News and Updates

20/09/20 – Two more doors

I’m afraid this update is shorter than last weeks, work continues on both B786181 and B55897B, Nick and Jake sanding down the ends and steel work of the van. Applying red oxide to bare areas of steel.

Dave’s task was to manufacture the final set of doors which will complete the woodwork repairs for this vehicle. Measured, trimmed, assembled and primed.

I of cause continued with my Container, manufacturing a replacement corner bumper. This was made from a foam ball, shaped, fibreglass applied for strength, then filler and sanded to shape.

Onto Sunday Nick, Ross and Jake removing the old doors, refurbishing the surviving door furniture and hanging the new.

Once dry the door furniture was fitted to the new doors.

I continued with my Container sanding the doors to remove the Bitumastic based paint used by a previous owner. This also identified in a past life it was used as a Scaffold Store.

I also applied the wooden door stops and label clips.

Final task for mee was to remove the rotten wood from the roof, the former bolt holes being filled with rivets for waterproofing.

Nick and Jake finished off scraping down the metal frame work and red oxiding the bare metal, this completes the body work repairs and pending good weather we are set to paint the vehicle. On the Container I have a few areas of filler to apply and sand above each of the corners and the roof to sand.

Finally an artful shot of Madge taken after parking the trailers up.

13/09/20 – 7 day bumper wagon update

My boss for the past few months has been stating I need to use up some of my leave, so what best way than to take a week off to paint B954546. A Rothley volunteer has been slowly progressing the vehicle and enough progress had been made for external painting. For those who subscribe to the Rothley C&W facebook page you will have already seen what progress has been made.

On to Monday and first I ensured all handrails and fixtures were secure. Followed by applying MP20 weather sealant to a number of areas of the exterior planking.
The rest of day one was occupied with keying all of the undercoated areas, as these were a few months old, and priming any bare wood, ready for day two.

Tuesday and day two, I was joined by Dave and Dick, Dick is a volunteer at Rothley C&W and has been chipping away at the Brakevan over the past few months.

Dave’s first task was to look at the unsettled boards above the west side ducket, a selection of longer screws replaced those previously fitted followed up with a spot of sealant.

I began the application of undercoat beginning with white around the duckets and each veranda end, more on the reason for this later

Dave then began the application of the deep red undercoat to the rest of the vehicle, chosen because it was half a tin that needed using up. Once I completed the body stripes I also moved on to the deep red.

Dick fitted new roof rain strips, tightened a few more items and fitted wagon lapel clips. As Dave and I continued with the deep red application.

At the end of day two, undercoat was fully applied ready for day three.

A day of gloss for day three. Dave taking care of the main event, the application of Bauxite.

I started with the other colour, this being Warning Panel Yellow. It will no doubt be apparent that we are applying the late 1960s livery applied to Air Piped and Braked brake vans ours being Piped.

The duckets and a plank either side of the yellow was left and will be completed once the yellow has dried.

As Wednesday closes a full application of bauxite, two coats of yellow on the side stripes and first coat on the veranda stripes.

Day four and continuation of the top coat application. With the yellow side stripes dry I applied bauxite to the remaining planks and the duckets. Second coat of yellow was also to the end stripes.

Dave’s task was to apply black to the underframe and headstocks.

I also applied white to the veranda ceilings and once Dave was completed with the black we moved on to the handrails, air pipes and lamp irons.

At the close of play on day four we have top coat applied to all areas above and including the sole bars.

Final day of my week off and my favorite activity, signwriting. First a few adjustments to my pre printed templates to accommodate the body side planking followed by marking up.

Then the slow therapeutic task of applying all the letters………………..

That concludes the mid week section of this weeks update, there is still a number of items that need progressing before the vehicle is complete and our thanks go to Dick for his excellent work thus far.

Day six, well for me at least, and back at Quorn. Work continues on B786181, Nick, Jake and Dave removing the bolts and south west corner boards.

The backs of the frames were then cleaned up and redoxided, whilst Dave measured and cut the replacement boards.

These areas were then primed

My focus was on my Container, the majority of the rivets holding the container together had corroded severely. These were systematically drilled out and replaced ensuring what integrity remains was maintained, I.E. each rivet removed was replaced to prevent areas falling apart. At the end of the day over 400 rivets were replaced.

Eddie was also on site, touching up and re bitumening Medfit B458484.

