Friday, 28 August 2015

August News Part 5

We start with the celebration of 15,000 views of the blog to date. It will be interesting to see how many views there are in January when the blog can celebrate its first birthday!

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

The emperor of all stepboards continues to progress with the top example on the seaward side now fitted to the vehicle. The remaining boards have now been painted in gloss black as well.

On the interior, the lino flooring has received its sealant, essential for keeping it clean and in good condition. Underneath the coach, the hornguides have now been greased and the brake rigging is under test again.

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

The wooden packing pieces mentioned last week are all now fully bolted down which completes this task. Also complete is the drawgear assembly, which received its final components, the drawhooks themselves, this week.

The new steel C sections have also had the spring hangars all trial fitted, which took some time as all the holes had to receive a “NITMeC” (for the uninitiated that is a “Norfolk Imperial To Metric Conversion”!)

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

The paintwork sanding and door paint stripping described last week continues using the same victims, the first of the six exterior doors has now been completed and is in primer until it can be fitted to the coach.

All the glass for the exterior windows is also in the process of being cleaned and is now being kept in a safe place until the time comes for installation.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

A repair to the top edge of the roof on the Sheringham end has been progressing this week, and already the replacement panelling has been tack welded onto one side.

Also receiving metalwork are the doors, several of which have had new steel bottoms added to them by Jon and Nico. This job is particularly skilful as doors are one of the hardest parts of a carriage to weld because the original metal distorts so easily when a new piece is welded in.

Finally, the battery box covers for the coach have been stripped of their old bitumen paint and coated in primer.

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

Now that this coach is back in the staged area a push has been made on fitting out the interior, much of which has already been restored and has been in store awaiting fitting. In one week, the wooden veneered panelling has been fully fitted throughout the coach, and other wooden trim is now been trial fitted round the doorways. Trim which sits just below the ceiling is also being fitted apace.

A full set of draught excluders have also been fitted to all the doors. The wooden interior window frames are now in the process of being primed as unfortunately they weren’t in good enough condition to be varnished so will have to be painted brown instead.

Woodwork for the doors receiving final varnishing

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

The toilet progresses with the corner beading strips being fitted and painted. More varnishing of the window woodwork has also been completed.

Friday, 21 August 2015

COMPLETION SPECIAL: Class 101 Railcar E56062

Today saw the second half of the North Norfolk Railway’s Class 101 Railcar set, trailer car E56062, exit the workshops after bodywork and a repaint into BR green livery with speed whiskers. It will join powercar E51228 in service as a 2-car set once the latter has had its mechanical issues resolved.

E56062 started out life in May 1957 as a 2-car set for the Eastern Region of British Railways. It was to operate in 2-car formations for its entire service life and was soon put to work on secondary and rural routes replacing costly steam traction and coaching stock combinations. The vehicle was included in one of the earliest batches of the Class 101 design, part of an order for 40 railcars and as such is the forth oldest Class 101 vehicle preserved. Thirty years of uneventful service followed, during which the coach was repainted first into British Railways’ Blue colour scheme and later the more attractive Blue & Grey livery after it was refurbished internally. This refurbishment involved the removal of the original tungsten lighting, to be replaced with fluorescent tubes and the replacement of much of the Formica wall coverings with cream and orange panels (replacing the original blue and green). Despite this refurbishment, by the late 1980’s E56062, like many railcars of similar vintage, was in a poor state and up for replacement with modern stock. The story was not to end here however, for 54062 (as it had now been renumbered) was selected in 1992 as part of a fleet of 35 Class 101 sets which were to be refurbished again and kept into service long after the others were disposed of. This refurbishment was duly undertaken and 54062 became part of “101655”, lingering on in service until around 2000, being officially withdrawn in 2002.

E56062 as part of "101655"

Split from its partner (which was later scrapped), E56062 was sent to the Ministry of Defence site at Shoeburyness for storage before being purchased by the North Norfolk Railway in August 2003, who wanted a railcar historically accurate for the East Anglian region to replace a less-suitable suburban Class 117 set that had been operating services on the line during the late 1990’s. The NNR created a 2-car set with 56062 (from 101655) paired with powercar 51228 (from set 101681) and after bodywork repairs and repaint into blue, entered service in 2004.

