Christmas Cracker mixed traction gala – Blue instead of Green

Unfortunately, we have not been able to complete some of the essential maintenance ‘shakedown’ tasks on D6948 in time for the Christmas Cracker event on the 29th and 30th December. Quite simply time has run out with some issues taking much longer than expected to resolve. As a result, we have switched efforts into getting 37215 back into traffic and it will now feature on both the 29th and 30th covering the diagrams previously advertised for D6948.

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On board pre-heater fitted to D6948

Given that D6948 has now been fitted with a steam generator (for the first time in its history), the owners have taken the decision to fit an on-board pre-heater to allow heating of the engine block and cooling system prior to starting the locomotive when the temperature is cold. English Electric engines are notoriously difficult to start in cold weather, and whilst the effect is spectacular, it causes substantial engine wear and problems down the line. Put simply, every cold start takes hours of the life of the power unit. Given steam heat capability will increase the likelihood of the loco being started in cold conditions, pre-heating the engine was therefore considered essential for the well being of the power unit.

The pictures below, show the 9kW three phase electric preheater successfully fitted in the loco and plumbed in to the coolant circuit, meaning the loco can now be ‘plugged in’ to a 415v shore supply several hours before start up and brought up to temperature ensuring nice clean start up. Continue reading

37215 and D6948 update

37215 has now been stopped for some much needed maintenance after a reliable season working all its diagrammed trains on the GWR without fuss, whilst the attention has been on its shiny new sibling D6948. The loco will remain out of service until April to enable a list of jobs to be carried out.
D6948, as might be imagined, has list of ‘snagging’ jobs to be done following its successful return to service, of which 3 are high priority: Resealing the window rubbers to prevent water ingress, installation of a pre-heater to avoid cold starts, and some work on the steam generator to cure its smoky exhaust and improve combustion and performance. Subject to some or all of these being done and with the usual caveat of ‘subject to availability’, the loco should take part in the GWR’s annual Christmas Cracker mixed traction event on the 28th and 29th December, which will see three diesel and 2 steam locos in action on each day.

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More pictures of D6948 ‘steaming’ at the October gala

Two more images of D6948’s first day steam heating trains on 8th October:

D6948 waits to leave Toddington with its first ever steam heated train – the 09:30 to Cheltenham Racecourse on Saturday 8th October 2016. Photo: Peter Smith

D6948 leaving Winchcombe and approaching Greet Tunnel with tell-tale wisps of steam from the coaches on 8th October 2016. Photo: Malcolm Ranieri.

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