Wednesday, 19 June 2019

June News Part 2

Due to commitments last weekend and this weekend coming, this is a mid-week Blog update so there ends up being two updates covering three weeks.

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853 (GOLD)

Painting preparation of the windows has continued with all of the modified droplights now back in red primer. It won't be long before the final painting process begins. To this end, the footboards have been sanded down again ready for further painting once the body is treated.

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

The guards "booth" pictured last week has seen more refinement this week with further beading added and other loose ends tied up. A start has been made on preparing the glazing for the same bulkhead.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224 (GOLD)

Lots of progress on this coach this week. Bodywork continues. The full extent of lower end crash pillar corrosion at the Holt end is now known, with all four pillers requiring replacement at the bottom.

In a similar fashion to the Sheringham end, the base plate is also corroded and two sections of it on the seaward side has already been curt out, replacement sections made and welded back in. The two crash pillar repairs on this side are now also almost complete, with the outer example in and painted, with the inner example not far behind.

In a big craning session, "project bogie" has been completed for now, with all of the spring components reassembled and put back into place under the bogie frame. This also reunited the restored wheelsets with the rest of the bogie. The bogie is now back in one piece and back under the coach, albeit with both bogies in each other's place at the moment! These will be swapped over during the next shunt.

Also underneath has been the refitting of the air brake cylinder actuating rods and the reservoir tank for the air braking system, which is now almost complete again.

Flooring repairs continue, with the toilet floor now finished and back in place which will allow us to start building this area back up very soon. To this end, the first of the components (the paper towel rack) have been selected and stripped down ready for re-varnishing. Returning to the floors, the missing flooring sections in the luggage van area at the Sheringham end are currently in the process of being machined and prepared for refitting.

Cleaning of the internal alloy frames along the corridor side continues well, with a large team on the job. A start has also been made on sanding down the corridor ceiling ready for repainting. A sawdust bin has recently been acquired for use in the guards brake (the original was missing), less than 24 hours after arrival the bin was cleaned down and primed and is now in undercoat awaiting gloss paint.

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843 (SILVER)

The exterior repaint continues. The seaward side painting is now complete with two coats of maroon gloss having been applied. The landward side has received one coat with the second to follow shortly.

The two black ends have been undercoated, whilst the Sheringham end sliding door inside the corridor connection is now repainted into cream.

Internally, the window surrounds have all received a coat of brown to make good minor damage since they were painted first time around.

British Railways 1957 Tourist Second Open E4521 (SILVER)

Dismantling continues. Both ends are now at a similar stage with both corridor connections prepared for removal in the near future. This has involved a lot of careful dismantling of the passenger communication apparatus, end steps and handrails, and the corridor connection bellows, which consist of a remarkable number of individual components.

We now have a large box of small parts which will all require cleaning down and repainting or re-greasing in the coming months. This process is already underway with some pins being cleaned up and the end data panel for the coach stripped back.

The RCH jumper cable components pictured last week have now been brought up to gloss black so have now been safely stored ready for refitting when the coach is nearly ready to return to service - this is some way off!!!

British Railways 1962 12 Ton Box Van B784254 (GOLD)

This vehicle is now inside the shed for the lion's share of its bodywork to be completed. The doors have had their rotten outer skins removed revealing the full extent of framework rot below.

The roof spars have been refitted providing a solid base for the new roof to sit on top.

The plywood panels for the new roof are currently being encouraged into a curved shape.

British Railways 1951 16 Ton Ballast Plough Brakevan DB993707 (BRONZE)

The final jobs were painting the interior walls and a few hours over the inspection pit where all of the mechanical parts were lubricated and the vehicle given its Fitness to Run exam. Some bolts were replaced and all of the axleboxes removed and wheelsets examined. Luckily these had a clean bill of health so it was reassembled with new oil.

Last weekend the vehicle was returned to traffic and now joins the NNR's regular freight train. It operated successfully for the three days of the Mixed Traffic Gala and attracted many compliments and much attention.

