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a warning for the future?

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Reading General, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    I wondered when I read of the hoops Swanage are jumping through to get their unit passed for an amble along half a mile of mainline into Wareham what measures and checks other railways are making on their fleets.

    I've ridden on some seriously rough Mk1s and DMUs in the past couple of years, what sort of maintenance regimes do railways have in force to check their stock? Are axles ultrasounded routinely ? are vacuums cylinders inspected? are bogies overhauled?

    I get the impression that some lines might be lot better than others in this respect. The first failure due to lack of maintenance would have serious repercussions I fear,
     
  2. toplight

    toplight Well-Known Member

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    The first problem you have is who does the work and who pays for it. Many coaches/dmus etc on preserved railways are privately owned so what happens to it in terms of work is largely down to the owner. One owner might work on his every week, another owner hasn't been seen near the railway for 2 years.
     
  3. gwalkeriow

    gwalkeriow Well-Known Member

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    At Havenstreet the coaching stock has a weekly visual exam, every 4,000 miles a 'B' exam (brake inspection, reblocking as required, brakes adjusted, axlebox exam etc.) An annual 'A' exam as the B but in greater detail includes bogie out inspection and tyre profile checks. Door locks and compartments are inspected every 28 days in traffic or if not used for 30 days. In addition we have guards repair sheets.

    We have a full register of all the door locks, a register of all wheelsets and traces the profile every 2 years, axle ultrasonics are ongoing. Still to create is a full record of all triple valves (tested every 'A' & @B' exam.)

    This is just a brief resume of the maintenance regime, it is helped by having and eye for detail and an enquiring mind.

    To answer @toplight as the IoWSR is the sole owner of all of the land, buildings, track, Locos, coaches, wagons plus all fixtures and fittings so is responsible for all maintenance and as a bonus all restorations from chicken shed to traffic vehicle.
     
  4. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    now that's what I hoped to hear, proper job.
     
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  5. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    It has already, on the South Devon Railway. Not strictly lack of maintenance but inadequately completed maintenance.
     
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  6. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    yes I had that in my mind too but that was a mechanical failure, it was a human one.
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    That is not a problem. The responsibility for ensuring adequate maintenance is done relies with the operating railway. The agreement/contract may delegate this to the owner but the railway remains ultimately responsible for ensuring it is done.
     
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  8. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Railway must have a maintenance regime as part of their SMS. What that regime requires will be down to the individual railway. The ORR says it should be proportionate to the risk so what is deemed adequate for a 1 mile line running at 10 mph would not be applicable to a 20 mile line running at 25 mph.
     
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  9. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    so basically someone at the Railway is Responsible and signs a kind of Cert of Fitness, covering the stuff in the IOWSR list? That's good to hear.
     
  10. gwalkeriow

    gwalkeriow Well-Known Member

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    Yes the main one is the 'A' exam which I used to sign until I retired. I might add that the exams are constantly evolving, some things are added, some have increased frequency. Another annual exam is the whole of Steam heat System.

    Keeping accurate records especially of tyre profiles and tyre thickness are essential for planning ahead for tyre turning and the ordering and fitting of new tyres.
     
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  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Surely not? The responsibility for setting standards and ensuring fitness to run is with the operating company - who owns a vehicle is irrelevant, it is down to the operator to say whether it can run or not, as defined in their SMS.

    Over the years, the Bluebell has sent about a dozen vintage carriages and one loco up the Brighton mainline to run in London - five of those carriages (and the loco) being on 100+ year old underframes. Obviously, there has been a lot of inspection by the mainline vehicle acceptance body to allow that to happen, but the only requested vehicle that I believe wasn't allowed to travel was 3363 (the Birdcage brake) on account of having Mansell wheels. To the best of my knowledge, the last vehicle allowed on the mainline with those type of wheels was probably 1520 (the LSWR brake third) when it was the Clan Line support vehicle in the early 1970s.

    Tom
     
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  12. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Well something has caused @Reading General to develop concerns which led to his starting this thread.

    PH
     
  13. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    i did say I had traveled on some ropey stock, the recent developments with the Swanage Wareham service got me thinking.
     
  14. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    Could it be in some cases that the track wasn't that high standard as well such as dropped joints and this made the coaches ride badly. There was one railway I was on when one of the group I was with said they could do with a tamper to improve the ride.
     
