Friday, 29 April 2016

April News Part 5

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

A fairly routine week with tasks from previous updates being built upon. The newly assembled walls of the guard's brakevan have received more filler and white paint.

Meanwhile, Monkey has been busy welding up some of the original end steps from the carriage, which had been folded back on themselves once the coach became part of a bungalow. These are being modified and essentially bent back to their original shape prior to refitting.

British Railways 1962 Mark 1 First Open M3116

Now that the seats are back their legs have been rubbed down and re-varnished three times.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

The final sections of the interior have received their varnish which concludes this mammoth task.

The (much more fun) refitting process has now started with wall panels from the ceiling downwards starting to appear.

The ceiling repaint has been completed which allowed the large lighting shades and ventilator grills to be reattached to the ceiling, which really sets it off nicely.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

Good welding progress this week. On the seaward side, the compartment sides are now finished up to the forth compartment.

Meanwhile, the corridor (landward) side windows and doorways are progressing once more, with three windows worth having the panels attached.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

Progress on the interior reassembly has continued with all 16 doors now assembled. Some more window surrounds were also fitted inside the Sheringham end saloon. The toilet seats have also been restored ready for refitting to the two thrones!

Underneath the carriage, the painting of the underframe has reached completion with the black gloss coat being applied this week.

A start has now been made on reconnecting the steam heaters to the steam pipe below the coach, although some pipes are going to have to be made up before this can be completed. On the bogies, the Holt end bogie has now been lifted onto stands and the wheelsets removed. The focus this week has been chipping all of the years of detritus off the bogie frames. Exciting stuff!


The battle to keep the serviceable coaches serviceable rages on. A window in the guards brake van on BSK W35148 stopped opening/closing and was fixed immediately as it would have had an adverse effect on this weekend's Thomas event had the door remained out of service.

Friday, 22 April 2016

April News Part 4

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

The final partition, that that separates the guard's compartment with the passenger compartments, was paneled up to the ceiling this week which gives an impression now on how large the brakevan area is. It will be "all white on the night" as the panelled areas have now received the first coat of white penetrating wood primer.

The pole which supports the ceiling over the half height partition was modified this week and replaced by a longer example which fills the void better. This had to be welded together using two salvaged poles and it was lucky that Monkey was available to give the Axeman some guidance on how to make a good job of it!

British Railways 1962 Mark 1 First Open M3116

The reupholstered seats arrived right at the end of the week, so have been loaded into the vehicle (huff-n-puff dot com) ready for unwrapping and fitting.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

Re-varnishing of the mass of interior woodwork continues, with up to three staff involved at any one time. We can finally see the end for this task and hopefully the final parts will be varnished next week and refitting can commence.

The task of plumbing back in the under-seat heaters (pictured last week) has now been completed. Elsewhere on the interior, the ceiling painting has progressed well this week with three quarters of the coach now gloss painted and completed. Only the end (originally non Smoking) saloon and the Sheringham end vestibule now remains to be painted.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

Other commitments have prevented progress on welding the paneling on the landward side, but the seaward side continues to progress in similar vein to previous weeks.

Great progress has also continued on the first batch of woodwork (from around the windows) which is now all stripped down and many of them have also been sanded as well. The first coats of varnish mix are now starting to be applied.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

The departure of the M&GN brakevan has opened up the space to lift E48001 again and extract the Holt end bogie ready for its overhaul to start.

Now that the vehicle is back on jacks again, the task of repainting the underframe has restarted. The final areas of "rust-kill" primer have been applied and the metal primer and black undercoat layers have also been done.

Upstairs, a further three doors have been reassembled wood-work wise bringing the total up to 10 (out of 16). The Holt end saloon is now finished as far as doors are concerned.

Friday, 15 April 2016

April News Part 3

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

Another week of great, visual, progress to report. Focus remains on the interior walls and paneling where some dramatic changes have been made. The Holt end (guard's) wall has had some more panels fitted and the joins caulked.

Also in this area, a start has been made on machining a new side piece for the guard's ducket (protruding side window) as the original had rotted beyond repair. The partition between the guards compartment and the passenger compartments has been partially built with the reclaimed GER tongue and groove panels mentioned in previous weeks starting to be fixed in position. The half-height partition that separates the two passenger compartments has now been fitted and is the first partition to be completed. This includes a pole to support the roof where there is no planking. The completion of the partition so early on in the restoration really puts the team in "pole position"!

