News and Updates

09/05/21 – Tank Train Together

Last week, we started the long task of scraping the roof of the Yellow Coach, which we continue this weekend. Matt has also been continuing postering the bulk load boxes, with 73 currently sat in the van waiting. Eddie is also sourcing more, so we are well on our way to achieving our target of filling the van. (Of interest to some, it takes 314 boxes to fill the van with the size of box we’ve got!)

As aluded to above, this weekend our intended focus was the roof of the Yellow Coach, so scraping was continued. This took most of the team most of Saturday.

Dave, looking to expand his signwriting experience, assisted Jamie and Pat on their work on 1525 as both have been really helpful to us in our stint at Rothely. Dave signwrote the gas box lids, some of the solebar writing and ETH socket plates.

Sunday’s first task for me was to check the ropes and chains on the two containers at Quorn. The Van train is running in a couple of weekends time for crew refreshment, so it was necessary to check the ropes. These are purely for aesthetic purposes as the container is secured in the Medfit by other means.

Once I got to Rothley Dave, Nick and Jamie were prepping to shunt the yard, which culminated in the six finished tanks put together for the first time.

Four tanks have come down for their exam of which two require an axlebox exam and all bar one an inspection sheet. Four vacuum hoses were made up and fitted and the train pipe integrity checked.

Matt and I washed the two tanks completed by the Swithland Wagon Group and I then fitted a bung to the out feed pipe of the China Clay Slurry tank, which had a tap off to log the pressure of the liquid loaded. Matt also made spacers for the brake rigging on A6581, which has its wood removed, but nothing put back in its stead.

Last task for me was to start fitting the extra door lock to the Yellow Coach, as has been done to the Test Car. I sadly didn’t take any pictures of this, but fitting a Euro Cylinder into the door is a better and cleaner solution than a crude hasp and staple.

There is some more for me to do on the lock fitting next week, along with hopefully painting the roof of the coach. As always, join us then and see what we get up to!

03/05/21 – Scrape, Scrape the roof.

This Wednesday was a slightly altered HRA Awards. Due to the pandemic the awards were presented online. Unfortunately none of the top spots for us but it is still an achievement to be nominated for two categories.

Our congratulations go out to all the the winners and fellow nominees.

On to Saturday and the main focus being the East side of the Yellow/Grey/Mess coach

Dave made a start at removing the paint from the windows of the west side, we shall be manufacturing boards to fit behind the glass in these locations.

Whilst we were focusing on the coach Richard continued the preparation of the Ferry Tank

With the coach completed for the day Dave and I looked at the label clips on the tank. One had suffered quite bad with corrosion. This was removed and corrosion cut out.

The surfaces were prepared and primed, refitted and sealed

The BR style wagon labels were also removed as these are not prototypical for a Ferry tank in original condition.

With the grinder already out we shortened the platform bolts and profiled the angle iron fitted last week.

Jake also applied primer to the end platform

Sunday and Michael began by removing the rotten wood from the top of the tank, whilst Dave continued the removal of the window paint.

We then moved on to the task of preparing the roof of the mess coach for paint. Scraping, scraping and more scraping.

The scraping continued into Monday, and continued all day.

At the end of the day we had completed over 2/3 of the roof. So no prizes for guessing how we’ll be starting next weekend’s activities. As always we’ll let you know.

25/04/21 – Less and less Yellow

A bit of a quieter week for us this week, but no let up on progress. Before we got onto the weekend, we’ll cover a little bit of work done in the week. Eddie has been obtaining boxes by the car full. The recent batch are all the same size and shape, so we are making a bulk van load for Photo Charters/Galas. With the blessing of M Wright & Son, Matt has been applying a period appropriate branding to the boxes. From the ones done already, a van or trailer of these are just going to look brilliant.

This weekend we’ve been working on the Ferry Tank and the Yellow Coach. Dave and I concentrated on the Yellow Coach, sanding down the filler applied last week then patch priming any bare metal areas ready for undercoat. We are undercoating at this stage in the full knowledge that there is more filling and sanding to do. The one single colour of the undercoat will help us pick out and remaining defects in the bodywork, instead of struggling with the patchwork of multiple paint colours showing through.

The rest of the team concentrated on the Ferry Tank, with Richard (Nice to have you back!) and Michael scraping and sanding the barrel; ready for painting. Matt and Nick carried on removing the platform plates and preparing the end for the replacement arrangement. Last thing to do was etch prime the back of the new aluminium deck plate.

Sunday saw a coat of undercoat applied to the west side of the coach, the north end and half of the south end. Michael, Jake, Eireni and I did this. It is weird seeing the coach as a single colour, but we’ll get used to it I’m sure.

