News and Updates

28/11/20 – Bitterly cold Bolster

This week we’ve made progress on B928135, I continue work on the Living Van, and after some very long hours by C&W, the CCT re-enters traffic for the Winter Wonderlights

Hello everyone, it has been a cold and damp weekend but fortunately, this hasn’t hampered progress. Work continues on the Bogie Bolster and I’ve made steady progress on the Living Van electrical work. First, though, I’ll just cover what has been done on the CCT.

This vehicle is now back in traffic, ready to be used for the Winter Wonderlights trains. It will be holding the generators that power the lights on the other carriages. The C&W team have done amazing work in such a small amount of time, ably assisted on the signwriting by Matt and Dave. Dave also helped out in the final stages on clearing the vehicle out before it left Rothley, ready to receive the generators. It’s looking quite smart, and I can’t wait to see it trundle by Quorn in the coming weeks.

Dave, Matt and Jake made a start on the ‘new’ bolster plank for the wagon. The BoBol has been turned for us in the week, so the bolster requiring attention is now the south end. They identified a suitable piece of timber and set about trimming it down and drilling the required holes to fix it to the wagon. Dave also racked one up on the drill kill count, though still has some to go to match Matt. A start was made on drilling the bolster pockets, but this will have to be completed another day.

I made a start on the mess area heaters, making a fused switch panel to control them. I wanted to be able to choose to have either of the 2 heaters on, and this achieved that. I cut and threaded some steel conduit to suit, and used a flexible conduit to ‘pipe’ to each heater. Just got to find one more fuse holder and that end of the circuit will be complete, just the other end to go!

Jake and Dave also fitted the handle to the steel cupboard in the Living Van, and we all went out to lift the doors up on the Grampus (and Tunny) to allow for their annual exam to start.

That covers Saturday’s activities. Sunday had Nick, Eddie and I onsite. Eddie continued on the prepping of the Bogie Bolster while Nick and I attended to the other vacuum cylinder on the BoBol.

We now have access to the other cylinder, so while the yard was free, we changed it using the one Dave had overhauled some weeks ago. This went rather well, and we now await the overhauled slack adjusters to carry out the vacuum test.

After this, I continued to work on the mess area heaters, labelling all the wires and soldering wires to the one fuse holder I have.

Once I’d done that snow started falling, so I made a hasty retreat home to Derby. We’re hoping its warmer next week so that we can get started on the Grampus annual exams and continue with the bolster timber. As always, more to follow next week.

21/11/21 – C&W CCT assistance.

This update begins a little earlier than most with Dave at Rothley on Friday. This was to assist with the final stages of the CCTs restoration, which C&W has been pressing on with.

At the start of the day, the east side was in final gloss, and the west first coat with a second coat where the lettering is applied. This allowed Dave to chalk up and apply the Golden Ocher lettering.

On to Saturday and Dave repeating Fridays work but on the west side. The east received my attention with the black lining being applied to each character. 137 characters to be precise.

Jamie and Dave also applied the lining to the east side.

Once the detail work for the day was complete Jamie flattened the remaining west side first coat and applied the chalkboard topcoat. Nick was also on-site but remained at Quorn checking our Grampus wagons that are in Quorn yard for unloading. This is a start to the annual exam.

On to Sunday with Dave tackling the black character lining. His first attempt at this and an excellent job he made. I did have to step in towards the end as the concentration required took its toll.

Jamie and Dave then applied the topcoat to the west side followed by varnish to the east side.

With the door edges being painted also.

Nick applied a coat of paint to the internal shelving that is visible through the windows.

The vehicle is required for the winter wonder light trains with the deadline for completion being Wednesday. The GCR C&W Facebook page will show the completed vehicle in the week, and as always we will update you on our activities next week.

14/11/21 – Not messing around

More work on the mess vehicle this week, but we’ve not forgotten about the Bogie Bolster.

This weekend has seen a continuation of the sorting and tidying of our vehicles at Quorn. Last week, Dave, Matt and I painted the luggage area by this week this had dried, so we set about moving things back and setting things up to how we want things. The workbench was put in front of a window and a fluorescent light was added to the bottom of the upper shelf to act as task lighting.

I insulated our other paint cupboard and added 2 tubular heaters; one to each cupboard to keep the paint warm and protected from frost when the weather gets colder.

Dave continued with the angle grinder on the Bogie Bolster to finish wire brushing the bodywork to get this vehicle progressed. Once complete, he overhauled the rest of our release valves so we have plenty ready to use.

