Friday, 8 February 2013

A fire-damaged 47... and Agecroft goes to the Ribble Steam Railway

On Wednesday 23rd January a train of empty coaching stock of West Coast Railways with a Class 47 diesel locomotive at the front and another at the back was routing through Manchester on its way back to its base at Carnforth having had the coach wheels turned on the wheel lathe at the Siemens Ardwick Trans Pennine depot. Between Castlefield Junction and Ordsall Lane the rear loco, 47500, derailed and a limited but intense fuel fire broke out when fuel lines were ruptured and sprayed fuel onto the traction motors.

47500 on fire after derailing 
It took many hours to clear the line, causing chaos for rail travellers. 47500 was re-railed using two rail cranes (one had to come from the Midlands) and while the leading locomotive took the train on to Carnforth, 47500 was placed onto the spur line that connects the Museum of Science & Industry (MoSI) to the main line. Later, MoSI's battery electric locomotive hauled it into the Museum yard which is more secure, prior to it being moved by road to Carnforth. That was to have happened on Monday, but was postponed to today.

I went to MoSI today to watch our Agecroft No1 steam locomotive being loaded onto a road trailer in the morning to be taken to the Ribble Steam Railway for their Steam Gala next weekend, and 47500 similarly loaded in the afternoon. But the latter move was again postponed, to maybe this coming Monday or Tuesday.

As ever, please click on a picture for a bigger image.

Agecroft peeps out of the Power Hall at MoSI, eyeing up the trailer that will will take her to the Ribble Steam Railway for a couple of weeks

While the trailer was being prepared, I walked up to the Ordsall Lane end of the MoSI site where 47500 is parked, to have a look

Not too much damage on this side....

.....But it's a bit worse on the other side

The coupling link has been cut off leaving just the hook, and there's some damage to the buffer beam; evidence of the difficulty of separating the loco from the coaches, to which she was buffer-locked after the derailment

By the time I got back to the Power hall, the temporary track from MoSI yard onto the trailer was almost complete. It has to be well packed underneath by wood blocks to support the weight of the locomotive as she rides up onto the trailer.

Agecroft in the Power Hall, ready to be loaded onto the road trailer

The delicate operation of getting her aboard the trailer begins... At first she is pushed out of the Power Hall by our battery electric locomotive behind the blue carriages...

....Then a cable is run from the head of the trailer, round a pulley on Agecroft's coupling, to the tractor unit of the lorry. The tractor unit is reversed away from the Power Hall, and Agecroft climbs the ramp onto the trailer at half the speed the tractor unit travels, but with a 2 to 1 mechanical advantage to the tractor.

She's aboard!

The tractor unit is attached to the trailer, air and electrical connections plugged in, and the trailer hydraulically raised to the running position

With chains holding her fore and aft, and to the sides, Agecroft leaves MoSI for her spell of duty at the Ribble Steam Railway

Update: 13th February 2013

In a snow storm 47500 finally left MoSI on a road trailer. Photo below by Charlie Hulme:

Charlie's North Wales Rail site is well worth a look;


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