News and Updates

25/07/21 – Ferry much done

First of all we would like to advertise the GCRs β€œRailways at Work” gala. This will see a large proportion of our fleet in operation. Recreating the once daily activities of the railways. Our road fleet will also see extensive use, centred around Quorn Yard, moving goods in and out of the village and on and off trains. Join us on the 14th & 15th August. We will also be opening Test Car 2.

We shall also have available from Railways at Work our Test Car 2 information booklets as well as out new stock book. The stock book details our entire fleet as of July 2021 and includes space to annotate when you have seen a particular vehicle. Come and see us at the Test Car or send us a message on this site or our Facebook page.

So this update begins on Friday, with myself popping in after work to chalk up the west side of the Ferry Tank. All lettering apart from the Traffic Services Ltd was chalked. Boxes lines and stars were then masked and applied. All in readiness for the last push.

Saturday, Dave and I once again signwriting.
Not more can be said that a full day on the brushes for us both

The rest of the team comprising of Nick, Ross and Richard focused on the Palshock roof.

Roof hoops and years of continual re-felting removed. Up to 5 layers in one place. This however has left the roof in remarkable condition.

During its time as a grounded van the roof was extended. Again this has preserved the body however it is out of gauge to operate on the railway.
It has been trimmed to its correct width with lath strips applied to receive a new roof sheet.

Ross also applied orange paint to the Living vans new conduits.

Richard fitted label clips to the ferry tank and also cleaned the Palshocks roof hoops for refitting.

On to Sunday and a marathon for me and Dave. As the Ferry Tank travelled on the continent the usual contact information for the vehicle owner/user is not only in English but French and German. This was a full day for us and Dave will be popping in to complete β€œhis” end Monday.

Nick and Jake attended to the re-sheeting of the Palshocks roof. Occasional assistance from Ross, first task was to cut a suitably sized portion from our sheeting material, which was collected from Quorn.

Sheet was pulled, tensioned and stapled into position. The roof hoops were then fitted completing the re-sheeting.

Ross fitted the conduit and socket which will allow the living van to be powered from the Test Car.

Jake then took some time to lubricate the Ferry Tanks brake rigging.

Finally lamp irons fitted to the Palshock and the roof hoops trimmed to the now in gauge width.

A new label clip fitted

That wraps up another week. Tank with one last bit to complete and the Palshock coming together. As always, join us next week

18/07/21 – Scarabs, Signwriting and Sorting

Matt starts this weekend on Friday by starting chalking up the Ferry Tank. There’s a lot on this wagon with all its continental markings, so Matt and Dave have their work cut out! Some other news, Jamie and Pat welded the body of the Palshocvan to the donor chassis, so this is now one piece.

The team were at Quorn on Saturday, tidying up the yard in preparation for the Living Van‘s return. Dave, Matt and Jack spent some time on Madge, getting her ready for a photo charter. There’s more work required in the future, but for now Madge is running better.

Once I’d fixed our power cable, the rest of us tidied the yard and removed the remnants of the now redundant gate and fence up to the turntable. This opens up the area, making it easier for all persons to manoeuvre.

Sunday saw us back at Rothley, Dave and Matt signwriting one side of the Ferry Tank.

I worked on the coach, sorting out some tower bolts for the doors that won’t be used often. I also sorted out some rigid conduit for the jumper cable from the Test Car. I’ve finalised the arrangement and painted into primer, so that will get top coated next week.

Richard and Jake painted some of the underframe of the tank, in behind the anchor plates that hold the barrel down. Richard then worked on some replacement wagon label clip backers for the tank.

Weather dependent, we’ll be back at Rothley next week to progress the Tank, the Palshocvan and the coach. I’ve some conduit to lay in and there’s the East side of the tank to signwrite. Join us then and see how we get on.

11/07/21 – Black and Blue

For the first time since April our focus has been upon a wagon. The wagon in question Ferry Tank 500817.

With last week’s under coat dried, black gloss was the order of the day. All hands on deck as Nick, Ross, Dave, Richard and I applied paint to the barrel.

This was followed by a final tidy and hoover of the sole bars.

Quickly followed by application of underframe black to the sole bars and head stocks

The plates manufactured were also fitted after a layer of gloss was applied to the interfaces.

Ross’s attention was diverted to the repair of the through air pipe. This had rotted through at the north end. New pipe was cut to length, threaded and fitted

Brake standard and hand rails were also painted. With the outer rail receiving white. Once dry the OFF lettering was picked out.

Vacuum swan necks were painted and new hoses and vacuum dummies fitted.

We also began the last body work task on the Living Van, the cleaning of the windows.

Our Palvan Shock has also arrived from Loughborough for welding to the donor chassis.

On to Sunday, with the tank once again taking the focus. Richard and Jake continuing with the gloss and underframe black.

Dave looked at the cat walks. Fitting the previously manufactured walkways with J bolts. This replaces the prototypical wooden planks which are just a rot trap.

Speaking of wooden planks however, Nick trimmed, drilled fitted and primed new step boards.

Ross continued his through air pipe repairs replacing rotten pipe at the southend of the vehicle.