Matt and Nick re-assembled the platform end of the Ferry Tank, fitting a new deck plate, kick plate and refitting the hand rail. Michael initially continued sanding the tank, but this had to stop while we applied the paint.

Next steps for the coach is to clean, scrape and paint the roof, then paint the other side with another round of sanding and filling to follow. Work on the tank continues apace with more sanding and scraping and some work due on the catwalk on the tank top. We’ll be back, as always, next weekend!

18/04/21 – Frantic wagon restoration

As our last update stated from Monday we could return to normally scheduled activities. So a few of us decided to hit the ground running. If you follow the Rothley C&W facebook page you will have seen what we have been up too. Monday with Dave and I chalking up 3436.

Jake joining us and focusing on the details, those being the swan necks and air pipes, along with the axle boxes, brake levers and cast lettering.

I applied the OLE warning flashes refurbished way back on New Years day

Then I applied gloss white to the previously primed oval plates and also masked and painted the twin high speed traffic stars.

Then with mahl sticks in hand Dave and I began signwriting, Dave initially focussing on the sole bar details and the tank for me.

Dave also had a go at the west and north numbers as well as the yellow for the commuted charge symbols, broadening his signwriting abilities.

Whilst we focused on the tank the C&W team through piped our recently arrived chassis. As well as a few spots of welding and grinding the upper surfaces flush. More on this in future updates.

As well as work on the tank and chassis. Michael and Jake applied top coat Gloss and Bitumen to the Single Bolster, our apologies for not capturing any images of this.

On to Tuesday with the signwriting continuing. Dave completed the final sole bar “plate

I started by chalking up and applying the Esso lettering to the east plate.

With his signwriting confidence building I encouraged him to have a go at the main Esso company branding. Giving encouragement and advice when needed, certainly regards bigger being better, and we are talking brushes.

For me the focus was the remaining details. Axle cover lettering painted red, this is a prototypical alternative to the red stripe indicating bearing greasing requirements. Commuted charge details and OLE warning flash screws painted white.

Finally the west side Esso logo was applied. I gave my Tamiya curve tape a try, although its no replacement for traditional signwriting.

That completes 3436, signwriting one vehicle however was not enough and Dave also applied the markings to the Single Bolster, although missing the bolster we do have some future plans for this vehicle.

On to Wednesday morning and the GCR C&W team moving 3436 outside ready for us to begin our next tank DB998926.

We begin, scraping and sanding down the Creosote tank including its underframe.

Dave replaced a gate valve on the end of the tank with a blanking plate, this was fitted when the vehicle was in use as a water tank and of course not prototypical of the creosote tank it is. He then applied a coat of wood primer.

With the tank being rather small and in a reasonable condition, quick work was made of the preparation.

On to Thursday and after a quick blow down we spot primed the vehicle.

With the heating on and a quick drying primer we turned to applying undercoat to the vehicle.

To round off the week, black gloss was the order of the day for Friday.

So on to the weekend and a final push for the creosote tank. Dave and I once again mahl sticks in hand. Dave focusing on the west side and the east side for me.

Jake once again focusing on the details, fitting new vacuum hoses, painting swan necks, brake levers and cast lettering details.

With that, the second tank wagon for the week and number 6 for the tank wagon train complete.

The vehicle was then shunted out of the shed and joined its Esso counterpart whilst the Ferry Tank entered the shed.

Our full attention however turned to the Yellow Coach. Ross and Dave sanding down the filler applied many months ago.

Nick and I turned to the gangway ends. Riveting our repair plate above the North Gangway and reassembling.

We also fitted a inter vehicle connector, although this is not wired into the coach it replaces the departmental connector which will be moved to the South end to enable us to connect this vehicle with the Test Car at Quorn.

The vehicles examined last weekend and the Single Bolster were shunted away by the Ops department who also brought up from Swithland the Bogie Bolster D, requiring exam.

We also have a better view of the Chassis kindly through piped by Pat and Jamie, the C&W fitters.

With the sealer out Nick went around the coach sealing those areas requiring it whilst Ross and Dave began the second fill.

To wrap up the day we took a look at the sole bar lighting as a number of strips had failed

On to Sunday and we begin at Quorn, Eddie has been squirreling away boxes for us so we had to have a quick sort out of the theatrical vans, we seem to now have 3 of them. We consolidated all of the “parcels” into one van. We did however leave a trail as we chose to move the parcels with Danny our dumper.

This leaves us with a dedicated parcels van, a mixed merchandise van and a Animal feed van. We are now focusing on a bulk load, more on this in the future.

