D5705's last resting place before being purchased for preservation and removal to Matlock station - Swindon.
Upon sale for preservation to a private individual, D5705 was left in store at Swindon and never turned a wheel until the locomotive was purchased by Mike Jacobs, Richard Williams and Chris Guntripp. The locomotive is now held in trust which coincided with movement away from Peak Rail a few years ago.
How this true dinosaur of diesels ever survived at all was miraculous. After service at the RTC in Derby where D5705 replaced the troublesome baby deltic, the locomotive was used as a static train carriage heating unit (can someone please provide details of the use of D5705 after her RTC days?) at various locations before finally ending up at Bristol Bath Road depot. Eventually, D5705 was cleared away and was left in a siding at Swindon awaiting the last tow into the breakers yard. But the tow never arrived and BR seemingly forgot about this amazing and unique relic of the Pilot Scheme.
It is truly an astonishing example of fate and survival when you apprciate that in the mid 1980s, there still existed a locomotive sporting original BR green livery and totems, still only had half-yellow warning panels, still had fully operational gangway bellows cummunication doors, and was more or less in as switched off condition except for an arson attack.
D5705 pictured in the down yard at Darley Dale before her move to Bury on the East Lancs Railway with a collection of the people who have worked on her at various times. The webmaster is the one in the middle. Also pictured are Tristram (left) and Martin (right), who is responsible for re-wiring the locomotive.
As can be seen in the photograph at the top of the page, the body work was in quite bad shape with extenstive corrosion. Whilst in store at Bristol Bath Road depot, local children placed cardboard and paper under the locomotive and set fire to it, destroying insulation around cables - including the traction motor cables, severely damaging the paintwork, and making the two traction motors nearest the middle effictively beyond economic repair. Fortunately, the same motors were used on Irish 'A' Class locomotives, despite the gauge being different and a whole bogie was purchased to enable the traction motors to be replaced in due course.
Fortunately, the fuel oil did not ignite!
Once the worst of the corrosion had been cutaway, new steelwork was fabricated by Twiggs of Matlock. The scene here is of the new steelwork in place, prior to the weld being grounded down. The two dark protrusions are sliding brackets. Wire rope is placed between them, enabling a body lift to be accomplished by crane. These are usually behind screwed blanking plates.
The repaint in progress. As you can see, it was repainted in sections and there are four of the processes show here. From the furthest end we can see (1) cut away corrosion (2) rubbed down with carbon tipped scraper to bare metal which is then treated with anti-corrosive agent and filled. (3) sanded down to a smooth finish - the corrosion led to severe potmarking on the mild steel skin and painting with anti-corrosive primer. (4) undercoating. A coat of red oxide (not visible) was used between the primer and undercoat.
The anti-corrosive treatment was not successful and bubbling up beneath the new paintwork soon re-occurred. In a rush to get the locomotive ready in time for Coalville Open Day in May 1991, the paintwork was rubbed down again and hastily repainted.
Note the circular airfilters. Because the Class were to be maintained alongside steam locomotives, the Metrovicks were designed to be built with a 'clean air compartment', filtering out the dust from the outside and having a constant flow of air out of the engine and generator compartments. The effectiveness of this novel system is not recorded.
The first edition of Pioneer Diesel Express (edited by Mike Jacobs) covered the restoration work carried out on D5705 in the year following its arrival at Matlock. How optimistic it all sounded back then!
"When restoration of D5705 was begun it was decided that the work would be done in "chunks", each comprising a project for one or two volunteers to carry out and complete before moving on to the next area. This policy avoids the danger of the loco ending up in thousands of pieces. It is also easier to appreciate the overall progress being made. Interestingly, many of the original work projects are approaching completion at about the same time.
Bodywork restoration has concentrated on the roof sections, which had to be removed in order to lift equipment in and out of the loco. The roofs were dismantled, the outsides thoroughly wirebrushed to remove the 90% surface area rust, and the insides (ceiling) stripped of all old paint. They have been painted in Zinc-Phosphate rust-inhibiting primer, and two coats of red-oxide primer for added protection. Later the roof sections will be painted in undercoat and topcoats.
A start has been made with the exterior of No 1. end cab, which has been stripped right down to the bare steel, and will be built up with coats of paint and filler. Although the loco bodywork is badly rusted over a large area, the corrosion has not eaten into the metal too deeply - the situation is helped by the fact that the bodywork is quite thick gauge plating. Only a few places are wasted rignt through, mainly where water has collected behind. On the cab front, some of the disc assemblied are badly corroded, and are being replated.
