Friday, 27 February 2015

February News Part 4

Midland Railway (later M&GN) 1886 6 Wheel Picnic Saloon 3

The team have been well and truly framed this week (£250 cheque in the post) with the addition of four period pictures/adverts inside the saloon. These look very smart indeed and are a sign that the interior is approaching the home straight.

On the exterior, the first gloss paint has been applied which has once again changed the appearance of the two ends of the carriage. Moving downwards, the Holt end brakes have been adjusted which concludes the braking system until such a time that it can be tested and any other adjustments highlighted. The buffers have been fitted. A safety sling has been added to the vacuum cylinder (these are fitted to catch the cylinder in the unlikely event of it coming off its mounts for whatever reason) and a white star has been painted on the chassis to denote the position of the vacuum cylinder (pull chords).
First gloss being applied to the carriage end

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

Our “number one” project, the urinal, has progressed with the all important drain hole created in the bottom of the bowl which has also been attached to a pipe. The bowl itself has been sand blasted and the whole assembly is now resplendent in grey primer.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

As suggested last week welding work has turned to the Holt end saloon on the seaward side of the carriage. This is in much better condition than the landward side of the same saloon which had to be re-panelled from the windows downwards. So far we are in the rot removal stage with two door pillars and a rotten section all the way along the bottom of the coach about 5 inches high sliced away for repair/replacement. Much of the rest of the panels below the windows appears to be sound: their good condition was revealed in previous weeks after volunteers removed the old paint and filler from these areas. In the toilet, the lino flooring has been fitted and about 50% of the skirting and wall beading has followed. All of the wooden components (towel rack, toilet seat etc) are now rubbed down and have had two coats of varnish. Finally the woodwork varnish stripping has now spread to the toilet bulkheads and Holt end vestibule. This was a very dark area previously so we’re hoping to really lighten it up and show off the grain of the wood.
The Holt/seaward section of E4641. In this view, you can see the currently very dark vestibule woodwork on the left, and the doorway steel has been cut away, as has the lower 18 inches of panelling

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Gangwayed Brake M81114

Just a picture this time of the vehicle, as mentioned last week work has been completed.

British Railways 1956 Mark 1 Suburban Brake Second E43357

Work continues to focus on the guards van interior. This week, a visual step forward has taken place with the fitting of the plywood ceiling. This is now being followed up by more cable trunking (described last week) attached to the ceiling itself. Work has now also started on some odds and sods such as restoring a sawdust bin, an example of which was fitted to all guards compartments.
A fine worker attaching trunking

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Second E46139

Cleaning and painting of the bogies, described last week, continues.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Second Lavatory Open E48001

Seat end stripping of varnish continues for the Sheringham saloon seat ends.

British Railways 1958 Conflat & Type AF Container B502824 & AF65970B

This week saw the fitting of the vacuum cylinder to conflat B502824. The system has been completed by adding the flexible pipes to the ends (which are now also painted the correct red) and testing the cylinder/pipes with the help of Eeyore, the yard shunting engine. As with M&GN No3, the chassis was then embellished with a vacuum denoting white star. The conflat is now ready for traffic once more, but will be held in the yard until the AF container can be positioned onto it.
View of the newly fitted vacuum cylinder and "white star" on the chassis

Hurst Nelson 1944 Fuel Oil Tanker 5304

With work on the conflat drawing to a close, there has been room for some smaller projects that have been on the list for some time. So the team got “tanked up” and have made a start on getting this oil tanker suitable for use in a (partially) fitted, or braked, freight train. At present the tank wagon is known as “loose coupled” i.e. it is hauled by a locomotive and has no operating brakes, the locomotive alone providing the braking. Here on the NNR we have a roughly 50/50 proportion of freight wagons that do/don’t have vacuum brakes. Current thinking is to slowly fit the wagons with no brakes with “through pipes” (vacuum brake pipes that pass right through the un-braked wagon without braking the wagon itself). This will allow vacuum braking to be used throughout the freight train, with the vacuum applying on the wagons which have brakes and passing through wagons which don’t. All the Shell/BP tanker requires is one of these “through pipes” fitting to the underframe. A suitable second-hand pipe has been sourced from a condemned wagon and has been in the workshop this week for patches where the pipe was visibly thin.

