High tech lifting equipment, developed by Sheffield-based Mechan, is helping rail enthusiasts preserve a fleet of historic locomotives for the public to enjoy.

The specialist manufacturer has supplied four 35-tonne lifting jacks to Severn Valley Railway’s new Kidderminster facility, to make maintenance of its diesel engines safer and more efficient.

Severn Valley’s employees have a wealth of industry experience and their knowledge of Mechan’s products made it the go-to firm when equipment was required for the organisation’s new, purpose-built depot. The jacks were supplied with moving anvils and jacking brackets to produce a precise, synchronised lift to three metres.

The age of the vehicles being maintained meant Mechan had to make its jacks taller than usual, to accommodate the large components being removed and fit special lifting frames to the top for use with an overhead crane. Severn Valley has overhauled one of two remaining BR class 42 locomotives, number D821 Greyhound diesel engine, built in the 1960s and a special jacking pad also had to be made to lift it.

Lindsey Mills, Mechan’s sales manager, said: “Severn Valley is best known for its steam trains, but it also boasts an impressive collection of diesel engines. Many of them are more than 50 years old and require regular care and attention. Our jacks enable depot operatives to carry out undercar work in comfort, with confidence that their safety is not being compromised and we are proud to be part of the team keeping these classic vehicles in service.”

Severn Valley’s Kidderminster depot is the largest and best equipped diesel maintenance facility in the heritage rail network. It has three roads and can accommodate up to eight vehicles at any one time.