E56062 in 2008

After five years NNR service, E56062 was extensively restored over 2009/2010 with the 1980’s refurbishment features being removed and the interior and exterior returned to original “as built condition”. Repainted into green livery, 56062 re-entered service in June 2010 but was taken out of service in 2013 as its partner suffered mechanical failure. During 2014, the Carriage & Wagon department repainted the powercar in readiness for its return to traffic so in May 2015 E56062 was brought in to ensure it matched the (now shiny) powercar.

E56062 in 2010

This year has not seen the most thorough of overhauls, indeed the interior and underframe were still in excellent condition after the 2010 overhaul, so haven’t required any attention. The exterior was however letting the vehicle down slightly, so several patches have been welded into the sides and cab and the bodysides later prepped and fully repainted to ensure the vehicle shines again. When returned to service, E56062 will operate a huge number of the NNR’s services, so it is important for the railway’s image that it looks good externally.

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

The varnishing has now been completed on the vehicle! The last remains of the seaward side which needed attention plus the headstocks of the coach have been varnished this week, drawing this phase of the restoration to a close. Work has now been proceeding on the footboards for the vehicle, which are suitably Victorian looking (huge!). So far several have been cut to length and are currently being painted. Meanwhile the metal supports for the boards have been fitted to the seaward side of the coach, landward to follow shortly.

Footboards in primer

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

The bell tolleth and herein lies the Axeman... That’s right, he’s back, and this time the goggles are better than ever. The original C sections which run the length of the donor underframe are being reduced to half size on the top section and being axed entirely on the bottom section. Elsewhere on the underframe, the wooden packers which sit on top are now in the process of being bolted down, and more drawgear has been assembled, although the actual coupling hooks are still to be fitted.

The top of the donor C section fast becoming history

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

Four of the window frames mentioned last week, have now been fitted to the Holt end landward side of the vehicle with new rivets.

A lot more old paintwork, mainly from the upper sections which weren’t replaced with new steel, has been sanded off by a long suffering Dan Broughton who has proceeded along the landward side and is currently tackling the Sheringham end. Also sanding have been the two Peters who have been cleaning up the six exterior doors ready for their eventual repainting.

On the interior, thoughts are turning to the reconstruction of the Sheringham end saloon, and much gathering of parts has been done to enable this work to start soon. The Sheringham end vestibule has already seen some wall and ceiling framework re-fixed into position. It’s nice that things are now going back onto this coach rather than being pulled off!

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

Work on the bodysides of this vehicle has had to stop due to the discovery of some more residual asbestos, which will take some time to be removed by the professionals. However work on the asbestos-free ends of the carriage has been done, with a fresh section pulled off the bottom revealing wasted structural sections which will require repair of course!

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

This coach has finally made it back inside the shed to be finished off, so expect more lengthy reports concerning this second member of the Suburban 4 Club in future weeks.

Lotsa doors!

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

I have been guilty of not fully reporting all the ongoing progress on this vehicle over the past few weeks, so there are several images to show off the good work being done to try and make up for it. On the interior passenger saloons, the Formica wall panelling has been fitted throughout a large proportion of the coach, making a huge visual difference as it covers up the cold steel bodysides.


More window woodwork has been fitted with many side pieces still in the process of having the layers built up. These parts really have depth to them and have a quality shine.

Several doors, located around the toilet vestibule area, are also in a similar state of having the varnish layers built up.

The seaward side toilet is also progressing well with the flooring being concentrated on this week – I may stand corrected but I “think” the lino floor covering had been permanently fitted by close of play.

Here we see a very professional man professionally cutting flooring

Said lino in position (bird's eye view)

The luggage netting is being restrung at a rate of “knots” (see what I did there?!?), Roger Ison deploying the usual dedication to the task. All but the odd one is now complete.

New Member

We were joined by this happy chap during Friday’s shunting. Do the drivers really have to wait that long before shunting finished projects out of the C&W shed???