Workshop

A “new” A frame has been set up in the workshop to aid the lifting of parts in/out of bogies during mechanical overhaul (and for similar jobs). It is ex Chatham Steam and had become surplus since the company integrated with the NNR. The frame can be moved around on its wheels and should be most useful.

Friday, 20 February 2015

February News Part 3

We start with a picture of part of the team currently involved in the M&GN Picnic Saloon and Conflat/Container wagon. They are occasionally let out onto the station platform provided they behave of course...

Midland Railway (later M&GN) 1886 6 Wheel Picnic Saloon 3

Exterior painting continues, with the undercoat spreading round the landward side of the vehicle. Being a wooden panelled vehicle, the repeated coats at this stage will build up the layers and be of great benefit to the final finish. Work to adjust the length of the buffers, described in January News Part 2, has been concluded and all four are now resplendent in gloss black and waiting refitting.
Undercoat building up on the landward side

Moving indoors, the two saloon tables have seen a further coat of varnish, and the folding table inside the luggage compartment has now been painted cream to match the surrounding panelling. A black circle has also been painted onto the roof to represent where the chimney used to be.
Completed buffers

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

The urinal described last week has progressed with the “bowl” now essentially complete. However rather crucially there is not yet a hole at the bottom of this magnificent vessel so no doubt work will continue next week.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

Welding has been completed in the Holt/seaward corner of the carriage and lots of new steel framework and panelling is now present and protected in anti-rust paint. The repairs now extend to the doorway so work will now move on to the main section of coach on the seaward side. It is a long but essential part of any carriage overhaul. Work on the toilet has slowed due to manpower being required on BG M81114, however some small fittings have been progressed and the “skirting” which will go around the walls just above the floor has been machined and painted ready for fitting after the lino goes in. A milestone with the interior woodwork has been reached: the timber for the Holt end saloon is now entirely stripped back of old varnish and is now ready for new varnish.
The protracted work on the Holt/seaward corner of the carriage is now completed

British Railways 1954 Grounded Tool Van DB975129 (Ex Brake Corridor Second 34495)

This vehicle has finally bitten the dust and is now officially razor blades. This will therefore be the final time the coach is mentioned on this blog, take a bow 34495...

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Gangwayed Brake M81114

A fair amount of manpower has been directed at our newest acquisition, with a second and third coat of green paint applied over the rust-sorry-bodywork. It now looks infinitely smarter than when it arrived. Our work has now been completed by also scraping the graffiti off the windows, resealing the roof vents (they are currently missing) to limit water ingress, sweeping out the interior, clearing out the gutters of leaves/detritus and finally applying some stickers to the outside with the vehicle’s numbers so that enthusiasts can identify it. M81114 will now be used statically at Sheringham as required.
The thrill of scraping windows is evident...


British Railways 1956 Mark 1 Suburban Brake Second E43357

The supporting ceiling timbers, described in February News Part 1, have now been completed. Work continues inside the brake van with a rather nice section of wooden trunking being manufactured to feed cables from under the coach, up the bulkhead to the ceiling via a lighting control box.
Ceiling timbers now fitted

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Second E46139

E46139 has been lifted this week and its bogies removed for overhaul. This signals the start of the mechanical overhaul, which will deal with everything below floor level. So far one of the bogies has had all its brake shoes and linkages removed and has been needle gunned to remove old dust and flaky paint. This is yet another long and tedious task but should make the underneath look a million dollars.
E46139 lifted

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Second Lavatory Open E48001

While the temperature remains low, seat end stripping of varnish continues for the Sheringham saloon seat ends.

