Williton Shed News – October 2013
As the 2013 Summer operating season begins to wind down, once again the attention of our volunteers shifts
smoothly from the running maintenance of the operating locos in our heritage fleet to preparing them for winter
storage. Now is also the period when we get the time to carry out those repairs that could be postponed until later.
There are a few operating tasks that remain, so as usual, we will keep at least one loco in a state of readiness for
the WSR to use at short notice. This means a standby loco such as D6575 or D1661 being available to cover a
steam loco failure, or for ECS moves and engineering trains. Our other locos will be drained down as a protection
against frost damage and otherwise prepared for winter storage. Hymek D7017 is slightly different as it has
antifreeze in the coolant system, so will not be drained down, but it will nevertheless be placed into hibernation,
though can be reactivated quite easily given sufficient notice.
Our loco availability can be ascertained by looking at our Fleet Status page, but a more comprehensive round-up of
the state of each of our locos now follows:
Warship D832 Onslaught
This loco has performed very well throughout this season and is in a good state of health overall. There are some
long-planned tasks to keep the team busy through the winter however, with an assessment to be carried out with a
view to renewing the leaf springs on the bogies. This will probably be done in one go but will necessitate the loco
becoming resident on the jacks outside the Swindon Shed at Williton while the springs are sent away to a specialist
firm. A careful eye is also being kept on the two MD650 engines as they are known to be a bit tired! In our shed at
Williton we have the only spare MD650 known to exist, but this will need to be overhauled before it can be used. It
awaits its place in the engine overhaul queue in Dr Maybach's Engineerium, which is currently rebuilding an MD870
for Hymek D7018.
Western D1010 Western Campaigner
This is another loco that, despite all predictions, has performed very well this year. Indeed, it has got better and
better the more it has been used. It has certainly been very popular with enthusiasts, who have turned out in droves
to travel behind it whenever it has been rostered. At the end of last year's season, the loco was having reliability
problems with reversing. A brief note of explanation here: locos with hydraulic transmissions have particular
operating practices. One of these is that, to pre-empt any problems with the driver changing ends, before closing up
the drivers' desk, it is normal practice to change direction and to check that it has done so. The driver will feel the
transmission thump as it changes. With a Western, of course, this procedure has to happen at both ends. The desk
indications will confirm the remote end has also changed direction. At the close of last season, this was not
happening correctly at one end and we were becoming used to deploying a fitter into the nether regions of the
cooler group to throw the reverser manually. Last winter, Gordon and his team put a lot of effort into removing the
offending reverser mechanism, cleaning it and polishing out a couple of wear marks and refitting it all. All of the
necessary work in the loco has to be done with the fitter in an inverted posture in a confined space. Not very nice.
As this summer operating season got under way, a number of test runs were made with the loco. At first, it seemed
that the reversing gremlin was still in residence as it still required the inverted fitter to help it complete the direction
change. Gradually, as more and more use was made of it, the operation became easier, with less and less help
required until, at last, we found that the direction change became ever more reliable. When it first started to change
direction without help, the cheering from the cab could be heard above the engines! Now, and after refurbishment of
the vacuum exhausters and replacement of some vacuum pipe that appeared to be made of lace, we have a reliable
and popular performer and attention can at last be given towards some of the other areas that need it. It is well
known that the bodywork requires serious attention, and now that the mechanical bits are behaving themselves,
some serious work can be done in this area. One other job that is in the early stages of planning for is to lift the loco
to allow access to the inside of the bogies. Anyone that is involved with Class 52 locomotives will know this is a
notoriously difficult area to get to and yet it contains items that need to be checked. This though, is a job that will
have to wait a while as there is a queue for the lifting jacks and Western Campaigner will have to wait her turn.
