Ribble Steam Railway went back to the original manufacturer, Renold Hi-Tec Couplings, when the transmission coupling on its BR Class 14 locomotive, D9539, required servicing. And it says something about the quality of the original product. According to records, its the first time the coupling has needed servicing since the locomotive was built in 1965!
The DCB UJ rubber-in-compression coupling transmits 650hp at 1,500rpm between a Paxman 6YJX Ventura diesel engine and the Voith hydraulic transmission, via a universal joint shaft. It is designed to tune torsional vibration within the system so that there are no torsional resonances within the operating speed range.
Weighing in at 50 tons, locomotive D9539 was designed by British Rail and built at Swindon works as a trip shunter for yard shunting and frequent higher-speed operations between yards. It was preserved in 1981 by the Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway and was returned to working order by 1989. From then on it was in regular operation including the inaugural service from Cheltenham Racecourse. The locomotive was purchased by Ribble Steam Railway in the summer of 2005 and arrived at its new home on 26th July.
According to Alan Dean, Renold Hi-Tec Couplings' Business Development Director, 'We are very pleased to have been involved in this project with Ribble Steam Railway, and there is no reason why the newly serviced coupling shouldn't go another 50 years before needing attention again.'