Thursday, 24 September 2015

September News Part 3

Due to more time away (again?!?) the blog is a day early this week - just to confuse people...

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

The vehicle, which is all but finished, has had the interior sealed off to stop anyone getting in and spoiling the final finish, and the exterior is also ready for service. This week, one job has been adjusting the springing as the weight distribution of the body was not equal on all of the six wheels. This has proved a pretty troublesome task, and two days of adjustments have been made but the team are still not fully satisfied with the results. The vehicle is due to be pulled out of the shed and moved next door to the locomotive department for more adjustments, as they are better equipped than we are for such work due to the requirements to weigh steam engines etc and set their springs.

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

The shanks of the buffers have had some of the pitting filled which was later sanded and painted in primer.

Close by, the corners of the original chassis have been further slashed by the resident metalwork creature ready to be welded to the new steel outer C sections which are to be fitted soon. From underneath the chassis, some time has been spent on assembling the vacuum pipe, which is quite a simple affair but has a few curves, joints and brackets to contend with. Finally, the "W irons" have progressed as the keep plates have been fitted to the bottoms with new bolts.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

Work has concentrated solely on the exterior doors this week as most priorities have been elsewhere. We are at the stage now where five (out of a total of six) doors have been fully stripped back of old paint back to aluminium. Four of these have also been painted in primer and they already look very good. Once primed they have been set aside as we don't want to apply any more coats of paint until the doors have been fitted to the coach and adjusted.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

With the asbestos men gone, work has resumed (well, it never really got started before) on the bodywork concentrating on the Sheringham (3rd class) end. The floor of the extreme end compartment has been pulled out so that all the bodyside pillars and floor supports can be renewed. They all need to be done in this area as there isn't a single one intact! Repairs to the end of the coach just below the roofline have been completed with the remaining replacement panel work being fitted and welded up. At the bottom of the same end of the coach, all the panelwork has been cut away and the rotted end crash pillars also removed for replacement next week. Needle gunning of remaining steelwork and general cleaning up of the area is currently in progress before the new material starts to go into the frame.

Whilst all this has been going on, metal work on the doors for the vehicle (reskinning etc) has continued.

The first of the interior components has also been restored: the light shades out of the compartments have been cleaned back to original condition by volunteer David and look resplendent.

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

The metal heat deflectors described last week have been fitted to the vehicle and the heaters were fitted immediately on top of them. Dan is now in the process of connecting up the heater controls to the heaters so that passengers will be able to control the heating in their own compartment. Most have gone in OK but some of the control tubes have snapped so have been requiring repairs.

The new door cards and garnish rails are now being fitted rapidly to the vehicle - about two thirds are in situ along the landward side with as many as three people at once working on this task. They are to be varnished after they have been adjusted and fitted as each requires a lot of work before each individual door accepts them.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

No update this week.


Another related development is the restoration and repainting of one of Sheringham station's vintage bicycles, and very nice it looks too!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

September News Part 2

Due to your author being off from work – the blog is a late, truncated, and imageless affair this week, do not fear however the blog has not been privatised and hopefully it will return to full strength as soon as possible...

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

The step boards, complete with triangular sections on the backs (pictured last week), have now all been completed. The vacuum system has also been confirmed as fully armed and operational so the vehicle really is on the brink of entering traffic. Exciting times!

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

The buffers mentioned last week have been fitted firmly and the various ancillaries that go with them pinned in position and checked successfully. These internally “modern” buffers with a heritage exterior are quite an impressive way of doing things effectively whilst keeping the Edwardian charm...

