01/12/19 – Overhauled, but still no suck…

To begin, it gives us great pleasure to announce we have been nominated for not one but two Heritage Railway Association awards.  Test Car 2 has been shortlisted for the 2020 Morgan Award for Preservation and our website for the 2020 Communications Award.

We wish our fellow shortlisted groups luck and look forward to seeing those who attend the Dinner in February.

On to Saturday and we begin with an hour or so defrosting the Test Car and locks to gain access to the GUV and tool van. Once we had gained access the main focus turned to the van train cylinder overhauls.  Starting at the south end Nick, Matt, James and Will began on the first vehicles requiring work, these are E87674B786348, and B763305. Each had the ancillary attachments, Release Valve piston rod and all split pins removed.

B786348 was rather stubborn so required a little of the hot spanner action.20191130_141228

With all the extras removed the Cylinders were dropped from B763305 and B786348

Nick, Dave, Jake and I continued the work started by the team on Saturday. We stripped down the 2 cylinders,  both different from each other. One cylinder is a ‘C-type’ and the other is the more regular ‘E-Type’. Each of them is no issue, but the ‘C-Type’ has a ball valve in the release valve and the ‘E-Type’ has the ball valve in the piston.

By 11 O’Clock using the railway’s loading shovel,  one cylinder was back under its van (B763305) and the other ready to be re-assembled. Once tea (and obligatory biscuits) had been consumed, the hung the other cylinder under the other van (B786348) again using the loading shovel, which has got quite good and imitating a Challenger 2 tank. Must get that silencer replaced…


With the two cylinders hung and reconnected, I set out to start the vacuum test set to begin testing the two completed vans. Unfortunately, I was defeated. Lister-Petter AC1s do not like the cold as it turns out. Options are being looked at to upgrade the test set to something easier to start, in all weathers.

With the test set not starting, we removed the vacuum cylinder from the fish van to overhaul that. This was completed in the falling light. Sadly we now don’t have a way to test the newly overhauled vans, so can’t prove the repairs.

Matt spent the day a touring signwriter, signwriting a Vanwide at Peak Rail in the Heritage Shunter’s Trust shed.

Next week, more overhauls are planned. That is of course unless the weather has other ideas!

24/11/19 -Well, they all suck(ish)…

Welcome to this week’s update from Quorn Wagon and Wagon. Nick, Matt, and Jake start the weekend. With the van train now stood down for the winter and stabled in the yard, Nick and Jake started the brake overhauls.  The first task was to replace the life-expired vacuum hoses, with 11 changed on Saturday. Replacing the hoses allows us to baseline the train and see if there are any other underlying issues with the vacuum equipment.20191123_155655


Despite the forecasted weather, the rain held off long enough for Matt to apply the signwriting to B505313


As the forecasted rain arrived, steel plates were placed over the vulnerable areas and Nick and Jake applied gloss red to the vacuum swan necks.  This completes B505313 however there are a few items to complete on the Container before the ensemble is released to traffic.


Sunday saw Nick, Dave and I undertaking initial vacuum testing on the van train. We liberated the vacuum test rig and transported it down the yard to the van train. Starting at the south with the fish van, B87674, we methodically worked up the train testing each van individually to see if the vacuum was functional, and how long the cylinder reamined applied for. During testing, you can tell where there are leaks, and often you can hear them, despite the noise of the test rig.


6 additional hoses were changed today, and the vehicles which require further attention have been identified, with 8 vans requiring a cylinder overhaul. These will happen, weather dependant, in the coming weekends. We’ll soon rattle through them, and the van train will, all being well, be released to traffic with functional vacuum brakes. With the leaks fixed, we are at least, halfway there. Thanks for reading, and join us again next week!


10/11/19 – The Last Paint

Another weekend and another washout. Once again we move up the line to Rothley to look at ADB977107.  Some more welding from the C&W team has enabled us to complete the fitment of the west side windows. Nick and Jake fitted the glass and clamping wood.

Whilst Matt followed, fitting the trims and finishing strips as well as the backrest in the main saloon and the heater retaining strap in the kitchen.  Matt also refitted the toilet trims and skirting boards.

Nick and Jake then moved onto removing the first of the windows on the East side ready for future welding.

Matt’s next task was to do a little exploratory work, looking at the feasibility of reinstating the east side luggage doors. The outer skin and inner ply were removed. Matt then stepped in through the opening; the first person to do so since conversion into a mess van.

The hinge positions were clearly visible, the lower recesses for the luggage doors were still there, just packed with wood and a steel angle added at the bottom to retain the riveted skin. The Z irons were in good condition so Matt pressed on and cut out the additions, decision made, luggage doors will be refitted.

On to Sunday which was much less of a wash out, in fact quite the opposite! Nick was at the Loughborough Remembrance Day Parade, which left Matt and I to get on with the painting of the Container; BD4303B. Painting is a bit of the gamble this time of the year, but we appear to have gotten away with it. We began by removing the sheet and drying off the container where necessary. Matt assembled the scaffold tower while I thinned the paint and assembled the gun and pot. Once dried I began spraying.

