05/04/21 – Easter Brakes

This update begins on Friday with Nick, Ross and I on site. Continuing the mixed freight brake overhauls focusing on the Shock Hybar wagon which we started last weekend. Last week we discovered the cylinder in a very poor internal condition. Water had clearly gotten in and after a few conversations and a little investigation we have determined this is due to the vehicle having been coupled to the LNER Tube wagon. This vehicle is fitted with high level vacuum pipes, so out current theory is that due to the poor state of the hoses water has been able to enter the train pipe and has allowed moisture into the system.

First thing was to clean up the cylinder components and apply red oxide primer to the none sliding surfaces.

The cylinder was then reassembled with new seals and the release valve was also overhauled.

To facilitate the fitment of the cylinder the hand brake lever was then removed

With the cylinder installed, assembly of the components began, fitment of the overhauled release valve, release chord, piston rod, piston gaiter, and actuating arm attachment

This was followed by the refitting of the handbrake lever and door stop spring removed last weekend to drop the cylinder.

This completes the overhaul of the cylinder and the obligatory vacuum test was carried out. Operated a number of times, slow release test, test of the release valve and final application. The brake was applied at 16:30 and remained hard on when we left site at 19:00.

On to Saturday and the Shock Hybars brakes still applied, attention turned to the Pipe wagons cylinder and its associated components. These were removed, split and overhauled.

Once refitted the usual vacuum tests were carried out. These of course were successful and the brakes were left applied at 15:30.

Jakes attention was focused on the scraping down and application of fresh paint to allow those vehicles missing running numbers and weight details to be added.

Ross and I looked at the re-roping of the Shocks sheet.

Whilst Nick replaced, repaired or fitted label clips to the vehicles on site for routine maintenance

On to Sunday and the first job was to apply the running numbers, gross weights and tares missing from those wagons prepared Saturday. My brass stencils were used and these will fill the void until these vehicles run through our works for body overhaul.

Once these were applied we revisited the inspection sheets annotating repairs carried out and rechecking that we had completed all the required tasks before return to traffic. What was picked up was to re-secure the handrails on the coal hopper, straighten a bent securing pin ring and replace a missing brake handle pin.

Repairs made to the vacuum through pipe of the Coal Hopper was also painted.

We also looked at the weed killing tank fitted to the BR Tube. This was a stalled project that left us with a bright red tank inside our vehicle. We located a sheet, covered the tank and strapped it down.

One issue that observed was the rotten state of part of the floor. A temporary repair has been carried out, again until the vehicles return for future body work.

Once complete and also because we had my stencils out, we branded the sheet. We decided on our friends at the West Hill Wagon Works, they create various 3d printed products for your model railway needs and of course are one of our valued supporters.

Finally for Sunday, with the warm weather, the return of trains and groups of 6 allowed to meet outside, we allowed Jake and Michael to prepare, prime and undercoat the upper surfaces of the Single Bolster.

On to Monday, with Nick, Jake, Michael and I at Quorn continuing with a few out standing vehicles requiring routine maintenance. The usual inspection and oils being carried out. Bringing the Mineral, Iron Ore Tippler, Fish Van, Catfish, Salmon and Sturgeon back into traffic.

Step boards on the Catfish were also replaced and we took a look at the brakes of the New Chassis, Ferry Tank and Palbrick.

This concludes an unusual Easter bank holiday, things are sounding good for a little normality to return from the 12th we already have plans afoot but as always we keep an ear open for government guidance and direction from the GCR.

21/03/21 – Short & Sweet

A small update for this weekend, 5 vehicles dropped off at Rothley for us to attend to this being our 3 Rudds as well as 2 of our Grampus wagons.

With essential maintenance being the order of the day, Axle box exams, brake rigging oil and a general inspection.

The GCR have requested the air system of the Rudds be recommissioned. We are aware of pipe work missing from 2 of the vehicles and all other components were brought up to standard apart from the missing pipes this will be attented to by the GCRs C&W team in the week.

We are looking forward to a return to normal, expected date for this being the 12th April, we are keen to progress other projects and return to our pre lockdown productivity. Although vital there isn’t too much you can say about routine maintenance.

06/03/21 – Returning for Routine

As mentioned in last weeks feature we are back on site at Rothley this weekend.
Our focus for the coming weekends being the routine maintenance of our engineering fleet in support of the GCRs plans to resume passenger services.