Later on, I fixed one of the lights in the GUV which had been long term out of service and then moved on to re-jig some of the lights in the Yellow Coach. When we moved in, there was a light above the electrical cubicle but not in the ex-first class toilet. At that time we moved the cubicle light to go in the toilet but was switched off the corridor lights. Anyway, onto today, I fitted a NOS fitting to the cubicle wall and re-connected the feed to be as converted. We now have a toilet light switched from the toilet switch, and the cubicle light re-instated.

Matt generated the signwriting templates for the bogie bolster.

On Sunday, Dave and I moved our last steel cupboard into the luggage area of the mess van. Dave then sanded and painted this into an undercoat then BR Light grey gloss to match the walls in the luggage area. I sorted out a few extension cables and power tools that had cable issues.

Matt and I then dug out some timber racking that was removed from one of our recently acquired vans. We’ve repurposed some of it to use as shelving in the luggage area, which took longer than expected. Nick and I finished this when Matt had to leave.

The last task of the day was to fix one of the solebar lights which had stopped working. Thankfully just a tube that had stopped working and nothing more sinister. That wraps up this weekend, the team will be back next weekend with more antics. More as ever next week…

07/11/21 – Not so Mess Coach

A busy weekend for the team progressing with housekeeping and the interior of our Mess Coach.

The weekend started with the continuation of tidying, sorting and cleaning following the return of the SC21202 to Quorn. Having it coupled to Test Car 2 will help us greatly providing more suitable mess facilities for the team, and allowing us to do further work on the interior and displays in Test Car 2 for visitors.

With Nick, Matt, Ross, Jake, Eddie and myself on-site on Saturday we progressed well sorting out the luggage area of the coach.

We also made headway with the mess area and kitchen.

Once the luggage area had been cleared we started planning what we’re going to do with the space; but first it needs preparation for a coat of paint. We made a start cleaning and sanding down the panelling in readiness to apply a coat of light grey.

Eddie also continued with some scraping and preparation on the East side of the south-end bogie of the Bogie Bolster.

I joined Nick for a quick trip down to Rothley to take a look at the latest progress by the GCR carriage and wagon lads on our CCT, this is really coming together with bodywork almost ready for paint.

As the light faded on Saturday we were able to try out the lineside lighting on the mess coach; this will be a great help for us now the nights are drawing-in.

Nick, Matt, Ross and myself on Sunday started with more housekeeping, rubbish clear-out, kitchen cupboards emptied, cleaned and the contents washed.

Then we continued with the preparation for paint in the luggage area of the Mess-coach.

The whole area was cleaned down to get rid of the dust, and any bare wood was treated with a quick-drying primer.

We then set to work painting the luggage area walls, window frames and Guards compartment window bars in BR Grey.

Other tasks completed today were repairs to the vacuum release chords on Centre Shocvan B854782, and progress of fitting of insulation to one of our paint storage cupboards, this along with some trace-heaters will provide frost protection for paint over winter.

Matt also attended to our access gate, fitting a much needed hold-back loop.

With the light fading we had to use floodlights to get the final parts of the luggage area walls and the west side doors in Sc21202 painted.

The whole area now and looking much smarter, and almost ready for its new role as a much needed workshop area.

As the nights start drawing in, we face the challenges of packing-in our weekend tasks into less daylight hours, nevertheless still enjoying the work.

So to end, lets have a sunshine pic, 1408 at Quorn today.

Don’t forget our Pocket Stockbooks are still available, giving details and pictures of our whole fleet of vehicles’ at the GCR. See our webpage link here.

Stay safe all, and tune-in for another update next week.

31/10/21 – Short and Sweet

So the big news this week is the movement of SC 21202 from Rothley back home to Quorn. The movement was made as part of Nick’s line recertification and included ADE280364 after its drag box repairs.

With the “BR Blue pair” together, after the morning downpour and the sun making an appearance a chance to take a photo could not be missed.

Eddie was on-site progressing the Bogie Bolster his focus being the accessible areas of the Eastside.

The rest of the weekend agin spent on tidying and sorting, especially as the Mess Coach whist at Rothley remained in use as our mess van. So it is in a little bit of a mess. Unfortunately thats it for this update but once the all important tidy is complete and we have taken stock of materials required we can once again ramp up productivity.

24/10/21 – Scrape and tidy

Well i’m back but still not 100%, I have had a middle ear infection which resulted in a number of debilitating symptoms. As I say i’m not fully over it, driving in the dark and, as I found out this weekend, standing in a rocking rail vehicle are a few things i still can not do. Thank you to those who have sent their regards and have wished me a swift recovery, but enough of me on to the update.

First a thank you to Rail Vehicle Components Ltd who have kindly offered to overhaul the slack adjusters on the Bogie Bolster. It is great to have support from the rail industry. So a thank you to those companies and individuals who have and continue to support us.