Stopping to observed the two minute silence, I continued until 11:45 when I had finished spraying the container. From then, it was a waiting game to see if the paint would go off. Matt and I then began working on B505313, sanding the chain boxes and painting them in red oxide. Nick, now in attendance, painted the interior metal surfaces in Bauxite, and then the body ends. The red oxide sufficiently dry, I painted the chain boxes in undercoat, and then continued to the ends with assistance from Nick.

Matt by this point had just got back with the printed templates for the signwriting on the Container. Having chalked up, he then started signwriting.


After tidying everything away, having a customary cup of tea and admiring the container some more,  we went home! Thanks for reading, and I shall finish with a picture of the container, before we lost the daylight.

27/10/19 -Rain Rain Go Away

Good evening, and welcome to another update from us chaps at Quorn. Saturday saw Jake, Nick, Matt and Dave in attendance. Sadly, due to the weather not much progress was made on the container. In order to avoid the rain, the team stayed under cover and tidied the GUV; a long overdue task. Paint Brushes were resurrected, items tidied and home found for newer acquisitions. On to Sunday, with me now in attendance and with the weather looking good we began working on the container.

Firstly the rectification of some water damage were resin applied but not cured had suffered some weather damage. This was duly removed and re-resinned by Matt. Jake and I had the honour (?) of sanding the container ready for primer. I carried on around the sides and door end of the container with the air driven sander, while Jake drew the short straw and was tasked with the blank end panel. This had had green paint applied at some point in the past, which was beginning to flake off.

While this was happening, Matt finished off applying resin, and reattached the door hinge which was unbolted to repair the door. Sanding completed, Jake blew the container down while I thinned the fibreglass/gelcoat primer and assembled the gun.


I began by applying primer to the roof, and then the blank ends then going round the container anti-clockwise. The primer cured very quickly, so we gambled and had Jake prep the undercoat ready for spraying.

While the painting was occuring, Matt starting removing paint from one of the plates he has had made for the containers. Not content with the black finish, he’d applied some crimson, and had to then scrap/sand the paint off of the raised letters. rather effective, don’t you think?

If the weather is kind to us next weekend, we hope to have the container into Crimson top coat, with signwriting completed and perhaps lifted onto the ConFlat! Join us next week to see what we end up doing, Thanks for reading!73388562_459730907970032_5028391648225132544_n


06/10/2019 – Autumn Gala

Welcome to another update from us lot at Quorn.  This weekend has been the Autumn Steam Gala, which means Travelling Post Office demonstrations.  Most of us are TPO crew, so have been busy running the TPO train.  The van train has also been running at the gala, at the full strength of 16 which is the longest it has been for many years.  Progress however, hasn’t stopped for the weekend.

New recruits, Eddie and Harry continued work with Nick on the Conflats.  The rails, fitted to B505313 last week, have been cleaned down and primed.  On Sunday, these were painted in black bitumen paint.  The decks of the Conflats have been swept down, hoovered and painted in the first coat of wood preserver.

Meanwhile, the foundations have been laid for the start of the Quorn Wagon and Wagon Travelling Post Office Display team.  I have taken another bike in storage out of the GUV and resurrected it.  Matt blew up the tyres and I too it for a test ride.  Whilst at Loughborough to get the TPO, Nick and I liberated the frame of another GPO delivery bike.  It is intended to build this back up to increase our number of bikes from 2 to 3. Matt is able to borrow the bike from the station, and I have the resurrected one.

Image courtesy of Jack Shaw

On Saturday evening, we had a visit from Jason Cross asking if he could test some new acquisitions which can be used at photo charters. Test Car 2 was used as a test subject to try the new lights. Thanks to Jason for the use of the pictures, they look fantastic!

Thanks for reading this short update, there will be more progress made next week. Why don’t you join us then!

15/09/19 – Back on the Wagon(s)

We are back to normality following the Diesel Gala, and have been working on wagons and wagon loads. However, before work on that started, we had some goodies to investigate with regards to getting the intercom system working in Test Car 2. Using the 3 speaker boxes we have, we can get the intercom working in the slip end, Main saloon and Kitchen. There is the hope of finding some more Speaker boxes to expand the system as necessary. Having proved it, we have developed a plan for its continued usage.


On to Wagons, and I started by continuing to grease the pins in the brake linkages on the Air Braked Steel High. Armed with a 12-ton hydraulic jack, 2 hammers and various punches, (oh and a big bucket of grease) I  crawled under the wagon to remove a few more pins, clean up the holes and replaced the pins with a fresh smear of grease.  This resulted in the successful repair of this vehicle’s hand brake and removal of the defect labels.


In the past, it was thought to be the slack adjuster causing the brakes to lock up. After surveying the vehicle, it was found that a number of linkages were seized, causing the brake to jam on. The slack adjuster is working absolutely fine, much to our relief. A number of linkages were done the week before the Diesel Gala, with Nick sorting a few more once TPO duties had finished.

