News and Updates

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.

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.

26/06/21 – 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!

19/09/21 – 99 with a flake(y paint job).

After many months at Rothley we have returned “home” to Quorn but before we get into the weekend some news from the week.

First B855667 left Rothley Thursday to join the tank wagon train as a barrier at the photochater organisers request. It will then join the van train taking it to our operational target of 17 vehicles but there are more to come, with remedial action required on a few especially those we did more than 4 years ago now.

The big news however is the arrival of 3711, rail vehicle number 99 for the fleet. This is a Hurst Nelson built 22T Class B Esso tank, similar to our Chas Roberts tank numbered 3436. It arrives to us from Meldon Quary. Once complete this will increase the Tanker train to a possible maximum of 9, this of course includes the tar tank on the Mountsorrel. This vehicle was subject to a number of posts on social media a few months ago and we were linked to them, to be honest when those posts were being forwarded to us, we had already sealed the deal and organised its arrival.

On to Saturday, the priority being getting the new arrival fit to move. First task freeing off all the brake rigging. Either by heat, brute force or disassembley.

Essentially with the brakes off the wheels then that is job done. But why do tomorrow what we can do today. so the next task the bearings. The west side was missing the bearing covers and we have seen images of the vehicle in 2006 in the same state.
We removed covers from one of our spare wheel sets. Nick cleaned the open bearings

Followed by purging and then filling all 4 axles with grease . This is the first cycle and after a shunt move in the week we shall look at the bearings again.

One thing that will need looking at in the near future is the vacuum system. Below is the top of one of the cylinders, it gets worse the lower down you go.

With Saturday a success in getting the vehicle movable Sunday was spent attempting to stop it.
Focus was on the North end axle. I looked at freeing off the brake shoes and replacing the cracked ones on the bow girders

Ross looked at freeing off the swing links supporting the bow girder fulcrums. Whist Nick and Richard cleaned the removed components

Nick and Richard also looked at freeing off the west side brake leaver. A slight twist causing it to wedge in the rack required some heat to straighten. With Ross reassembling the north end brake rigging

With the rigging around the north end axle freed we moved down to the cross shaft input this being another pair of swing links supporting a fulcrum for the north and south axles.
This was fully stripped including the thermally removed bolts that support the top of the assembly.

Nick then refitted the northend brake blocks

With just enough time to reassemble, this gives us 2/3 of brake rigging free and working. Although as this does not complete the system the south axle will require the same attention.

That completes this update, and as always join us next week as we continue with the brakes and hopefully 4 new items of interest.

12/09/21 – Short Report

We’ve not a lot to report this weekend, there was very few of us around on Saturday and the War Weekend was in full swing. Now that the Palshocvan is finished, we took Sunday to carry out some sorting of the van train and the CCT. The latter is mooted to be going to Rothley to have some work carried out for a return to traffic for use later in the year, so we spent some time clearing all the items we’d stored in there out. Some of the vans have seen some issues with the loads that we’ve become aware of. The most obvious was the VEB, which has seen some of the racking collapse, which we’ve cleared and then thrown out. We’ve sorted some of the theatrical loads out and re-distrubted them, and put our kegs if one of the theatrical vans.

We’ll be back at it again in full force next week where we’ll be starting work on the Bogie Bolster, join us then

05/09/21 – Biscuit Box Complete

This update begins with Dave poping in on Thursday to begin the east side signwriting. Running number, gross weight, tare, branding and wheelbase applied.

A full extended weekend for Dave as he was with the Test Car during the GCRs Diesel gala. Thank you for all that visited and more so to those who gave generously, your donations go towards the work we do on all of our fleet.

Don’t forget you can support us by purchasing a Stock book or Test Car booklet.
For more information please click the link below.
How to support us

On to Saturday and the final push for the Palvan Shock, Nick fitting the end chalkboards.

I completed the signwriting, including our rewheeling “plate”

Nick, Ross and Jake attended to the roof, this was primed with a suitable PVC primer followed by a layer of bitumen

Following the roof, they looked at a pair of buffers we had that required freeing off, these will go into our self-contained buffer supply as we have plans to reduce the number of oleos we have in service.

For me it was stripe time, I measured, masked, and applied the shock identification strips to each end and the east side.

The final task for Saturday was to fill a pair of holes with countersunk bolts and paint.

On to Sunday. With myself assisting Dave on the Test Car. Nick, Ross and Jake attending to the last items on the Palvan shock.

Roof hoops painted bauxite.

A complete annual exam. Lubrication and axle box exams.

This completes B855667 and will soon join the van train taking the rake to our working target of 17 vans. This however will not be the last van as we will be adding additional vehicles to the Mixed rake.

Last job for us at Rothley was drilling of the Mess Coach floor to fit the final cable run in to the distribution cabinet.

So that brings to an end out time at Rothley C&W as we return home to Quorn. Vehicle movements are scheduled after the upcoming War Weekend but next week will see us back at Quorn were the next project is waiting patiently for us. More as always next week.