With the primer dried the boards were drilled fitted and bolted to the van.

The north west corner was then striped, steel work cleaned and primed, boards cut and primed ready for fitment Sunday

Last few tasks for Saturday, fitment of the door retaining catch and admire the days progress

Day seven, Sunday and the final day for this update, the boards for the north west corner of the van were offered up drilled and bolted into position

My attention was once again on my container, manufacturing a number of metallic items, namely; Over door rain strip, Lower door retaining eyes, Lower door edge trim and a replacement side repair plate. These were cut, shaped, drilled and primered.

Eddie continued with the refresh of the Medfit and this looks superb once again.

Dave turned to internal trim fitment, both on the van and the container. Re-used items from other areas were trimmed and fitted.

Once the primer was dried I fitted my manufactured items.

That completes this weeks bumper edition. A Brake van painted, I container structurally sound and a van with all but two doors replaced, that’ll be next weekends task.

I’m now going to have a week at work for a rest.

08/09/20 – Sealing it in (or out)

Welcome to another QWW update, I’m giving Matt a rest this week by wriitng the update. With Nick, Dave, Jake, Matt, myself and Eddy on-site this weekend; we’ve made more progress on B786181, Matt’s been working on his container and we’ve made some progress with the Hydrovane.

The groups main focus was B786181, where after replacing the doors last weekend, we concentrated on replacing the side sheets on the dock side. Nick began by splitting the nuts and bolts to release the existing side sheets. Dave, assisted by Eireni, who had joined us on Saturday, and Jake overhauled a 18″ vacuum cylinder, making it ready for B786181.

The side sheets of the van were released and pushed out to ground level, Jake scraped and painted the metal work into red oxide. Dave and I cut out the new side sheets and painted them with wood primer before they were fitted in the van.

Matt concentrated on his container, and began by applying filler to the various holes in the skin. Later assisted by Eireni, he spent the rest of the day sanding all exterior parts of the container.

The side sheets required some fettling with the power plane (remember: Measure twice, cut once!). Thankfully the fettling was to make the boards smaller. Sealant was applied to the metal work, and the boards offered in, and bolted up. Dave and I began tinkering with the Hydrovane in the attempt to get it running again, after an abortive attempt last week.

Matt spent Sunday re-rivetting his container, beginning on the roof.

Nick, Jake, Dave and I concentrated changing the other side sheets on the dock side of the van.

In between side sheeting, Dave and I got the Hydrovane running, but needs a bit of tweaking to get the timing right. Eddy spent the weekend applying more bitumen paint to the interior of the 2 Medfits the south headstock of B458484 and applied another coat to our shed.

Matt has made an excellent start on rivetting his container, roof sheets now all sit down again, and the doors are no longer flapping about in 3 parts.

That concludes this week’s update. Matt and Dave are undertaking some mid week work next week, so next weeks update will be a bumper edition.

31/08/20 – Bank Holiday, Doors & Floors

Again we begin on a Friday with Nick, lubricating the brake rigging and bitumining the top of the frames of B786181. I then arrived a little later to apply some period appropriate labels to Madges barrels.

On to Saturday with Nick, Jake, Dave, Eddie and I on site and fitment of the floor to B786181. This being drilled and bolted down.

Eddie continuing his sterling work on the underframe scrape down.
With the floor complete we moved to painting the roof sheet whilst Nick removed the remains of the East side door.

Lucky the roof paint was complete before the heavens opened. With the rain putting pause to exterior work we moved into the CCT to rearrange some of the stored items to make space for those which have found there way into my Container. This is to allow work to begin, which started with the removal of the workbench and straightening of the East side which had in its previous lives attained a number of dents.

Onto Sunday, attention was on manufacturing a new set of doors. As a means of increasing longevity, we have designed our own style of doors for vans. This is in an effort to eliminate water traps. So looking at our doors from the exterior they are a single sheet of ply.

Whilst Nick and Ross manufactured the doors, Jake cleaned up and Red Oxided the door furniture.

Jake and I moved on to one final task for B461074, this being to replace a number of rotten planks. 9 to be precise.

With the main structure of B786181’s new doors complete the door furniture was added, with the ply under each being initially primed underneath before fitment.

Doors fitted, the first layer of primer was applied to the doors front, back and edges.

This is the first time for quite some time that the van has had 4 doors, roof and a solid floor.

