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Restoration of Class 119 Driving Motor Brake Composite W51073

The seats Learning to Walk

Progress reported on 06/01/13.

A mild first weekend of 2013 saw a large team turn out for work on the vehicle. With the weather being surprisingly good for January attention was turned to underframe components. The freewheel assembly for No.1 engine had been completed the previous week so attention thoughts were put towards the air system which is required for most controls including engine throttles, gears and changing direction. An adapter was created for the land-based compressor to fit to the vehicle so that any leaks in the air system could be heard without the noise of the engines in the background. Of course, there were leaks, but the system was surprisingly more complete than expected with little more than a faulty tap on one of the tanks and some perished EP valves preventing operating pressure being obtained on the gauge in the cab. This pressure was then used to return the final drives to mesh for the first time.

Meanwhile, away from this, some work was being done to connect up the vacuum exhausters on both engines. This involved connecting the vacuum pipes and the pipes which allow the rotary system to receive lubrication. Another member of the team set about replacing the vacuum bags on the end of the vehicle and connecting up the vacuum cylinders on the bogies and checking other connections.

All that remained was to see if the vehicle could produce its own air from the engines instead of the land line. Each engine was started in turn and, much to the surprise of everybody, not only was the air system filled from the onboard compressors but also the vacuum system was being charged from the exhausters already. Could the vehicle move under its own power?

Left: The cab gauges as pressures start to rise.

As darkness fell there was only one opportunity to see if the vehicle could move before the end of the day. The vacuum was created and the brake blocks checked for contact with the wheels. All was declared satisfactory and at around 16:00 the handbrake was released and the vehicle was being held on the vacuum brake. The vacuum was again built and first gear was selected. The vehicle drove forward a few feet before the brake was applied. The drives were then reversed and the vehicle driven backwards to whence it came. This was the first move the vehicle had made by itself since 1993, exactly 20 years. There are still many issues to iron out to ensure smooth operation but this is an amazing achievement for the team!

Elsewhere, work had been done on sanding the old paint on the passenger doors inside and some slightly heavier 'engineering techniques' were applied to one of the guards door which struggled to close.

Right: A video of the first move.

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