Those who follow the GCR and Rothley C&W Facebook pages will be aware of the arrival at Rothley of our 8 Dogfish Ballast hoppers.

Nick, Ross, Dave, Jake and I on site, first task was to check the 32 axle boxes.

Also on the list of tasks was the oiling of brake rigging and the ballast door mechanisms.

All the loose/rotten foot boards were then removed.

Arears of bare metal on the step board supports were Red Oxided whilst Ross began the manufacturing of new steps.

A number of the supports were also straightened.

On to Sunday and the same team on site. Th manufacture of the 12 new step boards was completed, then they were painted in wood preserver and fitted.

We then inspected each vehicles condition. Focusing on the essentials for them to operate as intended.

The key aspect being the operation of the doors. These were tested and correct operation ensured.

Inevitably leaves and other items that had collected in the wagons was subsequently dropped on to the floor. So this of course had to be cleaned up.

This concludes the tasks required to get these vehicles fit for operation. There are a few out standing items, most notably overhaul of the powered braking systems. These remains out of use as to do them at this time would delay the vehicles return to service. They will of course be done at some point in the future as well as a repaint for each vehicle but this will be after the Railway returns to passenger use.

The Shark ballast plough was also brought up with the rake, this will be tackled by the C&W staff as it is not one of our vehicles. Another set of vehicles will be brought to Rothley for us to look at next weekend.

Vehicles receiving routine maintenance this weekend;
BD983166
BD983593
BD983603
BD992714
BD993128
BD993304
BD993412
BD993478

Vehicle Profile #9 Scammell Scarab

This story begins in June of 1953 at the Scammell Lorries Ltd factory, Tolpits Lane, West Watford, leaving the factory a 6T Scammell Scarab carrying the military registration 20 AN 52 and delivered to the Royal Air Force on the 26th June 1953.

RAF Scarab 20 AN 54 sister to our very own 20 AN 52

On the 17th July 1953 she was allocated to 14 Maintenance unit at RAF Carlisle, an aircraft equipment depot. This was followed by further moves on the 26th May 1955 to 35MU at RAF Heywood another aircraft equipment depot, then to 7MU RAF Quedgeley on the 4th Jan 1956, 250 MU RAF Bircotes on 31st Jan 56 before her final movement into storage at RAF Andover on 8th October 1957 being sold off to an ex forces vehicle dealer in Ely Cambridgeshire sometime after 22nd May 1970. When placed on the disposal list in 1970 she had accrued no more than 9000 miles over 17 years of service.

The story picks up again in the Early 1980s when two chaps by the name of Dave Wood and Martyn Upson bough the vehicle from the Ely dealer. It arrived running on 3 cylinders and they successfully worked to rectify this.


They decided to paint her in to a British Road Services livery, although a fictitious Red by mistake, she was registered WFX 336 in November 1982. In 1984 she took part in that years Brighton Run, using an Hilman Imp as a support vehicle. She also stared in an episode of One by One, filmed in the late 1980s the series followed the career of an international veterinary surgeon. With raising petrol prices a diesel Scarab was bought and she was sold to a Roger Tuplin, Roger bought a trailer, a genuine BR flat from Kings Cross station and after a number of years then sold her to a member of the Nene Valley Railway who fitted the insulated body from a Ford D series lorry to the trailer.

She then exchanged hands once again and she found ownership in Crowland, Lincolnshire and it was from this location our involvement begins.

Towards the end of 2019 Dave Bower and I, along with Jack Arthur Shaw came together and purchased the vehicle, now christened Madge, she arrived at Quorn & Woodhouse on the 19th December 2019.

She arrived to us in a pseudo British Railways livery of Blood and Custard minus lettering and a little more Crimson that prototypical. Also part of the deal was the insulated body trailer.  This had been kitted out as a living van and having spent a couple of nights in it I can state it is both warm and comfortable.  Over our first Christmas we removed her indicators and painted the fuel tank, vacuum reservoir, oil bath, engine cover and rear wheels black, more in keeping with a BR Scarab, we also applied lettering and the fictional number QW 6128  E (6 tons and part of the station postcode) This was in preparation for her first public appearance at the GCRs Winter Gala 2020. This went down very well and with a last-minute Photo Charter appearance covering for poor lighting at the preferred location, her usefulness on-site was cemented.

A number of jobs continued on the trailer including adding BR totems, painting poster areas to the correct 40″x 60″ and adding the fictional number T 11246 E (Owners birthday dates).

