News and Updates

Vehicle Profile #1 – Air Braked Steel High

While we aren’t able to get on site to take part in any work to give you any updates, I’d like to continue with some different content to keep people interested and give people something to interact with while we are socially distancing. These might take the form of a profile of a vehicle in the collection, describing its history; or sharing some British Transport Films that are favourites of the team. Please let us know if there is anything you’d like us to explore.
Tonight, I’ll start with E280364, our Air Braked LNER Steel High.
All-Steel Highfit wagon E280364
Type OHB
Diagram No. 194
Capacity 13 Tons
Wheelbase 10ft
Built 1947 in Darlington
During 1970 a total of 40 wagons of five types were modified by BR Western Region, for a trial of air-braked wagon operations with increased operating speeds between Oxford and Worcester.
The modifications that allowed the maximum operating speed to be increased from 45 to 60 mile/h included:-
Uprating the suspension leaf springs from 5-plate to 9-plate,
Converting from shoe type to BR long suspension links,
Installation of two-pipe auto-air brake equipment.
The wagons that were modified for the trial comprised:-
Twelve, 13T All-Steel Highfits (OHB)
Twelve, 12T Vanfits (VVB)
Seven, 12T Palvanfits (VPB)
Four, 22T TubeVB (STB)
Five, PlateVB (SPB)
The trials ran until 1972, following which all 40 wagons continued in service as part of the then growing fleet of air-brakes wagons.
The All-Steel Highfit wagons of which E280364 was one, continued in network service until the late 1970s. They were then transferred into departmental use for carrying spare parts between depots, the last being withdrawn in 1992.
E280364 which was built in Darlington in 1947, was rescued for preservation by Nick Tinsley in late October 1990 from Peterborough Wagon Shops, and is currently undergoing restoration by us. When we left site E280364 was sat in its bauxite gloss top coat, with the underframe having been sprayed. It awaits signwriting before this vehicle can be released to traffic.


22/03/20 – Patience pays off

With the current situation facing the world, and with the Test Car quite restrictive in the space, we decided to limit the numbers of the group on-site. Four is our decided maximum with all having to be key holders. We also limited one person per vehicle and they were separated to allow the minimum 2m social distance. The GCR was unfortunately closed and we shared the yard with a small number of the S&T department working around the box.

Every time we entered the vehicle it was disinfected, focussing on the high touch areas such as tabletops and doors.

With the good weather and the 3 wagons that have been waiting for over 10 months, out came the paint,  with the Air braked High, Vacuum High and Iron Ore Tippler each receiving Gloss applied by Ross and Jake.

I also applied Gloss to the Scarab flat trailer, namely BS381C 540 or more commonly know as BR Crimson

The rest of the team also painted the headstocks with bitumastic paint

I applied gloss black to the back of the trailer headboard and fixed the round plate to the rear of the trailer and began signwriting, first the 20mph limit. Then chalking up the rest.

As the light faded, one side and part of the head end was complete.

Returning on Sunday and the restrictions remaining in force Jake sprayed the underframes in Bitumin. Nick followed up with a brush reaching the areas missed by the gun.

I completed the Signwriting on the trailer and a few other areas were touched up thus completing the aesthetic overhaul. There are a few mechanical areas still requiring attention, namely the hand brake.

With work continuing on the underframes of the 3 wagons. I moved on to the Tippler applying the templates and chalking up. We also took the opportunity to recreate an image that was an inspiration to me when  I started signwriting.20200322_12182990483522_593832817882970_3781537087140921344_n

So at the end of the weekend, we have the large majority of the Iron Ore tippler complete, just a few remaining details, and the two highs in Bauxite and underframes complete.

We continue to keep our ear to the ground regards the pandemic and we shall see what happens next weekend.

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!)

08/03/20 – Tar and Bitumen

This update begins on Friday, with Dave and I visiting the Mountsorrel Railway to complete their tar tank in preparation for Goods Galore. The west side was chalked up, lettering outlined and then filled.  The tank end numbers were also added completing the vehicle.


Saturday back at Quorn and the “plan” was to undercoat the LNER highs, Vacuum and Air as well as Tippler.  Unfortunately, they were not ready for paint, prep was completed and bare metal spot primed.

With the reasonable weather, confidence was high until the compressor on the test car decided it didn’t want to work.  A compressor motor fault, whilst Ross diagnosed the fault Jack, and I with the help of Andrew Devine from the station prepped the Scammell flat for paint.

During the prep the original identification number was discovered 086256 02 and the main C section was red oxided

On to Sunday and the forecast not looking too good. Ross and I joined by Eireni applied bitumastic paint to the chassis, wheels, and coupling of the Scammell trailer.

I took a risk and decided to undercoat the main C sections of the trailer and luckily it paid off as it had dried sufficiently before the rain came down.  The mudguards were also removed to allow painting and in preparation for cleaning next weekend.

The tailboard also received undercoat.20200307_124542

Nick and Eddie applied Bitumastic paint inside of the air-braked high and the vacuum-high was prepared and one side treated the same.

That completes this weekend’s update, and we continue to await better weather to progress the rail wagons.

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!

23/02/20 – Road trailer antics

This weekend we return to Quorn our focus being the Scammell Flatbed trailer. Before that, however, we had a trip to Loughborough on other business which gave opportunity to see the WH Smith signs previously signwritten.

Also further Goods Galore preparations with 10 more hessian sacks, these branded BOCM20200222_085024

The main task was to remove the dolly from the trailer.  It appears to have been quite some time since the two were separated.  The coupling arrangement is slightly different from the Scarabs with hooks over the guide wheels as opposed to a ratchet under the coupling.20200222_122250

Covers were removed and the cams that hold the securing hooks were found to be seized, a mixture of penetrant, hammers, and crowbars as well as cleaning out the old grease resulted in the hooks releasing there hold.

We also fitted a mudguard,  although the main wheels are not the originals fitting the guard has improved the appearance.

With the dolly removed the trailer is starting to look much better. The coupler lowered without a problem.  In the long term, the springs will need replacing.

On to Sunday and with the cams and locks on the dolly cleaned up the air piston was removed and an actuating lever fitted.  This allows manual decoupling of the dolly becoming a useful item for moving the trailers without having to always use the Scarab.

Next item on the agenda removal of the extended headstock. The box section bolted through the mainframe was first cut on the inner faces, followed by the outer then finally the top from a position of safety on the trailer. Under its own weight, it then lowered and with a little further persuasion, fell to the ground.

The bolts holding the rest of the box section was then removed and the form of the trailer admired.  The second mudguard was also fitted.

The rubber matting on the deck was then cut down and fitted under the U section of the trailer sides. Measurements have been taken for a wooden deck and a quote will be sought this coming week.

The end of the trailer was squared off and straightened up.  A suitable piece of timber cut to length, profiled and test fitted.

The pseudo carpenter happy with his work.20200223_163806

Once the fit was confirmed a layer of wood primer was applied.

Harry and Eddie continued to prep the Iron Ore Tippler for paint,  but the weather is, of course, preventing painting at this time.

The final image, one of the happy trailer owners.IMG-20200223-WA0000

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.