Friday, 14 August 2015

August News Part 3

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

The varnishing on the seaward side of the carriage has now been completed, however a few parts have to be redone on the landward side, so there is still a little bit of varnishing still to complete.

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

The large steel C sections that were recently brought indoors have now both been drilled with the myriad of holes that will accept all of the various spring hangars and axlebox "W irons". Being able to drill all of these holes in the right places first time really shows the skill of the engineers we have involved on this task. One of the C sections has also had bolts fitted thrugh the holes and the heads welded to the sections, creating studs (of a kind).

On the chassis itself, work has been focused on the drawgear equipment. The plates that go on the ends of the vehicle and hold the drawhook itself in place are now fitted onto the headstocks, and the central section of the continuous drawgear has been assembled complete with rubber springing in the centre. The wooden packers that help hold he body up have also been trial fitted to the top of the chassis.
Centre section of continuous drawgear with rubber springing

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

A major milestone has been reached with the vehicle this week: the completion of the metalwork repairs. This represents the single greatest aspect of the coach's overhaul, so is great to see it at this stage. Now that the metalwork repairs (which have to be done whilst almost no other work is underway) are behind us, more jobs on the rest of the vehicle have been progressed this week. Roger Williams, who has spent several weeks repairing the aluminium window frames (removed some months ago), has now started the process of refitting the frames to the carriage, wok so far has entailed preparing the fresh metal with undercoat in the areas that will be hidden when the frames themselves are fitted.

Meanwhile on the interior the large sections of floor which had been removed from the seaward side of the Sheringham half of the carriage, plus the floor from the Sheringham corridor end, have been fully replaced with new hardwood supports and plywood flooring. This is in readiness for the start of some of the interior components being refitted to the carriage.

Floor supports being installed

Floor completed in the Sheringham end saloon

Floor completed in the Sheringam end corridor area

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

The interior stripping out mentioned last week is almost complete: all 8 compartments are now empty and only the third class corridor and toilet now remain to be treated. The doors have also progressed, all 13 have now been stripped down to their component parts, and several are now receiving metalwork repairs where they have rotted into the next world. The wood frames of the same doors are also being protected where required, as these doors progress we continue to get a better "feel" for how many can be cleaned up and reused, how many require metalwork repairs, and how many are corroded beyond repair. Some have rotten wooden frames with good (reusable) metal skins screwed onto them, whilst some others have great frames but severely wasted skins!

A door with a new bottom fitted

On the exterior, the landward side gutter is now removed from the carriage, following the seaward side which was done last week. The conclusion of the welding repairs on E4641 has meant attention is now able to turn to replacing the rot on E43041. A start has been made on the Sheringham end/seaward side of the vehicle, with one and a half compartments-worth of old panelwork removed to assess the framework. Unfortunately this coach is fantastically rotten, and is clearly the worst of the Suburban 4 project vehicles. A long journey now awaits us, so expect plenty of "metalwork repairs to E43041 continue this week" reports in future weeks (months?!?).

The first section of rotten framework revealed

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

All of the "fire breaks" (pictured last week) have now been painted, concluding this job. Seat reupholstery continues with more seat backs being re-trimmed this week, the number of bits required to retrim for this coach can now be counted on one hand.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

More luggage racks have had their washed strings repaired and refitted to the aluminium rack itself. This task is ongoing, as is the toilet plumbing and interior varnishing described in previous weeks.

British Railways 1957 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Composite Lavatory E56062

The waist height bodyside line and underframe lettering have received a second coat, and the white vacuum "stars" have been applied to the underframe. The white stars were at such a height that a chair was required to paint them, so the solution that any self respecting individual would reach was found: a brown winged armchair! This concludes the repaint for this vehicle. Handrails have now been refitted and any damaged areas and odd nuts/bolts have been touched in to match the rest of the vehicle. E56062 will therefore be leaving us very soon.

Painting in style!

Ready to roll

Friday, 7 August 2015

August News Part 2

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

The all important varnishing work continues with the landward side of the carriage receiving its second coat. Three out of the four sides have now had two coats, with the seaward side next on the horizon. Inside the coach, following a delivery last week, the battery to power the LED lighting has been installed in a suitably unobtrusive place. Our thanks must go to the budding historians within the restoration team, who were able to research exactly what type of leisure battery the Midland & Great Northern used for their own LEDs!

