Thursday, 23 July 2015

COMPLETION SPECIAL: GWR Designed "Fruit D" 92097

The second item of non-passenger rolling stock to emerge from the workshops this year, “Fruit D” 92097, has now been released for service once more. 92097 was built in 1958 by British Railways’ Swindon Workshops (well, no vehicle can be perfect...) and was produced as part of an extension batch of an outdated design created by the Great Western Railway in 1939. The Fruit D design was so named as during Great Western Railway days each type of wagon was assigned a telegraphic code to enable formations of wagons to be easily communicated by telegraph. As this type of van had extra ventilation built in specifically to handle fruit and produce traffic it was assigned the designation “Fruit”. The D suffix was merely to identify separate types or batches, so presumably the Fruit D was the forth in a series of Fruit vans. The Fruit D’s were built with electric lighting and were fully braked with standard vacuum braking, two features which made the vehicles suitable for conveyance in passenger trains. For this reason, the vans also carried the branding “Passenger” and during British Railways days carried the colour schemes for passenger coaching stock rather than goods stock.

After a successful, or some might say fruitful(!), career on BR, 92097 was acquired by the M&GN Society and moved to the North Norfolk Railway where it operated in freight (and occasionally passenger) trains for many years, repainted into BR crimson livery. By 2012, the vehicle was looking very worse for wear and was brought into the workshops and stripped down, exterior woodwork replaced, new floor fitted, interior restored, underframe repainted and finally the exterior painted into Great Western Railway colours, a scheme that 92097 (being built by BR) never carried. During this work the vacuum brake equipment was isolated due to a fault which precluded the vehicle from running in passenger trains. However it did take its place, resplendent, in the railway’s demonstration freight train and indeed was one of the first vehicles refurbished in the recent “renaissance” of the previously rather neglected freight set. Sadly for reasons unknown 92097’s paintwork deteriorated extremely rapidly and by 2015 was looking decidedly shabby again, much to the disappointment of the volunteers involved in the 2012 restoration. The past few weeks has seen some of this decline reversed.

The completed (varnished) landward side

Some background to the Fruit D’s resurrection: Several years ago the NNR ran two 4-wheel Mark 1 “Covered Carriage Trucks” (CCT) during the summer season to carry bikes and buggies during the busiest months of the year. For the rest of the year, only one CCT is normally required. The second CCT was withdrawn from service due to rampant corrosion in the body and is currently out of service. To replace the second CCT, in previous years the NNR’s Suburban BT carriage was substituted and its brake compartment used for the bikes and buggies. However after putting so much labour and finance into the BT to restore it to as built condition as part of the dedicated “Suburban 4” project, it was felt it undesirable to use the BT in daily service on the summer trains when the other three suburban coaches will not be receiving anything like the same wear or usage. For this reason, to spare the BT for the summer 2015 season, an alternative was sought and (with the kind agreement of the owners the M&GN society) the Fruit D was deemed suitable to act as the second bike/buggy carrier for the six week summer season.

A fast-track partial exterior refurbishment has been implemented to improve the Fruit D’s appearance for use this summer. This involved chipping off any loose paint that had flaked off the wood and then priming the revealed areas of bare wood. The seaward side and two ends were then fully repainted, the ends black and the side into BR crimson. The landward side, which had survived better, was patch painted in GWR brown and the side varnished to bring back a shine to the paint applied in 2012. Finally, the appropriate numbering was applied to the repainted side. To allow service in passenger trains once more, the vacuum cylinder was repaired in situ and reconnected to the braking system, which was tested and the brakes fully adjusted up for vacuum use. All running gear and axleboxes were also examined and lubricated to ready the vehicle for more intensive use than the freight train it normally operates in. 92097 is now complete and has been released to the operating department, and is currently awaiting movement to Sheringham where it will join one of the rakes of coaching stock in use during August. Look out for the Fruit van on the back of the train!

Lettering applied to the seaward side

Midland Railway (later M&GN) 1886 6 Wheel Picnic Saloon 3

The saloon continues in leaps and bounds, with particular attention to the seaward bodyside which is playing catch-up to the landward side. The yellow lining has now been applied to compliment the red lining mentioned last week, and the whole side has also been varnished (1st coat).

The lighting rings (also mentioned last week) are now in white gloss and are approaching completion ready for fitting.

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

An interesting array of jobs to report on this week. The most visually striking is the chassis members themselves, most of which in the central section of the vehicle have now been brought up to the black gloss stage, making them look all nice and shiny and finished!

Also glossed have been the three wheelsets out in the yard. These are black on the insides and imitation teak on the outsides, to fool people into believing they are wooden when the flash past in the vintage set.

Less glamorous but equally necessary has been work on the axleboxes. These have had some of the "front doors" fitted with handles so that they match the rest of the boxes, and all six have been fitted with a modified steel tray in the bottom, after difficulties in making the brand new axlebox oil pads fit were encountered. More brakegear, this time the hangars and brake shoe carriers, has been cleaned up, rust protected and finally coated in primer.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

As declared last week, body repairs to the Sheringham/seaward quarter of this coach have now been completed and the panels have been protected in primer this week.

Meanwhile, stripping out of the final quarter of the coach to be tackled has continued with the windows and window frames being prised out after much resistance.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

The Holt end bogie has been completed (without brakegear) with the bogie frame, associated equipment, wheelsets and axleboxes progressing rapidly over the week and being finished in black gloss. This was followed by reassembly of the wheelsets and the bogie lowered back onto its wheels and placed under the carriage. The process has immediately been repeated for the Sheringham end bogie, the frames of which are already well on the way to being repainted with the axleboxes and wheels not far behind. A big push next week should see the Sheringham end bogie reassembled and the brakegear for both bogies tackled, so that the bogies match the recently completed underside of the carriage.

The Sheringham end bogie with a primed wheelset on the right and axleboxes being painted on the table in the foreground

The wooden battery boxes started looking rather forlorn after the surrounding underframe steel was cleaned and painted, so now these have been stripped out, cleaned up and undercoated to improve their appearance.

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

Work continues on the reupholstering of the seats. The rest of the coach is awaiting the completion of DMU E56062 so that the interior refit can commence.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

Revarnishing of woodwork, toilet reconstruction and luggage rack cleaning all continue as described in previous weeks.

British Railways 1957 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Composite Lavatory E56062

The upper line of the two required on the bodyside has now been applied. The second line, plus numbering and lettering, remains outstanding.


The crates of wagon components (which were dragged out in June News Part 2) have ben sucessfully sold so will be moving to a new home soon.

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