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.

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

I completed the signwriting, including our rewheeling “plate”

Nick, Ross and Jake attended to the roof, this was primed with a suitable PVC primer followed by a layer of bitumen

Following the roof, they looked at a pair of buffers we had that required freeing off, these will go into our self-contained buffer supply as we have plans to reduce the number of oleos we have in service.

For me it was stripe time, I measured, masked, and applied the shock identification strips to each end and the east side.

The final task for Saturday was to fill a pair of holes with countersunk bolts and paint.

On to Sunday. With myself assisting Dave on the Test Car. Nick, Ross and Jake attending to the last items on the Palvan shock.

Roof hoops painted bauxite.

A complete annual exam. Lubrication and axle box exams.

This completes B855667 and will soon join the van train taking the rake to our working target of 17 vans. This however will not be the last van as we will be adding additional vehicles to the Mixed rake.

Last job for us at Rothley was drilling of the Mess Coach floor to fit the final cable run in to the distribution cabinet.

So that brings to an end out time at Rothley C&W as we return home to Quorn. Vehicle movements are scheduled after the upcoming War Weekend but next week will see us back at Quorn were the next project is waiting patiently for us. More as always next week.

22/08/21 – Back out and about

With last weekends excitement behind us, we would like to thank you all for those who made kind comments and supported the event, our aim was to do something a little different and I think we achieved that.

But as Ross stated last weekend, back to the grind and for Dave this was Tuesday. The repairs to the Palshock carried out the weekend before last to the east side were repeated on the west side. Dave removing the wooden fillets below the plywood sides cleaning out the rust, red oxided and rebuilt.

On to Saturday and with the world returning to a little normality we have started to venture out once again, first on the cards a journey to the standard gauge preservation pioneer, the Bluebell Railway. Following an invite from Laurie, the wagon divisions head to see there collection and facilities.

First a tour of the workshop which is a very impressive facility including a recent expansion. A number of project progressing inside.

Followed by a look at the operational wagon fleet and those awaiting there time in the works.

We also took a walk down the Branch towards Haywards Heath via Ardingly to the end of the existing trackbed.

We saw the two trains in operation and also picked up some buffers, mainly 2 full sets of self contained items as we look at alternatives to Oleos which at the moment are cost prohibitive to repair.

We extend our thanks to Laurie and the rest of the C&W team at the Bluebell for there hospitality. An example of cooperation and networking for the good of our interests within the preservation movement.

Sunday and back to normal. My first task to drill and fit bolts to the dummy shock gear cover, this represents the attachment points.

Dave looked at a few areas requiring rust removal and wood work repairs.

Nicks attention was on rust removal from our newly acquired self contained buffers. They now operate correctly with the expected resistance and this includes one that was partially compressed.

Dave and I then turned to preparation of the van for paint. Sanding and scraping. All body sides apart from the South end being completed.

One final task was the removal of the chassis owners plates for safe keeping.

A little further preparation and we shall soon be ready for paint. That concludes this update, and as is always the case, more next week.

08/08/21 – Box vans and Spelling Mistakes

We start this update with a request from the operations department for an additional van to operate with the Suburban coaches at next weeks Railways at Work Gala.
The only one we had available and not in traffic was recently transferred B765272. This Darlington built vehicle having been stood for some time was given an annual exam to base line what was required.

As suspected a full vacuum cylinder overhaul including release valve was required. This was dropped, disassembled, cleaned, seals replaced, reassembled and refitted. Followed by a test which was passed successfully.

A number of other odd tasks were carried out. Vacuum hose replace, missing instanter coupler fitted and a number of missing split pins fitted.

There was also an issue with a brake block not applying pressure correctly. It was discovered this block was moving too far laterally this being down to a missing retaining strap. A suitable piece of steel was located welded and trimmed keeping the block in check and applying the correct pressure to the correct place.

We noticed on the ferry tank that a spelling mistake had been made. Immediately had its e and l the wrong way round. This was painted out and the correct order reapplied.

Work also continued on the PalShock. Main focus being the dummy shock gear covers. These were manufactured and welded to the door runners. Additional plates were manufactured to provide further support and prevent vibration fatigue to the welds.

As well as the covers a number of other details were attended to. Door pins, Split pins, and removal of plate rust from under the floor as this were preventing the door from closing fully.

On to Sunday and the Palshock once again taking the focus, due to elongated holes in the door a repair plate was manufactured, holes drilled and the plate affixed along with the door bar holding catch.