Pete second coating the landward side

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

More heavy work has been completed on the underframe project. A eclectic team, of varied strength and age(!), moved two huge C shaped beams from the yard where they were being stored to the side of the underframe in the shed so that various holes could be drilled to eventually attach the springing gear to. This is currently a main source of attention as more work and holes are yet required. A great deal of painting also continues to be done, with various parts including the brakeshoes/brakegear, axleboxes, drawgear and wood packers (that hold the body) progressing to the gloss or undercoat stages where appropriate. The chassis will be a fine vessel underneath indeed if all this black gloss is anything to go by.

Brian paints the drawgear into black gloss

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

As hinted last week, the final quarter has been found to be in much, much better condition than some of the areas we’ve bulldozed through previously, and as such the framework repairs (which arguably are the most time consuming aspect) are already concluded. Nearly half of the sheet metal has now been tack welded into position, having been cut to size, and now awaits further (full) welding.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

Whilst the DMU remains in the workshop, E43041 continues to receive the most labour out of the three suburbans on site. A great deal of time-consuming stripping down work is being undertaken, to reduce the coach to a set to components to restore. The doors (removed last week) are now being more thoroughly stripped down with all the mechanisms and internal gubbins being stacked up away from the metal door skin and wood frame itself. The latter is being treated where it is starting to rot but can still be saved, whilst a few metal skins are getting welding repairs to rotten areas as required. On the outside of the carriage, the Holt end electrical equipment and toilet pipework has been taken off for inspection, where it was discovered that to stop the out-of-use toilet tanks being filled up mistakenly, someone before us had squirted up the pipe with expanding foam! We are currently head scratching to find the best way to remove this blockage, as the toilets will hopefully be reinstated during the coach’s restoration as part of a special volunteer-led project. The seaward side gutter also been removed along the full length of the coach to facilitate welding repairs to the top edge of the vehicle’s sides.

Guttering in the process of being removed

Meanwhile inside E43041, a very thorough stripping out of components has taken place in the three first class compartments, involving everything except the corridor wall than runs parallel to the side of the vehicle. Only the ceilings and dividing bulkheads now remain in situ in these areas. This is necessary both to thoroughly restore all the components (particularly woodwork) and to allow full access for the welding team who will be starting on this coach soon.

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

Inside the coach, some of the “fire breaks” that sit between each seating compartment have been painted in green floor paint to protect them from the general damp. Volunteer Peter did very well by single handedly painting five out of the nine compartments himself in one day. We all know what he will be doing next week!

Peter let loose on the fire guards

Down in the woods, equally impressive progress has been made on the seat reupholstery, which has been quietly being done each week without fuss. A current count up reveals that nine out of the 18 seat backs, 15 of the 18 seat bases and all of the 36 side cards/arm rests are now recovered and are awaiting fitting.

This week's reuphostery has included this seat back from W46139

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

Toilet reinstatement work this week centres on the plumbing, and a great deal of pipes and fittings were spread over the workshop bench, all part of the plan I am told... Some fiddling has also been done with the tiled-lino toilet floors with the potential for floor laying possibly in the near future.

On the luggage racks, the cleaning stage has now been passed and they look excellent, a far cry from the stained and corroded look they had before. Seven of them have also received string repairs and the washed nets have been returned to them, which gives us a cheeky glance at the first overhauled luggage racks for the vehicle.

Luggage rack ready or refitting

British Railways 1957 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Composite Lavatory E56062

The DMU is starting to look very nice indeed. Lining continues apace, and the bodyside lettering and numbers are now complete, as are the distinctive “speed whiskers” on the cab end. The waist height bodyside line and underframe lettering have been applied but require a second coat. Not many tasks are outstanding before this vehicle reaches completion.

Nearly there!

A Warning

Finally, have you seen this man? He is wanted by C&W management for gross misconduct (dressing up in non-NNR colours), however do not approach him as he is known to be extremely dangerous and good-hearted. If he offers you a jelly baby, under no circumstances accept!

