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was duly undertaken and 54062 became part of “101655”, lingering on in service until around 2000, being officially withdrawn in 2002.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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
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???