Friday, 15 December 2017

December News Part 3

In the words of the satirical TV quiz Have I Got News for You, "we start with the bigger stories of the week". I am of course talking about the Carriage & Wagon Christmas Meal, which is nearly as famous as the Cromer Pier Christmas Show! Aside from being responsible for very little work being done on Friday afternoon, the meal was a great gathering of all of the separate portions that make up the Carriage & Wagon family. 35 of us dined at a local establishment for lunch, and is was nice to see most of us together in the same place at the same time. Due to volunteers coming in on different days of the week, this meal is about the only time that one can find most of them together at once! Just like looking at someone else's holiday snaps, we have pictures of us enjoying ourselves as well!

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

No progress to report, due to the normal team working on 1359.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224

The main progress has been the re-starting of the interior refit on the store cupboard (which was in fact one of the two toilets). The remaining paneling out has been completed so we have now a blank canvas to build up on. There is a lot of poor/damaged/broken Formica that was badly chopped about when the previous owners turned this space into a shower cubicle. For this reason we have decided to apply filler en-masse into all of the cracks, missing corners etc and then paint the whole area. This will be perfectly acceptable for a private cupboard. This filler work is now in progress and sanding smooth will follow. The skirting around the lower edges has also been completed, as this was missing when we got the coach.

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843

No progress to report.

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Second Lavatory M56352

Nearly all of the bottom seat cushions have now been reupholstered (only 4 left) so the bulk of concentration will now turn to the more complex seat backs. With the vehicle now out of service until February, we have been able to remove many of the seats and move them in bulk into the upholstery shop to be treated. The centre saloon was chosen as the first area to be stripped out.

Whilst the seating is removed, we are taking the opportunity to repaint the ceilings as they have clearly not been touched for many years (and certainly not by us) so would benefit from being all one colour! This sort of work is a nightmare to undertake whilst a vehicle is in service, so each saloon will have its ceilings painted before the new upholstered seating is refitted. So far, the centre saloon's ceilings have been rubbed down so that the new paint has a key.

We also painted the two air intake grills for the heaters whilst the seats were gone, as these are also impossible to get to effectively with the seats fitted.

British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464

The dreaded underframe cleaning has been completed this week, which has allowed the next stage of the underframe renovation to be tackled. Over a few days the landward side has been painted into primer and now awaits undercoat.

We would like to re-wheel the vehicle soon and get it back on its freshly turned wheelsets. A small shunt was undertaken this week which has allowed us to move the two wheels back in close to the vehicle so they are now ready to have the axleboxes refitted.

Moving onto the exterior works, the various fittings including chalk boards (pictured last week), the hooks and bump stops for the doors have all been reinstated now that all the welding repairs are done. All of the doorways have also been reexamined and a few areas of corrosion dealt with, to hopefully arrest any problems with door alignment in the near future. The woodwork around the door jambs has also been made good and is complete again after the vehicle's repairs. With all this complete, we are now ready for paint preparation and then final painting! Phil has once again stepped into the fold and got his filler and sander out, which is now the main focus for the exterior.

On the interior, the ceilings have had all of the beading strips fitted, of which there were many, and any gaps (due to uneven ceiling panels) have been filled. This can now hopefully be painted in gloss next week, which should finish off the task. With the ceilings approaching completion, and following a "top down" approach, the sides are now being looked at. So far, the seaward side window glass has been refitted including all of the wooden window surrounds on the insides, which also act as retention strips for the glass itself. As we have been attending to each window, any small planking repairs in the immediate vicinity have also been completed. The seaward side is now therefore also ready for painting.

Southern Railway 1939 Parcels & Miscellaneous Van S1359S

This van is now starting to blossom, with all of the Crimson gloss topcoat being applied this week.

As you would expect, this has transformed the vehicle and it suddenly looks much better than when it came in just a few weeks ago.

