Friday, 17 July 2015

July News Part 3

The Carriage & Wagon soapbox did the department proud at the Derby at Cromer on Sunday. The initial parade gained much interest, as everybody likes steam trains! We were also the largest and certainly heaviest soapbox to enter, not surprising from a team used to 30 ton carriages! We then had our first race having been placed in the “Shops & Businesses” class, where surprisingly the soapbox came second. This position earned a place in the final with around five other entrants. The final winner was the White Horse Pub’s soapbox. Staff and volunteers alike had great fun taking part or spectating, the highlight possibly being the soapbox’s tendency to lift up its front wheels after negotiating the jump!

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

On to more serious matters, such as signwriting and varnishing... The saloon is really looking the business now, with the landward side main panels varnished including the gorgeous M&GN insignia described last week.

On the same side, the chassis lining (yes, it has lining on the underframe – how plush!) has received its final of the three required colours, the black edging. The lure of completion must be strong, as lining is now progressing on the seaward side (hitherto untouched) body panels, the red lining being the first element to be applied.

The arrival of some cast decorative rings that sit around the replica gas lamps in the passenger saloon has resulted in them being primed ready for further paint and fitting.

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

The chassis continues to be painted with many of the main chassis members now a fetching shade of pink. It is presumed that black is to follow!

There has also been a lot of painting of the huge number of metal bits that form the various spring hangers, brackets, axleboxes, running gear and vacuum piping.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

The major body repairs to the Sheringham/seaward quarter of this coach have now been completed, a sentence that sums up a huge number of hours... This week, the metal panelling has been completed, suitably attached to the framework (renewed earlier) and all joins welded up and dressed.

This marks the 75% point of the body reconstruction, as only the Sheringham/landward quarter now remains to be addressed. In preparation for this next phase the same quarter of the coach has been stripped out internally with a contingent of young, mainly work experience, victims doing the honours of removing the seating and woodwork.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

The underneath is still the centre of attention. The Holt end bogie frame has been fully painted gloss black and is now awaiting reassembly.

The wheelset cleaning is complete and one is in primer whilst the other is complete, resplendent in gloss black.

Axleboxes are also complete and repainted. It should not be long before this bogie can be reassembled and the process repeated for the Sheringham end bogie.

The underframe of the coach, after a short delay, has now been completed and is black and shiny for the first time since the mid 1950’s. Work on the steam heat pipe repairs has temporarily stalled whilst new pipe is on order.

On the interior, the first class (Holt) end has now been fully stripped out of glass windows and the surrounding wood work and veneered panelling. Whilst this allows a metalwork assessment to be made from the inside, there are more fittings (such as luggage racks and Formica panelling) still in situ that will have to be removed at some point for restoration. However for now, the same items are being removed from the third class (Sheringham) end which is about half way there. Additionally, all the mirrors and picture frames have been removed from the compartments so that the carriage prints can be safely removed for assessment and in some cases digital re-mastering.

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 1958 GWR Designed "Fruit D" W92097

The Fruit D wagon has progressed in fits and starts in a rather frustrating manner, due to it being outside in the hands of the currently very changeable weather. Nevertheless, the seaward side has received the first of two coats of crimson paint whilst the landward side has been varnished for just over half of its length. The latter side is being kept in its Great Western livery whilst the former was too far gone to save so is having a total repaint. The summer season “Red Timetable” starts on Thursday so time is fast diminishing. Thunderstorms permitting, the vehicle will be in traffic on passenger trains by the next update.

Seaward side

Landward side


We do love to hide in the workshops (Ivory Towers?!?) and concentrate on the heavy restorations in relative peace and harmony, but from time to time the troublesome coaches that are actually out there earning the money require serious time and attention! This week has been such a week, with between two and four full time staff fully occupied with a series of vacuum cylinder swaps. These had arisen as we had a few carriages that had minor vacuum faults that had been deferred which were very quickly last week joined by more coaches which chose to fail in quick succession. With the much appreciated assistance of the operating department coaches have been tripped to Weybourne Yard in pairs and the vacuum faults rectified, most commonly by swapping the vacuum cylinders entirely then quickly overhauling the defective cylinders to fit to the next poorly coaches. TSO’s M4236, E3868 and E4651 plus brake coach W35148 have all be so treated this week.

The dining train has also received attention, with RBR E1969 receiving the annual “flush out” of the water systems, an essential routine which keeps the drinking water tanks clean and fit for purpose.

Mike Sprules

Mike’s (Snowy’s) funeral was held earlier today at his home village of Sedgeford. Thirteen NNR volunteers went to pay their respects and it was touching to hear some of the memories of fellow friends and his family, all of which echoed our own sentiments. He will be much missed.

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