Friday, 13 November 2015

November News Part 2

There is a comforting sense that normality is being restored within the workshops now that the Quad Art set has been dispatched.

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

The most exciting development has been the commencement of this new rebuild: Great Eastern Railway Brake Third number 853. As the title suggests, this coach contains a large brake compartment and the reminder of the vehicle is taken by two third-class passenger compartments. It was built in 1899 and forms the fifth, and final, member of the M&GN Society’s vintage train rake which has been growing since 2006 when the first vehicle (LNER Pigeon Van 6843) entered traffic.

853 in all its glory

 The vehicle has been located in Bridge Road sheds since the shed was built and had previously been in storage at Sheringham after being rescued by the society in 2003. The vehicle therefore still had its tarpaulin on it from the days of outside storage and the first task was to pull this off to reveal the vehicle.

The coach body had been elevated off the ground and lean-to extensions built along both sides. Both of these factors resulted in the body being very well preserved, and in the limited time spent on the vehicle so far there is already an opinion that the vehicle is in much better condition than the previous restoration (M&GN Picnic Saloon number 3) was when the team started on it.

The original number, still visible!

Despite being of 1899 vintage, this old lady certainly knows how to roll as neon lighting and a ghetto blaster were found when emptying the interior of what can best be described as household additions. OK, in reality it was a 3-bar fire and a speaker, but this is still fancier than other members of the fleet!

Interior in "as found" condition

A personal favourite was the frilly pink lampshade on the ceiling, sadly this has also been mercilessly removed during week one but I’m assured it will be preserved in our C&W “museum” which holds plenty of valuable artefacts. Other items in said museum include a hardboard cricket trophy, a piece of wood which nearly chopped off a member of staff’s middle finger and a swimming certificate! We digress however...

New lighting required!

The volunteers wasted no time at all in getting stuck in, and the theme of removing the effects of 853’s use as a house was followed. There were two fireplaces grafted into the coach, the smaller of the two (already removed) has had the floor area prepared for replacement woodwork to the carriage frame, as a large section was simply cut away to accommodate the fire.

Mick removing end panels to facilitate a repair where the fireplace was cut out

On the landward side of the vehicle where the guard’s double-doors were located, a concrete hearth has been removed from the location of the larger fireplace. On the seaward side, a third of the vehicle has been heat gunned and the old paint stripped off revealing the panel work and beading beneath.

 Interestingly, this vehicle has a mix of wooden and tin panels and both appear to be in excellent condition considering the coach’s history. It is hoped a lot of the original material will be retained during the restoration process.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

This coach has returned from temporary storage at Bridge Road and is now being progressed again. The Sheringham end saloon interior is now being concentrated on, and many missing pieces have already been manufactured and fitted to the wooden supporting framework which is bolted to the recently replaced steel framework. Many other pieces have been dug out and refitted, the main pieces being the long lengths of wood that the steam heating pipes attach to. These can be considered as basically a skirting board if trying to describe where in the coach they fit.

The "skirting board" fitted and supporting timbers in the foreground awaiting fitting 

Meanwhile tentative moves have been made to complete the toilet (which was 90% completed during the spring) with the hot water tank currently being modified to accept a modern pressure sensor which will switch off the immersion heater should the tank lose its water for whatever reason.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

This coach has moved forwards considerably over the past week. Nico has joined Steve as a second welder to allow steelwork reconstruction to be done on both sides of the carriage simultaneously, something we think is a first for the railway. Steve has continued with the seaward side of the coach and this week a great deal of replacement framework has been welded into the second/third compartment side (the cut out aperture was pictured last week) as well as preparation work on the steel required to renew more of the corroded floor.

Seaward side reconstruction

Meanwhile, Nico has started on a large section of the landward side third class corridor with corroded panelwork and framework cut out and good progress made on welding in new framework.

Landward side reconstruction

The exterior door reconstruction has continued to progress with ten doors now completed out of a total of 13. The steam heater elements also continue to be overhauled.

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

A major painting session has seen the entire coach now coated in its final primer which it will now stay in until the rest of the work on the interior and underframe is completed.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

Work as described in previous weeks has continued steadily.

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Motor Brake Second E51228

This vehicle has briefly returned to the works (having been completed by us 12 months ago) for a lift to enable its bogies to be swapped. It is now back in the hands of the locomotive department who will progress its mechanical overhaul.


When the top was chopped off the access steps for M81269 (see October News Part 2) the uppermost two steps ended up destined for the scrap bin. However a mini set of steps has now been created by welding a base onto the chopped-off section.

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