The edges of the roof (which is covered in a green lorry-style tarpaulin) has had its appearance improved by painting the edges black. The extra time in the workshop (due to CCT E94464 not being ready to move just yet) has allowed further jobs that were not in the original scope to be tackled. This has mainly included quickly tidying up the underframe gear and painting the visible bits into primer (gloss to follow soon), and the reinstatement of one or two of the original windows that were panelled over when it was a departmental vehicle. So far the old patches have been pulled off revealing fairly sound woodwork beneath where a new window and outer frame can shortly be refitted, making the vehicle look more original.

Having seen the chalk boards on E94464, somebody must have decided that 1359 could have them back too! A mixture of new and spare examples have been gathered for use on this vehicle (which had them missing) and they are currently being painted prior to fitting.

All of this rapid progress on 1359 is the main reason why GER 853 hasn't had many updates over the previous few weeks.

Friday, 8 December 2017

December News Part 2

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

No progress to report

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224

Work has continued on the ongoing projects. We hope to direct a bit more manpower towards this restoration soon, and start a few more new jobs in the New Year. Meanwhile, one of the pair of sliding doors mentioned last week has now joined the completed pile, which means we are now varnishing up the last door...

The varnishing of removed components, a huge task, is therefore now reaching its completion. The inside walls of the coach's side corridor has also received a second coat of  75/25 varnish/white spirit to further protect it before the winter.

The collection of steel handrails and other odds and sods are doing well, with most of them now completed up to black gloss paint.

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843

The Sheringham end continues to receive welding repairs in a similar fashion to last week.

Quieter days (typically on Fridays) have also allowed some of the electrical box covers from underneath to be shot blasted and repainted to improve their appearance and make them nicer and easier to handle for maintenance. The same treatment has also been given to the battery box covers.

On the interior, the repainting of the internal window surrounds has been completed and they look great in a fresh coat of brown. The reassembly of the inside of the Sheringham end saloon is also progressing and most of the side panelling is now all refitted meaning that the seating units and backs can start to be refitted.

British Railways 1957 Composite Corridor M15997

With graffiti now gone (see last week) the coach has had a few bits and bobs loaded into it (to get them out of the way and out of the main workshop) and it has now been returned to storage where it rejoins its restoration queue. We are still very hopeful that one day this coach will be brought it and be done properly so it can join the main running fleet!

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Second Lavatory M56352

Re-upholstery work continues.

British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464

The end of the underframe cleaning is now in sight, just a single victim this week struggled on with this thankless task which i think has seen several volunteers flee the country in order to avoid! Fingers crossed this can be completed next week so that it can be painted, which is a much more pleasant pursuit...

More work to get the outside bodysides complete and ready for painting has been started this week. These CCT vehicles used to have a wooden chalk board (for writing destinations etc on) on each of the four corners, however this poor example only had one left when it came into the works, all the rest having rotted off over the years! We have decided to return the vehicle to full original layout and will be reinstating all four boards, the first of which has already been fitted.

The interior has taken large steps forward this week. The main ceiling panels which have required a lot of preparation work, have now all been fitted to the supporting roof battens and most of the electrical trunking which feeds the five interior lights has also been fitted.

In readiness for refitting the glass to the vehicle, all of the wooden window surrounds have now been sanded down and repainted in primer.

Southern Railway 1939 Parcels & Miscellaneous Van GE1359S

Now that all mechanical and wooden body repairs have been completed on this "lightening restoration" the team are concentrating on its repaint. Nobody bit on the bait I laid out last week, so this week it has become plain that the vehicle will be receiving a coat of BR Crimson. Very quickly over a few days the final resin applications were completed and pink primer applied.

Then two days after that the colour had changed again to crimson undercoat, with the ends receiving black paint at the same time.

Towards the end of the week gloss crimson was starting to be applied. Some other smaller details such as the handbrake levers etc were also painted black and their handles picked out in white.