Monday and it’s my Container that takes the limelight, Nick and I continued with the dent removal. Using a combination of jacks, crowbars, heat and sledge hammers. The structure of the Container is now looking a lot better.

I then set about removing all of the bolts and additional items such as the racking and workbench added post BR.

Also with us today was Eireni who manufactured new label clip bases and sacrificial door protector strips that will be fitted at a later date.

While we worked on the Container Ross looked into the Hydrovane to see if he could get it going. Main effort being rebuilding the fuel pump. Still a few options to look at for him, but we are a step closer.

One item missing from the Container was a lashing ring, with a suitable spare found in stock, this was duly fitted, bolts trimmed and nuts peaned.

Back inside, once swept and hovered, the rear wall ply was removed as well as a small portion of the west side. This as to facilitate further dent removal and to assist in repairing the rear wall.

That concludes this Bank Holiday update, with a straighter Container and a secure box van. More as always next week.

23/08/20 – Time to cover up

It’s been awhile since I have compiled an update, and I shall begin with some admin. You may remember whilst I was on holiday Tom Ingall was on site. He has completed a short clip and this has been posted on the GCR official Youtube channel, taking a brief look at the work we do.

Unusually we begin on Friday, with Nick and Dave beginning work in earnest on B786181. Both were on site cutting the redundant bolts, removing the loose paint and rust from the roof hoops, previous roof remains and the noggins.

Bitumen was then applied to the cleaned up areas.

Dave could only stay for the morning and Nick was joined by Matt in the afternoon. Matt continued cleaning and scraping the iron work on the inside of the van adding bitumen.

The backs of the Noggin retainers and end roof hoops were also scraped and bitumened, ready for the weekend.

Saturday arrives, along with the rest of the team. Nick, Jake, Dave, Matt, Ross and Eddy all on site. The main focus was to cut the new plywood sheets for the roof, fix them down and paint the upper surface in black bitumen paint. As we haven’t currently found a source for a like for like replacement of the full size sheet (17ft6in x 8ft8in and 3/8 – 1/2in thickness), we use 10ft x 5ft x 1/2in sheets cut to width and jointed together with the strips of offcut material.

Once the boards were cut, they were lifted on to the roof, positioned and clamped into place. Matt drilled from inside the van through the roof support hoops, and bolts where pushed through from the top. Whilst we were doing this, Eddy continued his work scraping the headstocks and solebars of the van, preparing them for paint. He’s making a fabulous job of cleaning thes down, and as such they should paint up a treat!

The weather was as changeable as ever, and it wasn’t long until a downpour occured. Our plan was to get the roof painted in bituminous paint to give it a bit of waterproofing as a sort of secondary protection, so the rain nearly affected that. With a sufficient break in the shower as a team we got the boards painted.

With the roof painted, we cleared up and moved onto Sunday. Sundays first job was to pick up a roof sheet from Rothley, which gave us a chance to look on 2 of Nick’s other vehicles, both being worked on by other parties. 3436 has been taken on by Swithland Wagon Group, and has been moved to Rothley for better access. B954546 is coming on leaps and bounds, and has been moved inside the shed to allow painting to progress.

With the sheet in Nick’s van, we headed back to Quorn to cut the sheet down for use on the van roof.

The cut to size sheet was lifted onto the van roof, positioned and fixed down at one end using the roof end clamping strip. the roof was then rolled out, keeping tension and fixed to either side using stainless steel staples. When we got to the other end that too was fixed down with the roof end clamping strip.

With the roof sheet trimmed and tidied, Nick and Jake refitted the ‘noggins’ above the doors, ready to make some new doors in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, that is were we leave progress this weekend. The weather halted our plans to paint the roof covering a more suitable black colour, again using our favourite bituminous black paint. This will be tackled next week, along with fitting the van with its new floor. Join us then, won’t you?

16/08/20 – A “Pooley” chosen livery

Final push for Medfit 461074 as Dave and I apply the livery details. First application of black panels on the right hand end of each side.

I began by chalking and then applying the details on the left hand end of the vehicle.

Whilst Dave and I attended to the Medfit, Nick began 786181‘s restoration. First task for this vehicle to remove the rust from the top of the underframe and clean up and inspect the brake rigging.

As I continued signwriting awaiting for the black to dry dave painted the white and red details, hand brake ends, lamp irons and swan necks.

