Saturday, 30 July 2022

July News Part 2

The past few weeks have been really busy with some lengthy shifts which have made blogging less viable! The dry conditions and high temperatures have led to a suspension of steam services during our busiest timetable which put pressure on a reduced number of diesel qualified crew, which in turn has meant I have spent much less time in and around the workshop than normal. However, hopefully normal service is now resumed!

London North Eastern Railway 1950 Brake Corridor Third E1866 (GOLD)

The Thompson restoration continues to make good progress, with some nice visual milestones taking place. One of the most striking is the cutting out of the new oval windows at the brake end of the passenger saloon. These, which will bring more light into the saloon particularly in the vicinity that it is planned for people of reduced mobility to occupy, are not native to this diagram of BTK but do appear in this position on similar Thompson vehicles, so the modification is certainly in the style of the design. The windows have been cut out of the sheet steel with careful precision by hand and work is now ongoing fitting and painting the large supporting timbers which surround the windows.

Sticking with windows, another step forward has been the "regulation" of the eight main bodyside window apertures, which had all been cut to different sizes by the previous owner! The largest one was measured, and the remaining seven cut slightly wider to match, ensuring all was square. This will make the replacement glazing and surrounding furniture/woodwork far easier and lead to a more accurate end product. Some radius shaped corners have been cut from spare steel as it is intended to change the main bodyside windows from the square corner type to the rounded.

On the interior, the toilet area remains a focus with the wall refitting and door hanging now completed.

Work is also ongoing on the LNER style sink unit.

London North Eastern Railway 1924 Quad Articulated Set 74

Following a month in abeyance it has been decided to bring forwards one of the tasks which we were going to undertake after the wheelsets had been turned on the specialist portable ground lathe. The two worst wheelsets on the set are to be swapped with two donors released from the (currently in long term store) Thompson Gangwayed Brake 70621. The Thompson BG has been moved into the shed ready for lifting to extract the "new" wheels destined for the Quads.

Shortly afterwards the vehicle was lifted and the bogie containing the donor wheelsets removed ready for dismantling. I did wonder how many years it has been since 70621 was last lifted!

British Railways 1961 Brake First Open M14021 (GOLD)

The most interesting development this month has been the arrival of our new kitchen car, M14021. Nearly ten years ago it was recognised that the existing 1980's kitchen car (BG M81033) was not going to be able to continue without a major rebuild so identical vehicle M81114 was purchased to be built up as a new kitchen and then swapped out for M81033 when the time came. However due to other commitments the restoration of M81114 was never started and last year, when the time finally came to look at priotitising the project, thoughts turned to whether a BG was the best vehicle for the task after all. Following much further discussion it was decided instead to fit a smaller kitchen into a different vehicle and have some more first class seating.

The end result is the securing of former Brake Corridor First M14021. This vehicle has an interesting history being one of the rarer types of Mark 1's produced. The four first class compartments were stripped out, the walls and corridor removed and the parts disposed of by a previous owner, who had planned to convert the compartments into an open saloon. This plan never worked out and the vehicle was sold on to a new owner who in turn salvaged interior parts from scrapped First Open coaches to create the kit required to populate the stripped out shell into a 24 seat first class saloon. However he also did not progress, beyond obtaining all the parts, and the coach was stored at Hardingham station for many years essentially as a kit of parts. The NNR have subsequently secured the vehicle on a long term hire agreement for use in our dining train once the restoration is complete.

We intend to realise the same vision that both the existing and previous owner have. For those who mourn the loss of the original interior, it is worth remembering that those parts were lost many years ago and restoration and regular use as a Brake First Open is a better proposition than the vehicle staying unmodified (and indeed stripped out) further deteriorating in storage. The condition of existing kitchen M81033 is now very poor so the restoration of M14021, which will be to full Gold standard, will hopefully commence next month. There are now no current plans to overhaul BG's M81033 & M81114.

