Saturday, 8 December 2018

December News Part 1

There will be no Blog next week due to holidays, but there's still one more edition due before the main Christmas break.

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

Existing progress continues to creep forwards, with more sanding and filling work being the order of the day. The lighting is also approaching an advanced state, with the red/white side lights now operational using their LED technology. Like a diesel locomotive, this vehicle should have the correct lighting arrangements to be able to travel either forwards or backwards without the addition of any lamps - however I suspect that in service they will stick with the trusty BR tail lamp!

London North Eastern Railway 1937 Restaurant Buffet E9128E

The finishing touches have been applied and the vehicle will not be staying with us for much longer.

The final tasks were picking out the passenger communication tell-tales in bright red, and adding all the ochre onto the numbers and "buffet" signs.

London North Eastern Railway 1950 Brake Corridor Third E1866E

Removal of interior components continues. The ceiling has now been removed to allow wiring modifications to be made above to suit the vehicle's new purpose.

All of the existing wiring has also been removed.

The dangerous wooden beam, pictured last week, that was designed to support the toilet water tank, has been replaced this week with a full length new example. This has now been fitted into place.

Two new steel straps for the tank itself have been fabricated and now await fitting.

A set of new wooden supports have been prepared for adding into what was the corridor side of the vehicle originally. These fit below the windows and are useful for securing tables to - if ever they are fitted. At the moment, they are only present on the compartment side. Although the final configuration of the saloon is yet to be finalised, before any paneling is replaced these extra supports are being fitted, just in case tables need to be fitted to both sides in the future.

A start has also been made on adding extra layers of protective paint to all the wooden framework and the rear of the steel which will be hidden from view. One side has been primed along the length of the vehicle below the windows so far.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224

Wheelset refurbishment continues for the bogies. The first axle is finished, the second is in undercoat and the third is in rust kill primer. The second is also ready to have its bearing housing refitted.

More small parts, mainly hinges for the landward side doors which are yet to be fitted, have been shot blasted and painted into primer.

Also cleaned up has been the toilet pan, sink and pedestal. There's always a sinking feeling when these have to be scrubbed! Nevertheless they have come out a treat and have now been wrapped to await refitting.

The toilet compartment needs a floor before we can do anything else with it! The sink has also had two taps extracted from storage, which have been cleaned up and overhauled inside ready for plumbing in at the correct time.

A start has been made on polishing the aluminium sections of the window frames on the seaward side, these were unable to be done before they were fitted into position last year but have to be stripped back to bare aluminium so the new paint does not react with the old.

Inside the vehicle, all of the ceilings have now been painted into white undercoat, the difference is stunning.

Welding repairs continue to the landward side, the first repair has been to the lower part of the central passenger doorway, suitably cut out and replaced with new material.

Meanwhile two compartments have had parts of their floors removed to allow access for replacement of the floor bearers in the corridor which had rotted away in many cases. This task alone was a weeks work for somebody.

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843

The landward side store cupboard has now been fully paneled out including the ceiling. Beading has also been added so it will not be long before this area is ready for painting.


Door repairs continue with the guards doors inside DMU 51228 being the focus of attention.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

November News Part 4

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

Work has continued on existing aspects on an ongoing basis (that's management speak!). The droplight frames are becoming increasingly advanced with final sanding and assembly being the order of the day. These frames have been holding back the ordering of new window glass, so with the frames being so close to finishing it can't be long before the windows are due to follow.

More lighting is being fitted, with the fake gas lights soon to get the dimmer of the two lights that are planned to be installed within them.

Less exciting has been the further filling and sanding on the seaward side, which is slowly getting the  body to a smoother and smoother finish.

London North Eastern Railway 1937 Restaurant Buffet E9128E

Painting continues. All of the main painting has now been completed, the last section being the second coats of gloss on the landward side.

The finishing strip below the canvas has received its final coats of black gloss.

After a period drying off, this has allowed lining and lettering to start. The black sections of the waist height line, vehicle numbers and "buffet" signs have all been applied. Next week will see the ochre added which will finish the paint job.

Another finishing job has been picking out the letters on the vehicle's data plates on the ends.

