18/04/22 – Brutes, Bolsters and British Rail Bumper edition

As mentioned in the last update, Ross and I are having a week to focus on my 1988 Escort van, christened Jerry. Amongst that a splattering of other projects, weather permitting.

On to Monday, with the prep work carried out over the weekend, we jumped straight into it, well if I’m honest we didn’t. First I dropped off my recently acquired steel wheels for refurbishment. Followed by a spring clean of B954268 but more on that lower down.

Then we jumped straight into it! A wipe down to remove contaminants that may have settled overnight, whilst Ross mixed the primer/sealer. This was applied thinly and will require a second coat, but we shall have to wait 8 hours.

What to do with this time?
We decided before the week that we would look at those little nitty-gritty projects that need to be progressed.

The BRUTEs (British Rail Universal Trolley Equipment)
Entering service in 1964 means they did see steam but only just. Our main intention, like our collection as a whole, is to maintain them and evoke those memories for people of the National network gone by.

We selected those that required light conservation, with the aim of undercoating one a day, given the above weather caveat.

It was given a wire wheel and then rained. It’s ready for primer and better weather.

I’m staying on site in our luxury Mess coach and for the evening was joined by Nick and also Owen from Chasewater, Owen is responsible for a certain set of Coal Hoppers, so we had a night of Pizza, talking wagons and painting box van side panels.

On to Tuesday, second coat of primer for Jerry.

The main event for Tuesday however was a visit by fellow Railway enthusiast turned brake van owner, Ollie Simons.

What originally started as a paint enquiry quickly developed into a opportunity for Ollie to view some of our fleet and specifically our two BR standard brake vans.

Ollie is the mastermind behind the Wardle Road Youtube channel and Facebook page. He has recently extended his hobby from OO gauge to 12inches to the foot gauge. If you have not seen his work or his channel, We throughly recommend it.

For his visit we warmed up B954268 and spent a day talking wagons. Ollie’s video from his visit is below;

The weather once again hindered plans, so we stripped Danny for paint and Nick arrived to add Gloss to the side sheets.

One of the advantages of staying onsite is the opportunity to see the behind the scenes workings of the GCR. A morning of loading the ballast hoppers and prep of a tamper.


On to Wednesday, and the main target for the whole week.

If you have not guessed already, we are heading for……………

British Rail Yellow, Golden Yellow, Warning panel Yellow, BS381C 365, call it what you wish, its safe to say its Yellow.

However the start was delayed by a faulty pressure switch on the compressor.


This gave me time to assemble the sign-writing templates as the weather once again decided no primer for the brute.

With the compressor repaired Ross mixed the paint.

Then applied 3 base coats.

Unfortunately, two areas reacted poorly and after a break for lunch this was sanded and reprimed

Once the primer had dried 3 layers of yellow were applied.

Although once again remedial action is required to the rear left wheel arch.

Thursday and for me the first time this year with the sign-writing brushes. I’ll let the images do the talking;

The lettering is applied as per BR14222 Painting and lettering schedule for British Rail road vehicles. Issued in 1986, this does state signwriting and the use of imperial units for the unladen weight.

The only addition being the vehicles name.

Whilst I was working my magic and with the sun in the sky, Ross was finally able to apply primer to the Brute. So much for the plan of doing one a day!

After primer, Ross tended to Jerry’s wheel arch in appropriate attire.

Friday, with all but Jake on site. For me and Ross, applying the lacquer to Jerry. First step as always, blow down then mix

Then application.

With that done the door was locked, mainly to stop me from prodding the soft paintwork.

With the hint taken I cleaned primed and top coated my wiper arms.

Nick was on van sides, assisted by Ross after work on Jerry, preparing B784409s North west side for removal.

Dave took on the task of sign-writing B780282 after its side sheet replacement last week.

Richard made a start on B928135 painting the outer frames, whilst I looked at the inner frames.

In a moment of madness, likely due to the sun, I modified a men at work sign to give warning of Nicks hammer habits.

Then to wrap up the day there was enough time to start removing some of Jerry’s masking.

Saturday just Nick, Richard, and Ross on site. Nick and Ross continued the side sheet replacement, removing the old one, scraping and painting the metalwork, and then fitting the new side.

Richard continued painting the solebar on the Bogie Bolster, with Ross assisting once the Vanwide was finished. Nick had a visitor in the afternoon, Dillon James and his wife. Dillon from the Mid Hants Railway wagon group was up visiting family and popped in to say hello and reminesse over Nick’s photo albums.

On to Sunday with Nick, Dave, Richard and, I on-site. Dave assembled the templates and then sign wrote B777171

Dave also applied the data panel dates to B784409 whilst Nick painted the nut heads around the replaced panel.

With their individual tasks complete, Dave and Nick joined Richard on the Bolster progressing the underframe repaint.

This was interspersed with a task on the Test Car. Due to some jack rust under the South West corner, that door had become stiff to open. So a touch of chiseling, hammering and packing the door hinges we now have a smoother operating door. This is in preparation for the GCR Diesel Gala when we will be opening the Test Car for the first time this year.

Dave also replaced the eastside wagon label clip block on the Bogie Bolster

For me and ably assisted by my wife Michelle, we demasked and refitted the removed components from Jerry. As well as brand new period appropriate number plates.

I also sanded down and painted the rear bumpers.

Apart from steel wheels and a polish that’s about it for the external alterations.

Finally we cover Monday, Nick and I on site. Focusing on the Bogie Bolster. Sign-writing for me. Back of the templates chalked and affixed into place.

Templates marked to transfer the chalk line

Then painted, including wagon plate a brake release stars.

Painting of the underframe was the order of the day for Nick.

We also did a few details. Vacuum and Air pipes as well as the identification plates on the removable Bolsters.


With that, that completes this update, my congratulations for staying with me. I’m going to let someone else write next weeks update.

As a reminder we shall be opening the Test Car for the Diesel Gala and Heritage Bus Rally

Off to work for a rest for me, and as always we’ll let you know what we have been up to next weekend.

2 thoughts on “18/04/22 – Brutes, Bolsters and British Rail Bumper edition”

  1. Great work everybody. I hope you’ve made the most prototypical modification to Jerry. Every railway vehicle had to have a different key for every lock including the ignition. Nice to see the BRUTEs getting some attention.

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    1. Quite an epistle but well worth the read and the dedication shown as well as the skill levels once again demonstrated. Hope the rest of Easter went well for you all.

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