British Railways 1956 Brake Corridor Composite E21103 (SILVER)

Due to the crewing issues mentioned at the top of the page, E21103 has progressed the least of all the current projects. The painting has continued at a snails pace and the entire coach was brought up to second maroon gloss, complete with black ends, before being moved outside to test if the paint pigments had covered. Unfortunately they have not, so inside again for another rub down to prepare the bodysides for their third coat of maroon gloss paint.

British Railways 1962 Tourist Second Open M4958 (BRONZE)

The mini overhaul of the coach has now been completed, following the final installation of the remaining seating and varnished wooden seat toppings. Once the seats had been installed, the vehicle was swept and hoovered out, windows and tables cleaned and generally given a whip round to help prepare it for a return to service. It looks very nice indeed inside and we can't wait to see it running in the main service set.

The two toilets were also recommissioned having not been used since before Covid. One of them had a broken toilet seat which has been replaced, and both toilets have been cleaned. Towards the end of the week a C examination was carried out on the coach and it is now signed off and awaiting transport to Sheringham where it can be returned to the operating department.

British Railways 1957 Tourist Second Open 4667

A short term project to help out Holt station is an old stalwart, TSO 4667. Known around the railway as the "tiger coach" due to its orange seat upholstery, it was withdrawn from traffic as one of the "Covid casualties" requiring a full Gold overhaul. It has been recognised that this overhaul will not be forthcoming for the next 3 years at least, so to slow its deterioration it has been moved from storage at Bridge Road down to Weybourne for some emergency repairs.

These repairs will not be to running standards but will stabalise the coach and cover any obvious holes. A quick repaint will follow before the vehicle is moved to Holt station which is in need of some passenger accommodation on wet days where there is limited space for people to be. It is planned for 4667 to be located next to the existing exhibition coach and passengers will be able to sit inside it when waiting for trains, or having lunch in inclement weather etc.

So far, the lower half of the bodysides (the red section) has been rubbed down and a start has been made on plating exterior holes. Internally, some rotten window surround woodwork has been repaired and some areas rubbed down ready for a very quick spruce up with some paint.

British Railways 1958 Covered Carriage Truck M94125 & 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464 (REPAIR)

The superior of the two CCT vehicles, E94464, has now had its drawhook coupling returned to the vehicle following which it was sent back to Sheringham to rejoin the operational fleet.

The now-stored sister, M94125, has also exited the shed, having donated all it needed to to E94464. It is now tucked away in Weybourne yard where it will continue to be used for storage space.

London Transport 1955 20 Ton Ballast Hopper HW426

This year's main wagon project for Weybourne, the ballast hopper, is now very much on the home straight. Several weeks of painting painting painting has occurred with all of the Gulf Red body parts and white equipment (such as the operating wheels and handrails) now completed up to several coats of gloss. This in turn has allowed the lettering to be sign-written onto the bodysides. So far, the number, laden weight and engineers motifs have been applied to both sides, with just the tare weights still to apply.

Outstanding painting now just includes a few odds and sods of black underframe gloss, as there are still a very small number of areas still in undercoat. The inside of the hopper itself will also receive its second, and final, coat of bitumen paint.

On the mechanical side, all is now complete with the exception of the replacement of the axlebox oil pads. Whether these benefit from some good secondhand examples, or receive new, remains to be seen.

British Railways 1954 13 Ton Pipe Open B740918

With the hopper wagon getting very close to completion and only being mid way through summer, thoughts have turned to getting a second wagon through the works at Weybourne before 2022 is out! Rather than adding a new vehicle to the freight train, this time one of the poorest looking members has been pulled out for some TLC. Recently the tarpaulin "hood" over Pipe wagon B740918 split and started to blow off the vehicle. It limped through the Steam Gala (April) still attached but it was clear that one more storm would probably finish it off. In addition to this, the wagon itself was suffering from extreme flaking paint and was generally faded and shabby in appearance.

So arrangements were made to transport it from Holt down to Weybourne for work to begin. So far, the old cover has been removed and stuffed inside the wagon (temporarily) to allow a full assessment of the woodwork, much of which has been hidden under the cover for years. The good news is that there is less rotten wood than  first feared, however the photo above is fairly deceiving and the vehicle does look very unkempt in real life. However not for much longer, as it is expected for cosmetic works to commence immediately.