During its time in storage the vehicle's passenger communication emergency chain became too stiff to remain in a safe condition. The chain furthest away from the apparatus was no longer operating the valve and putting the brakes on. After various access hatches and sections of ceiling were removed, the problem linkages have now been straightened and loosened. This has returned the chain to full health, which is a good thing if the coach is going to pass its exam next year to allow it to return to traffic!

London North Eastern Railway 1950 Brake Corridor Third E1866E

The news you've all been waiting for! This week the unique Thompson era brake was moved down from temporary storage up at Holt for its return to service works to begin. There is always a wild stir when a new restoration starts and this vehicle is no different. The coach has arrived outside at Weybourne to enable internal work to be started over the winter. When convenient the incomplete corridor connection plates (currently one is a Mk1 design whilst the other is original LNER pattern) will be replaced in due course with a set from LNER BG 70621 which are LNER versions complete with all associated fixing gear.

As an aside, the BG will in turn get the pair from E1866E, which will be more appropriate given that the BG is destined to become a non operational cosmetic restoration.

Returning to E1866E, the interior will get worse to start with due to the work that is to be done; most of the flooring is loose and still needs to be fixed permanently. This will be lifted so that the under frame can be rust killed and painted. At the same time repairs/replacement to the vacuum and steam heating pipes will be carried out. The ceilings will be taken down and stored for re-use and two bulk heads removed or altered, to allow the through control cables and lighting relay controls to be reinstated. An emergency passenger communication alarm chain will also be fitted in the coach.

On taking down the toilet panels the block wood wall was deemed to be very damp and the exterior ply on the block board was de-laminating. So the opportunity has been taken to remove and replace with new. The toilet water tank had a temporary prop added as it appeared to be held up by the wall, once the wall was removed, the beam that should have been holding the tank up wasn’t, it had a foot of wood missing on the landward side! (Glad the prop was put in, tank very heavy!). The next job will be to fit a new beam to support the tank.

Elsewhere in the coach, the wall panelling in the passenger section has been removed revealing the coach's main framework below, which is in excellent order - as expected due to the thorough structural rebuilding work that has been undertaken at the coach's previous home.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224

The wheelsets continue to be worked on. Two out of the four have now been turned to the correct profile. The first wheelset is ahead of the second and has now been fully painted up to gloss black stage, with the bearing housing fully cleaned out and refitted.

The brakegear is now ready for refitting. All of the rods have been gloss painted and the bushes cleaned out ready to receive freshly lubricated pins. Also forming parts of the braking system has been the air reservoir tank, which has also made it into gloss this week so is now ready to refit.

The arrival of some specialist grease allowed the three brake cylinders (two for the coach and one spare) to be reassembled ready for use.

Inside the vehicle, two out of the five compartment ceilings have been painted into white undercoat. At the same time, the hidden areas of the walls (which will be behind the seating) have also been treated in the same undercoat.

Serious work has commenced on the remaining deferred welding repairs, which this coach so desperately needs in order to progress properly. The seaward side has had its lower skirt cut off along almost all its length, alongside the five compartments down where the corridor will be. This has revealed some corroded floor supports which will require some tactical removal of flooring and wooden supports in order to replace. This will be ongoing in the weeks ahead.

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843

The main progress has been on the Holt end toilet/store cupboard. These areas are almost impossible to photograph due to their enclosed nature, however the walls are now fully boarded out and the floor repairs are also complete. Only the ceiling now remains to be refitted before these areas can be smartened up with a quick lick of paint. They will then become the clean storage areas which can actually be used, rather than the dusty dead spaces that they were before.

At the other (Sheringham) end, the corridor connection is nearly ready to be refitted. The woodwork has been fitted to the steel this week, as have the supports for the inter connecting lighting jumper cables.

Primal behavior caused by hard-to-fit corridor components! 


A lot of work has been undertaken on the doors of all the vehicles that will be used on the Satan Special trains in the next few weeks. The four open coaches have all had doors adjusted, with 4667 being particularly problematical, requiring all six of its doors to have attention. 4641 & 4958 required two doors each to be worked on, with 4236 being even better with just the one door.

