Thursday, 12 November 2020

November News

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.

Nico Atkins

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)

Friday, 23 October 2020

October News Part 2

It's been a busy few weeks with a much larger number of vehicles than normal entering and exiting the workshops.

Great Northern Railway (later M&GN) 1887 6 Wheel Third 129 (BRONZE)

The brake rodding for this vehicle was refitted in time for a full vacuum brake test which was completed with success. This was followed up by a quick tidy up and removal of all tools etc from inside the vehicle. 129 was then removed from the shed and transferred to Bridge Road sheds for further storage as there has been no requirement for the vintage train to run since the Covid revolution. The vehicle is however ready to run in the vintage train in the future, other than a session being weighed which will be undertaken as and when.

London North Eastern Railway 1950 Brake Corridor Third E1866E (GOLD)

The requirement to prioritise work for the Norfolk Lights Express (NLE) meant that the contract bogie overhaul for this vehicle had to be paused, however the first of the two bogies was still able to be lifted back onto its two wheelsets before work stopped. This was possible after the main leaf springs, which had been sent elsewhere for overhaul, had been returned to us. The brakegear was also assembled meaning this first bogie is now complete minus its centre sprung bolster, which is still in the shed awaiting work to start on it. The first bogie is now outside under a tarpaulin which has created extra work space for other projects. The second bogie is still on timbers on the floor and will be the main focus of attention once the bogie work restarts.

Work elsewhere on the coach has been limited, however the Holt end gangway faceplate has been modified slightly to take countersunk bolts which will hold the new sewn bellows which are complete and awaiting collection from the specialist in Cromer. The faceplate has been cleaned and primed in readiness for receiving its bellows.

London North Eastern Railway 1931 Corridor Third E12493E (BRONZE)

The "play coach" at Sheringham is now getting close to completion, just as well as the weather is becoming increasingly normal for this time of year i.e. a bit rubbish! Both sides have now been completed and treated to some maroon gloss paint. A few volunteers are now left on the coach finishing some similar repair work to the two ends which will no doubt be painted soon finishing the job.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224 (GOLD)

Again due to NLE preparations the initial burst of activity reported last time had to be scaled down, however progress has not stopped with a small dedicated group of volunteers keeping the flag flying on the interior!

The compartments continue to be built up with the reading lamps being wired in and fitted into place along most of the compartments. These have required a lot of modification work to their supporting brackets so have required so much more than just screwing back onto the wall!

Elsewhere in the coach un-glamorous but essential work continues, including applying more filler and in some cases wooden blocks to level up the floor so it's ready for lino to be laid. Some more small ceiling panels have also been fitted into place at the Holt end around the toilet entrance, as part of the project to build back up this vestibule.

British Railways 1962 First Open M3116 (REPAIR)

This vehicle had to be completed to allow its space in the shed to be taken by vehicle(s) requiring work to ready them for NLE. Accordingly, a lot of resources were directed towards it and in a high octane week all of the bogie and wheelset preparation works were brought together. All of the repainted and renewed components were refitted into the bogie frames including the turned wheelsets. Packers were inserted around the springs to raise the height of the bogie as the turned wheels were smaller in diameter than before, and the coach was already suffering from low ride height due to old springs relaxing slightly. Brakegear was also reassembled on the bogies before the vehicle body was lifted again and the two bogies returned to place.

The good news was that the coach was complete once again and (following a brake test) was suitable for transferring away from Weybourne. The bad news was that too many packers were inserted meaning that the coach was now sitting too high! Sadly we were out of time so the coach has been sent out but cannot be used in passenger service - just as well it is an open coach and is not scheduled to be used at all this winter! It will of course have to return at some point to have its ride height reset.

Not mentioned but also ticked off the list was the installation of the interior curtains. For some time the dining train team have desired curtains to be fitted to the set, but it's been difficult to schedule in as there has often been more important matters to attend to. However the coach's extended stay this time did allow for the the curtains to be produced, and the required dismantling and modifications to the coach's interior made. They look very nice and should hopefully be a great addition to the dining experience. A bonus will also be the upholstery should now have an extended life as the curtains can be drawn when the coach is not in service, cutting out a lot of UV damage from the sun.

