Friday, 15 September 2017

September News Part 3

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853


This week has seen a real milestone reached in the project to restore our oldest coach currently in works. The last of the leaf springs were fitted into position and a push made on assembling the rubber spring hanging parts which have been refurbished over recent weeks on the bench.


The conclusion of this work meant that the underframe could be lifted a few inches off its stands and then lowered onto its own springs. With the stands now gone the vehicle is what's known as a "rolling chassis" for the first time since the 1920's! Well done to all involved!


In between this big moment the handbrake column and mechanism, mentioned last week, was completed and fitted. The column itself will have to be removed again of course when the body is lifted onto the underframe.


As you can see the process was carefully supervised by one of the Works Monkeys, who have been elusive from these jottings for far too many weeks!


The continuous drawbar and coupling hooks are now fitted into the underframe as well, so it can be coupled to and towed away when we shunt it for the first time!

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224


Over the past two weeks the steel mesh grills which fit underneath the compartment bench seats have been being cleaned back to bare metal ready for repainting. There are ten of these in total and they are now all done and ready to be primed. This seemingly simple task has taken an individual several days to achieve!


Last week it was mentioned that the roof had received a test scrape to see how easy it will be to strip down. We were informed this week of a slight change to our work schedule this autumn which will result in E21224 in being in the staging area for a few weeks longer than we originally thought. This in turn gives us the opportunity to strip the roof earlier than first planned, and this has now started. The landward side is being tackled first, starting at the Sheringham end and working towards Holt.


British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843


The bodywork has been fully focused on repairs to the seaward side this week. Lots of small areas of corrosion have been cut out and new patches welded in, particularly around the windows which we have removed.


Other areas have been filled and sanded to steadily progress this side.


Meanwhile, the windows which have removed continue to be stripped down of their old paint and sealant, a long winded job indeed. The six replacement door cards introduced last week are coming along nicely, four out of the six are finished and screwed into position, and now await varnishing. The final two shall likely join them next week. Once again, Monkey was on hand to ensure quality control!


British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464


Body repairs continue steadily. The seaward side is now complete, and the corroded roof at the Holt end has also been similarly treated. This marks the half way point for the welding repairs, with another side and end to complete.


One of the three sheets of glass which had to be removed for the repairs has also been cleaned back to a fine shine and is now ready to refit.

Colman's 1908 Mustard Van 4807


With the Weybourne model railway van now repainted, the same team has been able to return to Holt to tie up the loose ends from the summer. The Mustard Van, which was so close to completion, has now received its striking yellow gloss and is now therefore finished.

Hurst Nelson 1942 4 Wheel Tank 1982


With the Mustard Van complete, the tank wagon is now the only vehicle left from the "freight stock repainting project". Work to repaint the top of the tank which had suffered the effects of the sun is now ongoing, with the intention of finishing it before the weather turns...

Wagon Spares


More cleaning and repainting on the wheelsets in a similar story to previous updates.

Friday, 8 September 2017

September News Part 2

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853


The springs continue to be the main source of progress. Furthering the good work described last week, three out of the four leaf springs are now fitted to the vehicle, with the fourth not far behind at all. Other mechanical work has included the positioning of the first bracket which will accommodate the handbrake column, and the completion of the continuous drawgear bar (basically a coupling which stretches right along the vehicle and joins the coupling at the other end, reducing stress on the underframe itself). This bar is now ready for fitting.


British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224


A test section of roof has been scraped back to bare metal to see how hard this job will be, which depends on what sort of paint has been applied by the carriage's previous owners. The first small section has come off encouragingly quickly, so we are hopeful that the rest of the roof is the same when we come to complete the rest of the job during this coming winter.


British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843


This coach has seen the greatest amount of progression this week. All of the windows which require removal are now out, including the aluminium frames, so that the corroded steel-work beneath can now be accessed.


A start has been made of stripping the old paint off these frames so that they can be refitted once repairs to the body are completed. As part of this work, two windows which had small cracks in them have been replaced.


The two corridor connections mentioned last week are now fully dismantled as far as we can before craning them off, this is again so that the steelwork behind can be accessed for its repairs.

Whilst we are doing minimal work to the interior, the six aluminium "wood effect" door panels were in a poor visual state so will be replaced with varnished wood examples in a similar manner to how we did E4641 last year. These have now been cut out and are being fitted individually to each door before varnishing.


British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464


The work on this vehicle has been on the seaward side welding repairs. There were approximately a dozen of these and they are nearly all completed (only one left to finish off).


The roof corners also need welding up as they had also corroded, but the rest of the roof is in good condition.



