Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Outlines of Power - Nº 6 : Class 35 'Hymek' B-B

For the sixth 'Outlines of Power' article by Mike Turner, that 'Rail Enthusiast' ran during the early 1980s, we have the Class 35 'Hymek' with a great portrait of D7000 in BR green livery with small yellow warning panels.
The accompanying annotation reads as follows:
With that smooth, busy beat so much associated with locomotives of the Western Region's bold diesel-hydraulic era, the 'Hymek' B-B locomotives produced a notable performance when you consider that their weight in working order was just 74 tons. 
Their 16-cylinder Bristol Syddeley Maybach MD870 engine, producing 1,700 bhp at 1,500 rpm, drove through a Stone Maybach Mekydro transmission and final drive. The short, stubby locomotives, with their endearing inward-sloping front-end design, had a starting tractive effort of no less than 49,700lb, a continuous tractive effort of 33,950lb and a top speed of 90 mph.
Numbered from D7000 onwards, the locomotives were ordered from Beyer Peacock (Hymek) Ltd., in 1959 and they first appeared in 1961. Although they performed many and varied mixed-traffic duties, events led to their early downfall and by the start of 1973 only 20 survived, D7000 herself succumbing in July of that year. Happily, however, a handful of the distinctive "Hymeks" have survived into preservation. D7017 is preserved by the Diesel and Electric Group at the West Somerset Railway; D7018 is preserved by the same group at Didcot; D7029 is working on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, preserved by the Diesel Traction Group, and the Bury Transport Museum has acquired D7076 (together with some parts from D7096) which had been at the Derby Research and Technical Centre.
By way of updating the current state of the preserved "Hymeks"
Both D7017 and D7018 are now on he West Somerset Railway. The former is operational while the latter is undergoing a long-term overhaul at Williton Shed.
D7029 is still undergoing major restoration work and was recently moved from Old Oak Common shed to the Severn Valley Railway for more restoration after which it will be returned to service in BR blue.
D7076 in currently on the East Lancs Railway and was taken out of traffic in late 2008 for repairs. It was then discovered that the engine would need a complete rebuild so a Maybach MD-655 engine from D1041 "Western Prince", which itself was being overhauled, was fitted to D7076 to make it operational. Unsurprisingly, the resultant loco acquired the nickname "WesMek". However the oco was again taken out of service early in 2010 when MD-655 itself developed a fault.
During the summer of 2011, two ex-Hymek MD-870 engines were discovered in a York scrapyard! Both engines were in excellent condition and both were purchased by the East Lancs Railway and one was subsequently fitted to D7076 with the second engine being kept as a spare. So it was that, in the summer of 2014, D7076 emerged in BR blue livery with full yellow ends.

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