The Severn Valley Railway is famous for its fleet of steam trains and preservation of railway heritage. Preservation started on the Severn Valley Railway line in 1965 when a group of railway enthusiasts formed the Severn Valley Railway Society in Kidderminster. Over its many years of operation staff have built up significant skills, experience and equipment to enable the preservation, refurbishment and maintenance of a large fleet of locomotive trains and rolling stock.

Built in 1989 the boiler repair shop at Bridgnorth station is a purpose built building with boiler maintenance and construction of boilers in mind. Named in memory of George Knight, a Deputy Chief Boiler Inspector of British Railways (London Midland Region), new generations of boilersmiths are still carrying out the very techniques George passed down to the early Severn Valley boilersmiths. At the time of installation compressed air to the boiler repair shop was powered by a small Atlas Copco compressor and a larger Broomwade piston compressor.

The brief

In the words of Severn Valley Railways Works Manager, Ian Walker:

The heat exchanger and radiator looked as if it was off a vintage lorry or agricultural plant. This machine in the end was failing once a fortnight with various water leaks and faults. The power consumption was also extremely high with the lights flickering whilst the machine was under load. It also became problematical to start using the old manual wind on the starter which in turn resulted in the lights dimming and the distribution board to hum”.

The Altas Copco compressor had been installed in 1989 and ran 7 days per week. The machine was becoming life expired and was breaking down every 3-4 months with various faults. Severn Valley Railway contacted Direct Air in for a quotation for a suitable replacement.

Our solution

After conducting a data logging energy survey, potential annual electricity savings in excess of £3,500 were predicted and with the new machines offering improved reliability, maintenance and service costs would also be reduced.

Direct Air recommended the installation of a new compressed air system incorporating 2 CompAir L11 compressors, a BEKO Drypoint RA refrigerated air dryer and air filters. This system would in comparison be much more reliable, energy efficient and provide a quick return on investment.

In addition to these benefits the footprint of the new compressors and dryer was so small in comparison to the previous piston compressor that part of the compressor room is now used for stores for parts creating more space in the boiler shop.

Direct Air Sales Engineer, James Robinson commented:

“We are really pleased with the work at Severn Valley Railway and it’s nice to be able to help them in the great restoration work they do. The previous compressor was inefficient in comparison to today’s modern compressor technology and the new equipment we’ve installed will help the staff in the boiler shop carry on the maintenance and restorations of railway heritage for years to come.”

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