker gear and we shall replace the set from above during the weekend.

Well the weekend arrived and for once was not raining, which was a change for a Mayday Bank Holiday weekend.

I arrived at about 0900 hrs. and got the tools etc. ready. The unit was being shunted down to Pitsford Siding so I had to be ready. We were doing not only the rocker gear but the belts on the No. 2 end.

Nick started on the rocker gear and I began unbolting the freewheel shaft. Later Daryl joined us and we continued.

By lunchtime we had all the jobs done, including resetting the tappets, and we started up the No. 1 engine. It started first turn but was not passing oil through the rocker arms onto the colletts and springs. What had happened was this, I had freed off the rocker bar and of course this now rotated in the mountings. The bar has three grooves cut into it where the top or long studs locate. This allows the oil ways to match up and pump oil. What Nick had not done was align the studs and grooves. Once we had realigned them the oil flowed as it should.

We tried the No. 2 engine and the belts rotated properly.

We checked the two NIRs I had received from RESCO and both were OK.

In the small saloon I fitted the door stop Stuart and I had found. It looks good now it's varnished up properly.

After all this excitement we had a big shunt to perform so I was signalman for the rest of the day.

On the Sunday I was early turn fireman on the Tkh. I was doing all right until about 0900 hrs. when, as if by magic, firemen appeared from all corners of Northampton all intent on shovelling coal and telling me how to do the job. We got through the day without blowing off, needing coal, a blow-up or any other problems, amazing what an old hand can do.

Monday, May 1st, was spent at home overhauling another set of rocker gear and generally having an easy time.

During the week David Brown, Traction Magazine, had contacted me regarding a possible lease of W55003 to Central Trains. After contacting Central Trains they made an appointment to come and view the unit on Friday May 5th. The day went extremely well with all parties satisfied with the outcome. As usual W55003 performed faultlessly and as the day went on appeared to be settling down better and better. Thanks go to Nick, Gordon and Martin for all their assistance.

The work will be a six week spell doing route learning duties around the Birmingham area based on Tyseley Depot in June & July.

Nick and I then celebrated with a meal at the Brampton Halt.

Saturday May 6th was spent in painting the final bits on the door posts and varnishing the last of the transfers. Dick and I replaced a window pane and its rubber. This now seems to fit much better than the original which has gone back into the spare glass pile.

I refitted the lock on the Guard's cupboard and moved all the paint and accessories back into the container. With Daryl and Adam's help we fitted the spare main beams onto the top of the racking. The rest of the day was spent in making a start to emptying W55001. We managed to clear the No. 2 cab and one third of the seat backs and squabs out of the main saloon.

Sunday was spent in work, well I suppose I will need the cash to see a solicitor to draw up the contract!! But then I may get some of my well spent cash back especially if the contract is extended. Mind you I may need to form a 'Limited' company now. It just seems to go on and on and I only wanted to go to Old Oak Common Open Day!!!!

During the week I was back to earth with a bump. Central Trains and I could not agree terms so the unit will not be going anywhere, yet.

I have had two plates made up regarding gear changing. I have moved the ownership plates to a less obvious place and replaced them with these new plates.

Saturday May 13th was 55027's last day on the branch so I spent the morning doing some videoing and photography for the branch tape. In the afternoon I fitted the plates in the cab, the emergency tool cupboard glass in the Guard's van of W55003 and in the evening we had a barbeque on the NLR. All in all a good day.

On Monday I acquired some mores spares and had to go to London to pick them up. They included a new driver's window and a refurbished driver's controller ex 51333 (L724).

John Wight mentioned a chap down in South Wales who may be interested in buying W55001 off me, for the right money of course. If W55001 does go I shall continue and rebuild W51359.

The No. 1 engine still requires tightening up so I will do it next weekend. I shall continue emptying W55001, that is if the container does not sink. It's getting very full. I think a 20' container may be next on the list of purchases.

Saturday May 20th was a fine day, which made a change after all the rain we have had. I put on the 'No Smoking' transfer onto the new pane of glass. I then continued to unload W55001. It was not long before I had transfered 20x3 seat backs, 19x2 seat backs and 10x2 seat squabs and filled up the top racking in the container.

I then made a start on the glass. I now have 4 piles of spare glass. One with cab and door glass, one with small toughened saloon glass, one with small plate saloon glass, one with large toughened saloon glass and somewhere, as of yet undetermined, a pile of large plate saloon glass.

In the afternoon I removed the engine cradle from the container and put it outside. Nick came down with the crane and I now have engine 1174 in place ready to be overhauled.

We have decided that another 40 ft. container is required and we will go thirds to obtain one. I can fill my part with the rest of the seat squabs and the seat frames.

The late May bank holiday was over the weekend of May 27th to May 29th. On the Saturday I started as before in removing some more spares from W55001. I rearranged the seat squabs at the rear of the container and stacked most of the spare luggage racks on top. The two spare seat frames I stacked on top of the others. It's a bit of a squeeze at that end of the container but at least it's all under cover and locked away.

I then started on engine 1174. Both oil filters were removed. The oil cartridge as with all my other engines did not have the spring attachment so I had to use the only spare I have. the centrifugal filter was new so I suspect the engine had a service just before withdrawal. I hope this augers well for its continued use. I removed the rocker covers and found some surface rust on the head and rocker assemblies. I removed the injectors which were in good condition, even the white ends were still white showing recent replacement. They were replaced with a spare set of overhauled injectors out of engine 124.

The oil filler pipe will not fit with the engine on the cradle so we will have to either alter a spare pipe and cap to fit or refit on the ground. I suspect on the ground will be a better idea as I don't fancy starting the engine on the cradle. The cradle rocks when putting hand force onto it so I don't think it would be a good idea to start the engine on it.

On Sunday I went to the Mid-Norfolk Railway at Dereham but owing to bad weather Derrick and I never met up. Still there's always another time.

In the afternoon I cleaned up and greased the injectors out of engine 1174. I don't think they will need a full overhaul. We shall put them on the test rig and see, however. They will then be the spare set for emergencies or until we overhaul the next engine.

During the weekend Phil Marsh from the Mid Hants Railway called to see if W55003 would be available for their Thomas Week during August. I of course replied in the affirmative subject to Phil speaking to Keith. I then spoke to Andy Lickfold, the orgainser of the EWS Old Oak Common open day event, who was pleased to accept the unit as an exhibit.

The outcome was that, subject to board approval on June 3rd, W55003 shall go to the MHR. Whilst there RESCO will complete the certification tests as the MHR is passed for 75 m.p.h. running. The unit will then go in the MHR consist of 2x33, 6024 & 41312 plus support coaches to and from Old Oak Common. It will then be 'Daisy' for week on the MHR FOC.

Once again the plans have fallen through. I have not heard from the MHR since my contact with Phil Marsh and EWS will not pay for a road move to get W55003 to OOC.

Saturday and Sunday June 10th and 11th were the NLR's Diesel Gala days. W55003 performed faultlessly on both days.

Monday June 12th Martin Percy and I were passed out as DMU drivers on the NLR by Bob Bullock.

I had the rest of the week off and on Tuesday went to Gatwick with Keith to photograph the 73s on the Gatwick Express workings and the slam door stock on the local services. We also managed to video 59002 in its new green Mendip Rail livery.

Wednesday was a special day. John Collins and I were invited to go with the Bletchley Bubbles, 55029 & 31 around Birmingham. All in all an excellent day with thanks due to Stuart Marshall and the inspectors at New Street and Ian Winters for looking after us. The day was rounded off by a trip from Soho to Snow Hill on one of the new Wolverhampton/Birmingham Metro trams.

Thursday and Friday were spent on the branch and watching England's cricketers getting a good hiding by the Windies.

Saturday I spent helping Dick and John with various jobs.

Sunday was spent on the NLR getting engine 1174 ready for starting. We took it off the cradle and fitted an oil filler pipe. We then placed it on a pallet suitably modified to take the complete engine. I then filled it with 25 litres of oil and retired for a cup of tea.

Bad move. Although I had visually checked the oil filler pipe it was in fact holed and the oil was slowly seeping out. I had to drain the engine and replace the pipe with another unholed pipe and refill.

As luck would have it Martin Percy can braise the copper and make good the failed pipe for further use.

We then put engine 7612253 on the cradle for overhaul.

During the week events took a turn for the better. I received an offer from the MHR and spoke to Phil Marsh. We verbally agreed terms and now W55003 will be going to the ball.

The first assignment is for the Enthusiasts Weekend over July 22nd and 23rd. Then the Thomas Week during August. After that as the contract will be open ended we shall see. However we will now get the RESCO speed test finished and W55003 will be fully main line compliant and main line connected.

Dick and Keith are both happy with the arrangements which makes me feel a bit better. I must stop worrying about things going wrong. Allely's will collect on Wednesday July 5th.

Dick manufactured two cables for the leads to start engine 1174. I arrived on site about 0900 hrs. and found the requisite battery terminal connectors in the NAV. I soon had the batteries and starter motor connected. With a bit of ingenuity and the fuel can and pipe we started my original engines with I tried 1174.

It turned and turned but did not fire. We bled the system and sure enough diesel was getting to the injectors. We tried a few more times and although the engine wanted to start it wouldn't quite fire. Like at Chinnor I left the engine for 30 minutes and tried again.

Once one cylinder fired they all fired and once again all you could see was a broad smile through the smoke. After running for a few moments the engine cleared its throat and settled down to a good throaty roar. Magic. The lads were working on the Class 25 in the yard and even they heard the engine start up. It was two thumbs up all round and a cup of tea to celebrate.

The engine started on the first turn thereafter and ran up and throttled back correctly. As we had no coolant in the engine we shut it down after about 5 minutes. But we now have a spare 6/80 ready for W55003. All that needs doing is steam cleaning and strapping to a pallet ready for transportation.

I acquired a steel cabinet for the Guard's van in W55003 and fixed it in place. I have put the required spares in it and all it needs now is a clasp and lock.

Angie has arranged for three nights stopover during the MHR's Enthusiasts Weekend at a Guest House. She has arranged to sell the T shirts and Sweat shirts. Stuart is making up Version 2 of 'Into Preservation with W55001 & W55003' and we will take 20 copies and see what we can do.

The final weekend for W55003 at the NLR arrived and I made the unit ready for transportation. The date for the move has changed to the Thursday, July 6th, but this means I can be there when the unit goes. Firstly I removed the lifeguards so that the bogies have an even better clearance off the ground especially for the drop at the NLR end. I then fired up the engines and made sufficient air to operate the EP valves. I then stopped and isolated the engines then and only then isolated the final drives. Once the isolation pin was in place I toggled the forward and reverse EP valves and the dog dropped into the central isolated position with no problems. The cardan shafts rotated freely proving the dogs were centralised. Finally I isolated the fire bottles just in case any little fingers touch the fire buttons and removed the final drive isolation rod, the toasting fork, so it cannot be reengaged without my being there. The life guard's were stored away in the Guard's cupboard and locked.

I had acquired 5 5 litre plastic bottles from work and I used these for spare oil and coolant. The lock and hasp were fitted to the spares cabinet in the Guard's van and once the oil bottles were in it was locked up. Nick, Dick & I have keys for the cabinet.