  15. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    We're very lucky at Winchcombe in having both a set of carriage jacks and an experienced ex-BR engineer as our "CME". As such our bogies are completely overhauled, wheel sets can be swapped out of bogies, and bogies between coaches, and ride heights adjusted. If a wheel flat is detected then as soon as possible the coach is taken out and the bogie taken out. Wheel sets are then removed from bogies and a collection of 4 wheel sets are then arranged in spare bogies to be taken away for tyre turning, pretty much the only thing we can't do ourselves.

    On top of that there's all the usual A B C and D exams mentioned by Gary and others, every operating day when the TTI unlocks the doors one of the duties is to check they're all working properly. If not, they're locked out of use and put in the book for attention from the maintenance team who at the very least will have looked at it within a week, but not all doors need to open so if it's a more complex job it may wait until the close season.

    As others have said it shouldn't matter who owns the vehicle, it's who runs it that's responsible for whether it's fit to run. The host railway may have little control over how quickly it's brought back into traffic though.
     
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  16. Ken_R

    Ken_R New Member

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    Which, I believe, was the demise of the Dining Train, Elegant Excursions. Whilst the C&W department 'assisted' with minor, and not so minor, matters, the consist, had reached the stage of needing major work. Indeed, not my observation but, had it not been for all passengers being in seated tables, as opposed to 'door hanging', then it perhaps would have been terminated far earlier.
     
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  17. toplight

    toplight Well-Known Member

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    I would say a lot of rolling stock overhauls are not as thorough as some would have you believe.(particularly at the smaller less well established lines). It makes it worse when stuff is stored outside.
    I worked for a short time on the East Lancs and I know then they wouldn't allow say goods wagons to run unless every split pin had been replaced. My first job on the line knocking them out on one wagon, but does every line do that ?

    Many railways don't even have carriage jacks so lifting a coach to remove and do heavy work on a bogie is out of the question unless it can be sent somewhere else. My own railway has a Mark 1 which is privately owned. It was restored by the owner with bits of help here and there and then put into service. Over the Santa specials it was noticed one of the bogies was making strange sounds and problems with its brakes (particularly because of the cold weather), so it's brakes are being stripped at the moment (for the first time) with the help of one ex Swindon works guy.
    First of all it was noticed that some of the triangular pull rods are out of shape so not pulling equally on each wheel, and one brake block on one side very worn. The bearings in the brake blocks were also oval shape etc and have needed the bearings pressing out and new ones made and pressing in. The ex Swindon works guy said the problems date back to its BR service and were probably the reason it was withdrawn. He was also able to identify that one part had been repaired at a depot as opposed to a main works. It would have been enough in BR days for it to be sent for scrap.
    Now I bet this is a typical scenario, It only really gets examined in detail when something seems obviously wrong. I bet if I stripped and looked carefully at things like Brakes etc on Mark 1 at other railways it would be the same. Bearings worn and oval shaped etc. Some railways like the SVR do have excellent facilities and knowledgeable staff for testing dynamos and vacuum cylinders and doing full overhauls of bogies etc but they are the lucky ones !

    The other thing you see quite often at preserved lines is clouds of steam coming out of under coaches from the steam heat. Again that is often corroded pipes with holes in them etc.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  18. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

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    That explains quite a lot!
     
  19. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member

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    Thought - do the facilities available set the examination standards. What I mean is because faults are easy to rectify with the proper facilities and it is thus known that faults will be fixed they get properly reported. Also how many heritage railways guards are expected to do a daily Visual FTR before taking a set out on its first service. Items covered include but not exhaustive, pull all strings to release any overcharge and see brakes release( other than the handbrake of course) springs, wheels (for tyre slipping) , brake blocks, battery box covers secure, spare couplings on screw coupled stock stowed, in use coupling corectly adjusted, gangway clips secure, train lighting coupled, vac and steam conections properly made, buckeye support pins fully home and tails down, release chain not snagged and daylight betweeen release lever and drop pin, dynamo belts, bodywork, windows end corridor doors locked and end sheilds secure. An overall criteria that if it should be shiny and is dull or if dull and should be shiny and anything else which seems odd. If in any doubt call C&W.

    The guard will also conduct a thorough brake test. Vacuum created by loco and destroyed. Walk from front of train to rear checking brakes have applied. On reaching rear remove vac bag from dummy and give hand signal to create brake. Listen for inrush of air to confirm loco creating vac and replace on dummy. Walk to front of train checking all brakes are released.

    Liase with my TTIs if they have anything to report. When walking the tail lamp round at each end of line keep eye out for anything unusual
     
  20. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    That's certainly how it works on the GWSR, although I seem to remember we had someone join from another heritage railway where it was all new for him - can't remember which railway though.
     

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