(C) Steve Allen

Now, which wagon do we resurrect next?!?

Friday, 7 June 2019

June News Part 1

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853 (GOLD)

Not an exciting update this week sadly: it's been more of the same with further work improving the drop-light windows and the wooden paneling on the doors.

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

Some pronounced visual changes can be seen in the guards end of the Thompson coach this week. A good part of the side walls for the guard's "booth" have been refitted into position, which are fixed onto the floor and into the ceiling.

This is the first major component to be fixed back down onto the floors which have been in the process of being rebuild all Spring.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224 (GOLD)

No Gold overhaul would be without an update on the ever present steelwork bodyside repairs. With the lower half crash piller and skin repairs to the Sheringham end now completed, the same process is being done to the Holt end. So far, parts of the corridor connection that were in the way have been stripped out and the lower section of skin cut away to reveal how badly the crash pillars have corroded at the bottom. This work will be ongoing at this end for some time.

"Project bogie" is now ready for the reassembly of the second bogie, as this week the last components of the suspension system for Bogie No2 have been repainted ready to refit. The springs in particular look very nice!

The interior of the vehicle has been a hive of activity. The corridor floor, which wasn't pictured last week, was able to be captured this time.

Some final flooring has been fitted around the guards compartment area.

We have now made a start on re-flooring the toilet which is located at the opposite end of the corridor. Due to an "ammonia absorption hotspot", it is looking like the original toilet floor will be replaced!

Now that the lower half steelwork repairs are completed at the Sheringham end, refitting of the floor supporting timbers is being progressed. Some of these are quite large, and a reasonable number of original mahogany examples which were carefully removed have been able to be retained, saving on a large amount of replacement timber.

With the corridor floor in place, we have started on cleaning and reassembling the first of the corridor windows. Each of the quarterlight windows at the top is being resealed and its alloy trim carefully cleaned, prior to the fitting of the sliding lights, which are already restored and awaiting refitting.

Finally, one of the vestibules is having its floor edging adjusted in the doorway.

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843 (SILVER)

The focus remains on repainting. The landward side followed the seaward side into undercoat during the first part of the week.

This allowed the seaward side to receive its first coat of maroon gloss.

The Holt end corridor end door has also been repainted cream, with the Sheringham end door to follow shortly. The metalwork area inside the gangway is also receiving coats of black paint.

Inside the vehicle, a few final repairs to walls and varnishing have been made to the Holt end vestibule which is now complete and shouldn't require any further attention. Meanwhile, the tables have all been cleaned and have come up very well, and the windows have been masked to allow the painted internal window frames to receive another coat of brown paint.

British Railways 1957 Tourist Second Open E4521 (SILVER)

Dismantling continues on the Holt end gangway, the bolts and screws that hold the rubber and steel bellows to the wooden supports on the outside of the vehicle are being removed one-by-one, we don't know why there are so many of them! Although it's hard to see progress from just walking past, this will be essential in quickly craning off the gangway end when the time comes to start on the repairs to the end of the vehicle.

The first removed components are starting to be restored. the "RCH" (lighting) jumper cables which were removed last week have now all be cleaned down to bare metal and painted in primer. Thanks go to volunteer Gerrard who came in to do this for us, when he normally comes in on a different day to work on GER 853 and LNER 1866.

British Railways 1962 12 Ton Box Van B784254 (GOLD)

Grit blasting was finished this week, the next task will be to repair and paint all of the metalwork which has now been treated and is blissfully corrosion free!

British Railways 1951 16 Ton Ballast Plough Brakevan DB993707 (BRONZE)

This vehicle has been promised to run at the Mixed Traffic Gala next weekend, so jobs are coming through thick and fast to get it completed in time! The whole chassis on the outside has now been repainted into black gloss, and all of the "bling" such as the edges of the ballast ploughs and the wheel edges have been picked out in white.

The handrails have been painted into gloss white, as has the ceiling inside the guards cabin. A few smaller items such as a missing coat hook, wagon label clips etc have all been fitted back into place with just the couplings now left to refit. These are currently still off the vehicle but have been painted up to gloss.