The rest of the day was spent in getting the 2nd Bletchley engine ready for firing up.

The rocker gear was clean and the injectors, green, were almost brand new. I expect that both engines, 1174 and this one, came off the same unit and were replaced as a pair. The only missing parts were from the cooling system. Originally the water pump was missing but this I had replaced with a spare off a scrap engine. The only other part missing was the bleed off pipe from the water jacket. I shall have to acquire one in due course. The oil filter is one of the large 'fine' oil filters so I didn't have a centrifugal filter to worry about.

We should have time to start this engine in a few weeks once W55003 is settled in at the MHR. Then I think the two W55001 engines will be made ready.

On Sunday, July 2st, I came onto the railway and assisted in getting the early morning shunt done. If the 'new' management is to make an impression I would suggest that a more urgent approach to getting ready on operating days is adopted. Some of the staff in critical positions are still playing trains. Staff rostering is also still a problem.

I obtained my Driver's ticket off Ian Rivett and continued working on my engine. I finally fitted the new water pump onto the engine by use of my 1/4" Snap-on socket set. The engine now ready for starting.

I have designed a new type pallet for 'ready to run' engines. It is basically a standard type of pallet with additional 4x4 and 2x4 pieces of timber screwed on as packing. It means we can leave the oil filler pipe in place. We shall experiment with engine 1174 in due course.

Martin Percy returned the split oil filler pipe duly braised up. It went back in with the rest of the spares.

Soon the big day arrived. Thursday 6th July. I arrived on the railway at 0800 hrs. and Gordon arrived a few moments afterwards followed by Andrew 10 minutes later. The first thing was to drop off the bleed pipe for the second engine, 7612253, then onto more important things like put the kettle on.

No sooner than we had sat down than Allely's phoned to say they were at the gate. We went into overdrive and soon had W55003 at the buffer stops. Andrew went down to the gate but phoned back to say thet there was no sign of Allely's.

Gordon phoned the rig and they were at the gate in Toton!! Not the gate in Pitford!!

We brought W55003 back and busied ourselves doing other things. I fitted the bleed pipe and now 7612253 is ready for starting.

We had lunch at 1230 hrs. and after ascertaining that Allely's were indeed on their way proceded to the end of the line. Gordon and I then went down and opened the gates to the line. Shortly after, at 1400 hrs., Allely's arrived. We had the unit on the rig and on its merry way at 1506 hrs.. I telephoned Keith and Gordon and I retraced our steps back to Pitsford Station. Dick phoned to say the unit was at Junction 1 on the M6 and well on its way. I packed up and was home by 1630 hrs..

Keith telephoned on Friday to say W55003 had arrived at Arlesford and it is now residing in the car park ready to be shunted.

Keith, Kevin and I will sort it out tomorrow Saturday 8.7.2000.

The adventure begins.

I arrived at Arlesford with Kevin & Keith at 0900 hrs. on Saturday July 8th.

We met Tom and Jim Lawrence and had a cup of tea.

The unit had been shunted into the 'Belle' siding and we soon set about getting her ready. Once we had switched the engines in, i.e. after I had remembered I had switched them out, they both started first time. We let the air build up ready to engage the dogs in the final drive. We did not replace the guard irons at this time as I wanted to test the brakes. The reason, I had noticed that the top of the No. 1 cylinder had been dinted in the move. The last time this happened resulted in a bent vacuum cylinder piston.

Once sufficient air had been obtained, i.e. 95 lbs. per sq. in., we shut the engines down and engaged the dogs. The No. 1 dog required a little help from me but they were soon in and working in both directions.

We restarted the engines and made vacuum. Sure enough the No. 1 cylinder stuck when tested. Bastard. I set about finding the cause. The cause? The piston was bent. With assistance from a spare tommy bar I removed the old piston whilst Tom went to find a spare one. The cylinder head in the mean time had dropped down of its own accord under the action of gravity. The next task was to get the new piston screwed onto the head. They did not line up. I swore at the cylinder and shook it about a bit to try to get the head to drop into the bottom position. After a few minutes it did and the piston screwed in perfectly.

We remade vacuum and ....... both cylinders worked perfectly! Whew!!!

After this I left Kevin, Jim and Tom to do the preparation. Firstly Kevin had never used my Driver's Daily Preparation sheets and secondly Jim and Tom were on a learning curve as the unit will be under their care whilst at Arlesford. Kevin passed the Daily Exam as satisfactory and Jim and Tom are well on the way to looking after the unit.

I'm sure W55003 knew she was on holiday as even the fire alarm bells worked perfectly.

Once prepared Jim spoke to the signalman and we were allowed a path after 34016 Bodmin had left with the 1429 train.

The looks on the faces of the people was one of surprise and amazement and I must confess I was proud of W55003. Jim was driving under Kevin's supervision and we steadily made tracks out of Arlesford.

Now the thing to remember is that W55003 for the last 3 1/2 years had only moved a maximum of 3/4 mile every 2 hours at most. So a sudden burst of 5 miles all uphill was a shock to the exhaust pipes. Arlesford was left in a blue haze as all the old oil and muck was burnt off.

The unit accelerated to 35 m.p.h. and Ropley was reached in fine form. A quick inspection showed nothing amiss. We were given the road to Medstead and Four Marks. Once again a blue haze followed us up the line but all who saw W55003 on that first trip stood and watched and waved. At Medstead we inspected the unit to see all was in order and returned downhill to Ropley. We were put in the head shunt to allow trains to pass before proceeding once again to Medstead. This time the unit was purring along with the blue haze considerably lessened.

After returning to Ropley we got the road to Arlesford. W55003 rolled along quite happily at 40 m.p.h.. The final triumph of the day was that the Arlesford distant was off and the AWS bells sounded loud and clear in the cab.

We put W55003 to bed and retired to the buffet for a well earned cup of tea.

We left Arlesford at 1800 hrs. and I was back home by 2030 hrs..

The unit feels at home and I fell happy with the chaps at Arlesford.

Why did I worry so much?

The next jobs are to register W55003 with EWS and to arrange the Magnetic Particle Analysis of the axles to be done. Both these I left in Keith's hands.

During the week it was mooted that I came down on Saturday July 15th and possibly Sunday 16th to train MHR Drivers on the unit for possible mid week running. As it turned out I was not required on the Saturday. However the unit was booked to work shuttles between Ropley and Medstead all day Sunday. My Driver was Tom Turner.

On Saturday I went to Pitsford and commenced work on the second spare engine, 7612253. Nick came down with the crane and we moved 1174 onto a spare pallet for storage and 7612253 onto the floor, after fitting the oil filler pipe.

I set up the starting arrangements ans shortly before lunch I tried 7612253. I didn't turn. The initial assumption being that the batteries were flat.

At that point we adjourned for lunch.

After lunch I tried again and the engine turned. As with 1174 it took a few attempts to fire but then it went and so did half the oil!!!! I had forgotten to tighten up the oil filter correctly. Once tightened up I tried again and 7612253 burst into life and ran up successfully. We shut the engine down as diesel was running out of the return pipe. I expect I will change the injectors in due course although I suspect after a bit more work they will settle down.

I noticed an oil leak from 1174 and found that the oil filler pipe and cracked at the sump flange. It was only a drip but I will need to drain the engine ASAP. I put a recepticle under the pipe and I hope it will suffice until Monday.

On Sunday I was up bright and early to get to Keith's for 0700 hrs.. KJ, JJ and I set off for Arlesford and arrived by 0830 hrs.. Tom had opened up the unit so I started the preparation and as I went round explained the prep routine to Tom. We had the unit ready by 1000 hrs. for a 1020 departure.

I took the unit to Ropley where Tom took over for his training. Tom drove the unit all morning and up to 1400 hrs. when I took over. I then took the last four shuttles and took the unit back to Arlesford.

The weather was good and the crowds took to W55003 as nothing like it had been seen on the line before. The forward view going Down was particularly good as a couple of the passengers noted.

The Guards who rode on the unit took to it as well. I think the MHR will find a suitable niche for the unit running shuttles between the main trains. After all that's what W55003 is built for.

KJ and JJ rode in the unit all day and a pleasant time was had by all. Then all too soon it was over. The unit had done 60 miles with no problems. Both engines are now breathing normally and the exhaust is pale blue if any at all. A few small jobs had surfaced. The No. 1 engine needs the coolant topping up, one door was shut out as the door lock would not close properly, the vacuum on LAP would not hold steady and the No 1 end brakeshoes will need taking up a notch.

Tom will put some coolant in and look at the door and I will bed in the two vacuum brake castings with Brasso and take the brakes up next weekend. Tom knows how to do the brake job so I shall just run through it with him then leave it to Arlesford Traincare.

Next weekend we are running Arlesford Ropley shuttles. This should tie in nicely with Angie selling W55003 merchandise on the station.

We arrived at Arlesford at about 1230 hrs. on Friday 21st July. I set about doing the maintenance on W55003 whilst Angie went off to explore Arlesford.

I soon had the brake blocks knocked up and started lapping in the brake handles. I have never taken them apart so there was four and a half years oil and sediment there. I lapped them in using the tried and tested method of Brasso and elbow grease.

By 1500 hrs. I started the engines and made vacuum. The brakes came on and off as designed, good, and the vacuum remained constant when lapped at the brake handle, also good. I took the unit into the platform and then down the middle road to the fueling point where Jim refuelled the unit.

By the time we had done some shunting the time was 1800 hrs. and Angie and I went off to find our digs for the weekend.

Saturday was Tom’s turn to drive and we were booked off shed at 1000 hrs.. We arrived aby 0830 hrs. and Angie and I set up the stall. I then went off with Tom to do the Daily Exam on W55003.

The day was blue skies all day and we had 7 return Arlesford - Ropley trips. The unit performed faultlessly except for a sticking door, No. L3. Dick and Issy came down in time for the first trip and spent the day either with me or looking around Arlesford. Dick used a file to ease the door and Jim made applications of Vaseline to smooth the usage.

The unit was well received and carried on one trip 54 passengers + 3 standing + crew and hangers on.

Sunday was more of the same with Jim driving. Once again the unit was well received and a roaring trade was done by all. The high side on the No.2 cylinder is now bedding in and does not fall off so quickly.

The other locomotives in use over the weekend were D8188, 35005, 34016 & 506. Photographers were out in force and I hope to get some good coverage in the railway press. I got a good shot of 35005 and 34016 double heading passing W55003 at Ropley.

The stall did good business with 9 videos and various sweat shirts and/or T shirts being sold.

On Monday I contented myself with fixing the sticking door and refitting the drop light on door L7. I managed another couple of odd jobs including clearing out the No. 2 side gutter of leaves,again!!!!!!

Angie had gone off for a trip along the line and ended up having a footplate ride there and back on 506!!!!

All too soon it was over and we were back in Cranfield with extremely fond memories of our welcome onto and operation in our first big event on the MHR.

Roll on Thomas week.

After a phone call from Keith during the week I was on my way back to Alresford the following Saturday at 0517 hrs. to train Steve Hunby on the unit.

I arrived by 0747 hrs. and strolled around the village. The butchers, Evans, was open so I bought two more of their home made pies. Yum yum.

