Friday, 29 January 2016

January News Part 4

We start with the fantastic news that your author is now £5 richer after Dan bet that it would snow last Friday and lost. Admirably, payment was made and the occasion recorded on camera!


Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853


The end is finally in sight with the ceiling paint stripping, with only one of the fourteen sections still to complete. The doors have been progressing in a similar fashion and there is only one door still on the vehicle itself, all of the others having been removed and paint stripped. The doorway wooden frame repairs (described last week) have also been worked on along the landward side. Meanwhile, the Axeman has continued with his steps for the brake end, with a large (double width) centre step having been fabricated. Each step is now having a chevron-like pattern welded onto the top to replicate the original grips to prevent slipping off.


British Railways 1962 Mark 1 First Open M3116


All of the seating has now been sent away for contract re-upholstery. This is the last carriage of the dining train to have been recovered so we can now present a “corporate image”, the entire dining train being trimmed in the attractive BR Blue and Gold “Oak Leaf”  material. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of course; however we have always had excellent feedback regarding the use of the Oak Leaf so it seems to have been the right choice when choosing a popular and quality pattern for the railway’s flagship Mark 1 set.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641


Progress both inside and out this week. Starting on the exterior, the door weather strips have had their countersunk rivets filled and sanded flat. The two doors which weren’t painted prior to fitting have been etch primed inside and out. Both corridor connections have had the “hood”, which sits on the top to keep the weather out, removed and the area cleaned up, inspected and repainted. Several small holes have been found so will have to be repaired in due course. One of the pair of toilet filler pipes has had its lower section cut off and a new section attached. This strange repair was required as when the coach’s toilets were decommissioned many moons ago, expanding foam had been sprayed up the pipes to stop guards filling the disconnected water tanks! Needless to say, both pipes will need reinstating before the coach goes back into service with a working loo.

The shortened toilet filler pipe mid-repair

Moving to the interior, the alloy window cleaning/polishing is now complete throughout the whole coach which has improved their appearance greatly. The bulkhead varnish stripping in now well into the Sheringham end saloon and will soon be completed. We have also taken the opportunity of the interior panels being removed to make provision for speaker cabling to be added unobtrusively which will allow the carriage to take part in Murder Mystery trains upon its completion. We will show more details of this as the job progresses. The sanding of the bulkheads in the Holt end vestibule and toilet area has now been completed and so far two coats of varnish have been applied to all the woodwork in this area.

The glory of preservation: rubbing down varnish between coats 

The toilet tank has also been filled with water and checked for leaks, a test which it thankfully passed. The smaller flush tank for the toilet pan itself is now secured in position and piped up. We have even had a ceremonial test; and I must say the team were flushed with success!

An overall view of the coach whilst it was outside having the toilet tank tested

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041


Welding repairs continue in a similar vain to those described in previous updates. Much of the flooring framework has had a protective coat of anti-corrosion primer as well.

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139


The coach has been lowered back onto its bogies (Monkey got involved at this point...) and the vacuum brakes have been connected up, adjusted for the final time, and tested successfully. The coach is now technically completed below floor level, so is mechanically suitable for service for the first time since the 1980’s!

Monkey carefully reunites the coach body with its bogies

Above floor level, all 18 of the plastic compartment air vents have now been fitted into position, another finishing job which we were unable to do with the coach elevated on jacks.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001


More floor protection has been undertaken under the seats, with black gloss now being applied as a topcoat, which is more suitable from white as it is just about visible if passengers look through the mesh of the heater grills which sit under the seats.