Our thoughts, however, turned towards the desires for a flat trailer.  During a chance conversation whilst at work, a friend of one of our colleagues happened to have “a trailer with one of those couplers”.  After viewing and negotiation, the former silage trailer and dolly arrived at Quorn in late January of 2020.  This needed a little more than lettering and with the dolly uncoupled, a new floor, a full repaint, and the manufacture of a headstock it was first coupled to the Scarab in July 2020 after the first national lockdown. The Scarab and trailer combo then spent every subsequent open weekend on display until October.

With the completion of my 1958 built Aluminium Container, it was placed on the flat trailer for a number of weekends for public display before being loaded on to the Medfit

October saw another charter with the whole team and enactors in period dress and Madge joined by my Morris Minor Van, we created a number of cameos and succeeded in our aim of recreating a genuine steam era goods yard.

The desires for a shorter trailer came to ahead.  With thanks to John Giles, of the Mechanical Horse Club, for his patience and advice, I completed the purchase of a Taskers 15ft trailer, it being repainted from Army Green to BR Crimson.

Our current fleet with a 3:1 ratio

The Scarabs are of course synonymous with British Railways and in 1958 over 7500 Scarabs and 30,000 trailers were in use with the company, that’s a ratio of 4 trailers to each Scarab. The whole ethos of the vehicle was to replace the horse providing a stronger, less labour intensive alternative whilst maintaining the manoeuvrability of a real horse.

That concludes the look at our resident Scarab and our lockdown features, with great delight we have been asked to support the GCRs aims to return to passenger operations on the 17th April 2021. Our fleet of engineering vehicles are overdue routine maintenance and this is to be our focus to support re-ballasting work required in the single line section as well as other engineering requirements to get the railway ready for services to resume.

07/02/21 – Why do you restore wagons?

Our feature image above shows the beginnings of our tanker train with 1408 joining the rake this week after being shunted from Rothley by the Operations department. Before I get into the bulk of this feature, in fact if we are honest this is an update, Monday saw the arrival of 2 vehicles from the Llangollen Railway.
Ferry tank B749677 Diagram 1/305 built to Lot 2429 in 1952 at Ashford. Once complete this will of course join the fledgling tanker train, as it stands we are considering restoring it into Traffic Services Ltd Black livery as number 500817
The other vehicle a chassis, this being former Shell Mex and BP Ltd tank 6463 and will receive a van body but I’ll leave it at that for the moment.

Images courtesy of Andy Maxwell

Next I managed to get my brushes out. The Rothley and Mountsorrel Heritage Centre have been pressing forward with the restoration of an LMS 12T van. They have been following Government guidelines that class volunteers of charitable organisations as essential workers, so Michelle and I were allowed on site to progress the vehicle.

Images courtesy of Steve Cramp

Working in isolation, with other volunteers on site restricted entry to the workshop I gradually applied the livery. This being a slightly earlier style than what would have been applied to the vehicle but this fulfils the owners brief and adds further interest to the centres fleet.

One side complete, all but the door on the other and the sole bar plates backed.
It was nice to get out at a weekend especially for my wife who has been furloughed since September and like most has been struggling at home alone whilst I’m at work.

Not just myself working however, Ross has been looking into the Test Cars slip lamp, manufacturing new internal electronics replacing the life expired originals. The lamp displays flashing white lamps when the slip test vehicle is moving and a steady red when stopped, there is also a test button and for our purposes a demonstration mode to enhance our tours of the Test Car when we are allowed to open again.

So now on to the feature.

Sometimes we are asked “Why do you spend almost all of your spare time restoring wagons?” Why indeed? Although the following was written sometime ago for an unpublished article, its intent remains.

Visiting the GCR’s 2018 Model Rail Event from Surry, Mr Robert Holah noticed in the lie-by siding at Quorn our London Midland Scottish Railway (LMSR) Brakevan M730562

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What brought this particular vehicle to his attention was its similarity to one pictured in an image of his father.

Allbert Edward Holah was a Goods Guard, initially with the LMSR and then British Railways London Midland Region upon nationalisation of the railways in 1948.  He was based at Harrow and Wealdstone station.  In fact he was at the Station on the 8th October 1952.  It was a foggy morning and the 07:31 Tring – Euston local train was stood in Platform 4. At 08:19 this train was struck by the Southbound Perth – Euston Express, the resulting wreckage was then hit by the Northbound Euston – Liverpool Express on the adjacent line.  112 were killed and 340 injured and it remains the worse peace time rail accident in the UK and basically resulted in the nationwide introduction of the Automatic Warning System (AWS).  The incident affected Albert quite deeply.