British Railways 1958 Brake Corridor Second W35148 (REPAIR)

Immediately after M3116 left the workshop the first of two coaches that required attention before running the NLE trains next month came in: the railway's main brake with disabled conversion. This coach is very highly desired by the operating department and seems to run on almost every day we open to the public - there is no doubt at all that this item of rolling stock, by some margin, operates the highest mileage of any vehicle, powered or non powered. For this reason it is an extremely difficult coach to "catch" to do any work on, and it is looking a little worse for wear these days - however it is required for the NLE trains so was brought in for a couple of days to have its Sheringham end bogie removed and dismantled to allow for a wheelset swap - as one of them had suffered wheel flats in service.

We arranged for a replacement wheel to be turned on the wheel lathe in advance so that the time the coach was out of service was reduced to a minimum. Very pleasingly, the formula 1 wheel change was completed without any major problems and later the same week the coach was back together again, tested and returned to Sheringham ready for the NLEs. It really does feel like all we have worked on is bogies for the last few months!

British Railways 1957 Corridor Second W25189 (REPAIR)

The next coach in for NLE preparations was the Chocolate & Cream Corridor Second that had only recently been released into traffic following an overhaul and repaint. Sadly it was not to prove the success that W35148 was. The original plan was to lift the coach and repair the steam heating pipe which had half a dozen holes in it along its 60 foot length. It had been inspected prior to the works and where the pipe was accessible (in the centre of the coach) larges sections of (harmless) fibreglass insulation had been found. The coach has before now only been used in the summer but following the Covid revolution there was a desire to form an entirely compartment train for the NLE which would require heating - so it was required for it to work for the first time.

Sadly, after lifting the coach off its bogies it was discovered that sections of the pipe normally inaccessible was insulated in (harmful) asbestos insulation, so work was not able to even commence. Specialist contractors are required to safely remove the material and this would not be possible in the timescale before the NLE seasons starts, so the coach was lowered back onto its bogies for a rethink. It was decided (for now at least) not to proceed with the heating repairs so the vehicle was returned to Sheringham where it will now stay for the winter season. Given that social distancing is set to be with us for a far while longer, once the weather warms up again in 2021 it is likely that W25189 will be very useful again during the main season.

British Railways 1955 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001 (CONVERSION)

When a vehicle with 8 compartments such as W25189 gets removed from the train that is going to run through the winter months - it causes big problems when most of the pre-booked trains have already sold out! We have no interest in disappointed customers whatsoever, so the novel solution to this potentially catastrophic problem was to convert one of our open coaches, that has fully working heating, into a compartment carriage. Our Third Lavatory Open suburban was the most suitable coach to do this work to, mainly because it has exterior doors for every seating bay allowing us to partition off each set of seats yet retain full access on and off the platforms. There are 8 seating bays so the converted vehicle can theoretically become an exact replacement for the stricken Corridor Second vehicle.

With just over a week to complete the preparations, we are currently in full swing to get the vehicle completed. We didn't want to damage the coach in any way so an interesting design was formulated which involved removal of the luggage racks, then using the luggage rack fixings on the walls to bolt a framework in lace to fix the partition walls to. So far this framework is now all in place throughout the coach.

The wall panels were then measured up and cut out of plywood and have been treated with danish oil ready for fitting. They are currently drying ready for fitting to the coach next week.

The project has without doubt raised the eyebrows of those who prefer the coaches historically unaltered, however the railway is still very much fighting the devastating economic fallout of the Covid situation - so most of us have accepted that this needs to be done to get us all through this. We have tried our best to balance the coach's historic value by ensuring that the conversion is completely non-destructive and reversible. We are eager to see how it looks when it is done!

