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.

01/09/19 – Test Car Done

We begin this weekend with an exciting number of items.  Our thanks go to Serco Rail Technical Services for the loan of these items that will aid in telling Test Car 2s story.

The most exciting of which being the Slip Coupling, with the coupling and coach reunited we re-hung it back in its rightful place.

All of these pieces of equipment will be discussed further during our tours over the diesel gala. Work of cause continues with the gala target in view.  My first task was to progress the “A” end door, marking out, masking and applying the stripes to the door.

Jake cleaned up and applied undercoat to the buffers. Whilst Dave continued with the “B” end headstock details before being assisted by Jake.

Nick and Ross scrapped down the eastside underframe before once again Jake took the lead and sprayed it black.

We also had a look at our new signs for next weekend’s opening. Hopefully, these will leave visitors in no doubt whether we are open or not.

On to Sunday and preparations continue, sometime in the late 80s a member of the testing team applied a car sticker to the “A” End door, we decided to recreate this detail.

The rest of the team continued with the eastside underframe springs and axle box covers as well as the buffers receiving black a coat of black.

With the car sticker complete I continued sign-writing, Brake Stars, ETH Lightning bolts, wheel profile markings, and the builder’s plate.

Nick and Ross then turned their attention to the defective hand brake on the Steel-High

Dave, Jake and I then turned to preparing for the public.  Tidying, an extension to the fence and adding the components to the steel high required for slip/brake testing.

We shall not go into detail yet, all will be revealed next weekend.  The last thing to do, however, test the operation of the slip coupling.

All is in place for our first public opening for Test Car 2.  6th, 7th and 8th September Quorn and Woodhouse station behind the signal box. Please come and see us and we will explain this unique vehicle’s place in Railway History.20190901_201016.jpg

18/08/19 – Matt on a hot tin roof

This weekend was ‘”R” day,  that’s R for roof.  First job application of Gloss to “2 Car’s” roof furniture and Red Oxide to the Generator Exhaust and guttering around the water filler.

Whilst I was taking care of that. Nick and Dave slightly rearranged the containers to allow us to set up staging on the west side of the vehicle. Then began the main event.  First a coat of primer suitable for galvanised steel.


This left a very nice blue tinge to the roof but as the instructions recommended overcoat as soon as possible that’s just what we did. So after a lunch break out with the undercoat.


With the roof done, for now, Dave turned to the Sole bar and applied a coat of black gloss.


The new depot allocation was also applied.20190817_182155

On to Sunday and roof work continued with the topcoat of BR Roof Grey being applied.  Although it’s only a short sentence here.  The amount of work is considerable.  As an idea, almost 3 Gallons of paint was applied this weekend.



With the roof done,  we continued with some detailing. Dave painted above the gangways and the gangways themselves. I neatened up and completed the lining whilst Nick made touch-ups to fly damage and small areas of overspray.


The list is getting smaller and the end is beginning to come it to view.  We have enjoyed doing “2 Car”  but honestly, we can’t wait to get back on to wagons and containers.


11/08/19 – Test Car two sides

The weather, as usual, has been it’s changeable self.  With this in mind, we took some time to do a midweek spray. Nick, Ross and I masked and applied the Flame Red.

Whist the side was being sprayed I applied undercoat and topcoat to the Bogie Axel end covers.  Looking through Daves images from his BR test days the hassler unit appears to have had a blue base hence why we have gone with this.

On to Saturday and scattered showers I did, however, manage to add further details to the bogies painting the springs and dampers, the Smiths and Hasler as well as the P1 wheel flange marking to the “A” End bogie.

Whilst I did this Nick and his eldest Liam took some time to look over the hydravane compressor which has been found to have a faulty fuel pump.

On to Sunday and no change in the weather, high winds as we applied the masking.20190811_095523.jpgWith what can only be described as luck we applied the Rail blue between showers and changes in wind direction.


The delicate task of removing the masking commenced and as the sun reappeared we gazed upon the Test Car with its DM&EE livery applied to both sides.


To celebrate a flash of the head and tail lamps and a toot of the electric horns.


During the moments of dampness, I took the opportunity to sign write one of the first aid boxes for the brake vans.20190811_163840With 3 weeks until the GCR diesel gala and with the topcoat on both side we are happy to say the Vehicle will be available for public viewing at the event.  Its location is of course still to be discussed with the GCR, but we will be manning the vehicle over the 3 days and welcome people to come and view our work and Daves old workplace.  If the weather holds Roof paint is scheduled for next weekend.