Albert later became an instructor and as such trained a number of immigrants from the Caribbean, what has now become known as the Windrush Generation,  he opened his home to a young Caribbean Gentlemen during Christmas who’s family remained at home in Jamaica. Robert remembers this well and Mrs Holah’s annoyance of not being informed of his farthers guest and being unable to fully prepare.

Unfortunately Albert’s colleagues were not as charitable and saw the immigrants as a threat, taking their jobs.  As a punishment the union forced Albert to Coventry and ordered his colleagues not to communicate with him.  This of cause affected Albert even further and in 1959, 18 Months after being moved, he suffered a heart attack and died.  Robert at the age of 12 was left with an image and memories. 

After an email to the GCR and being forwarded on to us at “Quorn Wagon and Wagon”. Robert came and visited on the 1st September 2018. We had spent a number of weeks repairing and carrying out a full interior and exterior repaint to M730562. We also added extra items that Roberts farther would have instantly remembered.  Guards Bag, Tea Can, Paperwork, Newspaper, Railway Observer, Lamps, Shunters pole, Brake Stick along with other items.  We also lent Robert a BR uniform identical to his fathers including the Midland Region Staff association tie he is wearing in the photograph.  This allowed Robert to recreate the image of his farther.  The artifacts in the vehicle brought back a number of further memories for Robert, playing with his father’s handlamp rotating the handle between Red, Green and Clear. His father sat fettling a wooden implement one end square the other round.  With that description we handed Robert a Brake Stick and demonstrated its use as well as the use of a Shunters Pole.

We continue to extend our thanks to Robert for coming down and sharing his memories. We know he enjoyed his visit and will be coming back to see us soon. So why do we restore Goods Wagons?  A tangible link to the past, maybe not directly for us but certainly for others, as was the case for Robert. It may never be proven but we like to think that Albert may have worked M730562 at least once in his career.
Goods vehicles are an important part of railway history it’s the reason the railways were built.  To recreate the sights and sounds of a bygone railway then they are an essential part of the scene and a draw for our visitors, not just the ones we care for but all those none passenger vehicles at all Heritage Railways across the country.

That is why we restore wagons.

31/01/21 – Not just for demonstration

Without a doubt our vehicles are most visible when they are either static in sidings or operating at Galas or during Photocharters.

But recreating bygone sites and sounds is not the sole purpose of our fleet.
The first group of vehicles continuing to do the work they were built for are the Ballast hoppers. Centre line Catfish and Sholder and Centre line Dogfish. There purpose to transport and dispense ballast were required.

The most notable case being the recent laying of the Mountsorrel branch, after the hard work by the volunteers to remove the vegetation, prepare the ground, lay the first layers of ballast and of course the track, the ballast wagons were brought into stabilise the permanent way.

We extend our thanks to Steve Cramp and the volunteers of the Mountsorrel Railway for providing these images as well as capturing the videos below which also include a Ballast Plough in operation, although not a member of our fleet it is also vital to the work being carried out.

Above I mentioned the rail being laid but how did this get moved to site? Well that’s were our next group of vehicles comes in to it, the flats, as the rail head moved forward, wagons carrying rail would drop it of, this would then be moved by hand a length at a time and the Mountsorrels Wickham trolley would follow keeping the rail no more that a length behind the rail head. Then another bulk load would be dropped off and the process continue.

Keeping with the flats we look at bridge repairs, the most recent replacement of Bridge 341 and repairs to Bridge 350. With flats being used to carry brick work for the bridge in the case of 341 and the floating pontoons for Bridge 350.

As well as Bridges, Canopies also require flat wagons. Specifically the repairs to Loughborough’s Canopy. The Tank flat was used to carry the main canopy structures from and to the work site as well as the single bolster used not only to remove materials but as a means to reduce the amount of scaffolding required to conduct the task.

With the wheel base of our examples reducing we turn to the ballast opens namely the Grampus and Rudd wagons. These are basically the railways general utility vehicles used to fetch and carry anything and everything. Ranging from ash to sleepers, spoil to vegetation.

Another popular vehicle is the Caledonian Weltrol, at one point labelled the single most active vehicle on the railway. With a long spell of use with the S&T department running out cable the full length of the railway. At this present moment it stands in Quorn yard with the tender tank from a certain GWR Castle class locomotive upon it, stored awaiting fitment to its chassis.