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Motor Brake Second E51228 (REPAIR)

Work on the brakevan refurbishment has continued, with the wall panels now in brown undercoat. Work has temporarily halted as the vehicle is required in service for October half term services. Also in preparation for these services, half of the seating has been removed and taped off to prevent keen visitors from exchanging bodily fluids - the revised layout is a similar approach to that being taken by the mainline railway operators, who of course run a lot of similar open layout diesel multiple units trains. This is all of course part of keeping the railway a responsible place and safe for our visitors.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

October News Part 1

We are back! After being on Furlough for six months, work on some of the railway's stock is recommencing at last. Some contract work has been going on for some time, and a reduced number of volunteers were able to return before many of the paid staff, so this blog will have to gloss-over many weeks of hard work and offer a sort of summary bringing us back to the present day. The Blog is planned to return in 2-week format rather than every week, as the Covid era output of the department is now that much lower than before, something we are going to have to get used to as the railway passes through survival mode and looks to the future within a changed world.

Great Northern Railway (later M&GN) 1887 6 Wheel Third 129 (BRONZE)

The brake rodding has now been successfully ultrasonically tested. The refitting of these rods, vacuum brake testing and weighing are now the only tasks remaining for this vehicle.

London North Eastern Railway 1950 Brake Corridor Third E1866E (GOLD)

Because of social distancing no volunteer work has been able to continue on this vehicle. It has however moved into the shed where it has taken the place normally occupied by a Mark 1 - meaning at the moment there is the rare occurrence of two pre-British Railways designed vehicles in the shed at once. This move was to allow contract work to progress on the two bogies over the mainly closed period by two members of staff who were able to be brought back off furlough early to undertake the work. This was part of the package between the supporting charity and railway company that has proven essential to the survival of the railway - a fine example of working together to get the railway through this crippling year.

The work itself has been full dismantling of the two bogies which have been stripped back to bare metal and all parts repainted. The brake gear was all re-bushed where required for smooth operation into the future, and the wheelsets were sent away and the tyres turned back to an acceptable profile. The current status is that one bogie is almost back together minus its sprung centre bolster, with the second painted and almost ready for reassembly.

London North Eastern Railway 1931 Corridor Third E12493E (BRONZE)

With the limits to the numbers of volunteers able to work inside the Carriage & Wagon shed, the Joint Heritage Coach Fund volunteers have investigated new projects away from the shed to progress until the situation is resolved. One of these has been the static Gresley coach at Sheringham more commonly known as the "play coach" which requires minor exterior attention from time-to-time to keep it on the straight and narrow until it receives full restoration as a running vehicle many years from now.

Every few years the vehicle requires repairs and a repaint and this has been progressing over the late summer by a small team. Rotten timber panels have been replaced where required and some other minor leaks resealed giving a relatively solid base in which to rub down. The seaward (platform) side has been treated and repainted whilst the more difficult landward (car park) side is not too far behind with the upper section completed and the lower section currently in primer awaiting the final push into gloss.

Previously the coach was maroon on the seaward side and carmine/cream on the landward, but it will be maroon both sides by the time these works are completed, just as well as the weather is now starting to turn although hopefully October can still provide enough sunny days to finish the job!

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224 (GOLD)

The railway's major Mark 1 restoration project was fallow for most of the period however a very few volunteers have been able to continue recently with it. The previous long running task of completing the rebuild of the guards inward doors and double luggage doors has been able to be brought to completion, with all the doors now fully planked, fittings tested and made to operate correctly etc.

Meanwhile the final varnishing has taken place along the side corridor of the passenger area. The lack of activity was useful for this task as there was less air movement in the shed which created less dust in the drying varnish. It looks very rich in colour and well worth the comprehensive stripping back. Cheap dark stains from B&W were not welcome on this restoration! Some football graffiti remains scratched in the panels for social history (not like we had a choice as we couldn't remove it!!) but nothing offensive.

The last week has seen two members of paid staff return and they have been employed on 21224's completion. This has seen more progress return in slightly different areas. Firstly, the bodyside filling and sanding has now been completed meaning it is ready for paint to be applied.

The first coat of oil-rig roof paint has been applied, with a second to follow which will be done before bodyside painting starts. This is to allow more slack for unintended paint splashes falling downwards from the roof.

