Thursday, 25 June 2015

June News Part 3

I write this from the esteemed offices of the North Norfolk Railway itself, as my computer last week decided to move to the next world. Whilst this has caused a cancellation of last week’s blog, activity continues in the works at Weybourne which thankfully is not so reliant on IT. The Blog also has cause to celebrate 10,000 views, so thanks to all who have chosen to drop by for an update.

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


The most visual work has been the continued rubbing down of the paintwork for the varnishing, which is now well advanced. The varnish has also emerged and the two ends of the carriage and also three doors down the landward side have been completed.



On the underframe, the problem of the axlebox keeps being too high (described in June News Part 1) has now been rectified, and all the pins for the suspension springs have been removed, greased and fitted for good with new split pins and washers.



Great Northern Railway (later M&GN) 1887 6 Wheel Third 129


Removal of unnecessary parts off the PMV underframe is now complete with the last of the brakegear and trussing also removed. Those that are to be refitted are being cleaned up and repainted. The new headstocks are being prepared and have been partially welded as part of the work to shorten the chassis.

Ex-Axe Man now putting metal together rather than splitting it apart


With the central section of the chassis ready for reassembly, about three quarters of the vehicle has been painted in primer underneath.



British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641


The first section of floor, the metal for which was repaired last week, has seen replacement wood flooring installed whilst the metalworkers have moved on to floor support replacement further down the coach.

Wooden floor refitted following metal repairs

More replacement flooring has been required


British Railways 1958 Mark 1 Brake Composite Corridor NE21224

This coach has been returned to storage to await its full restoration to commence.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041


The asbestos contractors have finished their work and handed the coach back to the department for its overhaul to start in earnest. The bogies, mentioned last time, have progressed well and both have been cleaned down and rust-protected.



One bogie has been fully primed and also sprayed in black undercoat whilst the second has been part painted in primer. The axle springs and bolster springs have all been removed, checked and regreased before fitting. Meanwhile, a small army has descended (or perhaps ascended as the coach is still on jacks?) on the underframe chipping and cleaning all the old gunk and paint, which is nearly complete. The first third of the coach has been rust protected and the first areas of primed metal are starting to appear…



British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139


This coach is still at Bridge Road sheds (moved to create yard space during the diesel gala at Weybourne), however the upholstery continues to progress. Long standing volunteer Roger Ison has also been furthering the luggage racks. These are aluminium poles with string netting tied between them to make up the rack. Roger has been dismantling these, cleaning the alloy back to a shine, repairing the string netting where required, washing the netting then fully reassembling tem ready for fitting. There are 18 of these in total and already he is half way there.



British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001


Work continues on the toilets, with various flush tanks and pipes being fitted, a toilet and sink extracted and cleaned ready for fitting, and various wooden compliments (including the toilet seat itself!) rubbed down and varnished. Meanwhile, the interior woodwork is almost at the stage where one saloon (half the coach) can be installed permanently

Martin Collins painting toilet components


The throne itself: resplendant in gloss varnish


British Railways 1957 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Composite Lavatory E56062


The repaint is now almost completed. The vehicle has received two coats of green gloss but still looks quite “plain”, however this effect will disappear when the cream lining is applied in a few weeks time.


Sunday, 14 June 2015

June News Part 2


The blog is a few days later than normal – this is due to the unforeseen “Diesel Gricing” (derived from the latin term “Dieselia Gricium” which in turn translates as “disease of the afflicted”) of the author who decided that this unhealthy pursuit took priority over updating these pages. However the Brake Third, E43357, was in service and received many favourable comments. It looked particularly good coupled behind the Green liveried Class 31, recreating a Kings Cross suburban scene accurately. The three folding station information boards for the stations and board for the Gresley Buffet Car (Described in May News Part 3) also saw their first use in anger, updating visitors on the status of the services and other important information during the gala.

Information boards, complete and ready for traffic

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


Rubbing down in preparation for varnishing continues.

Great Northern Railway (later M&GN) 1887 6 Wheel Third 129


The new chassis being adapted for use under 129 has had more items removed from the PMV underframe. Some trussing has now been consigned to history and the vehicle is looking less like a PMV by the day. Some vacuum cylinder brackets have been relocated to a more appropriate position for its new use, and bits of the chassis are starting to be prepared for refixing in their new positions.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641


The section of wooden floor removed last week has seen a good deal of the replacement metal for the floor supports completed. Some of these were virtually missing; such was the rampant corrosion, so were required to be included in the steel re-skinning work. Further down the coach, our ever reliable pair of volunteers have carried on stripping old paint off the sides of the coach, they are now about half way down the section they are working on (A picture of them undertaking this work was included in May News Part 3).

