09/05/21 – Tank Train Together

Last week, we started the long task of scraping the roof of the Yellow Coach, which we continue this weekend. Matt has also been continuing postering the bulk load boxes, with 73 currently sat in the van waiting. Eddie is also sourcing more, so we are well on our way to achieving our target of filling the van. (Of interest to some, it takes 314 boxes to fill the van with the size of box we’ve got!)

As aluded to above, this weekend our intended focus was the roof of the Yellow Coach, so scraping was continued. This took most of the team most of Saturday.

Dave, looking to expand his signwriting experience, assisted Jamie and Pat on their work on 1525 as both have been really helpful to us in our stint at Rothely. Dave signwrote the gas box lids, some of the solebar writing and ETH socket plates.

Sunday’s first task for me was to check the ropes and chains on the two containers at Quorn. The Van train is running in a couple of weekends time for crew refreshment, so it was necessary to check the ropes. These are purely for aesthetic purposes as the container is secured in the Medfit by other means.

Once I got to Rothley Dave, Nick and Jamie were prepping to shunt the yard, which culminated in the six finished tanks put together for the first time.

Four tanks have come down for their exam of which two require an axlebox exam and all bar one an inspection sheet. Four vacuum hoses were made up and fitted and the train pipe integrity checked.

Matt and I washed the two tanks completed by the Swithland Wagon Group and I then fitted a bung to the out feed pipe of the China Clay Slurry tank, which had a tap off to log the pressure of the liquid loaded. Matt also made spacers for the brake rigging on A6581, which has its wood removed, but nothing put back in its stead.

Last task for me was to start fitting the extra door lock to the Yellow Coach, as has been done to the Test Car. I sadly didn’t take any pictures of this, but fitting a Euro Cylinder into the door is a better and cleaner solution than a crude hasp and staple.

There is some more for me to do on the lock fitting next week, along with hopefully painting the roof of the coach. As always, join us then and see what we get up to!

25/04/21 – Less and less Yellow

A bit of a quieter week for us this week, but no let up on progress. Before we got onto the weekend, we’ll cover a little bit of work done in the week. Eddie has been obtaining boxes by the car full. The recent batch are all the same size and shape, so we are making a bulk van load for Photo Charters/Galas. With the blessing of M Wright & Son, Matt has been applying a period appropriate branding to the boxes. From the ones done already, a van or trailer of these are just going to look brilliant.

This weekend we’ve been working on the Ferry Tank and the Yellow Coach. Dave and I concentrated on the Yellow Coach, sanding down the filler applied last week then patch priming any bare metal areas ready for undercoat. We are undercoating at this stage in the full knowledge that there is more filling and sanding to do. The one single colour of the undercoat will help us pick out and remaining defects in the bodywork, instead of struggling with the patchwork of multiple paint colours showing through.

The rest of the team concentrated on the Ferry Tank, with Richard (Nice to have you back!) and Michael scraping and sanding the barrel; ready for painting. Matt and Nick carried on removing the platform plates and preparing the end for the replacement arrangement. Last thing to do was etch prime the back of the new aluminium deck plate.

Sunday saw a coat of undercoat applied to the west side of the coach, the north end and half of the south end. Michael, Jake, Eireni and I did this. It is weird seeing the coach as a single colour, but we’ll get used to it I’m sure.

Matt and Nick re-assembled the platform end of the Ferry Tank, fitting a new deck plate, kick plate and refitting the hand rail. Michael initially continued sanding the tank, but this had to stop while we applied the paint.

Next steps for the coach is to clean, scrape and paint the roof, then paint the other side with another round of sanding and filling to follow. Work on the tank continues apace with more sanding and scraping and some work due on the catwalk on the tank top. We’ll be back, as always, next weekend!

11/04/21 – Wrapping up the mixed.

Saturday began with a spot of shunting, with the Ops Department sending a loco to move our completed wagons from Rothley to Swithland Sidings and replace them with others requiring exam from both Swithland and Quorn.