British Railways 1962 Mark 1 First Open M3116

Currently awaiting the return of its seating from contract re-upholstering.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

Re-varnishing of interior woodwork has continued steadily but is still ongoing. Whilst we wait for varnished wood to catch up, some beading and bulkhead "furniture" (vent grills, signage etc) has been fitted to the  bulkheads inside the carriage, which really sets them off nicely.

Elsewhere on the interior, the steam heating pipes have been bolted to the feeder pipes which come up through the floor, which has fixed them into their final position. This has allowed a start to be made on plumbing back in the individual heaters which sit under every seat and keep passenger's nice and warm around the tables!

These have not required overhaul but had to be removed and stored safely when we stripped the coach out for the major welding work last year.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

Focus has remained on the steel paneling. On the landward side, the first of the larger corridor side windows is starting to take shape.

Meanwhile on the seaward side, the first three compartments have been completed and painted in primer.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

The Sheringham end bogie is now firmly in the reassembly stage and it was lifted back onto its wheels this week. The mechanical brake gear is now in the process of being refitted.

On the inside of the vehicle, the wood refit has continued and seven (nearly half) of the doors in the Holt end saloon have had all their wooden components firmly fitted into place with the door also checked to make sure it still closes properly once all the bits and bobs have been attached to it.

The exterior has also progressed well with the first wave of sanding and body filling now almost completed for the landward side of the vehicle.

Midland & Great Northern Railway 1881 4 Wheel Tool Van 12

The final 10% of the exterior repaint/revarnish was quickly completed leaving only the underneath to sort out.

An intensive wheel turning session resulted in the second of the two axles being machined to eliminate the wheel-flats. It was a close run thing, but with Monkey's help the wheel was completed ready for reassembly on Friday.

A group effort led to the wheels being reassembled onto their axleboxes, the van lowered back onto its wheels, the brakegear reassembled and the vacuum brakes tested successfully. The vehicle is now complete and is once again available for traffic.

Friday, 8 April 2016

April News Part 2

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

Progress is picking up again now that the future generations are thinking about returning to school. The two partitions within the carriage (one separating the two passenger compartments and another separating the compartments with the guards van area) have now been assembled up to waist height using the reclaimed Great Eastern Railway planking as a base. This dividing up of the carriage is one of the most important changes to make when converting it from its previous "open plan" layout used when it was part of a bungalow.

In the Sheringham end compartment, a framework is flourishing that will at some point support the first bench seat.

British Railways 1962 Mark 1 First Open M3116

A fairly dramatic transformation has occurred this week after the new carpet was fitted by contractors. You could say we were on a roll...! The carpet is a blue pattern which I am informed is a railway spec design. It should match the Blue/Gold seat upholstery used within the dining train beautifully. Soon after the carpet was laid, the heater grills were all screwed back down onto the floor so the carriage is now ready for the seating to be re-installed once they return from contract upholstery.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

Re-varnishing of interior woodwork has continued steadily but is still ongoing. The ceilings in the vestibules have all been sanded again and painted up to the undercoat stage to match the main passenger saloons which were tackled last week. The first section of ceiling, the Holt end vestibule, has now been gloss painted heralding its completion.

Extra wiring designed for future table lamps has also been fitted along the sides of the vehicle, so that we can fit the discrete sockets into the walls as and when we are able to fit the paneling to the interior.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

Progress has centered on the attachment of the steel outer skin to the bodysides. We now have two members of staff on this task once again, working down each side simultaneously.

The landward side is starting to move along with the end window inside the first compartment now welded up and painted in primer.

The seaward side is more advanced, with the windows around compartment 3/4 currently being tackled.

One of the metalworkers (subsequently identified by witnesses as "Milkman Atkins") also kidnapped Monkey and felt it necessary to imprison the poor creature for no reason other than his own amusement. Monkey was later rescued and encouraged to stand against Atkins in court, but Monkey bottled it...

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

The Sheringham end bogie has now been completed from a painting point of view, with the bogie frame undercoated and gloss painted this week.

