Following a pause during the main 2016 running season, recently work has been picked up again on our experimental diesel railcar. This has been a long-term project, started in 2009 and worked on when time allows around running and maintaining the railway; further background information can be found here.
At the end of September some minor work was undertaken to ‘recommission’ the railcar after lying unused for a while. This was motivated by the 50th anniversary of the closure of the original railway; the last train on the 1st October was a single diesel railcar similar to the one we are building (although larger as it was standard gauge). Unfortunately we were unable to run a train at the same time as the last train ran 50 years ago, however, in commemoration we did run a special trip on the 3rd October (the official closure date of the original railway) which included one passenger who had been on the last train back in 1966!
The mechanical and electrical systems are now largely complete on the railcar, and so the focus now is on finishing the bodywork. A number of roof beams were manufactured from recycled timber, assembled and then bolted into place on the body framework. This gives a better impression of how the railcar will ultimately look. The roof will be a mix of aluminium and timber, and will be fitted shortly alongside the bodywork panels.
Modifications are currently being made to the braking system fitted to the railcar. Originally it was fitted with ‘straight air’ brakes, where air pressure applies the brakes. However, as this would require a second mechanical brake fitted to act as a parking brake, we have taken the decision to use a different braking system for simplicity. The brakes will now be held on by springs and pushed off by air, thus providing a failsafe braking system that will automatically provide a parking brake!