The "cooler groups" (radiator banks) were hoisted out the loco and stripped down last year. The individual sections have been gently soaking in an acid bath to remove the scale. The sections are then reassembled, painted-up and await refitting of the radiator elements - eighteen a side.
Two projects have been proceeding underneath the loco. Firstly, the boiler water tanks are having buckets of scale and rust shovelled out - the tanks form a central keelway down the loco, under the floor, and is only accessible through inspection door-plates under the loco - human ferrets wanted for this job! Also just completed is the fitting of new electrical conduit and recabling to the battery boxes. New battery-box covers are being fabricated, and it will soon be time to fit a set of batteries.
Inside the loco, restoration of the main and auxiliary generators is about complete. The armatures and field coils have been thoroughly cleaned, and all rust, oil and filth inside the generators very meticulously removed. The whole has been treated to a coat of special anti-tracking paint, kindly donated by Messrs Crosbie Coatings Ltd. of Wolverhampton. In fact the restoration of this vital area has been made possible through the generosity of several firms: Quadralene Ltd of Derby who supplied special electrical solvents and TMK Instruments of London who have sponsored the Group with special insulation testing equipment. Our very grateful thanks are due to these companies and their staff.
Further electrical work continues in the loco's electrical control room. Most of the contactors and relays appear to be in good order, thanks to their robust design, and need little more than cleaning and testing. However, some of the heavy busbars were missing, and are having to be replaced.
There has been relatively little done to the engine so far. It appears to be in fair condition, but full inspection has still to be completed. One of the main-bearings has been re-whitemetalled at Derby Loco Works, and it is planned to do the rest, one-by-one.
The Australian Connection: Yes, the nearest user of the Crossley Two-Stroke Vee Engine just happens to be in Australia! Before the Metro-Vick Co-Bo's were built, Crossley supplied similar engines for a fleet of 3ft 6in gauge mainline locos exported to Western Australian Government Railways. It seems that the engine problems experienced by BR were overcome in Australia and it is only in the last couple of years that the locos down-under have begun to be withdrawn. Indeed, a few are still believed to be in service.
Despite the distance, we have been in correspondence with WAGR regarding the possiblities of shipping back a container of useful engine spares. The staff have been most helpful, and we are sorting out which parts are actually compatible with our own engine. Whilst the shipping costs are expected to knock the bottom out of our empty piggy-bank, its an opportunity we simply cannot miss.
The last area of work on D5705 we have to report concerns the "machines" - the various pumps, compressor, exhausters, blowers etc. These are dotted around the interior of the loco in all sorts of awkward places. Those in the generator room (exhausters and compressor) are being extracted out through the open roof, whilst those in the engine room are being man-handled out through the side aperture temporarily vacated by the radiators. All the machines are being stripped down, cleaned and tested. Unfortunately, one of the exhausters has a burnt-out motor and a replacement (ex-Class 31) has been purchased from Doncaster.
When the cylinder-heads were taken off the engine-driven compressor, the air-passages were found to be almost completely blocked with carbon: It must have taken ages to build up air-pressure. No damage seems to have been done, although the only way of finding out for sure will be when we finally start the engine."
Restoration over the ensuing years was laborious to say the least with only Chris Guntripp turning up to work with any regularity. A helped on occasions like Martin Ward from Birmingham and myself, sometimes assisted by the likes of"Paramedic" from Criccieth, and a clutch of people who came and went. Apart from Martin's rewiring of the loco, work virtually all concentrated on scraping, filling, priming and painting as the technical know-how with regards to mechanical restoration was never forthcoming despite some hopeful promises of help from people who appeared to have the knowledge. Sadly, these promises rarely amounted to much and so Chris and Martin, plus the occasional extra plodded on throughout the 1990s with little prospect of the machine being fired-up in anger for the foreseeable future.
There was renewed hope when the Bury Hydraulic Group suddenly became interested in the machine and after securing permission for its removal to the East Lancs Railway (and Peak-Rail allowing it to go!), this more technically proficient (and larger in numbers) band of merry men finally promised some action when the contract to overhaul the ELR's Class 14 was fulfilled.
The Bury Years!