Approach at your own risk

Saturday, 1 August 2015

August News Part 1

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

A last push on the lining for the saloon has now seen the final sections applied by Brian Ashby to the seaward side chassis which completes this aspect of the painting. As reported previously, the ends of the vehicle have had two coats of varnish whereas the sides have only had one, so the two sides have been flatted back again this week ready for a second coat of varnish.

On the underneath, the vacuum cylinder has been test fitted again but requires adjustments before being declared serviceable.

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

More of the chassis has been brought up to the gloss black stage, whilst many of the “bit and bobs” for the springs and underframe components have been painted in undercoat, so are not far being the chassis itself. The timber packers which sit between the wooden carriage body and the steel underframe are now also in undercoat. The long draw hooks have been shortened by seven inches (to cater for the reduction in underframe length) and re-threaded on the lathe so that they can be refitted into the modified underframe using the original fixings. Meanwhile on the brakegear, the beams which cross the width of the vehicle and hold the brake shoes themselves have had their worn spigots on the end built back up with weld and dressed by none other than Axeman Collier, “man of sparks”. Additionally, four worn bushes have been replaced in the same beams.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

The last quarter of the coach to be repaired, the Sheringham end/landward side, has had its appearance transformed with all the old panels being pulled off and consigned to the skip, revealing the entire framework underneath for the required repairs. We are pleased to say that this section is in much better condition that the seaward side sections, so we are anticipating that less work and time will be required to make the repairs. Already, several of the wasted framework sections which lie below the windows have been cut out and replaced with new. The four window frames which were removed from this section last week are now also in the process of being stripped down and any sheared off pins repaired.

Meanwhile, stalwart volunteer Steve continues to singlehandedly work his way through varnish stripping the entire interior, he is currently somewhere in the middle of the stack of wood which came out of the Sheringham end saloon.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

The bogie overhaul (minus brake rigging) has now been completed with the Sheringham end receiving cleaning and painting (up to black gloss) work rapidly. The bogie frames, wheelsets and axleboxes were all completed and fully reassembled back into the bogie this week. This was followed by the coach being lowered back onto its bogies temporarily and then moved into the staged area whilst the DMU comes out for its lining and underframe to be completed. The brake rigging is to be completed and refitted to E43041 once it comes back out of the staging area. The battery box interiors, pictured last week, were painted gloss black just before the coach was shunted. Once E43041 entered the staging, all the grab handles and doors were removed for future restoration. However as a prelude, all the door locks have already been removed and overhauled.

E43041 without doors in the staging

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

Work continues on the reupholstering of the seats. On the inside of the vehicle, 8 new steel “fire guards” have been fabricated and fitted to the coach, these are simple sheets of metal that sit between each compartment behind the seats and are designed to prevent fire spreading too quickly down the coach should the worst happen. The rest of the interior refit is awaiting the completion of DMU E56062 so that W46139 can come back in the shed.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

Revarnishing of woodwork and toilet reconstruction continue as described in previous weeks. One notable repair completed has been the patching of some snapped Formica panels from the toilet, a difficult task as we have no spare Formica of that pattern to patch them with. A wooden patch has been made up and colour matched to the (faded) Formica, which after fitting looks better that it sounds in my description.

British Railways 1957 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Composite Lavatory E56062

The lower of the two bodyside lines is now in the process of being painted on. Some other outstanding tasks for the repaint have also been attended to now that the vehicle is no longer in the staged area. These have included repainting of the bufferbeam, front end pipes, solebar, jumper cable sockets and the blue square multiple working codes on the cab and corridor ends.

The front end showing the repainted blue squares and bufferbeam


To follow up the soapbox in the Carriage & Wagon’s endeavour to provide a rolling advert for the NNR, three C&W members plus another two from the Engineering department went to Aldborough (south of Cromer) to join members of their own club for a game of Cricket and amazingly, two of the C&W members won! An impromptu ceremony was of course required back at base the next morning, with the proud recipients adding another trophy to C&W’s rapidly expanding cabinet of accolades.