We also utilised the C&W shunter to move the Single Bolster out of the way, this is remaining at Rothley to complete its refresh.

Whilst the Ops Department shunted Swithland and Quorn, which included Michael who is leading the Bolsters refresh we turned attention to 3436 with its fine coating of dust.

We left this vehicle pre-lockdown in full black gloss awaiting signwriting.
Back in January we decided to cut some sections of old roof section to recreate the oval Esso plates. Over lockdown however, it came to light that the Swithland Wagon Group had a set manufactured. These were dropped off, although they had been made using the modern Esso logo. So we sanded the rear of each to bare aluminium to facilitate repainting.

Once back to bare aluminium one of the plates was offered to the vehicle and clamped into position. Blocks of wood placed under the plate to induce a curve.

Each clamp was positioned in such a way that to draw around it would place a mark in the correct place to line up with the attachment bracket on the tank.

These were then drilled at a smaller size than final and bolted up using smaller than final size bolts.

This confirmed the positioning of the holes, we then removed the plate and fitted it to the other side to confirm the alignment with the brackets on the other side. Thankfully they matched which allowed us to drill the other plate to the smaller size and once again each plate was bolted into position using the smaller sized bolts. These were then removed one by one, the holes opened up with a cone cutter and larger bolts including spring washers were fitted.

Finally, the plates was given a coat of etch primer.

By this time the Ferry tank along with some coaches requiring annual exam had been brought up from Loughborough and Quorn, this is in preparation for work next weekend after completion of the exam work and hopefully the Esso and Creosote tanks, these will be our focus from Monday as non essential volunteering may resume. With the shunt moving on to Swithland for collection of the final vehicles we turned to straightening the bent step mounts.

Whilst the centre road was empty it gave us opportunity to take a relatively clean shot of “The Yellow Coach”

To wrap up Saturday the next selection of wagons requiring exam arrived.

On to Sunday then, with the exam work starting on the Iron Ore Hopper, LNER Steel High, Shochood B and Medfit. Both Nick and Michael undertook the axle box exams on the Steel High and the Medfit, while Jake oiled the brake rigging.

I carried on warming parts of the Ferry Tank up to encourage some movement, this time on the south end coupling, a UIC screw coupling seized in its longest position. Unfortunately no amount of heat or penetrant was effective, so this will be left for another day. With the hot spanner in hand, I also removed some bolts from some plates bowed with rust to remove the plates and the old step bolts on the east side.

Dave and Matt inspected each of the 4 vehicles, and using Rothley’s Class 10, we checked the vacuum functionality on the 3 fitted vehicles. These have been overhauled recently so no issues were found. These 4 wagons are now back in traffic and can rejoin the mixed freight.

Vacuum Gauges in the resident Class 10.

To fill up the rest of the time, the team washed the Ferry tank before it enters the shed to remove the algae settled on the tank. The algae seems to only be removed by detergent, water and plenty of scrubbing. In doing this, some older details on the tank come to the surface as pictured below.

The team moved to Quorn around 1600 to move Madge’s trailers around and to start the Test Car’s generator and compressor to ensure these still function when we do finally get our sense of geography back. In striking up the compressor, we took the opportunity to put some air in the Volvo’s tyres.

Final point of order before I sign off this week, Dave has been refreshing the Test Car 2 Booklet. These are now on sale through Dave’s eBay page and on very kindly on West Hill Wagon Works’ website. The proceeds of any booklets purchased go toward the upkeep and maintenance of Test Car 2, and of course are very gratefully received.

Last thing for me to do is sign off. Non essential volunteering can recommence from tomorrow, so we’ll be back working on the tanks and Yellow Coach, join us next Sunday to see how far we get!

