Status: Ongoing cosmetic restoration
Location: Railworld, Peterborough
No. 996, owned by Railworld, is particularly relevant to the goals of the International Railway Preservation Society. It has great significance to the Wagons-Lits carriages under our custodianship, particularly 3916 (the Sleeping Car), as this car was built for the Nord Express. It is exactly for this service and other express services such as the Wagons-Lits Scandinavie - Italie Express that the F class Pacific's were built, initially in Sweden finally in Denmark as the E class. The inclusion of this loco with the coaches already under our custodianship tells a much broader story than any of the vehicles could ever do by themselves.
Railworld still remain committed to the locomotive but with many other demands on their finances and volunteer resources any prospect of restoration or conservation work is years in the future. It is the principal responsibility of all museums to act in the best interest of the items in their care. With this in mind the International Railway Preservation Society and Railworld have teamed up to provide the necessary short to medium term care that the locomotive needs including the cosmetic restoration of the locomotive by IRPS. In the long term we hope to return the locomotive to full operational order if funding allows.
Danish State Railways (DSB) E Class no. 996 was built by Frichs in 1950.
This design of locomotive began life in Sweden in 1914 as a Swedish F Class at the NOHAB works. This class of eleven locomotives proved successful at hauling the heaviest trains. However by the 1930’s the Swedish rail network was being rapidly electrified so the whole class were put into storage. At the same time the Danish State Railways were struggling with a lack of motive power. They were therefore sold to DSB at scrap price and pressed into service. During the War, under German occupation, more locos were needed in Denmark, and to make manufacture easier these were built to pre-War designs. Ordered between 1940 and 1947, in four batches, another 25 E Class locos were constructed at the Frichs Locomotive Works. The final batch however, including no. 996, were not delivered until 1950. Compared to the Swedish NOHAB examples, the Frichs examples had larger cabs and a second steam dome.
February 2014, and Project 996 has again come out of winter hibernation. With the warm weather departing, work outdoors on the engine came to a halt at the end of November 2013. Now into year 2 of work, our effort on 996 is clearly noticeable. 2014 is hoped to be another rewarding year, which will hopefully end with the loco taking a greater step forward in its cosmetic restoration.
In the absence of any updates, work at the end of 2013 has been mostly wrapping up as much work as possible, and give protection to anything exposed.
When we left off, the majority of the tender itself had been finished in dark grey undercoat, and is ready to receive its final matt black topcoat. This includes the tank, bogies and frame. To give the best effect however, we have decided to postpone painting it until we have more ideal weather conditions in the early spring. In the meantime, much of our work consist either of needle gunning, or the removal of manageable components indoors for restoration. The interior of the bunker has been mostly needle gunned, and received a coat of primer.
A lot of the needle gunning work on 996 usually includes a small compressor on hand to supply the air flow. Being only small, this compressor tends to run down on pressure quite quickly when two people are working simultaneously. To overcome this, we’ve intended to place a larger compressor semi-permanently in the tender bunker. The opportunity therefore has also been to add a built up frame to cover over the bunker to protect both the compressor and the bunker itself from the rain and corrosion. When the time comes for this operation to be taken, we shall also take the opportunity to remove the locomotives brake compressor currently stranded on top of the tender for examination and restoration.
Aside from needle gunning, smaller components are being removed and taken away for restoring. The first pieces to have this honour are the engines mechanical lubricators, of which there are two. Aside from the fact the workings of one is ceased, both lubricators share a similar condition. The first has already been taken apart into its individual components, and is undergoing treatment in cleaning it up back into prime condition.
Both sets of the engines inside and outside connecting rods, as well as the eccentric rods have also been temporarily taken indoors for cleaning up. Utilizing needle gunning and wire brushing the old red oxide away, before safeguarding them in rust treatment and green primer. When in operation, these rods were left exposed, with the fluted insert painted black. For the cosmetic restoration however, we have decided to paint the rods entirely in black for protection purposes.
Now that the tender is beginning to show its colours, we have gradually turned our attention towards the engine itself. Since the boiler lagging is likely to still contain traces of insulation, we have taken the action to steer clear of this section until it has been addressed by specialists for removal. Instead, we have begun work on the engines smokebox and front buffer beam, which is the first area visitors see when approaching the locomotive. Needle gunning has started, and the work, identical to that carried out on the tender (rust treating, priming, undercoat, and topcoat) is expected to eventually work its way backwards towards the cab. The cladding along the boiler has rotten to a point where entire replacement sheets would be needed.
2014 hopes to be a big year for 996 but only if we have the workforce, we therefore encourage anyone who is willing to help to come along too. We commonly work on the locomotive on Saturdays in Railworld. And no matter how often, any extra hands would be greatly appreciated!
Update by Lewis Morrisey
Well it’s now been one year since work on 996 began, and among the other projects in hand, this one certainly has begun to show its value. The added sense of relief from the pleasing increase in volunteer numbers from just the occasional two or three, to a grateful seven plus on a regular basis has further encouraged the rate of restoration to a point where a noticeable difference in the engines appearance has begun to show.
Over the past few months, work has covered more distance with the engine’s tender. The frames, bogies, and most of the tender tank has been needle gunned, wire brushed, and painted in the protective coats it deserved. Using the built up layers of rust treatment, primer, undercoat, and eventually topcoat does prove a slow, but it acts as an important job in up keeping the quality of the surface. Whilst undertaking this work, we’ve taken opportunity to assess certain areas to check their current state, and what attention would be needed in the future. These investigations have been largely focused on the structural condition inside the water tank. This tank is said to intentionally have intended to be fitted with mechanical firing, hence it’s extraordinary shape, yet although the idea for mechanical firing was rejected, the shape remains, which added to the interest what state the interior was in. After a brief look, since this space has been undisturbed by even rainwater, it’s in a pleasingly sound condition, with not so much excess rusting as first expected.
Alongside this, removable fittings are also being seen to, with the process of removing, examining, restoring, and eventually refitting them being formed. So far this process has crossed the tool chests that sat on the frames, and the tender tank lids and mechanisms. All with the satisfying result that all these so far have been within reason of restoration, with next to no additional attention needed given excluding painting.
Although the impressive transformation after a considerably short timescale is incredibly encouraging, we do urge anyone willing to help come along too. There is still plenty of work ahead, so any extra hands, no matter how often, would be greatly appreciated!
One of the main things to focus on at the start of any project is publicity and presentation. Much of the start of the summer was taken up by tidying up the area near 996 that the public will be able to access free of charge in the area next to Railworld. This involved strimming, weedkilling and generally making the area a lot more presentable. This has also included making display boards. As a temporary measure these have laminated A4 sheets on them, but they will be replaced by proper signs in the fullness of time
On a physical front, work has concentrated on the rear of the tender (which passengers from the NVR first see as their train comes into Peterborough Nene Valley Station). Red oxide had been aplied to various parts of the locomotive some time previous. This has become very tired and shabby looking so it requires a lot a needle gunning to take it back to bare metal and built up layers of rust treatment, primer, undercoat and top coat to a much higher standard.
Work has mainly progressed thanks to youth group member Lewis Morrisey, abley assisted by other members of the youth group and IRPS team. Working from the bottom-rear up, attention has been given to the outside of the chassis, bufferbeam, buffers and fitting on the rear of the tender tank so far.
Pump Trolley experiences and hire are run by volunteers from The Night Mail Group at The Nene Valley Railway. All funds raised are used to support the restoration of our historic railway vehicles and the developement of The Night Mail Museum at Ferry Meadows Station.