BEHIND THE WHEEL CLASSES. BEHIND THE
Behind the wheel classes. Xj wheel spacers.
Behind The Wheel Classes
Wrecked Class 70
Photo and information sourced from Railway magazine.
A brand new Class 70 locomotive that has never turned a wheel in revenue-earning service is almost certain to be written off after being dropped from a crane during unloading at Newport docks on January 5th.
No.70012 was badly bent in the incident and expected to be sent back to its American manufacturers, General Electric. It is understood that work has already started on building a replacement.
The ?2 million loco was the last of five Class 70s to be lifted from the hold of the ship, the “Beluga Endurance”, when the accident happened.
The vessel’s in-built cranes had lifted No.s 70008/9/10 and 11 and deposited them on the quayside, but during the lift of 70012, one of the slings ruptured. One end of the 135-ton loco plunged some 15 feet onto the pontoon deck, quickly followed by the other end as the stress proved too much for the remaining slings.
As can be seen from the photograph, the frame and body of the loco were substantially bent in the impact, which effectively wrecked the locomotive by ‘breaking its back’. There was serious damage to the roofline, the bodywork and the wheelsets, not to mention as-yet unknown hidden damage behind the paneling.
Said on observer of the incident: “Unloading of the locos did not start until 14.30 and unusually continued into the hours of darkness. No. 12 broke through the deck and landed on top of food products. The only good thing is that it was the last loco to be lifted out and not the first, as otherwise it would have fallen onto the others and smashed them up too. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘Flying Banana’”.
Once various initial investigations had been completed, No. 12 was removed from the hold and placed on a road trailer for secure storage within the docks. It is to be returned to Canada for component recovery and because it never left the dockside, will never have officially arrived in Britain. It will effectively have been ‘lost en route’.
The ship left Newport on January 8 to unload its other cargo of grain in Belgium and was then due to head to a shipyard for repairs to its decking and pontoons, five of which were damaged in the impact.
The incident is believed to be unprecedented in the modern are, which is perhaps surprising given the huge number of diesel locos built in North America that have safely shipped to the UK and Europe during the last decade or so. As we closed for press, No. 70012 was still in Newport awaiting a ship back to the USA, where it will be returned to GE’s Eries plant for full assessment.
As the damage will form part of a major insurance claim it will be stripped and examined to see whether any components can be recovered. Key items such as the power unit, alternator and compressors will need stringent testing if they are to be re-used, but the bodyshell is almost certain to be scrapped, as is the frame – leading to speculation as to whether the replacement loco will be another 70012 or whether it will take the number 70013.
Class 220 220029-5491
All coaches are equipped with a Cummins QSK19 diesel engine of 750 hp (560 kW) at 1800rpm. These power a generator which supplies current to motors driving two axles per coach, with one axle per bogie powered.
Voyagers have both air and rheostatic brakes. They are fitted with Dellner couplers, like the Class 390 Pendolino electric trains used by Virgin West Coast meaning they can be coupled in the event of a failure. As the computer hardware, software and electrical systems are not fully compatible they are not coupled in normal service. 220s and 221s can also be easily assisted by Dellner fitted Class 57s (Thunderbirds) in the event of a failure. By use of adaptive couplings a failed 220 or 221 can also be assisted by any air braked locomotive such as a Class 37, 47 or 66 or even an HST.
The Class 220s and closely related Class 222s have B5005 bogies which are distinctive as they are of inside frame design and hence the axles are supported by bearings behind the wheels, meaning the outside face of the wheel is visible. The related Class 221 Super Voyager has outside frame bogies and hence have a more conventional appearance.
The Class 220s operate in four coach sets with a carriage mass of between 45 and 48 tonnes and a total train weight of 185.6 tonnes, a top speed of 125 mph (200 km/h) and a maximum range of approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km) between each refuelling. Their route availability is very good being RA 2 - in part due to the lightweight bogie design.
All Voyagers are maintained at the dedicated Central Rivers TMD near Burton-on-Trent.
Technical problems and incidents
The roof mounted resistors for the rheostatic (dynamic) brakes have caused a number of incidents: In one incident, a small piece of wood from a tree had become lodged in these grids, which started a fire on the roof of the train as it stopped in Banbury railway station.
Units have also been stopped by salt water, when storm-driven waves broke over the train at Dawlish in south Devon and inundated the resistor banks, causing the control software to shut down. This problem was fixed by an upgrade to the control software.
There were a number of exhaust fires on the Voyager class during 2005–2006 due to incorrect fitting of equipment during overhauls. Fires occurred at Starcross (Class 221), Newcastle and on 19 January 2006 at Congleton.
On 14 March 2008, 220 012, forming a service to Derby, caught fire at Banbury. This fire was caused by a bird getting caught under one of the hot brake resistors on the roof of the train. Although damage was superficial to the train, once the fire brigade had been called, procedures called for the train to be taken out of service for
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