Replacement metal going into the floor

British Railways 1958 Mark 1 Brake Composite Corridor NE21224


As mentioned last week, the asbestos insulation stripping has been completed on this carriage by the specialist contractors; the coach is now stood outside awaiting a return to storage now that the asbestos “poly-tent” has been dismantled and the coach declared clear.


British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041


The coach has been on the jacks all week, and the asbestos contractors have constructed a very elaborate “tent” underneath the carriage creating an air tight sealed area in which to remove the asbestos which is present underneath the coach, mainly around the heating pipes and connections. These zones are the subject of stringent testing and ordinary staff are keeping away to leave the contractors to do what they do best! The asbestos stripping itself is due to start shortly. Meanwhile, the two bogies which have been outside have started being stripped down for the brake-gear to be checked and overhauled. It has not yet been decided if these bogies are being cleaned right down and repainted black, as was done with W46139.

The sealed zone under construction

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139


With the carriage still at Bridge Road sheds, progress on the vehicle has been solely the continuation of the seat reupholstery, which is progressing well.

Repuholstered side panels for the seating, complete with armrests

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001


Woodwork from inside the toilets continues to be machined, and some original pieces (which were found to be restorable) such as the towel rack have been stripped of old varnish. Meanwhile, the interior window woodwork edges ever closer to completion of varnishing.


British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Motor Brake Second M51192


This vehicle has benefited from an external improvement just in time for the diesel gala. The 1990’s era front headlight has been removed from the cab end and replaced with an original pattern route indicator box to return it to the original 1960’s configuration.

M51192 showing its new "B2" route indicator box

British Railways 1957 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Composite Lavatory E56062


The cleaning of the alloy window frames has been completed, which has really made a difference to how clean/tidy the exterior of the railcar looks. This has also heralded the start of the painting, and the entire vehicle has been undercoated this week.

E56062 is now in undercoat

Friday, 5 June 2015

June News Part 1

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


The largest milestone this week has seen the coach’s ride height set correctly after a period of adjustment and testing. This has highlighted the fact that the axlebox keeps (bars of metal that sit below the axleboxes and prevent the wheelsets from dropping off of the bottom if the coach in involved in a derailment) are fixed too high up and are restricting the axleboxes movement. It is intended to modify the keeps to overcome this issue. Meanwhile further rubbing down on the outside has made one side and both ends of the coach ready for varnishing.

Great Northern Railway (later M&GN) 1887 6 Wheel Third 129


It has been suggested that the comments on the team undertaking the work on the new underframe for 129 are unfair and wide of the mark, however it is clear from the amount of cutting torch gas consumed this week that destruction has continued in a similar manner! More surplus material has been removed from the ex-PMV chassis including the handbrakes and associated cross members, the buffers/drawgear from both ends, and finally a 7 inch section of the chassis itself (off the Sheringham end) is also missing in action...

Like a lion tearing through a herd of wildebeest, John "axeman" Collier makes short work of removing the drawgear

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641


Work on the interior of the coach has been limited to cutting out a section of the floor in the same area as that which was cleared last week. This has been required as there are a lot of wasted bodyside pillars in this area which require the floor to be removed before they can be replaced with new metal. On the subject of metal, the entire Sheringham end/seaward side quarter of the carriage is now stripped of old steel panelling and approximately half has had all wasted framework replaced. Again, the areas around and below the windows have required particular attention. Our two Thursday volunteers, Peter and Peter, are continuing to do a great job stripping off old paint in the areas which haven’t been replaced with new metal at the Holt end of the coach. They have completed the seaward side of this area this week and have now moved onto the landward side. A picture of them undertaking this work was included in May News Part 3.

More revealed framework

British Railways 1958 Mark 1 Brake Composite Corridor NE21224


This coach is not often mentioned, and is the railway’s third Mark 1 brake vehicle, purchased a few years ago to act as a spare for the two brakes (GE21103 and W35148) which run most of the NNR’s service trains. Alas, capacity in the workshop has yet to become available to renovate the coach so it has been in store. However the booking of asbestos contractors for the underside stripping of E43041 (see below) meant that NE21224 (which also contains asbestos) can be stripped at the same time ready for when its NNR overhaul begins in the future. For this reason, it has been temporarily moved out of store to outside the workshop for asbestos stripping of the interior. This has been completed quickly with the process completed within a week.


British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041


With the entry into service of Brake Third E43357, the forth (and final) member of the Suburban 4 project has been extracted from storage at Holt and brought into the works for its long awaited overhaul to begin.