Back to Rothley and Ross and Dave continuing to sand the yellow coach,

Nick and Jake looked at the Bogie Bolster, carrying out its exam and a vacuum test. As expected some work to carry out on the braking system, but this will be when we move back to Quorn.

I carried out a repair to the South end of the yellow coach with a slight modification to move water away from the wooden gangway support as this coach will be stood in all weathers once back at Quorn. Nick also applied a mount for a socket which will connect the coach to the Test Car to enable us to power it from the Test Cars Generator.

After a sweep down Ross and Dave started coach fill number 3.

Nick and I them moved to the Ferry Tank and removed the handrail in preparation for replacing the floor which has become quite corroded. Nick also made a start at removing the floor rivets.

To top the week of, whilst Dave carried out some housekeeping Jake took the opportunity to rest after what has been a mammoth week of restoration.

3 vehicles out shopped and a further 2 worked on. Thankfully back to work for a rest and as always more next week.

11/04/21 – Wrapping up the mixed.

Saturday began with a spot of shunting, with the Ops Department sending a loco to move our completed wagons from Rothley to Swithland Sidings and replace them with others requiring exam from both Swithland and Quorn.

We also utilised the C&W shunter to move the Single Bolster out of the way, this is remaining at Rothley to complete its refresh.

Whilst the Ops Department shunted Swithland and Quorn, which included Michael who is leading the Bolsters refresh we turned attention to 3436 with its fine coating of dust.

We left this vehicle pre-lockdown in full black gloss awaiting signwriting.
Back in January we decided to cut some sections of old roof section to recreate the oval Esso plates. Over lockdown however, it came to light that the Swithland Wagon Group had a set manufactured. These were dropped off, although they had been made using the modern Esso logo. So we sanded the rear of each to bare aluminium to facilitate repainting.

Once back to bare aluminium one of the plates was offered to the vehicle and clamped into position. Blocks of wood placed under the plate to induce a curve.

Each clamp was positioned in such a way that to draw around it would place a mark in the correct place to line up with the attachment bracket on the tank.

These were then drilled at a smaller size than final and bolted up using smaller than final size bolts.

This confirmed the positioning of the holes, we then removed the plate and fitted it to the other side to confirm the alignment with the brackets on the other side. Thankfully they matched which allowed us to drill the other plate to the smaller size and once again each plate was bolted into position using the smaller sized bolts. These were then removed one by one, the holes opened up with a cone cutter and larger bolts including spring washers were fitted.

Finally, the plates was given a coat of etch primer.

By this time the Ferry tank along with some coaches requiring annual exam had been brought up from Loughborough and Quorn, this is in preparation for work next weekend after completion of the exam work and hopefully the Esso and Creosote tanks, these will be our focus from Monday as non essential volunteering may resume. With the shunt moving on to Swithland for collection of the final vehicles we turned to straightening the bent step mounts.

Whilst the centre road was empty it gave us opportunity to take a relatively clean shot of “The Yellow Coach”

To wrap up Saturday the next selection of wagons requiring exam arrived.

On to Sunday then, with the exam work starting on the Iron Ore Hopper, LNER Steel High, Shochood B and Medfit. Both Nick and Michael undertook the axle box exams on the Steel High and the Medfit, while Jake oiled the brake rigging.

I carried on warming parts of the Ferry Tank up to encourage some movement, this time on the south end coupling, a UIC screw coupling seized in its longest position. Unfortunately no amount of heat or penetrant was effective, so this will be left for another day. With the hot spanner in hand, I also removed some bolts from some plates bowed with rust to remove the plates and the old step bolts on the east side.

Dave and Matt inspected each of the 4 vehicles, and using Rothley’s Class 10, we checked the vacuum functionality on the 3 fitted vehicles. These have been overhauled recently so no issues were found. These 4 wagons are now back in traffic and can rejoin the mixed freight.

Vacuum Gauges in the resident Class 10.

To fill up the rest of the time, the team washed the Ferry tank before it enters the shed to remove the algae settled on the tank. The algae seems to only be removed by detergent, water and plenty of scrubbing. In doing this, some older details on the tank come to the surface as pictured below.

The team moved to Quorn around 1600 to move Madge’s trailers around and to start the Test Car’s generator and compressor to ensure these still function when we do finally get our sense of geography back. In striking up the compressor, we took the opportunity to put some air in the Volvo’s tyres.

Final point of order before I sign off this week, Dave has been refreshing the Test Car 2 Booklet. These are now on sale through Dave’s eBay page and on very kindly on West Hill Wagon Works’ website. The proceeds of any booklets purchased go toward the upkeep and maintenance of Test Car 2, and of course are very gratefully received.