Next, we looked at the floor of the van, during its time as a grounded van it was used as the 5305LA shop, as part of this use the original floor was covered. With it now back on a set of wheels and wanting the floor to breathe, we removed the plywood cover.

With the original floor back on show, it was swept and hovered and as the vehicle will be seeing use the shelving fitted was secured. Dave also repair some stools that were included with the vehicle whilst Richard tested those complete

Next was to remove the wooden fillets on the Eastside, again due to rust this was warping and allowing water into the vehicle. Rust was removed and the wood refitted after red oxide was applied to the relevant areas.

The dummy shock gear covers were also tidied sanded and red oxide as well as vacuum hoses fitted.

Final task was to clean the inside of 765272, this will be being loaded as part of the Railways at Work gala along with others in our fleet, we hope to see you next weekend as a large proportion of our fleet will be in use, as well as a number of us suitable dressed and “working”

25/07/21 – Ferry much done

First of all we would like to advertise the GCRs β€œRailways at Work” gala. This will see a large proportion of our fleet in operation. Recreating the once daily activities of the railways. Our road fleet will also see extensive use, centred around Quorn Yard, moving goods in and out of the village and on and off trains. Join us on the 14th & 15th August. We will also be opening Test Car 2.

We shall also have available from Railways at Work our Test Car 2 information booklets as well as out new stock book. The stock book details our entire fleet as of July 2021 and includes space to annotate when you have seen a particular vehicle. Come and see us at the Test Car or send us a message on this site or our Facebook page.

So this update begins on Friday, with myself popping in after work to chalk up the west side of the Ferry Tank. All lettering apart from the Traffic Services Ltd was chalked. Boxes lines and stars were then masked and applied. All in readiness for the last push.

Saturday, Dave and I once again signwriting.
Not more can be said that a full day on the brushes for us both

The rest of the team comprising of Nick, Ross and Richard focused on the Palshock roof.

Roof hoops and years of continual re-felting removed. Up to 5 layers in one place. This however has left the roof in remarkable condition.

During its time as a grounded van the roof was extended. Again this has preserved the body however it is out of gauge to operate on the railway.
It has been trimmed to its correct width with lath strips applied to receive a new roof sheet.

Ross also applied orange paint to the Living vans new conduits.

Richard fitted label clips to the ferry tank and also cleaned the Palshocks roof hoops for refitting.

On to Sunday and a marathon for me and Dave. As the Ferry Tank travelled on the continent the usual contact information for the vehicle owner/user is not only in English but French and German. This was a full day for us and Dave will be popping in to complete β€œhis” end Monday.

Nick and Jake attended to the re-sheeting of the Palshocks roof. Occasional assistance from Ross, first task was to cut a suitably sized portion from our sheeting material, which was collected from Quorn.

Sheet was pulled, tensioned and stapled into position. The roof hoops were then fitted completing the re-sheeting.

Ross fitted the conduit and socket which will allow the living van to be powered from the Test Car.

Jake then took some time to lubricate the Ferry Tanks brake rigging.

Finally lamp irons fitted to the Palshock and the roof hoops trimmed to the now in gauge width.

A new label clip fitted

That wraps up another week. Tank with one last bit to complete and the Palshock coming together. As always, join us next week

11/07/21 – Black and Blue

For the first time since April our focus has been upon a wagon. The wagon in question Ferry Tank 500817.

With last week’s under coat dried, black gloss was the order of the day. All hands on deck as Nick, Ross, Dave, Richard and I applied paint to the barrel.

This was followed by a final tidy and hoover of the sole bars.

Quickly followed by application of underframe black to the sole bars and head stocks

The plates manufactured were also fitted after a layer of gloss was applied to the interfaces.

Ross’s attention was diverted to the repair of the through air pipe. This had rotted through at the north end. New pipe was cut to length, threaded and fitted

Brake standard and hand rails were also painted. With the outer rail receiving white. Once dry the OFF lettering was picked out.

Vacuum swan necks were painted and new hoses and vacuum dummies fitted.

We also began the last body work task on the Living Van, the cleaning of the windows.

Our Palvan Shock has also arrived from Loughborough for welding to the donor chassis.

On to Sunday, with the tank once again taking the focus. Richard and Jake continuing with the gloss and underframe black.

Dave looked at the cat walks. Fitting the previously manufactured walkways with J bolts. This replaces the prototypical wooden planks which are just a rot trap.

Speaking of wooden planks however, Nick trimmed, drilled fitted and primed new step boards.

