Friday, 27 January 2017

January News Part 4

Lots of projects striding forwards this week...

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

The ex-PMV brake rigging that was introduced last week has been sorted out and several sections which were still together have been separated so that is is now a full "kit of parts" to work on. Already a good number of these parts have been cleaned down and are now in the process of being painted back up again. A few more challenging pieces which were more severely corroded have had their wasted sections chopped out and replacement steel welded in their place.

Ongoing projects include the doors and work is also progressing again on the exterior bodysides, with moulding repairs and primer painting continuing here and there, particularly on the landward side of the coach.

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

No progress to report.

British Railways 1960 Restaurant Buffet (Refurbished) E1969

This vehicle has progressed well this week, which is good as we are closely keeping an eye on the timescale of the works due to its commitments to dining operations. All of the aluminium window frames have now been cleaned of old paint and failed sealant and coacted in primer and undercoat in preparation for their refitting to the coach.

Meanwhile welding work has been ongoing on the carriage itself, with many small holes being chopped out and replenished with new metal. Other than round some of the windows, there is no major corrosion on this carriage as it was thoroughly treated approximately 12 years ago, this work is benefiting us now as there are far fewer "nasties" being discovered than in normally the case. The door hinges have all been removed from the door apatures which was a particularly difficult job as we had to strip out parts of the interior to get to the backs of the hinges as the bolts had been bent over from the back to stop them working loose. The window and door apertures have been painted in undercoat and gloss paint over the week, to protect the sections of metal that will be covered up when the windows are put back in.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

The exterior of the coach has finally had all of its loose ends tied up after the last of the paint was scraped off the windows. The battery problem described last week was resolved with a few swapping of cells and the lights are now fully operational and ready for service.

Most work has been on the interior. The varnishing process is starting to approach its end now, with the last areas (the First Class loo and corridor) being built up with varnish coats to an acceptable standard. This job has certainly been a marathon rather than a sprint, but the coach positively glows inside! Now that we are finished varnishing, the remaining luggage racking can be fitted.

Each of the compartments and doors have now had their sponsorship plates added, which adds a nice touch and is a small appreciation of all those who helped fund the Suburban 4 project.

The toilets, which as usual have been a real saga, are now also complete and officially ready for use! Lots of plumbing loose ends have been tied up, and the coach's water tanks have been fully filled up and everything tested successfully.

Upholstery work continues, with the First Class end now nearly complete.

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Second Lavatory M56352

As with E1969, good progress has been made on the cosmetics of the DMU car. No more filling is required (hooray!) and the vehicle exterior is whole again. This has been achieved by riveting back on all of the components that had been removed, such as the heater air intake grill, cab front windows and destination blind window. With this done, the front end was completed by fitting the new 2-character route indicator box below the centre window, and repairing the driver's side marker light which had fallen apart whilst we were sanding the front end!

With these parts fitted, the last areas of exposed filler were coated in primer and we are now "feathering in" these areas of patch paint (this is a process where the new paint is lightly sanded round the edges where it joins onto the old paint so that there is no visible line after we start painting the vehicle as one large item). It is very likely that full bodyside painting will commence next week.

The roof is now ready for painting, after some failed rivets were replaced and some untidy areas resealed. Towards the end of the week, paint and detritus removal along the gutters was being progressed so they can be in a similar position to receive paint next week. Any limited areas of surface rust on the steel sections of the roof (which is mainly aluminium) has also been treated prior to the proper roof paint being applied, also planned for next week.

The cab interior is also pretty much complete. The replacement secondman's door mentioned last week has had its required adjustments and is now signed off. The interior cab window surrounds have been refitted, a repair made to the desk where it had rotted away and the whole area (which was filthy) hoovered up and made as presentable as it was when it came to us. We do not have time to do any significant restoration to the cab interior, however a quick coat of grey paint has been applied to the two door interiors and around the cab windows in order to even up all the various colours and make it presentable following the repairs.

British Railways 1959 Class 03 Diesel Shunter D2063

This week has been gloss week, with the loco being coated in two coats of blue gloss, with yellow for the ends. Not much more work needs to be done now on this loco before it leaves us and returns to the locomotive department, although the black "wasp strips" do need adding to the front and rear on top of the yellow.

Friday, 20 January 2017

January News Part 3

Varied progress this week with reassembly, stripping down and, as always, lots of painting!

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

There are no prizes being given out this time for those who have guessed that the doors have continued to be worked on this week! The step irons, featured last week, have continued to progress and have now been fully fabricated and painted in primer.

Although the body has not yet been lowered onto the ground, underframe components have been removed from storage in readyness for restoration on an ongoing basis. These parts were removed from another PMV (Southern Railway Parcels Van) about 20 years ago when the railway scrapped the chassis from it. The body of this vehicle survives as the headquarters of the Permanent Way department and resides on the ground just outside the C&W shed! The underframe parts and brake-gear were retained as "long term spares", so it is pleasing to see that they are being extracted for useful employment under the Great Eastern body.