As a final note, some more relevant information regarding the vehicle has emerged since last week. The vehicle was purchased for the railway in April 1999 and had its last movement on the mainline in September 2000 when it was tripped from Temple Mills to Stratford for onward road movement to the NNR. It was just before this rail movement that the vacuum system was last tested, and being used on the NNR solely as a stores vehicle since, it is therefore approximately 17 years since the braking systems, recently reinstated, last saw use! It has required remarkably little mechanical work considering how long it has been stood!

Friday, 1 December 2017

December News Part 1

Due to adverse weather conditions the Blog had missed last week (not really, we went to Birmingham to the Warley model railway exhibition!) but do not fear, as Norfolk's favourite Carriage & Wagon news spectacular is back!

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

No progress to report

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224

The five sliding compartment doors which have featured regularly over the past month have reached completion stage and are now stored to await fitting when the carriage is ready to receive them. They look a-door-able and all of the hard work put in by our volunteers Peter L, Peter W and Derek now shows as they glow with their fresh varnish.

The final two sliding examples are now all that remain of the large stack of internal doors to refurbish. This includes the door that separates the guard/luggage van from the passenger corridor, and the one which is at the extreme end of the coach in the Holt end vestibule. The latter is more advanced and only requires one or two more coats of varnish to finish, whilst the former is still being sanded and will soon join the varnish "process", although the falling temperatures are making this task difficult now.

Most of the steel ironmongery mentioned last time has now been stripped and has been painted in primer.

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843

Welding work on the Sheringham end continues. About half of the framework repairs have now been covered back up with the application of new paneling which is finally returning the more normal shape/appearance to the end, but there is still a fair way to go...

The interior continues to move forwards steadily, which is appropriate as the pace of the coach's progress is being dictated by the welding work, so there is plenty of time to reassemble the interior at leisure. This situation has allowed us to dedicate particular tasks to individuals to complete over several weeks. This isn't always possible due to time constraints but it is nice for some volunteer staff to be able to pick up exactly where they left off the previous week. One example of this is the repainting of the interior window trims, which are painted brown because underneath they are smoke damaged (a long story relating to its previous BR life) which means that unless they are replaced, they can never be varnished. One of our many Daves has been doing these and has completed the Holt end saloon and was working this week on the Sheringham end windows.

Reassembly of the Holt end saloon is continuing during weekends with the aim of getting it to the same stage as the Sheringham end, pictured:

The Holt end was behind due to the amount of metalwork required, however much paneling is now back in place with the seating due to follow. Various small repairs have been required along the way as various items have either been damaged when stripped out, or long standing damage has been discovered now that they are in component form! Do not be fooled by the messy appearance, this is because as the coach gets more and more finished inside, all the bits awaiting refit get compressed into a smaller and smaller space!

British Railways 1957 Composite Corridor M15997

Not a coach mentioned very often, the only Mark 1 Corridor Composite (CK) on the railway. It has been in storage since the 1990's and normally resides at Holt awaiting its turn for eventual Gold overhaul. It is part of the railway's long term carriage strategy, so we don't normally do much with it at all. Sadly, earlier this week it was attacked by vandals but luckily this was limited to just graffiti. The NNR does not tolerate any graffiti on any of its structures, land or rolling stock, so in common with previous attacks over the years, this artwork was removed almost immediately.

The only snag was that it needs to be chemically removed as soon as possible before the paint goes too hard, and this had to be done in pretty atrocious conditions - think sideways snow, brought to us on a plate via a stiff North Sea wind! However, a team nevertheless got all of the graffiti off and the coach can now be returned to storage (incidentally, this is the third time it has been sprayed, the artists seem to like this one!).

As was commented later in the week, it shows that carriage restoration isn't all about being tucked away in a nice warm carriage shed!

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Second Lavatory M56352

The vehicle is in service (tomorrow) for just one more day before it rests for winter. What this will then allow us to do is to dismantle a large batch of seat backs (rather than just bits and bobs) for reupholstery. Then we shall be cooking on gas, or should I say diesel because the good thing about this vehicle is that it has a diesel heater (rather than steam heat), which means potentially we can have heat whilst inside fitting or dismantling seats... We probably won't be short of volunteers for that job!