The stove inside the cabin has been brushed down, hoovered out inside and given a coat of heatproof paint.

Final jobs will be painting the interior walls (which are now rubbed down) and a few hours over an inspection pit so all of the mechanical parts can be lubricated and the vehicle given its Fitness to Run exam.

Friday, 31 May 2019

May News Part 5

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853 (GOLD)

More of the same this week, with window work and other sundries progressing. Some of the windows, now that they fully slide up and down satisfactorily, are having a further coat of primer.

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

I was slightly premature last week reporting that the woodwork at the end of the luggage compartment was complete. It turns out some more framework was required as well as some packing sections to raise the level up high enough for a level floor. This has been tackled this week, along with more reinforcing timber to sit underneath where the luggage cage is located.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224 (GOLD)

Bodywork at the bottom of the Sheringham end is now completed now that the second side of steel skin has been fully welded into position.

The steam heat piping reported on last week, has now been completed, with all 13 individual copper pipes now produced and fitted to the heaters. The system is now steam tight and can be tested for leaks once the coach is back down on its bogies.

"Project Bogie" continues steadily with just the springs now left to repaint, all other items now in gloss black ready to refit. The springs are red and have been lagging behind the rest of the parts as our needle gun was out of commission for some time.

Internally, a big milestone has been reached now that the replacement corridor flooring has been screwed down into position, meaning we finally have a strong and stable base from which to "open the gates" and start the interior refit. To create a dust-free area to start refitting, we are working towards getting the glass back in along the landward side. The wooden gripper bars are currently being dry fitted into place and any problems ironed out before we can look into glass fitting. The last two window frames were able to be fitted this week, after some restocked supplies arrived!

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843 (SILVER)

The main focus has been the exterior painting work. Earlier in the week, the primer stage was completed, making the coach all one colour again for the first time in a long while.

This has been followed by undercoating, which is now 50% completed, with the seaward side being treated first. This particular shade creates a sort of 1940's/army themed coach, we have been assuring visitors that this is NOT the final colour!

British Railways 1957 Tourist Second Open E4521 (SILVER)

We are still easing into this new arrival! A few more items have tentatively been removed from the Holt end corridor, which will have to be dismantled to allow for corrosion repairs.

British Railways 1962 12 Ton Box Van B784254 (GOLD)

Grit blasting, to remove scale and corrosion, continues apace with the body now completed and the chassis still to finish. As the weather has been changeable, it is being painted as it progresses, so we already have a much cleaner looking vehicle.

British Railways 1951 16 Ton Ballast Plough Brakevan DB993707 (BRONZE)

Progress this week has included spot needle gunning of localised corrosion on the chassis, followed by rust treatment,. Any areas of black paint, plus the rust treated areas, were then coated with black undercoat, ready for the repaint of the whole chassis next week.

The couplings have been removed for a repaint and re-oil to make them operate freely again.

The handrails have all now been refitted to the vehicle, and are awaiting a top coat of white to really freshen them up. Also repainted white has been all the wheels and winders on the veranda ends, which operate the descending ballast plough.

The lamp irons have also been refitted back into place, so the body is now looking complete once again.

The final small job has been the fixing of a wobbly door catch on the entrance door to the cabin!


The project to re-roof the Gresley TK (better known as the "play coach" at Sheringham) has now been completed with the "fitted tarpaulin" now screwed down and secure. It looks a lot neater than many doubters thought it would and we are pleased with the result. We shall have to hope during the next big rain shower the leaks that have plagued this vehicle latterly are cured!

Lastly, one of the CCT bike & buggy carriers, which gained a flat spot on the wheels some time back, was reported to have become a lot worse this week.

Staff were duly dispatched and the flat has now been smoothed out somewhat, although not eliminated.

