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 It is now standing in splendid isolation, where it will remain until the vehicle is withdrawn from traffic for the winter, which cannot happen until December.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!

Friday, 27 October 2017

October News Part 4

As Halloween approaches we have been scaring ourselves with the ongoing tasks of restoration. I give you...the horror in carriage form...

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

A modest amount of progress on our oldest project, with the end handrails now in undercoat and the new vacuum pipes painted up to gloss.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224

No progress other then continued varnish preparation on the five sliding compartment doors, and more coats of varnish added to the mixed stack of interior trim and paneling.

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843

The Sheringham end metalwork, which featured heavily last week, has progressed well, although there has been some of the horror as mentioned above! With the corridor removed, further stripping of corroded outer panels revealed the rotten framework below... This cancer had sadly spread over the top of the adjacent doorway and also into the lower sections of the roof.

Much of this was chopped away this week and new framework has now been fitted above the doorway, down the side of the doorway and around the corner. The area is still looking very "skeletal" but hopefully the tricks will soon be looking like treats!

The bodysides have generally  fared better this week. The last sheets of glass have been fitted to the seaward side, which now has all eight of its main panes in place.

Attention has now turned to the landward side. The four windows which were removed have now had the apertures cleaned up and protected in rust-kill primer. The area around them, which is bare steel as that was the section which we recently replaced, is also having filler applied so it can join the other 3/4 of the coach in being  ready for painting when the time comes.

Interior reassembly has now started as well. With the whole Holt end passenger saloon now fully glazed, one (of the two) areas which was disassembled for repair access has been put back together.

We are aiming to have this half completed soon so that it can be "sealed off" and a top up coat of varnish applied to the wall panels to seal them back in and give the coach a slight freshen up inside.

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Second Lavatory M56352

Several more seat backs have been reupholstered and now await fitting.

British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464

The Holt end wooden goods doors, which have been in component form for several weeks now, are finally all finished and are currently in the process of being reassembled following their repairs. The first (of the four) was successfully fitted just at the end of the week, and looks so much better than the old ones!

Prior to the doors starting to be refitted, the rotten floor that was below them was permanently fitted in place, after replacements were made (pictured last week).

A start has been made on cleaning up the outside (visible) 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. The Sheringham end buffer beam has been stripped, primed and is currently in undercoat.

The seaward side has also been partially cleaned, work on this will continue next week all being well.

The two wheelsets which have been removed are now all cleaned up of old paint and the usual detritus. The first one has been sent next door for tyre turning as these ones were out of profile and had recently failed a routine gauging exam. Sadly the results were not great: the tyres are so badly out of shape that they have had to be turned down to just above scrap size to get the profile back to the correct form. What these means is that it will allow them to be used in service again, but just one case of wheel flats or further wear will render these wheels scrap. Let us hope that will not happen!

British Railways 1958 GWR Designed "Fruit D" W92097

This van was last in the workshops for restoration work two years ago, when were were preparing it for operating in the main service sets as a bicycle and buggy carrier. We out-shopped it in June 2015 which was featured in this Blog. Sadly it has not fared too well and earlier this year it was decided to retire it from the main trains (which was always a temporary measure) and return it to the occasionally used demonstration freight train. CCT E94464 is being prepared to replace W92097 for the 2018 season onwards.

W92097 was brought inside so that the storage contents inside E94464 could be moved into W92097, freeing up E94464 for bike and buggy carrying. This was completed quickly with a nice open area appearing inside the latter.

Whilst in for a week or two however volunteers have agreed to quickly spruce up the vehicle before it is sent to Holt for further (freight) service. The wood was causing the paint to peel practically all around the vehicle, so all of the bodysides have been coated in resin to seal it in.

Problem areas have been sanded back and all loose paint removed. The landward (GWR chocolate liveried) side has been patch painted as this was the worst side. Some small areas of rotten woodwork have been chopped out and quickly repaired, prior to the painting.

The Sheringham end has also been repainted black as this had also suffered.

Royal Navy 4 Wheel Flat 269

You could say that the M&GN Society volunteers have sunk to new depths... The depth charges, which someone correctly pointed out so seem to be a "polite" version of the real things (how big are they supposed to be?!?) have now been gloss painted and fixed onto their carrier which will adorn the Torpedo wagon 269.

The warheads have been similarly treated.

Friday, 20 October 2017

October News Part 3

Quite a lot to report this week, although spread over numerous projects!

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

This week has seen holes cut into the floor of the body which will be accommodating the handbrake mechanism and vacuum piping (to serve the guard's brake gauge etc). It is remarkable how sturdy some of the original Great Eastern Railway wood still is in the areas where it has not rotted during all those years!

On the end of the body, work on the end handrails has progressed and these have been trail fitted and painted in primer.

The underframe has also continued to have parts added. Brake linkages continue to emerge, and end steps have been welded to the guards end corners.

One of the main areas of progress however has been the bending of the brand new vacuum piping which will be fitted soon to the underframe. It is not very often a vehicle gets a whole new pipe from end to end!

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224

No progress to report.

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843

The refurbishment of the doors is approaching completion. As mentioned last week, internal painting is now completed, and this week has seen the varnished door cards permanently fitted in place and the "do not lean out of the window" signage added.

A start has been made on the metalwork replacement on the Sheringham end of the vehicle, which was badly corroded. This proved to actually be a real pig, and what normally takes just over an hour turned into two days, as this one did not want to budge...

In the end, after various methods were tried and tested, the Axeman had to step in to apply some serious heat but even then the connection refused to comply to our demands! However we always get our way in the end and the following day it was finally off!

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Second Lavatory M56352

The National Railway Museum's DMU trailer car has been selected as the next vehicle to receive reupholstered seating, which will hopefully be completed before the start of the 2018 season. The first six seats have been loaded into the upholstery workshops, and upholsterers Keith & Martin have made a swift start in working out how these seats are to be tackled.

The first seat back has now been produced, and looks a million times better than the damaged, holed, faded old examples!

British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464

The vehicle was lifted into the air this week, a task which has been delayed as we have required extension brackets manufacturing for our lifting jacks to properly lift it. which in turn required input from "management"!

With these fitted and the vehicle successfully skyward the two out-of-profile wheelsets were rolled out and the axleboxes removed. They are now ready for transferring next door for tyre turning, but as the volunteer who undertakes this comes in on Thursdays (6 days away), we took the opportunity to make a start on stripping all of the detritus off them so they can be repainted in due course. So far the first wheelset (being a 4 wheel vehicle there is only two to do!) has nearly been cleaned up.

All four of the wooden end doors have now been repaired and all have now been painted in primer. In order to fit the doors, the rotten floor at the same end of the vehicle (which was removed several weeks ago) has been remade from new timber, test fitted, and also primed. All of these components (including the doors) can now be brought up to gloss paint together prior to actual fitting!

The interior sanding of the walls has also been finished so these are now also ready for paint.

Royal Navy 4 Wheel Flat 269

This vehicle, the latest wagon to be added into the demonstration freight train, is having a few "extras" added to it to increase the Naval theme. A box of warheads has been produced, complete with fibreglass tips, and are in the process of being painted, along with two depth charges!

The cradle for the depth charges has also been produced from scrap timer and has already been painted.


The two TSO coaches which were selected to go on hire to the Churnet Valley have had their final checks, which included some last minute lighting modifications to E4651!

They both were picked up on time and made an interesting sight on the road lorries.

Other maintenance continues, with a batch of Direct Admission vacuum brake valves having Dan's magic overhaul touch, and very nice they look too!