Finally, the luggage area has changed significantly in appearance. The filling in of the planking screws and smooth sanding to hide them was completed in time for the whole area to be covered in brown undercoat ready for gloss. In addition to this, the removed section of parcel cage framework was returned back into its rightful place before the replacement mesh was welded back in. The cage was then primed and undercoated quickly bringing it in line with the status of the rest of the compartment. The whole area is now ready for glossing.

The ceiling of the side corridor and luggage van has also been gloss painted in white. This only part finishes the vehicle however, as the two passenger vestibules and guards compartment still remain to be treated.

Other odd jobs have included fitting the pipework to the toilet tank down into the cupboards at the Holt end, where they will be left for now until a controlled emission toilet is fitted next year, a requirement as this coach is destined for the mainline railway, as far as Cromer at least. The tank at the other end, which won't be in use, has been capped in case an individual of limited brain matter climbs on the roof to try and fill it with water! The ground level filler pipes have also been capped so there can be no confusion for anyone preparing a set for service and filling water tanks in the conventional manner.

The lamp brackets, which were removed for easier welding access, have been reattached to the corridor gangways, essential on this coach as being a brake it is likely to spend a lot of time at the end of the train. 

British Railways 1957 Tourist Second Open E4521 (SILVER)

This project was cancelled for the foreseeable future because of a combination of there being very little  requirement for open stock at the present time, along with concentration being required on running stock and lower-level overhauls for the time being. The vehicle was tripped to Holt where it is now in storage.

British Railways 1962 First Open M3116 (REPAIR)

Work has predominantly continued on the bogies. Two of the wheelsets also ended up being sent away for turning which now match the two that have been turned in house. All four have been cleaned down and repainted, including the mandatory white bands on the tyre to check for tyre slippage.

Whilst this has been going on the bogie frames have also had a thorough clean down on the outside and repainted up to black gloss. The detail parts such as the dampers, coil springs and axle-box covers have also been picked out in the correct blue, red and yellow colours respectively.

The work on the wheels and bogie frames is likely to be brought together soon as the two bogies are reassembled ready for fitting back under the coach.

Elsewhere on the vehicle, two quite bad roof leaks have been diagnosed and the relevant areas of rotten roof plated over and sealed. The rotten wooden mounting plates for the lighting jumper cable connections have been replaced with new ones which are currently on the bench being painted up ready to fit.

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Motor Brake Second E51228 (REPAIR)

Another project taken on by volunteers away from the shed has been the power car of the Class 101 DMU recently sold to the M&GN Society. It was decided many improvements could be made to the brake compartment. The emergency equipment cupboard has been reduced in width freeing up a space in the corner to secure the disabled ramp which has never had a proper home. Two new small tables have been fitted on the drivers side, one of which hinges up and down, to replace a much larger table which took up room which could otherwise be used for equipment and bikes/buggies. Another equipment cupboard has been modified and now has a proper space to hold the fire beaters which are carried on the units.

Alongside these modifications, other areas of the van have been repaired if they were damaged or wobbly, and the ceiling repainted to improve its appearance. The walls have also been tidied up and are currently in primer prior to the whole area being repainted.


Maintenance works resumed in July when the railway started running services again. The Quad Art set was the savior of the railway during the summer months after they were thrust into daily service, something they haven't had to endure since the 1960's. They have now been removed from serve again as they are not very suitable for late autumn and winter services due to their lack of heating. During the summer this year they ran many more miles than they have run in their entire 10 year life since being majorly restored in 2008. Despite bearing a few scars from the extra use and being smothered in a thick black glaze at the Holt end from the steam engines, they have generally fared very well indeed.

A second set has been maintained for the summer - formed of corridor Mark 1 vehicles and suburbans. This set has been reconfigured slightly and is now the main set in use for the remainder of the October services. Like the Quads, the suburbans have seen increased running and they are now being used for general services in the same way as they always before before being withdrawn and overhauled in the "Suburban 4" project. Given that this set, with a few tweaks, can be heated over the winter, is is likely it will continue to see intensive use and be used in one form or another for the winter lights and Santa trains.


