Saturday, 25 June 2016

June News Part 4

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

More good progress inside and out. The guards van wing walls, mentioned last week, are now firmly in position.

This has allowed a start to be made on the "guard's throne", a hinged seat complete with urinal underneath... The Great Eastern Railway really did think of everything! Readers with a good memory will remember that the urinal was fabricated from scratch some time ago before 853 even entered the workshops, so this has been pulled out of hibernation and test fitted within the seat which is starting to take shape. What a relief!

A set of seat bases and backs have also been fitted out in one of the two passenger compartments, giving a good idea of what their finished outline will look like.

The curved sections of metal that go above the doors have been refitted to the interior, with some screws cut down to suit and the completed items painted.

On the exterior, work to fit replacement beading to the guards end of the coach has continued.

Great Northern Railway (later M&GN) 1887 6 Wheel Third 129

Awaiting the operations department to return the underframe from storage at Holt back into the workshops.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

The "top half" of this coach has now been set aside as it will have to wait patiently for E48001 to be completed and painted before room in the staged area becomes available to complete the final tasks and painting. The vehicle remains on jacks however and the cosmetic cleaning of the Holt end bogie has now started.

The Sheringham end bogie brakegear has all been dismantled, cleaned and inspected, repaired where required and put back together again. The Sheringham end bogie is now ready to be returned to the vehicle once the Holt end example has reached the same stage. To smarten its appearance and match the bogies, the sole-bars (outside edges of the main underframe) and bufferbeams are being cleaned and repainted black. So far the solebars are fully completed with the bufferbeams not far behind in undercoat.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

There is currently four full time staff working on this vehicle so progress is increasing. The last of the bodywork on the Holt end is progressing well with a large section of wasted material on the seaward half of the end being cut out, some sections remade and then new panelling welded back in the original configuration. The top edge, where the end meets the curved roof, has corroded particularly badly and had been repaired with fibreglass in the past, so a lot of work has focused on this area.

A new curved section being inspected by Monkey

More windows have been drilled out by Phil, in readiness for the studs (that hold the window glass in place) to be welded in (pictured last week). The fitting of the brand new flooring has now also commenced with two compartments already finished. It will be nice to be able to walk around the vehicle again without balancing on the underframe members!

Mike preparing floor support framework
Two compartments floored

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

The final, super-fine sanding and preparation work is now fully underway and it will not be long before painting can commence. Half of the carriage (the landward side and the Sheringham end) is now ready for paint, with the seaward side now receiving the same treatment. Some small loose-end tying up jobs have been completed now that the substantial components are all now installed. This has included the cleaning of the exterior door handles and door locks/plates, minor items I'm sure you will agree, however if they have paint and dirt and scratches on them it does detract from the final finish of the coach, so it is important that these small items look good when the coach is outshopped. The last of the lightbulbs have now also been fitted into the passenger saloons, and the lighting has also been installed in the two toilets. These have all been tested and the carriage lights up fully once more! The footboards for the coach, which were bought some time ago, are now being painted in readiness for fitting to the carriage once it comes back out of the staging. They have been primed so far.

British Railways (LMS Design) 1949 20 Ton Brakevan B950133

No progress to report, other than the less than seasonal weather has been making outside work very undesirable!


The Quad-Art set has been oiled and prepared ready for Quart week soon.

Friday, 17 June 2016

June News Part 3

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

The guard's van interior reconstruction continues. The guard's wing walls have been trial fitted and the two supporting posts for these walls have been expertly upholstered by Martin Symes our resident upholsterer, in a brown leatherette style material.

Monkey pointing to the upholstered post, on the right is the cosmetic chimney mentioned last week

Great Northern Railway (later M&GN) 1887 6 Wheel Third 129

More major shed tidying work has been undertaken to prepare for squeezing the replacement chassis for 129 back into the shed.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

The cosmetic section of the bogie improvement works has now been completed on the Sheringham end bogie, which has been painted in gloss black this week, improving it's appearance greatly.

Dan applies anti-rust primer

Painted bogie

The battery refitting (mentioned last week), has now been completed and there is now a full set of batteries installed in the carriage.