Steve turned up bu 0800 hrs. and we started on the preparation. By 0900 hrs. we were ready and were soon off to Medstead. After two return trips to Medstead and a return to Ropley we adjourned to the shed at Ropley whilst Steve undertook his MHR PTS course. This gave the Ropley men a chance to look over the unit.

In the afternoon we continued with return trips to Ropley and it was quite apparent that Steve was learning fast. The lads from the 71A Class 33 Group came along for a ride.

By 1700 hrs. we were back in the headshunt at Alresford with another days faultless running under our belt. Steve was happy and I was happy to allow him to take the unit during the Thomas week. The only job needing to be done is to move the No. 1 cab Driver’s wiper blades so that they wipe the windows not the roof!!!

Sunday was spent on call out at work but during the afternoon I took delivery of a new set of R2 brake blocks for the unit.

Wednesday August 2nd was the next red letter day for W55003.

On this day the only available motive power was the Ivatt Class 2 41312 and W55003.

Steve Mumby picked the unit up from Alresford and went ECS to Alton. The unit then performed 4 return trips with no problems. Keith arrived after the first trip and thought the unit was being shunted then realised it was running and stood doors open in the platform.

On the first trip W55003 went up the 1 in 60 grade out of Alton at 35 m.p.h. but on the second trip when fully laden went up at 30 m.p.h.. But at least we have been to Alton successfully. Keith has the proof in his camera.

I returned to the NLR on Saturday August 5th ostensibly to get the third engine, No. 7760708, ready for firing. I transpired that a party had been booked but no crew. I was therefore roped into being motorman for the day. The only job I managed to get done was to remove the sheered off bolt from the water rail.

On Sunday I returned and retapped the bolt hole with a 3/8 BSF tap and finished off replacing the water rail, the bleed off pipe from the water rail elbow and putting on a replacement stop solenoid. The engine is now ready for firing.

In the afternoon I passed a hour or exploring the container full of bolts I had rescued from Bletchley. I wasn’t a surprise that Dick and I couldn’t lift it when I emptied it out. There was one massive pin, definitely not DMU, one engine mounting bracket, seven spring end plates from DMU Bogie springs, assorted bars used the hang alternators and exhausters from DMU frames plus countless bolts of all shapes and sizes. I sorted out the collection and put them in a new lin-bin. At least I know where to go for the odd bolt or two!!!

The following Tuesday John Collins and I had been invited to go on the bubble car, 55029, on its last day in traffic around Birmingham. A good day was had by all.

The following day I went down to the MHR and spent a most enjoyable day with Steve Mumby doing the Ropley - Medstead shuttles. W55003 has been well received and is in good form.

On Saturday I was on the railway good and early to inspect the damage inflicted on W55001 by the stone throwing youth of Brixworth. Richard had telephoned the police but as per the norm nowadays the ‘Boys in Blue’ were not interested. I bet if fingers were broken they would be.

The window was 1/4” plate and had been broken in the bottom left hand corner. It has a small piece missing and has cracked across the plate. I used black tape to tape up the hole and crack and have left it in situ until later.

The first job ended up as a shunt as the crane could not be started, flat battery.

The next job was to rearrange the engines. The two completed engines were put in the back row with the two untouched ones being placed one on the cradle and one by the side of the cradle. The engine on the cradle was put on the floor for starting.

I prepared engine 7760708 for firing and tried it. Initially it turned. It then found a stiff spot. We removed the injectors and suspect the stiff spot is on the right hand end cylinder. Eventually the engine would only turn with a very large bar. Obviously something is very wrong. I shall strip it down as and when I have sorted out the other two engines.

The engine on the cradle is engine RFS527. Whilst craning it from the back onto the cradle I had to remove the oil filler pipe. I was not too pleased to see oceans of (clear) water cascading from the sump. The aluminium filler cap was broken and I suspect water had got in from that breakage. On first inspection when on the cradle it seemed complete, however, on removing the rocker box covers I discovered that both sets of rockers were missing. I replaced these rockers and Nick and I tested the injectors. One was duff and was replaced with another of my many spare ones. I replaced a missing piece of bleed off pipe and the engine is now ready for starting. It turns easily with the injectors in place. The engine came complete with engine mountings. These have been removed, tidied up and are to be stored as spares.

Friday August 18th saw Keith and I on the M3 again bound for Arlesford. This time was for more Driver training and a repair session on the Saturday.

Tim James was the MHR Driver. We soon had the unit up and running when our Guard arrived and told us we were the running the Arlesford service train. At last I was to get to Alton!!

The day passed all too soon with Tim soon picking up the driving. I took the third trip out of Arlesford and drove to Alton. Whilst in Alton one of the new ‘Juniper’ units No. 8006 came in so I managed a shot of old and new. I drove back to Medstead and Tim finished off the turn back to Arlesford and the ‘Belle’ siding.

That night I lodged with Tom and Cathy. Tom gave me a guided tour of the Hamble River area and we had a pleasant meal and a couple of pints.

The following morning I returned to Alresford via Tom’s map and set about the ad-hoc repairs required.

The first was to replace both destination blinds with the standard Tyseley set. The second to correct the No. 1 cab wiper arms to the correct position. The last and longest job was to drain the No. 1 engine of coolant and replace the leakin Nitride hose. This hose had been in place since I refitted the engine some 4 years previous. The job was all done within an hour. Then the fun started.

I decided to start the engine without opening up the desk. Mistake. The engine did not fire, in fact showed no sign of life at all. I was stumped as I had no electrical measuring devices with me and therefore could not trace the problem.

Dave, the electrician off the Belle, came to my rescue. I had knocked the relay off its correct seating and therefore it was not working. Once reseated the engine burst into life.

The final job was to wash down the unit.

Paul, with Jacko, and I soon had the unit washed, polished and looking resplendent. Paul even cleaned out the guttering with his ‘gutter cleaning device’. Amazing all the drain holes work in unison!!

We retired the unit to the middle siding so that the Belle was clear for its evening run.

After a visit to Evans for more pies I set off for home.

On Sunday I went to Northampton. The siezed engine was prepared for the heads to be removed and the last 680/1595 was prepared for putting on the cradle. I now have a second set of engine mounting brackets for the stores. The final engine 8063777 has a later fuel pump, a Friedman-Maier, but has the oil feed pipe from the sump missing. The trouble is I haven’t any spare Friedman-Maier parts. I may replace this pump with a standard CAV one for ease of maintenance.

Investigations into a possible Leyland spare part has yielded the part number, WA2L113, but it has been long deleted.

Keith and I decided to pospone the ‘A’ exam basically for political reasons and the fact that the unit is required for MHR service. We will also be doing more Driver training in early September so Keith and I can do the ‘A’ exam then just before the high speed trials.

We decided to do the ‘A’ exam on Saturday September 2nd the same day we do some Driver training. Nick has asked to come down so he can do the ‘A’ exam whilst Keith and I sort out Roger Thornton the new driver.

The late August Bank holiday was over the weekend August 26th - 28th. As usual the weather during the week before was glorious. On the Saturday it rained and stayed raining all day.

I managed to remove the air pipes from the two spare gearboxes and acquire a few spares but other than that it was a washout.

Sunday was better the weather brightened up and at 0830 hrs. I was called out to work!!! I arrived at Pitsford by 1100 hrs. Rob and Dick had erected the racking in Tim’s container and Dick had put as many seats on the top of the racking as he could. We still have more to put away. Dick and I fitted the decking and Dick then started to tidy the container.

The weather being sunny allowed the ground to dry out enough to allow the crane down to the containers. Dick and I did the big crane and moved the spare gearboxes to the back and swapped the engines about. After lunch I made 527 ready for firing and after a dozen or so turns it started and ran very well. The tickover is a bit lumpy but will get better as it is run. The main thing is that we now have three operational spare engines.

The last green engine is now on the cradle ready for stripping down. It turns freely so it should be a runner in a few weeks.

After scouring the NAV I found a spare horn actuating valve.

On the Monday I had a day off. I removed the torched ends of the gearbox air pipes so that I now have two spare sets for use. The horn valve was stripped down and now is in full working order.My flexi day from work was Friday September 1st. I spent the day between the branch and watching the test match.

Nick came down from Birmingham during the evening ready for a trip to the MHR.

On Saturday Nick, Keith and I wended our way to Arlesford to do an ‘A’ Exam on W55003 and do some driver training.

We arrived by 0830 hrs. and met Roger Thornton, our trainee Driver, at Arlesford. Nick and I commenced the ‘A’ exam whilst Keith and Roger went through the preliminaries. Nick knocked up the brakes whilst did the oil levels and general inspection. The unit was ready for service by 1100 hrs. having passed its first ‘A’ exam. I expect the next major exam will be a ‘B’ exam for the safety exam next February.

We went off to Ropley in grand style and in fine weather. Once there we dropped Keith and Nick off as Nick had some work to do on the Class 33 33021. After that Roger and I went off to Medstead. We stopped for Nick and Keith on the way back and spent the rest of the day going between Arlesford and Medstead. I took the last return trip, most enjoyable.

The only bad spot of the day was in the Guard’s van. The siting block on the bottom of the outward opening Guard’s door had been ripped out!! I don’t mind accident’s happening but after 40 years of BR misuse I expect ‘preservationists’ to take a bit more care!! We returned home at 1715 hrs. arriving back home 2 hours later after dropping Keith off at Leighton Buzzard.

On Sunday I dropped Nick off at CMK and returned home to fabricate a new block for the Guard’s door. As the old one was screwed in with partially rusted screws, and I expect the wood is also not too good, I fabricated a new backing plate out of aluminium. Keith is going down to Arlesford so he can offer it up to make sure it fits correctly. I shall then finish it off and fit it over the wekend of September 23rd and 24th.

The next visit to Northampton was for Saturday September 9th. I had being having lower back problems and wa sin no fit state to start heaving heavy things about so I contented myself with finishing off  8063777 ready for starting next weekend.

The injectors were tested all all proved in order. The ‘green’ injectors firing at a pressure of 220 atmospheres.

The bores were injected with oil and turned and all proved free. The fuel pump was fitted with the oil pipe from the DMU Group’s 4041 and the missing bolt in the fuel pump drive was replaced. The last job was to check the oil filter and replace the centrifugal filter paper element.

The oil filter was in good order with the base plate in situ so I didn’t change it. The centrifugal filter had 1/4” sediment in it so the engine had had an exam not long before withdrawal. Once changed the engine was reassembled and is now ready for firing.

In the afternoon I strengthened the decking under the spare starter motor/exhauster/fuel pump racking as it was beginning to sag quite considerably.

After that I took my bad back home and had a good long soak. Much better.

Monday September 11th was a good day. The Chairman of the MHR called offering a years work for the unit. Chris Cornell also phoned and Angie and I can sell our T Shirts and Sweat Shirts over the open weekend of September 23rd/24th. I spoke to Dick and we think the unit will be remaining at Arlesford for the next year.

The following week was the week of the great fuel shortage. I, luckily, had filled the Saturday before and still had just over half a tank by the weekend. The blockades had ended by the Thursday and fuel was beginning to flow again although only about 25% of filling stations were fully opened. Rothersthorpe was one of these and I managed to fill up with no problems.