Some more progress has been made on the platform barrows but shed space has limited much more being done. Other volunteers have been helping out refurbishing parts for the Weybourne bookshop and a new container has been fitted out for M&GN fund raising purposes as again this was a project that could be progressed in a social distanced manner.

Thanks are also due to Tim Bambridge who has supported the department over the difficult period with supplying some new tools including battery drills and a battery jigsaw: a new-fangled machine we have never come across before in cordless format!

Blog Images

Sadly since coming back off Furlough the online software used to host this blog has changed to a new version and they have removed the old version before fixing the issue of not being able to add photos! This is a "bug" it would seem and feedback has been sent to them - others have experienced the same issue and have been told the developers are working to resolve the issue. Looks like this is just another bit of turbulence on our flight through 2020!

Saturday, 28 March 2020

COVID-19 Lockdown!

Unless readers have been living on a deserted island, they will be aware of this week's nationwide "lockdown" procedure. As a result of these extreme measures, North Norfolk Railway closed its doors to all staff and volunteers on Monday evening until further notice. This has inevitably directly stopped all Carriage & Wagon works so there is no longer any activity for this Blog to report on.

We are still doing our bit and Monkey has accordingly been offered to the UK government for clinical trials - there's no such thing as animal rights here in Carriage & Wagon! Keep smiling and see you all on the other side - until then we would suggest rustling up a nice hot cup of PG and wait for all this to blow over...

Saturday, 21 March 2020

March News Part 3

Firstly we would like to give a big shout out to the majority of our volunteers, whom we have now lost to the social distancing measures in place. Keep smiling! Whilst progress on all things Carriage & Wagon has slowed considerably, we are still going at the moment, but for how much longer we shall see.

Great Northern Railway (later M&GN) 1887 6 Wheel Third 129 (BRONZE)

No progress to report.

London North Eastern Railway 1950 Brake Corridor Third E1866E (GOLD)

Those who have been able to come in have been busy continuing to progress the wooden framework repairs to the twelve doors currently dismantled. Lots of blocks have been inserted, some larger than others, to rid the frames of the considerable rot that had affected them.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224 (GOLD)

The last two weeks has seen a large part of the seaward side of the vehicle prepared for final paintwork, with lots of filler applied and sanding down to achieve that all important smooth finish. A lot of detail sanding is still required, however the entire exterior of the coach is now ghostly white and very smooth to the touch.

The last of the four water filler pipes have also been sanded down of their old paint and so they also are now ready for the big repaint. Working towards the same aim, the individuals working on the guards end doors are also doing very well. The inward opening guards doors, which have arguably been the most troublesome when it comes to adjustments and getting them "right", are now on the verge of completion. The inside planking has been fitted into place permanently, with many planks requiring material to be added or removed to get a snug fit. Draught excluder has also been fitted around much of the doors, as have the lower "boots" which sit at the bottom on the inside. On the landward side along the passenger corridor, a "bump stop" has been fitted to the wall of the corridor so that if the door swings inwards the full 180 degrees and hits the wall, it won't damage anything.

The pair of double luggage doors on the landward side are now all but complete, with just the draught excluder strips left to fit. They are now fully planked, locking mechanisms fitted and working successfully. Planking on the seaward side pair is now ongoing.

Inside the vehicle, with the trim now completed in the toilet, some of the signage and fittings which sit on the walls have been able to be fitted. Although impossible to photograph all at once, most of the wall labels are now in place, along with one of the two mirrors and the paper towel rack. We can fit the rest of the wall furniture, but can't yet fit anything that sits on the floor (such as the sink etc), as these will have to wait until the lino flooring is laid.

Speaking of flooring, sanding of the floors has progressed with the aim of getting it smooth enough for the flooring contractors to lay the lino throughout the coach. With all of the flooring repairs and disturbance, there are quite a few holes, ridges and hollows to either fill in or knock back so that there are no sharp edges that would stress and crack the lino in the years to come.