28/03/21 – Oiling and Overhauls

We’re back again for another weekend of maintenance, this time on a portion of the mixed freight set. Those being: B740654, B721587, B724570, E301588, B732357, E212315, B916549 and B425356. As per the preceding few weeks, the wagons received an axlebox exam and the brake gear oiled. Dave and I also inspected each vehicle, noting down items/issues as required.

The vehicles that we have been working on this weekend haven’t seen any vacuum attention for a while, so it was decided to test the vacuum and give the fitted vehicles a vacuum overhaul. The vacuum piped vehicles had their hoses changed as required and the vacuum hose & dummy seals replaced. I also replaced some vacuum branch pipes which had seen better days.

Given the new hoses and seals, we connected the exhauster plant up and tried to create a vacuum, which got got to 19 inHg at the other end of the consist. The vacuum was destroyed using the test cock and the brakes observed for any activity. Two vehicles passed the vacuum test, having just had their hoses replaced. These will of course be done when they come back to us for bodywork and painting. Of the other vehicles, three are piped (though one with an issue) and the other three had failed the test. The Pipe, Shock Hybar and LNER Tube will receive vacuum overhauls over the coming weeks.

Sunday saw us attempt the vacuum overhauls of the three failed vehicles, starting with the Shock HyBar. Our conclusion is that this vehicle is a right pain to remove the vacuum cylinder from, having to remove the door banger/stop and possbily the handbrake lever. After a considerable amount of faff, the cylinder was removed and taken apart for inspection and overhaul.

The Shock Hybar having taken longer than expected, we then took a look at the LNER Tube. This was somewhat easier to remove (although the hot spanner was required to undo the nuts) and was in remarkable condition when taken apart. The cylinder was cleaned out of the rolling ring dust and reassembled with new rolling ring and joint seals. Dave removed the release valve and overhauled that so it was ready to refit when the time came. Matt took away the piston rod and polished it.

The cylinder was re-assembled and it was put back under the wagon and tested. The re-fit was much easier than the removal!

With just the Tube connected to the exhauster, 21 inHg was achieved and exceeded with the rig, and the cylinder exercised a few times. The brakes applying and releasing just fine, a slow brake application was made and the brakes allowed to apply and sit. The brakes were applied around 1600 and were still on when we left Rothley at 1800, a good result as when initially tested yesterday the cylinder didn’t apply at all!

Next weekend is Easter weekend, and the vacuum overhauls will continue on the Pipe and the Shock Hybar and we will also look at the leaking trainpipe on the Coal Hopper. Join us then and see how we get on!

14/03/21 – Bearing up

Our second week back, and continuing with our routine maintenance regime. This weekend the gang has been at Quorn undertaking axle box exams and brake oiling on the van train, its brake vans and a few other vehicles. These vehicles being the 2 Catfish, which also had their doors oiled; the Fish Van, which just had its brake gear oiled as we ran out of the bearing oil; and the Iron Ore Tippler, which had its brake gear oiled. We were quite stuck in, so not so many pictures which makes this rather a short update.

Once work on the van train was completed, we took the opportunity to rebalance some of the loads in the van train including some of our parcels.

We’ll be back again next week, working back at Rothley on the Rudds and some of the Grampus wagons.

14/02/21 – Support Vehicles

This week’s feature again starts with a small update: Matt returned to Mountsorrel to complete their LMS 12T van, mainly the east side door and the solebar ‘D’ Plates which completed the van.

The van was drawn outside by Mountsorrel’s resident Ruston, so the livery could be seen outside for the first time.

I have been continuing to make progress on the Slip Lamp for Test Car 2. All components have now arrived, so I can now focus on final mountings for all components and then wiring. As Matt said last week, we will have this on show as and when we can open the Test Car to the public again.

This week’s feature is a bit of a sideways step from the wagons, but is all about the road/site vehicles that support our endeavours restoring our wagons. The first to mention is our one-ton site dumper, Danny.