It has been removed from the train today to allow another effort to improve it, away from the running set of coaches, to be made next week.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

May News Part 4

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853 (GOLD)

The six sliding drop-light windows in the guards/disabled area of the coach are now signed off as complete, having passed the highly scientific tests of first trying to open/shut them as gently and weakly as possible, followed by brutally wrenching them up and slamming them down like a vandal. Sadly both tests are required as they represent the full strata of the travelling public that will be using them. There seems to be a firm, established method now in place to cure the windows of their stiffness and binding once the operating strap was installed, so it shouldn't be long before the remaining four windows in the passenger compartments are also eased.

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

Internally, a further round of woodwork machining has meant the final sections of flooring (that at the luggage end of the vehicle) have been slotted together, the hidden sides protected with surplus paint, and then fitted on top of the steel underframe.

The handbrake pedestal, wheel and cover are now all completed and back in position, operating freely.

Further painting of lighting control and electrical equipment covers continues to progress.

British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224 (GOLD)

Bodywork at the Sheringham end has involved welding the replaced panel-work over the renewed crash pillars on the landward side, as modeled here by Monkey. The seaward side is now being given the same treatment.

The steam heating continues well. The thirteen heaters, which were fitted but then had to be removed again to replace rotten flooring, have been refitted once again. This has allowed the final missing sections of the steam system to be installed, the individual copper pipes that feed each individual heater. These are being manufactured in house by machining the ends and nuts and soldering them to new copper pipe. Each pipe is bespoke to the route it has to take under the vehicle.

Both bufferbeam shut-off cocks are now also fitted to the ends of the pipe. We are not far off being able to test the whole system.

"Project Bogie" has done well again this week with all of the springs have now been needle gunned, which brings to a close the de-rusting part of the operation leaving just painting still to complete. A start has been made on repainting the springs. A lot of the washers, links and other sundries are now all complete up to black gloss.

Internally, the new hardwood window gripper bars have now been completed for the main bodyside windows on the landward side, having received several coats of varnish. The flooring down the corridor has also been adjusted and completed, and now pretty much only requires final screwing down into position. Some missing parts have been replaced around the entrance to the guards area, which was slightly behind the rest of the corridor.

British Railways 1959 Tourist Second Open M4843 (SILVER)

Some small details are being attended to on the interior, such as painting door runner strips which sit on the floor. Externally, the passenger communication apparatus which had all been refitted but wasn't working properly, ended up having a major strip down again and modification of the angles of the various bars before it could be made to work nicely. It now operates very freely.

Exterior painting is now the main angle of attack for the next few weeks. 3/4 of the vehicle has now been painted in primer, which is getting it all one colour again for the first time in a good while.

British Railways 1957 Tourist Second Open E4521 (SILVER)

The next major project has now arrived on site, TSO E4521. This has been in storage for over 10 years and could do with being brought back into the system to allow other TSO's to be removed for major overhauls. A start has been made on removing a few of the smaller components, such as the electrical lighting leads on the ends of the vehicle.

British Railways 1962 12 Ton Box Van B784254 (GOLD)

The restoration of this freight van has now restarted with the better weather. Replacement buffers have been obtained for the vehicle, two having been fitted whilst the other two are away for overhaul. A start has also been made on shot-blasting and repainting the exterior parts of the vehicle, with the lower half of the Sheringham end already treated and in primer.

British Railways 1951 16 Ton Ballast Plough Brakevan DB993707 (BRONZE)

A fixed steam cleaner has allowed the underframe to be jet washed down, removing all of the loose paint in the process.

The sign-writing has been completed, the final items being the "return to March" and "return to Norwich". The completion of the lettering means the whole vehicle was able to receive its final topcoat on the body, a coat of varnish.

The handrails re now being repainted in preparation for refitting shortly.


A side project has been the roof repairs to the Gresley Corridor Third at Sheringham, in use as a static play coach. All of the protruding roof vents have now been removed for future safekeeping and panelled over. A set of battens to hold down a new roof covering have been ordered and are being painted in the workshop prior to fitting.

We have also received another two "not to be moved" boards from Sheringham. These have been stripped back and now await painting.