German 'Kleinlokomotiven' (literally: small locomotives) like the DRG Kö II (later: Köf II) were developed as locomotives with a low weight and driving power for light shunting duties. The reason for the low height was so they could be placed on a flat bed wagon and simply off-loaded when they reached the station or yard they were required in.
After tests with several trial locomotives, they were placed in service from 1932 onwards by the Deutsche Reichsbahn (DRG) and used on small stations for light shunting and marshalling work. They were intended to make the handling of goods traffic more economical. To do that an appropriately trained controller had to be able to handle shunting duties using the locomotive. Accordingly the locomotive was designed to be robust and easy to operate.
323 674-2 (Originally numbered 6291) was built in 1952 (Along with her sister 323 539.7) It is safe to say that she is probably one of the most travelled engines in preservation (along with her sister 323 539.7). Having been built in Germany and used for a number of years, the locos was bought by Balfour Beatty in 1990 where they were used on the construction of the Channel Tunnel. In 1993 they were shipped to The Far East when they were used on the construction of the Hong Kong Airport Metro (Where both loco's cabs were cut down in width by approximately a foot). In the late 1990’s/early 2000’s they were returned to the UK. They were bought by their current owner in 2003 and moved to Northumbria. In 2011 both locos were moved to Eastleigh Works where they were used as yard shunters. In 2013 the ‘sisters’ were split up when 323 674-2 was moved to the NVR.
|04.09.1957||Commisioned by DB as Köf 6291|
|01.01.1968||Renumbering "323 674 - 2"|
|31.10.1990||Retired from Göttingen|
Bought by Balfour Beatty, Ashford (Kent)
Balfour Beatty for airport railway construction, Hong Kong
|199X/200X||Back at Balfour Beatty, Ashford (Kent)|
|2003||Bought for Preservation by Northumbria rail Ltd, Northumberland, England [name: Simonside]|
|18.10.2011||On loan to Knights Rail Services Ltd (KRS), Eastleigh Rail Works, Hampshire|
|8.11.2013||To Nene Valley Railway for use with The Night Mail Project|
Since the last update the cab has had the majority of the framework replaced with new metalwork, and it has been completely reskinned with new metal work, including the roof panels.
Although the locomotive came to the NVR in working order there was a low power issue which was known to be a cylinder head gasket which had blown, so an engine strip down was on the cards.
When the engine was dismantled it was discovered that on #3 cylinder head there was a hairline crack between the inlet and exhaust valve seats. It was though that this would be opening up with the heat and pressures of operating, causing poor running, and the low power. We have been searching for spare parts for some time, without success (though this has now changed), so a replacement head was not an option. As such the services of Cast Iron Welding Services ltd was called upon and they gas fusion welded the head and rebuild the seats, and used a preferred machine shop to skim the head, and lap the vales to the seats.
The engine has now been 98% reassembled (the exhaust/silencer is current removed so each output can be checked) and spinning it over has shown compression to be good. The loco has moved under its own power, and apart from general setting up (tappets, etc.) expected after a rebuild it ran very well.
The loco has received the first of its top coast of paint on the majority of body work, and the final livery of DB Orient Red can now be seen. There are a few more coast to be applied, and vinyl’s and detailing to do too. The windows and doors will be refitted once all the bodywork has received at least two coats of topcoat.
IRPS and Northumbria Rail, and epically Dave Shell would like to thank those that have worked on the project so far, and those that have provided/offered advice, assistance, etc.
The Kof had temporary aluminium panels fitted to the cab sides when it was sent to Eastleigh with the plan that these would be renewed at a later date. Unfortunately this never occurred during its time at Eastleigh, and so this was on the cards after arrival at Wansford. It was also known that some of the steel panels were corroded. On inspection it was found that the corrosion was worse than thought so the decision was made to reskin the cab.
On removal of the old metalwork it was found that a lot of the angle iron framework was found to be quite corroded too where water/damp had got between the metal sheet and the angle on the corners. There were also places where it was out of alignment, or not even attached to anything (possibly part of the narrowing work), so a further decision was made to renew some of this framework too.
We are now in the position where almost all metal sheeting has been removed from the cab, including the roof, and measuring up is now been undertaken ready to order new metal.
This will result in a much sturdier cab, and will also give us the opportunity to alter some of the positioning of gauges and pipe runs, etc. Work is also being undertaken to add safety devices such as a emergency brake valve on the secondman's side, which is the British driving position.
Unfortunate all this work is taking longer than expected, especially when combined with other projects, such as restoring the ALCo and keeping 1212 in service. As such the decision has been made to withdraw the Kof from operating service trains during the Spring diesel gala. We do hope, however than we will be able to display the Kof along with the other shunters.
On the 8th November 2013 Kof II 323 674-2 was moved from Eastleigh Works to Wansford on the Nene Valley. She needs some work doing to her, though this is in hand.
She will initally be used as a shunter at Wansford, though will be moved to Ferry Meadows as and when the site is prepared and ready. In due course she will also be repainted into DB red as and when the time allows, though bodywork will have to take place before this.
We are looking into the possibility of organising a running day in March, though this will be prebooked for those interested.
Below are a selection of photos and videos of the move and the Kof moving around Wansford.
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.