Maintenance


Our seating upholsterers, who have slowly been suffocating in the upholstery workshop due to lack of space, finally managed to escape our cold grasp and made haste to Sheringham. The reason was to do a large seating swap between two TSO vehicles. The reason behind this was that some years ago the railway had three identical vehicles upholstered in the same colour material: 4236, 4641 and 4651. 4651’s seats wore out quicker than the other two and by last season had become visibly threadbare and due for replacement. However due to its inferior bodywork and doorways, it was 4641 which was brought in for major overhaul (and therefore regularly features in these Blog updates!). As part of this overhaul, 4641 is due to have its seating reupholstered, despite it having pretty good material extant on the seats. Therefore it was decided to take the worn seats from 4651 and reupholster them for 4641. 4641’s good seats in turn will be fitted to 4651 which is expected to complete at least another season before it sees any workshop attention. Fallen asleep yet? Taking advantage of the railway’s “closed season” therefore, our two valiant upholsterers have been inside 4651 at Sheringham removing worn seats (to reupholster later this year) and substituting them with mid-life examples. Just one of the many tasks required to keep the carriage interiors looking reasonable from year-to-year.

Workshop


Inspired by the pole donation last week, a further two poles have moved in from a Pway hut in Brundall of all places... Both have been identified (we think), one was a jack handle and the other a hammer handle, possibly a wheel-tapper’s hammer judging by its extremely long length.

Friday, 22 January 2016

January News Part 3

A new feature for 2016... Monkey does welding!

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853


The ever faithful ceiling strippers continue to trudge their way through the most unpleasant of jobs. The two-thirds point has been reached with more than nine (of the 14) of the ceiling sections now back to bare wood. Staying on the wood theme the two doorways on the landward side of the coach, the first to receive repairs to the lower sections of the door pillars, have had more progress made, with new sections appearing to be spliced in and glued effectively. The Axeman, evidently feeling left out, has produced more metalwork to join the wood, but it may be a case of one step forward and five steps back... These five steps have in fact been produced from steel and these are destined for the brake (Holt) end of the coach on the outside to provide crew access to the roof.

Four of the end steps mid way through construction

Two more horizontal handrails have also been made (joining the other six made a few weeks ago) as although not marked on drawings, evidence on the body itself suggests there were two handrails bolted on the outside of the guards/luggage area.

British Railways 1962 Mark 1 First Open M3116


A side project worthy of mention is this dining coach, which is having an interior upgraded at Sheringham during the closed season. The seating has been removed and will be collected shortly for contract reupholstery. Whilst the seats are out, the legs have been sanded down ready for a quick re-varnish to improve their appearance. The plan is to also take the opportunity of the seats’ removal to replace the carpets throughout the coach.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641


This coach has continued to be the main focus for this week’s volunteer input. The Holt end saloon has now reached the stage where all of the interior window frames have been fully cleaned up and polished to improve their appearance for passengers. This single sentence masks a massive and mundane task which has been undertaken by a dedicated team over several days.

Dan cleaning sliding windows

Bulkhead varnish stripping continues, the Holt end saloon is complete and the first bulkhead (out of four) inside the Sheringham end saloon has been started.

Sheringham end saloon bulkhead varnish stripping

About half of the Holt end vestibule area (where the toilet/store cupboard is located) has had the walls final-sanded and a protective first coat of varnish applied. The sore cupboard, mentioned last week, which is also located at this end of the carriage, was completed this week. The final tasks were the fitting of the lino flooring and skirting boards, fitting of the exterior door/lock, installation of the glass in the window and its surrounding woodwork and lastly the fitting of the light to the ceiling.

A poor image of the glass fitted

 The door has now ceremoniously been closed as this (albeit modest sized) area needs no more work at all. This is the very first part of the coach that can make this claim!

Completed shelving inside the store

Opposite the store is the toilet, the reinstatement of which was 90% completed about 12 months ago. A window of opportunity has arisen to complete the last 10%, and some of the outstanding plumbing is being attended to. So far, the hot water tank (for the sink) has been assembled on a test rig and is being tested to monitor its power consumption and reliability.


The flush tank for the toilet pan itself has also had a leak cured and is currently awaiting reassembly and fitting. Progress on the water feeds to these two components has also been made. These have had to be made from new components as the originals had been stripped out of the carriage and lost long ago, when the toilets were first taken out of use presumably.

