Eveleigh BS: Doing it for the fans

In each compartment of the first class BS carriages was fitted a single wall mounted electric fan running on 24V DC, mounted above the doorway to assist with the circulation of air. These veterans have all no doubt given many hours of stellar service on those stuffy days when travelling in compartments would otherwise have lost its lustre! During the course of restoring the carriage, each unit was removed from its compartment and set aside for rebuilding and restoration as close as possible to original condition. The work started with somewhat of an audit of the seven fans from XBS2158, revealing a few variants among the collection and giving some insight into the frequency with which these were repaired/ replaced in railway service.

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Both three and four bladed designs were evident in similar numbers:

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One fan featured a complete departure from the standard eight-spoked ‘medusa’ grill design, while another had been retrofitted with an additional guard on the lower part of the grill, nearest to where passengers’ fingers are trying to operate the toggle switch to set the fan speed.

The one thing that all did have in common was that all were rather tired, so they were relocated to our off-site workshop where two of our volunteers have been diligently working through the issues, one fan at a time. The following is an insight into what effort is lavished on a single fan! The first step is to remove the grill – these little brass screws put up quite a fight! This one needed a little bit of heat to coax it into cooperation:

With the fan now looking somewhat naked, the next step is to remove each of the four grill support arms. Once removed, it becomes clear that their mounting bolts will all need replacement:

Then the Romford drive screw connecting the upper motor unit to the wall-mount base is removed, allowing for them to be separated:

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This brings us to the ‘clockwork’ mechanism, which spends the vast majority of its life hidden away within the base spending facing a piece of polished timber. This mounting however, is not airtight – to which the all-permeating soot attests! Unlike those fitted to the CAM (https://eveleighprojects.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/tam-fans-how-far-theyve-come/), these fans have multiple speed settings. Our regular ‘electrical’ bloggers will appreciate the basic yet effective circuit design, impressively functional in its simplicity. For the young whipper-snappers of today, this is essentially what is condensed inside modern electronic chips!

The speed selection handle needs removing to allow the several layers of paint which have been caked on over the years to be stripped back. Again, the mechanism is rudimentary yet effective, although it took quite a bit of elbow grease to separate from the base!

Two simple threaded bolts release the motor housing – but of course we ought to know better by now than to think that it will come apart easily just because we’ve removed the bolts!

Next to come off is the brush inspection cover.

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The brush caps are then unscrewed, but unfortunately a number of these were either missing or extremely brittle, necessitating replacement. Please get in touch if you have any spares gathering dust somewhere on a shelf! eveleighprojects@gmail.com

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Slipping off the brush end of the casing finally reveals the inner workings, a trifle dirty but in otherwise excellent condition.

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And for those playing at home, this is what an XBS compartment fan looks like in kit form!

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After a first pass with the paint stripper things are looking better already, and our thoughts turn ahead to what colour these fans will be post-restoration. Unlike the CAM fans, the first coat here appears to be a cream/ off-white colour, so this is what they will be reinstated in.

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Going the extra mile, the next step is to remove the stator to allow the casing to be cleaned fully. These are fitted with fantastic little electrical clips! After a bit of persuasion, the stator slips out of its casing which can then be thoroughly cleaned.

The true quality of a restoration lies in the details, and in keeping with the high standards of the Eveleigh projects we are always looking to go above and beyond the call to really set our restorations apart. As such, we also tapped out the speed dials (whose lovely details had only been revealed for the first time in decades once the congealed paint had been removed) so we could clean out the area behind them, and again the original cream paint was found. We’ll put these plates back on last, following the repainting and reassembly of the fans. Quality is the name of the game here – while we are already putting in the effort, we may as well do it properly!

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So after some hours of work stripping them all down, this is where we are up to currently – the next stage is to begin a thorough repainting, where again no detail will be left unattended to. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you feel you can help us out financially with the projects, as now that we’ve done a full assessment on this job we expect we’ll spend around $700 restoring all seven fans alone. Feel free to drop us a line eveleighprojects@gmail.com if you can help out!

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Looking good so far after completing paint stripping, but a ways to go yet!

Keep an eye out here for more updates on the XBS fan project.

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