Nineties

1999
February report

26004
26004 had the two electrical faults repaired that caused problems during 1998. The reason the engine wouldn’t start from the cabs was because of a dirty contact on the AGR relay. The solenoid within the engine governor was also repaired, which will prevent the problem of the engine shutting down of its own accord every so often!

26024
Further progress was made with the bodywork. The metalwork at cantrail grille level on the other side of the boiler room was renewed and the grilles cleaned and painted. New metal was welded in across the top of the cab roof and the handrail wells where it was cut out for asbestos inspection.

On No.2 cab, the secondman’s side had the side sheet and support angle cut for replacement (this area had been collision-damaged and poorly repaired before).

Inside the boiler room, new conduit and light fittings were made up and wired in. The field divert resistor frames were replaced. Apart from the cabs, nearly all electrical work was completed.
May report
26004
26004 was some way from being finished, but was now operational and part of the SRPS working fleet, several drivers having been passed out on it.

The loco had been invited to appear at Keighley, so we worked towards achieving that goal. A new engine coolant filler valve was fitted, as the original leaked. This finally allowed the coolant system to be treated with antifreeze (a mere 45 gallons!) and will save draining each winter and filling each Spring.

Another longstanding problem of showing high oil pressure when the engine started was rectified by replacing the main relief valve. A test run proved this also helped cure the fluctuating amps and engine hunting.

The wipers and washers at No.1 end have had new pipework fitted and the wipers are now operational. The washers still required some new pipes.

The resistor banks in the former boiler room have had the covers fitted permanently; the oil pressure and charging air gauges have been renewed, and the coolant gauge, which was stuck at ‘full’, has been repaired. A new compressor governor was also fitted as the original used to stick, with the result that the loco air pressure dropped too far and the air brakes came on.

The brakes on the loco were ‘pinshifted’ to take up wear in the blocks. This highlighted some wear and damage in the brake gear; so this was replaced from the spare bogies. A drain pipe has been fitted to the three air tanks on the underframe to try and reduce the amount of water gathering in the system.

Work then concentrated on finishing off the cabs for Keighley, with new wooden sections being made to go across the top of the windscreens in No.2 cab. The cab heaters were also refitted.

26004 worked:
21/03/99 1615 Bo’ness to Birkhill and return
27/03/99 Test run Bo’ness to Birkhill with 27001
04/04/99 1615 Bo’ness to Birkhill and return
17/04/99 1615 Bo’ness to Birkhill and return
30/04/99 railtour ECS (load 8) Bo’ness to Manuel
26024
The rebuilt brake frame, the compressor and the boiler room roof were all craned back in and bolted into place. New sections of copper pipe needed to be made up for the air system and a lot of time was spent figuring out what connects where…

At No.2 end, the aerial for the cab to shore radios was removed from the roof, and other work done to make the roof watertight. Corroded metal above the secondman’s windscreen was cut out and renewed and a new corner pillar welded in. The metal around the missing side panel was prepped for the new sheet and a new main angle was welded to the solebar. A new internal corner pillar needed to be welded in along with other supports.

The loco was moved to the other side of the shed to give access to the other bodyside. The trim was removed from the cantrail so the corroded metal underneath could be renewed.

A start was made on the No.1 end, with the cabside windows removed and the area above the driver’s side prepped for welding. The grilles at cantrail level were also removed, cleaned up and painted ready for refitting.

A lot of filling and sanding was needed. The battery boxes were also cleaned and painted ready for the replacement set.
August report
26004
Another great moment in the history of 6LDA took place on the weekend of 31st July and 1st August, when 26004 appeared with 27001 at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway diesel gala.

Prior to the event, the air receivers were removed from 26004 for their periodic inspection by the SRPS insurance company. This was last done four years ago. The three main fire extinguishers were also removed for overhaul and refilling. The contents can leak away in time, but they should last several years now.

The loco was examined for the trip to Keighley by an independent inspector from the Engineering Link at Derby on the 20th July, and passed fit after a few minor repairs had been done. 26004 and 27001 were then collected from Manuel by 37064 and taken forward to Carlisle and on to Keighley.