The brake vehicle in the set, BSK 35148, required both of its inward opening guards doors which had drooped. One of the luggage/disabled doors and a passenger door also required moving. All of these doors were due to the recent weather causing swelling in the doorways which causes stiffness and for the locks to go out of alignment, so a constant battle to attend to.

Friday, 23 November 2018

November News Part 3

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

Extensively pictured last week were the four buffers which had been loosely fitted. A great deal more effort has been put into them this week which has meant that all four are now tensioned, are fully secured at the rear and are all correctly sprung and spaced. This signals completion for this particular aspect of the restoration.

On the body, work to repair the droplight frames continues. The door catches for the four passenger doors, recently brazed, are now all permanently fitted into position, tested and painted.

Painting of the insides of the passenger doors is reaching an advanced stage with more coats of cream and brown being applied.

One of the more visual moments came when the electrics for the coach burst into life following the installation of a control panel and associated wiring. The compartment lighting and the inset tail light are now both armed and operational!

London North Eastern Railway 1937 Restaurant Buffet E9128E

Painting continues. The seaward side main panels are now finished having received two coats of Crimson & Cream gloss, whilst the landward side has one coat of gloss and currently awaits a second.

The roof boards meanwhile have now been varnished and refitted into their rightful positions on the roof. The suggestion of swapping the boards around to create trains going from Liverpool Street to Liverpool Street fell on deaf ears!

London North Eastern Railway 1950 Brake Corridor Third E1866E

Awaiting transfer from Holt down to Weybourne for work to begin.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224

Work continues with focus still both above and below floor level. Underneath, the new steam heat piping is now substantially complete and clamped into position, with the exception of a few flanges and valves which will be fitted in due course once parts can be machined or ordered in.

In terms of the two bogies, focus is now solely directed at the wheelsets. The first wheelset (of four) is now turned to correct profile and has been swapped out of the wheel lathe, to be replaced by wheelset No2. The latter is now in the process of being turned. Set No1 is back in our workshop and has been needle gunned of all its old paint and rust and treated to a coat of rust kill primer.

Both of the bearing casings from both wheelsets, four in total, are also in bits being cleaned and repainted so they can be refitted to the wheels when ready. We hope to have the two wheelsets ready for fitting into the Holt end bogie very soon.

The brakegear mentioned last week and the battery box interiors have all progressed into undercoat.

Inside the vehicle, the compartment ceilings are now fully caulked so they are ready for repainting.

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843

The big news for this coach is that the metalwork replacement work is now complete! This has turned out to be a huge job and not originally envisaged for this vehicle at all.

Getting it done is a major symbolic milestone for the vehicle and will hopefully spur on the remaining work required to see the coach pushed through to completion. The final welding work involved completion of the roof hoop on the Holt end and welding up replacement sections in the roof skin at that end.

Work to reconstruct the Holt end toilet/store cupboard is also progressing, with internal wall supports being returned into their original spaces, but onto brand new metal.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

November News Part 2

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

With the Gresley Buffet vehicle moving into the "painters only" zone, labour has been able to be transferred back onto our oldest coach in the workshop. The big step forward this week has been the sort-of fitting of the buffers. As mentioned last week the machining had been in progress under Richard's watchful eye, which was great to see as the machine shop is currently understaffed so we are grateful to them for being able to fit our work into an already stretched system.

We offered up Monkey for the recently advertised position of Machine Shop Supervisor, but whilst Monkey does qualify being a member of the primate family, he lacked the experience in standing upright which is unfortunately an essential element when using large machine tools. However every cloud has a silver lining, so whilst Monkey was knocked back on this occasion we do get to keep him in Carriage & Wagon!

Anyhow - once the buffer shanks had been machined down to the correct size (via human endeavor) they were able to be painted up to black gloss to protect them.

The next day they were fitted into position loosely but have yet to be fully tensioned and have their securing pins fitted on the inside. Once they can be fully compressed the pins will be fitted.

On the body, work to construct a set of droplight window glasses for the doors is ongoing, as is the final fitting of the door catches now that they have all been braised together. The braising has changed their shape ever so slightly, so each one is requiring further cleaning and "fettling" to achieve the final smooth fit.