I was still concerned with the state of my back and was somewhat reticent about lifting anything heavy.

Dick and Nick arrived about 1000 hrs. and we decided to get the crane ready to sort the engines out again. The crane would not start, flat battery, so it was not until after lunch that we managed to start it and get down to the container.

The engines were moved about such that 8063777 was on the blocks ready for starting, RFS527 was stored serviceable and 7760708 was on the cradle ready to have the heads removed.

I had already primed the fuel pump on 8063777 and without putting the diesel supply on I wired up the batteries and tried to start the engine. It fired after about four turns and ran up well. There was a slight roughness on one cylinder which was cured when I tightened up the fuel pipe nut. After that it started on the first turn and ran as sweet as the proverbial nut. It is probably the best engine I have.

After that Nick and I started on 7760708. Nick undid the head bolts and Robert and Nick lifted the heads off the block. All cylinders were carboned up badly with the No. 1 cylinder especially bad. It also looked as if some water might have been getting in as well. Once the heads were off Nick tried to turn the engine. It stuck fast.

Nick then showed me a trick to release the cylinders. Using a piece of wood and hammer he hit each piston head in turn. This must have worked as the next time we tried the pistons moved. Only slowly but surely they moved. We checked each liner for score marks and found them all smooth, well as smooth as you can get. The top 1” of each cylinder bore was badly carboned up but once they had been scraped clean and a mixture of WD40 and oil had been applied all pistons rotated freely.

I scraped down the faces to remove any traces of the old head gasket and oiled them throughly leaving them covered with oily rags. We left the block and the cylinder heads soaking in oil and parafin. I shall use a wire brush to clean them thoroughly and rebuild the heads. The engine should then fire.

Once 7760708 is sorted out I shall start on 876 & 1161. One of these had a tight spot but I think I will have the heads off in both cases and do a top end decoke.

This will give me 4 spare operational engines which hopefully will be enough.

After all this excitement I returned home.

On Sunday I went to Keith’s in Leighton Buzzard and picked up the new piece for the Guard’s door. Once home I fitted the new spacer and drilled and fitted the correct securing screws. The rest I shall do next weekend at Alresford.

Angie accompanied me down to the MHR’s ‘Open Weekend’ September 23rd & 24th. We set up the stall on Arlesford platform and I left Angie to sell, sell, sell!!!! The weather was glorious all day, a really beautiful autumnal day.

Bob Deeth arrived on time at 0900 hrs. and we proceeded to the unit and into the preparation.

Initially we were going to be running shuttles but this was capped at the last minute so we ended up running ECS.

Bob soon picked up the controls and after two round trips with Bob driving I finished off with a round trip.

Bob invited me to accompany him on the Countryman the following day to learn the run round loop at Alton and the wrong line approach and run round at Medstead station. The locomotive was to be one of the Class 33s.

After we finished the training runs I put the unit in the centre road as the Belle was going out that evening. The first job I undertook was fitting the new guide block to the base of the No. 1 Guard’s door. I then started the mechanical work on the unit and within a couple of hours had finished off the two jobs. These jobs were replacing the lower vacuum hose on the No. 1 exhauster and refitting the new hand throttle cable block on the No. 1 engine.

Whilst I was under the unit the guys thought I had left the doors open and came down shut and locked them. I only found this out when I tried to get in. It was a good job I had left the Driver’s doors open.

It’s this type of care that endears me to the railway. They really are looking after me and the unit.

We stayed overnight in the Bell Hotel.

On Sunday the day dawned wet and got wetter. I was, fortunately, working in the Guard’s van. I decided that enough was enough and the time was ready for me to finish off painting the Guard’s van walls. I managed to finish two and a bit walls. The main effort was in painting the drop down rack and keeping the drips off my boots!!. The walls certainly look brighter.

Midday soon came round and I finished off what I was doing. Bob arrived with D6525 and we set off for Alton at 1250 prompt. The day went well and got better even the weather brightened up.

When we arrived at Medstead on the second trip we, the loco crew, were fed Sunday lunch, roast lamb followed by rhubard crumble and custard!!!! Brilliant.

On the return trip after leaving Ropley, Bob vacated the chair and I brought the Countryman back into Alresford. All you could see was a wall to wall smile.

The weekend came to an end all too soon and Angie and I wended our way back home up the A31, M3, M25 to a stop on the M1. I left the M1 at Junction 10 and came home via Luton and Ampthill. 2 hours and 20 minutes for 100 miles!!!

I shall be missing for the next two weekends as I am in Germany at a Plandampf with Roger and Hubert. The next visit to the MHR is for the October Thomas weekend when Roger Thornton is driving.

The Plandampf went exceedingly well and I now have a 90 minute commercial video as proof.

On Tuesday October 10th I was 50.

The following weekend was the TRA meeting on the ELR

The following weekend was the TRA meeting on the ELR.

I showed a cut down video of the rebuilding of W55003 and spoke as well. It seemed to go down well and I think made people realise it’s not all plain sailing.

I returned to the MHR on Thursday October 19th for the final high speed test.

I picked Keith up and we were to be ready for movement as soon as Wayne, RESCO, had arrived. The unit was prepared and ready in the glorious autumn sunshine by 0830 hrs.

Accompanying me on the footplate was Wayne Jones (RESCO), Frank Twine (MHR Permanent Way), Bob Deeth (MHR Chief Loco. Inspector), Tim James (MHR Driver) and Keith Jackson.

We were to run between Arlesford and Medstead and were allowed to run up to 60 m.p.h..

The first run up the bank showed the unit capable of 40 m.p.h..

The first run down the bank showed the unit capable of 50 m.p.h. All were satisfied.

The second run had the unit up to 62 m.p.h., twice!!! Wayne was very satisfied as was Bob, Keith and Frank. The unit had passed. It is now fully main line compliant.

The third trip Tim took the unit to Alton and once again we achieved 60 m.p.h. this time down the bank towards Alton.

After returning to Alresford W55003 was put to bed and we were all very pleased.

The following Saturday I accompanied Roger on the footplate and assisted him in preparing the unit and on its first round trip from Alresford to Ropley.

I had been invited onto the footplate, by Bob Deeth, for a ride on the S15 so who was I to refuse.

The last trip with W55003 I drove and soon the unit was stabled in the Belle Siding with another days work finished.

I left at 1700 hrs. and was at home by 1900 hrs..

Sunday I was in work.

At last a weekend when I can go and do some work at Northampton.

On Saturday November 4th I ventured back to Pitsford and continued to rebuild engine 7760708.

The piston crowns were wire brushed clean as were the cylinder heads. I had obtained a top end decoke set from Don Almey many moon agos and this came in handy for the rebuild.

The heads slipped back into place very easily and by following the VMI instructions the heads were soon torqued down to 140 ft/lb.

The torque wrench will have to be calibrated to ensure the 140 is really 140.

I rebuilt the rest of the top of the engine and now once the torque settings have been checked I can replace the injectors and valve gear and start the engine.

I left the railway just as it was getting dark. The lads followed on and we had a very pleasant evening watching the football club fireworks and having a beer or two, or three, or four!!!

On Sunday I was called into work but still managed to find time to start cutting out the draft excluders for W55003 from the pond liner I had in the container. They cut out easily and hopefully I should have them installed over the winter.

The following week was wet, wet, wet and I envisaged the container sinking by the time I returned the following Saturday.

True to form the following Saturday, November 11th, the weather was grim, wet and windy! However undeterred I set about finishing off the engine No. 7760708.

Dick brought his own torque wrench and I soon verified that the old torque wrench was in good working order and all the bolts had been done up to the correct torque.

I refitted the rocker gear, injectors and restraining bolts etc. and by lunchtime had the engine in one piece again. It turns over extreemly well. Hopefully next week, weather permitting, I shall start it up.

After lunch Dick and I took a stroll down to W51359 and refitted most of the blown out hardboard window inserts. We also looked in the five-plank wagon at the three spare engines. Of these 1161 does not turn but 876 does. 876 was the engine out of W55012 and I suspect will fire reasonably easily when serviced. 1161 will need the heads off at least. The third engine 124 is a major overhaul however it looks to be a relatively modern rebuild of the original engine, but we will have to see when time permits.

We were looking for a single three seater seat frame with a left hand handhold for W51402 but couldn’t find one in W55001.I think the storeman will need to be contacted. W55001 will not need one as it has no free standing single seat frames. All the free standing ones are double two or three seaters, the others are fixed to the partitions.

The inside work in W55001 will be a lot less than in W55003 as I am not going to strip the whole unit. Once replaced the roof panels will need to be repainted. But that must wait until I can get it into the siding at Pitsford.

We finished off the day by working on W51402 with Martin.

The following weekend was equally non productive.

Saturday was spent finishing off W51402 ready for Sunday’s service and sorting out the ETH on E5229 with Dick and Rob.

Sunday, November 19th, was so miserable that I stayed at home and watched the Italian football and the WWF wrestling!!!

During the week I had my offer for W51400 accepted by Jason at Angel Trains. The unit is in very good condition and should be a good candidate for the main line partner for W55003.

I returned to Northampton the following Saturday with a letter of request to bring 51400 to the line and did not go down to Arlesford after all.

Once delivered I then helped Dick and Rob working on MK1 3919. We stripped down the heaters, cleaned them, checked the cabling and replaced three that had already been removed. The rest that were missing Dick wired through.

The Peak then came onto the coach and the ETH was switched on.

It worked.

The coach warmed through very well indeed.

The only problem was a fuse failure after one heater burnt out and caused a short circuit. Dick will replace the fuses next weekend and wire out the offending heater.

The last job was to put the Peak back and switch off.

On Sunday I began by cutting out the remaining door draught excluders for W55003. I can fit these next weekend.

The rest of the day was spent reading the Signalling notes Graham has put together and getting ready for the first test paper.

The jobs to be done next weekend are, fit the seat dust covers, fit the draught excluders, check the anti-freeze, check the batteries and lamps and finally replace the broken screws from the luggage racks.

As ever the best laid plans etc. etc. never seem to work out.

I arranged with John to tape up the door in W51400 to stop the rain getting in and was hoping that Dick could put in the spare window during the weekend. However, with the first weekend of Santa running at Northampton we still had to get the ETH on 3919 sorted out. The NLR DMU had failed the weekend before so that required work on it as well.

I decided therefore to come to the railway and leave Arlesford until the 9th of December. Doing that I could pick up the glass and whatever else I required and do the job myself on the Sunday.

The ETH still had a kick in the tail as another heater shorted out and caused us to lose two more fuses. However after that it settled down and now the three coach rake is fully ETHed.

The DMU was next after lunch.

The first job was to check the batteries which soon showed a dead cell. This will cause the loss of starting power. The engines were also checked and the No. 2 engine on W51402 was devoid of oil so it was replenished.

The next job was to sort out the drive belts on both the engines of W51402. The No. 2 engine only required tightening up, although they will next need replacing. The drive belts on the No. 1 engine were loose with a capital ‘loo’. I chnged them and tightened the right angle drive up to the correct tension.

By the time this was done the signal post for Graham had arrived. Nick, Dick and I spent an hour or so getting it off the lorry and positioning it in the car park.