On the Friday before the event, we checked over 26004 and everything worked fine. Then, first thing on Saturday morning, after moving from Haworth to Oxenhope, problems developed with the vacuum exhausters. 26004 was unable to maintain vacuum and would not have been able to work a train. The fault was quickly traced to two burnt connections on an electrical resistance frame. After a temporary repair, everything worked as per normal.

26004 proved up to the task of the 1in65 uphill gradient of the line, and drew favourable comments over the weekend. The loco worked:

Saturday 31st July
0800 LE Haworth to Oxenhope (with 27001 and D0226)
1115 Oxenhope to Keighley
1200 Keighley to Oxenhope (piloted by 31162 Haworth to Oxenhope)
1630 Oxenhope to Keighley (tandem with D5209)
1715 Keighley to Oxenhope (piloted by steam loco 78022 Ingrow to Haworth)
1808 LE Oxenhope to Haworth

Sunday 1st August
1055 Haworth to Oxenhope (piloting 20902/20903)
1330 Oxenhope to Keighley (tandem with D5209)
1415 Keighley to Oxenhope (tandem with D5209)
1630 Oxenhope to Keighley (tandem with 27001 and piloted by D8031 from Oxenhope to Haworth)
1715 Keighley to Oxenhope (tandem with 27001 and piloted by steam loco 78022 Ingrow to Haworth)
1800 Oxenhope to Keighley (tandem with D5209 and 27001)
1845 Keighley to Oxenhope (tandem with D5209 and 27001 as far as Haworth)
1937 LE Oxenhope to Haworth (hauling 37612 and 31162)

To round things off, the two locos moved from Keighley to Carlisle hauled by 37604 on the 2nd August and then on to Manuel on 4th August behind 37607.

Meanwhile, back at Bo’ness, other work was carried out…

26004
The loco saw less use than usual , owing to running low on fuel and then because the air receivers were removed for inspection. The loco was used for an ECS railtour working and ran out of fuel on the way back…

It was fuelled later that week and the fuel strainer cleaned. Refurbished fuel gauges were also fitted to the tank.

Some work was done in the interior of No.2 cab, but the steel subfloor was in very poor condition and would need attention before fitting wooden floor panels and the seat supports.

The resistance frame that caused problems at Keighley was replaced with one from 024, and will be repaired to go back into 26024. Two broken resistor connections were also found in the control cubicle, which had caused starting problems.

On 18/07, 26004 worked the 1615 Bo’ness to Birkhill and return.

26024
Progress continued on the fitting out of No.2 cab and on the south-facing bodyside. In the cab, the trunking on the righthand side of the cab was removed as the bottom had rusted away completely. The steel subfloor was descaled and painted but needed some minor welding repairs.

A start was made on fitting the mounting brackets for the brake valves and the air pipework. Once in place, we could start on fabricating the missing pipework next to the brake frame.

On the south facing bodyside, the rest of the rusty metal at cantrail grille level was cut out and replaced. Two other patches on that side were also welded on.
December report
26004
Apart from starting problems, the loco continued work on the railway.

02/09 1200 Bo’ness to Birkhill and return (multi with 25235)
03/09 1220 Bo’ness to Birkhill and return
04/09 1220 Bo’ness to Birkhill and return
11/09 1615 Bo’ness to Birkhill and return
17/09 1615 Bo’ness to Birkhill and return
18/09 1615 Bo’ness to Birkhill and return
25/09 1615 Bo’ness to Birkhill; ballast Manuel to Boness
02/10 1615 Bo’ness to Birkhill and return
03/10 1615 Bo’ness to Birkhill and return
14/10 2030 Bo’ness to Manuel ECS (multi 27005)
24/10 Ballast Bo’ness to Manuel and return
20/11 Shareholders’ special Bo’ness to Birkhill and return

26024
On the bodywork more progress was made on the southfacing bodyside. Most of the trimat cantrail level was refitted and the fixings for all cantrail grilles repaired. The are above the handrail at the No.1 cab drivers door was replated and the strip across the top of the cab partially replaced.

The radio aerial on the cab was removed but the old aerial fitted for the Far North line in the 80s was left in place, as at the No.2 end.

The bodyside between the engine room door and the No.2 end was rubbed down, filled and sanded and was made ready for painting.