Southern Railway 1951 Parcels & Miscellaneous Van 1476


The repainting work on this van is now completed, after rapid progress on the other (seaward) side was made and the whole side painted into green gloss.


This now matches the public (landward) side, already completed. This now concludes the refurbishment work on the coach, which can now return to its duties as the Weybourne Station Model Railway.


Colman's 1908 Mustard Van 4807 & Hurst Nelson 1942 4 Wheel Tank 1982


No progress to report from Holt.

Wagon Spares


More cleaning and repainting on the wheelsets in a similar story to previous updates.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

September News Part 1

The Steam Gala is in full swing this weekend closing a successful week of restoration and preparation.

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853


Work on the underframe continues, with the springs being the focus of attention this week. The spring hanger eye bolts have been machined down slightly as these were reclaimed from a 1950's railcar bogie and are slightly too large for the brackets on this much older vehicle.

The first of the four springs has also been fitted into position and loosely arranged with its hangers.


British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224


With the arrival of 4843 into the workshops some resources have had to be directed away from 21224. However interior sanding of the bulkheads has continued and the sides of the corridor wall that face into the passenger compartments have now been sanded, and they have come up beautifully.



Of course, interior woodwork varnishing continues. Some of the sections, such as the toilet doors, are gaining the characteristic "sheen" that tells us they are approaching completion!


British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843


Our latest project has now arrived, this has replaced E4236 as the next "Silver standard" (or intermediate) overhaul. The coach has been inspected and the scope of works agreed. The interior is in great condition so will not be disturbed at all unless necessary. The exterior requires much more work and 1/4 of the coach will be re-panelled with steel from the windows downwards. Both corridor connections will be removed and the ends cleansed of corrosion before the corridors are refitted. The sides will be patch welded and cracked filler removed and re-filled where required. The doors are to be checked but are in overall good condition so again, will be repaired "as required". The roof and bodysides will then be fully repainted and anything removed reassembled. Easy!

We made a start immediately on stripping the interior out on the 1/4 of the carriage which is going to be paneled, so that we don't set fire to the inside! This has now been completed and a start has been made on removing the four windows in the affected area.


Further down the same side, the cracked filler has been removed and a good start has been made on refilling the lower sections, the upper sections can be done once the coach enters the staging area.


Finally, we have also started loosening off components that form the Holt end corridor connection, in preparation for getting them off at some point.

British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464


This vehicle suffered a disruption this week as it was required at Sheringham to unload some bits stored inside for the Steam Gala. We taped up the windows in case it rained and it made a brief trip to Sheringham for these duties. It has now returned inside the shed. Some extra volunteers who were available during the steam gala were deployed on the vehicle, stripping the old flaking paint off the Sheringham end doors, which are made from plywood.


Some light sanding down of interior panels has also been completed ready for refreshing the interior. Approximately 1/3rd has been prepared so far.

Some limited progress has also been made on the steelwork repairs, with a door receiving a new patch at the bottom.


Southern Railway 1951 Parcels & Miscellaneous Van 1476


The extra paint arrived for the vehicle so the landward side was fully finished in green gloss just before visitors started arriving for the gala weekend. This now leaves only the hidden, seaward side to attend to. A lot of this has already been cleaned up and rubbed down ready for painting.

Colman's 1908 Mustard Van 4807 & Hurst Nelson 1942 4 Wheel Tank 1982


No progress to report from Holt.

Maintenance


As part of the preparations for the Steam Gala, a day was spent oiling the axleboxes on the freight train at Holt, something that has to be done each time it is used given the amount of water that gets inside the axleboxes when it is stabled out of service.

Wagon Spares


The second of the four spare wheelsets has now been cleaned down of rust and a start made on painting it.

Friday, 25 August 2017

August News Part 4

We start with the sad news that our shed foreman Mike Biss left us today for pastures new. He has been with us for three years and worked for several years before that on the Permanent Way staff. A skilled Carpenter and morale raising character he provided a lot of the "get up and go" during the latter half of the Suburban 4 project and of course across the day to day activities as well. He will be missed by volunteers and staff alike.


Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853


This week has been more positive than the last. The incorrect brake gear mentioned last week has now been modified with the addition of another bracket which has slightly changed the geometry of how the rods pull the brakes on. This will hopefully solve the issues highlighted but we await testing of the full brake system to be 100% sure.


Meanwhile the four alternative leaf springs are being prepared for their new role on 853's underframe.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224


A new floor has been fitted into the guards compartment and interior woodwork stripping and varnishing continues steadily. On the exterior, most of the glass has now been fitted into the frames along the seaward side.