The interior of the carriage has now reached an advanced stage with only loose ends now left to complete. The seat upholstery has been fully fitted and all 16 tables returned to their rightful positions, these being the last interior components to be fitted to the passenger saloons. The end is really now in sight for the major rebuild of this coach.

Completed passenger saloon

Completed seating bay

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

The metalwork on the landward side has now been fully completed, and the welder has now moved onto the final section of the whole coach: the Holt end. Interestingly, when cutting away rotten metal from this end, three eras of original lettering were found describing the suburban routes to which the carriage was allocated in British Railways days. The first layer (1970's BR Blue era) showed "King's Cross Outer Sub".

The second layer (1960's Maroon end) also showing "KINGS CROSS OUTER SUB" in an earlier style of lettering.

The third layer (1950's Black) revealing "GRANTHAM No1". A small piece of history which will never be seen again as the metal will be replaced.

Now that E48001 is getting closer to the painting stage, more resources are being spent on E43041 to progress its rebuild. Some hardwood supports have been machined destined to support the new wooden flooring. A start has also been made on aligning the original wooden window "gripper bars" with the new metal window surrounds, and holes drilling in them in order to take small threaded bolts which will eventually hold the window glass in place. There are lots to get through!

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

More finishing works have been undertaken on the interior,with the Formica paneling being cleaned, the last of the luggage racks fitted, picture frames (minus prints) trial fitted to the walls, mirrors fitted and inter-saloon hinged doors hung. Some more re-varnishing work is now being undertaken on areas which required modification to make fit.

Completed seating bay

The body preparation is substantially complete now, with only fine sanding and paint preparation still to undertaken. More lettering, similar to E43041, has been revealed on this coach before any repainting commences, with "FENCHURCH STREET SHOEBURYNESS SERVICE" on one end and "SHEFFIELD - MID LINK" on the other.

The lettering was measured, photographed and traced before the sanding back continued, destroying the 60+ year old lettering forever...

British Railways (LMS Design) 1949 20 Ton Brakevan B950133

The M&GN Society's brakevan, which is a stalwart performer in the railway's demonstration goods train, has been suffering recently from the same fate as many of the wooden goods vehicles normally kept at Holt, that of peeling paint and a general careworn appearance. Two volunteers have bravely suggested undertaking an exterior refurbishment and repaint outside at Holt, in a similar fashion to the work undertaken recently on the M&GN Tool Van No12. This work has been started this week.

The LMS Brake, a deceiving image as it was taken 8 years ago when the van's paintwork was far fresher!

Friday, 10 June 2016

June News Part 2

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

Work on the inside and outside of the carriage has continued steadily. At the Holt (brake) end work to repair an area of window ledge and associated beading has progressed well.

The centre gas lamp box and chimney, pictured in previous weeks, has now been fitted into position, and the doors for the left and right hand versions (started last week) have been completed. Well, we have to keep the Axeman busy somehow or else he will roam free and cause trouble to wider society...

One of our new Monkeys enjoying Axeman's doors

Inside the two passenger compartments, the curved curved door plates, which were removed and restored last week, how been swiftly returned to their correct positions. All four seat frames are now also made, plywood cut for the seat bases and seat backs are now ready for fitting.

Finally a general clear up of the shed space at the Sheringham end of the coach has been undertaken, which had become a bit of a dumping ground. This has involved some surplus GER doors being relocated to the group's storage container.

Great Northern Railway (later M&GN) 1887 6 Wheel Third 129

Regular readers with a keen memory will remember the project to re-wheel the M&GN compartment coach currently in service in the vintage train. It is currently on an non-authentic 4-wheel wagon chassis which also gives passengers poor ride quality. A new and more historically accurate 6-wheel chassis is currently being prepared and will eventually carry the body currently in service. The chassis project was moved to Holt for storage last October when the space was required for the Quad-Art set re-varnishing and then later other priority work.  In readyness for the chassis returning for further conversion work, the two steel girders which are being prepared for the sides of the chassis have been moved from under GER 853 to the end of the shed in anticipation of its return.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

The bogie men are getting stuck in, yet again, for "bogie improvement work" in the form of needle gunning and scraping the Sheringham end bogie for this coach. As mentioned last week, this will not be as thorough as the job undertaken on the Suburban 4 vehicles, however a good go is being made of cleaning off the outside (visible) edges of the frames and wheelsets in readiness for repainting which will improve the bogies' appearances considerably.

