22/03/20 – Patience pays off

With the current situation facing the world, and with the Test Car quite restrictive in the space, we decided to limit the numbers of the group on-site. Four is our decided maximum with all having to be key holders. We also limited one person per vehicle and they were separated to allow the minimum 2m social distance. The GCR was unfortunately closed and we shared the yard with a small number of the S&T department working around the box.

Every time we entered the vehicle it was disinfected, focussing on the high touch areas such as tabletops and doors.

With the good weather and the 3 wagons that have been waiting for over 10 months, out came the paint,  with the Air braked High, Vacuum High and Iron Ore Tippler each receiving Gloss applied by Ross and Jake.

I also applied Gloss to the Scarab flat trailer, namely BS381C 540 or more commonly know as BR Crimson

The rest of the team also painted the headstocks with bitumastic paint

I applied gloss black to the back of the trailer headboard and fixed the round plate to the rear of the trailer and began signwriting, first the 20mph limit. Then chalking up the rest.

As the light faded, one side and part of the head end was complete.

Returning on Sunday and the restrictions remaining in force Jake sprayed the underframes in Bitumin. Nick followed up with a brush reaching the areas missed by the gun.

I completed the Signwriting on the trailer and a few other areas were touched up thus completing the aesthetic overhaul. There are a few mechanical areas still requiring attention, namely the hand brake.

With work continuing on the underframes of the 3 wagons. I moved on to the Tippler applying the templates and chalking up. We also took the opportunity to recreate an image that was an inspiration to me when  I started signwriting.20200322_12182990483522_593832817882970_3781537087140921344_n

So at the end of the weekend, we have the large majority of the Iron Ore tippler complete, just a few remaining details, and the two highs in Bauxite and underframes complete.

We continue to keep our ear to the ground regards the pandemic and we shall see what happens next weekend.

08/03/20 – Tar and Bitumen

This update begins on Friday, with Dave and I visiting the Mountsorrel Railway to complete their tar tank in preparation for Goods Galore. The west side was chalked up, lettering outlined and then filled.  The tank end numbers were also added completing the vehicle.


Saturday back at Quorn and the “plan” was to undercoat the LNER highs, Vacuum and Air as well as Tippler.  Unfortunately, they were not ready for paint, prep was completed and bare metal spot primed.

With the reasonable weather, confidence was high until the compressor on the test car decided it didn’t want to work.  A compressor motor fault, whilst Ross diagnosed the fault Jack, and I with the help of Andrew Devine from the station prepped the Scammell flat for paint.

During the prep the original identification number was discovered 086256 02 and the main C section was red oxided

On to Sunday and the forecast not looking too good. Ross and I joined by Eireni applied bitumastic paint to the chassis, wheels, and coupling of the Scammell trailer.

I took a risk and decided to undercoat the main C sections of the trailer and luckily it paid off as it had dried sufficiently before the rain came down.  The mudguards were also removed to allow painting and in preparation for cleaning next weekend.

The tailboard also received undercoat.20200307_124542

Nick and Eddie applied Bitumastic paint inside of the air-braked high and the vacuum-high was prepared and one side treated the same.

That completes this weekend’s update, and we continue to await better weather to progress the rail wagons.

23/02/20 – Road trailer antics

This weekend we return to Quorn our focus being the Scammell Flatbed trailer. Before that, however, we had a trip to Loughborough on other business which gave opportunity to see the WH Smith signs previously signwritten.

Also further Goods Galore preparations with 10 more hessian sacks, these branded BOCM20200222_085024

The main task was to remove the dolly from the trailer.  It appears to have been quite some time since the two were separated.  The coupling arrangement is slightly different from the Scarabs with hooks over the guide wheels as opposed to a ratchet under the coupling.20200222_122250

Covers were removed and the cams that hold the securing hooks were found to be seized, a mixture of penetrant, hammers, and crowbars as well as cleaning out the old grease resulted in the hooks releasing there hold.

We also fitted a mudguard,  although the main wheels are not the originals fitting the guard has improved the appearance.

With the dolly removed the trailer is starting to look much better. The coupler lowered without a problem.  In the long term, the springs will need replacing.

On to Sunday and with the cams and locks on the dolly cleaned up the air piston was removed and an actuating lever fitted.  This allows manual decoupling of the dolly becoming a useful item for moving the trailers without having to always use the Scarab.

Next item on the agenda removal of the extended headstock. The box section bolted through the mainframe was first cut on the inner faces, followed by the outer then finally the top from a position of safety on the trailer. Under its own weight, it then lowered and with a little further persuasion, fell to the ground.

The bolts holding the rest of the box section was then removed and the form of the trailer admired.  The second mudguard was also fitted.

The rubber matting on the deck was then cut down and fitted under the U section of the trailer sides. Measurements have been taken for a wooden deck and a quote will be sought this coming week.

The end of the trailer was squared off and straightened up.  A suitable piece of timber cut to length, profiled and test fitted.

The pseudo carpenter happy with his work.20200223_163806

Once the fit was confirmed a layer of wood primer was applied.

Harry and Eddie continued to prep the Iron Ore Tippler for paint,  but the weather is, of course, preventing painting at this time.