British Railways 1957 Corridor Second E25189


E25189 was collected early in the week and is now running up and down in the trains once more.


British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464


Bodywork continues apace. The replacement sections of framework have now been fitted to all six windows around the vehicle, so there is now only panelwork left to complete.


A start has also been made on bodywork preparation on the landward side to ready the vehicle for a repaint once the other repairs are completed. This has involved the usual sanding and filling routine that regular readers will be so familiar with!


The window apertures have had to be taped up temporarily as we have been asked for the vehicle to be tripped to Sheringham next week so that the Beer Festival contents can be used for the Steam Gala! This was unusual news to have part way through bodywork repairs but we try to help out as best we can!


Southern Railway 1951 Parcels & Miscellaneous Van 1476


The "martian green" applied last week has been coated over this week in some surplus DMU green which is a fairly close match to the Southern Green that some of these vans were originally painted in. Sadly there wasn't quite enough to finish all of the panels so another tin will have to be ordered.


Colman's 1908 Mustard Van 4807 & Hurst Nelson 1942 4 Wheel Tank 1982


No progress to report from Holt.

Maintenance


Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641 (the one we fully overhauled and launched into service last November) suffered a broken window in one of its doors whilst operating a dining service. This has been changed this week and the vehicle returned to Sheringham without fuss.

Wagon Spares


The recently obtained wagon underframe spares mentioned last week have received some more attention. The first wheelset has now been finished in its gloss paint ready for storage.

Friday, 18 August 2017

August News Part 3

The railway is preparing itself for Morgan the Railway Cat's big weekend, but we weren't sure if cats and Monkeys were compatible so have stuck to carriage restoration instead.

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853


Setbacks can often come in threes and this was the case this week. The first concerned 853's brake-gear which on Monday was spotted to be in slightly the incorrect orientation for it to work when it is all connected up. This will require some further thoughts and modification. On the bright side however, the main vacuum cylinder overhauled last week has now been painted and fitted to the underframe.


The second setback was the fitting of the four leaf springs which had been cleaned up for the vehicle. These were also found to be slightly unsuitable in their shape when the first one was offered into position. This sadly means that Plan B will have to be implemented, which is selecting the four ex-PMV van springs and sending them away to be modified in their springing (made softer) which will be much more expensive than Plan A. Hopefully next week will be better!

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224


This week has been particularly fruitful for this project, our current major (or "Gold") overhaul, with a lot done mainly by volunteers. Following last week's interior wood stripping, some of the large wall panels are now being sanded smooth ready to receive varnish. These are large, time consuming areas so will be a big milestone when completed. So far the Sheringham end vestibule, adjacent to the guard's compartment, has been treated.


The second of the five compartment sliding doors has been stripped of old varnish and awaits sanding.


Those items already at the varnish stage have also been receiving further coats of varnish.


The store cupboard was missing several sections of panels where it had all been cut away to accommodate the hideous shower unit. These areas have now been paneled over in a plain plastic material. This plain approach is appropriate as because it is a store cupboard we will be painting the inside and not restoring any of the original Formica panels as such. A start has now been made on fitting beading timber on the inside to cover some of the joins between panels.


British Railways 1957 Corridor Second E25189


This carriage's brief stay with us is approaching its end. The collapsed vacuum pipe at the Holt end had to be cut out and removed in several sections, the level of corrosion around the pipe was not pretty and the toilet flooring had to be dismantled to gain access to it.


With the pipe removed, a new section was made and welded in it place. The toilet floor was then reinstated and the coach tested. Frustratingly there is some form of tiny leak somewhere else in the system (we wanted it perfect!) however this repair has improved matters considerably. We are now awaiting for the coach to be collected for a return to Sheringham.


British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464


Work has continued to focus on the extremely rotten window bottoms, which have spiraled out of control as there simply isn't anything left of them.


We have gained access to the interior of the vehicle, which was difficult as it is stacked full of equipment, and started removing the internal window woodwork so that the new bottoms can be welded in and the windows can be re-secured. Three out of the six windows have now been dismantled.


Southern Railway 1951 Parcels & Miscellaneous Van 1476


In case you thought we had forgotten the third mistake of the week mentioned in the section on GER 853, then fear not! This week was to see the gloss paint applied to the Model Railway Van, however it soon became apparent that the green was not really the desired shade... Never mind, the rest of the side was painted in any case, as a holding coat, and when the correct colour arrives it can go on top in due course. It will indeed provide an extra layer of protection on the vehicle.


Colman's 1908 Mustard Van 4807 & Hurst Nelson 1942 4 Wheel Tank 1982


No progress to report up at Holt.

