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Fire Engines Photos

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RLG 226H at Bebington
Fire Engine Photos
No: 25530   Contributor: Ron Kingdon   Year: 1970   Manufacturer: Dennis   Country: United Kingdom
RLG 226H at Bebington

This picture was taken at Bebington Fire Station in July 1970 immediately after "RLG" first went on the run after several weeks of driver training. She was a Dennis F45 with the no.3 900gpm pump, 400 gallon water tank and a Coventry Climax/Godiva featherweight pump, making her a water tender escape (WrE). She had the Rolls Royce B81 petrol engine and the Dennis UH close ratio 5 speed gearbox (no synchromesh). Performance was spectacular but the clutch couldn't take the engine torque and was constantly needing replacement. I'll never know why Cheshire refused to buy the automatic gearbox everyone else was using but could waste a fortune having the bell mounted on the front bumper instead of the roof! She also carried a 50 gallon foam compound tank and in-line proportioner so foam could be delivered straight from the pump (in theory) without having to set up any external equipment. As far as I know this system was never used in anger and whenever we tried to use it for drill it was always fouled up with foam compound sludge and could not be persuaded to work.
Picture added on 12 October 2010 at 17:56
add commentComments:
Stunning looking machine, for me the perfect blend.
I wonder if the logic for the bells is that being nearer the road, they may be more audible to car drivers?!?!
Was the bar above the bell purely for it's protection or for use for towing/securing lines etc?
DVLA liability the common 1995. Unusually states colour silver?
I am guessing that sadly it didn't survive

Added by John D on 14 October 2010.
Hi John
What appears to be a bar above the bell is actually just a step for standing on so you could reach to clean the windscreen without scratching the top of the bumper with your shoes(CCFB was obsessed with cleaning things). The towing eyes were either side of the bell on the chassis extensions which carried the bell mountings. The chrome quarter bumpers were actually just ornamental because they were only attached to the bell mounting and so would fold inwards if bumped. The only other brigsde which I know used this system was Bootle County Borough but I guess there were others.

Added by Ron Kingdon on 16 October 2010.
Hi Ron
Interested in your comment re the appliance's foam system not working. CCFB might have been obsessed with cleaning but I'm willing to hazard a guess that their obsession didn't extend to its in-line / RTP foam systems ! From your comment re "sludge" plus it being the 1970's era, I'm guessing CCFB used an older heavier viscosity protein based type of foam concentrate ? If the proportioner and associated pipework weren't rigorously flushed out after each and every use, trouble was inevitable. Whilst it's not a particularly good comparison but nevertheless highlights what can happen even with modern synthetic concentrates that are meant to be mixed with water, just see the gunge that builds up around the top of the washing up liquid bottle in the kitchen if you don't wipe it regularly ! Leave that long enough and it will go solid .. as did concentrate in a proportioner if it wasn't flushed. Shiny windows, polished bodywork, and blackened tyres ... I've been there mate ... happy days !

Added by Keith Richardson on 17 October 2010.
Hi Keith
You're right of course. The stuff was full organic foam compound (ie liquidised cows) usually stored in sealed five gallon drums. Everybody knew that once the seal was broken the compound had a strictly limited shelf life and would decompose into mud. When we were instructed to fill the brand new 50 gallon tank by decanting foam from our store of 5 gallon drums some of us troublemakers pointed out that the whole system would set solid in a few months which of course it did. When you opened the valve to drop foam compound into the system it was the mud which came through first and not only bunged up the proportioner but the pipework as well.
I'm sure you're not surprised that our station inspections revolved around how shiny the paintwork was.
Thank the Lord those days have gone..........haven't they?

Added by Ron Kingdon on 17 October 2010.
Known in certain circles as "ox blood" foam if my memory serves me right. Once it was decanted it would weld anything solid. Who needs superglue!

Added by Gary Simpson on 18 October 2010.
In the north east of England leek growing is a very popular 'sport' many show growers used foam compound to fertilize the leek trenches so any fireman who had access to opened foam stocks were very popular and was assured free pints at the club !!!!

Added by Barrie Green on 18 October 2010.
This is a truly fantastic site! Not only for fire engine buffs but amateur horticulturists too. Who would have known?

Added by Rob Johnson on 21 June 2014.
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