E43041 is a “Composite Lavatory” and has three first class compartments (the only vehicle in the Sub 4 project to have first class) in one half and five second class compartments in the other. Compartments are served by two side corridors which each lead to a toilet which is roughly in the middle of the coach.

One of the side corridors, unique to suburban style vehicles

Initial inspections have shown that the interior is in good condition all things considered, but the exterior and body is extremely poor, so of course a full strip down (to a shell) will be required for this work to be undertaken. None of this can start however before the asbestos, underneath the coach, has been removed safely be contractors. E43041 has now been lifted off its bogies and is now stood in the air awaiting the stripping to commence.

One of the compartments, which will be fully restored

British Railways 1956 Mark 1 Suburban Brake Third E43357


Due to the eagerness of the operating department to have E43357 in service, there are a few outstanding minor restoration tasks still to complete. Some of these have been sorted this week, including a repaint of the brakevan area floor and the fitting of the mirror for the second periscope. The vacuum safety valve which was fitted has also seen some adjustments.

Note: after discussions on appropriate terminology, it has been decided that in light on the vehicle being restored to its original (as built) condition that its original albeit short lived classification of “Brake Third” will be used from now on, in preference to its later classification (Brake Second) that has been used previously on these pages.

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139


Due to space being required in the works to undertake booked asbestos stripping, W46139 has been moved to Bridge Road carriage sheds temporarily for a few weeks. As a direct result of this, no work has been able to be carried out except that of the upholsterers who have been working away in their upholstery shop on the seating from this vehicle. W46139 has a simple arrangement of bench style suburban seating, so there are only three components that from the seating: the seat base, the seat back and side panels which also incorporate an armrest. The upholsterers have stripped down, repaired, added replacement cushioning material and recovered with new material several of each of these types of component for W46139. Whilst there is a mix of quantities which have been refurbished, broadly speaking enough has been completed for three of the nine compartments, so one third of the task has been completed.

A seat base in "as found" condition from W46139

Note: after discussions on appropriate terminology, it has been decided that in light on the vehicle being restored to its original (as built) condition that its original albeit short lived classification of “W46139 – Third” will be used from now on, in preference to its later classification (E46139 - Second) that has been used previously on these pages.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001


Following a period of uncertainty on the issue, an inspection has been made to ascertain the condition of the two toilets with a view to their inclusion (or exclusion) from the restoration. It was discovered that the secondary of the two toilet water tanks was in poor condition but the primary tank (which receives the water from the filler pipes) looked good. Because the toilets have to be completely dismantled and their bulkheads removed, we had been advised that if the tanks required repair/replacement, then the manpower could not be justified and that the toilets would have to be sealed off in an unrestored state.  However it was agreed that the proposed “occasional use” nature of the suburban set would allow the secondary tank to be sealed off and for the toilets to be fed with only half the original capacity of water. The rest of the toilets (fittings and Formica panelling) were found to be in very good condition, only requiring a very deep clean. Consequently we have decided to “go for it” and make the toilets operational, which will be most pleasing to many staff as we can more confidently regard the carriage as “complete” once it is launched into service. The first steps to make this happen have now been taken, the primary water tank has been tested (successful – no leaks!) and now work to refit the wooden window surrounds to the two toilet windows has started.

Note: after discussions on appropriate terminology, it has been decided that in light on the vehicle being restored to its original (as built) condition that its original albeit short lived classification of “Third Lavatory Open” will be used from now on, in preference to its later classification (Second Lavatory Open) that has been used previously on these pages.

British Railways 1957 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Composite Lavatory E56062


NEWSFLASH – the sanding and filling is complete! The seemingly endless task of trying to get the bodyside flat and ready for paint has reached an end, with painting planned to start next week. The roof has been dusted in preparation for its own repaint as well. The cleaning of the alloy window frames (described in May News Part 4) is now 75% complete.

E56062 now ready for paint

Stations


A station waiting room seat, believed to be from Billericay in Essex, has been donated to the railway. It has been gratefully accepted and has immediately been moved to the upholstery works for attention to its currently damaged seat cushion.


Maintenance


There were a large number of maintenance task/issues arising with the coaches in service so a working party has been at Sheringham to attend to some of them. Batteries have been topped up with distilled water and some coaches which brake faults have been investigated. Some in-situ tinkering was undertaken to the vacuum cylinders and associated valves. Sadly the resolving of one brake fault was followed by the discovery of two more during the brake test, so one step forward and two back! More work to keep things in fine fettle will be done next week, meaning more day release for some of our patients here in Carriage & Wagon!