19/01/2020 – Charters, Coaches and Cylinders

This week has seen the GCR host a number of photo charters with the visiting K1.  4 days in total with a mixture of stock – Minerals, Crimson & Cream, and Maroon Coaches, but of relevance to us the Van Train.  Matt was in attendance for 3 of the days with Wednesday being the depute of the loaded Conflat and ‘Madge‘.

Friday and Matt visited the Mountsorrel And Rothley Community Heritage Centre to begin the task of signwriting their Tar Tank. The Eastside was completed and a return visit will be required to finish the vehicle.

A now seemingly rare day at Quorn on Saturday, with us preparing for the gala next week. With the TPOs unable to run due a Temporary Speed Restriction just on the approach to Quorn, we shall be opening up the Test Car and having our own little open day. We are planned to show what we do on a weekend-ly basis to visitors to the gala, and are planning to show a vacuum cylinder overhaul, re-flooring a wagon and a release valve overhaul. To preapre for the above, we swapped the cylinder from under the ‘regular’ LNER Steel High E281882 fitting a new branch-pipe and overhauled release valve, and removed the 15″ cylinder from the Iron Ore Tippler B385782 ready for overhaul (this is awaiting an overhaul kit). Some attention was paid to the Test Car, with Harry, Eddie and James cleaning and tidying up in preparation to open it again.  This trio also tidied some of the yard area too.

Sunday saw more work on the Yellow Coach. Dave worked on re-panelling the last area where there was a gas heater, in front of the guard’s office. Matt began by painting the boards he’d fitted last week. He then assisted me in cutting and fitting the conduit to the sockets. Eddie started cleaning the mess area, and has made a huge difference to the state of the walls. Nick concentrated on fitting the last window that had been welded up on Saturday (Thanks Jamie!). Dave finished off by painting the areas of bare metal welded in, and then fitting a bit of wood above the guards door, with its fire exit sign.

05/01/20 – Post Christmas Working

With the Christmas holidays still in effect work continues.  Although Monday was rather lucrative with a trip to the Llangollen Railway but more on this in a future update.

So Tuesday (New Year’s eve if you prefer) Nick, Matt, and Dave in attendance and work continues on ADB977107. The Guards compartment ceiling was progressed as well as the roof repairs.


Wednesday, Nick, Matt and Jake with Roof vents and repairs sealed as well as previous repair patches and rain strips


The tank filler that had detached from the north end was refitted with a new piece of hose


Finally, for Wednesday, a tale of hinges,  Due to a lack of right-hand door hinges the north most luggage door top body side hinge was actually fitted with a lower hinge.  This was rectified by using a modified door side hinge although as part of the task the GCRs collection of hinges was also sorted and paired up.


Thursday and Nick and Dave with Jamie from C&W.  Jamie continued with welding concentrating on the removed window areas.IMG-20200102-WA0011.jpg

The Guards ceiling was completed as well as a few areas on the side walls.


Once the welding was complete the First Class door was fitted as well as new packing wood for the window bottoms.


Friday, Nick and Jake fitted the windows to Thursdays repaired areas.


Saturday, and for once back at Quorn. Nick, Matt, Dave, James, Eddie, Harry, Jack and I in attendance. Dave and I kicked off by taking a look at the generator feed contactor for Test Car 2. The contactor clicks in when the button is pressed but doesn’t latch as it had previously. Unfortunately, without a wiring diagram, it’s tricky to fault find the cause of the problem but we shall put the feelers out for assistance where we can find it with the bespoke system. Nick, James and I had a brief trip to Rothley to check on supplies and returned with some more items that can be back at Quorn.

Once back at Quorn, I took a look at the vacuum system on the Iron Ore Tippler. It is fitted with a 21″ and a 15″ cylinder with an empty and loaded changeover lever. As the wagon will never be loaded, and to remove complications, I have directly piped to the 15″ and removed, overhauled and refitted the release valve. This was subsequently tested and failed. The next step for this cylinder is an overhaul.