My focus was on the continuation of the window tidy. Even Michelle, the wife, lent a hand.

I did take a break to paint the air cocks and hose ends.

In to the afternoon Ross assisted with the final push on the windows and Dave applied Gloss to the ladders and assisted Jake and Richard

Nick also refitted the couplings

That leaves us with the Mess Van ready to return to Quorn and sign writing and some small details to complete the tank.

Next week however we are returning to Quorn as we need to prepare for the coaches arrival / our return. Our Scarab also requires a service as we near the Railways at Work gala. Of course, as always, we’ll keep you up-to-date next week.

04/07/21 – BCKomplete

Last week, we left you with a coach that was cosmetically and bodily repaired and repainted, leaving just the varnishing to go. Before I get onto the varnishing though, I need to mention some work Matt and Dave did for the wagon group at Chasewater. Their group has been working on a VEA van, much similar to our own 230097 (B784409), and asked Matt and Dave if they’d signwrite the van into an early Railfreight Livery. Dave did 2 days (Wed/Thurs) and Matt just Thursday. The van really looks excellent, and Matt and Dave enjoyed themselves. Matt also enjoying seeing an original Master Cutler headboard!

Onto the weekend and working on both the Living Van and the Ferry Tank. The team began on Saturday by wiping down the coach. Richard and Jake then moved onto applying undercoat to the tank barrel and bodywork. Unfortuantely a bit of a patchwork as we didn’t seem to have enough grey undercoat to finish the tank. The gloss black will cover all the same though.

While Richard and Jake attended to the tank, Matt and I covered the coach in a coat of varnish. Its the first time that either of us had varnished anything, so we took our time to ensure we got a good finish. Following Jamie’s advice we went down each side; first person focusing on the panels themselves and the other on the intricate and tricky details on the coach like the bump stops and window frames. Matt and I flipped a coin for it, and I drew the short straw of having the panels.

Taking our time, we got the west side completed and up to the guard’s door on the east side where we had to stop. This task was continued by Dave and I today. Between us we did the final section of bodyside and both ends of the coach, complete the repaint. There’s a few items still to sort out on the coach, but these can be done anywhere.

Richard and Nick concentrated on the tank wagon again, this time getting black gloss around the tank filler and other accoutrements on top of the barrel. Once we’d done with the coach, Dave joined the work on the tank.

I had other duties, in my capacity as our resident sewing expert (not a huge accolade for us really, just means I have and can drive a sewing machine!) I was roped in to help Matt make something for work. Answers on a postcard for what said item is…

Matt was only around until dinner due to a prior engagement, but came to complete his homework for work. He also popped in at Quorn and popped a lock on the new gate by the signal box, which was pre-agreed with the Ops Manager.

That about concludes the work this week. All that left on the coach is to clean the windows and give the roof a wash, and the tank to continue painting. Both of these and probably much more will be tackled next week, join us then!

27/06/21 – Dots and Crosses

This weekend sees us applying the final details to SC21202, The proverbial doting of the i’s and crossing of the t’s. The east side of the bogies receiving final tidy and paint application.

I attended to the door edges and shuts applying the lining and touching up runs and bleeds.

This was followed by applying black to the door bump stops.

Ross took some time to look at assembling some conduit for the inter-vehicle jumper which will connect to Test Car 2. This will allow the Mess Van to be powered by the Test Cars generator.

Final items on the Mess Van for Saturday was the application of the wheel profile marking to the South bogie west side.

We then all moved over to 500817, carrying out the final few areas of scrapping and preperation.

I manufactured two replacement plates for the number panels, the need for these is quite evident from the below images.

The number plates were also given a coat of primer.

On to Sunday with all hands scraping the outstanding trussing and bogie areas requiring paint.

This was followed by final prep and blow down of the ferry tank and with all the dirty work completed Ross and Dave applied black to coach.

Whilst Nick and I applying primer to the tank.

To finish up Dave applied red to the Distributor Isolator and brake cylinder test point. As well as the East side wheel profile marking.

So that wraps up another update from us. It’s not long now until we complete the mess van and tank this will see us return to Quorn were we already have the Bogie Bolster waiting patiently for us.

As always more next week.

20/06/21 – The Final Furlong

Yet again the end of another week and another update from us. This week starts with some Friday work from Dave. The battery box doors got a coat of gloss. The gas boxes and their lids and some underframe parts got a coat of undercoat. Dave removed the guard’s desk to paint the back of it into primer for an eventual coat of black, similar to the boards in the bedroom and mess area.

Dave wasn’t with us on Saturday, but the rest of the team were in attendance, sorting out small details on the coach pushing us ever closer to the finish line. Nick, Richard and Matt went round the coach and painted a first coat in the blue round the door jambs and shuts.

Richard applied black gloss to the areas undercoated by Dave on Friday.

I concentrated on the Shore Supply inlet and the eventual Jumper cable to enable us to feed the coach power from the Test Car’s Generator. These got a clean down and a coat of primer on Saturday.

I also removed the north end buckeye as it was deemed to be in excellent condition and replaced it with one in passable condition. The North End is rarely going to be coupled to anything and would just hang there in all weathers, so doing this has enabled to good buckeye to go into stock for the service stock.

