The AC Locomotive Group
37884 and 89001 being prepared at Soho depot for the move to Barrow Hill

89001 was moved from Soho depot to Barrow Hill on Thursday 6 April 2021.

During its time at Soho, 89001 was subjected to a large number of static and 25 kV tests which confirmed the correct operation of

  • all the control and auxiliary systems,
  • the main transformer (the first time the loco was energised at 25 kV since 2001),
  • the battery chargers, oil pumps, blower fans etc.,
  • the refurbished field convertors,
  • the refurbished rheostatic brake stacks,
  • the armature convertors,
  • correct rotation of all six traction motors,

culminating in low speed movements around the depot, at up to the depot 5 mph speed limit; the first movement of the locomotive under its own power since 2001.

Unfortunately during the testing of the armature convertors a fault occurred which applied some unusual stresses to the traction motors in Group 1. This has caused a fault on traction motors 1 and 3, which will need to be removed from the locomotive for further investigation. The armature convertor fault has been repaired and it was correctly driving traction motor 2 during the low speed movement testing. In due course the locomotive will be lifted and the three traction motors from Group 1 removed for analysis. Until the results of that analysis are known, and the practicality of repair is understood, further work on returning the locomotive to main line service has been put on hold.

We are grateful for the considerable assistance given to us by West Midlands Trains and its staff in accommodating the testing at Soho depot.

Many thanks also to Rail Operations Group for arranging the various moves between Barrow Hill and Soho and return, and particularly for the provision of the driver and other staff for the low speed testing at Soho.