Staying with locomotives, both of the road and rail variety we have two vehicles used to store water. 1408 being the primary water source for filling locomotives at Swithland and A4513 having been used for traction engines at Quorn.

The list of work carried out by these vehicles can continue and this can of course include Film and TV work which would create its own long list of appearances.
But I hope this gives a little insight in to those aging departmental vehicles that don’t really appear to do anything but occupy sidings. As we get closer to the completion of the gap these wagons will once again be called upon to carry out there vital work and once that and any possible doubling of the track to Leicester is carried out they will still be ready for the next set of bridge repairs or bank slip or major civil project the GCR wish to use them for.

But wait I have forgotten 4 vital vehicles in our fleet, every time they move they are conducting the work they were built for and appear in a few of our images. They are used for there original purpose even when part of a demonstration train. I am talking none other than the focus of our last feature.

We do have plans to work on our departmental fleet and return them to their Black and Straw lettered livery but after we have completed the more vulnerable freight vehicles, They will however continue there work and be available for any engineering needs, after all there is a sense of authenticity in a rake of rusty and battered wagons going about there business.

We also wish to thank the GCR for supplying images for this feature and credit to those photographers who captured our vehicles at work.
David Howdle for the vehicles atop bridge 350 unloading pontoons
Graham Wignall for Rails being unloaded behind 47406 & Track ballasting from a Grampus at Swithland Sidings
Tony Sparks for Loughborough Canopy work images.

17/01/20 – Looking beyond the Vans

Feature image courtesy of Clive Hanley
Over the past 4 years we have been steadily increase our van train. We have a number of possible opportunities to reach our target of 20. Although the overall plan is a fixed rake of 17 with 3 spare to operate within the Mixed freight or to bolster the main rake during charters. The total is currently 15 so we are 5 short. Although this can be fuddled with the use of the Fish Van and Container carrying vehicles. The past 2 years have seen us refresh a number of other “mixed” vehicles but the latest focus has been the tanks.

The plans for a tank train first saw its inception with the Swithland wagon group who made a great effort with our first 2 contenders. Privately owned 6071, built by Charles Roberts in 1949 for Shell Mex & BP Ltd to transport fuel oil and later used by BR as a Departmental tank, as well as our very own 6581 another Shell Mex & BP Ltd tank although built by Fairfield Bridge & Engineering in 1948 and used for Lubricating Oil and again latterly used as a Departmental tank, both saw there first outing in 2018.

Next to see the light of day was 4513 another Shell Mex & BP Ltd tank used for Petroleum spirit built by Hurst Nelson in 1941, this came in to our care towards the end of 2019 and received a top half refresh last year, sparking our current desires to progress with a tank wagon train.

Our next vehicle has been the focus of a number of our recent updates but we shall take this opportunity to discuss in a little more depth its unique suspension, that is unique to the GCR, quit common on the national network.

So 1408 a China Clay Slurry tank built by Charles Roberts in 1965 had a fair amount of attention which included lifting the vehicle for suspension inspection.

If the damping in the suspension of a wagon were to be too low this could cause the vehicle to bounce uncontrollably leading to a derailment; likewise, if the damping level is too high then the suspension will not move freely enough to accommodate any undulations or twists in the track which again could also lead to a derailment, particularly at low speeds. 

When 1408 was new the Gloucester pedestal suspension design would have been tested to ensure the level of spring stiffness and damping present would be suitable to allow the wagon to accommodate undulations or track twists. The test called a torsional stiffness test (or Delta Q/Q) was carried out on a calibrated weighbridge, where the wagon is subjected to a defined twist whilst measuring each individual wheel load. The amount of load on each wheel must remain within 60% of the average wheel load to pass the test. 

The first graph below shows the test results from a torsional stiffness test where the wheel load remains within the limit when the wagon is twisted to 1 in 150. The thickness of the band of results for each wheel gives an indication of the level of friction damping in the suspension. 

Whereas this second graph shows that the wheel load on wheel 2 drops below the 60% offloading limit; in this case the combination of the stiffness in the suspension or the wagon underframe and the level of friction damping is too great therefore a change to the design would have been necessary. 