Sunday was much of the same, Matt going round and applying grey to the door shuts, signwriting the OLE warning flashes and generally tidying up paint wise. Matt alos applied a first class totem and no smoking transfer to the bedroom window as these were missing.

I continued with the jumper plugs and shore supply inlet, applying a coat of undercoat and then orange top coat.

Nick sorted out a small issue with one of the door chains, then joined Jake and Dave with scraping the bogies.

Once scraped and hoovered, the bogies got a coat of black paint. Dave also picked out the details on the gas box door plate.

Next step is to apply a coat of varnish to the body work and finish the bogies on the east side. Hopefully both of these can be done next weekend. Join us then, and see if we manage it.

13/06/21 – Mid week blues, and greys

Its my turn to have a week off and what better way to spend it than applying a 56 year old livery to a 63 year old coach. So, as we are, squirreled away on 3 road in Rothley shed between various shades of Red/Maroon the canvas was ready.

First task on Monday was to measure the window positions, its safe to say there are some variation, I also had a go at using some of these new metric units. All measurements were taken from the gutter.

With the best fit worked out I masked off the outer perimeter of the grey panel including the lining.

The inner area of residual blue gloss was then keyed and 2 coats of white applied.

The area above the as built first class compartments was painted white up to the gutter line. This will act as an undercoat for the eventual yellow stripe.

On to Tuesday and a repeat of Mondays activity, although the east side receiving the treatment.

Whilst I was beavering away with the lining, Richard joined me and applied a second coat of grey to the south end vestibule door.

After the grey, Richard moved on to black applying it to the sole bar and the plywood panels manufactured Sunday.

As seen above, I also refitted the shore supply body side indicator light covers. These of course indicate when shore supply power is energised.

On to Wednesday, Richard and I once again on site. My first task was to mask the lining applied to the west side Monday. Once masked the excess paint was sanded and keyed.

The afternoon was then occupied with applying the first coat of BR Grey.

Richard continued with the black application, focusing on the east sole bar as well as the plywood panels, and assisting me with the odd request for assistance.

Thursday with Dave joining Richard and I. Dave focused on the second coat of grey to the west side.

Richard continuing with the Black following Dave and applying it to the Light boxes and foot steps.

Not only black for Richard, he got an opportunity with the grey and applied it to the North gangway door. As well as further black to the south gangway face plate and a touch of red to the brake pipes.

I began with masking the east side

Once fully masked and after a touch of sanding and keying Dave and I applied the east sides first coat of grey

Final task for Thursday was the removal of the west side masking tape.

With Friday sneaking up on me, I used it to apply the second coat of grey to the east side, followed by removal of the masking tape.

I then turned my attention back to the west side, masking up and applying the first class stripe.

Before we move onto the weekends activities we have some admin to take care of, this being some new additions to the fleet. 2 vans and a CCT, these being Palvan WGB 4042, Vanfit B765272 and CCT E94709.

So on to Saturday and well done for keeping with me thus far. Dave and I with a touch of sign writing. Beginning with chalking up and masking up.

Dave taking the lead with the sign writing on this one, applying the running numbers, Guards door, load marking and the No 1 wheel arrow. Regards the latter we have gone for the rarer legend without the word evenly.

I focused on the end south details which reflect the vehicles departmental condition.

The rest of the team were by no means idle.
Richard continuing with the black for the light boxes, steps, further coats to the ply wood panels, and other smaller details.

Ross also detailing west side handrails, door handles and hoses.

Nick with scraper in hand addressed the window slides, battery and gas box covers.

One item that was not sign written however was the depot allocation, this being an item we had available and being applied to our works vehicles receiving appropriate livery.

We completed Saturday by rolling the vehicle out of Rothley shed to bask in the sun for a short while.

Back in the shed for Sunday whilst I continued the sign writing, north end details, shore supply marking and depot allocation.

For the rest of the team further detailing.
Ross started with applying the first coat of yellow to the east side first class stripe. He then moved on to fitting the fridge flue and it’s cover.
This was followed by replacement of the shore supply socket as the previous one was on its last legs.

Jake looked at the small details handrails, door handles, areas above the light boxes.
He also applied primer and top coat to the drop light tops and further coats to the air hoses and north coach intermediate connector.

Richard again with the black. Second coating the light boxes, steps and first coat for the east side guards hand rails as well as assisting Jake with the door handles

Nick arriving a little later, primed and under coated the battery boxes prepared the day before.

I then applied the second coat of Yellow to the first Class stripe

Finally Ross fitted the ply wood panels to the inside of the bunk room and mess room windows, our intention was for them not to be noticeable unlike the painted windows they replace. Safe to say its worked

The reason for Nicks unusual arrival time was a trip to the Leighton Buzzard Railway, collecting another new arrival. A companion for our existing BRUTe. After a move to Quorn we unloaded it from the van and took a few moments to free off and lubricate the running gear.

We are on the look out for futher British Rail Universal Trolley equipment so if you have or know of any we would be happy to hear from you.

With that I shall wrap up this update and prepare for a rest at work. As always more next week.