Inside the compartments, the fixing bolts for the luggage racks have been painted, which completes the wider job of the luggage rack installation. Pictured last time was a two-tier first class rack, so for comparison this week there is a glimpse of a single-tier second class example.

Possibly the largest transformation this week on the coach has been in the luggage area. Two weeks ago the ceiling area was still completely stripped out. However the pre-prepared ceiling panels were all fixed into place one glorious Wednesday, and the following week was spent cutting and fixing all of the beading back into place over the joins and around the edges. This in turn was followed by the installation of the centre wiring trunking which runs along the middle of the ceiling containing both wires for the interior lights and also coach-to-coach through lighting wiring. The latter had had to be cut in two a few years ago as it was impossible to fully strip out the ceiling with it still in place. These were jointed back into place and heat shrunk to prevent shorting. This done, it was all able to be boxed up and all the trunking and lids painted. It made sense at the same time to also fit the two surrounds for the lights that will illuminate the luggage area, and also to wire up the switch that controls these lights. The beading is now in white undercoat and hopefully next week the entire ceiling (panels, trunking and beading) will all be sealed in together with one, final, coat of white gloss.

Elsewhere in the luggage compartment, the end wall which the sliding corridor door disappears behind when opened has been bolted back into place and planked out. This now means that all the wall planking and trim is now fitted and just required further sanding and filling work before it too can be painted and declared complete.

With the compartment wall panelling and trim now complete, the same volunteer has turned his attention to the same task along the side corridor. Early days yet, but test fitting of the veneered side panels and window surrounds around the nearest window to the Holt end has started.

British Railways 1957 Tourist Second Open E4521 (SILVER)

Great progress has been made on the metalwork repairs. The Sheringham end is now complete (hooray!) with the final sections of roof hooping being finished last week. The bare metal has been spot-primed in primer, as on the last silver overhaul (M4843), we made the mistake of thinking "it won't be that long before we do the full paintwork on the coach, and it's staying indoors so we will leave the metal bare for now". This resulted in minor surface rusting, so this time we have covered over the repaired metal as we aren't sure how long this coach is going to be before we are applying the paint work and readying it for service!

With the Sheringham end done, we move onto phase 2 (there are four sections of metalwork overhaul) which is the area between the Sheringham end and the centre vestibule/doorway. So far we have had a really pleasant surprise. With the areas around the windows in such good condition, we had already decided we were going to take a risk on hidden corrosion and not disturb them this time around (Silver overhaul, not Gold!). This meant the only areas to replace along the bodysides is the longitunal joint that BR introduced when they riveted a new six inch strip to the bottom of the coach, presumably in the 1970's. Usually when we cut these off it reveals bad corrosion to the framework of the coach below, which in turn requires lots of interior disturbance and stripping out to access. However after cutting off the corroded lower strip of metal skin along the landward side, we were greeted with the sight of a full row of framework sections in good condition. In less than one week, these have been needle gunned and repainted ready for re-use and and this section is now ready for its new "skirt" to be welded back into place. This discovery is quite unusual these days and a real bonus to this coach's prospects.

Less lucky are the doorway pillars flanking the section of passenger saloon now being worked on, which in contrast are very corroded. A start has been made on stripping them back to cut them out and replace them. It is likely that we will replace the lower 2/3rds of them, as they are OK at the top.

Meanwhile the door rebuilds continue, with some of them now starting to be built back up, after the last of the sanding was completed. Three of the six now have their droplight window panes refitted inside cleaned up runners, along with the lazy tongue springing mechanisms that operate them.

Whilst doing roof repairs to the Sheringham end, two rain gutters were removed from the roof so that they could be cleaned in more comfort on a bench, prior to the main roof scrape job which will be done at some point in the future. These cleaned, they have now been primed and await refitting to the roof, probably once it is berthed in the staging area where the safety wire is located.