C:\Users\Dave\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\DeltaQ-Fail A.JPG

Once a wagon has passed its test then a maintenance plan must be implemented in order to maintain its compliance. In the case of 1408, we must ensure that the friction dampers continue to operate as they did when the suspension type was initially tested, therefore we undertook checks of the condition of the friction surfaces on the axlebox and plunger, and ensuring the freedom of operation of the friction wedge and plunger. 

In order to do this we lifted the wagon using the vehicle lifting jacks at Rothley until all the weight was released from the suspension and the condition of the friction surfaces could be checked. Whilst the wagon was lifted we could also check the springs for any fractures. 

When lowering the wagon back onto its wheelsets the operation of each friction wedge and plunger was noted, the lift and lower process was repeated a few times to check there was no sticking of the components. 

After lowering the wagon back onto its wheelsets a check of the buffer heights was made to ensure it had lowered fully and evenly, then the wagon was shunted around the yard a few times to settle the suspension before the buffer heights were checked again and confirmed to be within tolerance. 

Our checks on 1408 confirmed all was in order and that the suspension is operating as it should, therefore ensuring wheel unloading is maintained within the limit levels. 
The diagrams and reference material are taken from Dave Bower’s book Rail Vehicle Testing 

As the second update of this year confirms our focus is now on 3436 a 22T B Type Esso tank built by Charles Roberts in 1958. This will be returning to its as built Esso condition and the templates are already ready. We are just waiting for the opportunity to return and complete it.

Following 3436 will be DB998926, this is a BR 14T departmental creosote tank built by Charles Roberts in 1959. This 3rd lockdown has already been a help, as my research has successfully identified its original region and depot allocation. This being the North Eastern regions West Hartlepool Sleeper Depot. This tank will receive its full departmental livery of Black with straw lettering including this original allocation.


That gives us a possible train made up of 6 tanks, but wait there is one more. Located at the Mountsorrel Heritage Centre is Tar Tank 339, a National Coal Board tank built by the Cambrian Wagon Works in 1940. With the permission of the centre I’m sure this vehicle could run with the 6 to create a train of 7 vehicles.

IMG-20200306-WA0005

Unfortunately that is as far as we can go but who knows what the future could bring. There is however, Covid not withstanding, the opportunity to see these tanks together. This has been organised by Timeline events and will be hauled by Standard Class 5 Locomotive 73156. Currently set to be Monday 19th April and Tuesday 20th April, the links will take you to further information, of course this may be subject to change.

Image courtesy of Clive Hanley
So hopefully that gives a little insight to our current focus and aims. Next week we have yet to decide but it will likely be the continuation of our vehicle profile series started during the first lockdown.

10/01/21 – Here we go again…..

So once again the country is plunged into a National Lockdown, Thursday we received word that the GCR would once again ban volunteers on site unless carrying out essential roles.

Starting on Monday, Nick and Michael on site with paint removed from the catwalk followed by blowing down and removal of dust

This was followed by application of metal primer to all of the bare metal areas.

Next day for Nick and Michael was Wednesday and the application of Dark Grey undercoat, all of the tank, filler cap, discharge valve, running boards, buffer beams, and sole bars all painted.

Thursday afternoon was when the message reached C&W that the restrictions of the first lock down would once again be required.

Nick & Michael on site for the final time this week, the task being the application of Gloss, to the grey blank canvas.

Unfortunately that is were we must end this update, once again a vehicle in Gloss ready for signwriting. We will of cause return to our weekly profiles and features and return when we can.

03/01/2021 – Tank you for the New Year wishes

A new year is upon us and we continue as we always have, keeping you up-to-date with our activities. As our end of year review confirms we have completed tank 51408, or as it is now known number 1408, this update wraps up the final days of 2020 the story of its completion and the first projects of 2021.

From our feature image at the top of this update it will now be clear we have gone for the steam era vacuum fitted livery of Shell-Mex and BP ltd, as stated in our previous update although not prototypical for our China Clay slurry tank it fits in with ours and the GCRs aims. So back to Monday and my favourite activity, signwriting. Templates assembled, chalked, marked out and applied. By the end of Monday East side lettering, yellow of the commuted charge symbols, fast traffic stars and the base for the BP shields were applied.

Nick progressed and completed the underframe preparation.

On to Tuesday with Nick, Ross, Jake, Michael and I joined by Brandon. The main task being the painting of the underframe.

Whilst this was being undertaken Ross focused on a replacement mounting block for the east side wagon label clip. This was fitted and then painted.

Once the underframe was complete out came the undercoat with brake lever ends, foot valve operating handles, water filler pipe, roller bearing covers, hoses, dummies and lamp irons painted.