Once dry Dave chalked the right hand details in preparation for me to signwrite

Whilst I applied the lettering Dave painted the chalkboards, including undercoat and top coat to the one manufactured last weekend. During application and because of the rain a makeshift rain cover was required.

Sign writing continued on to Sunday with the right hand end of the east side, including the need for the rain shelter again.

Ross applied the final touches to the Medfit, these being the Wagon Label Clip with Block and the Vacuum release cord. The bolts were cut down a little later.

Eddie was on site, focusing on the all important task of keeping the site clean and tidy, he also continued with scraping down 786181’s sole bar.

Attention then turned back to the Mineral and a defective buffer. Mineral wagons have handed buffers unfortunatly we only have a right hand spare, as you look at the vehicle, until such time as a correct 2ft lefthand buffer can be sourced or the removed one repaired. We have elected to place the spare on upside down. This was an acceptable BR approach and allows the vehicle to operate.

The new buffer was then given a coat of bitumen before the heavens opened.

That completes another vehicle, although we do still have some planks to change and the inside faces to paint but aesthetically it can join the Mineral and its sister, taking pride of place on the turntable, for now at least.

We have chosen the livery of Henry Pooley & Son Limited. Renown for weighing equipment, from small platform scales to large locomotive sized weigh bridges. The company had a reasonable fleet of vehicles and the Medfit was a common vehicle type. 461074 is not a genuine Pooley vehicle but we thought the livery would make a nice addition to our fleet.

Finally, Dave has refreshed his stock of books, so if anyone would like to purchase a copy they are available direct from him.
Please visit for further details and a chance to own this excellent book which details Dave’s experiences as part of the Department of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering and working on BRs test vehicle fleet.

RVT pic for QWW -v3

09/08/20 – Mineral done, Medfit next

Two groups in action Saturday, Dave and I on the Mineral and Nick and Jake on the Medfit.  

The Mineral sees the detailing being applied, first being the application of the door stripes.  Positions were measured and masking applied, masking was also applied for the brake change over indicator, data panel, and Vacuum brake square.

I of cause began the lettering application whilst Dave applied the white to the masked areas.

Nick and Jake, having scraped down the Medfit and applied Red Oxide to the bare metal areas followed up with a layer of undercoat.

Dave also applied gloss to the top surfaces and behind each door of the Mineral.

With the lettering complete, Dave masked off and applied the boxes that enclose the vehicle details.

With the undercoat dry, Jake then applied the gloss coat with Nick following with brush in hand.

We were also joined Saturday by BBC Journalist and fellow Railway enthusiast Tom Ingall, he was on site finding out about us and our fleet, more on this however in the future.

All that is left to do is admire the now completed Mineral Wagon.  We have gone for the post-1964 BR scheme to separate our mineral from those of the Windcutter groups, who carry pre-1964 livery.

On to Sunday and the Mineral was moved up to the turntable to take pride of place.

Nick and Daves attention turned to the Medfit scraping down the underframe in preparation for paint.

I started with a bit more signwriting.  Applying lettering to the door sign made last week, which received a coat of Oxford Blue Saturday and completion of a Headboard for the GCR.

I also, between periods of awaiting paint to dry, manufactured and primed a new chalkboard for the Medfit

With the door sign completed it was fitted to the Shed

All attention then turned to painting the Medfits underframe.

So that leaves us in a similar place to last weekend, although this time its a Medfit not a Mineral.

Last item, Ross is away in Greece and sends some snaps.  He even found an Ice Blue urn.

02/08/20 – All about the Mineral

Our focus for this weekend was B550356 our own 16T Mineral Wagon, the first such wagon on the preserved GCR, arriving over 2 years before the formation of the Windcutter group.

Preparing the body for paint was the task in hand with Nick, Jake, Dave and I scrapping, sanding and chipping.

The loose material was then blown down,  inside and out.

Any areas taken down to bare metal was then given a coat of Red Oxide Primer

Eddie was also on site and gave our new “Site Office” a spruce up.

For the shed I cut and shaped a door sign, in the style of a BR enamel sign which I then applied a coat of wood primer too.

Whilst I was making the sign, Nick and Jake adjusted the Minerals brakes. taking up the slack caused by brake block ware.

On to Sunday and Jake assuming command of the spray guns,  whilst thinning the paint Dave applied undercoat to the top of the vehicle and under the doors.20200802_093250

With the tower built Jake began applying the undercoat.  Still grey at the moment but this isn’t to much of an issue.  Dave following Jake with a brush touching up any areas missed by the Gun.