British Railways 1953 20 Ton Lowmac TDB904093

The Youth Development Club have excelled with their project to repaint "the tractor wagon" into engineers Gulf Red. True to their word, the work parties have increased from monthly and the extra progress is clear ro see, with the main side frames of the vehicle now up to the first coat of red with much of the underframe and decking following into black. Various parts of the wagon are still in the process of being cleaned, primed and undercoated but the main colours of the finished product are now emerging nicely,. There is even talk of sprucing up the tractor which lies on top!

Hurst Nelson 1944 4 Wheel Petroleum Tank 5304

Not forgetting the wagon team up at Holt, who themselves have made excellent headway on their project, the tank wagon.  The plaques on the sole bars are now complete, which needed a great deal of concentration! The only remaining task now to complete is final sign-writing, some of which needs a second coat.


Although nominally "finished", the five compartment tables destined for Mk1 BCK E21224 continue to be slotted in between other jobs where possible. So far, the frames are being carefully brought together and lined up square for gluing and screwing to take the table tops and coverings.

Friday, 8 July 2022

July News Part 1

 The last few weeks have been very busy and a week' holiday away from the railway have both contributed to a lack of updates recently, apologies!

London North Eastern Railway 1950 Brake Corridor Third E1866 (GOLD)

Regrettably I forgot to obtain a proper update on the Thompson project this week, but things have been progressing well on most fronts. Of note is the completion of the sausage shaped apertures in the guards and luggage areas which has changed the external look of the vehicle for the better.

London North Eastern Railway 1924 Quad Articulated Set 74

Unfortunately the portable ground lathe turning encountered problems which required the company to return to their base to manufacture new parts.

Due to the estimated lead time on these the Quad set has been removed from the shed/yard and stored undercover up at Holt again until the works can recommence. The repaired and re-varnished exterior glowed in the sunshine once the set was moved out!

British Railways 1956 Brake Corridor Composite E21103 (SILVER)

A set of batteries was made up for the vehicle with some results (lights go on, lights go off!) but there were issues holding the charge so some cells have been substituted in and out. They are currently disconnected again and we shall see whether a secondhand set will indeed prove good enough. If not we will have to investigate in a new set as this coach is sue to be used on the Norfolk Lights Express this year so requires winter-spec battery power!

The painting has been the main focus of the exterior. The coach has been moved into the staging area which allowed the safety line to be utilised to first repair some broken toilet filler pipes on the roof before a coat of paint was applied.

With the roof now completed, work to the bodysides and ends are all that is left. The exterior sliding doors are now gloss painted brown and the end bodywork itself is black glossed and awaiting signwriting/lettering.

The sides have all been given the first coat of maroon, with the second coat now progressing. This has been challenging in summer temperatures, which are only scheduled to get hotter! Support work, which must never been forgotten, includes rubbing down between coats of paint and cleaning the outstanding aluminium sliding windows back to their natural shine.

The last parts of the wheelchair saloon have been painted in cream gloss which was delayed after we received a paint of special mix which didn't match the normal supply. The lino flooring in this area has been cleaned up as well so we are calling this area complete now.

The remaining floors in the compartment and guards areas, which are painted, have been given a new coat of green floor paint which is rather bright but will weather down. The only tasks left for the interior are the installation of various items of emergency equipment which were robbed from the coach whilst it was withdrawn from service for other brake vehicles around the railway.

British Railways 1962 Tourist Second Open M4958 (BRONZE)

The reupholstering of the seating has now been completed, a major milestone for the vehicle. The backs, which previously were loose fitted, are now being screwed into position permanently and the varnished wooden tops being installed to cap them off.

The remaining vestibules have now also been re-varnished so they are now glossy again for the first time in some years!

Once the seating is refitted and the toilets repaired the coach will be returned to service.

