Some information about the history, current status and future plans for the Completion of the Overhaul of LNER D49 Morayshire
Why did we choose Llangollen Railway plc?
A number of well recognised locomotive repair contractors were invited to tender. We had a shortlist of 4 all of whom provided very similar indicative costs for the proposed scope of works. Llangollen Railway Plc were chosen on their commitment to a fast turn around and principally by their recent reputation at that time for turning out good work. Another factor was that other high profile work was being undertaken at that time included a major overhaul of Sir Nigel Gresley’s boiler and the New build “Patriot”
What was the scope of works?
The Initial Tendering Process was based on a scope of the likely works required to be able to return the locomotive to operation use on heritage lines. This included the costs for an initial strip down and full examination of both the locomotive’s mechanical and boiler condition. In short major repairs to the boiler outer firebox wrapper, skirt, crown stays, new smoke box and door surround etc. On the running gear all driving axle boxes and horn guides together with the front bogie axles boxes and central pivot needed refurbishment. The motion in general was known to be well worn and new bushes required. The tender required minor repairs to the tank and repairs to the axle boxes, brasses and horn guides etc.
When did the works start?
What was the initial agreed program duration?
Dismantling and inspection to commence December 2016 and loco to be returned after running in at Llangollen March 2018
How did work progress?
Much slower than the originally agreed schedule, however by late 2018 the rolling chassis was reassembled and the boiler work was progressing well. In early January 2019 significant issues with bump clearances were found due to incorrect axle box and horn guide refurbishment. The loco was lifted and the motion, wheel sets and bogie removed for inspection. A detailed inspection was carried out by the new CME and issues found with most of the mechanical works that had already been carried out. To date none of the defective work has been rectified. The boiler work progressed slowly and by January 2020 was about 90% complete. Minor welding repairs were carried out to the tender tank splashers but significant issues with the quality of the works carried out on the horn guides and axle boxes were found and needs to be rectified.
What happened when the contract was terminated and loco evicted from site?
On the 5th February 2020 we were informed by Llangollen that the locomotive and all parts were to be loaded onto transport and a container and it would be returned to the SRPS within 2 weeks at their expense and that they were unable to complete the work, there was no default on the part of SRPS. By the 26th February the locomotive and all its component parts had been moved to a Private site at Locomotive Maintenance Services, Loughbourgh.
What is the current status?
Discussions with Llangollen Railway Plc are finished as they are in administration and we await to find out what the creditors will be paid. LMS have been contracted to carry out the works required on the boiler to bring it to a hydraulic test. Fairly major works are being carried out including replacement of newly fitted sling stays, super heater flues, replacement of newly fitted wrapper skirt, newly fitted patch screws and significant amount of copper welding to repair over caulked rivet and stay holes. Estimates have been provided by LMS to manufacture and fit a new smoke box and to carry out the necessary work to the axle boxes and horn guides to enable the locomotive to be a rolling chassis. An appeal for funds to complete the restoration has been launched.
What are future plans?
Subject to funds being available it is hoped that the re-wheeled locomotive together with its hydraulically tested boiler will be transported back to Bo’ness to be finished by ourselves. It is now hoped that the locomotive may be able to return to Bo’ness by the end of September. The tender which also needs significant work on the frames may arrive at Bo’ness sooner dependant on the new shed completion. A stretch goal would be to have the loco back in traffic by the start of the running season in 2022.
How can you help?
Please support the Appeal to get LNER D49 No. 246 Morayshire back on the rails!