15/05/22 – Starting the final details.

Its vintage vehicle weekend at the GCR, so Madge and Jerry out representing us in the main yard. They also made a new friend who spent the night with them, I wonder what conversations were had?

They then spent Sunday together.

On to the main event, as we move closer to the Bogie Bolsters completion.

Nick and Richard focusing on the bolsters, de-weeding and creosoting.

Dave with paint and brush applied the east side lettering.

All that remains is the all important shunt by the Operations department to gain access to the hidden bogie.

I also had my brushes out completing our secret project.

Which was then mounted in the evening.

Thomas was also on site and was able to reach all those areas the less flexible members of the group could not.

On to Sunday, and a few finishing touches on the sign.

Literally dotting the I’s as I missed them, tidying of the right hand edge and prime and gloss the back.

Next task was the annual exam of the Midland Brake van, as this is due and the vehicle required for mid week work .

We were aware of a foot step issue with the vehicle and this was duly changed and creosoted.

Final task for me, the first trip home for Jerry. An absolute pleasure with no issues.

That brings us to the end of this update, lets do it all again next weekend shall we?

02/05/22 – Spring Diesel gala & Mixed Traffic event.

Its time for the first public opening of Test Car 2 in 2022.

Once again the wife and I are using the Mess coach to its full potential. Staying on site for this bank holiday weekend. First task on arrival Thursday evening, setting up barriers and signage.

On to Friday with Dave and I opening the doors.

Jerry also made his public debut loaded with test equipment for the Test Car.

For Dave and I that was our weekend, assisted by Nick, Ross and Richard various times throughout the weekend. Saturday was completed with a chippy as the trains ran in to the night.

Eireni and Michelle manned our new sales stand, all proceeds going back into the wagons, many thanks to those who purchased, visited and supported us.

On the wagon front, Nick completed the underframe paint of the Bogie Bolster and refitted the remaining floor planks on Saturday. Final task is to paint the bogies, the request has been sent to the Ops department who hopefully will be moving it out of the dock to allow completion of the vehicle.

Sunday, Nick and Ross replaced the final side sheet requiring replacement this year, this being on the west side of B786348.

On to Monday and the Mixed traffic event with the mixed freight in operation.

After many failed attempts to pin down the colour for the Brutes, I decided to turn chemist and mix our own, using up some of the left over enamel paint from previous projects.

More than happy with the colour match.

The brake handle was also painted yellow towards the end of the day.


There has been so many images/videos from the event but the following from Jason Cross gives a flavour of the event. including some dodgy wagon fitters at the end.

We shall once again be opening the Test Car next Saturday for the bus rally, with Jerry on site the sales stand open, please come and say hello.

As always more next weekend.

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.

27/03/22 – The Sun shines, so the paint flows

So after the excitement of last weekend, and with glorious sunshine, during the week the opportunity was taken to progress an item of rolling stock that has been waiting for better weather. I am of course referring to the Bogie Bolster.

Wednesday I popped in and after a quick sweep down, I started with the Metal Primer.

First applying it to the bolsters

Then on to the West and South end

Thursday and joined by Richard we continued what I started the day previous
Richard applying undercoat to the East and North Sides

I did exactly the same as I did Wednesday but applied undercoat to the Bolsters and the West and South sides.

Richard also following the primer with undercoat.

This completed the midweek work with the above frame areas now all in undercoat ready for gloss

To Saturday with Nick, Richard, and I on-site, along with some gloss. The same procedure as the rest of the week, Bolsters for me and body side for Richard.

Nick also started lifting planks to begin looking at and tidying the frame tops.

The lower half of the bolster stanchions were also primed, undercoated, and glossed.

On to Sunday. Nick, Ross, Richard, and I are on site. First job continuation of the floor removal.

Nick and Ross scraped and vacuumed the frame top.

Richard followed with primer.

I also followed with primer although started on the upper stanchions first.

Following up the primer, a layer of undercoat.

Unfortunately, despite the clocks moving forward by an hour we ran out of light. All the upper frame structure primed and 2/3rd in undercoat.

That concludes this update and as always we shall bring you more next week.

21/11/21 – C&W CCT assistance.

This update begins a little earlier than most with Dave at Rothley on Friday. This was to assist with the final stages of the CCTs restoration, which C&W has been pressing on with.

At the start of the day, the east side was in final gloss, and the west first coat with a second coat where the lettering is applied. This allowed Dave to chalk up and apply the Golden Ocher lettering.

On to Saturday and Dave repeating Fridays work but on the west side. The east received my attention with the black lining being applied to each character. 137 characters to be precise.

Jamie and Dave also applied the lining to the east side.

Once the detail work for the day was complete Jamie flattened the remaining west side first coat and applied the chalkboard topcoat. Nick was also on-site but remained at Quorn checking our Grampus wagons that are in Quorn yard for unloading. This is a start to the annual exam.

On to Sunday with Dave tackling the black character lining. His first attempt at this and an excellent job he made. I did have to step in towards the end as the concentration required took its toll.

Jamie and Dave then applied the topcoat to the west side followed by varnish to the east side.

With the door edges being painted also.

Nick applied a coat of paint to the internal shelving that is visible through the windows.

The vehicle is required for the winter wonder light trains with the deadline for completion being Wednesday. The GCR C&W Facebook page will show the completed vehicle in the week, and as always we will update you on our activities next week.