British Railways 1958 Covered Carriage Truck M94125 & 1960 Covered Carriage Truck E94464 (REPAIR)

CCT van E94464 has been removed from the main train for various repairs before the main school holidays kick in. The two sets of opening end doors, which have been getting very stiff and reluctant to close in wet weather, were eased before they became a problem during the Norfolk Lights season when this vehicle is used as a generator car.

Juddering brakegear which was traced to a bent vacuum cross shaft has been repaired by swapping the shafts between this CCT and the other one (M94125) which was withdrawn from service a few years ago.

The latter vehicle has also surrendered its steam heat and vacuum pipes for use on other vehicles, along with its vacuum cylinders.

E94464 also had a twisting drawhook at one end due to excessive wear in the slot in the bufferbeam. This has now been removed and the slot welded up to take out the wear. It is due to be refitted next week.

London Transport 1955 20 Ton Ballast Hopper HW426

Painting has continued to be the focus, with all areas now in undercoat or higher. More than half of the wagon is glossed, with some areas getting one coat and others two.

The Gulf Red hopper body is now complete with lettering due to be applied soon. Various details are now starting to be picked out in white.

As with many of the projects currently in the workshop, the end is definitely in sight for this wagon, which is due to make its debut at the Steam Gala in late August.

British Railways 1953 20 Ton Lowmac TDB904093

This project has stepped up a gear as the work parties are moving from monthly to weekly. The previously cleaned and primed areas have quickly progressed to undercoat and plans are in place of how to tackle the oil stained decking and tractor which lies on top of it.

Much research has been done on the vehicle to enable a proper plan of what parts of the wagon are going to be what colour etc. We now have our brief so it won't be long before the railway's youngest division are delivering!

Hurst Nelson 1944 4 Wheel Petroleum Tank 5304

A good move forward with the project has been the start of signwriting, after the tanker was moved slightly to improve access. The move was greeted with thanks from the Museum as M&GN 12 (the museum brake) is in a better place for them. A tower was borrowed from Building Dept. which made life a lot easier for signwriting.

Before the signwriting started the silver top coats were applied to the tank barrel. 

The black gloss on the axle boxes, underframe items etc has been applied. As has the red on the solebars, all of which are complete. I would expect this wagon to make its debut at the same time as the hopper, so two wagons launched/relaunched at one event.


A set of guards oil lamps have been rubbed down and repainted for use on the goods train.


A examinations are progressing throughout the fleet with the dining set completed and the suburbans and main Mark 1 sets not far behind.

The biggest headache has been a consistently troublesome generator on the dining train kitchen car which has been behaving strangely. It is very important for the running of the train so repairs have had to be swift and haven't been very successful. A test diner (utilising the visiting Class 25) was operated one evening to test out the latest repairs and hopefully we are making progress!

Friday, 17 June 2022

M&GN Completes LNER Mainline Set (June News)

The finest event in the railway's calendar, the Mixed Traction Gala, is now behind us and a variety of coaching stock was in action for the event, the most unusual probably being the vintage set. We displayed our two historic BRUTE trolleys over the weekend, on Weybourne station.

London North Eastern Railway Brake Third Open E16631E

An exciting development to report on for anyone interested in the pre-nationalisation fleet resident on the NNR, is the purchase of Gresley BTO E16631E. This coach, originally numbered 43556, was built for the LNER by Cravens in 1938 to diagram D196, a six-bay open saloon with 48 seats and a modest sized brakevan. The vehicle is now believed unique as the only 48 seat brake (most preserved Gresley Brake Thirds have larger brakes and less seats).

It has been secured only after a large legacy from the Estate of Keith Anthony Porter, an M&GN Society member of some years. The legacy will enable E16631E to be restored at Ecclesbourne Valley Railway by Lee Sharpe Engineering and the vehicle will remain at its current location (Epping & Ongar Railway) workshop space allows a move to Derbyshire for work to begin, hopefully later this year.

