Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853
This week has been less "visual" with all work concentrating on minor alterations to the doors which are all in the process of being fully fitted to the vehicle. Most of these are now in position but have been receiving much tweaking to stop them bouncing and rubbing as they try to close cleanly. Some on the landward side have had their "check straps" fitted which prevents them opening too far and swinging round and hitting the bodyside. These straps are being produced in house with recycled materials, which has the added bonus of saving costs as well. On a slight tangent, some may be surprised to hear that the cost of restoring 853 will be significantly cheaper than the cost of a 1950's Mark 1 overhaul!
British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224
Also currently exiled inside Bridge Road sheds, some spare labour was available this week to continue with some of the interior components ready for refitting in due course. The latest victim has been a sliding cage door for the luggage area which is being rubbed down of all old paint to make it smooth and nice again for new paint. The square steel mesh is particularly difficult to clean and various repaints over the years has resulted in a paint build up on the mesh.
British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843
At the Sheringham corridor end, initial bodywork preparation is finished and the areas which are to be covered up by components are being painted to protect them before the items are refitted. Some of the corridor bellow timbers have also been trail fitted into position, these are the originals which were deemed good enough to retain once they had received repairs to splits etc.
In preparation towards refitting the corridor, the faceplate itself has been moved from the yard indoors for cleaning up and repair. The two rubber sprung brackets at the stop required the backing plates (which hold the rubber inside the bracket) to be replaced as they had rotted badly where they had been up against the coach and received bad water ingress. The rubbers themselves however have remained serviceable.
Inside the vestibule at the same end, the replacement floor supports have now been fitted into position and work has moved on to measuring and then cutting the new plywood floor. It will be nice to be able to stand inside the vestibule once again!
Meanwhile at the Holt end, more cutting out and cleaning of metal in common with previous weeks. The focus has been on the seaward side toilet, the floor of which has required levering upwards to assess corrosion beneath and get to the welding repairs that will be required. Unlike the other side however, repairs should be limited to the lower sections rather than all the way up! It's all looking a bit messy in there at the minute, and like the Sheringham end, full replacement of the flooring instead of keyhole surgery is looking more likely.
British Railways 1962 Corridor Second M26012
This week, the repainting work has been concluded, with the second coat of maroon being finished and the two ends receiving coats of black undercoat and then gloss.
Some finishing touches have been completed as the coach is due to leave the staging area soon to make way for E3868. These have included varnishing the top line (which was kept during the repaint to save time) to bring back some of its colour, scraping stray paint off the bodyside windows and cleaning the bodyside windows. A start is now being made to apply the lower lining.
British Railways 1953 Tourist Second Open E3868
It has long been the policy not to use varnish on the steel bodied Mark 1's during the repainting process. During 2018 it has been decided to experiment with reintroducing varnish to some vehicles. Three experiments are to be taken: firstly, the next Silver/Gold overhaul to be completed will receive a coat of varnish over its newly applied paint before it enters service. Secondly a coach that wasn't varnished originally but which has been in service for five years will have a coat of varnish applied. And finally a coach that is due for a repaint but which we do not have capacity to undertake yet will have a coat of varnish applied. All three will be assessed to see how they fare in our particular local conditions.
The third option has already been applied to BSK W35148 at the start of the season but unfortunately the general consensus is that it hasn't worked too well. Now we are pursuing the middle option i.e. varnishing a coach half way (5 years) through its life. The selected vehicle is E3868 which was outshopped in 2013 following a Silver overhaul. The vehicle is having very little other work whilst it is in with us so it should be a fairly quick project. So far, the exterior has been washed thoroughly which has included a good steam clean of the bogies and underframe. The vehicle was then moved inside the shed and has been rubbed down gently ready for varnishing next week. A few patches of rust are coming through on the vehicles ends, so these have been picked out, treated and re-filled as a stop gap measure. The black ends will receive a single coat of black paint as opposed to varnish in order to cover/seal these repairs.
What this work will hopefully achieve is the ability to field a main service set of Mark 1's that have all been painted or varnished in the 2016-18 period, which could potentially include the following vehicles:
E3868 (varnish 2018) + M4236 (paint 2017) + E4641 (paint 2016) + M26012 (paint 2018) + W35148 (varnish 2018) + E94464 (paint 2018)
This will be a major milestone in the railway's aim to catch up on deferred cosmetic attention of our main Mark 1 fleet, gaining ground which was lost whilst resource was directed for several years towards the suburban set.
British Railways 1960 Brush Type 2 D5631
Members of paid staff are currently transferring next door into the locomotive sheds on a part-time basis as they require assistance in their project to overhaul the Class 31 diesel. The project won't be featuring too heavily in these notes but it's worth celebrating the fact that our welders and body prep staff are in demand! This week it's been roof support hoops and rotten air intake filters brought across to C&W for replacement and repair respectively.