17/10/21 – Back on the brakes

In this week’s update, we’ve continued working on the Bogie Bolster’s brakes and have started a mass tidying and sorting activity.

Welcome to another update from Quorn, which leaves me following up on Dave’s fantastic first update. As a team, we’ve continued looking at the brakes on the Bogie Bolster and starting to sort out for the long-anticipated return of the Living Van, which sadly hasn’t happened this weekend as was previously rumoured. We are still passing best wishes to Matt who is still feeling under the weather.

Dave, Jake and I looked at the brakes on the Bogie Bolster, targeting problem areas. The Gloucester 3 piece bogies don’t have hangers for the bow girders and instead use an inclined pocket to guide the blocks to the wheels. Due to lack of use, some of the bow girders had seized in the pockets which could mean that the brakes either wouldn’t work or would apply and not be able to adequately release.

By removing the stop bolts, we were able to slide the bow girder out of its pocket adequately to clean them out. After this, we applied oil to the sliding surface and resituated the bow girder in its pocket. We repeated this process on the south end bogie. This has ensured the brakes on the bogie apply and more importantly release under their own mass.

I removed the unserviceable slack adjuster from the north end brake rigging. I’ll ring around some firms in the week to see if we can get such an item overhauled (while we are at it, we might as well have both done!)

Richard was able to rejoin us this weekend, and spent his time scraping the north end bogie frame and made a really good job of it. Jake and Nick went to Rothley to retrieve some of the tools we’d left in the Living Van as we’d been struggling without them, mainly the angle grinders and the axlebox maintenance kit. The last thing we did on Saturday was to liberate some steel cupboards from the van train so that they can be used in the GUV or Living Van to improve our storage situation.

The first half of Sunday saw just Dave and I start the task of tidying and sorting the GUV. At this stage, we are just getting rid of any rubbish before re-shuffling items around when the Living Van returns. Eddie was with us and continued scraping and prepping the underframe of the BoBol. He started on the south end bogie frame and did the same amazing job as Richard. Once finished on the bogie frame, Eddie continued on the trussing and solebar.

At the end of the weekend, Dave and I had made four dumper runs up to the skip and cleared all of the surfaces in the GUV. As a team, we’ve also ticked a few more jobs off the to-do list on the Bogie Bolster. Next weekend should see more of the same, with more work on the bogie bolster and probably some more tidying.

03/10/21 – Bring on the Bolster

Welcome to this weekend’s update. As mentioned last week, the Railway has had its Autumn Gala where the van train and the Windcutter Group’s Mineral train have been running in an intensive timetable. This doesn’t stop play for us, although attendance this week hasn’t been good for various reasons. Nick was on a Cub Scout camp, Dave was helping his son at the Great Electric Train Show with West Hill Wagon Works, Jake was working Saturday and both Richard and Matt are still both feeling under the weather, which just left me for both days. I opted not to attend on Saturday due to the weather and not wanting to lone work.

Jake, Eddie and I were there on Sunday to begin work on the long awaited Bogie Bolster D, B928135. We are hoping that this will be a quick turn around as it takes up the space of 2 wagons! Jake and I started by stripping down the northmost bolster of its timber, which is rotten so needs to be replaced. Eddie made a start on scraping the solebar of the wagon.

I managed to get some of the coach bolts on the bolster undone, but Jake and I ended up breaking up the plank remove it. This wasn’t an arduous task given it was completely rotten. I ended up using the gas axe to cut the rest of the bolts off to finish dismantling the bolster. Eddie had joined Jake and I by this point and assisted with cleaning out the built up dirt, rust and detritus from around the bolster. We loaded the broken timber and rust flakes into the dumper for later disposal.

Jake and I moved onto other jobs on the wagon, such as freeing a stuck air brake cock and readying the vacuum cylinders for removal so we can overhaul them. Jake de-pinned the rigging from the cylinders and I stripped off the piston rod gaiter and the release valves. We’ve also identified some further work to the North End bogie brake rigging which will be carried out before the wagon returns to traffic.