On the engine, the missing oil pipe at the triple pump was fitted and a missing vent pipe on the coolant system made up and fitted.

150 gallons of fuel were put in during a delivery and the sump fillewith 90 gallons of oil. The power unit was now complete.

A full examination was made of the control cubicle. There were still some minor jobs to be done after refitting of the missing contactors and busbars two years ago, and all the relays and contactors were checked over, freed off and cleaned up. All the traction motor overload relays were seized so these were removed and overhauled. All the auxiliary contacts were also removed and overhauled. The few remaining missing parts were refitted and several broken terminal studs replaced.

The main and auxiliary generator connections were removed and cleaned up and the well between the generator and the cubicle cleaned out and repaired (it’s a bad area for oil and dirt collecting).

The batteries were fitted and topped up and given a 12 hour equalising charge. The final job was to fit one of the spare reconditioned Automatic Voltage Regulators.

When cranking the engine over, arcing was seen in the main generator. The brushgear was misaligned, which was put right. The engine then cranked over without incident and fired. However, flashing then came from the auxiliary generator, which would not produce any voltage. We found the main auxiliary negative cable had been connected to the positive cable, creating a dead short circuit… Put right, the engine was run for two hours and checked.

1998
February report
26004
Has had more work done to the No.1 cab interior. The internal roof sections have been refitted, along with the side panels, desk sections and cab heater at the driver’s side. The poor condition of most of the parts doesn’t help as a lot of time has to be spent bringing these up to scatch before they can be fitted. At the No.2 end, a large hole over the top of the cab has been plated over and filled and the platework on the secondman’s side has been primed. This end of the loco will take less time to fit as there is no need to rebuild the back wall and fittings.

26024
The brake frame has been rescued from outside and moved into the workshop. All the pipework, tanks and valves were stripped off and the frame cleaned up. Most of the piepwork was damaged, so a new set was obtained from MC Metals. The frame is being rebuilt, with new valves as required, and everything cleaned and painted.

May report
26004
In February, we heard that the Llangollen Railway was looking for a guest engine for their Spring diesel gala, and were considering a BRC&W Type Two. We offered 26004, and two weeks later, in early March, they confirmed. They had also told Rail magazine that it would be appearing in Trainload Coal livery. We took stock of what we had let ourselves in for. We had six weeks, and we had to do this much work:
1. Weld on valances to No.2 cab
2. Replace metalwork along No.2 cab front windows
3. Weld in missing handrail recess
4. Finish fitting out No.1 cab
5. Start (!) fitting out No.2 cab
6. Locate the problem with the engine governor
7. Repaint the loco in Trainload coal colours

A working week was arranged hastily for the first week in April. As it would be about three weeks before shed space would be available, work initially concentrated on the two cabs. No.2 cab was done first as this was basically ‘hanging together’… Both desks were removed, brought up to scratch and fitted securely. The wiring and pipework was tidied up and the instrument lights refitted. All the usual problems were encountered trying to get bits to fit together and a large chunk had to be cut out of the support for the brake valve to get it to fit.

Once the cab was intact again, the engine was started for the first time in four months and it was proved that everything still worked!

No.1 cab was nowhere near enough complete after the work put in over the winter so a day was spent fitting some more panelwork. The fire detector system, which rings the firebells in the cabs was also reassembled.
We were then able to get 26004 into the shed and the first thing tackled was the metalwork above the cab windows. This is difficult and time-consuming, owing to the awkward shapes involved. However, after the join between the new metal and the fibreglass roof section has been filled, sanded down and the half-trim put on, it looks a lot better than the Glasgow Works method of sticking fibreglass strip on top!

