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Restoration of Class 119 Driving Motor Brake Composite W51073

Setting off
Countryside Exploration

Progress reported on 18/03/13.

Yet another massive week in the restoration of the vehicle. Tuesday saw an initial examination on the vehicle where all points were greased, oiled and torqued to ensure everything is mechanically fit for running. But it was Friday that was the big day. Track time was required to test fellow Gloucester vehicle W55006 after it too has had a 14-month rebuild and a very short notice window of opportunity was provided by the railway for Friday. Spur of the moment opportunity was taken to attach W51073 to the front and run as a pair on the test.

After coupling up, some tests were done to ensure that all things were working in multiple and then the pair made their way steadily through Wirksworth yard to the platform. The team were quietly confident that everything would be fine on the test run but there is always a degree of nervousness surrounding such a big event. After all, it was the first time that the vehicle had been out of station limits for 20 years and under its own power too.

The pair steadily made their way down the valley allowing the gentle downhill gradient to take the train without too much strain. A stop was made at Shottle for an initial look round and all seemed remarkably good, before making their way to Duffield. A special occasion indeed! The pair then continued to run back and forth between Duffield and Idridgehay several times before going back to the yard at Wirksworth, clocking up 65 miles. Upon arrival, a final check round was had and all was satisfactory. A very good day!

Left: 51073 leads the pair as they wait at Wirksworth Station to depart for the first time.

The weekend was back to the routine as restoration has to continue in order to complete the vehicle. There were many members of the team around all performing different tasks.

The heater wiring featured last week was completed and amidst much anticipation the Smiths combustion heater fired in to life for the first time (again in 20 years). This left the expected nasty smell inside for a little while as warm restoration dust was blown around but it is certainly an achievement considering two weeks ago all of the wiring for the heating system was cut through.

Repairs to the drivers side single guards door cant rail were completed this weekend. A new section of roof was cut and installed to replace the one full of holes. Also in the guards van, a massive clear out of restoration artefacts created space for more restoration work to continue. A delivery of insulation was cut and installed in to the framework. Around half of the van is now insulated.

On Sunday, work in the cab progressed. The lengthy process of screwing the desk top down properly began. The desk top itself was not going to move as various instruments are screwed through it in to the frame but the extra screws are to stop the edges from lifting up. Each one had to have the desk frame drilled (and it is quite thick), the hole countersunk and then a thread tapped in to it. Each hole took around ten minutes! The result is quite pleasing though as brass screws were used. The frontage was then progressed. Original sections from the vehicle were found and refurbished. There was one section missing so one off a previously scrapped vehicle was modified to fit, virtually completing the desk. Other accessories such as the lighting and the now-operational heater control were screwed in too.

The cab window frames for the large windows at the front of the vehicle were stained ready for varnishing.

Right: Nearly completed drivers desk.
Cab desk
Cant rail
Above: The section of cant rail and roof cut out for replacing.
Cab frames
Above: The stained cab window frames. They are quite large!
Above: End of the line. The pair reach Duffield!
Above: The pair were rested in Duffield loop over lunch.

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