A Linde heavy duty forklift ensured a smooth lift for the team rebuilding a very special engine for the historic Deltic Diesel locomotive ‘Royal Scots Grey’.
The engines, originally built for the Admiralty, "are priceless", says Colin Davison, an Area Sales Manager at Linde Castle, who is also part of the small band of volunteers who maintain the locomotive.
"It is over 25 years since any of these complex engines were rebuilt and it has never been tackled in preservation before."
The Napier Deltic engine was designed and built in Liverpool for naval marine use, being fitted to mine sweepers and fast motor torpedo boats. It was selected for rail use in the 1950s as it produced very high power but was also very light, only weighing around 5.5 tonnes. The engine also found use by other navies around the world.
"It is quite an awkward object to lift," explains Mr Davison. "It needs a special lifting frame.
We did consider hiring a mobile crane but we all felt a forklift would be a better option." So he persuaded his MD Richard Heward to sell an ex-rental Linde H80D to Martin Walker, owner of Beaver Sports Ltd and the Deltic 55022.
At one time, the Deltics were the most powerful locomotives in the world. Built in 1960, 55022 was one of a small fleet of twenty-two 100mph type 5s which replaced the outdated steam engines on the fast East Coast express passenger trains. Each locomotive attained approximately four million miles in its 22 years of active service.
The legendary twin engined 3300 horse power Deltic locomotive is privately preserved and normally resides at the East Lancashire Railway in Bury, when it is not working private charter trains throughout the UK.
"The Linde H80D with its hydrostatic transmission and smooth control ensured the engine move went very well," said Mr Walker. "The Deltic engine is very top heavy and could quite easily tip over, but the whole process went very smoothly. The forklift gave us more flexibility – and is cheaper than hiring in a mobile crane."
The triangular, 18 cylinder, 2 stroke, opposed piston engine has been transported to a specialist marine engine repairer in the North East where it has been stripped to component form. "We now know what caused the engine failure and are busy sourcing spare parts. It is not going to be a cheap fix though. This will cost in excess of £100,000," says Mr Davison.