By now four weeks had passed, and the working week was upon us. With less than two weeks to go, there was still a huge amount of work to be done. This is roughly how the work progressed:

Saturday Lefthand bodyside filled and sanded in places. Valances welded on to No.2 end.
Sunday More filling and sanding done. Entire bodyside rubbed down and primed in places ready for undercoating. Untreated parts of roof sanded and undercoated. Valances finished No.2 end.
Monday Cab fronts filled and sanded. By now the loco was covered in a thick layer of dust, so it was hosed down and left to dry overnight.
Tuesday The bodysides and ends were undercoated in a light grey. The roof was painted with the topcoat (Executive Dark Grey).
Wednesday The bottom half of the loco was glossed in light grey.
Thursday The top half of the loco was glossed in mid grey (Flint Grey) and the numbers, Scottie dog plaques and cast BR signs fitted. The yellow end and the matt black around the windows were also painted at one end. By now, everybody had taken to telling each other just how good it looked!
Friday The coal sector decals arrived and were applied immediately. The loco looked really good but we soon came down to earth when we walked round to the other side, which was still to be done… The windows were also refitted at the No.2 end.
Saturday The loco was moved to the other side of the shed and everyone got stuck in to the unpainted side. The worrying thing was the loco was supposed to leave on the Tuesday, and it hadn’t even been for a run up the hill! Things looked better after an undercoating session which lasted until 3am.
Sunday The bottom half was glossed in light grey. Over the previous few days, the bogies and underframe had been painted in gloss black and the loco began to look complete. The missing handrail recess was also welded in.
Monday The top half was glossed in mid-grey. This wasn’t done until the loco had been for a trip up the line with a 27 and 5 coaches in tow. This proved the problem with the governor was still there and some head-scratching occurred.
Tuesday We got word the lorry was due that afternoon, and this gave us time to finish things off. The remaining coal transfers were applied, the handrails refitted and various finishing jobs done on the cabs. The loco then went on another run after some adjustments, but the fault was still there. It was the driven on to the lorry and we thought some more about the problem…

There were also many other jobs carried out that week, namely the air tanks from No.2 cab being removed, scraped and painted. The inside roofs were taken out of store, painted and refitted. The lights were replaced in No.2 cab and several other bits of the cab put back. No.1 cab was completed internally and this, along with the working heaters, made this cab more popular!

The loco now looked superb, and was basically intact again internally… a great deal more than could have been said of two weeks previously.

Five of us arrived at Llangollen on Thursday night to find the loco had been unloaded safely. A test run had been arranged for 9am Friday morning, so we picked the brains of Roger Whipp, an expert on Class 26s, and we had a good idea of what the problem might be. Two cables had to be swapped on the generator self field resistance frame, and we were ready to go. The loco performed much better and sounded excellent.

The rest of Friday was spent carrying out minor repairs, including fixing the horns, cleaning the fuel filter and strainer of sludge and getting the cab lights wired up at No.2 end. Another test run in multi with 25313 proved everything worked fine.

The timetable was the same on Saturday and Sunday with the loco doing four return trips from Llangollen to Carrog. 004 performed well, with only one minor hiccup on the first train on the Sunday, when it started coughing and chucking out black smoke. During the station stop at Glyndwfwdry, the loco was shut down and inspected. A pin had fallen out of the rocker gear which was soon refitted to get everything back to normal.

After a great weekend, we took stock. 004 has been transformed and now needs just a few jobs to finish it off.

26024
No work done owing to 26004 commitments!
August report
26004
26004 was requested by the East Lancs Railway for their diesel week, the main preserved diesel event of the season. Since 27001 was already there, it meant two of the Bo’ness fleet were represented.

The loco moved by road from Llangollen to Bury on the 24th June, and a small group travelled down from Bo’ness on the 27th to check 004 and 001 over. 26004 was given a test run as it had seen very little use since the Llangollen gala.

As the run from Rawtenstall to Bury is 8 miles, this gave 004 a good chance to stretch its legs, and, once again, the loco proved to be an excellent performer and a very strong engine. The only thing that still gave cause for concern is that the loco overloads when the first stage of field divert switches in. This would need a careful look at when the loco returned to Bo’ness.

This is what 004 did during the diesel week (the first loco number piloted each train):

Tuesday 7th July
27001 + 26004 1350 Bury to Rawtenstall and return
26004 + 27001 1620 Bury to Rawtenstall and return

Wednesday 8th July
D7612 + 26004 1030 Bury to Rawtenstall and return
D8000 + 26004 1530 Bury to Rawtenstall and return (locos reversed at Rawtenstall)

Saturday 11th July
26004 + 27001 0850 Bury to Rawtenstall (to Ramsbottom)
26004 0922 Ramsbottom to Bury
D5054 + 26004 2035 Rawtenstall to Bury

Sunday 12th July
26004 0834 Bury to Ramsbottom
26004 1422 Ramsbottom to Bury
26004 1620 Bury to Rawtenstall and return
26024
Meanwhile, back at Bo’ness, the departure of 27001 and the need to keep 5351 (long overdue body repairs) in regular use meant that there was space available in the shed. As 26024 was the only unrestored loco, we had three to four months to get to work. The intention was to get the bodywork repairs carried out and make the loco wind and watertight while under cover.

