Michael Forward Collection
Many Thanks to Roy Hart
Some excellent photography from Paul Barlow today, the drone shots in particular giving never-before seen views of familiar locations. Well worth the time and effort I think.
Paul's photos at Kidderminster were also of interest, and brought to my notice some detail changes on D1015 Western Champion. The loco has now regained the older style red and white 'Danger - Overhead Live Wires' stickers on the cab front, and lost the GSMR aerial formerly positioned between the windscreens. Most noticeable is the return of the traditional four digit headcode display in place of the domino style with high intensity headlamp. This implies to me that possibly D1015's days of mainline running could be over, at least in the short to medium term. Can anyone out there confirm whether this is the case?
For comparison I've attached a photo from 7th September 2013 showing D1015 in 'main line' condition at Frome with the 1Z52 'Western Wessexman' railtour from Leicester to Weymouth.
Information on the Diesel Traction Group website concerning D1015 states that the original Bristol Siddeley Maybach MD655 engine blocks were almost life-expired at the end of their BR careers and now, almost 50 years later, are unsurprisingly unfit for further service. Since returning to the main line in 2002, D1015 has unfortunately suffered from engine issues that were well documented at the time. For this reason the DTG are replacing the MD655s with modified MTU 538 units. The 'B' end engine has already been installed and work is in hand to replace the 'A' end assembly. The MTU 538 is a later version of the original MD655 so this work should ensure reliability and long service.