Friday, 30 October 2015

October News Part 4

A holiday to the Isle of Wight prevented an update last week. Every cloud has a silver lining however, as in my absence the 20,000th visitor arrived on the blog. As viewing figures are one of the few indications of the success of these ramblings, hitting the 20,000 mark is a reason to celebrate. Thank you readers and keep coming back!

London North Eastern Railway 1924 Quad Articulated Set 74

The workforce was struck down last week with an incurable disease: Quad-Finger. A nasty way to go... The process of prolonged rubbing down into the corners of the 1920’s panelwork and beading creates much soreness of the end of fingers. The lucky ones will have wrapped masking tape onto the ends of their fingers to prevent the symptoms, however many did not and I think we may have lost a few gallant hands to this most terrible of afflictions. However they will not suffer in vain, for the rubbing down of all four coaches was completed in record time leaving the way clear for the sides to be washed down and varnished.

One of our (many) Dave's rubs down the end of the Quads

The varnishing has been progressing behind the army of sanders, so has moved at an impressive rate. Only one side of one carriage now needs varnishing and the set shall be complete. The pictures should more than sum up the result of everybody’s endeavours and everyone involved is very pleased with the result.

Landward side fully re-varnished

With the main task of the weather proofing completed, attention has been able to turn to some other outstanding tasks and maintenance whilst the vehicles are in the workshops. Much window cleaning has taken place on the insides of the compartments and a general check of the interior made for faults and irregularities. Several doors, specifically their lock mechanisms, have been adjusted and any that require attention stripped down for light overhaul to keep them in fine fettle. The guards van has seen some attention, including the production and fitting of some door handles to the inside of the guards door as the Quads have always been difficult vehicles to climb into from track level. Moving to the underneath, all of the (full length) step boards have been rubbed down and repainted in gloss black to tidy them up as they do get a bit of a battering. The bogies have been cleaned and oiled, as has the brakegear. Work to fit a valve that prevents the vacuum brakes being released if the handbrake is applied is currently also ongoing. Some problems with the alignment of the various linkages has meant many adjustments have been required.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Gangwayed Brake M81269

The overhauled access steps have now been painted and they have been returned to the vehicle at Sheringham. With December approaching this coach will be busy as the Commercial Department prepares for the deluge of little darlings and their parents!

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

Work has continued on the steelwork reconstruction, with the Sheringham half of the seaward side being concentrated on. The framework has now been replaced in the two Sheringham-most compartments, although more steel is required before any more dramatic progress can be made.

Replaced framework

Reconstruction of the exterior doors has continued with another two being completed bringing the total to seven.

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

About half of the paid members of staff have been busy all week on this coach. The main focus has been the final preparation of the sides for painting, and several runs of sanding and body filling have been made.

Prepared section on the left with the protective maroon (still to be sanded) on the right

By the end of the week, the Sheringham end and seaward side had both been completed, which represents the half way point for this tedious job.

The Holt en during sanding/filling

A series of “loose ends” have also been tackled in parallel with the bodywork. Dan and David have cleaned up all the door lock catches (which were splattered with grime and paint) and polished up the brass door handles. Some end handrails and staff access steps were also missing, so these have been fabricated from steel and welded onto the end prior to the painting commencing.

Polished door handle

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

Varnishing work has continued, however other progress has been limited as resources are directed towards W46139.


Maintenance work has concentrated this week mainly on the steam heating connections and pipework, after several leaks had been reported.


Our ailing lighting in the eastern section of the workshop has become more obvious now that the darker wintery days are drawing in. An innovative solution of changing several failed bulbs was devised involving some duck tape, an engineering manager and a long wooden pole which after a suitable risk assessment meant we did not need to empty the shed and get a cherry-picker in after all... Ingenious!

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