Next weekend Dave will have the Test Car open at the request of the Bus Rally organisers, and we shall continue the work on the Bogie Bolster. See what we get up to in next week’s update.

26/09/21 – Stopping the tank

This weekend has been a quiet one, Jake is away on a scout camp as a leader, Dave is on holiday, and both Richard and Matt are feeling a bit under the weather. This left Nick and I at Quorn to finish off the strip down and rebuild of 3711‘s brake system just to get it to be able to be shunted and to be able to use its handbrake.

Last week we methodically went though each stuck joint and freed it off or dismantled it, cleaned it and re-assembled it with copious amount of grease to ensure continued movement. This continued this week, focusing on the South axle. Nick and I removed the bow girders and got the centre swing links moving again. Jamie very kindly whipped up 2 bolts to be able to re-hang the frame to brake swing links, which fitted a treat. By the end of the day, we’d aimed to have everything back together, but that wasn’t to be. One pin got stuck on re-assembly and we had to partially dismantle to be able to get it out. We did get everything together, but weren’t able to adjust.

Nick got on site early on Sunday and adjusted the brakes up, which just left us with split pins to check and open out and a few tweaks to correct the operation of the handbrakes, using the gas axe and a large adjustable spanner. Since the wagon has been moved, we checked the roller bearings again which seemed to be satisfactory. We shall, of course, keep monitoring them. Nick then scraped and hoover some area of the tank and its frame, and I sorted out some rubbish with Danny to put in the skip. That completed the preliminary work on the tank, which now movable and stoppable, will await its turn in the queue unless requested sooner.

We spent the rest of the day was sorting out and looking at the next project, the Bogie Bolster D, scoping out the work required. Next weekend is the railway’s Autumn Gala so the van train will be out in force, and some of us will be at Quorn making a start on the BoBol. Join us then and see what we get up to!

12/09/21 – Short Report

We’ve not a lot to report this weekend, there was very few of us around on Saturday and the War Weekend was in full swing. Now that the Palshocvan is finished, we took Sunday to carry out some sorting of the van train and the CCT. The latter is mooted to be going to Rothley to have some work carried out for a return to traffic for use later in the year, so we spent some time clearing all the items we’d stored in there out. Some of the vans have seen some issues with the loads that we’ve become aware of. The most obvious was the VEB, which has seen some of the racking collapse, which we’ve cleared and then thrown out. We’ve sorted some of the theatrical loads out and re-distrubted them, and put our kegs if one of the theatrical vans.

We’ll be back at it again in full force next week where we’ll be starting work on the Bogie Bolster, join us then

30/08/21 – Painted Palshocvan

For our bank holiday, we’ve been concentrating our efforts on our Palshocvan, B855667. After last weekend’s work sanding and scraping the body, Dave popped in during the week to finish preparing the corrugated end panels.

Saturday saw the team start off at Quorn to prep the Test Car and yard area for the Diesel Gala, and the upcoming War Weekend. We’ve moved everything out of the way we can and tidied the Test Car a little, including moving some gauges around inside to fill some gaps in the slip end. Lunch was consumed at Rothley after the van was de-dusted and wood primer was brush painted to all the wooden panels on the Palshoc.

Sunday was more of the same, but involved a spraying a coat of undercoat all round the van, and then one coat of bauxite top coat, plus another gloss coat on each side as they suffer the effects of the weather the most.

Matt was signwriting Monday and managed to get one side completed with the shock stripes aswell. Richard and Nick brush painted the solebars, and I set up the spray gear again to cover the running gear (apart from the wheels) with a coat of underframe black.

I finished off some of the wiring I’d started on the Living Van, and repalced/supplemented the plastic cable ties utilised underneath for Stainless Steel alternatives. I also painted the handbrake ends and the swan necks white, this being vehicle having a vacuum through pipe only.

It’s the Diesel Gala next weekend, and Dave and some other team members will be there to open up Test Car 2. Come and see us in the Test Car, where you can purchase one of our Stockbook, our booklet on Test Car 2 or a copy of Dave’s book, Rail Vehicle Testing. The rest of the team will be wrapping up the work on the Palshocvan, with the other side still to be signwritten and the roof to paint. Join us next week and see how we get on.

