Talk about awkward…

If our regular reader has been observant over the last few months, he/she may have noticed the absence from our news page of the once regular appearances of “Sludge”. Sludge got its name from Severn Trent Water’s Minworth sewage treatment plant at which it spent all of its working life. The reason for the absence is that the loco suffered an engine failure last Summer, when part of the governor mechanism fractured, leaving the engine permanently on tick-over with no means of increasing the speed. Since then, Sludge has been sulking at the back of the shed, leaving its older relatives to shoulder the duty of completing the railway (and taking the glory of being the first to traverse the entire length of the first phase of the railway).

Apart from the priority of completing the railway, one of the reasons why it has taken so long to get round to sorting this out has been our Chief Mechanical Engineer’s uncertainty about how to remove the fuel pump from its Deutz engine without completely dismantling the loco. However, not one to be easily defeated, he finally set about the job armed with a variety of mirrors, lamps and spanners bent to unusual angles. Soon surrounded by curious observers, there was much pondering and scratching of heads. The pump is held on by four nuts and studs on the back of the timing gear cover. Only two of these were clearly visible from any angle. The remainder had to be assumed to exist and, remembering Sludge’s roots, the CME declared that he would have to remove them “by sense of smell.” The most difficult required one 17mm socket, three extension bars and two universal joints to get sufficient purchase to loosen the nut. Once undone, there came the no less tricky job of getting the pump out from behind the bodywork. Fortunatley, the later 40SD Simplexes had a modification to the transverse cross-members, allowing a little more room below the engine covers, which was just enough to ease the pump out for it to be cleaned and then whisked away to PF Jones Ltd in Manchester, who always work wonders with our fuel injection equipment. Let’s hope the CME can remember how to get it back on when the time comes. If you’d like to come down and make helpful suggestions, contact us here.