Class 47 D1661 North Star
Throughout the season, our heavyweight diesel-electric has remained available for traffic with no major issues to
report. It has been rostered for our Gala events, and for some of our planned DMU replacement services. It has also
spent some time out-stationed at Bishops Lydeard as the WSR Company standby loco and BL station pilot, covering
the period between the departure of 08 D3462 and the return to service of 4160 Ltd's 09 019. There is no
programme of major works for this winter and, being filled with antifreeze, it is planned that the loco will continue to
be available for use as required. It is currently rostered as the WSR standby loco.
Class 33 D6656
This loco was stopped for overhaul after the Mixed Traction Weekend. Currently located in Williton North Yard, the
loco is undergoing a detailed period of mechanical inspection to establish the scope of work required. It is
anticipated that some of this work will be done away from Williton and discussions are ongoing to clarify the details.
Ian has been doing some detailed survey work recently to try and establish the extent and location of its persistent
Class 33 D6575
The loco continues to be the mainstay of the DEC programme and, being one of the fleet filled with antifreeze, it is
intended that it will remain available throughout the winter for use as required. For the moment, it has been
withdrawn to enable a concentrated effort to be made on eliminating rattles in the cabs. There are some other minor
tasks that have come to light recently that will require the attention of Ian and his team of Crompton specialists, but
these are minor niggles that should be rectified very quickly over a couple of winter weekends.
Our first loco has continued to perform very well throughout the year and remains popular with visitors, our technical
staff, and loco crews alike. A particular highlight was the occasion when she hauled an 8 coach train, but also had
the 47 dead in consist as well, an equivalent to an 11 coach load. The MD870 managed to attain a maximum speed
of 24mph between Blue Anchor and Washford, with the power handle untouched from getting under way to shutting
off power for the Washford station stop. The sound was reported as magnificent! Once again, this is a loco that only
requires minor attention to keep it in shape for next season.
The protracted overhaul of our other Hymek continues to make quiet progress on 3 Road at Williton Shed. Major
milestones so far this year have been the initial completion of electrical work such that live system testing can
commence. So far this has been static testing, and has been confined to ensuring the lights work and that the relay
panels have been operated to check that the relays are chattering in the correct sequences. So far, so good, but
more extensive testing will be under way shortly. The transmission has now had it's full charge of SAE40 oil, so
internally it is as ready as can be. The cooler group has had some tricky work done with Mark's electrodes and has
passed a subsequent pressure test. Unfortunately, Mark had to cut out some sections of plating to enable him to
access the leaks properly. Now that it is watertight, he now has to weld the removed platework back in, so it will be a
little while yet before it is ready to be lifted into the loco. Electrical testing has progressed to the point where various
items of rotating machinery will soon be ready to have electricity restored to them. To that end, the lube oil priming
pump and fuel pump have been removed from the loco to be overhauled ready for in-situ testing. The compressor
and exhauster motors are also being prepared, but one of the exhausters needs to be removed from the loco so
that the motor and exhauster can be separated for attention to the motor windings. The engine build continues to
progress, with all the pistons now refitted and con-rod big ends connected. There is now a lot of careful measuring
to be done to ensure all relevant clearances are within tolerance before Dr Maybach can resume the next round of
Class 14 D9518
The Apprentice team have made steady progress with this loco and work so far has concentrated on No1 End. The
cooler group has been ready to be lifted off for a couple of weeks now, awaiting a suitable opportunity to do it.
During the Autumn Work Week, the crane hired in to do various lifting operations around our yard was utilised to
remove the two bonnet roofs and lift out the cooler group and some other heavy components at each end. The loco
is now back in the shed where the team can progress with further component removal preparation, Some photos
illustrating recent progress should be appearing in the photo gallery soon.
Class 14 D9526
Nominally available for work at any time, no major maintenance is planned during the coming winter close season.
Williton's Yard Pilot has by now recovered from her trips along the line, and has settled into the usual state of being
ready for use at a moments notice. It is a very useful loco for work around the depot as it can be controlled very
precisely, ideal for carefully positioning other locomotives under the gantry crane or onto the lifting jacks.