Getting sick of crawling around from under the Steel High, I decided to remove the floor with assistance from Nick. The floor is due replacement as all of the boards are rotten. The floor came out in no time, thanks to a novel feature included by the LNER on this wagon. Instead of the floor being fixed in by bolts, the floor is held captive in a C-channel attached to the wagon side. there are 2 cut-outs to drop the boards into, and provide the planks are appropriately sized, should slide along to where needed.


While I was crawling under/over the Steel High, Dave, Jake and Matt started work on the Fibreglass containers. Matt started fabricating a plate to repair the end door of his container, while Dave and Jake set about freeing the end doors on Nick’s container.


Matt disappeared early in order to take part in a photo charter at East Kirkby with their Lancaster “Just Jane”.


Having got the Oxy-propane cutting bottles out, Dave, Nick and I started to heat up and manipulate the bent straps on Nick’s container and loosened the rings on Matt’s. In the meantime, Jake was on the roof of Nick’s container cleaning out the debris which had found itself under the lifting frame.


On to Sunday, Matt finished the repair to his containers door as well as removing the box from the locking bar and adding a missing staple.


Nick continued Jake’s task from Saturday by completing the roof de-veg of both Containers.


The final task for the weekend was to secure the strapping of Nicks container, this was drilled by Matt and then secured in place by both.  As a safety measure and to keep the 2 containers looking similar, the same was done to Matts.


This concludes this update, more as always next week.


26/08/19 – A Splash of Colour

Welcome to another Quorn Wagon & Wagon update. This weekend has been of the hot, Bank Holiday variety which meant 3 days of shade seeking to keep cool. In between this, we’ve been working towards the completion of ‘2 car’ which is becoming tantalisingly close. Matt started by applying the coaches identification to the east side, while Jake painted the door shuts in Rail Blue. Nick and I cleaned, scraped and painted the ‘A’ End headstock, so we would be ready to colour code everything later in the weekend. Nick also took the black paint and touched in anywhere on the bogies that required more paint.

With the South End signwriting completed, Matt moved to the ‘B’ end sliding gangway door to paint it into undercoat for the Warning Yellow paint. Once completed, he then started the ‘B’ End signwriting.

I cleaned and then painted the ‘A’ end ETH boxes into their Mid Red undercoat, ready for the Light Orange. This took a while as it required a steady hand. The undercoat dried quite quickly, so Jake followed me, painting the ETH boxes into the Light Orange enamel paint. I performed a repair to the Volvo loading shovel, which enabled its movement to the other side of the turntable road in preparation of the upcoming Diesel Gala. This also involved moving Danny, which proved a farcical affair, as said dumper is currently without steering. With the end door undercoat dry, Matt applied a layer of Warning Yellow to the gangway door and the finished off some of the ETH Orange. As a final act, Matt mixed up some filler and applied it to the Slip End gangway door, ready for Sunday.

Matt began Saturday with a quick maths exercise, as he attempted to work out the spacing of the B end wasp stripes, as these are unequal.

I sanded the filler applied to the Slip end door, and then undercoated the door, ready for Warning Yellow Gloss. At some point in the future the Slip End door is going to have to be removed and planed down as it catches both the frame at the top and the floor, but for now, it can stay in place, especially as it won’t be opened regularly. Dave concentrated on the ‘B’ end where he cleaned and painted the headstock black. Matt also wire-brushed the OLEO buffers fitted to the slip end. We had planned to quarter them, however with the amount of wagons it has been coupled to, the buffers are quite scratched and to polish them will take quite a lot of work. These will be painted black in due course.

Matt and Jake then fitted the Main Reservoir Cocks back to the Air Braked LNER steel high. This has been chosen as the ‘wagon under test’ for our opening of the Test Car at the Diesel Gala. These were then painted up into the undercoat for the yellow, by Jake.

The undercoat on the slip end door had dried, so I gave it a first coat of Warning Yellow. This got a second coat on Monday morning.  Matt also painted the Lighting bolt on the Orange painted ETH boxes.  Monday also saw a shunt take place in the south yard, which mainly removed the Test Car from the dock, and replaced the GUV in the dock.  After reconnecting power and resiting the steps to the Test Car and the tool van, we got stuck in.  The ‘B’ End of the test car was the focus of the attention, with the Air and vacuum pipes picked out in Red and Yellow, and the ETH boxes painted into their mid-red undercoat.  Matt also applied the ‘essay’ to the end of the coach.

Dave painted the air cocks on the Steel High. The east side fuel filler cap also got a polish.

And finally, some finishing pictures of the Test Car in its Gala Position.

With the Test Car in the final furlong to the finish, we find ourselves completing smaller and smaller jobs. Next week will see the East Side underframe and bogies cleaned and painted black, and a big tidy to open the test can to the public. Thanks for reading!