15/08/21 – Railways at Work

Before we get to the gala, Thursday evening saw us take a part in a photo charter run by TimeLine Events in Quorn Yard, featuring the team and Madge and Wilbur plus our collection of goods and parcels. (first 3 images are courtesy of Phil Thorne.)

This weekend has been the Railway at Work gala, which has seen the debut of the Tank train featuring 6 tanks, plus a pick up goods and the van train. On the road vehicle side we’ve Madge, Wilbur plus some other visiting road vehicles incuding a coal lorry, a steam lorry, and a steam delivery van and an Austin delivery van. Dave and Richard also had Test Car 2 open to show people about the vehicle, what it used to do and the role of testing on the railways in general.

Using the large team of re-enactors and our collection of goods and those of the stations, we’ve had goods and parcels flying around the railway. Jame and pat have been using the 15t crane to make various items fly; including Jamie’s tractor, Danny the dumper and Matt’s Aluminium conatiner. The conatiner has been on the back of every lorry, plus the big and little Scammell trailer.

I think all that’s left to say is the team have had a brilliant weekend being part of the action, and we are really looking forward to make next years event even better. Thanks to everyone who made this happen, from the vehicle owners, the re-enactors, the ‘goods’ collectors and the plethora of GCR volunteers. Matt shall resume our normal service next week.

Photo credit: Brandon Morley.

01/08/21 – Quiet before the storm

We’ve all been quite shocked by the news of the passing of Cliff Perry after a short illness. Cliff was a long term member of the GCR family and always graced the footplate with a beaming smile. A mentor and friend to many, he will be sadly missed.

Moving on from the sad news, this weekend has been a quiet one. Dave is on holiday, Richard has visitors at home and unfortunately Matt has car trouble so can’t get here. Jake works Saturdays as well, so that left just Nick and I.

The first job completed was the proving of the repairs to the through air pipe on the Ferry Tank. Thankfully, the only leak found was one on the cock that just required a bit a wiggle to seal.

Our attention then turned to the Palshocvan. Some items were left in there from the previous owner, so we sorted through them and emptied four barrows into the skip. Another job completed was freeing off one of the screw couplings.

After lunch I moved to progress the jumper cabling on the Living Van, wrangling with flexible conduit and the cable recovered from the roof. Nick started scraping the underframe of the Palshocvan, going through many layers of paint.

Jake joined us again on Sunday, first assisting me with the jumper cabling, and then helping Nick with the scraping.

The last job done as to dust off the Ferry tank before it leaves the cossetted confines of the shed to join the rest of the tank train at Swithland. A bit of a short update this week, normal service should be resumed next week, join us then!

18/07/21 – Scarabs, Signwriting and Sorting

Matt starts this weekend on Friday by starting chalking up the Ferry Tank. There’s a lot on this wagon with all its continental markings, so Matt and Dave have their work cut out! Some other news, Jamie and Pat welded the body of the Palshocvan to the donor chassis, so this is now one piece.

The team were at Quorn on Saturday, tidying up the yard in preparation for the Living Van‘s return. Dave, Matt and Jack spent some time on Madge, getting her ready for a photo charter. There’s more work required in the future, but for now Madge is running better.

Once I’d fixed our power cable, the rest of us tidied the yard and removed the remnants of the now redundant gate and fence up to the turntable. This opens up the area, making it easier for all persons to manoeuvre.

Sunday saw us back at Rothley, Dave and Matt signwriting one side of the Ferry Tank.

I worked on the coach, sorting out some tower bolts for the doors that won’t be used often. I also sorted out some rigid conduit for the jumper cable from the Test Car. I’ve finalised the arrangement and painted into primer, so that will get top coated next week.

Richard and Jake painted some of the underframe of the tank, in behind the anchor plates that hold the barrel down. Richard then worked on some replacement wagon label clip backers for the tank.

Weather dependent, we’ll be back at Rothley next week to progress the Tank, the Palshocvan and the coach. I’ve some conduit to lay in and there’s the East side of the tank to signwrite. Join us then and see how we get on.