Another important and very large task has been started this week, with the bodywork preparation being started. This carriage was the subject of a failed restoration attempt at its previous home, and consequently the bodysides are incredibly uneven and patched. This means a great deal of sanding and bodyfilling will be required to achieve an even average finish. We aim to do the best we can and see how we end up. Our newest member of staff Phil, who started this week, has been given a baptism of fire and put onto this task. So far he has taken to it like a duck to water and is motoring down the seaward side of the coach sanding and filling.

The interior has also been looked at, with the process of final woodwork fitting commencing. This is to happen from the Holt end towards the Sheringham end, and approximately 1/8th of the coach (two doors worth) has been treated so far. A lot of woodwork has been completed and dry fitted to the coach already, but the final fitting still requires a great deal of modification and adjustment to achieve the best result.

Midland & Great Northern Railway 1881 4 Wheel Tool Van 12

The repainting and re-varnishing work is 90% complete now, with all of the areas that were repaired gloss painted and all those which were not simply re-varnished.

This has brought the entire vehicle up to a consistent glossed appearance and it looks a great deal healthier than when it came in a short while ago. A small wood splice repair has also been made to the end window which had suffered a little rot.

Meanwhile the Axeman has continued with the process of building up the "W irons" with weld to bring them back to an acceptable width. One of the axles has had its flats taken out of it after a trip on the railway's wheel lathe and the second one is currently in the lathe being similarly treated.


The opportunity of the Loco Dept. bringing the National Railway Museum's DMU into their shed for a gearbox change lead to us doing some maintenance work on the vehicle, which is not in the best of health. After some exhaustive testing, one of the vehicle's door handles came off in somebody's hand, so a major repair was subsequently undertaken! A sliding door was also repaired by replacing the ball bearings that live inside the sliding runner mechanism.

Friday, 1 April 2016

April News Part 1

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

With the Easter Holidays requiring the input of the volunteers (Grandchildren don’t look after themselves you know!) work on 853 has been slower this week. Some progress was made on the ongoing task of splicing wood into the repaired sections of the body’s framework.

British Railways 1962 Mark 1 First Open M3116

The new carpet has arrived and appears to be an attractive blue pattern.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

More interior work has continued with progress throughout the coach. A complicated looking arrangement of wires, fuses and electrickery has been hidden inside the cupboard at the Holt vestibule end, to control the immersion heater to supply hot water to the toilet. This has been ongoing for a few weeks but the final cable was fitted this week. Inside the centre vestibule, new panelling has been fitted around the exterior doors as well as strips along the bottom of the bulkhead walls. In both cases, the original examples were too split and/or water damaged to re-use.

The two lights have also been restored an installed in this area. Inside the passenger saloons themselves, the ceiling has now been fully painted in white undercoat and now awaits gloss.

Two days have also been spent adjusting many of the sliding windows fitted last week as many of them were poor fitting or stiff to operate. The bulkhead walls have also been finished, having had four coats of varnish and they positively shine. The same member of staff has now moved onto a large stack of window surround woodwork to give them the varnish treatment, so far two coats have been applied. This work will all contribute to an interior fit-out session at some stage which should transform the appearance of the interior.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

Easter Weekend resulted in a surge of progress on the window woodwork varnish stripping. The bulk of the window surrounds from all eight compartments have now been stripped of old varnish and they will soon be ready for sanding prior to varnishing. The corresponding window surrounds from the adjacent side corridor which is present in this coach (unique to this type of suburban) have now also been started. Progress on the exterior steel repanelling has also progressed. The first compartment has now been finished (fully welded and cleaned up) with the pressed window sections now being returned to the second compartment.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

The focus continues on the Sheringham end bogie. The last crevasses of the bogie frame itself have now been cleaned, rust-proofed and the whole bogie coated in pink primer.

The two wheelsets are slightly further ahead having had the same treatment but also a coat of black undercoat.

Finally, the axleboxes have been cleaned of their old oil and rust-proofed also.

Midland & Great Northern Railway 1881 4 Wheel Tool Van 12

The removal of flaked paint and the application of filler is now complete. The affected areas have been sanded smooth and patch primed. The seaward side is much worse than the landward and the former will almost be a full repaint!

To bring back some of the gloss shine, the existing paintwork on the verandah end has been re-varnished and looks as good as new. A start has also been made on welding material into the “W” irons as these had worn badly. Two so far have been repaired.

Of the removed wheelsets, one of them has had its tyres turned on the wheel lathe and is now without the flat spots that caused this vehicle to be withdrawn from service in the first place.