London North Eastern Railway 1937 Restaurant Buffet E9128E

I have been guilty of being sent photographs taken by other volunteers and forgetting to include them in previous Blogs. Therefore, if me may, we shall return a week or two when the sides of the buffet were being sanded, filled and prepared for the paintwork.

On the paintwork side of things, progress has been very obvious. The roof is now completed, resplendent in grey. This has been followed by repainting of the two ends into black.

The bodysides themselves, which take a little longer, have also done well. All priming is now completed and the landward side is now covered in undercoat: red and white as required by the crimson & cream livery the coach will carry.

The seaward side is even more advanced with the first coat of gloss applied, giving a good idea of how it is going to look when finished.

Also underway is the varnishing of the destination boards which sit on the roof. These have now been varnished on one side which has returned them to a gloss finish, whilst the other sides await the same treatment.

London North Eastern Railway 1950 Brake Corridor Third E1866E

Awaiting transfer from Holt down to Weybourne for work to begin.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224

Our main Mark 1 overhaul project has had another good week. The best news has been the completion of the underframe repainting, an end to a truly huge task. This vehicle now joins the dining train SO (M4372) as the only mainline Mark 1's on the railway to have received full underframe strip downs to metal and full repainting inside the frames.

The first wheel for the Sheringham end bogie has unfortunately encountered problems with defects within the metal. This has sadly meant that many years of life has had to be cut off the tyre in the wheel lathe to find good metal beneath. This is disappointing as the tyre is now significantly closer to becoming of scrap size, which would be expensive to rectify (via retyring). Of some comfort is that good metal was eventually found before reaching scrap size, so the wheel is now in the process of having a finishing cut and correct profile added to make it ready for service.

The bearing casings for this wheel, whilst it has been in the lathe, have been needle gunned and are in the process of being repainted ready for refitting. They are currently up to undercoat stage.

The brake pin checking and lubrication on the Holt end bogie is now also complete, and it has now been fully reassembled and just awaits attention to its wheelsets.

There has been more action under the coach whilst it remains lifted on the jacks. The battery boxes have been cleaned out and resealed with primer, as they were a bit...acidic from previous spillages.

The brakegear under the coach (which join the bogies to the brake cylinders via various arms and links) is receiving the same strip, repaint, and lubricate attention that the bogies have had to gain a fully checked and well oiled system. There are various sections currently around the workshop being painted up ready for fitting.

Also underneath has seen the completion of the main pipe runs for the brand new steam heat pipe. There are just a few flanges and small copper connecting pipes now to attend to.

This pipe includes a main end-to-end pipe with a subsidiary branching off to feed all of the individual compartment heaters.

Meanwhile, the air brake cylinders themselves are now fully repainted into gloss are now just await the correct grease before they can be reassembled.

Moving inside the coach, interior refurbishment of the guards area continues with the unsightly patches over the old periscope apertures being re-patched giving a smoother finish.

Inside the compartments, the ceilings have now all been sanded, and two sections of broken beading have been remade and replaced. Some gaps are now being filled with decorators caulk prior to repainting of the ceilings starting.

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843

We now have another door refitted, the landward side door at the Holt end this time. This is allowing the old toilet in the same corner to be reconstructed.

Given recent events elsewhere in the heritage railway world, it is no longer acceptable to just close the door on un-restored toilets and put the coach into passenger service ignoring those areas as "not part of the coach".

We have never run M4843 with working toilets and now that the steel end repairs are approaching completion we are rebuilding the floors of the ex toilets. These will be quickly panelled out, to a less exacting standard than normal, and then painted and left as store cupboards. This mirrors what we have done with the old toilet/shower area in E21224.

Also at the same (Holt) end, the upper sections of the renewed steel ends are being completed. Just one section of roofing now remains to be welded in place.

The curved angle section is currently being produced and fitted which arches across the whole vehicle.

Inside the vehicle, further coats of black paint have been applied to the covers which go in front of the heaters, and also the table legs. More varnishing work is also taking place in various areas.


One or two modifications are required (extra eyes) in the Y14 storm sheet.