Inside the body itself, some of the corner strengthening brackets have had their old bolts removed and new ones fitted, as several had corroded to the extent they were no longer carrying much in the way of a load.

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

No progress to report.

British Railways 1960 Restaurant Buffet (Refurbished) E1969

I strongly suspect that Monkey has gotten hungry and been nibbling at the doorway edges on E1969. Words will have to be had. As well as the corrosion discovered in the windows, sadly the doorway edges have suffered the same fate in many cases, and even behind the door hinges as well. This week has been spent removing the remaining windows, taking off the doors and removing the edging strips from the doorways. The affected metal areas which are not too bad have already been cleaned up and treated.

There are several areas which are too corroded and require replacement with new metal, however our resident welder is currently tied up on other tasks so these windows have been left for now until the new material can be let in. Whilst all this has been going on, the dozen or so windows which have been removed have been stripped of their glass panes and are painstakingly being cleaned up of their residual sealant and paintwork so that will be ready for refitting once the body of the carriage has been...dealt with.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

Work has focused solely on re-varnishing compartment woodwork (building up further coats to give them a real extra shine) and repairing leaking pipework in the toilet areas which were identified last week when the tested the water systems. Both are progressing well and may reach a conclusion next week. A strange problem occurred part way through the week after the batteries drained very quickly and attempts to charge them resulted in blown fuses. The covers are now back off (again!) to investigate the cause.

Some more First Class upholstery has come through from the upholstery team, so the side cards have been pinned in position in the third, and final, of the First Class compartments. The brass compartment donor plaques, mentioned last week, have now been completed and will be fitted once varnishing has been completed in the relevant areas where they are to be fixed.

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Second Lavatory M56352

The long task of preparation work is now largely complete, with all the welding finished and only limited areas requiring tidying up before we can start to think about painting. The areas where windows have had to be removed have been protected in gloss paint before we refit them next week.

The secondman's door, which has been refurbished over several weeks, has now been fitted into the vehicle, and the old holey example removed! However it does not quite fit straight away, so although it looks right some more adjustments are necessary before it's signed off.

Roger has done a fantastic job on the roof, having tackled this mammoth task by himself. He has declared it complete from a scraping point of view, and it is now awaiting a few rivets to be replaced before we can paint it.

British Railways 1959 Class 03 Diesel Shunter D2063

Painting of our visiting engine has progressed rapidly. Over the week, the entire loco was first coated in a green primer before being followed by blue and yellow undercoat.

Friday, 13 January 2017

January News Part 2

Undeterred by the gale force winds and snow that have struck Weybourne at the end of this week, progress marches on in the Carriage & Wagon department...

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

The Axeman has once again teamed up with Monkey to progress the step irons that are to be attached to the underframe of 853, not to be confused with the separate underframe project for 129 which has had a lot of similar ironmongery recently. The steps for 853 are being produced from some miscellaneous bracketry suitably welded to some offcuts from our friends int he Engineering Department. The results are a nice arrangement that will be able to support the two full length step boards that will run down the sides of the carriage.

Meanwhile, work on the doors has continued. One door in particular has had a particularly large piece repaired this week, as the characteristic hooped shaped top was beyond repair. A replacement example has been spliced onto it from another reclaim door.

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

No progress to report.

British Railways 1960 Restaurant Buffet (Refurbished) E1969

Work has started in earnest on this dining carriage. An edging strip, which runs the full length of the carriage along the bottom 9 inches, had been suffering from poor paint adhesion so has been scraped back to bare metal so we can start again.

The main problem with this coach to be rectified however is corrosion around the window frames. Two exploratory windows were carefully removed to assess the situation, careful being the operative word as the interior of this coach is sumptuous and cannot be damaged. Sadly we discovered far worse damage than the surface rust we originally anticipated.

The level of corrosion in metalwork which was replaced only 10 years ago is disappointing and a decision has had to be made to remove all the windows so that all failed window apertures can be halted. This is the best option given the circumstances as we like to see the dining train looking good at all times, so corroding windows is not an image we want to portray. By dealing with these problems now, we can halt further water ingress and also stop the problem before it has a chance to damage any of the interior. So far, all of the seaward side windows have been removed.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

More minor jobs have been crossed off "ze list". Two main areas of the progress have been the production of polished brass plaques which bear the names of the kind individuals who have sponsored a door or compartment as part of the fund raising initiative for the Suburban 4 project. These have been engraved in-house using our own machine and have then been painstakingly polished and the letters painted. There are over 30 to produce but after several days they are nearly complete!

In the carriage itself, a damaged pipe has been repaired above the landward side toilet compartment, following which the water tanks were filled up to test all of the plumbing. We found three minor leaks, so the tanks have been drained again so that these leaks can be repaired next week.

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Second Lavatory M56352

A lot of work has gone into this vehicle, being the main focus for the department this week. Preparation work has been progressed by Dan and Phil, who has been put forward for a new show "Crime Scene Investigation Weybourne" due to his new temporary overalls!

