15/03/20 – Spray it and hope it sticks…

Before we move into the weekend’s activities, I’ll touch on some progress Matt has made with the flat bed Scammel trailer. The main C channel has been painted in Crimson, in readiness for the floor to be fitted. The load securing hooks have been painted in black, this had waited until the main top coat had been completed. The floorboards also got delivered.

My job started by cleaning the tyres and rubber mudguards on the trailer. While I was doing this Matt and Dave removed the rubber floor fitted for its duties as a farm trailer. Once cleaned, I applied some products to the tyres and mudguards to give them a bit of shine. This done I surveyed and re-assembled the spray gun and pressure pot ready for the first use this year. We had to use the small green compressor to spray due to the compressor in the Test Car still being broken.  Eddie, Harry and James continued to paint the interior of the 2 Steel Highs with bitumenous paint. Jake and I waited for a gap in the weather and started spraying the 3 wagons; 2 Highs and the Tippler. By the end of the day all three wagons were in undercoat, ready for gloss.


Jack, Matt and Dave constructed a Headboard for the trailer, and then started fitting the floor… until it was found that the planks wouldn’t fit without taking out the mesh. This had hoped to be able to stay in for rigidity, but not all things go to plan!

With the mess out of the way, the floor fitting began. Matt marked each plank and Dave cut them. Soon the floor was all down and the trailer board fitted.

On Sunday, with the weather set back to wet, Matt started by completing some signwriting for the WHSmiths kiosk at Loughborough. In a gap in the weather I changed the front wheel on my car following a slow puncture (which was getting faster!) and blew up all the tyres, and then did the same on other members of the QWW fleet.  Completed, I set about the compressor to remove the electric motor for replacement. Matt started fabricating a supporting strut for the trailers headboard which was a tad wobbly. These got an angle fitted to the back of them for stiffness and then primed. Matt then cut out and primed a disc for the 20mph warning on the trailer.

I assisted Nick with drilling drain holes in the Iron Ore Tippler’s floor. These are so placed to drain the water while trying not the drip on any brake rigging.

To finish off, I fitted the trailer’s number plate holder and Jack and Matt refitted the rubber mudguards and primed the wood on the headboard. Once the primer had dried, Matt also put the 20mph disc into gloss black.

Thanks for reading, and all being well we’ll be back next week, hopefully with, a repair compressor and 3 wagons in bauxite gloss (weather and health being well!)

01/03/20 – Flats, Feeds and Filming Fun.

Welcome to another update from Quorn (yes, actually Quorn!). Saturday had the full team bar James in attendance, though I arrived late and I had to collect some electrical supplies. The main objective of the day was to move the trailers about using the dolly that came with the flat trailer. Once a battery was changed on the Volvo, it started straight up and we were able to pick up the dolly and reverse it to the box trailer. An issue with the coupler height on the Volvo led us to making a solution that fixed to the forks. This made positioning the dolly easier with improved visibility but the 3 pivots in the consist made for some tricky maneuvering! The box trailer was moved into the yard and the flat trailer has been turned around.

I undertook the repairs to the Test Car electrical system. You may remember some months ago that the contactor for the Generator feed would not hold closed. We don’t have any reference to the design of the electrical switchgear which makes fault finding the system difficult. I’d not been able to find the fault, so we’d opted to change out the changeover system to a simple changeover switch. Thank to a colleague of Dave’s, Syd, we have a suitable switch which I have fitted and successfully tested. With some new switching arrangements we can now changeover the supply to the Coach. The compressor was struck up and we tested a newly acquired tyre blower.

Eddie and Harry continued prepping the Steel Highs and Tippler for paint. These are getting tantalisingly near, and only await slightly warmer weather.

On Sunday Matt, Jack, Dave and I donned our reenacting clothes, with a guest appearance from some friends of Matt and Jack, Jed and his wife. We’d dressed in 1950’s period uniforms and clothes, and used them along with Madge and the Van train to shoot some footage which is to be used in the advertisement video for the upcoming Goods Galore gala. Keep your eyes on the Railway’s social media for this video.

With the flat trailer now the other way round, Dave, Matt and I attended to a large dent in the trailer with a large sledgehammer.  We got the worst of it out, and Matt and Dave fitted a new corner cap, as per the other side.

I took the opportunity to look over the ‘Wagon under Test’ lamp used when carrying out a slip test. I took the internal boards out to find the internal accelerometer and been removed and not in the most reversible manner. As I don’t know enough about the lamp, I’ve opted to remove the internals and replace it with a microcontroller and accelerometer that I can program to replicate the functionality. of the lamp. Eddie and Harry continued prepping the wagons, focusing on the internal surfaces of 280364. The interior of the wagons will be painted in bitumen paint.

