Members have been turning up in good numbers to work on the diesel multiple unit and we are making good progress.
M51937 now has a restored destination box showing "Fleetwood".
We have been concentrating most of our efforts on the trailer car M56484 though.
The front buffer beam has been needle gunned to remove surface rust and red oxide primer applied. Next step is to paint it signal red.
Also, all the vacuum pipe connectors, electrical connector and numerous other brackets and fittings have been cleaned down to the bare metal and primer applied. The various connectors will be painted with the correct colour for the task they perform.
The rear buffer beam has received the same attention and is now painted black.
Sometimes you have to dismantle part of the unit to fix things!
During delivery of the DMU, the brakes on M51937 were jammed on and had to be partly dismantled to assist unloading. After returning from lockdown, the brakes on M51937 were quickly fixed and are now working correctly.
We then thought it prudent to also check the brakes on M56484 and these too were found to be jammed solid and it was impossible to turn the hand brake wheel in the cab. In the picture below, the hand brake wheel has been removed and much of the driver's desk dismantled to gain access to the shaft leading down below the cab to the brakes.
After several weeks' hard effort, the team working on the brakes have successfully freed up the brakes and now they just need minor adjustments making to ensure they work correctly. The driver's desk has been reassembled so that restoration work can start on that.
We were aware that around eleven 2-car Class 108 Diesel Multiple units were allocated to Fleetwood in the early 1960s to operate local services in the Fylde area.
The Society is a member of the Railcar Association, which maintains a record of known allocations for preserved diesel multiple units. During lockdown, the record for M51937 was updated and we now know that M51937 was allocated to Fleetwood in June 1961, where it remained for around a year before moving back to Manchester.
Near the end of its operational passenger service, M51937 became a test vehicle for several new developments, which eventually appeared as standard features on the Sprinter diesel multiple units introduced in the 1990s. These included an automated gear change, improved cab heating and a new design of exhaust silencers.
We have been visited by one of the engineers, David Dennis, who worked on these developments on M51937 at Chester during the 1990s and he has provided a tremendous amount of technical assistance and extra historical details. We hope to use a future update to provide more details about this part of M51937's history.
We are regularly starting up both the engines to work on known issues, test the various systems and gain familiarity with the controls.
M51937 arrived at NPL with two known issues, firstly the incorrect level of vacuum was being created, and this potentially could be expensive to resolve and was rendering the brakes as unfit for purpose.
Secondly, one of the engines could not be started or stopped from the cab. Following David Dennis's visit our members have successfully resolved both these issues and are now working through the cab controls and looking for further issues which need resolving.