Friday, 29 January 2016

January News Part 4

We start with the fantastic news that your author is now £5 richer after Dan bet that it would snow last Friday and lost. Admirably, payment was made and the occasion recorded on camera!

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

The end is finally in sight with the ceiling paint stripping, with only one of the fourteen sections still to complete. The doors have been progressing in a similar fashion and there is only one door still on the vehicle itself, all of the others having been removed and paint stripped. The doorway wooden frame repairs (described last week) have also been worked on along the landward side. Meanwhile, the Axeman has continued with his steps for the brake end, with a large (double width) centre step having been fabricated. Each step is now having a chevron-like pattern welded onto the top to replicate the original grips to prevent slipping off.

British Railways 1962 Mark 1 First Open M3116

All of the seating has now been sent away for contract re-upholstery. This is the last carriage of the dining train to have been recovered so we can now present a “corporate image”, the entire dining train being trimmed in the attractive BR Blue and Gold “Oak Leaf”  material. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of course; however we have always had excellent feedback regarding the use of the Oak Leaf so it seems to have been the right choice when choosing a popular and quality pattern for the railway’s flagship Mark 1 set.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

Progress both inside and out this week. Starting on the exterior, the door weather strips have had their countersunk rivets filled and sanded flat. The two doors which weren’t painted prior to fitting have been etch primed inside and out. Both corridor connections have had the “hood”, which sits on the top to keep the weather out, removed and the area cleaned up, inspected and repainted. Several small holes have been found so will have to be repaired in due course. One of the pair of toilet filler pipes has had its lower section cut off and a new section attached. This strange repair was required as when the coach’s toilets were decommissioned many moons ago, expanding foam had been sprayed up the pipes to stop guards filling the disconnected water tanks! Needless to say, both pipes will need reinstating before the coach goes back into service with a working loo.

The shortened toilet filler pipe mid-repair

Moving to the interior, the alloy window cleaning/polishing is now complete throughout the whole coach which has improved their appearance greatly. The bulkhead varnish stripping in now well into the Sheringham end saloon and will soon be completed. We have also taken the opportunity of the interior panels being removed to make provision for speaker cabling to be added unobtrusively which will allow the carriage to take part in Murder Mystery trains upon its completion. We will show more details of this as the job progresses. The sanding of the bulkheads in the Holt end vestibule and toilet area has now been completed and so far two coats of varnish have been applied to all the woodwork in this area.

The glory of preservation: rubbing down varnish between coats 

The toilet tank has also been filled with water and checked for leaks, a test which it thankfully passed. The smaller flush tank for the toilet pan itself is now secured in position and piped up. We have even had a ceremonial test; and I must say the team were flushed with success!

An overall view of the coach whilst it was outside having the toilet tank tested

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

Welding repairs continue in a similar vain to those described in previous updates. Much of the flooring framework has had a protective coat of anti-corrosion primer as well.

British Railways 1954 Mark 1 Suburban Third W46139

The coach has been lowered back onto its bogies (Monkey got involved at this point...) and the vacuum brakes have been connected up, adjusted for the final time, and tested successfully. The coach is now technically completed below floor level, so is mechanically suitable for service for the first time since the 1980’s!

Monkey carefully reunites the coach body with its bogies

Above floor level, all 18 of the plastic compartment air vents have now been fitted into position, another finishing job which we were unable to do with the coach elevated on jacks.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

More floor protection has been undertaken under the seats, with black gloss now being applied as a topcoat, which is more suitable from white as it is just about visible if passengers look through the mesh of the heater grills which sit under the seats.


Our seating upholsterers, who have slowly been suffocating in the upholstery workshop due to lack of space, finally managed to escape our cold grasp and made haste to Sheringham. The reason was to do a large seating swap between two TSO vehicles. The reason behind this was that some years ago the railway had three identical vehicles upholstered in the same colour material: 4236, 4641 and 4651. 4651’s seats wore out quicker than the other two and by last season had become visibly threadbare and due for replacement. However due to its inferior bodywork and doorways, it was 4641 which was brought in for major overhaul (and therefore regularly features in these Blog updates!). As part of this overhaul, 4641 is due to have its seating reupholstered, despite it having pretty good material extant on the seats. Therefore it was decided to take the worn seats from 4651 and reupholster them for 4641. 4641’s good seats in turn will be fitted to 4651 which is expected to complete at least another season before it sees any workshop attention. Fallen asleep yet? Taking advantage of the railway’s “closed season” therefore, our two valiant upholsterers have been inside 4651 at Sheringham removing worn seats (to reupholster later this year) and substituting them with mid-life examples. Just one of the many tasks required to keep the carriage interiors looking reasonable from year-to-year.


Inspired by the pole donation last week, a further two poles have moved in from a Pway hut in Brundall of all places... Both have been identified (we think), one was a jack handle and the other a hammer handle, possibly a wheel-tapper’s hammer judging by its extremely long length.

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