Ross continued his through air pipe repairs replacing rotten pipe at the southend of the vehicle.

My focus was on the continuation of the window tidy. Even Michelle, the wife, lent a hand.

I did take a break to paint the air cocks and hose ends.

In to the afternoon Ross assisted with the final push on the windows and Dave applied Gloss to the ladders and assisted Jake and Richard

Nick also refitted the couplings

That leaves us with the Mess Van ready to return to Quorn and sign writing and some small details to complete the tank.

Next week however we are returning to Quorn as we need to prepare for the coaches arrival / our return. Our Scarab also requires a service as we near the Railways at Work gala. Of course, as always, we’ll keep you up-to-date next week.

27/06/21 – Dots and Crosses

This weekend sees us applying the final details to SC21202, The proverbial doting of the i’s and crossing of the t’s. The east side of the bogies receiving final tidy and paint application.

I attended to the door edges and shuts applying the lining and touching up runs and bleeds.

This was followed by applying black to the door bump stops.

Ross took some time to look at assembling some conduit for the inter-vehicle jumper which will connect to Test Car 2. This will allow the Mess Van to be powered by the Test Cars generator.

Final items on the Mess Van for Saturday was the application of the wheel profile marking to the South bogie west side.

We then all moved over to 500817, carrying out the final few areas of scrapping and preperation.

I manufactured two replacement plates for the number panels, the need for these is quite evident from the below images.

The number plates were also given a coat of primer.

On to Sunday with all hands scraping the outstanding trussing and bogie areas requiring paint.

This was followed by final prep and blow down of the ferry tank and with all the dirty work completed Ross and Dave applied black to coach.

Whilst Nick and I applying primer to the tank.

To finish up Dave applied red to the Distributor Isolator and brake cylinder test point. As well as the East side wheel profile marking.

So that wraps up another update from us. It’s not long now until we complete the mess van and tank this will see us return to Quorn were we already have the Bogie Bolster waiting patiently for us.

As always more next week.

13/06/21 – Mid week blues, and greys

Its my turn to have a week off and what better way to spend it than applying a 56 year old livery to a 63 year old coach. So, as we are, squirreled away on 3 road in Rothley shed between various shades of Red/Maroon the canvas was ready.

First task on Monday was to measure the window positions, its safe to say there are some variation, I also had a go at using some of these new metric units. All measurements were taken from the gutter.

With the best fit worked out I masked off the outer perimeter of the grey panel including the lining.

The inner area of residual blue gloss was then keyed and 2 coats of white applied.

The area above the as built first class compartments was painted white up to the gutter line. This will act as an undercoat for the eventual yellow stripe.

On to Tuesday and a repeat of Mondays activity, although the east side receiving the treatment.

Whilst I was beavering away with the lining, Richard joined me and applied a second coat of grey to the south end vestibule door.

After the grey, Richard moved on to black applying it to the sole bar and the plywood panels manufactured Sunday.

As seen above, I also refitted the shore supply body side indicator light covers. These of course indicate when shore supply power is energised.

On to Wednesday, Richard and I once again on site. My first task was to mask the lining applied to the west side Monday. Once masked the excess paint was sanded and keyed.

The afternoon was then occupied with applying the first coat of BR Grey.

Richard continued with the black application, focusing on the east sole bar as well as the plywood panels, and assisting me with the odd request for assistance.

Thursday with Dave joining Richard and I. Dave focused on the second coat of grey to the west side.

Richard continuing with the Black following Dave and applying it to the Light boxes and foot steps.

Not only black for Richard, he got an opportunity with the grey and applied it to the North gangway door. As well as further black to the south gangway face plate and a touch of red to the brake pipes.

I began with masking the east side

Once fully masked and after a touch of sanding and keying Dave and I applied the east sides first coat of grey

Final task for Thursday was the removal of the west side masking tape.

With Friday sneaking up on me, I used it to apply the second coat of grey to the east side, followed by removal of the masking tape.

I then turned my attention back to the west side, masking up and applying the first class stripe.

Before we move onto the weekends activities we have some admin to take care of, this being some new additions to the fleet. 2 vans and a CCT, these being Palvan WGB 4042, Vanfit B765272 and CCT E94709.

So on to Saturday and well done for keeping with me thus far. Dave and I with a touch of sign writing. Beginning with chalking up and masking up.

Dave taking the lead with the sign writing on this one, applying the running numbers, Guards door, load marking and the No 1 wheel arrow. Regards the latter we have gone for the rarer legend without the word evenly.