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

All of the exterior glass has been cleaned ready for refitting, and the landward side window frames are all now fitted properly and the countersunk heads filled smooth.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

The week has seen dramatic progress on the asbestos stripping of the vehicle, which as one would expect from professional contractors has been completed quickly with seemingly little fuss. The coach’s plastic “cocoon” has been used to full effect and the interior flooring and toilets all stripped of the lethal material which was stopping us from sinking our teeth into the body reconstruction. Meanwhile, work on the doors has continued off the vehicle, with two particularly poor examples having an entire lower-half replacement with new steel. Finally, some limited work on the interuior components has been able to be started already despite the coach being so earl in its restoration. Approximately half of the polished aluminium heater control switches (from the compartments) have been cleaned up to their former 1950’s glory.

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

The long-awaited brand new door cards and garnish rails arrived during the week but the former have not come as expected in appearance, possibly due to an error in manufacture. However the production/modification of the wooden edging strips below the door cards can cure the issue. This latter task is now currently in hand and a test door has been fitted with the edging strip/door card/garnish rail combination to test all the theories... Also progressing are some metal heat deflectors which we have decided to produce and fit to the floors below the heaters. These are made from steel and are being painted silver on one side to hopefully encourage heat up through the seats into the passengers rather than down through the floor and into oblivion!

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

No update this week, although that certainly doesn’t mean there has been no progress!

Friday, 11 September 2015

September News Part 1

The blog returns after a week off due to holidays.

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

Work has continued to focus on the step boards which have all now been fitted to the vehicle. There is a triangular section at the back of the lower boards to prevent feet slipping and these have now also been fitted, although they are only in primer so require more painting in situ. The main boards will also be repainted again and several imperfections and joints have been filled to provide a smooth board from end-to-end. A session painting them all black again will no doubt be conducted soon. The fitting of the boards has once again changed the general appearance of the vehicle.

Boards fitted showing the triangular section

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

The buffer shanks have been receiving attention this week. The stronger buffers from the donor PMV chassis are to be retained, so the Great Northern era shanks have had the centres bored out slightly to accept the larger PMV buffers. This was after a new buffer compression tool was fabricated to enable everything to be dismantled safely. Suitably modified, the shanks have been bolted to the ends of the chassis and the buffers test fitted successfully.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

The job of stripping down the paint on the doors (described in August News Part 4) and on the side of the carriage continues steadily. The latter is getting close to completion: both sides of the coach and the Sheringham end are now fully stripped and coated in a fresh layer of metal primer. Only one end to go Dan!

The upper section of the carriage having been stripped of paint and primed

A further four of the exterior window frames have now been installed completing the landward side. We are now in the process of filling the countersunk rivets over with filler to give these windows a seamless finish.

On the interior, some curved wooden supporting noggins have now been installed in the Sheringham end saloon kicking off the interior reconstruction.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

The asbestos contractors are on site once again to clear the remaining material out of this carriage. They have so far made a start on sealing the vehicle so they can do their extraction safely. All work on the body of the coach has been suspended for the duration of this work.

E43041 being sealed for asbestos removal

The asbestos hasn’t stopped the door metalwork repairs however, and several more of them have been stripped back to bare metal so they can be assessed and welded. Once this has been completed, each door has been painted in primer on the outside and floor paint on the inside. The wooden frames have also been protected.

Refurbishment of the doors for E43041

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

The roof has received its second (and final) coat of paint this week.

Roger Ison painting the roof

On the interior, the window frames mentioned last time have been glossed which allowed further wooden trim to be installed all around the windows. Upholstery could then be fitted with the “side cards” and armrests being pinned into position first. The seat backs themselves are now in the process of being fitted.

Wood interior progress and seating starting to be fitted

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

The seaward side toilet is on the home straight with the toilet pan and sink now installed complete with fittings, pipework and taps. The various shelves and handles in the toilet are now being screwed into the wall panelling to complete this area.

Sink fitted

Mirror, towel rack and litter bin fitted


The workshop has recently gained a hooter to help announce the start of tea breaks and the end of the day. A true example of cooperation, the whistle was turned on a lathe off-site by an M&GN Society volunteer and then installed into the compressed air system in the shed by an NNR volunteer. It now makes a very suitable noise when the specially designed pull chord is operated!