British Railways 1962 First Open M3116 (REPAIR)

With a decision made on the problem wheelsets, wheelset number two is now almost completed in the wheel lathe. This will be followed by a further turn on wheelset number one and we should at last have a pair to put back into the patiently waiting bogie. Said bogie is now completed as far as the brake gear clean up is concerned, all of the links and pins now operate more freely than ever before! The only outstanding job on this bogie is the refitting of a replacement side damper and it is then ready to receive the two wheelsets already mentioned.

Following a period of re-certification, we are now able to use out jacks again, after a short period out of use. This has allowed the coach to be dropped back to a more normal height whilst it awaits its bogie work to be progressed.

With the wheel turning playing catch up, the team working on the bogie pin removal, cleaning and greasing have turned to the second bogie. This has been heavily supported by volunteers and consequently has progressed faster than normal. More than half of the second bogie has now been treated, with much of it stripped and back together this week.


Maintenance work has been rather decimated by the stoppage of all services. All staff have been recalled to the workshops and rolling stock intended for the steam gala returned to storage inside the sheds at Holt. Two carriage sets are prepped and ready and now stand in eerie silence at Sheringham awaiting the visitors return...


Sack barrows have been breeding like rabbits, with a fresh batch intended for Weybourne (even more!") and now Sheringham. The Sheringham ones make sense as examples for Holt and Weybourne have been flowing these past six months so it would be unfair to leave them out. The sign-writing on them seems to be getting even better with the grey Sheringham examples approaching completion and looking very smart.

All of these trolleys have had differing degrees of restoration, some just being sanded down and repainted, whilst other more rotten examples are "new builds" from a woodwork point of view, with the metal wheels, straps and fittings etc being transferred from the dead ones to the new ones. Not quite trigger's brooms, but on their way!

Sunday, 8 March 2020

March News Part 2

Great Northern Railway (later M&GN) 1887 6 Wheel Third 129 (BRONZE)

Welding has been completed on the brake rodding, so all being well these will be refitted soon.

London North Eastern Railway 1950 Brake Corridor Third E1866E (GOLD)

The never-ending door rebuilding has continued, with most of them receiving framework repairs and wood splicing this week.

Inside the coach, the guards compartment heater is now installed properly, complete with gauge.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224 (GOLD)

Sanding and filling work to the landward side has now been completed signalling the half way point for this large task.

Other external work has also progressed, with the fourth and final gutter now back in place.

It was mentioned last week that the Holt end corridor connection bellows and mechanisms were all reinstalled, this week saw the same treatment for the Sheringham end, this being made possible after swift replacement parts were able to be produced in the machine shop.

Work to complete the doors continues with the guards doors in particular nearing completion.

A selection of internal planking, now fully machined to size and test fitted, have been off the doors and painted in primer before being refitted in some cases.

The missing toilet and compartment beading pictured last week has been fitted into the coach, finishing these areas from a woodwork point of view. This allowed the luggage racking to be installed throughout the coach, which has made a big difference to the compartment interiors.

Further filling of the floors has been done, with over 90% of the coach now completed. Sanding work will be required to achieve a smooth finish prior to the lino flooring being laid. Also filled have been many of the screw heads in the planking around the luggage van area.

The ceilings for the luggage area are almost ready to fit now, with half of them in gloss and the other half in undercoat. Beading to cover the joins has also been produced this week, and primed.

British Railways 1957 Tourist Second Open E4521 (SILVER)

Steelwork to the Sheringham end continues, with the required skin repairs to the roof undertaken at that end. Whilst the roofs of Mark 1's generally fare very well with age, they do rot away in the corners of the coach and at the ends. Replacement galvanised steel has therefore been put in where required.

Downstairs, the door rebuilds continue, with a nice set of locks being refurbished and repainted for the vehicle.

The "lazy tongue" sprung scissor mechanisms for the sliding droplight windows have also been cleaned up ready to reassemble in the doors.

British Railways 1962 First Open M3116 (REPAIR)

We are still working on a way forwards for the wheelsets, so in the meantime the bogie pin greasing/cleaning has progressed with the second part of the bogie being treated this week.


Corridor Second W25189, or the "Bourbon Cream" as it is now known in some circles, was tripped to Sheringham this week so has now officially been returned to the operational pool of coaches. We are looking forward to seeing its first public appearance at the Spring Steam Gala at the end of the month.