Its worth mentioning for those that do not follow the GCR carriage and wagon facebook page, their focus has been our CCT, this is going to be used as the Generator van for the Winter Wonder light services and reinstated as the fire van for the summer months. Some substantial work by the team at Rothley, with the mechanical overhaul complete and focus is now on the body work.

The site tidy continues with the morning focused on the GUV.

Some time was been spent on the Bogie Bolster. The focus being straightening the north end. A mixture of brute and careful application of force.

Although not back to as built it is much better.
The missing lamp iron was also refitted.

The afternoon was spent looking at sorting and tidying a few vans to make space for displaced items.

On to Sunday with attention on the Bogie Bolster. Sanding down the frame and body sides.

A lot of surface area to cover but by the end of the day the West side and South end, including buffers, are ready for paint, with the North end not much further behind. Just need to move the vehicle to allow access to the East side which allow paint prep and mechanical work required.

The south end Slack adjuster was also removed in preparation for its jaunt to Wigan with the one from the north end for overhaul.

So not more to be said than that concludes this update, and as always we’ll let you know what we have been up to next week.

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.

10/10/21 – Buses, Brutes and Brakes

A mixed update this week with progress on the recently donated Brute trolleys and the Bogie Bolster; plus showing off the Test Car again.

Hi all, after two and a half years working with the Quorn Wagon & Wagon team they’ve finally let me loose putting together a weekly update…so here goes.

Firstly we’re still passing ‘get well soon’ wishes to Matt and Richard, hope to see you both back with us very soon.

Saturday we were requested to have the Test Car open for visitors in conjunction with the bus-rally at Quorn.

Preparations for the day included the fitting of the slip/coupling and wagon mounted test equipment that helps visitors get a better understanding of how the test process used to work.

The fabulous weather and large collection of buses drew good crowds, quite a few of which visited us in the Test Car. I was kept busy most of the day explaining the history of the Test Car and the process of slip/brake testing.

Whilst I was entertaining visitors Jake, Ross and Nick set to work on the growing collection of Brute trolleys, four of which arrived recently after a very kind donation.

Brutes galore

Each Brute was cleaned down, any seized brakes released and a start was made on trying to straighten out some of the bent framework.

Sunday, and Ross Nick and myself turned out attentions to the Bogie Bolster D, B928135 and it’s brakes. This wagon has two 18″ vacuum brake cylinders, one for each bogie; we focussed on the north end one first.


The cylinder piston rod was removed, trunion bolts loosened and the cylinder extracted from the wagon with the help of the Volvo. This involved inverting the cylinder in its mounting to provide clearance to extract the lower trunion bolt.

This cylinder was found to be in very good internal order, only requiring a thorough clean before replacing the rolling-ring and vacuum chamber sealing ring.

The cylinder was re-assembled, carefuly lowering the piston with new rolling-ring down the cylinder before re-fitting the vacuum chamber and bolting up.

A piston transit bolt was fitted in place of the piston-rod to ensure the piston remains correctly in-place whilst it is re-fitted to the wagon. This is necessary because the vacuum cylinder must be inverted to allow re-fitting of the lower trunion bolt.

The piston-rod was then polished and once the cylinder had been re-fitted under the north end of the wagon, the transit bolt was removed and the piston-rod re-fitted along with a new gaiter. A release valve from our stock of overhauled ones was also fitted and the branch pipe condition checked before re-connecting.

Ross and Nick then took a look at the north-end brake rigging where it had been noted that some adjustment was needed. After alot of head scratching it looks very much like the cylindrical slack adjuster is not doing its job and will need to be attended to.

In the meantime I turned my attention to a spare 18″ vacuum brake cylinder we had awaiting overhaul. The idea being to deal with this now so it’s ready for fitting to the south-end of the Bolster D once we can access to that side of the wagon.

The cylinder was dismantled and all parts thoroughly cleaned, the interior condition again being very good.

Once clean a new rolling-ring was fitted and the piston carefully lowered into the cylinder before fitting a new vacuum chamber seal and re-assembling.

The transit bolt was again fitted; the finished vacuum cylinder including a piston rod and an overhauled release valve are now ready for the south end of the wagon.

Vac cylinder for the south-end

To finish I’d like to mention that last week a photo charter took place on the GCR using visiting 9F 92134 from the North York Moors railway. During the charter a freight was operated providing a fantastic showcase for over 30 of our group’s wagons. A youtube video can be seen here :-

Next weekend were are hoping to see the return of the Mess Coach back to Quorn. See how we get on in next week’s update.

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!