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New power units

Discussion in 'Diesel & Electric Traction' started by olly5764, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    Sooner or later, we are going to run out of spare parts for preserved diesels, as power units (some of which were still in production until surprisingly recently) and spares go out of production and there are fewer good parts left on donor locos.
    Smaller components can of course be made easily, however, what will happen when a large diesel engine needs a complete new power unit and none are left available?
    Will the owning group stuff and mount the loco? Scrap it so her sisters can benefit from her spares? Fit a new power unit of a more modern design which will alter the performance and naturally the sound of the loco? Or as happens with steam locos, reverse engineer the existing part and re-create the original engine?
    I'd be interested to hear different people's points of view on this matter.
     
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  2. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    (Cough).... Deltic piston heads?
     
  3. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    Well this comes more into the smaller components that I felt could be more easily replicated, I was more referring to whole power units, main generators, etc
     
  4. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Maybe so, but it seems even said "smaller components" look to be sufficient to (at best) sideline D9016.

    Of the "lump" as a whole, accidents and abuse aside, the block itself is reasonably tough. In the event of, say, irreparable cracks developing between cylinder bores, aren't we in any event talking about inherent design flaws (pots in a modified 'standard' design bored out beyond originally designed dimensions etc.) ? If so, is exact like-for-like replacement necessarily the optimum solution?
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
  5. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    Well I don't know, that was the whole point of my question.
    The on the steam side, it seems to be our shameful secret that locos such as 3612 were cut up to provide spares but on the diesel side it seems to be the norm.
     
  6. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Now I see what you're driving at Olly. I'm not old enough (wow...I don't get to say that too often these days!) to recall the earliest days of the heritage movement, but do remember the Bournemouth line in steam days. The points you raise about diesels, I well recall regarding steam. In the case of the "Barry 10", the arguments continue.

    What happens when the source of spares for preserved locos (and MUs) dries up? We still see the odd suggestion of what should happen to this or that unrestored loco, almost invariably from directions unconnected with ownership or funding.

    The completion of "Tornado" tells us that, given means, motive and opportunity, pretty much anything can be achieved. It's only a matter of time before the Modern Image movement catches up.... if enough support can be generated.

    Note too, that the thread on the impending demise of the Electric Railway Museum has gone terribly quiet.

    Not really much of an answer, is it?
     
  7. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    It pretty well reflects my own thoughts tbh. I'm interested to see which way the movement is going to go
     
  8. NSWGR 3827

    NSWGR 3827 New Member

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    The answer is simple really, If you can't Find one, make it, or find someone who can.
     
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  9. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    We bought a spare Sulzer 12 LDA 28C for Llangollen, though obviously that was only good for the Brush 4.
    Generators can be re-wound, new bearings fitted etc, so that is unlikely to be a problem.
    If it comes to it a modern engine/generator could be installed if the will was there. I doubt that many people would be too bothered about the different noise.
     
  10. DismalChips

    DismalChips Member

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    Probably wouldn't bother the casual punter. For the enthusiast, I suppose you'd have to weigh up whether you'd rather see it on static display with the correct engine or hauling trains with an inauthentic sound. I'd probably plump for the latter, but I can see it both ways.
     
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  11. Grashopper

    Grashopper New Member

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    We're already replacing clapped out and obsolete electro-mechanical equipment on mainline stuff (EMUs, DMUs and locomotives) with new-fangled digital equipment (where economic), so the equipment side of things is fairly easy to work around.

    It's fairly commonplace in the historic truck and armoured vehicle movement (in which I have been known to operate) to replace engines with more modern ones; however this is not so simple in the rail vehicle world. Identifying a suitable alternative generator would be the first issue, procuring the second, and then trying to mate it with the requisite interfaces on a rail vehicle would pose many issues to my mind. Then there is certifying that all the work carried out is to correct standards, and all equipment is compliant. Nothing that couldn't be overcome, but would require the right people, equipment and a lot of time and money. It is possible to manufacture new engine blocks and crankshafts, but its the cost that is likely the current issue. The vintage bus world is now finding this, whereby some people are having to look at new build engine components due to spares no longer being available. As an aside, WW2 Jeep blocks are now being newly manufactured, but there are a large number of WW2 Jeep owners and therefore a market for them, and they are a tad more affordable than perhaps a Sulzer block would be...
     
  12. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

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    I dont think that the power unit will be the problem. What is much more likely to be the issue is the anciliary equipment. Things like governors and AVRs. Worst of all though will be any preserved locos (class 50 to some degree and 37/9 for example) which use electronics. Replication of a control card is pretty much not possible and in some cases sub-components are not manufactured anymore. Always possible to devise a new control method, but the engineering cost!
     
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  13. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Interesting point about replacement engines. With increasingly stiff emission controls, I wonder how long a 'grandfather rights' argument will keep the authorities looking the other way when anything other than original spec is used?
     
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  14. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    Not hugely simple to make a new power unit
     
  15. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    What? Not even the enthusiasts that follow them for exactly that reason? Also buying a spare is only something you can do while there are spares, my origional post was regarding what will happen when the spares run out?
     
  16. Phil-d259

    Phil-d259 Member

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    No, but as things stand (and Brexit won't change it in the short term) you cannot make a brand new power unit to an old design as it will fall foul of EU emission regulations*

    On the other hand its perfectly acceptable to make new individual components and mix them with what can be salvaged to restore a power unit.

    * Given the Governments decision to aim to stop the sale of diesel / petrol road vehicles in a couple of decades time and various other pollution worries, creating exceptions for Heritage railway use is unlikely to be a priority even if the regulations are eventually relaxed
     
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  17. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Different noise or no noise ... :eek:
     
  18. NSWGR 3827

    NSWGR 3827 New Member

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    Not simple or cheap but possible from an engineering perspective.
     
  19. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    Now that's a good point.
     
  20. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Part of the furniture Account Suspended

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    I think it'd be easier to work around than you think.
     

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