81002's fans and traction motors energised
86101 fast track restoration
After the trials and tribulations of the Crewe and Norwich exhibitions, 2006 started off in more relaxed mode, with no excursions for any of the locos planned during the next twelve months.
At Barrow Hill the restoration team set to tackling the restoration of 81002's electrical equipment. By April the loco's fans were roaring once again, and by mid-July all four Traction Motors were energised and spun, such was the rate of progress. By the end of the year the loco was in a state where it would be feasible to put the pantograph up.
Meanwhile at Wembley, 86213 was suffering from compressor problems, and although repairs were made the problem continued to dog the Wembley Team for the rest of the year.
Of the other 86s, opportunities were being offered for potential main-line use of the fleet, and as a result 86101 was extracted from MoD Ashchurch and moved to Barrow Hill for a fast-track restoration programme. By the end of the year it had been repainted into BR Blue and had seen most of its electrical equipment restored to working order. 86401 was also on the move, leaving Crewe and moving to Long Marston for TPWS fitting and attention to its brakes. 73138 also moved to Long Marston from Barrow Hill.
Our AGM brought the announcement that GNER had offered 89001 for sale. We launched an appeal on 2nd October (co-incidentally 20 years to the day since 89001 had left Crewe Works brand-new) to raise funds to secure the loco, and in the space of just six weeks raised over £28,000. Our bid was successful, and ownership transferred to Electric Traction Ltd in November.
October 23rd roughly marked the 10th Anniversary of the group's formation (although we didn't actually purchase any locomotives until the following year) - what better way to celebrate than by purchasing another unique machine!
Outside the group restoration on 86259 and 87035 continued at Tyseley and Crewe respectively, with both locos ultimately intended for a return to the main line. On the EMU front, Class 307 driving trailer 75023 was preserved, but one car from the complete Class 311 at Summerlee was disposed of for scrap.
The year ended on a surprising note. On 22nd December we were given details of a possible date (March 24th 2007) that could see two of our 86s back out on the main line, assuming that restoration could be achieved in time. A few hours later, news was published on the internet that 86101 and 86401 would be hauling a public railtour on that date. Nothing like being thrown in at the deep end! The year closed with detailed plans for getting 86101 and 86401 up to speed being formulated. Deadlines focus the mind somewhat.