Future Projects


A juicy delivery of wagon underframe spares arrived from the Wensleydale, bought by the M&GN Society for future underframe and wagon restoration projects. Of interest is four standard three hole wagon wheelsets and axleboxes. These will be cleaned up now and repainted and protected before they are put into storage. So far the first one has been cleaned down, rust treated and coated in primer.

Friday, 11 August 2017

August News Part 2

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853


The focus has continued on the underframe with lots of volunteers swarming on and around it like a climbing frame! The fruits of their labour is shining through with brakegear assembly rapidly progressing. This is taking advantage of the many brackets which have been fitted in previous weeks which are now holding some of the equipment they were meant for.


The four leaf springs that are being fitted for the vehicle have been extracted from storage and have now been cleaned down and inspected prior to fitting them to the underframe.


An 18 inch vacuum cylinder has been rebuilt and tested on our test rig, intended for 853. This is the heart of the brake system so is a nice symbolic component to restore!


British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224


Work on the windows continues. All of the window frames were gloss painted on the hidden inside faces in the early part of the week which then enabled the seaward side examples to be fitted to the repaired bodyside on the coach itself.


On the inside of the coach the large corridor partitions have now been chemically stripped of their old stain and varnish.


These walls are now ready for sanding.


A start has been made on replacing some of the plywood flooring where it has been removed for repairs or due to rot. A replacement floor has been fitted firstly to the Sheringham end toilet (the old shower room) which is now going to be a store cupboard.

On the benches in the workshop, more interior doors and woodwork are being stripped and re-varnished.


Some of the more advanced stuff is now getting up to three or four coats of varnish and is starting to get that trademark "glow" of gloss varnish!


British Railways 1956 Tourist Second Open E4236


This coach has completed its three month stay with us and has now been returned to traffic. It has received some very positive comments and looks very nice in the main passenger set.


British Railways 1957 Corridor Second E25189


The replacement coach for E4236 was planned to be TSO E4843. However this was changed this week to SK E25189. This latter coach has had a small vacuum leak for some months and it had been noted that certain smaller engines were struggling on occasion to raise the vacuum along the train. Given that it was a known issue, appeared to be surmountable, and was on a coach which is not used as often as many of the others it was descided to leave it alone for now until the coach came in for mid life overhaul in the next year (or so!). However since the start of the summer season it suddenly appeared to get worse an visiting N2 No 1744 in particular seemed to be struggling hauling trains which included E25189. After dragging brakes and wheel slipping was reported during the recent rainy weather E25189 had to be pulled from service and brought in for the required vacuum repairs.


Another reason to put off the repair was the simple fact than when you start "poking around" these things you often make it a lot worse! Sure enough within a few hours of the coach entering the shed a "small" hole was found in the main vacuum pipe underneath the toilet, which we think is the source of the problems. The toilet pan and part of the floor were stripped out to gain full access to the identified section of pipe and it was smartly tapped to see if the surrounding pipe was solid enough to be able to fill up the hole with a small welding repair from above, which would have been the swiftest repair.


Alas, at this point a large section of the pipe collapsed in on itself and the coach is now well and truly disabled requiring a much larger repair to the vacuum pipe in the most awkward of places! It has corroded right through where it passes through the reinforced buffer-beam and "dragbox" (a common place for these vacuum pipes to rot) and will probably have a few feet replaced next week. I say "probably" because the pipe collapsed in on itself about half an hour before home time on Friday afternoon, so being perfectly honest (we are human after all!) it was decided to enjoy the weekend first and re-assess the full battle plan on Monday morning! All good fun...

British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464


The rehanging of the doors has now been completed on this vehicle. Considering they had been in store and were all stuck getting all eight closing and latching smoothly and properly has been a great achievement!


Work is now fully focussed on the bodywork repairs to both sides of the vehicle. A combination of welded repairs and rivet patches are being employed as we do not have full resources currently available to direct at this van. Some pretty horrendous corrosion has been found underneath however we are doing our best to tackle what is required in the best possible timescale!


Southern Railway 1951 Parcels & Miscellaneous Van 1476


This week has seen the landward (platform) side of the van completed up to the undercoat stage. Nearly there...


Colman's 1908 Mustard Van 4807 & Hurst Nelson 1942 4 Wheel Tank 1982


No progress to report.

Workshop


This week's workshop improvement project for the Axeman has been creating some extensions for our lifting jacks. These are being produced from some very heavy material and will be inspected (by the relevant qualified personnel from our colleagues in the Engineering department) prior to use once they are completed. Well, one does have to keep the eyes peeled when there is an Axeman, or indeed Wild Monkeys, on the loose!