This week sees the completion of the restoration of our Royal Navy 4-wheel flat wagon 269.
269 was built in 1940 during the Second World War for the The Royal Navy Armaments Depot (RNAD) and was a simple 4-wheel un-braked flat wagon for carrying loads of any description, initially based at a propellant factory in Caewent, Wales. We actually have very little information as to the history of this wagon, perhaps understandably as the activities of the armed forces are rarely openly publicised.
It is quite likely that 269 was used comparatively little (compared to similar wagons in use on British Railways) and may have spent extended periods of time on MOD and other similar rail served sites throughout the UK.
Eventually 269 must have been made surplus to requirements and ended up in preservation at our neighbours the Mid Norfolk Railway. From there it was purchased by the M&GN Society as a wagon to be modified as a chassis to run the reclaimed Midland & Great Northern tool van body (which was undergoing restoration) on.
When 269 arrived at Sheringham it was temporarily put to use as an accommodation chassis for the body of Great Eastern Railway 853 (now also under restoration at Weybourne) whilst the body of the M&GN Van was readied. However 269 was then set aside as by chance it was noticed how much of a good fit it was (in terms of length) as a donor chassis for GER 853. For this reason the M&GN van would get another chassis whilst 269 was reserved to accommodate 853.
Fast forward to 2015, and the plans for 269 were changed yet again after it was realised how good a condition 853's own severed underframe was in. With 853 now not needing a donor chassis at all, 269 was in fact surplus to requirements after all this time.
However the simplistic nature of the wagon and the desire by supporters to see a longer demonstration freight train soon led to the idea of 269 being restored as an item in its own right for the goods set. Inspections were made and it was realised that a good clean up and some mechanical work and the wagon would in fact be fit for service!
Over the past few months the wagon has been fully restored cosmetically and mechanically.
A through vacuum pipe has been fitted so it can coexist in the freight set nicely. The wooden deck was restored and the sides painted in RNAD blue colours.
The only item missing was a suitable Navy-themed load to make the wagon more interesting. A 21 foot torpedo built from plywood and wooden slats was chosen.
Covered in thin steel sheet with a mock propeller end.
A hot water cylinder covered in car body filler as a nose cone added to the effect!
The wagon, with completed load, is now ready for service and been successfully test run up to Holt where it now joins the other freight wagons in the demonstration goods set, which is now one wagon stronger.
Meanwhile, back at the Ranch...
There was excitement in the works this Wednesday morning after the storms the night before. Ceilings had burst through, roofs had leaked, drains overcome and workshops flooded! Comms were down but the lack of ringing phones actually worked to our advantage in the end! With a stiff upper lip we rallied the Works Monkeys and kept the wheels of industry turning... OK to be fair none of the water damage was actually in Carriage & Wagon but in Norfolk you has to grab every sensational headline you can!
Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853
The W irons continue to be worked on and all the spring hangers have now been fitted also. A large number of supporting brackets and brake gear has been dragged out of stores, some of which has already been cleaned up and painted some months/years ago. The rest has been gathered and some items, such as the drawgear (coupling) hooks coated in rust-killer to start their transformation ready for re-use.
British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224
Steady progress continues to be made on the ongoing tasks. A new cluster of woodwork was found lying forgotten at the side of the workshop so this has triggered a fresh bout of woodwork stripping and 50/50 re-varnishing. Window frame stripping also creeps along to ready the windows for re-glazing and refitting when the body is ready for them. Even the Works Monkeys have had to be drafted in for this huge job!
During a week's work experience we had a student with us who was able to rub down the guard's desk and paint the areas that had worn down to bare wood into primer.
Bench work rebuilding the second batch of exterior doors (intended for the landward side) has continued and they are starting to gain items such as opening windows and look like they are coming together fast.
British Railways 1956 Tourist Second Open E4236
This vehicle is now on the cusp of completion having been in for a very respectable three months for "intermediate overhaul". On the exterior of the vehicle, the lining out is now complete and the lettering "E4236" has also been applied. The vehicle was numbered M4236 when it came in but as it was delivered new to the Eastern Region we have taken the opportunity during the repaint to show its original prefix from now on.
The British Railways coach roundels have also been applied to the sides, which really finishes off the paint job nicely.
Attention has now turned to finishing the vehicle's ends. The corridor connections and end footsteps, which were removed to enable bodywork repairs, have all been craned back onto the vehicle and the rubber bellows and associated equipment bolted up. These bits and bobs are now receiving their final paint. Also on the end, the removed vacuum pipe which feeds the emergency passenger communication chord apparatus has been returned to its rightful place.
The interior is also receiving its finishing touches. A great deal of effort has been spent on modifying two odd tables at the end of the coach.
|Odd tables that do not match the others|
These had been swapped in the past and the originals lost so have never matched the blue patterned Formica tables that are fitted to the rest of the carriage.
|The Formica tables fitted to most of the carriage|
Some time ago we took a high resolution photo of one of the Formica tables and digitally tweaked it so that it could be printed out on a vinyl roll. This has now been done and the "fake" Formica stuck onto a wooden insert which was carefully shaped to sit into the tables that were of a different design. We are all very pleased how they have turned out and are eager to see how hard-wearing the vinyl is in front line service.
|The new "fake" covering|
Elsewhere on the interior, some general tidying up of repainted and mastic filled areas has been done to improve the final appearance of the windows.
British Railways 1958 Covered Carriage Truck M94125
The need for this vehicle to be in service in time for the summer season has meant a big push to get the refresh work completed this week. Two coats of Crimson gloss, left over from the Suburban 4 project, have now been applied which has brightened up the vehicle considerably.
The original numbers, which due to time constraints had been masked up for the duration of the painting works, have been revealed once more. They are slightly messy if you look at them very close up, but they are more than adequate considering that the alternative was to go without any numbering at all.
The doors have also received some maintenance to remove some of the wear they had (as one set was groaning when you opened them!) which has been done by lubricating some parts and replacing some others. Also on the doors, all of the handrails, luggage handles and step boards have been painted black to smarten them up.
M94125 has now been handed back to the operating department and will be back in traffic next week.
Southern Railway 1951 Parcels & Miscellaneous Van 1476
The roof repaint is now finished. Attention continues to be on the sides which have had several coats of resin applied to try and seal and stabalise the timber which faces the harsh sunlight.
London Midland & Scottish Railway 1940 12T Box Van 514207
The repainting of the roof has now been finished, which completes the planned work for the vehicle for this summer.
Colman's 1908 Mustard Van 4807 & Hurst Nelson 1942 4 Wheel Tank 1982
Progress on the two vehicle's currently undergoing a refresh up at Holt has continued this week, but I haven't been able to get there for an update so it will have to wait until next week!