Externally, all six doors have had aluminium weather proofing strips riveted around the door apertures and the doors hung and adjusted for the final time. This represents  another milestone in the coach’s restoration.


British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041


The framework welding repairs on the landward side have been completed this week, with the seaward side not far behind. A start has been made on the Holt end of the coach, the last section to receive attention to the framework.

Progress spreads round the corner onto the Holt end


British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139


No progress to report.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001


No progress to report.

Gloucester RC&W 1955 Ballast Hopper HW426


Although moved out of the works a few weeks ago, it was worth including this image of the hopper "in use" for the first time in a good few years. It has been loaded with ballast and is currently undergoing track settling runs inside the station at Weybourne which has recently been relayed. Thanks to Bryan Toovey for providing the image.


Maintenance


The rake of four dining train coaches have been ultrasonically axle tested, which is a requirement for their derogation for running on Network Rail metals between Sheringham and Cromer. This involved a nice man coming a long way with a posh screen and probe, to do impressive things which I do not understand!

Testing FO M3116

What is understandable though is that the “spike” in the photo (which has been loaded upside down for some reason...) is of the correct calibre and that there are no problems with any of the axles on the stock which we propose to use on the Cromer specials, which is good news indeed.


Workshop


The last item is this update, but still in "pole-position" (ah ha,...!!) for the most exciting, is the donation of three large and historic wooden poles. We think two of them are pinch bars (used to manually move carriages or wagons along without the use of a locomotive) whilst the third is possibly a crude re-railing lever. Apparently, one of them is from the tram depot in Norwich. They have been treated for woodwork upon their arrival.

Friday, 15 January 2016

January News Part 2

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853


Progress has been in a similar vain to previous updates, peaking on Thursday with four male strippers in action at once inside the coach!


Paint strippers that is... The result of this dubious activity is that the half way point of stripping paint off the internal ceiling is now within grasp.


The grab handles fabricated last week are now also in undercoat.



British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641


This coach has seen the most people working on it this week. On the exterior, all of the door catches have been fitted to the new steel door pillers and the wooden door jambs also fitted. All of the main window frames have been sanded, filled, and coated in aluminium primer. Good inroads have been made on the massive task of dismantling and cleaning the sliding windows and their surrounding aluminium frames and runners. This last task alone consumed several people for several days.

Moving on to the interior, the ceiling paint preparation has now been completed, but it will be after the bulkheads have been varnished before the painting is actually done. To facilitate this, approximately a third of the bulkhead walls have been stripped of their old varnish, with more to follow next week. The store cupboard, which occupies one of the old toilets, has come on leaps and bounds. All panelling was quickly fitted, and has now also been primed and undercoated. Three shelves have been made, fitted and painted, to carry the proposed cleaning equipment. These were an interesting shape to say the least, with 5 sides at different angles in order to fit into the corner of the coach. Skirting boards and the lino flooring have both been cut to size and will be fitted once painting of the walls and ceiling are complete. The door for the store cupboard has been stripped of varnish, sanded and given a first coat of varnish. Hopefully, the store cupboard will be complete next week, less than two weeks after the area was simply a metal shell.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041


The coach remains in the sole custody of the two welders with progress continuing apace. Both sides are motoring closer to the Holt end, more skin and corroded framework being cut away and replaced with new. The coach will soon be a completed "skeleton" at the current rate.

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139


The lino flooring has been delivered for the coach. We are now attempting to find a contractor to lay it.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001


Work on the interior continues. Several areas under where the seating will be fitted have been painted in gloss white to protect the flooring.

Friday, 8 January 2016

January News Part 1

2016 has now started properly for the department, with the workshops reopening and good progress being made already.

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853


The paint stripping continues on the interior, with two (of 14) of the ceiling sections now treated. Two walls, one at the Sheringham end and the landward side of the guard’s area, have also been stripped. It is interesting to see the layers of scumbling-effect paintwork and other colours emerge.