The section on No.2 cab front with the large dent in it was cut out, and the framework behind it repaired. Various sections were cut out of No.1 end and all the handrail channels de-rusted and primed. The cantrail trim, grilles and adjacent metalwork were removed along the one side as the main horizontal angle behind had corroded, with the rust pushing everything out.

Inside No.1 cab, the back wall had some of the metal ‘squares’ cut out for the asbestos check, so these were welded back in. Two entirely new back sheets had been fitted to 004, but this method should save time and work!

The missing bufferbeam hoses and pipes on No.1 end were all refitted. This included fabricating some steel pipes which had disappeared.
November report
26004
26004 was used again at Bury on Saturday 22nd August, hauling the 0900 and 1100 departures from Bury on its own, and the 1300 with 27001. EWS had by now confirmed they wanted the loco for the Toton open weekend. It had been examined for ‘ready to run’ and the axles tested ultrasonically. A number of repairs were reuired and these were carried out at Bury.

At Toton, 26004 and 27001 were parked out of the way, and unfortunately weren’t centre stage. Then came the worrying part: The SRPS diesel gala was the following weekend, yet it wasn’t planned to move the locos until the Thursday!

26004 had been advertised as running on the Friday, so at best, things were going to be tight… Our worst fears were confirmed when the move failed to take place, owing to the EWS 37 being unable to put enough air through the loco to operate the brakes. On Friday, the move was cancelled as there was no path available…

Then a lot of strings were pulled, and we have to thank the National railway Museum, whose Western D1023 was part of the convoy and which was required at York on Saturday for a ceremony. Their influence played a big part and the locos eventually left Toton as 7Z57, arriving at York at around 1930 on Friday evening. But there was no crew for 26004 and 27001 to go forward.

After several phone calls to EWS controls at Glasgow and York, around 0200 on Saturday morning a crew was found to take the locos to Berwick. The move occurred that morning, with the locos arriving at Manuel at around 1030 behind 47776. they then came down to Bo’ness on the back of the second train.

26004 went to work that with a train that afternoon and another on the Sunday morning. It failed on Sunday afternoon after shutting down and refusing to restart during preparation. The engine run solenoid inside the governor was the prime suspect. Since then, the loco made a shareholders’ round trip, before being drained for the 1998/9 winter.

26024
Steady progress was the order on 024. New plate was welded in on the bodywork along the cantrail and the various bits of trim refitted. This made a hug improvement, but the other side needed done next. A new section of plate was welded in to the No.2 cab front; the join between the cab roof and the body at No.2 end had a plate fitted along the driver’s side and the front end tidied up.

In the boiler room, the cantrail grilles and gutter on the A side were cleaned up and two of the resistance banks refitted. The boiler room roof and compressor were removed to give access to refit the brake frame.

In the engine room, the engine governor, which was removed in case 004 needed it, was refitted, along with some minor part.

1997
February report
26004
The loco was shunted back into the shed in January. The badly rusted corner window on the secondman’s side at No.1 end was cut out and a new piece made to shape. The lamp irons etc were removed and prepped for fitting to new plate to be welded in to the front end.

The secondman’s desk was removed to allow access to the front panel steelwork.

26024
Work continued on the power unit. The oil filters were renewed, the crankcase doors were removed to allow the crankshaft and camshaft to be checked and the sump oil strainer cleaned. The tappet clearances were also set.

On the water system, new pipework for the engine triple pump was fabricated and fitted, along with replacement hoses on the tops of the radiators to replace ones which were perished. The main generator was reassembled after being dismantled to allow insulation testing.

August report
26004
A big push during and after the June working week saw 26004 in a much more advanced state.