Thanks for reading. Most of what we are doing recently is very weather dependant, so I can’t really predict what we’ll be doing. There’s plenty to do, so do join us and see what we get up to!

16/02/20 – Dennis the Menace

Hello All, hope you all haven’t been blown/washed away by Storm Dennis! This weekend has concentrated again on the Yellow Coach, though Dave, Matt and Jack had a day at Quorn on Sunday sorting some bits out for Madge and Goods Galore, but first some news from last week. In our haste to leave the Heritage Railway Association Awards to avoid the wrath of Storm Ciara, we had not picked up our runners up prize for the Communications Award. David Morgan very kindly dropped it off at Loughborough for us to pick up.


Nick, Jake, Matt and I were in attendance Saturday, slowly making headway with the coach. Jake and I tried to pull some more wires through for the bedroom but unfortunately failed due to the amount of elbows in the run. Nick did some small jobs until he went to drop his van to be looked at. Matt cut out and primed a headboard for the Fish and Chip specials. Having failed with the wire pulling I gave up and replaced the board at the back of the mess room heaters. All of the vertical heaters on the coach seem to have suffered a bit of heat damage behind them, so the opportunity has been taken to repair some of the damage and stop it happening in the future. Once finished with the headboard, Matt made some standoffs for the junction boxes I’d fitted underneath the coach.

Sunday had Nick and I at Rothley, Nick bitumening the back side of the metal that has been welded in during the week, in Jamie’s lunch hours. I gave the heater board a lick of paint then reassembled the heaters with some 3/4″ spacers to introduce an air gap between the heater and the wall. I then made some supporting brackets for the conduit runs underneath the 2 bunk beds.

Matt, Dave and Jack completed the following jobs at Quorn:

  • Fitted 1950s number plates to Madge
  • Completed the trailer poster boards by adding a black border to the grey box
  • Removable number plate fitting added to the trailer
  • 20mph sign sign written and affixed to the trailer.
  • Several sacks stuffed for Goods Galore, with 2 sacks left to fill.

02/02/20 – And its all Yellow

We have continued working on the Yellow Coach for a number of reasons, firstly we’d like it back at Quorn, and secondly we went off the weather forecast which said it would be raining and horrible for Saturday. Back to the Yellow Coach, and Saturday saw Jamie come in and finish up welding the southwesterly corner of the coach. This looks so much much better now than it did when it left Quorn.

Nick spent the day removing rust from under the south end vestibule floor which was sitting 1/2″ higher than normal and assisting Jamie where required. He then started removing the vinyl wrap from his latest road acquisition.

I spent the day playing with conduit again. Last time we worked on the coach, Matt and I managed to get all the sockets fitted, with conduit fitted to these and run through the floor. Today I fitted a short section of flexible conduit in the kitchen to substitute for a section in the kitchen cupboard. This time, with assistance from Jake, I extended the conduit to reach the main 240v trunking. Most conduits dropped through the floor required removing and trimming.img_20200201_0931563247906092254168903.jpg

Matt fitted some of the flexible conduit I’d bought above the first class toilet door to run the wires for the thermostat. Once completed Matt used the unexpected good weather to begin signwriting Madge’s trailer, ready for a charter in April.

Sunday saw me continue on the coach electrics. Dave assisted me withdrawing the coach’s existing heater wires. We disconnected all of the heaters by cutting the cables and then pulled the redundant wiring out of the trunking. I’m quite glad that we opened up the heaters and removed the wiring, as one of the heaters under one of the two bunks had some very distressed wiring.img_20200202_0933504080457362016131182.jpg

Matt spent the morning at Quorn, de-postering the van train and continuing to signwrite Madge’s trailer. Dave joined Matt around lunchtime to do some little bits and bobs and look around a second Scammell trailer bought by the owning group.

For once, I wasn’t happy with something I’d done. We’d run the conduit to the trunking, but for all but the kitchen socket, I hadn’t drilled them into the trunking, which gave me some leeway to change the conduit. To cut down on the wires running down the trunking. I’ve instead attached 2 junction boxes to the trunking to split down some of the wiring.

Nick continued stripping the vinyl wrap from his van, assisted by Harry. Eddy continued his cleaning spree, starting on the insulation material above the mess room heaters and the corridor ceiling. It may not seem it, but Eddy is cleaning 30 years of muck and cigarette staining and it is making such a difference to the interior of the coach.img_20200202_1554533963632197219973101.jpg

Next week will be a smallish update, but for very good reason. Its the Heritage Railway Association Awards and we are picking up our one award, and will find out if our two nominations turn into awards. Join us then, thanks for reading!


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.