Thursday, 11 July 2013

BEV 551 part 1 of millions

This was BEV 551:

Built in 1924 (ish), BEV is an 18" gauge battery electric loco, built for hauling things round factories.  The above is a photo in service, the writing tells you more history. It's a scan from Industrial Narrow gauge Railways of Britain, published by Barton Press.

Many decades later, it looked like this, after arriving from Gloddfa Ganol in wales to Steeple Grange in Derbyshire:

BEV sat under a sheet for a few more years, until a younger, over-optimistic me bought a 49% share in order to start getting it done up a bit.
About a year later, and I had this:

Then work, house and women took over. But at least BEV was kept under cover for the next 5 years.
February this year, I felt I finally have enough room at home to fetch it here and do a bit more. So after a chat with Bob, who owns the other bit, and Dad, who loves moving heavy things and moaning about being asked to do it, most of BEV came to a secret location in [CLASSIFIED].

The painted bits have stayed up the railway for now, so I can spread the chassis over a greater area.
So anyway, BEV arrived, was dumped in the shed and then some bloody enfield got in the way...but monday, work began!

The plan is, roughly, this. First, rip the chassis apart, get it blasted and painted, then reassemble the frames. Next, we overhaul the wheelsets. BEV is so basic it's ridiculous, one motor driving some huge straight cut gears and no suspension at all. So all (!) we need is a good clean, new bearings and some rather pricey gears.
After that, things get a bit murkier. We have the controller and resistance bank, but no motor. Also, if we're fitting a new motor and gears, we might as well pop in some air brakes so it can pull passengers on her triumphant return. Probably in the year I retire, but you never know.

Bit of detail: The staff sticking up is for the brakes, which are removed. The big ugly gears drive a countershaft affair. The motor sits in the middle, sticking out one side. Here's a photo of BEV 640 at the East Lancs Light Railway, thanks to Alan Jones:

So, Bob came over monday, and we took 3 hours to get a wheel off. Not quite Formula 1 territory, but god only knows when they were last off.

Heavy buggers too

This shows the utter pain in the arse we're dealing with. To undo those nuts, you need the wheel off. As far as we can see, dropping out the whole wheelset in the normal way is impossible. Thankfully, you can drop the axles out-I though at first you could only remove that and the gear by splitting the frames

It'll be a long project, but you've got to start somewhere. Interesting change from bikes at any rate. I'm thinking of making up drawings too, and might even have a go at modelling it in 5" gauge. Be useful for air brake design at least. Next work party is this monday, so we might get another one off!

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