British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464

The seaward side of the underframe, mentioned last time, has now progressed into undercoat. It will be held now in undercoat and will not be painted in gloss topcoat until all of the dusty messy preparation work has been done to the sides.

The landward side of the underframe is now all that remains for this long and tedious job. So far, we have made it about a third of the way down on cleaning it up.

Bodywork welding repairs to the bodysides has now been completed (yay!) including all of the incredibly rotten windows.

The final task for the bodysides was to weld on some reinforcing straps which are to do with the hinged end doors which close backwards.

With bodysides now whole again, Phil has been able to turn his attention to finishing off some of the corrosion at the bottoms of the doors. The doors were dealt with (in the main) whilst the vehicle was in the staging, however some of the rotten door bottoms were held back and are being done now as access from floor level is so much easier for that particular task.

Southern Railway 1939 Parcels & Miscellaneous Van 1359

The original purpose of bringing this van indoors was to simply empty it so that it could be used by another department as a store. This has now been achieved after two weeks of sorting, throwing out and moving of components onto our new mezzanine floor facility. The latter, incidentally, is now FULL, in the proper sense. We kept being asked how many more wheelbarrows of stuff could disappear up there(!) but we knew we had a few shelves kept back for this wagon. Alas, now it truly is full, so there will no more updates along the lines of "this vehicle is being emptied onto the mezzanine".

However, with the van inside, the M&GN volunteer team have decided to give it some super-accelerated cosmetic attention and a repaint (this is the reason there is not really an update for GER 853 this time). True to their word, they descended on it like a swarm of bees with up to half a dozen men on it at times. Various pieces of rotten planking have been chopped out and repair pieces temporarily spliced in and sealed in.

The windows have been re-framed where required and re-sealed, to try and hamper any water ingress. The whole vehicle (sides and ends) was then sanded down and all loose paint removed. The sides then received a coat of resin to seal the exposed wood. Countless other smaller repairs have also been done to the body to keep it going as a store until such a time as it comes in to be "done properly". Because this vehicle fits nicely on one shed road sharing with CCT E94464, it will be in long enough to be repainted before it has to be dispatched. The van has carried several liveries in its running life, one of which has to be chosen as its colour until it comes back in. We shall have to see what left-over paint we have in stock, but I have noticed that there are very few of these PMV vans in preservation carrying BR Blue...

The restoration work has been solely in the hands of volunteers, however it has been decided that it would be worth the company's (NNR's) while if a little investment was made to the mechanics. Two days have been spent assessing, adjusting and repairing the vacuum brake system, to change the vehicle's status from "loose or cripple" to "fitted". What this actually means is that previously the vehicle had only ever been used as a static store at Weybourne, so its brake system had never been connected or used (or even looked at) and in the rare event the vehicle had to be moved it was considered as unbraked and therefore had to have a guards van sandwiched behind it, complete with guard. This is labour intensive if it has to be moved, so we have put its own vacuum brakes back into service so that if it needs to be moved now it can be done more like a normal coach i.e. attach an engine to it and just go. This was not without work: we were very lucky in that all the pipework and components were there and did indeed work when we tested it. However there were three leaks to find and repair, perishable components such as hoses and seals to replace, linkages to adjust and finally various tests to undertake to prove the vehicle's safe before putting it onto the "fitted" register.


Finally, the Axeman's latest work has been a return to the steel workshop crates which will be stackable, and the frames of the prototype are fast reaching a recognisable form.

Friday, 17 November 2017

November News Part 2

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

The section of missing  body paneling shown last week has now been permanently fixed into position, and a reasonable amount of the beading has also been added. This has made a surprisingly large visual difference to the outside of the coach, which when viewed from the end now looks much more complete...

