Sadly we have entered a second national Lockdown which has had further negative effects on the department. In the first week of November we brought a fifth part time member of staff back off furlough bringing us up to 4.5 persons, a position which was really starting to look up. Unfortunately just three days later the railway had to publicly shut again and reduce back down to a core of contract funded engineering staff. Three of the five Carriage & Wagon staff have been returned onto furlough also greatly reducing the viability of volunteers being able to attend.
For this reason the Blog will be suspended again until such a time as proper carriage restoration resumes. Looking on the brighter side however a good amount of work was completed before the Lockdown.
London North Eastern Railway 1950 Brake Corridor Third E1866E (GOLD)
The end of running ordinary services in October allowed the contract work on the two bogies to be resumed, which remains ongoing throughout the current period. The first bogie, complete other than the central bolster, has had its bolster partly dismantled and is being thoroughly cleaned up and repainted prior to completing the bogie itself. The second bogie is having a lot of repainting work done to all the smaller removed parts including all of the braking gear.
The Holt end corridor connection has had the faceplate brought up to gloss, and the flexible gangway bellows have had a trial fit. They need a small modification at the bottom so have been returned off site for a quick fettle before they are returned and fitted properly. The improvement will also be able to be applied to the second set of bellows, destined for the Sheringham end.
The long period in storage, both outside and inside the shed, had left the interior requiring a bit of an "earlier than normal spring clean". The luggage/guards area has been cleared out which makes it look much better and ready for the next phase of restoration.
London North Eastern Railway 1931 Corridor Third E12493E (BRONZE)
The playcoach at Sheringham is almost complete. Work on the ends has progressed well, with some paint applied. Meanwhile the bodyside on the landward side has been receiving a second coat of maroon gloss when the weather is fine enough.
British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224 (GOLD)
Work to repaint the interior of the luggage area has continued with the first gloss now applied to one wall. Most of the progress however has been focused on the Holt end vestibule, which has had its main ceiling fitted and all the restored varnished wall panels fixed in place. This area has looked very bare for a long time so it was nice to see the transformation. It only requires some minor beading now and the area should be finished until the lino can be fitted.
British Railways 1955 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001 (CONVERSION)
During the last update this coach had received framework for new compartment walls. Later the same week the varnished paneling was fitted over the framework which in turn was also beaded, leaving a fairly presentable job when one considers we only had a week to complete the conversion! The coach was tripped to Sheringham just in time for the lights to arrive for fitting by staff and volunteers onto the train. We also fitted a set of batteries to the coach, borrowed from another, but they have proven unsuccessful so will be swapped out for another working set.
I would like to finish on a slightly more personal note. Sadly during the staff reorganisation, our longest serving member of the Carriage & Wagon paid team, Nico Atkins, was made redundant. Nico was (and remains) a great personal friend to me, when I started in 2013 the department was entirely made up of over-50's with Nico being the exception having been taken on originally as an apprentice, staying on after qualification. My arrival brought a second member of staff in their 20's so we inevitably became close almost immediately. A period of great fun followed as we made our mark as “the future”! I and many others are sad to see him go but thankfully in such uncertain times Nico is moving to further employment near Norwich at a car restoration business. The best of luck from us all! (This paragraph has been copied from the C&W report for the upcoming Joint Line magazine, but was deemed unsuitable for publication in the magazine as it was considered too personal - so please forgive me for posting it here as I felt I wanted to say it)