British Railways 1958 Conflat & Type AF Container B502824 & AF65970B

The conflat wagon, B502824, made a flying (24 hour) visit inside the shed to be varnished to give the side a new shine to match the newly painted container (AF65970B) which will soon be lowered onto the conflat. A few areas of the chassis, such as the ends of the vacuum brake pipes and hand brake handles have also been repainted red/white respectively. As the conflat is already restored, no more work is required to it other than the fitting of the vacuum cylinder.
The conflat during varnishing

Clive Morris

We finish with a report of the passing of Clive Morris, the North Norfolk Railway’s chairman and a key part of the Carriage & Wagon department. Clive, 78, was a very active C&W volunteer in the earlier days of the department and continued to help out occasionally from home, the restoration of woodwork from the Mark 1 suburbans being a recent example. Perhaps more importantly, he was a champion of fundraising, and was instrumental in attracting the lottery funding to restore the beautiful Gresley Quad Art set and later the four Kings Cross Mark 1 suburban vehicles, the restorations of which are currently in full swing. It is a fairly safe statement that without Clive, we may well not have had the Quad Arts today. It is a shame that Clive did not see the entry into service of the suburbans and our thoughts are with this wife Betty and his family. North Norfolk News has published an obituary this week.
Clive enjoying travel on the Quad Arts

Friday, 13 February 2015

February News Part 2

Midland Railway (later M&GN) 1886 6 Wheel Picnic Saloon 3

Further painting work has been undertaken on the exterior, with the Sheringham end receiving more undercoat. The entire coach has now been rubbed down again for the next coat. Interior progress has focussed on the luggage compartment where a variety of shelves/tables are being manufactured. A folding table is now fitted to the end of the coach with a wall mounted pigeon-hole style rack not far behind.
Luggage shelving develops

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

Although not in the works programme at present, a urinal of all things is being manufactured from scratch for this vehicle in advance, one less job for the time when it is brought in to be restored. The team will be very relieved when the urinal is done; although they could have just used the workshop toilets like everybody else...

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

Exterior welding and interior woodwork stripping advances with no obvious milestones to report on this week. The toilet is in the process of having its varnished beading fitted, which contrasts nicely with the cream and white panels. As we are working from the top down, the first beading to be finished is that which goes around the ceiling. There are some rather awkward angles to deal with which means the job does take a little more time. A piece of lino has also been measured up and cut ready for fitting in this area.
An unusual angle for a photo. Looking skywards in the toilet at the ceiling and newly fitted beading. Note the several angles which are less than square!

British Railways 1954 Grounded Tool Van DB975129 (Ex Brake Corridor Second 34495)

This vehicle’s demise has continued at a relaxed rate. The second of the two thirds of the coach has now been reduced to a chassis, only one section remains...

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Gangwayed Brake M81114

The new arrival was an ugly duckling somewhat – corrosion and a grafittied exterior gave this priceless piece of heritage a less than appealing appearance. The latter being present was causing concern as one coach in graffiti can encourage future attacks. The coach has therefore been scraped down this week of old loose paintwork and a covering coat of green applied to improve the coach to the public eye and give it an even cover. This was particularly sensible as the coach will be remaining at Sheringham for the foreseeable future as extra space for the commercial department. Having residential neighbours makes the exterior appearance more important than at other locations where we stable stock out of service elsewhere on the railway. The new paintjob certainly won’t be submitted for any awards, and you won’t be seeing M81114 in the dining train any time soon; however it is infinitely better than what went before. Further coats of paint are required before attention is turned away from this carriage.

British Railways 1956 Mark 1 Suburban Brake Second E43357

This carriage has been moved into the staging area where the exterior restoration can be finally completed. Rapid progress has been made on sanding and filling the bodywork on the top 50% of the carriage (the bottom 50% has already been completed whilst the coach was elsewhere in the works) which is required before it is handed over for the final painting and finishing.
Bodywork on the top 50% of the coach

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Second E46139

It’s been all about ceilings this week. The process described last update of manufacturing and fitting the hardboard ceiling beading strips to each compartment is now fully completed. All of the light shades and mounts are also fitted which concludes the carpentry part of the ceilings which have now been released for painting. A sole volunteer has now admirably stepped in to prepare and rub down each of the ceilings ready for painting. Like E4641, as we’re working top-down the painting of the ceilings will unlock the rest of the interior refit work for the compartments. The entire varnished wood interior is in store (fully restored in 2014) ready for this refit to begin which will transform the interior and provide a great morale boost.
A completed ceiling showing light and beading

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Second Lavatory Open E48001

While the temperature remains low, seat end stripping of varnish continues for the Sheringham saloon seat ends.