It was now getting dark so I packed up and headed off home.

On Sunday December 3rd I spent 4 hours in work and then went off the Bletchley to replace the drop light in W51400. John had taped up the window but 30 minutes later I had it fully glazed. It is a tight fitting but I can sort that out when the unit arrives at Northampton and the main thing is that the unit is watertight.

Keith and Simon came down to make sure I was all right and then sorted out a few old tools for me to take home. We then checked what is missing. I think I have just enough in the stores to cope.

I have spoken with James Ambrose and he is happy for the unit to remain at Bletchley until after Christmas when the buffer stop will have been modified for quick release. Allely’s have been told of the move so 2001 will start off with a new unit.

At last I managed  to get down to Arlesford on Saturday December 9th.

My first job was to add 1 litre of antifreeze to each of the radiators. I then ran the unit up and started both heaters. Both engines started on the first turn. I left the engines to warm through then put then on fast tickover to allow the alternators to charge the batteries. The saloon soon dried out and warmed through.

Inside my first job was to put the dust sheets over the seats. I then started on the luggage racks. I took out all bar one of the broken bolts, which actually sheared off, and armed myself with bolts out of a spare rack. Once again the lack of standard parts made itself felt as non of the bolts fitted the old rack!!!!

I gave that idea up and started on the door draught excluders. Once again I was thwarted by my own work. I only managed to fit one excluder!! Mind you it does the job well.

I shall wait until Dick or Nick comes down and we can work out what to do, if anything.

I cleaned out the guttering as best I could and opened the drain holes in the corners. At least some of the water can now drain away.

My last job was to top up the batteries which in fact needed very little water.

I came home and called Dick. We will leave the bolts until next weekend when we can most probably get some correct spare bolts to fit the racks.

The following day with a few moments spare I looked at the spare racks and the units they had come off. The units are as follows 50920, 51305, 51341, 51354, 51359, 51366, 51375, 51383, 51396, 51401, 51407, 51408, 55023, 55029 & 55031. I must check the rest at Northampton.

The following Saturday, December 16th, I took the bolts up to Northampton and Dick assures me they are Whitworth and he can get some. I put some more spares away in the container which I am sure will sink if I put any more in it!!!

Nick then gave me two sets of special tools for Leyland 6/80 engines, a set of injector tube rollers and a set of injector pullers.

We called in at Bletchley and inspected W51400. It is in extremely good condition and Dick is quite happy about the work required to return it to main line condition.

Dick and I then went out to reclaim three 20 ton coach jacks, some hardwood packing and a redundant generator. The generator is powered by a Petter AC1 engine and produces 110volt output of sufficient power to power lighting in the container and be used for power work.

On Sunday I took delivery of some spare fuel tanks, two main tanks with gauges and two heater tanks. Whether we will need them or not they are still a useful acquisition.

The following weekend was spent on the Saturday as Guard and on the Sunday sorting out the fuel tanks.

Once Christmas had passed the weather turned very cold with four inches of snow. I got out and videoed the branch in snow getting 58026 and 66086 on freight turns.

PWM651 and 45118 succumbed to the weather and on the last weekend of 2000 we spent a very long and cold Saturday December 30th starting them. By Sunday the weather had turned warm and most of the snow had melted.

So ended another year with W55003 and what have we achieved?

The unit is now fully main line certified and has spent a very good summer on the MLR with minimal problems. It has even turned a few non believers into realising how useful the unit really is.

I have overhauled five spare engines with only one remaining to be started. That one being the one that had been seized. Work on W55001 has been negligible due to me being away with W55003 and the fact that we can’t get the unit into the siding. Work on W51359 has been minimal but the unit now has most of its windows boarded up. I have started the ball rolling with a request for a quote for the rubber for the glass in order to replace the glass in W51359 ready for a reflooring during the summer.

Spares acquisition has continued apace and continues as ever. The container is slowly sinking under the weight and the DMU Group. Dave Young and I have requested another container to alleviate the storage problem. It will also allow me to start on W55001 once it is emptied.

The visit and presentation to the TRA weekend in Bury was well received.


The first day of a 2001 dawned and I spent the day at home.

The first visit to Northampton was on the 6th of January. Dick was away at Hornsey and Nick was on nights. The day was spent installing a new tool cabinet I had purchased. This has alleviated the space problem on one of the shelves. It also means I can put the special tools away safely.

The other reason was to get passed to drive PWM651.I prepared the locomotive and was duly passed out by Martin Harris. The rest of the day was spent in having a huge bonfire. Great fun!!

Dick arrived at 1700 hrs. and we started the Peak up to warm it through. We will get some more antifreeze into it next weekend, hopefully.

The official acceptance of W51400 should be Sunday and I have arranged to have the unit moved on Saturday January 13th. If the 'big shunt' has taken place then it will be straight into the back road and begin working on. We should have it up and running by the start of the 2001 services on March 4th.

Problems with getting a sales agreement to me meant that I only signed a faxed copy on Friday January 12th at 1800 hrs..

January 13th duly arrived with full sunshine and I presented myself at BY Depot in time to see 51400 being shunted onto the fuel road.

Then the problems began. Allelys had sent an 80 ft. rig and no matter how we tried we could not get the rig into a safe position for onloading the vehicle. After a couple of hours we abandoned the attempt.

I went to Northampton somewhat unhappy but all is not lost. I spent the day with the rest of the lads cleaning up the Pitsford site. What a difference it makes. Brian Ashby is on the verge of selling 3 MK 1 coaches which will make some room for us. I'm glad they are going to a good home because they are sound coaches which can give someone a good few years service yet.

The only solution to the BY problem is it infill with ballast between the fuelling bay and the bufferstops. This will entail approximately 120' x 10' x 6" of ballast using 55mm base and 28mm top, compacted and tamped but will ensure anything can come in and out by road.

Tuesday will see a decision made.

Sunday was spent in acquiring a few more scrap spares, cleaning and sorting them out.

Jason rang on Monday to say the official sales agreement is ready and 51400 is now officially mine. I will return the official signed sale document with the cheque once I receive them in the post.

The cheque and sales documents were duly sent off and now I am the proud owner of W51400.

The following weekend the weather turned nasty once again and on Saturday, January 20th, a good layer of snow was on the ground.

The general idea was to do the 'big shunt' and this is what we did.

Eventually W55001 was positioned in the back road and I can now make a start on it. I enjoyed the day being Driver on PWM651 for most of the afternoon.

On Sunday I started to 'tidy' up the container. The exhaust spare parts were cut into individual components and stacked accordingly. I'm sure I have enough for a while bearing in mind there is more in W55001.

After a chat with everybody I left the railway at 1230 hrs. and went home to watch Juventus on the television.

The ballasting at Bletchley is to take place during this week so I should be able to get W51400 out the following week. Gordon would prefer a weekday so I will have to see what we can do.

I had a flexi day on Friday January 26th and went down to Bletchley to see the state of the ballasting on the fuel road.

The ballasting has been completed and so I contacted all parties and we are going for a removal date of next Thursday, February 1st.

On Saturday I went to Northampton only to find that the spare Class 25 cab had been dumped right in front of my container. I tried to move it but only succeeded in burning my clutch!!! Once Dick and Rob arrived we moved the cab to safe standing using the JCB. This isn't the first time things have been deposited in a place such that access is restricted to the containers and I sometimes wonder if the railway will ever function as one body or whether it will still be an us and them situation for along time to come. Despite asking many times the NLR still has not sorted out with Daventry Council the permissions for the siting of the spares containers. I only hope we do not have to move them!!!

We stacked the spare doors and I then set about storing the spare radiators and radiator fans. I then went down to look at W51359 to ascertain how many droplight glasses are needed for the unit. Nine are required.

In the afternoon I started on W55001, by removing some of the spare electrical and mechanical parts for refurbishment at home. Dick and I found that both change end switches are still in W55001. I also spent sometime in cutting back the shrubbery behind W55001 so that I can now access that side without need of a machete.

The paintwork will require some attention as soon as the weather improves for Spring.

On Sunday I found I was suffering with one of my one day wonder colds. It streamed out of me for most of the day. Nevertheless I spent most of the morning in the garage at home stripping down two heater connection boxes, two fire boxes, one starter button box and four throttle motor boxes.

I will need these in working order for W51400 later in February and W55001 later in the year.

The date for delivery of W51400 was set for Thursday February 1st.

When I arrived at Bletchley Depot the transporter was already in place. All we had to wait for was the unit to be brought around. Once it was in place we put the headboard on the cab and had some group photographs taken. The unit was then loaded. Once on the transporter I had photos taken of James Ambrose and myself ready for the magazines.

The unit left at 0950 hrs.. I followed up to Northampton and helped Gordon and John get the floating rake ready. The only problem was that PWM651 would not fire up so we had to utilise the whole of the floating rake and the Peak. Not exactly the best combination for a shunt.

The unit arrived by 1200 hrs. and at 1231 hrs. W51400 was on NLR metals.

I went over to Keith's on Friday evening and we have sorted out a 'flier' for W55003 which we will e-mail to EWS to send out to all their customers. Hopefully this will get us some main line work this year.

Keith and the MHR had been audited by EWS earlier in thre year and I have incorporated most of their recommendations in the W55003 MOP etc..

Saturday morning was spent in getting PWM651 started off the air supply from the Peak and a paraffin fire in the air intake.

After that I cleaned out the compressor filter and assisted Nick in looking at the air leak. This was coming from two points. The air brake and the bypass valve to the donkey engine. Nick took the bypass valve off and cleaned out the gung, it now works perfectly. The air brake will require a bit more thought as Dick suspects a large spring is housed behind the end cap and seal.

I started on W51400 in the mid afternoon. I first replaced the missing vacuum pipes and air lines and then started on the interior.

The cab soon had its speedo and tacho replaced and AWS power pack replaced. The air gauge will require a new air pipe but I think we will get Pirtek to fabricate a flexible one. The rest of the missing parts from the interior are purely cosmetic and can be dealt with as and when I like.

I checked out the electrics and Dick and I will replace the tacho generator relays and fire box electrics next weekend.

I took two new multiple jumper connectors and the reel of wire home to make up on the Sunday. Unfortunately my 25 watt soldering iron was not up to the job.

I bought a new Draper Soldering Gun, from Sam's in Kempston, which was rated at 100 watts. This lasted all of 90 minutes until it burnt out!

I called MK Tools and they had a most suitable 75 watt standard soldering iron so I bought one. What a difference the right tools make. The new soldering iron gave more or less instant heat and it was constant. The whole job was done in less than 30 minutes.

Saturday February 9th was spent on PWM651 with Dick. He removed the brake cylinder and found the source of the leak to be the seal on the end plate having blown. We removed the end plate, spring and piston. The barrel of the cylinder is in excellent condition. All parts are Westinghouse parts so can be bought off the shelf. Various other parts in the air system located below the cab floor were dismantled, inspected and reassembled. The locomotive was started up with assistance of a paraffin fire in the inlet manifold. I shall amend the preparation instructions to insist on the paraffin fire if the weather is at all cold.

