17/11/19 – Loaded and Secured

Unusually this update begins on Thursday with a trip to Medstead & Four Marks.  The reason for the visit, to pick up some Conflat chains.  Our thanks go to the Mid-Hants Railway Wagon group for offering them to us, they were in far better condition than our own. 

Friday saw the December issue of Rail Express hit the shelves with an article looking ant our work on Test Car 2IMG-20191115-WA0000

On to Saturday and I continued with the signwriting started last weekend.

Nick drilled and attached the chains to the Conflat whilst Ross and Dave drilled and secured the additional rails placed on the vehicle last week.

Then the main event, before the light failed and after I had completed the high-level signwriting we lifted BD4303B on to B505313. With the subframe missing we had to first lower the container on to a set of sleepers.

The Container was then lifted from each end and the sleepers removed.

Once sat on the rails the Container was secured to the Conflat.  Earlier before the lift Nick and Ross also applied the identification plate above the door.

To allow the lift I left off the branding and applied it Sunday as well as a few other signwriting finishing touches.

Nick, Ross, Jake and Dave applied Bauxite to the Conflat. adding heat to cure the paint as they went along.  Sufficiently drying the vehicle before the rain started.

All of the conflat chains had reached the end of there threads although reasonably tight we took some steps to resolve. We couldn’t move inwards by a ring as the chains were not long enough so our next option was to shorten them.  We did this using an old BR trick, one of the links was heated in each chain and bent.

With the shortened chains we resecured the container. Jubilee clips were also added to prevent inadvertent loosening.

With it also being the Last Hurrah we saw a few of our vehicles in operation.  Notably the Vans.

The van train is now stabled in the yard at Quorn in preparation for the Winter Brake overhaul and to finish Ross and Dave serviced the Test Cars Generator.20191117_144934

03/11/19 – Quorn Wetter & Wetter

Once again the weather has conspired against us. So a trip to Rothley to progress ADB977107. The C&W team has been carrying out body repairs when the time has allowed. Progress has been such that we are able to reassemble interior fixtures.

Before we began, Jake applied bitumastic paint to all the bare metal areas on the inside of the vehicle’s skin


Jake and I then focused on the main saloon.

Nick with assistance from Jake also, rebuilt the toilet window

Ross with a little assistance from new recruit Will as well as Nick made progress with the Kitchen.

Ross also checked the batteries output, unfortunately, these are life expired


We can also show the progress of B954546 currently a volunteer project at Rothley. The cladding has been replaced, new duckets manufactured and glass windows fitted all round.

Sunday with the threat of rain, Ross and Dave cut down some plates to use as load distribution plates for Nicks container once lifted on to the Conflat. It transpires that we decided later that additional sections of rail shall be used to support the weight of the container.

The main task for Sunday was the rectification of Test Car 2’s incorrectly assembled buckeye draw gear. The buckeye was removed, supported by the loading shovel the draw hook and bar removed and the offending article lowered rotated and fitted correctly.

Whilst the majority of the gang worked on the Test Car, I looked at the chain boxes on B505313 these had fallen foul of the water trap that they are. With the bottom of each removed at an earlier date and the lack of suitable welding facilities, I riveted steel plates to the back of each in areas that had been eaten away.

As a none structural skin, this gives a solid backing for filler to be applied. In the future, the skin of the chain box will have to be replaced but at this time we have gone for this option.

As the rain that was forecast did not materialise and what ended up as a day of sunshine we sheeted BD4303B whilst it was dry. This will keep the wet out until the weather gives us the opportunity to apply the gloss crimson.

Also on site Eddie, Harry, and James who took the opportunity to tidy our surrounds and a good job they did in removing the many items of waste that wagon restoration inevitably generates.

20/10/19 – Rain, Resin and Bitumen

Work once again continues on the Conflats and Nicks Container. More sanding on BD4303B. All areas were completed including profiling the door repair where the hinge will be going.

More prep on the underframes of B505313 and B507489 also continued and the opportunity was taken by Jake to undercoat the inner rail of both Conflats.

On to Sunday and what was left of the Stacking plates on 4303 were removed whilst Nick blew down the Container ready for the repaired areas to be sealed.

Jake got out the spray gun and bitumen and completed the underframe paint of both Conflats.

The triangular plates manufactured last weekend were fitted.

The final task for me was to apply resin to all of the repaired areas to seal them before paint.  Unfortunately, the rain had other ideas before all areas were completed.

Hopefully, it will be drier next weekend, fingers crossed

13/10/19 – Con-tinuing despite the rain

Back to the grind, work continues on the Conflats and Containers. B505313 and B507489
both receiving bitumastic paint to the solebars and headstocks,  This being applied by Jake, Harry, and new recruit James.


Eddie had the job of toning down the wood preserver applied last weekend.  A touch of bitumin worked into the planks.


Dave and I continued with BD 3403 B. Gradually sanding down the areas filled, unfortunately, the door with the large repair had an area of the old fiberglass delaminate, this was cut out, filled and fiberglassed by Dave.


Whilst I continued sanding


Sunday and rain, Dave took the opportunity to overhaul our stock of vacuum release valves ready for the Van Trains Christmas brake overhaul, more on that in December.


I manufactured repair plates for Nicks containers end door,  which was fitted once the rain stopped. 

