Restoration of RH166024, ex Colne Valley Water Co, Rickmansworth

April - September 2021

The Colne Valley Ruston, RH166024 built in 1933, has languished in the tunnel at Amberley for far too long, we admit. Last year, a team of volunteers constructed a covered area next to our main workshops and work to assess it for restoration started. Much has already been achieved in freeing up the engine and gearbox. Despite its years of open storage and inactivity both the engine and gearbox were found to be in pretty good condition.

This picture of RH166024 was taken by Gordon Edgar in May 1969 when the locomotive was still working. Photo included with his permission.

RH166024 is seen at the Brockham Museum shortly before transfer with the rest of the collection to Amberley Chalk Pits Museum, as it was then known.

When we pulled it out of the tunnel, as you can appreciate, it was not in pristine condition.

It was transferred to the new under-cover working area and is seen here on the traverser before being pushed into place. Just how difficult it is to get three people to all look at the camera at the same time is clearly illustrated here!

Assorted parts, including the gear-change lever, were soon unbolted and placed on a wagon (which is now kept under cover in case you were wondering!)

Chris Hollis (seated) and Bryan Mercer unbolt more parts so that access can be gained to the larger items which may not be so easy.

The flywheel and broken coupling/buffer block. Won't be needing that for a while.

Removing the crank casing revealed that the engine was in a remarkably clean and rust-free condition with plenty of grease in evidence despite the long period of storage and inactivity.

Removal of the gearbox casing followed using our very useful lifting gantry.

The underside of the casing had a lot of rust, as you might expect although most of it was only surface rust.

The business end of the gearbox was, likewise, covered in rust ...

... but some vigorous work with a wire brush soon revealed that it was not in such a bad condition after all.

To be continued:

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Gerry Cork & Amberley Museum