Withdrawn by BR in Feburary 1977, D1041 was bought for preservation in May of the same year. Legend has it many were surprised at Prince surviving to the very end of the Westerns' reign with the other 4 stragglers, mainly as it was one of the shabbiest examples.
D1041 was infact near enough complete and so work concentrated on getting Prince running again rather than undertaking a full overhaul. Having always been a popular performer, great efforts were made to keep D1041 in service, in some respects becoming a victim of his own popularity. With the exception of cooler group repairs and rebuild of the B-end power unit, no major overhaul work had been done in 40 odd years.
In the end a thorough overhaul was always going to be a necessity. 'A' End reverser and cooler group problems forced the loco to be stopped in September 2004. The problems were hoped to be minor, but efforts to revive the loco in 2006 proved otherwise and Prince was stored unserviceable awaiting a thorough overhaul, limited funds and workforce hours at an already busy diesel depot meaning several more years out of traffic.
Initially the loco was moved into Castlecroft shed for the A-end transmission to be looked at, the findings were not good and it was decided that the loco's spare tranmission, which has been used for 7 years or so on the mainline in D1015, needed to be swapped into the loco. This still leaves a transmission unit in need of costly repairs, but hopefully the spare will continue to perform well whilst funds are gathered to have the defective unit refurbished.
The deeper the inspection went, the more problems were found, the majority at the 'A' end but general electrical issues were causing concern.
The Mayback MD655 from the 'A' end was removed and, in May 2009, replaced the MD870 in D7076 to create the 'Wesmek'. This kept the MD655 in working condition, allowed the Hymek's MD870 to receive much needed attention and also made for an unusual and rateable hybrid, BHG creativity at its best!
With the power unit transplant to D7076 complete the 'A' end was stripped out completely to leave an empty bay with the transmission, SERCK cooler group, transmission heat exchanger, exhausters and auxillary equipment including air tanks all removed and the pre-heat dismantled. All of the removed components will be overhauled and re-conditioned before being returned to the loco. Meanwhile, the engine bay has been completely cleaned and repainted.
It had been hoped to have the 'B' end running to co-incide with the July 2010 diesel gala, allowing the loco to be displayed and making it possible to assess the current state of the 'B' end transmission. Sadly this was not achieved as, despite being mechanically possible, an earth fault on the battery negative circuit was constantly blowing batteries.
Since 2010, the project has continued with a full strip and rewire being undertaken, starting at the 'B' end. As this progresses, the 'A' end engine bay will also be built up as re-conditioned components become ready to be reinstalled. As of 2011, the Hymek has been fitted with a refurbished MD870, freeing up Prince's 'A' end MD655 so that it can be stripped and rebuilt.
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