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.