British Railways 1958 Conflat & Type AF Container B502824 & AF65970B

The vacuum cylinder for the conflat wagon has been fully overhauled and painted and was on the testing rig by the end of the week. The cylinder passed so it is now ready for fitting in the near future.

Maintenance

The odd 1884 built Wisbech & Upwell coach, sometimes known as Irene, has been extracted from Bridge Road Sheds where it normally resides to star in this weekend’s special trips with the M&GN society’s Wissington. As it has not been used for a while, some routine maintenance was carried out including a good running gear inspection (including handbrake adjustment) and full oiling of all springs, equipment etc. It is nice to see any of the vintage coaches in use and we hope the specials are well patronised.
"Oiling Irene"
 

Friday, 6 February 2015

February News Part 1


The workshop has seen a few movements this week, plus a new arrival... A shunt on Friday created, by complete coincidence, a taste of things to come with three of the four suburban coaches being restored formed together in one “train”, albeit hauled by the yard shunter. How long before we see the same three travelling the full line in sumptuous crimson livery?
The launch day of the "Suburban 3"? Not quite, but a tantalising hint of what the NNR's future suburban set will look like

Midland Railway (later M&GN) 1886 6 Wheel Picnic Saloon 3

Continuing the painting theme from last week, the two ends of the carriage have been rubbed down and another coat of undercoat applied to the Holt end, furthering the process of getting a good number of layers of paint. Work to adjust the length of the buffers, described in January News Part 2, also continued.
Volunteer Pete applies undercoat to the Holt end

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

Welding work on the Holt/Sea corner continues, with the gutter and the side support of the Holt end doorway the latest “casualties” consigned to the skip. In readiness for the welder to progress along the seaward side, the four windows on this side nearest the current work area have been stripped of their glass so the latter doesn’t get damaged during the bodywork. The woodwork varnish strippers have continued to attack anything in sight from the Holt end saloon, and are admirably beavering their way through an ever diminishing pile.  In the toilet the panelling illustrated last week has received three further coats of paint and is now complete. Wooden beading strips have also been machined and are currently in the process of being varnished.

British Railways 1954 Grounded Tool Van DB975129 (Ex Brake Corridor Second 34495)

The end is nigh for this vehicle. The three sections which it had been sliced into have been at the end of the yard and one section has been dismantled for scrap, with the remaining two on borrowed time.

British Railways 1956 Mark 1 Suburban Brake Second E43357

With the side wall panels in the guards van fitted, attention has turned to the ceiling. Supporting timbers (which screw onto the metal roof supports) have been manufactured and are in the process of being fitted. Good progress has been made on rewiring the inter-coach lighting cables which were removed in the 1980's. These are now refitted from the Sheringham end of the coach to the lighting control box. Approximately half of the same run to the Holt end of the coach has also been fitted.

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Second E46139

Three (of the nine) compartments have had beading fitted to the hardboard ceiling panels – a fair task as there is rather a lot of it, which all needs jointing to each other neatly. As part of this work all nine of the light-shade supports have been fitted, these go in the very centre of the ceiling, one per compartment. One has also had its shade fitted as a test to see how it looks.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Second Lavatory Open E48001

No progress to report.

British Railways 1958 Conflat & Type AF Container B502824 & AF65970B

A start has been made on the vacuum cylinder’s overhaul, with the unit being stripped down into its components. The piston had got stuck inside the cylinder due to corrosion and lack of use, but this was soon freed with the help of Uncle Hammer... Meanwhile the AF container took a glorious trip about 80 feet from the centre of the shed to a position close to the end doors, which was done using two pallet trucks and a body of willing pushers. Its new position is in readiness for when it is required to be lifted onto the conflat wagon.
Moving the AF container

New Arrival

The railway has taken delivery of another Mark 1 this week, Gangwayed Brake (BG) M81114. It is identical to the NNR’s existing BG, M81269, but requires restoration. It will initially be kept at Sheringham and will join M81269 in static use for the Commercial department, although there are longer term plans to see it operate in conventional service.
M81114 in Staffordshire on its way to the NNR

Workshop

The refurbishing of the sack trucks has continued, with two now approaching completion. A new bench has also been built next to the vacuum cylinder testing rig, to allow work to be undertaken on cylinders without bending down. The conflate wagon’s cylinder is the first to benefit from the new bench.