The underframe has also progressed, with new footboards having arrived, already machined to size. There are two steps, the one at the top being double width, so these were first glued together to form a very "vintage train looking" wide step. This done, all of the boards have been pasted in several coats of resin to ready them for paint, presumably next week.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224

Little progress this week, with the steel ironmongery stripping down continuing (in similar vein to last week) and the varnishing of the five sliding compartment doors also continuing (and also pictured last week!)

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843

The main progress has been with the welding on the Sheringham end. The two repaired crash pillars on the landward side of the corridor connection  have been painted up to protect them before new skin is welded over them, sealing them for evermore! This has allowed the two corresponding pillars on the seaward side of the connection to be chopped out for the same lower replacement. One has already been welded in in fact.

Progress has also been made on the interior, with the re-varnish of the Holt end passenger saloon and vestibule. This has included the table edges, which do get a bit of a knocking after years of use.

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Second Lavatory M56352

This week has seen a trial fitting of a seat back which has been reupholstered in the new material, complete with side "boomerang" and cushion, to represent what a fully completed seat looks like. It is now standing in splendid isolation, where it will remain until the vehicle is withdrawn from traffic for the winter, which cannot happen until December. However we then have two months to complete the rest of the seating until it is required again in service in February 2018. I personally think it looks pretty snazzy and a great improvement on the faded 1990's Regional Railways seating. Monkey has yet to get into the DMU to test the seat and ensure quality control is upheld, but I am sure it won't be long!

British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464

This one has seen the most progress this week of all the vehicles currently in works. We are becoming conscious that the next project will need to come in before too long, so a concerted effort on this vehicle, which is the closest of all to completion, will ensure completion and therefore the space in the shed also becoming free.

The underframe sprucing up mentioned in previous updates has crossed the halfway point, with the seaward side now cleaned up. This has allowed it to be repainted into primer.

Speaking of painting, the wheelsets and axleboxes are now ahead of the underframe and have been finished in black gloss and now await reassembly. The bad news mentioned last week on the wheels themselves has luckily been reversed. We sought advise from a professional who works with these wheelsets and profiling on a daily basis and it has now been confirmed that the suggested issue with them was not as serious as originally thought. The wheel is therefore suitable for refitting to the vehicle, which is a great headache gone!

Phil has been very busy undertaking all of the window bottom framework replacement and re-panelling where they had rotted away on the landward side. He has completed two (out of the three) required windows.

The steam heat pipe has also been repaired which required a new pipe adding onto the Sheringham end as the previous example had been cut off, for some unknown reason? Two overhauled valves have also been added to each end and are ready now to receive their new flexible pipes.

On the interior, the ceilings are now ready to refit. The panels themselves are now all painted on their reverse sides, and have been painted as far as white undercoat on the visible sides prior to fitting. The supporting battens which are up in the roof space have all been de-nailed and re-secured into place where they had fallen off or come loose! The air vent holes had been letting some water in, and we fell we do not really need them on a vehicle which only moves buggies and bikes around, so we have blanked them over with steel plates on the inside.

Southern Railway 1939 Parcels & Miscellaneous Van 1359

This interloper, a stores van which normally lives outside, has been brought indoors to be emptied of its Carriage & Wagon spares onto the mezzanine floor. This is the final (of a long list of) vehicle to be emptied as part of the project. Hopefully it can be emptied quickly as it is getting cold outside and the van will have to go out when E94464 gets shunted out or finished!


The folding lids for the Weybourne Bookshop trolleys are progressing well and have now all been made and are being painted up.

The Axeman has also completed his latest contraption, mentioned last week, the trolley designed to hold our pipe threading machine.

Towards the end of the week, it carried its (enormously heavy!) payload and is now ready for use on 853's vacuum pipework.

Finally, we would like to thank Tim Bambridge, long term supporter of the NNR, for donating to us a large selection of cutting taps obtained from Fakenham market. They are old, and therefore quality, as the steel in newer ones never seems to be quite as strong!

Friday, 10 November 2017

November News Part 1

There was regrettably no Blog last week as the author was feeding his passion for diesel railcars (carriages which one day decided they didn't need a locomotive!) at the East Lancashire Railway. It was an exceptional event, with six excellently restored examples which would put many others to shame.