Whilst the undercoat was being applied I continued with making the Fish & Chip train headboard for the GCR,  this has been sat at Rothley for 4 months over the lock down and was retrieved last weekend by Nick so I could progress it.  The shed door sign was also undercoated.

With the undercoat complete,  we admire the familiar site of a Grey Mineral wagon.

Eddie and Harry on site as well, having brought some boxes they had wrapped in the week, they reapplied bitumen to the inside of E280364.

With the warm weather the undercoat was dry in no time and the Gloss was then applied, of cause our usual shade of Bauxite was the top coat of choice and Dave chasing Jake with brush in hand.

With the Gloss hardening off,  we made a quick clean up of the underframe and applied a further colour for the day.  Black Bitumen,  Jake again spraying the sides whilst Dave and I followed with Brushes.

It was at this point Nick arrived from Rothley having been assisting Jamie with further welding on “the yellow coach” this completes this task,  but there is still a long way to go with this vehicle.

With the really good weather we were able to add some of the finishing details. Swan necks, Lamp Irons, brake handles and brake change over levers.

That concludes this weekends update with the rare sight of a bauxite Mineral Wagon on the GCR,  as always more next week.

26/07/20 – One more in the mix

First thing to deal with is the arrival of box van, B786181. Thanks are due to East Midlands Railway for their very kind donation of this vehicle from their Neville Hill depot. It touched GCR metals on Wednesday 22nd July and was shunted into the dock road for our further attention. 

On Friday Dave and Matt had got Madge set up in position for the goods display set up in the yard for interest when the the railway reopened on Saturday.

First things first, with no door on the ‘new’ van, and a very spongy floor it was decided to remove the ‘floor’ to make it obvious to any one that the floor wasn’t one.

Matt got stuck into the Mineral using a new toy to rivet the repair plates he’d prepared last week to the body. Dave, Nick, Jake and I concentrated on replacing the vacuum cylinder under the Medfit. The wagon was pushed into position and the Volvo used to remove the current cylinder from the wagon, which was replaced with one Nick and I had overhauled last week. We also built a shed which would have otherwise been burnt, and attached a sign that Matt had signwritten and stored in the GUV.

In between downpours the cylinder had the release valve fitted and was piped up to train pipe. The test set was extracted and used to leak test the installation, and then apply and release the cylinder repeatedly. The wagon was then pushed down and the brakes were applied for one final time to see how long they would hold. Eddie and Harry continued prepping this wagon for paint by removing the algae/verdigree from the wagons, and continuing to scrape the body.

Rain had stopped play on the Mineral for Matt, so we pushed that down to changed the 15″ cylinder with another one Nick and I had overhauled. The cylinder got re-hung but we weren’t able to finish connecting it up.

Onto Sunday morning, and a swift, well aimed kick at the Medfit proves the brakes are still holding which means they’ve held for more than 12 hours (they went on to hold for over 24 hours). Nick had gone to Rothley to assist Jamie with further welding on the Yellow Coach. I popped to Quorn to let Dave in and then hung around to help him finish connecting up the mineral’s cylinder. With Matt having arrived, I went to Rothley to continue my efforts wiring the Yellow Coach, assisted by Jake. I estimate there’s half a day left underneath the coach before I move inside the coach to continue in there.

Back at Quorn, Dave and Matt continued working on the mineral wagon, fibreglassing holes in the bodywork and painting the remained interior with Black bitumen. The vacuum system was also tested to prove the overhaul and the modification. Both the leak test and application test passed which means the vacuum system requires no further work.

Nick, Jake and I returned from Rothley and spent a little time on the new arrival, seeing if the buffers could be jacked out. When OLEO buffers are left compressed, they can stick it which is what had happened with all four on this van. Thankfully, with some persuasion, all four buffers extended back out. We shall monitor these for the time being to check they will work as expected. With the Vacuum test set still out we tried the brakes on the new van. Much to everyone’s surprise a vacuum of 20in Hg was achieved and the brakes applied. The cylinder applied, but the subsequent release was hampered the dry brake rigging and the cylinder itself. The brakes were persuaded to be released and the van shuffled down, with the Mineral and the Medfit put away on top. That finishes up this weekend’s work. The team will be back next week, prepping both the Mineral and Medfit for paint.