31/10/21 – Short and Sweet

So the big news this week is the movement of SC 21202 from Rothley back home to Quorn. The movement was made as part of Nick’s line recertification and included ADE280364 after its drag box repairs.

With the “BR Blue pair” together, after the morning downpour and the sun making an appearance a chance to take a photo could not be missed.

Eddie was on-site progressing the Bogie Bolster his focus being the accessible areas of the Eastside.

The rest of the weekend agin spent on tidying and sorting, especially as the Mess Coach whist at Rothley remained in use as our mess van. So it is in a little bit of a mess. Unfortunately thats it for this update but once the all important tidy is complete and we have taken stock of materials required we can once again ramp up productivity.

24/10/21 – Scrape and tidy

Well i’m back but still not 100%, I have had a middle ear infection which resulted in a number of debilitating symptoms. As I say i’m not fully over it, driving in the dark and, as I found out this weekend, standing in a rocking rail vehicle are a few things i still can not do. Thank you to those who have sent their regards and have wished me a swift recovery, but enough of me on to the update.

First a thank you to Rail Vehicle Components Ltd who have kindly offered to overhaul the slack adjusters on the Bogie Bolster. It is great to have support from the rail industry. So a thank you to those companies and individuals who have and continue to support us.

Its worth mentioning for those that do not follow the GCR carriage and wagon facebook page, their focus has been our CCT, this is going to be used as the Generator van for the Winter Wonder light services and reinstated as the fire van for the summer months. Some substantial work by the team at Rothley, with the mechanical overhaul complete and focus is now on the body work.

The site tidy continues with the morning focused on the GUV.

Some time was been spent on the Bogie Bolster. The focus being straightening the north end. A mixture of brute and careful application of force.

Although not back to as built it is much better.
The missing lamp iron was also refitted.

The afternoon was spent looking at sorting and tidying a few vans to make space for displaced items.

On to Sunday with attention on the Bogie Bolster. Sanding down the frame and body sides.

A lot of surface area to cover but by the end of the day the West side and South end, including buffers, are ready for paint, with the North end not much further behind. Just need to move the vehicle to allow access to the East side which allow paint prep and mechanical work required.

The south end Slack adjuster was also removed in preparation for its jaunt to Wigan with the one from the north end for overhaul.

So not more to be said than that concludes this update, and as always we’ll let you know what we have been up to next week.

19/09/21 – 99 with a flake(y paint job).

After many months at Rothley we have returned “home” to Quorn but before we get into the weekend some news from the week.

First B855667 left Rothley Thursday to join the tank wagon train as a barrier at the photochater organisers request. It will then join the van train taking it to our operational target of 17 vehicles but there are more to come, with remedial action required on a few especially those we did more than 4 years ago now.

The big news however is the arrival of 3711, rail vehicle number 99 for the fleet. This is a Hurst Nelson built 22T Class B Esso tank, similar to our Chas Roberts tank numbered 3436. It arrives to us from Meldon Quary. Once complete this will increase the Tanker train to a possible maximum of 9, this of course includes the tar tank on the Mountsorrel. This vehicle was subject to a number of posts on social media a few months ago and we were linked to them, to be honest when those posts were being forwarded to us, we had already sealed the deal and organised its arrival.

On to Saturday, the priority being getting the new arrival fit to move. First task freeing off all the brake rigging. Either by heat, brute force or disassembley.

Essentially with the brakes off the wheels then that is job done. But why do tomorrow what we can do today. so the next task the bearings. The west side was missing the bearing covers and we have seen images of the vehicle in 2006 in the same state.
We removed covers from one of our spare wheel sets. Nick cleaned the open bearings

Followed by purging and then filling all 4 axles with grease . This is the first cycle and after a shunt move in the week we shall look at the bearings again.

One thing that will need looking at in the near future is the vacuum system. Below is the top of one of the cylinders, it gets worse the lower down you go.

With Saturday a success in getting the vehicle movable Sunday was spent attempting to stop it.
Focus was on the North end axle. I looked at freeing off the brake shoes and replacing the cracked ones on the bow girders

Ross looked at freeing off the swing links supporting the bow girder fulcrums. Whist Nick and Richard cleaned the removed components

Nick and Richard also looked at freeing off the west side brake leaver. A slight twist causing it to wedge in the rack required some heat to straighten. With Ross reassembling the north end brake rigging

With the rigging around the north end axle freed we moved down to the cross shaft input this being another pair of swing links supporting a fulcrum for the north and south axles.
This was fully stripped including the thermally removed bolts that support the top of the assembly.

Nick then refitted the northend brake blocks

With just enough time to reassemble, this gives us 2/3 of brake rigging free and working. Although as this does not complete the system the south axle will require the same attention.

That completes this update, and as always join us next week as we continue with the brakes and hopefully 4 new items of interest.

05/09/21 – Biscuit Box Complete

This update begins with Dave poping in on Thursday to begin the east side signwriting. Running number, gross weight, tare, branding and wheelbase applied.

A full extended weekend for Dave as he was with the Test Car during the GCRs Diesel gala. Thank you for all that visited and more so to those who gave generously, your donations go towards the work we do on all of our fleet.

Don’t forget you can support us by purchasing a Stock book or Test Car booklet.
For more information please click the link below.
How to support us

On to Saturday and the final push for the Palvan Shock, Nick fitting the end chalkboards.

I completed the signwriting, including our rewheeling “plate”