Dick inspected the soldering I had done and only found one bad joint. I soon resoldered this back in place. I found the two jumper socket castings we will put the jumpers into and removed the old jumper cable from one of them. This had small rubber collars over the soldered connections so I transferred them to my wiring. I assume they ensure no water gets into the soldering.

In the afternoon I managed to replace both the long luggage racks and the Driver's rack. Dick put in two new Tacho relay panels. I also fitted two 'U' bolts to the MU Jumper cables to ensure they do not fall out of the sockets. I picked up the Driver's door runners from the container and have ascertained what screws I need to refit them. I also acquired a new door runner for the one removed from W51400. Whoever took the parts seemed to have removed some very strange parts indeed!

By this time it was getting dark and wet and so we vacated the site by 1630 hrs. for an early finish.

Sunday morning was spent sorting out the list of spare DMMU parts catalogued as being on Bletchley depot. In the afternoon I dismantled the charging socket ready for attaching to the charger in the NLR DMU.

Dick and I are going to Ropley on Thursday to do the B exam on W55003 and the RESCO Safety Exam on Friday, so I booked two rooms at the Travel Lodge in Four Marks for us and arranged breakfast at the Little Chef next door.

Dick and I left Cranfield at 0500 hrs on Thursday and were at the Little Chef, Four Marks, by 0645 hrs. We had breakfast and left for Ropley by 0800 hrs..

The unit was on the pit having been brought up by Bob Deeth the day before. We started on the B exam which we finished by 1600 hrs. There were very few problems most of which were sorted out then and there except for four which we deferred.

The only ones of any note were new fire extinguishers for the cabs and new starter buttons for the external start panels. The only other event of note was that the heater tanks ran empty. Still it means we can clean out the system and refill.

The following day Wayne Jones, RESCO, arrived and did the safety exam. The unit passed with no faults found and only a couple of suggestions to be followed up.

I was then passed out as a Fitness to Run Examiner for EWS by Wayne. Another first for the W55003 Group.

After that I 'liberated' some DMU spares, two driver's brake valves, a quick release valve and a part of the DSD from under the desk, I had discovered rusting in the dirt. We then loaded up for a midday return home.

Bob Deeth has asked me to take my Rules and Regs. test on March 3rd and to pass out the three Locomotive Inspectors on the same day.

It was all over by 1400 hrs.. I was back home and Dick was on his way to Birmingham.

On Saturday Dick replaced the brake cylinder on PWM651 whilst I worked on W51400. I managed to replace the destination box, the Drivers compartment sliding door and repair the window that had had the bottom clasp removed. I also tightened up the door lock bolts many of which were loose. I don't know why though.

We spent a while then testing PWM651. The brake seems much better, more strong and more sensitive to the handle.

The last job was to measure up the wheels of the main locos and coaches on the line. This included W51400. The tyres were in good condition although will need a skimmimg to get the profile back. They have plenty of meat on the tyres the thinnest being 56mm.

I had arranged to pick up the six engines from Bletchley on Friday February 23rd. Gordon duly arrived at the lay bye at Junction 14 on the M1 at 0930 hrs.. We were on the depot by 0945.

With help from the staff we had the engines loaded and ready by 1200 hrs..

Once at Northampton the problems began. The crane was playing up and eventually after unloading one engine I could not engage reverse or get the rope to raise. I went to get the JCB to finish off the job. It would not start. We eventually got it started by jumping it from the dumper. Even Martin Percy could not get the crane to behave.

The job was eventually finished by 1600 hrs. We left the engines where they were and the crane in the middle of the car park.

The following day Dick looked at the crane and found that the reverse switch gear has a broken pole so will not engage properly. The other controls in the cab were rebuilt and cleaned and the crane behaved a lot better.

We tidied up the engines and covered them in tarpaulins. Dick reckons that at least four of them are rebuildable, if not five.

I brought the cardan shaft off 51400 from home and it is now ready for fitting.

The rest of the day was spent in shunting the Class 25 and DMU with PWM651 to get the DMU in the platform for a B exam. Once in place we put 51402 on charge as the BIS switch had been left in and the batteries were dead with a capital D. The engines on 51367 started without any problem. We replenished the radiators with antifreeze and discovered the three oil drums of 'anti freeze' taken out of the Peak many moons ago was nothing more than water.

I replaced the fire extinguishers with two from the container so at least the two car is now legal. I managed to replace the broken light fixing in 51400 with a spare piece taken from 51402.

By the time the light had failed 51402 was still not starting but the engines were turning over, if very slowly. A good charge next weekend will have them starting. We tested the brakes and I drove the two car back into the loop.

The following weekend, March 3rd, I was due to take my rules exam on the Mid Hants.

The day before it was snowing heavily at Cranfield so I wasn't sure if I would make it. I left home at 05:46 and was in Ropley by 07;15, one of my quickest trips ever.

Bob gave me the paper, 19 questions, and Geoff Bailey marked it. Apart from a couple of things no one had informed me of, I was successful. Even with these Geoff commented that I had done everything correctly but he would try and find all the 'local arrangements' so that I would know all the in and outs of the MHR.

The rest of the day was spent taking the three inspectors, Bob Allen, Clive Holliday and Geoff Bailey, out in W55003. We took the unit from Alresford to Alton and shuttled up and down the line all day.

I had e-mailed Steve Blacker, my best pal at University and best man at my wedding, the day before and told him I would be on the MHR the following day. We had not met since the mid 1970s so it was a great pleasure when he arrived at Ropley shortly after noon.

We spent the rest of the day on the unit and I finally put the unit to bed at 16:30 hrs after a good days running. The unit behaved impeccably except for a dropping top side vacuum on the No. 1 cylinder. All three inspectors have spoken favourably about the unit so I am happy.

I spoke to Keith and Dick about the vacuum cylinder the next day and we have tentatively agreed to leave it to see if it cures itself as the temperature warms up. I expect we will need to change the cylinder sometime in the summer especially if we are going out onto the main line.

On Sunday I ground down the lamp brackets from W51400 and repainted them in Signal Red. They are now ready to be refitted. I also rooted out the two spacer plates for behind the buffers.

The NLR was shut on Sunday March 4th because of the foot and mouth epidemic. I expect it to be shut next weekend when I have a Guard's turn.

It wasn't. In order to run we had to buy two disinfectant mats and appropriate disinfectant and run all cars coming onto the site across the mats.

We carried 45 passengers all day. I sometimes wonder if it is at all worth running until after Easter. Anyway, young Darren Moore was passed out for DMU Guard duties and also showed he is capable to carry out shunts.

However, the day before, March 10th, I managed to get a good days work in on W51400. Nick and I replaced the cardan shaft, the exhauster, the two Graviner bottles and I managed to get the two fire boxes ready for refitting. One requires only a switch but the other requires a switch, a test button and rebuilding. I replaced one of the covers as it was lacking a red light cover and a pull off strip for setting off the fire system.

The brake gear required will need to be stripped from the bogie off W51375.

I got together most of the gear I will need to finish off W55003 down at Alresford in a couple of weeks.

Once I have refitted the DSD gear from under the desk and refitted the dummy vacuum couplings we can test the unit for brakes, even though we only have one vacuum cylinder connected.

I decided that as the weekend of March 17th/18th was to be my last at Northampton for three weeks that I had better make a big push to get the brake gear refitted. To this end I took Friday March 16th off to do the dismantling of the ex W51375 No. 1 bogie.

I awoke to pouring rain. I had already packed the gear so off I went to Northampton. The English weather is nothing if not changeable. By the time I had arrived at Pitsford the rain had and stopped the sky was brightening up. By the time I got down to the bogie in Pitsford Siding it was almost dry.

I had sorted out the tools required by looking at W51402 so after uncovering the bogie I started. The most strenuous effort was to move the bogie 18" to clear the GWR tender. By 1100 hrs. the job was done.

I retraced my steps to Pitsford Station and proceeded to do a few small jobs on the unit as well as putting away some more spares I had collected.

By 1400 hrs. I was on my way home.

The following morning the weather had changed again. The snow was coming horizontally across the field next to my house. It was still falling but was very wet and slushy by the time I arrived at Pitsford.

My first job was to unload the trolley jack and tools into W51400 ready for going down the line. The second to fire up PWM651. I lit the paraffin heater and pumped up the oil pressure. It fired first time and was busy making air when the rest of the crew arrived.

We repaired to Pisford Siding by which time the snow had ceased, but it was still very cold. We got the brake gear assembled and were back in Pitsford Station by 1100 hrs.. Dick, Nick and Rob then adjusted the brake gear.

The next job was to refit the highside dummy vacuum couplings that had been thoughtfully removed at sometime, with a pair from a scrapped unit. Once fitted we coupled W51400 up with PWM651 and made vacuum. The piston did not move. After much swearing and use of the jack we split the cylinder from the actuating beam. The beam was not seized and the vacuum cylinder moved perfectly well on its own!!!

I noticed, however, that the vacuum cylinder piston was not fully tightened. Once tightened and turned into the correct position it was obvious what the problem was. The vacuum cylinder has an elongated eye but the actuating arm has a circular eye for the pin. This is so that the vacuum cylinder has about 1" movement before it hits the actuating beam. The piston and eye were catching on the actuating beam thus it did not have free movement. We undid the eight retaining bolts holding the actuating beam and 'adjusted' the setting. It only needed 1/8" and the piston was free.

It worked perfectly after that.

After lunch Dick refitted the power controller and made a start on the fire circuit boxes. I refitted the unloader valve but couldn't fit it properly. Dick ascertained the cause an incorrect fitting which we soon replaced.

We then checked out the batteries for W51400. I shall use the spare set at present in W55001. W55001 can then have a new set of NiCads later in the year. All batteries, except one, registered over 1.9 volts. The other one showed 1.5 volts. There is some life left in them yet.

PWM651 was short of fuel so the whole train was taken down to the Class 27 to transfer some fuel. This put W51400 just beyond the crossing. I carried up the spare air tanks and Dick and I refitted them whilst the refuelling was going on.

Sunday was spent in Guard's training.

All in all an excellent weekend. The brake gear is now refitted and fully operational, the vacuum system is complete, the air tanks are refitted, the throttle controller is refitted, the AWS relay box is back in situ and ready for wiring and the unloader valve is back on.

The final jobs are to reconnect the AWS relay box, reassemble the fire circuit boxes, refit the air horns and one of the pipes, refit the air horn actuating valve and piping, replace the pyro circuits with new pattern boxes etc., fit the spare batteries, connect, recharge slowly and start the unit up.

As I've said before sounds easy, but hopefully it should be done by the start of May. Then I can repaint during the summer.

I prepared for the next weekend on the MHR with Angie as best I could bearing in mind Paul was going to sort out most of the cleaning tackle.

So on Saturday March 24th we set off a 0530 hrs and arrived at The Little Chef for tea and stickies by 0700 hrs. We arrived at Alresford by 0800hrs. and found the unit parked way down the line. Not much of a problem unless you have to fetch and carry everything for every job each time and that distance is 1/4 mile each way.