A quick chip down of loose paint is also being undertaken on the sole-bar in readiness for repainting.

Spot the workshop humour

A set of batteries has also been prepared for the coach and approximately half of them have been fitted into one of the battery boxes. Perhaps we will be trying the lights again soon after almost two years without them?

The inside of the coach is again like a flower blooming. This week, all of the silver heater pipe and heater element guards have been fitted along the sides of the carriage (at foot height) and under all of the seats which have heaters. These looked like fairly innocent bits of metal but each has to be fitted individually and took four man-days to complete satisfactorily. This done, the fitting of the seat upholstery itself has commenced. An image of these is being held back till the job is completed and we have a full saloon of seats, but already they are making the coach look practically complete inside.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

Repanelling work on the landward side continues to progress, with the last window on the entire coach now being tackled by the resident welder.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

Body preparation work on the landward side is now approaching the end of the carriage and will hopefully be completed next week. The interior has been transformed again after the seating was fitted (more parallels with E4641) over two days and more ceiling panels have been fitted to the toilet areas which brings these two sanctuaries closer to completion.


Another spare wheelset, this time of the "B4" variety (quite an unusual one for our railway, as we only have two carriages fitted with this type) has had a trip on the wheel lathe and has been turned out with a correctly formed tyre profile. This will now be stored until it is needed on one of the coaches with this type of wheel. Please excuse the mindless posing, the recent temperature rise in Norfolk after an uncharacteristically cold May has clearly gone to some of the staffs' heads!

Friday, 3 June 2016

June News Part 1

We bring important news in that our Works Monkey has returned to us! Monkey has been a naughty chimp indeed however as he left us in limbo for a frivolous romantic encounter with a Mrs Monkey who has chosen to relocate to Weybourne and keep Monkey company. In fact there is a third primate in our midst, as Mrs Monkey had offspring from a previous marriage, so we are now  inundated with Monkeys...

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

Progress on the inside of the guard's compartment has included the fitting of two internal handrails on the side of the guard's door, and "rubbing strips" on the inside edges of the luggage doors, which were designed to stop wheels of trolleys and edges of cases etc from damaging the doorway.

Two metal doors are also being fabricated for two further tail lamps on the back end. Moving onto the two passenger compartments, the ceilings have had a second coat of eggshell, whilst some steel caps over the tops of the doors have been removed, de-rusted and painted, with the woodwork underneath inspected for damage and enlarged screw-holes plugged with dowel.

General repairs to the exterior have also continued.

British Railways 1957 Mark 1 Tourist Second Open E4641

Interior reassembly has continued. This week, the veneered wooden seat ends, seat legs and supporting framework have been constructed and fitted into position throughout the whole coach. This has eliminated the empty open space that was present before and has changed the interior's appearance once again.

The coach has also been moved out of the staging area (which is required by E48001) and has been lifted to allow work to be undertaken on the underframe and bogies. The Sheringham end bogie has so far been removed and is being inspected and re-greased. Some of the worst of the grime accumulation is also being chipped off, although the extent of this work will not be as high as that applied to the suburban vehicles.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

A full week's (minus bank holiday) work has been put into the panelling of the landward side, which is rapidly approaching the Holt end.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Third Lavatory Open E48001

This coach has now moved into the staging for final body preparation after which it will be painted. A good start has been made on the landward side (the seaward side has already been mostly prepared) grinding down metal that is proud, filling imperfections and lots of sanding!

The interior continues to mimic E4641 in its progress and closeness to completion. The Sheringham end saloon caught up with the Holt end after its varnished seat ends and metal heater grills were fitted into position. All of the luggage racks have now also been fitted to the whole coach which fills up the head space and makes the coach seem almost full. The toilets have also benefited from their ceilings being fitted, and several other hinged doors and minor components have also been fitted in this area.