Also for the gala, the Suburban set has been extracted from Bridge Road sheds to be examined ready for the season ahead. The Quad Art set is due to follow, but will be done closer the event as it makes sense to do the wooden bodied stock last to reduce the time they spend standing outdoors.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

March News Part 1

Great Northern Railway (later M&GN) 1887 6 Wheel Third 129 (BRONZE)

All of the "3" symbols have now been applied to the doors (ten of them), which concludes the sign writing, and indeed all of the work above deck. The only task now that remains is the adjustment of the brake rigging, which is currently stopped awaiting the Engineering Department to assist us.

London North Eastern Railway 1950 Brake Corridor Third E1866E (GOLD)

Another week of door rebuilds, with all twelve of them now in progress. Most appear to be stripped down now, with large chunks of rotten hardwood being pulled out of them ready for new bits to be spliced in.

The guards heater has also been test fitted in place inside the coach.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224 (GOLD)

This coach has remained the top priority with work on both the exterior and interior progressing. Starting with the outside, sanding and filling work has spread down the landward side with around 2/3rds now completed. It has had several skims and is now looking a lot whiter than it was two weeks ago!

Other fittings are being returned to the exterior alongside the filling work so that it can all come together for painting at some point. Three out of the four missing sections of gutter have now been returned to the vehicle. The end toilet filler pipes are being stripped back and cleaned up as these got missed out of the main paint stripping effort a few years ago. The Holt end corridor connection bellows, shock absorbers and "weather hood" have all been reassembled completing this connection at long last.

The Sheringham end connection has had the rubber bellows bolted back together, but the shocjk absorbers will have to wait as we have discovered there are missing parts up there that need machining.

We have started to undertake "snagging" work to all of the doors which have been hung, correcting small faults with them and finishing off lose ends. One of the largest tasks was to correct a stiff window in the landward guards door. This required the door to be removed from the coach and stripped down again so that some material could be removed from the wooden frame to ease the runners which the window slides in outwards to allow more room for the glass. Pleasingly this adjustment was successful and we now have a much smoother window.

Moving onto the interior, the missing beading for the compartments and toilet has now been fully varnished, having received several coats this week. This can hopefully be fitted in place this week.

Luggage rack netting has now been completed with all of the nets now fitted to the racks ready to refit. A series of missing brackets for the walls to accommodate the racks have also been remade ready for fitting. We are now sorting out the dome headed bolts which hold the racks in place, before they are fitted to the compartments themselves.

Along the side corridor, body filler has been put in over any gaps or cracks in the floor so that we have a smoother surface than at present on which to lay the new lino flooring.

The internal woodwork varnishing for the Holt vestibule doors has also been completed this week.

British Railways 1957 Tourist Second Open E4521 (SILVER)

Steelwork to the Sheringham end continued this week, with the passenger communication apparatus mounting plates welded on, and the mechanical linkages and pipework test fitted in place.

British Railways 1962 First Open M3116 (REPAIR)

Axle 1 (pictured last week) has received coats of black undercoat and gloss paint this week and is now ready for refitting. Axle 2 suffered problems in the wheel lathe with more material than expected having to be taken off. As wheels in the same bogie need to be of a similar size, Axle 1 may have to return to the lathe for more to be turned off. However other options involving swapping the positions of the four wheelsets around on the coach are being investigated to see if we can avoid taking any more material off Axle 1.

Meanwhile the wheel-less bogie currently on the floor in the shed is having all its bolts and pins in the brake-work removed for a quick inspection and thorough clean,. A full split pin renewal will also take place during this work. So far it all looks to be in good condition...


The vacuum cylinder pictured last week was fitted back onto W25189 during the week and tested successfully, so hopefully no more dramas for this coach. It was to be returned to Sheringham as part of a test working for one of the diesel shunters recently overhauled, however routine booked signalling maintenance that day meant that we couldn't exit the yard so the move was postponed. It is expected that W25189 will be returned to Sheringham next week.