With a number of maintenance tasks completed prior to Christmas, 37215 satisfactorily completed its booked duties at the Christmas Cracker event on the 29th and 30th December with the loco running reliably as ever. The shore based pre-heater that we have used for many years now was once again fired up and proved its worth in preheating the power unit before starting – saving much wear and tear on the engine. Preheating really is an essential part of any winter running or starts in low temperatures.
D6948 has been taken out of service to attend to a number of ‘shakedown’ faults which came to light during its two gala appearances in 2016. These include leaking window rubbers, various electrical issues and poor combustion/control faults with the steam heat generator. We are hoping the loco will be serviceable again by early March.
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.
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 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.