The final image, one of the happy trailer owners.IMG-20200223-WA0000

09/02/20 – HRA Annual Awards

So I think it would be remiss not to start with the 2020 HRA Annual Awards dinner.  We were already aware we had been awarded the Mortons Media (Rail Express Magazine) Modern traction Award and that we had been nominated for two others.

The meal and the event were excellent, although the portions were too small for Jake, people from all sectors of the Heritage Railway Community brought together to celebrate the achievements of the sector. We collected our first award and awaited our nominations. For the Morgan Award, we were against some really strong nominations and the look of shock on our faces when we were announced the winners really was telling. It really is humbling to have been awarded the Morgan Award for outstanding achievement in Preservation. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in the Communication award and our congratulations go to the LMS Patriot Company Ltd and their Warrior Magazine and of course all the other award winners in their respective categories.  

Despite the awards, there is no rest for the wicked.  Saturday I completed Madges Covered Trailer adding the west and south sides signwriting as well as painting two grey posterboard areas.

Sunday was quieter, I had a route refresher course so was out of action for the day,  with Nick and Ross at Rothley progressing The Yellow Coach” with cabling being pulled into the conduits fitted last week. Also, the wooden door trims around the refitted luggage and first-class doors have been fitted as well as an area of the Guards compartment wall being repaired.

Finally an image of the partially repaired end welded by Jamie last weekend. Still, however, a fair way to go.

26/01/20 – Winter Gala

This weekend has of course been the GCRs winter gala, we stepped away from Rothley and ADB977107. To open the doors at Quorn and allow you to see what we do, see Test Car 2 and Madge.  It was great to see so many of our followers and supports and thank you for taking the time to come and see us.20200126_121242

Work, however, did not stop.  Nick, Ross, and Jake re-floored E280364 and changed the few rotten planks on E281882.

Dave and I along with Eddie and Harry played hosts for our visitors.  Dave explaining the Test Cars past and I demonstrating some signwriting, namely the W.H.Smith & Son wording for the kiosk at Loughborough83421767_1095605867498752_7962423583538413568_n

Once the floors had been completed Nick, Ross and Jake then moved on to the overhaul of the 15″ vacuum cylinder from B385782.20200125_141559 Sunday and an unscheduled visitor into the yard, namely 46521 deputising for 4953 which had failed that morning. We took advantage of the vist and had the Iron Ore tippler moved to the centre road so we could fit the 15″ cylinder before we opened the doors.

Once the loco had left the cylinder was placed back under the Tippler and the doors of the test car opened.

A vacuum test was carried out after a hose change and the vehicle deemed to be fit, just awaiting better weather to complete the vehicle.

Madge was on display and had the opportunity to make some friends on the few trips around the yard.

The sign painted Saturday was cleaned of chalk and will be collected next weekend to be fitted to the Kiosk at Loughborough20200126_193937

Jakes final task was to clear the build-up of moss from inside the tippler and in due course extra drain holes will be being added to the wagons floor.20200126_152036

Finally, for this update a few views from the gala the visiting NER petrol although Diesel-powered rail car and our van train “plus” including Shochood B and Loaded Conflat.image5

12/01/20 – The living van saga continues

Even though ADB977107 is our priority at Rothley, time was taken to pop into Quorn to continue investigating the contactor fault on the test car a way forward is being planned.IMG-20200111-WA0002.jpg

The main reason for the stop at Quorn was to prepare the van train for next week’s photo charters and of course the winter gala.  Trade Posters, wagon labels and chalked destinations being applied.

Back to Rothley and the Southernmost Mess room and Kitchen windows corridor side were removed to allow more body repairs.

Another task we have begun is to make the vehicle a little more user-friendly specifically for those of us who stay over on occasion.  During the vehicles’ original conversion there were no provisions for modern electrical devices, as these have become a part of everyday life and to increase versatility we have started fitting sockets around the vehicle. Included in this scheme is a shelf in the bunk room to store such modern devices.

During the week I purchased some paint colour matched to the Formica, the first coat was applied to the areas of ply applied last week.

The final task for Saturday was the removal of paint that had been applied to the glass of the guards’ compartment.

On to Sunday and we were joined by Jamie from the GC C&W department.  His focus was the window bottoms of the two removed above.  New steelwork was cut and welded.

As welding was complete the windows were refitted. As well as new lower panels under the southernmost mess room window which had its first coat of Formica orange applied.  As the paint was out second coats were applied to the bunk room and northernmost mess room window as well as chips, cracks and bare bolt heads in the Toilet, Mess room, and Kitchen

Further sockets were fitted under the messroom table and Jamie’s final task was the removal of rivets to allow access to the northern luggage area corridor window, his next area for welding.

Still a fair way to go but things are starting to piece together and the end is beginning to come into sight.

01/01/20 – End of year review.

So 2019 has come to an end, time for the statistics.

14 Vacuum Cylinders
9 defect book holders
8 conflat chains
8 coach doors
4 periscope roof repairs
3 sheet hoops
3 open days
3 magazine mentions
2 Containers
2 sliding door
2 roof paints
2 first aid kits
2 award nominations
1 award
1 hood
1 Toolbox
1 Buckeye
1 Dave Bower
1 floor
1 Brake actuating arm
1 hydrovane
1 mobile toilet
1 generator
1 slip coupling
1 Scammell Scarab
-1 Dace

So what have we completed?
Test Car 2, of course, took up a large proportion of our time but was worth it. This years overhauled vehicles are shown below.