30/08/21 – Painted Palshocvan

For our bank holiday, we’ve been concentrating our efforts on our Palshocvan, B855667. After last weekend’s work sanding and scraping the body, Dave popped in during the week to finish preparing the corrugated end panels.

Saturday saw the team start off at Quorn to prep the Test Car and yard area for the Diesel Gala, and the upcoming War Weekend. We’ve moved everything out of the way we can and tidied the Test Car a little, including moving some gauges around inside to fill some gaps in the slip end. Lunch was consumed at Rothley after the van was de-dusted and wood primer was brush painted to all the wooden panels on the Palshoc.

Sunday was more of the same, but involved a spraying a coat of undercoat all round the van, and then one coat of bauxite top coat, plus another gloss coat on each side as they suffer the effects of the weather the most.

Matt was signwriting Monday and managed to get one side completed with the shock stripes aswell. Richard and Nick brush painted the solebars, and I set up the spray gear again to cover the running gear (apart from the wheels) with a coat of underframe black.

I finished off some of the wiring I’d started on the Living Van, and repalced/supplemented the plastic cable ties utilised underneath for Stainless Steel alternatives. I also painted the handbrake ends and the swan necks white, this being vehicle having a vacuum through pipe only.

It’s the Diesel Gala next weekend, and Dave and some other team members will be there to open up Test Car 2. Come and see us in the Test Car, where you can purchase one of our Stockbook, our booklet on Test Car 2 or a copy of Dave’s book, Rail Vehicle Testing. The rest of the team will be wrapping up the work on the Palshocvan, with the other side still to be signwritten and the roof to paint. Join us next week and see how we get on.

22/08/21 – Back out and about

With last weekends excitement behind us, we would like to thank you all for those who made kind comments and supported the event, our aim was to do something a little different and I think we achieved that.

But as Ross stated last weekend, back to the grind and for Dave this was Tuesday. The repairs to the Palshock carried out the weekend before last to the east side were repeated on the west side. Dave removing the wooden fillets below the plywood sides cleaning out the rust, red oxided and rebuilt.

On to Saturday and with the world returning to a little normality we have started to venture out once again, first on the cards a journey to the standard gauge preservation pioneer, the Bluebell Railway. Following an invite from Laurie, the wagon divisions head to see there collection and facilities.

First a tour of the workshop which is a very impressive facility including a recent expansion. A number of project progressing inside.

Followed by a look at the operational wagon fleet and those awaiting there time in the works.

We also took a walk down the Branch towards Haywards Heath via Ardingly to the end of the existing trackbed.

We saw the two trains in operation and also picked up some buffers, mainly 2 full sets of self contained items as we look at alternatives to Oleos which at the moment are cost prohibitive to repair.

We extend our thanks to Laurie and the rest of the C&W team at the Bluebell for there hospitality. An example of cooperation and networking for the good of our interests within the preservation movement.

Sunday and back to normal. My first task to drill and fit bolts to the dummy shock gear cover, this represents the attachment points.

Dave looked at a few areas requiring rust removal and wood work repairs.

Nicks attention was on rust removal from our newly acquired self contained buffers. They now operate correctly with the expected resistance and this includes one that was partially compressed.

Dave and I then turned to preparation of the van for paint. Sanding and scraping. All body sides apart from the South end being completed.

One final task was the removal of the chassis owners plates for safe keeping.

A little further preparation and we shall soon be ready for paint. That concludes this update, and as is always the case, more next week.

15/08/21 – Railways at Work

Before we get to the gala, Thursday evening saw us take a part in a photo charter run by TimeLine Events in Quorn Yard, featuring the team and Madge and Wilbur plus our collection of goods and parcels. (first 3 images are courtesy of Phil Thorne.)

This weekend has been the Railway at Work gala, which has seen the debut of the Tank train featuring 6 tanks, plus a pick up goods and the van train. On the road vehicle side we’ve Madge, Wilbur plus some other visiting road vehicles incuding a coal lorry, a steam lorry, and a steam delivery van and an Austin delivery van. Dave and Richard also had Test Car 2 open to show people about the vehicle, what it used to do and the role of testing on the railways in general.

Using the large team of re-enactors and our collection of goods and those of the stations, we’ve had goods and parcels flying around the railway. Jame and pat have been using the 15t crane to make various items fly; including Jamie’s tractor, Danny the dumper and Matt’s Aluminium conatiner. The conatiner has been on the back of every lorry, plus the big and little Scammell trailer.

I think all that’s left to say is the team have had a brilliant weekend being part of the action, and we are really looking forward to make next years event even better. Thanks to everyone who made this happen, from the vehicle owners, the re-enactors, the ‘goods’ collectors and the plethora of GCR volunteers. Matt shall resume our normal service next week.

Photo credit: Brandon Morley.