Our tame welder is also now working on this vehicle, having got back off holiday. There has been more corrosion discovered on this vehicle than it's powered partner (which we completed in September) so he has been rapidly working his way around the vehicle welding in the necessary patches of new metal. He is currently focused on the corridor end, which was a particularly bad area.

The replacement door mentioned last week has been undergoing repairs to its wooden frame prior to assembling back up again. Lots of holes plugged and joints strengthened!

British Railways 1959 Class 03 Diesel Shunter D2063

At last we have had our request to bring an engine "in for a gala" granted! Actually, this interloper has come in to us from next door as part of its major overhaul so that it can be painted. The locomotive came in on Monday and the owner has been extremely busy making the final bodywork preparations that are required before the painting commences next week. The engine room doors have been removed so that they can be repainted off site. Monkey is very excited that a loco is in our shed, so has had to be kept away from the controls...

Friday, 6 January 2017

January News Part 1

The New Year is in and with it brings a fresh batch of Blog updates. coalface news brought straight to your door!

Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853

Not so much a New Year's resolution but more an Old Year's resolution continuing, that is the long and steady task of door restoration. Several of these are moving around the workshop, losing or gaining weight depending on what rot is being removed and which bits are being replaced with new.

The Axeman, having lost the underframe for M&GN 129, is now producing bracketry to support the long footboards that will run along the edge of 853.

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

The vacuum cylinder has been attached to the main vacuum pipe by means of a new flexible hose. The safety chains for hanging around the brakegear (pictured & explained last month) have also now all been fitted to the underframe. Finally, some small spring linking brackets have been fitted to the frame, which brings the time that the leaf springs themselves can be fitted that bit closer.

Unfortunately towards the end of the week, due to space constraints the underframe had to be moved outside for the foreseeable future. Obviously with the weather conditions being the way they are at present, work on 853 inside the shed is now somewhat preferable than 129 is outside!

British Railways 1960 Restaurant Buffet (Refurbished) E1969

Now that the Mince Pie Special trains are concluded, and with the Suburban 4 project approaching its end, we are embarking on a new project: the dining train refresh project. With some of the 4 vehicles in this flagship train now having been outside and in service for over 10 years, their external appearance is starting to suffer. It is planned therefore for three of the vehicles, starting with E1969, to enter the workshops for any external repairs required followed by a full repaint to return them to pristine exterior condition. The forth vehicle in the set is in significantly poorer external condition, and will require more thorough attention in the future once the other three have been treated.

As already mentioned, E1969 is "phase 1" of the project and has been moved into the workshops this week for the work to commence.

British Railways 1955 Mark 1 Suburban Composite Lavatory E43041

Work on this vehicle has calmed down somewhat and has been mainly consisting of finishing works to focus on a few smaller details that are required before the coach is finally declared ready for passengers, The underframe and mechanical side of things is now fully complete and ready for service, including the last of the underframe lettering, odd electrical covers and battery charging.

The exterior is nearly ready as well. The door handles and handrails have had a final clean so that they look their best, and the door locks and other ironwork have had the paint that has splashed onto them removed. About three quarters of the exterior glass has also had the paint splashes removed. The gutter has been touched in in black where the red had, again, splashed onto it.

The interior has had a sweep out and "snagging" has now been completed throughout all of the compartments, leaving only the toilets to do. The snagging involves hoovering up (metaphorically) all the little bits and pieces that have been left behind by other jobs, such as catches not quite in the correct place, unsightly gaps in woodwork and missing screws etc. This is remarkably time consuming but does help turn a good coach into a great one!

British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Second Lavatory M56352

This has been the main focus for the week. The roof has come on very well, and has now been scraped of all its old paint all the way around its perimeter, basically the bits that can be reached from a ladder. Next week will see the upper section completed using a harness on the roof itself. Also on the roof, the 1980's radio pod has been successfully removed by a keen volunteer who normally resides next door in the machine shop, but spent the day with us instead.

Moving downwards onto the body, the old routine of paintwork preparation has reared its ugly head again! Sand and fill and sand and fill and sand and fill and.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Phil is undertaking this thankless task once again and has completed the front end and is motoring down the seaward side of the vehicle. With our welder on holiday for an extra week, a few holey bits have had to be missed out and will be finished off once the new metal has been added back in, which should be happening before too long.

One of the doors, which is extremely rotten, has been earmarked for swapping with a spare example from a scrapped Class 101. The spare door has been fully dismantled this week right down to its component parts so that it can be repaired and reassembled in top condition. The door skin has already been stripped back to metal and primed.


A small team has been down at Sheringham undertaking the routine inspections and exams that are required during the closed season before the coaching stock is required again for the year ahead. There has been an interesting backdrop this year as while we work the contractors are busy ripping up the track formation outside the station as part of the annual renewal works. Never a dull day...