Great Eastern Railway 1899 4 Wheel Brake Third 853
Not a particularly inspiring update this week, although work has been maintained at its usual rate. The doors have continued to be the main focus with wood repairs ongoing.
Great Northern Railway (later M&GN) 1887 6 Wheel Third 129
Well what an ordeal! The "simple" task of refitting the overhauled leaf springs became a bit of a marathon. This was mainly due to the chassis currently having no weight on it, and the springs required to be bent almost horizontally before they spread outwards enough to be bolted to the chassis itself via two solid linking pieces. This is a peculiarity of the Great Northern Railway design, most vehicles having adjustable "spring hangars" which are a lot easier to fit and adjust!
The chassis was lowered onto the springs but they were so powerful it was not long before they were taking the weight of the underframe and stopped straightening themselves out. They each had to be forced the rest of the way downwards before the bolts lined up with the holes. Additionally, as each spring was bolted in and started acting on the chassis, it became progressively harder to get the next one in, so by the last one it became near enough impossible!
However after a team effort and lots of grunting and head scratching all six springs were in position. As expected, it sits a little too high at present, but we are expecting it to "sink" after the springs bed in and after the weight of the coach body is added to the top of course. This will be the final update on this project for a while, as due to the requirement of the vintage set in service throughout the season, it will likely be next winter before a slot becomes available to transfer the body of 129 off its current chassis and onto this one. The chassis will be shunted to Holt now for storage until the body can be released.
British Railways 1959 Brake Corridor Composite E21224
Progress on several fronts. The exterior paint stripping pictured last week has progressed well and both sides are now completed. Only the two ends now remain.
The asbestos contractors have been in again and have removed the harmful material from the two toilet areas, so these zones are now accessible again for restoration to continue. The Sheringham end toilet, or shower as it was, has seen more stripping down towards the end of the week after we were given the all clear.
The guards brake compartment has taken a step back after significant corrosion was found in the lower sections and the floor. However this is being swiftly tackled with the relevant sections of the interior walls removed, including the guards desk, as well as the plywood floor itself. This has allowed corrosion repairs to the lower body and framework to progress, as well as a taller section of replacement doorway and skin.
The 10 doors are progressing slowly, with more of the aluminium runners and components cleaned up ready for refitting. The sprung "scissor" mechanisms which operate the sliding window up and down have also been cleaned up and checked for smooth operation.
A start has also been made on the MAMMOTH task of the woodwork stripping, of the old varnish prior to repairs and eventual revarnishing. This will be a long and arduous journey but will be worth it when we can rid the coach of its revolting stained appearance it used to have!
Finally, some limited electrical work has been started. The compartment reading lights had all been replaced by 1990's household fittings, these have been removed and we have dug out 20 original BR lamps from our stores which are a mixed bag when it comes to their condition. There are cracks, missing fitting and stuck switches, but a good set will be made up after a bit of parts swapping and restoration.
British Railways 1958 Class 101 Railcar Driving Trailer Second Lavatory M56352
The corridor connection has been craned back into position, but I failed to get a photo of it on, so will have to add one next week! The fabric "bellows" have been screwed back into place via the original timber surround. We still need to refit the steel plates to the bottom (which is what people walk on when they walk through) and make a new rain hood for the top as the original disintegrated!
Suburban 4 Project
The Suburban 4 set will be officially launched next Saturday, 15th April. This means that the last few "loose ends" which we never got round to finishing need to be completed by then so that the coaches are at their best for the launch. To do this, we have manufactured some destination boards which have been painted Crimson this week. Some tracings were produced whilst these were drying so that the lettering can be applied to them next week.
The last of the dedicated compartment plaques are also being produced ready for fitting, in recognition of the sponsorship of various items. A larger plaque is being fitted to the brakevan, and has been engraved in-house. This has now been taken away by a new volunteer who has experience in such things, and he will fill in the letters and polish the brass for us prior to fitting next week.
Royal Navy 4 Wheel Flat 269
Great progress this week with much cosmetic work painting the underframe. All of it has been fully cleaned up and painted in primer, and the black undercoat is now spreading fast, all under the watchful eyes of Monkey...
War Department 1943 Austerity 90775
The main areas of black have now received two coats and the smokebox has also been painted. The loco will now be moved out of the staged area so that the lower sections can all be painted and the numbering applied.