Not a lot is known for Danny’s history, but it was built by Winget around 1976. The dumper was registered in 1976 with the registration number PUT 666R. Danny is a Winget 3SE, and was in use by a local scout campsite before Nick became the owner. The powerplant is a Petter PH1, producing an enormous 9hp running to the front axle through a 3 speed manual transmission, a layout in common with many of the other site dumpers of the period. We use Danny for trumdling items around Quorn Yard and for the skip run when required. Danny can also pull a fleet of trailers we have, which added to Danny’s carrying ability.

We have begun to do some work on Danny, starting with having the steering box rebuilt. With the rebuilt box Danny was properly mobile again, so it was decided to paint Danny into a scheme representative of its current location. This started last year, but got postponed due to the decreasing temperatures.

The next vehicle is the Volvo BM L70 Loading Shovel, bought by the railway for the P’Way department to replace an even older Volvo Loading Shovel (still very muich missed from my point of view). The P’Way department now use a Telehandler, so we have sole use of the Volvo which we use to remove vacuum cylinders and generally lift and shift items around the yard.

There is a little work outstanding on the Volvo, mainly on the exhaust system. A new silencer is required and the relvant pipes to connect it to the turbo outlet. If anyone knows where we might get a suitable exhaust silencer for this, please do get in touch! Once the exhaust is done, we’d like to give it a spruce up.

Lastly, the one vehicle I would be remiss not to mention would be Nick’s daily driver, the humble Transit Van. Without the van, we’d not be able to move anything between the sites without the relative ease that we have or have the ability to collect wood from timber merchants and keep it dry or any other tasks like that. A very useful vehicle indeed.

When we are able to return to the railway, we will look to progress these vehicles alongside the rest of the wagon fleet.

20/12/20 – Tanking Along

Another weekend of our residence at Rothley, this time working on the China Clay Slurry tank, 51408 , the Yellow Coach, ADB977107, and the Iron Ore Hopper, B439708.

Dave started by painting the roller bearing endcaps yellow and putting another coat of white paint on the handbrake ends and vacuum swan neck, appropriate and this is fitted with a through pipe only. This concludes the ‘exterior’ work on this wagon, which only leaves the painting of the ‘interior’ of the hopper in bituminous black paint. Jake and Nick undertook this task.

Dave and I then looked at the brake rigging on the tank, with the aim of making the handbrake work better. We reset the ‘A’ gap on the slack adjuster which has resulting in a much better handbrake.

Eddie concentrated on the scraping of the Tank wagon. While Dave and Matt sorted out another feature for the tank. During a visit from one of the GCR’s Health and Safety Reps on Saturday, a ground level filler connection was requested, to take the form of a standard carriage filler connection. The tank already had a suitable pipe fitted to the top of the access walkway, so all was required was the fabricate a pipe to drop it down to solebar level or just above. After some scrounging for suitable fittings, Dave and Matt whipped up a pipe and fitted it to the wagon.

I concentrated on the Yellow Coach, removing the end Jumper plugs and conduit. This will make painting and looking after the coach ends easier, and means I can re-use the parts to make a jumper to power the coach from the Test Car, if required.

Jake finished off the painting of the inside of the Iron Ore Hopper on Sunday, which concludes work on this vehicle. It will be shipped outside the shed tomorrow to clear more room to work on the tank. It’ll be the first time the vehicle has run on the railway, so it will be a treat to see it run in the mixed freight as and when that happens

We all then dropped onto the tank, scraping the barrel down to the bare stainless steel ready for the etch primer. The paint was, for the most part, easy to remove with the scrapers we had. Power tools can’t be used on a Sunday, but I don’t think a power tool would have helped us. We did briefly try a sander, but found the scrapers removed the paint much quicker.

With the Christmas period now upon us, we have a few more opportunities to get down to the shed so keep your eyes peeled for some mid-week updates in the coming days.

29/11/20 – Hilarity and a hopper

First thing to mention in this update is the wonderful production by Jack Shaw, ‘This Is Quorn’. Jake, Matt, Dave and I all have starring roles, along with Wilbur and Madge. I’ve embedded the video below, but you can also view this on the Quorn and Woodhouse Station Facebook Page here, where you can also give them a like.