Three and a half exterior doors have also been stripped of old paint to the stage where they can be further dismantled for the inevitable woodwork repairs. The repairs are also being further prepared with three steel strengthening bars extracted out of stores and an identical forth example made from new. These attach to the sides of the wooden door frames and help keep them in profile after the wood has been weakened or has rotted slightly.

A great number of grab handles have also been made by Axeman Collier. Four have been produced to go each side of the two guard’s doors on the exterior with a further two fitted on the inside of each doorway. These are made by cutting salvaged handles from other vehicles in half and welding an extension piece of the correct length into the middle. Two large curved handles have also been made from an old Great Northern Railway coach which will go on the brake end of the vehicle and were used to climb up the steps to access the roof.


British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641


The New Year has brought a new opportunity to make progress on this vehicle, mainly due to Suburban W46139 taking a backseat whilst we wait for materials to be delivered. All six of the exterior doors have been hung into place. Whilst there are some minor adjustments to make to one or two of them, they are practically now in position which has allowed the “bump stops” (rubbers on the vehicle which prevent the door hitting the side of the coach when it is opened fully) to be bolted into place and the captive nuts for the grab handles welded to the inside of the body. Most of the door catches have also been fitted into the doorways so that the doors have something to latch into. The next task in this area will be the fitting of the wooden door jambs into the steel frame of the vehicle in each doorway. Also on the exterior, a concerted effort is being made to sand and fill the exterior window frames, hiding the rivets used to attach them in place to the body. Three quarters of the windows have been completed.


Moving onto the interior, varnish stripping of the woodwork continues, with bulkhead veneered panels being the focus this week, three of which were completed. There are still plenty more of these to be tackled however, as only the Holt end vestibule has been fully stripped so far. Several days have also been spent preparing the ceiling in the two passenger saloons for a repaint. A lot of flatting back has been done and various holes and cracks plugged to bring the ceiling to a presentable level for repainting. Also inside the saloons, all of the sliding windows have been removed and are in the process of being stripped back to aluminium and super-cleaned. The frames in which these windows fit will also have to be treated. In order to refit the main glass to the windows, the supporting timber (which screws to the window frames and hold the glass in) has had a final sand and been varnished ready for fitting when the filling on the window frames in complete.


At the Holt end of the vehicle, the interior of the store cupboard (ex toilet) is beginning to be reconstructed. So far, the bulkhead which was removed for welding work has been refitted, and the other five sides of the “cupboard” has had its framework reinstated ready to take new panelling. This process has just started, with the ceiling being the first panel to be installed.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041


Good progress continues to be made with the welding repairs. On the seaward side, the framing replacement has well and truly passed the half way mark and progress is now in the sixth and seventh compartments (out of eight) so the Holt end of the coach is certainly within sight.


British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139


Little progress to report due to the coach being in limbo until ordered materials arrive on site. However we did manage to refit the compartment lights back into position, after they had been removed and repainted last month.


British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001


No progress to report, with the weather taking a cooler turn there is currently little point in working outside if there with lots to do on the vehicles inside the shed.

Gloucester RC&W 1955 Ballast Hopper HW426


The bracket for the centre ballast door was welded in over the Christmas period completing the initial work required on the wagon. It has now been shunted back into the yard where it will remain until it is required to spread some ballast as part of the winter shut-down task of relaying the two platform roads here at Weybourne. Plans have been submitted to undertake further (cosmetic) work on the wagon, but a decision on whether this is viable or not within the 2016 work programme remains to be made.


Maintenance


A rather posh buckeye coupling basket has been made from steel, to facilitate the swapping of these extremely heavy couplings using a jack and trolley at Sheringham away from the workshop. Several of these buckeyes need changing on the coaching stock which is being upgraded for use on Network Rail infrastructure as far as Cromer. So far, two have successfully been changed.