Paul arrived bright and breezy so Angie and Paul set about the cleaning of the interior. I started by sorting out the luggage rack screws I had removed on the last visit. Dick had provide plenty of screws of huge length and of BA1 size. I tapped out the holes to BA1 and removed a screw to get the correct length. Paul had opened Jim's coach so I had access to the correct tools without resorting to the back of the car. I made enough screws from brass ones but also made one out of steel as a pilot screw. This I found was a wise move. The BA tap was a bit tight and the first brass screw sheared off at the head as it was tightened down. I used the steel screw to pilot all the rest of the holes and the brass screws took perfectly. By 1030 hrs. there were no more rattles from the luggage racks. It won't be the same.

The next job was to sort out the leak above on of the sealed doors. The ingress of water had stained the beading and ruined the varnish finish. I removed the top piece but could not remove all of the screws in the upright piece. This one will have to dry out naturally. I inspected the roof and the mastic had come way from the roof panel at the end of one of the gutter channels. There was also a slight step up between the gutter pieces thus holding the water in place. I sealed all the holes I could find and built up the step so hopefully the guttering is now sealed once again. I have brought the top piece home for drying and re varnishing. I shall refit it on April 7th.

I then set about finishing off three jobs deferred from the 'B' Exam. Those being to oil the brake gear, grease the door hinges and swap the washer for a cup on the No 2 gearbox mounting bracket. The oiling was no problem but the greasing although easy enough was made difficult by the fact that the grease gun was new and wouldn't come off the nipple without great effort!!! The only job I couldn't get done was replacing the washer with a cup on the No. 2 gearbox mounting bracket. I couldn't get the 11/16" Whit nut to budge even with a bar!!! Obviously I hadn't had enough Weetabix for brekky.

I ran the engines up and started the heaters so that the saloons would have some drying warm air circulating. Both Angie and Paul soon found out how good those heaters are!!

The floor, ceiling and walls in the saloons, cabs and Guard's van were washed and wiped down and look all the better for it. The windows were cleaned and polished. The floor in the cabs and saloons was de polished and prepared for resealing. Paul cleaned down both cab floors and all the inspection hatches. In the afternoon the undercoat and first topcoat of polish was applied and left to dry overnight. We even cleaned the brass handles on the doors.

During the afternoon I repainted a door insert that I had missed last year.

Whilst all this was going on Geoff Bailey and Bob Allen were doing some shunting with D6593. On one of my trips to and from the car Geoff shouted down and I joined them in the cab. I hadn't driven a 33/2 before but now was my chance. I helped Geoff doing the shunting and he asked if I wanted to come to Alton with the empty stock later on. Too bloody true matey boy, rats and drainpipes come to mind!!! We first took Bob Deeth back to Ropley and I had a little drive back to Alresford.

Paul and Angie finished off the cleaning and locked up as we made our way to Alton. On the return I drove back as far as Ropley. Bob Allen returned me to Alresford just in time to get cleaned up and ready for a beer and an evening meal in The Bell with Steve and Penny.

On Sunday Angie finished of the floor polishing whilst I spoke to Jim about refuelling the unit ready for April 7th and tidying up the tools. We left Alresford at 1144 hrs. and were home by 1310 hrs.. All in all a very good weekend.

The railtour for March 31st has been cancelled so I can get to Northampton. The lads have removed the batteries from W55001 and have them on trickle charge. They should be ready for next weekend and fitting in W51400. Once in we can start testing the electrical circuits.

Some days start slowly and finish off as at an incredible rate. Saturday March 31st was one of those days.

I had expected to make small inroads into the restarting of the engines. As it happened that was not all that occurred.

I arrived at Pitsford by 0900 hrs. and proceeded to search for the batteries. They had certainly been moved from W55001 and also out of the cab of W55001. Eventually I found them bubbling away happily in the office. They had been placed in two banks of 6 and charged up as 12 volt sets. I popped in a Bat-aid tablet into each cell and let them ferment.

After that it was off down to the unit to fit the new ownership plate to the back wall of the cab. Nick & Dick arrived shortly afterwards.

The first job was to shunt the stock. PWM651 had been left on the wrong side of the DMU so we put PWM651 in the north end of the loop and stabled the DMU at the north end of the line. PWM651 then came back onto the main line and reversed onto the stock.

The stock them went off to the sidings to recover the scaffolding for Rob to work on the Class 26.

I took the batteries off charge, loaded them into the Escort and took them up to the platform. W51400 was parked just on the platform at the north end so we could work down each side and also in the cab as required.

Dick, Daryl and I man handled the batteries into place and started to fit the straps. I had to find my spare straps for four terminal end pieces to connect the end batteries up to the battery leads. Just as a precaution we disconnected the fire bottles.

Once connected we tested the lights. Nothing. We tested the lights from the cab and from the lighting box. Nothing.

Dick opened up the BIS box and sure enough the main power leads had been sealed off. We reconnected them and the lights worked perfectly. The batteries were showing over 12v per set, a good sign.

The lights were switched off and the power disconnected again as the next job was to rewire the fire alarm boxes. Whilst Dick rewired the boxes I refitted the missing fire switch.

Once the boxes were rewired we tested the circuits by using a 'doll's eye' in place of the fire bottles. All appeared in order even the engine switch out solenoid worked.

I checked the coolant level in the radiators. One was full the other empty. Dick found a piece of hose missing off the outlet from the cab water heater. I replaced it.

I checked the oil in both engines and found them both full. The final job before trying the starting circuits was to turn the engines. Both engines turned with no sign of stiffness.

It was time to try No. 1 engine. The throttle was pulled and the start relay depressed....... the engine fired and then died. It did this three or four more times until it finally fired up. It took a while to settle down and idle properly but when it did so it was as steady as a rock and with very little exhaust.

The second engine, however, was not as obliging. It showed no sign of wanting to start. We checked and rechecked everything. It was down to the starter motor.

Of course when in doubt, hit it with a hammer, but only softly mind, with a leather mallet!!!! This did the trick and the second engine fired up much like the first. It did not last as Nick noticed a problem. Oil was pouring out of the gearbox.

After inspection we discovered that someone had removed the gearbox oil filter housing. I replaced it with a spare and away we went again. The engine rattled a bit and will need the tappets setting as it is quite noisy.

The engines and ancillary equipment were checked and even the alternators were charging correctly. We will not need to flash them.

The air and vacuum were not moving but after fitting a straight air gauge and the air horn actuating valve the air began to build. The unloader unloaded at the correct pressure. However we could not make any vacuum. I disconnected the brake pipe from the stock and fitted a blanking piece so now the unit was in isolation. The only reason for not making vacuum now was that a piece of equipment was missing. Sure enough the quick release vacuum feed apparatus was missing, including flanges. Once again back to the container where I unearthed a spare, courtesy of Jim MacWilliam. Once fitted the vacuum came straight up and remained constant.

Nick toggled up the gearbox and no gears slipped.

The final drives were tested and went in with no problems and no banging and crashing.

It was time for a test run.

Nick took the unit up to the platform end and Dick and Rob refitted the battery box covers. I had gone to get Daryl who was having a sulk because I had thrown him off whilst we tested the unit before moving.

We took the unit down to Pitsford Sidings and returned back to the station. Everything performed faultlessly. All gear changes were good, the brakes were good and the ride quality was also good.

Nick backed onto the stock and we shut the unit down at 1830 hrs..

W51400 had run its first run in preservation, a month early than I had planned.


I had Sunday April 1st at home.

I think I deserved it.

Dick had arranged for the air tank man to come to the NLR on Thursday April 5th. The day started of wet and got worse. Eventually all the air tanks on W51400 were passed fit for use.

We took the time to refit the air horns and replace the broken secondman's wiper motor. We also tested four other wiper motors that were to be swapped for various Class 117 interior parts. Amazingly enough the first four tested all worked first time.

Geoff Bailey and Bob Allen, from the MHR, were interested in purchasing a Class 117 from Shoeburyness so Keith, Geoff, Bob and I met up at the MOD/DERA gatehouse at 1100 hrs. on Friday 6th April. We inspected L721, 117308 and looked over 51373. L721 was taken as the best of the bunch and Geoff and Bob are to put a bid in for it.

April 7th was 'The Trainspotter's Ball II' on the MHR and I was down to drive W55003 for the Saturday. It was to be a one return trip so that the Class 50 could be prepared for its trip out on the main line. As it turned out I got three return trips in even if one was double headed with the Class 20. Angie did a roaring trade with the cakes and clothing.

The next weekend was Easter.

On Good Friday I arrived at Pitsford to find W51400 no where in sight.

Eventually I found it down the headshunt with PWM651 and the maroon Mk I at the line end ready for loading. As turned out Gordon and I spent over five hours unloading a Weltrol and loading the Mk I.

All I managed all day was to refit the remaining luggage racks and undo the inspection plate for the wiring off the jumper cables.

A waste of a day.

Saturday and Sunday were spent in dismantling the interior of 51369 in exchange for the wiper motors. We now have enough frames, and seating to complete W51359 together with a considerable amount of other spares.

W55003 was booked for 9 days continuous work on the MHR Thomas Week but began to play up on the vacuum side. The number 2 end brake feed is starting to fail and causing a slight brake drag. I could not make it until the following Saturday so I sent a refurbished feed valve down with KJ so the fitters can fit it ASAP. Hopefully this will cure the problem. If not I think John will have to come down and look at the unit.

The fitters removed the errant feed valve and cleaned it up. It was then replaced. This appeared to cure the problem. KJ took the refurbished valve down on Thursday and it is now in the Guard's cupboard awaiting me to fit it.

I was booked driver with Stuart Legg on Saturday April 21st. The day went well even if the timetable went to pot!! We did four return trips from Alresford to Medstead with very good loadings.

On Sunday I spent the day sorting out some scrap bolts and DMU spares ready for selling. The items being Albion water pumps and RUG IIA Rectifiers as used on the old AC8 alternators.

I am arranging a visit to Alresford with John in order to replace the feed valve and repair the No. 1 side fire alarm box test switch which is playing up. Whilst we are there John can go through the whole vacuum system and check it out.

The next visit to Northampton was over the weekend April 28th and 29th. The previous day, Friday 27th April Keith and I paid a visit to Tyseley for Keith to do an FTR on 60532 Blue peter. It was the first time I had seen the locomotive move.

In the afternoon we spent a nice couple of hours on the branch videoing 150 128.

After we did an internal audit on the W55003 Group's documentation. I have now written new procedures for FTRs, Job Competency and Audits for the EWS interview in early May.

On Saturday I began by refitting the single three seater seat with handhold in W51400. The unit now has its full complement of seats again. The next job was to sort out two heaters. This I did and with Dick's help had them fitted by mid-afternoon. I removed the air gauge and pipe ready for Dick to get Pirtek to fabricate a new flexible pipe. The final job was to bolt up the secondman's steps.

Dick meanwhile was spending the day doing the rewiring of the MU cables. By 1700 hrs. we had all the wiring in place and the MU castings firmly bolted back onto the end of W51400. All that is needed is to connect them to the junction box and off we jolly well go, hopefully in the same direction as the rest of the cars!!! I shall sort out some spare MU jumper cables and plug covers next weekend.

On Sunday I was Driver for the shunt on PWM651. Once completed I spent some time sorting out the vacuum spares bearing in mind the replacement feed valve I need to sort out on W55003.

I also extricated a spare fire alarm box test switch for John to test out.