Another point of order before the main event, we have been successfully shortlisted for this year’s Heritage Railway Association Awards in two categories; the Morgan Award for our 3 container restorations and the Small Groups award. Best of luck to all of those also shortlisted for an award this year!

Right then, now onto the main event, this week we’ve again been at Rothley focusing our efforts on the Yellow Coach and the Iron Ore hopper. Matt and Dave first went to Quorn to move Madge’s trailers out of the main yard.

Jake and I finalised the termination of the wires added to the Yellow coach, continuity testing each wire before identifying it on both ends become applying a crimped terminal. That finishes this stage of the modification. Dave very ably made a new lacing bar for the cubicle and then undercoated the ceiling in the guards office.

Once complete, Dave joined Nick, Matt and Eddie in scraping the hopper. A tedious task, but once that has to be done before painting can commence. Special attention was paid to the door linkages to clear the years of muck and detritus away. As we are at Rothley with the hopper the opportunity was taken for its axlebox exam, done of course before the underframe is painted.

Some of the bent corner post on the hopper were also attended too.

Sunday saw the hopper concentrated on again, first finishing up any missed areas of scraping. The hopper was then moved outside for all of the flakes of rust and paint to be blown off. While the space was vacant, Dave swept up all the bits of paint and rust that had fell on the floor.

The five of us descended armed with paint brushes to apply a much needed coat of red oxide primer. Its been a while since we’ve all brush painted an entire wagon, I know for one my arms are aching! A certain amount of fun and hilarity was had; a good tonic for the current situation.

The end of the weekend sees the hopper body in an all over coat of red oxide primer, ready for next weeks coat of undercoat. Join us then and see how we get on!

15/11/20 – Keeping busy

Yet another mid week start to an update, this time from me. I booked Wednesday afternoon off work with the intention of getting some paint on the bare areas on our Site Dumper, Danny. Eddie has been hard at work over the previous few weeks scraping and degreasing the dumper, in readiness for some paint. Given we are loosing weather for painting and starting to move to Rothley to work on the Yellow Coach for winter, something had to be done to protect the metalwork over the winter. I’ve applied a coat of etch primer to the area made bare on the dumper’s chassis by Eddie, and a coat on each of the removed body panels. I shall return later in the week to paint these up into an undercoat.

Another afternoon booked off work, this time Friday and some more time spent painting the dumper and its bodywork, this time into grey undercoat.

Saturday saw the team at Rothley, focusing on many vehicles. Currently A4513, B954546, B439708 and of course ADB977107 inhabit the shed, which gives us lots to focus on without getting wet in the lovely weather. Matt, Nick and Jake started by fitting a vacuum through pipe to A4513 which enables this vehicle to run in the railways freight trains. Once completed, Matt began by keying the top half of the wagon’s barrel ready for a top half repaint.

Dave and Eireni scraped the bottom parts of B954546 ready for a coat of paint to match the solebar. The roller bearing end caps got a coat of undercoat before their yellow gloss coat.

Jake and I concentrated on finishing the wire pulling on the Yellow Coach, with the last wires pulled into the Electrical cubicle, which finishes the underframe work. The two new junction boxes fitted to the underframe got wire labels applied to the wires and insulation resistance tested, all passed. I also checked the shore supply indicators fitted to the coach. These had briefly seen life but the lamps previously fitted had a short life and their blowing blew the fuse. New lamps fitted and a new fuse and the Bodyside Indicators glowed once more. Last thing I did was to make a new terminal board for the cubicle to terminate the new wires onto. Jake got quite distracted by a cake I’d baked for the team.