The roof was stripped back to bare metal where required, primed, sanded, and undercoated from end to end. The boiler room roof was bolted down and a strip welded across the top of the No.1 end cab bulkhead. The missing parts of the rainstrip were also fitted to No.1 cab.

On the same cab, the missing pieces of valance were all welded on and the rear handrail recess at the driver’s side welded up. The holes above the handrail were plated. The join between the roof and the bodysides/front was resealed and filled with catalloy. The metal above the centre window was replaced, as there was nothing that wasn’t rust, silicone sealer or filler!

On the No.2 cab, the steel sidesheets were finally welded properly into place. The rusty metal above the driver’s side window was all cut out and replaced and sealed on to the roof. The missing platework above the driver’s side handrail was replaced and one part of the valance fitted. The tail lights were welded back in, and the tail lamp brackets refitted, along with the handrails.

November report
26004
26004 worked two trains at the diesel gala, and also solo on a Load 8 railtour ECS from Birkhill to Manuel.

Welding and plating work was completed at the No.1 end. The wooden trim which holds the internal cab panelwork on was made up and fitted. The missing panels on the rear bulkhead were made up and fitted. The largest of the three parts of the internal cab roof was fitted, along with the wooden supports for it above the windscreens (nearly all the original woodwork had rotted, and the shaped are complex to remake).

The driver’s desk was rebuilt and the instrument lights installed. The secondman’s desk was refitted and a start made on the cab heaters.

Parts were acquired to complete 26024.

1996
26004 and 26024
Progress was made over the summer in filling and sanding the bodysides of 26004. New water hoses for the radiators were ordered, and needed to be fitted before the loco could be started again and prepared for 1993’s diesel gala.

Work planned for 26004 included removal and inspection of the engine governor and a general smartening up of the exterior prior to the gala.

26004 worked on all three days of the diesel gala, and had the first pair of 26s in preservation with D5301 from M.C. Metals. It also worked the shareholders special on the 16th November. Next on the job list was some fairly extensive welding.

Work on 26024 was limited initially to assessing the extent of missing parts and on the batteries. The turbo was stripped down and unseized, missing rocker gear and pipework refitted; and the fuel filters, strainer and pipework rebuilt with an overhauled set of injectors fitted. The electrical control cubicle was also partially rebuilt.

We also purchased a spare Class 26 power unit (minus the generator) from M.C. Metals.

1995
September report
26004
At 2045 on Thursday 14th September 1995, 26004 moved for the first time under its own power in preservation.

The months prior to this saw a lot of work to get the loco ready to run. In May, the engine was started again, and this highlighted a problem with the engine oil pressure, which was excessively high. After various attempts to cure this, an oil control valve was found to be fitted the wrong way. It had obviously been this way for some time, as the pipework had to be modified to refit it correctly! Various other small faults were corrected on the water and oil systems. The main generator was inspected and found to have a very low insulation resistance. This was probably down to dampness. Apart from that, the engine is in very good condition.

The roof, brake frame and compressor were all removed over Christmas and repaired as necessary. The panelling, which was removed from both bulkheads, was then repaired and refitted. Fibreglass insulation was also fitted to the bulkhead between the can and engine room. The brake equipment frame and compressor were then dropped back in and all wiring and pipework reconnected. The interior of the boiler room was repainted, though not finished.

Both cabs were in very poor condition, and very rusty, and repairs in the past were poorly done. At no.1 end, both sides had been collision damaged: the driver’s side having been repaired rather better than the secondman’s. The secondman’s side has now seen extensive replacement of the cab structure: new sections have been fabricated around the top of the door and window and a hole new side structure has been made. A new side sheet has been fitted to the cab door.

All air tanks and pipework were refitted and most of the wiring repaired and reconnected.

The No.2 cab was also in a bit of a state. All the panelling from waist down was removed, along with what was left of the structure (extensive corrosion was found in all areas of both cabs). The air tanks and pipework were refitted and wiring reconnected. The loco was run up and the air system tested.

26024
Lack of manpower meant no progress on 26024 beyond some work on the battery boxes.

November report
26004
26004 worked its first train in preservation on Friday 22nd September when it ran up the line, hauling 25235. The next day, it worked its first service train, with the 1500 to Birkhill.
The weeks leading up to the diesel weekend saw the air system and the electrical system rebuilt and gradually cleared of faults and problems.

