Saturday, 12 December 2015

December News Part 2

Full size Andy receiving his gift

With heavy hearts, we had to bid farewell to Andy Phillips this week who has retired from the railway after 36 years involvement with the Carriage & Wagon department. For many of those years he was full-time manager until stepping down in 2013 and continuing part-time on the Suburban 4 project. He was responsible for the growth of the department from working in all weathers on a shoestring budget into what we see today, and his legacy is clear to see if you look at the coaching stock fleet in service today in comparison to that in 1979. Andy is moving to his much loved Scotland but will be visiting us in the future, in his words “probably at galas”... We presented him with a commemorative suburban model, complete with Andy figure painting a door, on his last day.

Small size Andy painting a door!

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

Paint stripping of the exterior woodwork continues to progress, with the landward side completed and the final side (Sheringham end) now under scrutiny.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

The fitting of the window frames has now been completed with the one closest to the Sheringham end requiring replacement using a spare, as the old one was damaged whilst being removed.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

The final three doors have now been rebuilt and are in primer ready for fitting, which is the conclusion of Andy’s last job. On the coach itself, more steps forward have been taken with the welding work with progress on most fronts including more new framework going in, further floor sections let in and painted and more areas of wooden flooring and steel skin removed to allow further framework replacement to commence. Some of the upper sections of paneling which are being retained have also been cleaned up to detect any pin holes of corrosion.

Nico looking for corrosion on one of the (upper) window sides

The area now “under repair” has reached the toilets which are over half way down the coach, so only the three first class compartments remain untouched. We have had several positive comments over the past few weeks from visitors admiring how thorough these repairs have been.

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

A push on the repainting of the underframe has been made this week, which resulted in the lurid green primer being completed in the early part of the week, followed by a record breaking session painting the black undercoat on Thursday. With five people on the task, the entire coach was coated in just one day, a first for our railway. This resulted in the gloss black being opened on Friday but with far less staff available just over 1/6th was covered! This work will continue with completion scheduled sometime next week. The two bufferbeams were also glossed to freshen up their appearance.

Mike Biss "fixing trains"

Attention has also turned to finishing the mechanical elements of the restoration, with the two couplings being freed off and then repainted. Two new vacuum pipes have been prepared and await fitting to the pipe. It was whilst repainting the chassis that your author heard a cry for help coming from the seemingly unoccupied Sheringham end of the coach. After a few glances then further investigation, my naivety was cruelly ridiculed by the perpetrators who were laughing at the Holt end of the coach, having “cried for help” down the vacuum pipe with remarkable realism! Strange how sound waves work...

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

No new progress to report this week.

Gloucester RC&W 1955 Ballast Hopper HW426

Several “slop sessions” (no, it’s not what you think!) have been undertaken on the wagon this week to apply oil/grease to all the various worms and gears to further improve the travel of the opening ballast doors.


Our oxygen/acetylene trolleys have been improved this week by top improviser Axe-Man-Collier. He has designed and produced extension pieces to the trolleys so that they can more effectively/safely carry the gas bottles that we load onto them. Previously, the oversize bottles were not sitting fully on the base which made the trolleys’ use unnecessarily difficult. We could have purchased new trolleys and great cost, but you might say we “bottled” it!


The grinding task of keeping a single rake of “Santa” coaches with working steam heat has consumed between one and two members of staff all week (go electric, I say...) with a large number of steam heat faults being trouble short and rectified. Three leaking valves (from the bufferbeams of the coaches) have been swapped out for repaired examples, as has one of the drain traps from under the coach that was stuck open and losing steam. Three split steam heat pipes from between the coaches have also been replaced. As for internal leaks, a heater feed pipe inside E4843 has been attended to, as has a massive leak under one of the disabled seats in the ex-Brake van of W35148. Two breakfast baps were also consumed by “team steam”, a privilege simply not available to the hard working individuals who stay at Weybourne Works during these harsh winter months...

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