A new day dawns and Matt started applying a fresh gloss back coat to the top of the tank wagon. Dave was painting the rest of the freshly scraped brake van underframe. Paint was also applied to the roller bearing end caps (yellow gloss) and the brake van side steps (black gloss)

Nick and Jake removed a buffer from the tank wagon to try to locate a position to attach a wagon label clip to the tank wagon. This came to nought, so the buffer was reassembled. Eventually a home was found for these on the end grain of tank supporting wood. These may seem like little details, but these are used operationally to attach labels to if the vehicle requires works attention or has a defective hand brake, for example.

Nick took a journey to Quorn to pick up some suitable wagon label clips for the tank and the Yellow Coach. He also painted the chalkboard and bare bolt heads on B852838, putting a finish on the work on that vehicle until the warmer and drier weather is back with us.

Jake and I continued with the wiring on the coach, me mounting the terminal board made yesterday and Jake labelling and terminating some of the new cables we’d pulled into the box. Some of these were continuity checked, with the rest being done when work is picked back up again.

Other small jobs included new vacuum hoses on the Iron Hopper and the tank wagon, with the integrity of both through pipes tested using the exhauster at Rothley. Jake also cleaned out some of the detritus gathered in the bottom of the hopper.

Quite a lot achieved this week. Join us again next week to see what we get up to!

25/10/20 – BR road pair.

This week’s update predominantly features our vintage road vehicles, the main focus of which was the Timeline Events photo charter held on Friday. The focus being Quorn yard, were we attempted to recreate Goods Yard scenes of a bygone era. We saw the first public appearance of B786181. We believe this is the first time since at least 1968 it has been moved by Steam traction, in the form of BR Standard Class 2 78018.

Matt was also happy as we saw the return to the railway, after a 5 year hiatus, of Wilbur. This is Matt’s 1968 8 cwt Morris Commercial Van. Meeting Madge for the first time, the pair look stunning in their BR Crimson and Cream livery.

Another Charter depute was Nick’s Mk1 Transit van, carrying the livery of his late father’s business. Although a 1972 registration the Mk1 Transit began production in 1965. Nick and Matt both intend to purchase show plates with more age appropriate steam era plates for these types of events.

Left Hand image courtesy of David Pond
Right Hand image courtesy of Mark Cullen

The Charter raised the group some additional funds and we send our thanks to Neil and his team. We hope the photographers enjoyed what we were able to bring together for the event. Below are a few images.

Images courtesy of Mark Cullen

Images courtesy of David Pond

Images courtesy of Nick Halling

On Saturday, we wrapped up after the charter, tidying items away and sorting out our ‘props’ vans. Matt sorted out Madge and I undertook a little bit of work on Wilbur, tightening a loose alternator belt and changing one of the mounting bolts to make them the same size.

Jake and Nick got four sheets of ply to begin production of the side sheets to repair B852838. This van got measured and the sheets cut in the CCT, out of the rain. These were then stood up in the CCT and painted into primer. These have been left to dry after which they will be undercoated and glossed before they are fitted to the van. Dave and Richard helped with the cutting of the sheets, and Jake hoovered up after us. Matt and Nick readied the lorry and loaded the Scammell dolly on to it ready for tomorrow. I also fitted the new handbrake pawl spring and skip catch springs to Danny.

Dave finished off by sanding back the undercoat on Danny’s seat and applying a first coat of grey gloss to the top side of the seat.

On to Sunday, Nick and Matt heading off on a road trip, again our thanks to Kenway for the loan of their 7.5T lorry. Heading north to High Green the trip was to pick up Matts latest purchase, a Taskers Trailer for Madge, this is a 15ft trailer and will be more prototypical behind the Scarab.

Back at Quorn Jake continued the mid project tidy, clearing out our used can mountain amongst other tasks

Eddie and James were also on site, continuing the paint prep for Danny.

Eddie also brought some more parcels, the pile is almost touching the roof.

Nick and Matt returned and after unloading by Volvo, the trailer was tested with Madge.

With the weather now turning and the light failing in the afternoons its likely our updates will move to Rothley, but as always we shall let you know next week.