Friday, 29 September 2017

September News Part 4

There was unfortunately no update last week as the author was busy off on the annual railway trip so was not able to observe the workshop progress as is normally the case. However a good time was had with the East Anglian Railway Museum, Bluebell, Sittingbourne & Kemsley, Romney Hythe & Dymchurch and Kent & East Sussex all visited and of course compared to our own outfit here in Norfolk! Monkey was of course involved in the holiday and has been looking at a few ways other railways do things to gain inspiration for the next year's NNR restoration!


Back at home in the workshops, we would like the wish Brian and Sylvia a happy 50th wedding anniversary. Brian works with us in Carriage & Wagon and is engaged mainly in the restoration of GER 853, whilst Sylvia does valuable work assisting with the running of the Weybourne buffet. I don't know what either of them did to get a 50 year sentence, but as they're still going strong they must be doing something right!

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853


Further progress has been made with the handbrake mechanism under the recently installed column. This has now been linked to the brake gear and test operated.


A nice new linkage has appeared underneath the centre of the vehicle to join up various parts of the brake system already installed. This was another recycled rod which was ably extended by The Axeman, who seems intent of continuing the come in despite the closing in nights...


A number of safety chains designed to "catch" the brakegear if it falls off(!) have also been fitted and painted. On the end of the frame, the buffer shanks are now back with us after some machining work, and the first one has been fitted to the chassis on the Sheringham end.


Moving onto the body of the vehicle, the end steps (for staff gaining access to the roof) have been trial fitted onto the brake (Holt) end. Further paint has also been applied to the interior walls in the compartments.


British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224


There has been great progress on the roof stripping, which has now been completed along both sides of the vehicle. There is now just a strip along the centre of the roof which still requires stripping.


Inside the vehicle, all of the interior bulkheads have received two coats of 50/50 varnish/white spirit which has brought out the colour of the wood and also protected the "raw" bulkheads from workshop hazards such as dirty fingers!




British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843


The bodywork repairs to the seaward side of the coach are now completed, and the side has been filled and sanded ready for repainting. The windows which have been removed have had their apertures protected with gloss paint so that the window frames can be refitted shortly.


The cleaning up of the nine removed window frames which were removed from the coach has now been completed, closing what was a mammoth task... The glass from these windows has also been cleaned and polished on the bench ready for refitting.


All of the renewed door cards for the six exterior doors have now been completed, test fitted and removed again so they can be varnished properly. The doors themselves, which are aluminium, are now in the process of being sanded down inside ready for a freshening coat of paint.


British Railways 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464


The Holt end set of end opening doors have been dismantled this week. These doors were designed to open to allow end loading of goods and even cars. However in preservation they are seldom used and being made of wood can allow water ingress so become a weak point in the vehicle's design. The doors are too rotten to ignore so to keep the water out of the vehicle once it is returned to the trains the doors are having to be removed, repaired where necessary and then rebuilt and refitted.


So far, the Holt end doors (there are four) have been removed and the steelwork left behind freed off, cleaned back to bare metal and repainted in primer. Hopefully it will not be too long before they are going back on!


On the interior of the vehicle, more of the interior walls have been sanded ready for a fresh coat of paint. The vehicle is now well over 3/4 sanded inside.


Some missing internal planking on several of the doors has been replaced to make them complete again and ready for sanding to match the rest of the inside of the vehicle.

Hurst Nelson 1942 4 Wheel Tank 1982


Repainting work on the tanker has now been completed and the team are pleased this has been able to be done before the weather turned. Due to the time of year, no more "outside work" will now be started up at Holt and the next freight wagons to receive a freshen up should start in 2018.





Maintenance


Not often reported in the Blog is the constant barrage of small maintenance tasks to keep all of the operating Mark 1's and other vehicles in (often daily) service, which often occupies two of the department on a very regular basis. This week has seen the dining set prepared for their run across the crossing and onto Network Rail on Wednesday, whilst preparations to ready the remaining coaches for the steam heat season are also underway. Some steam valves are being changed and hose and seals renewed etc to try and get the aged steam heat systems working again as reliably as we can before we actually need them in anger, such as on the Santa Specials!

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.