Nick and Eddie prepped some more vacuum hoses for fitment while James and Harry began scraping the wagons in the yard, getting them ready for paint when the weather turns.

The main focus for Matt, Jack and Dave was Madge, the Scammell Scarab. The roof-mounted indicators, which were requested by the RAF but not by BR, were removed. The fuel and vacuum tank that was painted crimson were painted black as per BR specifications and she was given the opportunity to meet 45305 and have a little run around the yard.

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Sunday’s work concentrated back on ADB977107 at Rothley. Nick and I began by focusing on the south end interior paneling with required removal prior to welding. The end sheet steel has been tacked into place, but now requires seam welding. I took one of the ceiling panels out to the workbench to have the frame strengthened and the plywood panel fixed back to it.


Matt started by sorting and tidying the bedroom, throwing out all the old clothes and detritus and making all the beds. Where the heaters had been removed, the paneling was removed and thrown out upon conversion. Matt manufactured some more and I fixed some timber battens to the Z irons for Matt to fix things too.


I had Jake on a wild goose chase for most of the day. To get the wiring to the thermostat in the saloon, I wanted to follow the existing wiring run through the conduit at head level in the bedroom and main saloon. As the toilet ceiling is lower than that of the saloons, the wiring runs above the toilet ceiling. I had Jake remove the trim pieces and remove the screws to drop the ceiling. Sadly, the ceiling is impossible to remove without stripping most of the toilet down further, so an alternative route will have to be used. On the plus side, an alternative heater has been found for the bedroom instead of the two underbed heaters. it is felt that a stand-alone heater rather than ones under the bunk will be safer.

Nick finished the day by blanking off the fresh air intakes for the now removed gas heaters from underneath the coach.  I think that wraps up this update, so thanks for reading and join us again next week, where we will be continuing to work on the Yellow Coach.

15/12/19 – Mostly Fitted Freight

A slight picture light update this week, apologies! In other news, as some of you will have seen on our Facebook page, we have been awarded the 2020 Mortons Media (Rail Express) Modern Traction Award from the Heritage Rail Association, which is in addition to our two shortlistings.

This weekend has seen the final vacuum brake overhaul completed on our van train and a release valve replace on B763305. The final two vans, B852838 and B783082, have each had their brake cylinders lifted down, overhauled and replaced. With two vans left, we spend one day on each van. Saturday saw us concentrate on the Shocvan, starting by stripping the cylinder down enough to lift down.  The cylinder put up a fight when we tried to dismantle it, with rust around the dome studs preventing the dome coming free.  The cylinder has been untouched for at least 29 years, which is the amount of time it has spent at the railway. Unfortunately the cylinder had no tag fitted after its last overhaul, so the last overhaul date is unknown.

As a member of station staff, Matt and Michelle attended the Quorn Station staff Christmas Do in the afternoon, which meant Matt spent the morning signwriting the signs for the WHSmith’s kiosk at Loughborough station.img_20191214_1757024602619512976459306.jpg

While the light was disappearing I was rebuilding vacuum release valves to replenish the stock of valves overhauled by Dave. While doing this I also rebuilt our two C-type valves, which as it turns out use the same diaphragm as the more common E-type valves.

Sunday had Nick, Dave, Matt, James and I in attendance. We started by pulling the vans down to be able to access the final cylinder on B783082. Dave set about stripping the cylinder to make it ready to lift down, removing the piston rod, release valve and piston rod cover in record quick time.

We lifted the cylinder down and began the now familiar task of the overhaul.

This then got refitted and reconnected.

With the plyboard available, I attended to a previous mistake on B763305.


The vans were pushed back down, and the test rig again coaxed into life to test the Shocvan, Vanwide and B763305. Matt went under the Shocvan with his flair lamp to check for any holes.

Both the Vanwide and Shocvan still held their brakes on upon leaving this evening. B763305 now holds for the required amount of time. We finished the testing by lunch, so spent the afternoon clearing the site van out, and putting the tools back and investigating now defective tools. Matt continued signwriting the other kiosk sign.

Thanks for reading, and join us again next week to find out what we get up to.

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