E16631E becomes the fifth and final member of the long term "LNER Mainline" set, which is set to become the first full rake of LNER stock to be preserved externally in its later (British Railways) condition, painted Crimson & Cream. The full set should eventually be formed from the following vehicles:

  • Thompson Brake Corridor Third E1866E (currently under restoration as a Brake Saloon First with wheelchair access)
  • Gresley Tourist Third Open E13548E (stored undercover awaiting restoration)
  • Gresley Resteraunt Buffet E9128E (restored and operational)
  • Gresley Corridor Third E12493E (in static use at Sheringham, awaiting restoration)
  • Gresley Brake Third Open E16631E (stored off site awaiting contract restoration)

The M&GN Society has aspirations to also fast-track the restorations of the TTO & TK by utilising outside contractors, provided the required large donations and/or legacies can be attracted! Clearly this set is in its early stages of realisation, however it it still great news to see this latest development, which coupled to continued restoration progress at Weybourne, may see three of the five coaches of this set run together much sooner than many may have thought!

London North Eastern Railway 1950 Brake Corridor Third E1866 (GOLD)

A new area of focus has been cutting out of the sausage shaped upper windows around the luggage area, which had been paneled over during the previous owner's steel-work skin replacement but not yet cut out. This is being done with a hole saw of the correct size and is a slow but rewarding task.

In other news, the toilet wall has now been fitted bringing this area enclosed once again.

London North Eastern Railway 1924 Quad Articulated Set 74

The Quad Art set (conveyor belts 10 to 13) continues to be worked on, and sadly was therefore not available for the Mixed Traction Gala, however the short term loss will be a long term gain as the damage caused by the intensive service life over the Covid period has now been repaired. Since the last update, the landward side has been brought up to the same standard as the seaward side, i.e. fully varnished.

The foot-board painting has been completed on 48863 & 48864, with the remaining two coaches due to be done once they have been removed from the staging area. We have also been making good progress on cleaning the windows, both of two years worth of "road dirt" and also stray varnish.

Tyre turning has now started, with the first two wheelsets being the replacement ones, currently under the stored Thompson BG, now outside and in the process of being turned using a revolutionary new portable ground lathe. Some teething troubles have been encountered, but some material has been cut from the first wheel and the contractors will return next week to continue the task. Their work is fascinating to watch.

British Railways 1956 Brake Corridor Composite E21103 (SILVER)

The underframe repainting is now completed with the two buffer beams now as shiny as the sides. We are now looking at the situation with the batteries, which have been out of use for a few years now. We are hoping to swap a few cells and with luck a made up secondhand set can serve the coach for a little while going forward.

The exterior is progressing well with both bodysides now in undercoat. A few small items such as window frames have received their first coat of gloss but no main panels were attempted as towards the end of the week the temperatures went bananas!

The interior has seen the greatest change. The four passenger door cards have now been varnished up, meaning the passenger areas are now all but complete. The wheelchair saloon has received several coats of cream gloss and is now resplendent once again. The finish line is in sight!

British Railways 1962 Tourist Second Open M4958 (BRONZE)

Upholstery continues. We now have all the remaining stragglers in the workshop for recovering, they are mostly the base units. All of the backs are now done and fitted loosely in the coach, with final fixing to follow.

Re-varnishing of the remaining two vestibules (the first was completed some time ago) has now started with rubbing down complete and varnish to follow shortly.

London Transport 1955 20 Ton Ballast Hopper HW426

Painting has been the order of the day with several coats of primers and undercoats being applied, with most areas now up to undercoat at least. The red and black livery is now starting to show through, especially after the first gloss coat was applied to parts of the hopper body.

Some mechanical work has also been completed, with some new lids being fitted to the sides of the hopper door mechanisms which will aid greasing and inspections in the future.

British Railways 1953 20 Ton Loriot DB904093

Another working party is planned this weekend where it is hoped to finish the last of the cleaning and priming work.

Hurst Nelson 1944 4 Wheel Petroleum Tank 5304

Painting has also been the theme for this wagon project! All of the undercoating has now been completed on the tank and underframe, the latter being particularly fiddly and time consuming.

This done, top coat has started to be applied to the underframe, in the areas that will be black. Good weather has led to good progress!