The whole of the week immediately prior to the diesel weekend was spent refitting platework to the cabsides. By Friday, one end was completely finished, enough for that test run with the Rat. The loco performed well, except for a problem with the engine governor.

After these runs a snag list was drawn up and through Friday night these faults were cleared and the remaining platework fitted to No.1 cabside. Work didn’t finish until 1400, an hour before 004’s booked trip!

004 made it to Birkhill and back and performed slightly better on the Sunday after the field divert system had been recomissioned and the engine regulating air set up properly. Two trips were made on the Sunday, one with the loco on its own, and one with 25235 and 27001, creating probably the first 25+26+27 partnership in preservation. Or ever?

1994
Asbestos
There was almost a 12-month delay between being informed the locos were ours and BR agreeing amongst all its parts as to what would need to be done regarding asbestos in the 26s.

The specification for the asbestos check was revised, with a higher price tag, after the sale of the locos had been agreed. BR couldn’t pass this cost on to the new owners, as there was no provision for this in the contracts. This meant the existing owners were liable for the extra cost. Initially, this was ScotRail; then, after the 1st of April 1994, Trainload Freight West. Many months were lost while each company considered the problem, and more in re-organisations!

Eventually, on 6th September 1994, 26002, 26004, 26010 and 26038 left Inverness at 0825 behind 37184. The brake systems on all locos had been repaired by the depot, and they eventually arrived at M.C. Metals at 1500 that afternoon. 26035, which had a seized wheelset, arrived by road a few days later.

Nine days later, on the 15th September, 26011 and 26024 were moved on the N12 trip from Motherwell to M.C. Metals by 37153.

M.C. Metals agreed to let a small number of people assist in the dismantling of the locos’ cabs for inspection. This gave us the chance to remove as much as possible (without exposing and residual asbestos!) and would proved to be good experience when we rebuilt the locos.

The cabs were virtually gutted, along with the removal of several components from the boiler room. The cabs had the interior roof panel, interior side panels, driver’s and secondman’s desks removed.

To check the bulkhead between the cab and the engine room, the steel panelling at No.1 end was cut away from the cabside and from the boiler room at No.2 end, exposing the brake frame.

Asbestos was discovered in the centre bulkhead between the engine and the boiler room on 26004; after negotiations (as it didn’t form part of the original spec) between M.C. Metals and BR, this was resolved in late October.

On the 23rd of November, 26004 was picked up from M.C. Metals and taken to Bo’ness by road, arriving around 1915. 26024 arrived a week later and one of the first jobs was to fit new doors!

It was decided that 26004 would be the first loco to run again, and work would start on 024 after 004 was running.

1993
26004
Six weeks after the return date for tenders of 3rd August, we were advised that 26004 and 26024 were ours. The only problem now was asbestos…

Originally, it had been agreed that only the area around the cab handrails would need to be cut away, as this was an area known to be contaminated on some locos.

However, this idea was dropped in favour of a full inspection, which involved gaining access to the cabsides, cab and engine room bulkheads and cab roof sections, which meant a lot of destruction of the cabs and subsequent rebuilding.

26004 was meanwhile shunted into the former wagon repair shop at Inverness from Millburn Yard. This had heat, light and an inspection pit. The main aim was to replace the missing air receivers to allow the loco to run to Glasgow with the brake system operational. Also missing were the exhaust manifold and various minor parts.

The pipework was refitted and some new sections were made up. As one broken section could not be replaced, it wasn’t possible to charge the loco with air.

Although a new set of batteries had been fitted prior to withdrawal, these were totally flat and much of the electrolyte had boiled away. After topping up and being left to charge for 48 hours, they eventually came back to life.

A spare exhaust manifold was refitted and the engine was barred over manually to recirculate the oil. The generator insulation was checked for dampness and, although not very good, was good enough to start the loco. The engine was filled with water and, after a final check over, 26004 came back to life on the 21st October: the first to be fired in preservation!

26024
26024 was dumped at the back of Motherwell depot. Two traction motors were damaged (one seriously and one lightly). The main plus point for the loco is it received a new generator in 1991 after the original was badly damaged.

 

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