04/07/21 – BCKomplete

Last week, we left you with a coach that was cosmetically and bodily repaired and repainted, leaving just the varnishing to go. Before I get onto the varnishing though, I need to mention some work Matt and Dave did for the wagon group at Chasewater. Their group has been working on a VEA van, much similar to our own 230097 (B784409), and asked Matt and Dave if they’d signwrite the van into an early Railfreight Livery. Dave did 2 days (Wed/Thurs) and Matt just Thursday. The van really looks excellent, and Matt and Dave enjoyed themselves. Matt also enjoying seeing an original Master Cutler headboard!

Onto the weekend and working on both the Living Van and the Ferry Tank. The team began on Saturday by wiping down the coach. Richard and Jake then moved onto applying undercoat to the tank barrel and bodywork. Unfortuantely a bit of a patchwork as we didn’t seem to have enough grey undercoat to finish the tank. The gloss black will cover all the same though.

While Richard and Jake attended to the tank, Matt and I covered the coach in a coat of varnish. Its the first time that either of us had varnished anything, so we took our time to ensure we got a good finish. Following Jamie’s advice we went down each side; first person focusing on the panels themselves and the other on the intricate and tricky details on the coach like the bump stops and window frames. Matt and I flipped a coin for it, and I drew the short straw of having the panels.

Taking our time, we got the west side completed and up to the guard’s door on the east side where we had to stop. This task was continued by Dave and I today. Between us we did the final section of bodyside and both ends of the coach, complete the repaint. There’s a few items still to sort out on the coach, but these can be done anywhere.

Richard and Nick concentrated on the tank wagon again, this time getting black gloss around the tank filler and other accoutrements on top of the barrel. Once we’d done with the coach, Dave joined the work on the tank.

I had other duties, in my capacity as our resident sewing expert (not a huge accolade for us really, just means I have and can drive a sewing machine!) I was roped in to help Matt make something for work. Answers on a postcard for what said item is…

Matt was only around until dinner due to a prior engagement, but came to complete his homework for work. He also popped in at Quorn and popped a lock on the new gate by the signal box, which was pre-agreed with the Ops Manager.

That about concludes the work this week. All that left on the coach is to clean the windows and give the roof a wash, and the tank to continue painting. Both of these and probably much more will be tackled next week, join us then!

20/06/21 – The Final Furlong

Yet again the end of another week and another update from us. This week starts with some Friday work from Dave. The battery box doors got a coat of gloss. The gas boxes and their lids and some underframe parts got a coat of undercoat. Dave removed the guard’s desk to paint the back of it into primer for an eventual coat of black, similar to the boards in the bedroom and mess area.

Dave wasn’t with us on Saturday, but the rest of the team were in attendance, sorting out small details on the coach pushing us ever closer to the finish line. Nick, Richard and Matt went round the coach and painted a first coat in the blue round the door jambs and shuts.

Richard applied black gloss to the areas undercoated by Dave on Friday.

I concentrated on the Shore Supply inlet and the eventual Jumper cable to enable us to feed the coach power from the Test Car’s Generator. These got a clean down and a coat of primer on Saturday.

I also removed the north end buckeye as it was deemed to be in excellent condition and replaced it with one in passable condition. The North End is rarely going to be coupled to anything and would just hang there in all weathers, so doing this has enabled to good buckeye to go into stock for the service stock.

Sunday was much of the same, Matt going round and applying grey to the door shuts, signwriting the OLE warning flashes and generally tidying up paint wise. Matt alos applied a first class totem and no smoking transfer to the bedroom window as these were missing.

I continued with the jumper plugs and shore supply inlet, applying a coat of undercoat and then orange top coat.

Nick sorted out a small issue with one of the door chains, then joined Jake and Dave with scraping the bogies.

Once scraped and hoovered, the bogies got a coat of black paint. Dave also picked out the details on the gas box door plate.

Next step is to apply a coat of varnish to the body work and finish the bogies on the east side. Hopefully both of these can be done next weekend. Join us then, and see if we manage it.