Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853
This coach has been receiving the same treatment that it has been receiving all month...that of door woodwork restoration. The task is not to be underestimated, as the doors are such a large part of the restoration. Fastidious attention now will produce benefits in the years to come once the carriage is in service. One door in particular, one of the four passenger compartment doors, is now getting rather advanced and is having paint applied to the parts that will be hidden on the inside edges.
Great Northern Railway (later M&GN) 1887 6 Wheel Third 129
The spring hanging brackets pictured last week have now all been painted into gloss black to match the rest of the underframe. As this "new" underframe is of Southern Railway origin, the practice of fitting protecting chains around the braking gear (supposedly there to catch them if they "fall off" in service) is being retained in this case. Consequently, a set of chains have been cleaned and painted and now await fitting into their respective positions.
British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041
As in previous weeks, E43041 has been the main focus for the department over the last week. The exterior of the carriage continues to see the finishing touches required before it can be released into the big wide world. The windows on the seaward side have been cleaned of all the paint splashes and have also been polished inside and out to remove the workshop grime and to make them shine. The last of the footboards have been fitted and now just require a last coat of gloss to smarten them up. Most noticeably, the signwriting has been added to the bodysides, which includes the numbers, Number 1's on the first class doors, a "CL" designation in each corner, and the route on the two ends. With regards to the latter, we have reproduced what we found underneath the paintwork, so "Liverpool Street-Ipswich" on the Sheringham end and "Grantham No1" on the Holt end.
The coach has been lifted on jacks for 3 days so that the important mechanical "underneath work" could be finished off. Starting off with electrics, all the wiring underneath was checked and poor condition examples replaced with new. A set of temporary batteries were fitted to then enable "live" testing to be undertaken. Apart from one dead light fitting in the toilet, a full compliment of train lighting was achieved immediately, which is great news.
The steam heat piping has been completed; with the two stop valves added to the bufferbeams of the coach, a small repair made to one of the pipes which was holed (and got missed last time!) and all of the individual steam heaters connected up to the main steam pipe with new copper connecting pipes. These had to be made from scratch as the originals were sadly contaminated and were lost during the asbestos stripping process last year. All that remains now for the steam heat system is for the inter connecting pipes top be added onto the ends of the coach.
The two bogies have had their braking gear assembled and fitted. All the bits had already been cleaned and painted several months ago, so this process was a rapid reassembly affair and was completed in just two days. They were then rolled back under the coach and reconnected with the rest of the braking system.
The vacuum system has also been completed. The main problem (mentioned last week), a large hole in the pipe at the Holt and of the coach, was repaired by replacing the section of rotten pipe entirely, which included a "T" in the pipe feeding the emergency passenger communication apparatus. This required some careful manufacturing of parts, but we got there and it was all reassembled by the end of the week. Both vacuum cylinders were checked and after some modifications were resident in their final required positions. The accompanying valves (the "direct admission" and "release" valves for anyone interested) were then fitted, having all been restored already. After piping up, including the two vacuum pipes on the ends of the coach, the cylinders were mechanically attached to the system and a test made. Your author wasn't around during the test itself, but as it went quiet afterwards I presume it passed with no further work required! With all the underneath work completed, Friday saw the bufferbeams painted in black gloss, a task that was being held back until all the other nasty dirty work was finished!
The interior of the coach has also dramatically changed once again. The main visual difference is the fitting of the luggage racking and the seating to four (out of the eight) passenger compartments. This has, at last, covered up the last of the "bare wall" space and basically completes the interior in these compartments in terms of what the human eye initially sees. The First Class compartments are particularly sumptuous and huge credit is due to the upholstery volunteers who have made such a good job of them. This is particularly so for the First Class, as these are the most complicated seats they have ever reupholstered for us and there were many elements in the recovering that involved learning new skills.
Also in the compartments, the picture frames have been assembled and fitted to the walls, as have the light shades in the centres of the ceilings. The toilets are now all plumbed in and await testing, although sadly at the last minute a creased pipe was discovered in one of the toilets that has to be replaced so final testing will have to wait until the new year.
British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Second Lavatory M56352
Work has been limited due to the big push on E43041. However a limited amount of filling and sanding has continued on the seaward side, and the repaired vacuum piping has been added underneath the driver's desk which will enable us to finish off the front end repairs next month.
All that remains is for me, and Monkey of course, to wish all of our readers a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year. Monkey has decided to jet off to sunnier climes for the festive period, but he assures me he will be back in 2017 to keep an eye on quality control and to keep readers happy. On the subject of which, I hope readers are happy and continue to visit and keep up to date. 47,400 visits were made to the Blog this year, almost doubling 2015's figure of 26,400. Total visits therefore stand at 73,800, which well and truly smashes the intention to reach 50,000 during 2016. Here's to another year, where all being well we will comfortably reach the six figure milestone, and do not forget to drop in just before New Year when the Review of 2016 will be published!