Friday, 22 January 2016

January News Part 3

A new feature for 2016... Monkey does welding!

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

The ever faithful ceiling strippers continue to trudge their way through the most unpleasant of jobs. The two-thirds point has been reached with more than nine (of the 14) of the ceiling sections now back to bare wood. Staying on the wood theme the two doorways on the landward side of the coach, the first to receive repairs to the lower sections of the door pillars, have had more progress made, with new sections appearing to be spliced in and glued effectively. The Axeman, evidently feeling left out, has produced more metalwork to join the wood, but it may be a case of one step forward and five steps back... These five steps have in fact been produced from steel and these are destined for the brake (Holt) end of the coach on the outside to provide crew access to the roof.

Four of the end steps mid way through construction

Two more horizontal handrails have also been made (joining the other six made a few weeks ago) as although not marked on drawings, evidence on the body itself suggests there were two handrails bolted on the outside of the guards/luggage area.

British Railways 1962 Mark 1 First Open M3116

A side project worthy of mention is this dining coach, which is having an interior upgraded at Sheringham during the closed season. The seating has been removed and will be collected shortly for contract reupholstery. Whilst the seats are out, the legs have been sanded down ready for a quick re-varnish to improve their appearance. The plan is to also take the opportunity of the seats’ removal to replace the carpets throughout the coach.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

This coach has continued to be the main focus for this week’s volunteer input. The Holt end saloon has now reached the stage where all of the interior window frames have been fully cleaned up and polished to improve their appearance for passengers. This single sentence masks a massive and mundane task which has been undertaken by a dedicated team over several days.

Dan cleaning sliding windows

Bulkhead varnish stripping continues, the Holt end saloon is complete and the first bulkhead (out of four) inside the Sheringham end saloon has been started.

Sheringham end saloon bulkhead varnish stripping

About half of the Holt end vestibule area (where the toilet/store cupboard is located) has had the walls final-sanded and a protective first coat of varnish applied. The sore cupboard, mentioned last week, which is also located at this end of the carriage, was completed this week. The final tasks were the fitting of the lino flooring and skirting boards, fitting of the exterior door/lock, installation of the glass in the window and its surrounding woodwork and lastly the fitting of the light to the ceiling.

A poor image of the glass fitted

 The door has now ceremoniously been closed as this (albeit modest sized) area needs no more work at all. This is the very first part of the coach that can make this claim!

Completed shelving inside the store

Opposite the store is the toilet, the reinstatement of which was 90% completed about 12 months ago. A window of opportunity has arisen to complete the last 10%, and some of the outstanding plumbing is being attended to. So far, the hot water tank (for the sink) has been assembled on a test rig and is being tested to monitor its power consumption and reliability.

The flush tank for the toilet pan itself has also had a leak cured and is currently awaiting reassembly and fitting. Progress on the water feeds to these two components has also been made. These have had to be made from new components as the originals had been stripped out of the carriage and lost long ago, when the toilets were first taken out of use presumably.

Externally, all six doors have had aluminium weather proofing strips riveted around the door apertures and the doors hung and adjusted for the final time. This represents  another milestone in the coach’s restoration.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

The framework welding repairs on the landward side have been completed this week, with the seaward side not far behind. A start has been made on the Holt end of the coach, the last section to receive attention to the framework.

Progress spreads round the corner onto the Holt end

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

No progress to report.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

No progress to report.

Gloucester RC&W 1955 Ballast Hopper HW426

Although moved out of the works a few weeks ago, it was worth including this image of the hopper "in use" for the first time in a good few years. It has been loaded with ballast and is currently undergoing track settling runs inside the station at Weybourne which has recently been relayed. Thanks to Bryan Toovey for providing the image.


The rake of four dining train coaches have been ultrasonically axle tested, which is a requirement for their derogation for running on Network Rail metals between Sheringham and Cromer. This involved a nice man coming a long way with a posh screen and probe, to do impressive things which I do not understand!

Testing FO M3116

What is understandable though is that the “spike” in the photo (which has been loaded upside down for some reason...) is of the correct calibre and that there are no problems with any of the axles on the stock which we propose to use on the Cromer specials, which is good news indeed.


The last item is this update, but still in "pole-position" (ah ha,...!!) for the most exciting, is the donation of three large and historic wooden poles. We think two of them are pinch bars (used to manually move carriages or wagons along without the use of a locomotive) whilst the third is possibly a crude re-railing lever. Apparently, one of them is from the tram depot in Norwich. They have been treated for woodwork upon their arrival.

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