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

Back at home, the body of 853 has received enough sanding and filling for certain areas to start emerging in resin and paint. This has included the two guards duckets which are now in grey primer. Additionally, at long last the large missing section of body panelling at the Sheringham end (which was a fireplace!) is in the process of being plugged up. A new panel has been cut and has been trial fitted.

The second of the two missing luggage doors has now reached an advanced stage of construction after being heavily modified from another example which came off a coach of a slightly different profile.

Meanwhile the chassis appears to be being used as a workbench and drying rack for various sections of timber which are being painted.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224

The five interior sliding compartment doors have now been fully rejuvenated and sanded, which has allowed them to join the cyclic "varnish system" which will see several coats applied to them over the coming weeks. So far two have been applied.

A start has also been made on stripping back to metal some of the ironmongery removed from the coach during the early stages of restoration. These have included a variety of odds and sods such as the long handrails for the guards compartment. As this is a Gold standard overhaul these are all being stripped fully so there will be no defects or old layers of chipped paint etc.

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843

The roof section on the end, pictured last update, has progressed well with new skin now welded onto the repaired framework. The roof section has been renewed and all boxes in as well, a very complicated area with so many curves and angles of steel all meeting in the same spot.

The landward side bodyside has also come on with all of the remaining windows (and glass) fitted back into position. The coach is now fully glazed once more!

The toilet windows (of which several were cracked) are also back in position after replacements were refitted into place. We have taken the opportunity to blank off the vent in the window, as it can let water in, although the modification is buried inside so the exterior appearance is not compromised in any way. It has been possible to blank it over as this coach does not have working toilets, these areas being permanently locked out of use.

On the interior, the Holt end saloon has now been fully reassembled which almost completes that area. All that remains internally in this half of the coach is a quick rub down and top up coat of varnish on the interior panels to brighten them up and seal any gaps we have created whilst renewing some of the windows.

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Second Lavatory M56352

More than half of the seat base cushions are now upholstered in the new, blue, material. As the vehicle is in service for the next two weekends, we are unable to dismantle the seats yet, but the "pop in/out" bases can be swapped at will. We will continue to do these until the vehicle can be withdrawn in December so that the seat backs can follow the bases.

British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464

The Holt end opening doors are now completed, painted and fitted.

The end of this large task has now allowed the Sheringham end doors to have the same treatment. The doors have been removed and are now being dismantled for repairs. The Sheringham end appears to be in better condition than the Holt end, which is good!

Work on cleaning up the outside edges of the underframe of all the years of brake dust, old paint and grease (so that we can give it a repaint to boost its appearance) continues, and welding repairs (halted some time ago) have recommenced on the seaward side, which means the exterior is now progressing alongside the underframe.

We have suffered bad news on the wheelsets, with one of them being so damaged it has not been possible to regain the correct tyre profile on the wheel lathe. A complication is that we have no spares of these. This means that one of the wheels is now in limbo whilst possible engineering solutions are investigated. The vehicle will not be able to return to service until these issues are resolved, however there is plenty of restoration work on the rest of the vehicle to be getting on with whilst a solution is found. In anticipation of refitting, the four axleboxes were cleaned up of old detritus and painted in primer.

The interior focus is currently on the ceiling. This was found to be too water damaged to retain so the old ceiling has been carefully dismantled of its fittings and electrical conduits, before the rest was pulled down and disposed of.

New ceiling panels have been cut and are currently being part painted before fitting into position.

British Railways 1958 GWR Designed "Fruit D" W92097

The repainting work described last time has now all been completed, and the vehicle is now ready to return to service.


Other projects in the workshop have included a task to create folding and locking covers for some book stall trolleys which live up on the station here at Weybourne. The Axeman also has a pipe threading trolley in the workshop, which will be used to cut the threads on the new vacuum piping for 853. However it first needed wheels, after the old wheels collapsed under the weight of the machine!