I also, with Daves’s help, bolted in a wear plate for the end door.  This tightened the whole installation, closing the doors up very well.


29/09/19 – Steel, Wood, and Fibreglass

Work continues with the Containers and their “chariots”. The main focus being BD 4303 B. My task, looking at the substantial damage over the end doors. The outer layer of Fibreglass has cracked and split from the inner layer.

The rain strip was removed, and the inner and outer layers clamped together.20190928_121325.jpg

I then removed the Gelcoat and exposed the original fiberglass over the area of the crack and between each clamp in preparation for applying a new layer of fiberglass.

Of course, the weather once again didn’t play ball and work was occasionally stopped with a mad dash to keep things covered.

Whilst I was on the container, Nick and Jake continued with B505313 spot replacing rotten floor planks.  You may also notice 2 short lengths of flat-bottom rail, Our thanks go to the GCR P-way team for cutting these defected rails for us,  These will form the subframe of  BD 4303 B.

I applied 2 layers of Fibreglass, over the crack and to bond the outer and inner layers together.

Between fiberglass layers, I also applied more fiberglass filler to last weekend repairs.

Sunday saw the full team in action.  I removed the G-Clamps from the container, closed the doors and everything lined up as it should.20190928_170743

Unfortunately once again the weather was not in our favor.  Nick and I took a trip to Swithland to look over the vans ready for next week’s running.  At the moment they are at 15 vans and 2 brakes we are hoping that the fishvan joins them taking the rake to its current full strength.  The first time it has ran as such, fingers crossed.20190929_141432.jpg

Whilst we were away, Ross, Jake, and Dave began preparing the sudo subframe for BD 4303 B.  Borrowing the mag drill from Carriage & Wagon they began the time-consuming task of drilling into the defected rail. The rail is not suitable to run trains on and is ideal as a stand-in subframe.

Once back at Quorn I looked at manufacturing filler pieces for the side straps of both containers, this is the area that connects the lifting frame to the subframe and both containers originals show signs of wastage. I measured, cut and primed the back of 8 pairs of filler pieces.

With the weather remaining persistent we finished with an hour or 2 tidying the tool van.  Next weekend is the GCR autumn gala, TPO duties for us.20190929_130546.jpg



22/09/19 – Conflats and Containers

With our thanks to the Ops department, we are back in our usual position with Test Car on the front road and our next project brought up from the yard. First task a brake test to find out how the two vehicles behave. B507489 held vacuum for 10 minutes with B505313 being no better after fitment of a Branch pipe, the original one having long since perished, new vacuum hoses were fitted all round.

So next we looked at the Release Valves.  Both were removed and overhauled by Dave. This has become second nature to him and both valves were done very quickly.

The next test and B505313 held for just under an hour but no change to B507489.  With only one 15″ rolling ring in stock B507489 was chosen to receive it. With the “Lighter” cylinder the decision was taken to drop it manually rather than use the loading shovel.

Once out it was split and found to be in remarkable condition. A quick hoover new ring fitted, rebuilt and refitted to the vehicle.

A final test and after 3 hours it was still holding and another Defect Card filed.

Whilst this was going on, my attention was on BD4303B, voids were filled with expanding foam. Surface and full cracks, as well as dents, were scolloped out.

One of the doors had a hole straight through it. The top hinge was unbolted, loose fibreglass removed. Tape was applied to the inside and again the void filled and taped over

Full through cracks received a fiberglass matting and resin to restore strength and then a fiberglass filler applied along with the other areas prepared earlier.

Finally, for Saturday we welcome Eddie and Harry who have started with the paint preparation removing loose paint and verdigris.


On to Sunday and the weather was not in our favor.  Despite this Ross and I continued with work on Nicks Container.  The areas of foam added were cut down, scolloped exposing original layers of Fiberglass

Matting was then resined into position to provide strength and support, this will then have a layer of filler applied to restore the smooth outer layer although only if we have a drier day.

Ross’s task was to begin the sanding of previously applied resin and keying of the gelcoat ready for painting,  we would have liked to of restored the gelcoat fully, unfortunately working outside this is ni on impossible.20190922_180933.jpg

Nick replaced a number of floor planks as well as removing the remains of the bottoms of the chain boxes.  These have not faired well so the decision has been taken to open them up to limit further rot20190922_163848.jpg

Eddie and Harry continued with their cleaning regime, with the conflats complete they moved on to E280364 20190922_181730.jpg

With rain towards the later half of the day Ross and I took a trip to Swithland to fit our refurbished first aid kits to our brakevans, replacing the modern kits with more period looking items.

Being at Swith also gave us a chance to see our latest van with the rest. With all of our restored vans in the one train,  well all apart from the fishvan and tool van. 15 Bauxite vans in one train, is there anywhere else that can offer this?

Our final image.  The two proud Container owners with there rare items.received_2507036179515307.jpg

08/09/19 – Test Car on display

Here we are, Diesel Gala and Test Car 2 is on display for the public. Dave and I were in attendance for all 3 days with Nick and Jake poping in between TPO duties.


We are humbled by the number of people who came to see us,  especially those of you that regularly read this website. Thank you all for your generous donations and finally thank you to those former BR and Serco staff that came to see your Test Car.
Specifically, Paul Mosley, Ray Smith, Chris O’Donnell and Dave Moore.


A few more images from over the gala:


Back on to wagons next weekend, something a little flatter we feel.