Once this had dried top coats were added white to all but the roller bearing covers which went yellow. The filler pipe is also waiting a suitable shade of blue and Red was applied to the Air Brake Pipe

Nick then when round with the black gloss touching up missed areas.

For me, continuation of the signwriting, west side running number and details completed. Shell shield undercoated and first colour added to it and the BP shield. Numbers were also applied to the tank ends. Ross adding a base for the OLE warning flashes beside the ladders.

Wednesday and the signwriting marathon continues. Dave and I with mahl sticks and brushes in hand. Dave focusing on the sole bar details, Load, Tare, Wheelbase, foot valve plate, registration plate and owners plate.

For me, the final signwriting for the Shell and BP shields.

I also applied the OLE warning flashes and the builders plate.

Not just Dave and I on site, Nick and Michael continuing with the preparation of 3436. Completing the wash and scraping the underframe.

Nick and Michael also painted the end of the water fill pipe and discharge valve blue, fitted the vacuum hoses and painted the brake distributor isolating handle and test point red on 1408.

That, as stated above is 1408 complete.

On to Thursday (New Years Eve). 1408 being moved out of the shed allowing 3436 to enter.

Michael and Brandon then focusing on the contiuned preparation of the tank.

This once again revealed the Barrel number and test date.

Tank number 9293, tested to a pressure of 25 PSI on the 18/07/1958 again we believe 0/2150 160 to be an order number.

Ross and I focused on 977107. Beginning it’s preparation for the long awaited repaint.

Having removed the OLE warning flashes from 3436 Jake then took some time to clean them up ready for there refitment. One had see to much of the elements and it was my last task of 2020 to touch up the red on that one.

On to New Years day and preparation being the order of the day. 3436 for Michael

977107 for Nick an I

This included removal of lettering and OLE warning flashes not forgetting those under the modern yellow warning triangles.

Saturday and not really any more to say than preparation continues. Michael on the tank.

Nick, Ross, Dave, Jake and I on the coach.

At the end of the day the tank was complete and is now ready for paint.

The coach is also ready for primer to the bare metal areas in preparation for filler to be applied.

We also took a moment to retrieve a short section of Mk1 Coach Roof originally from CK M15208 components of which were used to build RVPs Diesel Brake Tender, the intention being that this will be used to replicate the Enamel Esso plates for 3436.

I have a plan and will work my usual metal work fabrication magic to see what we end up with, but as always there is a little maths

Sunday and the final day for this update after a quick wipe down the coach received primer to all of the bare metal areas, Nick, Ross, Dave and I on site.

Once the primer had dried the first fill was carried out.

This will see a few sands and refills but of cause this will be the focus of next week.

Finally I took an opportunity to mark out two areas to be cut from the roof section, which will create the Esso plates for the tank and a look at the coach with filler applied and awaiting the next step.

Unfortunately for me and a few others its back to work tomorrow but there will be some progress in the week which we shall let you know next week. To complete this update a view of our completed vehicles at Rothley.

01/01/21 – End of year review

So 2020 has come to an end, a happy new year to you all, of cause our usual Sunday update will be following but as is now our tradition, time for the statistics of the last 12 months.

Loads of welding and new steel
Loads of conduit & wire
500+ rivets
14 full repaints
9 Colico boxes
7 van sides
5 vacuum cylinders
4 new doors
4 conflat chains
Tier 4 restrictions
3 refloors
3 doors reinstated
3 HRA awards
Tier 3 restrictions
3 youtube videos
3 buffers
3 trailers
3 WH Smith signs
2 headboards
2 partial repaints
2 national lock downs
2 containers
2 ropes
2 roof repaints
1 dolly
1 Mountsorrel tank
1 Global Pandemic
1 roof retightening
1 loading shovel service
1 new arrival
1 shed
1 reroof
1 container corner bumper
1 temporarily restored goods shed
1 Cl.27 engine door
1 70s Ford Transit
1 60s Morris Commercial Van
1 Small Dumper
1 Hugely successful “time travelling” photo charter
Walking Britain’s Lost Railways
-1 WWI tank

So what have we completed?
Despite the global pandemic we have had a really good year with 17 vehicles / containers / trailers completed. Below are the items from the past 12 months, number 17 however will be the focus of the first update for 2021 so I’m afraid for now we are keeping the reveal of that one under wraps until the weekend.

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