During the following week I happened to mention to John that the cab engine start buttons had failed in the No. 2 cab of W55003. The answer was immediate. The test button on the desk has failed. Wire 050. When I though back I had had trouble with this switch before. Anyway, it was back to Northampton the next Saturday, May 5th to extricate a spare. The switch itself is the same as the fire alarm test button and I managed to find one in a spare desk top that I had.

The following day I went to Derby with Dick, Dave and Rob to pick up some more spare parts.

I took the switch to two electrical supply shops in MK but none of them could supply replacement switches. I shall have to soldier on with the old ones I have.

On Wednesday May 9th Dick, Keith and I assembled at Toton for our EWS meeting. I had brought all the documentation with me so if an audit was to take place we were prepared.

The EWS representative, Phil Johnson, met us as we began what was initially a walk through of what EWS required. It turned out a 3 hour audit, which we passed with only a few recommendations for alterations to our system, no CARs!!!! I was extremely pleased with the way it went. All that is now required for full EWS accreditation is a visit to see the unit.

John finished off the new switch for the fire alarm box and took the test switch button away to test and resolder.

The plan was that I picked John up on Saturday May 12th and we would go to Alresford and refit the various parts. That was what happened. We stopped off at the Little Chef at Four Marks and had breakfast and were on W55003 by 0830 hrs..

John made a start on the fire alarm test switch whilst I started on the vacuum feeder valve in the No. 2 cab. By 1000 hrs. both jobs were done and we stopped for a well earned cup of tea and stickies. John then started on the test switch in the No. 2 cab. I started on easing L3 & L5 doors with the orbital sander. I had nearly finished when the head parted company with the drive shaft!!! I went to the car to find a suitable Allan Key and returned only to find I had dropped the grub screw somewhere. As it turned out it was in the Guard's van but that took me two hours to find!!

I left the doors and painted the uncovered wood in green undercoat. We then had lunch. Geoff had joined us and so we tested the electrics and vacuum feeder valve and then took W55003 to Ropley to be fuelled. We returned later in the afternoon and took our leave of the MHR with all jobs completed satisfactorily.

The following weekend, May 19th, was a bitty weekend. I put away as much of the spares from my garage as I could into the container in order to leave enough room for the rest when Dick arrived. Dick had borrowed the work's pick-up and brought down the spares boxes from Derby which we spent two hours craning into place by the containers.

That week I had been given permission to remove whatever I could off four

scrap engines so with Nick's help we spent three hours in doing so. We then removed the spare fuel tanks from my driveway and took them to Pitsford.

The next weekend I fitted the missing air vents from the main saloon of W51400, the two missing lids and cables from the MU jumper boxes and refitted the missing connection bar from the AWS box.

Whoever had taken it out had butchered the job and had in fact had broken the bar at both top corners. I straightened the fitting brackets and took out the two remaining screw/bolts. They were then replaced with four new bolt fittings.

During the week John phoned to say that I could remove the remaining four scrap, and they really are scrap, engines from Bletchley for a suitable fee of £50.00. Even if we only get a couple of spare heads and a crank it's well worth it.

Next weekend it's driving on the MHR doing Medstead - Northfield Lane shuttles. The weekend after wrecking at DERA. All good fun.

On Friday I contacted Bruce Knights at DERA to reserve a couple of gearboxes. He replied that he will contact me later next week with a set of prices.

The Medstead - Northfield Lane shuttles on Saturday June 2nd went well. Bert was my pilotman and John my Guard. The possession finished an hour early so by 1530 we were back in the siding and shut down.

Bob Allen and Geoff Bailey had taken delivery of L721 the previous week and it was now time to play with it. The batteries were being recharged and Bob and Geoff had managed to start the engines on 51405. The only obvious shortcomings were the throttle motors, all settings gave full power, and a leak on the cardan shaft end of the No. 2 gearbox. The same end as W55003 had had all those years ago at Chinnor.

The batteries on 51363 were giving cause for concern as they were not charging up properly. It was not surprising as when I checked the water level, there was none!!!! Geoff put in one and a half watering cans of water in the batteries and I added a Bat-Aid tablet to each. They responded almost immediately but were still too far down to turn the engine(s).

Paul and I brought down the luggage racks and other spares for the unit and we soon had them stashed in the brake van.

I left the site at 1900 hrs. and was back home by 2030 hrs..

The following day Bob and Geoff swapped batteries and the No. 2 engine on 51363 was started. The No. 1 engine still would not start but with a bit of encouragement I'm sure will. The final engine started on the Monday evening.

I duly presented myself, together with Gordon and a 7 ton flat bed, to pick up the engines from Bletchley on Wednesday June 6th. They were duly loaded and ready for departure by 1100 hrs.. We went straight to Pitsford and had all the engines off by 1330 hrs.. A job well done.

Dick had tried to rewire the AWS box but being a blue box, it had the extra wiring for the ex BR/WR Dual AWS shoe collectors. The diagram Dick had was for a standard BR Green box and so the wiring was different. John came up trumps with the requisite pages from the MT169 AWS book. We can now rewire W51400 correctly.

Saturday June 9th dawned bright and cool. Dick & Nick arrived at my house by 0640 hrs. and we were on the road by 0645 hrs.. We arrived at DERA at 0805 hrs. where Geoff, Bob and the others met us at the main gate. We were all duly signed in and off to the vehicles we went. W51358 was parked along with W51335 & W51377 at the top end of the ranges.

By 1600 hrs. we had stripped the unit and filled a seven ton box van and my estate car. There was very little else to be removed from the carcass.

We left DERA at 1700 hrs. and arrived back home by 1900 hrs.. Dick went to pick Issy up and we all had an enjoyable evening together. Nick, Dick & Issy left on Sunday morning, Dick & Issy for holiday and Nick to sort out PWM651 which had been failed the week before.

PWM651 was diagnosed with flat batteries. I expect someone had left one or more lights on. We will need to put a BIS switch in.

Geoff and Bob eventually reached Ropley by midnight. The seats were stored in L721 at Alresford and the rest in a Vanfit at Ropley on Sunday.

The following week was to be a bit of a rollercoaster.

On Monday a chap called Dave Watts, from GTRM, called. Mathew Smith, Swindon & Cricklade, had given him my number.

The Class 121 W55029 had been bought from DERA and delivered to GTRM at Rugby a week or so before. They were in the process of altering it into a track recording vehicle so all the interior had been taken out. This meant that most of the seats, including frames, were redundant. I made an offer which was accepted and I am now the proud owner of most of the seats and frames out of W55029. In fact just enough to fit W51359.

I arranged to pick them up on Friday June 15th. I duly arrived with a long wheelbase Ford Transit high top. By 1100 hrs. it was loaded, to the gunnels!

I took the van to Pitsford where, because of space limitations, I had to load the seats into W51400. The frames were left by the container ready for loading onto the roof.

During the week I had received a letter from Tim, one of the directors, 'requesting' that I remove the spare engines from the car park into the field. This I undertook on Saturday June 16th with the invaluable assistance of Rob Stewart.

During the morning Mathew Smith from Swindon & Cricklade arrived with a three seater single frame, with hand holds, for me. He also brought a few seat backs and squabs in Scotrail striped livery. I swapped these for a couple of green/blue squabs and backs.

The Railcar really has come up trumps with a good interaction between members as evidence by Mathew's help with W55029 and the seat frame.

The day was a wet and miserable one but after moving the engines Dick showed me what to do to continue the wiring on W51400. I duly finished off crimping the wires and labelling them up ready for final fixing. It was at this point the heavens opened.

Dick was sorting out the one dry joint I had found and we ended up sheltering under the MK I and W51400 whilst the rain heaved down. The final job was to refit the air pipe to the air gauge in the cab. It only need tightening up to be complete.

After consultation with Martin Harris we are going to order enough 'BR DMU Green' to do both W51367 & W51400. Dick is to provide the green primer for W51400.

At that point we all had had enough. It was 1900 hrs. and we were all sodden.

The summer finally arrived and Saturday June 23rd was a scorcher. What were we doing? Sliding a container across to make way for the new container arriving the following Monday.

Dick brought his chain puller and we set to work using that, lifting straps, two new sleepers and old engine oil. The base was my container and surprisingly it did not move. The other container had to be cajoled and lifted but by 1400 hrs. it had been moved across and enough room for the new container was available.

I continued to finish off the wiring on W51400 whilst Dick and the rest continued on the welding on W51367. Eventually I finished off the wiring and all it needs is replacing and fastening down, or up, in the wiring box.

The container was due to arrive between 0800 hrs. and 0830 hrs.. I was on site and ready by 0745. The lorry arrived on time at 0815. By 0930 the container was in place. All that is needed is to adjust the back end and pack the container level and it is ready for use.

Next weekend will see W51400 finally rewired and ready for service. Good.

The summer continued throughout the week and on Saturday June 30th the new container was winched and lifted into position.

Nick and I finished off the wiring on the MU cables and boxed them in. Dick and I then buzzed out the AWS wiring and once again boxed them in. I tightened up the air pipe to the air gauge and then we decide it was time to give it a go.

I reconnected the batteries and we tried No. 2 engine. Not a peep. We checked oil and water both were all right. Whilst on the No. 1 side we tried the No. 1 engine, It fired up with no problems. I then remembered we had had a sticking starter motor on the No. 2 engine. Under the vehicle I went and with a few deft blows with the soft hammer the No. 2 engine fired up.

We left them idling just to circulate the oil and water and top up the batteries. I also tested the heaters, after checking there was some diesel in the tanks and that the fuel cocks were open, but as it was too warm they would not fire up but vented all right so I don't think there is too much to worry about.

Later Nick and I set about checking the AWS with three horns, three bells and one horn. It worked perfectly.

Apart from the small amount of new panelling/welding required on the front and the replacement buffers W51400 is ready for a good clean and repaint and then into service.

Daryl and I then spent a delightful hour removing all my spare seat backs and squabs into the new container. We also put the spare seat frames on the roof with the rest of the spare frames. This leaves a lot of extra room at the back of the original container for the remainder of the mechanical spares from W55001 et al.

The rest of the lads worked on PWM651 which now has a new set of brake blocks and is back in service.

Finally although most of the work has been done by myself thanks must go to the following people for all their help and encouragement during the restoration.

On the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, Kevin Dingle, Dave Potter, Chris Hatton, Andy Diston, Andy Fowler, Daniel Weston, Arthur Leeder (Snr.), Arthur Leeder (Jnr.), Alan Vigar and Graham Symes.

On the Northampton and Lamport Railway, Bob Faulkner, Dave Stokes, Gary Austin, Jim Durrant, Martin Harris and Gordon Titmuss.

On the Mid-Hants Railway, Tom Turner, Jim Lawrence, John Bunch, and Chris Cornell.

Special thanks go to the 'support crew' Nick Wilkes and Dick Morris.

Personal thanks go to Jim MacWilliam (MC Metals), Mark Herbert, Keith Jackson, John Collins, Chris Ling (M.R.C.) & Graham Thornton (E.L.R.).

Video thanks go to A.V.V. aka Stuart, Val & Bryce McDonald.

Lastly to Angie, my wife, without whose support and understanding I could never have taken the project on.