Last thing for me to do is sign off. Non essential volunteering can recommence from tomorrow, so we’ll be back working on the tanks and Yellow Coach, join us next Sunday to see how far we get!

05/04/21 – Easter Brakes

This update begins on Friday with Nick, Ross and I on site. Continuing the mixed freight brake overhauls focusing on the Shock Hybar wagon which we started last weekend. Last week we discovered the cylinder in a very poor internal condition. Water had clearly gotten in and after a few conversations and a little investigation we have determined this is due to the vehicle having been coupled to the LNER Tube wagon. This vehicle is fitted with high level vacuum pipes, so out current theory is that due to the poor state of the hoses water has been able to enter the train pipe and has allowed moisture into the system.

First thing was to clean up the cylinder components and apply red oxide primer to the none sliding surfaces.

The cylinder was then reassembled with new seals and the release valve was also overhauled.

To facilitate the fitment of the cylinder the hand brake lever was then removed

With the cylinder installed, assembly of the components began, fitment of the overhauled release valve, release chord, piston rod, piston gaiter, and actuating arm attachment

This was followed by the refitting of the handbrake lever and door stop spring removed last weekend to drop the cylinder.

This completes the overhaul of the cylinder and the obligatory vacuum test was carried out. Operated a number of times, slow release test, test of the release valve and final application. The brake was applied at 16:30 and remained hard on when we left site at 19:00.

On to Saturday and the Shock Hybars brakes still applied, attention turned to the Pipe wagons cylinder and its associated components. These were removed, split and overhauled.

Once refitted the usual vacuum tests were carried out. These of course were successful and the brakes were left applied at 15:30.

Jakes attention was focused on the scraping down and application of fresh paint to allow those vehicles missing running numbers and weight details to be added.

Ross and I looked at the re-roping of the Shocks sheet.

Whilst Nick replaced, repaired or fitted label clips to the vehicles on site for routine maintenance

On to Sunday and the first job was to apply the running numbers, gross weights and tares missing from those wagons prepared Saturday. My brass stencils were used and these will fill the void until these vehicles run through our works for body overhaul.

Once these were applied we revisited the inspection sheets annotating repairs carried out and rechecking that we had completed all the required tasks before return to traffic. What was picked up was to re-secure the handrails on the coal hopper, straighten a bent securing pin ring and replace a missing brake handle pin.

Repairs made to the vacuum through pipe of the Coal Hopper was also painted.

We also looked at the weed killing tank fitted to the BR Tube. This was a stalled project that left us with a bright red tank inside our vehicle. We located a sheet, covered the tank and strapped it down.

One issue that observed was the rotten state of part of the floor. A temporary repair has been carried out, again until the vehicles return for future body work.

Once complete and also because we had my stencils out, we branded the sheet. We decided on our friends at the West Hill Wagon Works, they create various 3d printed products for your model railway needs and of course are one of our valued supporters.

Finally for Sunday, with the warm weather, the return of trains and groups of 6 allowed to meet outside, we allowed Jake and Michael to prepare, prime and undercoat the upper surfaces of the Single Bolster.

On to Monday, with Nick, Jake, Michael and I at Quorn continuing with a few out standing vehicles requiring routine maintenance. The usual inspection and oils being carried out. Bringing the Mineral, Iron Ore Tippler, Fish Van, Catfish, Salmon and Sturgeon back into traffic.

Step boards on the Catfish were also replaced and we took a look at the brakes of the New Chassis, Ferry Tank and Palbrick.

This concludes an unusual Easter bank holiday, things are sounding good for a little normality to return from the 12th we already have plans afoot but as always we keep an ear open for government guidance and direction from the GCR.

28/03/21 – Oiling and Overhauls

We’re back again for another weekend of maintenance, this time on a portion of the mixed freight set. Those being: B740654, B721587, B724570, E301588, B732357, E212315, B916549 and B425356. As per the preceding few weeks, the wagons received an axlebox exam and the brake gear oiled. Dave and I also inspected each vehicle, noting down items/issues as required.

The vehicles that we have been working on this weekend haven’t seen any vacuum attention for a while, so it was decided to test the vacuum and give the fitted vehicles a vacuum overhaul. The vacuum piped vehicles had their hoses changed as required and the vacuum hose & dummy seals replaced. I also replaced some vacuum branch pipes which had seen better days.

Given the new hoses and seals, we connected the exhauster plant up and tried to create a vacuum, which got got to 19 inHg at the other end of the consist. The vacuum was destroyed using the test cock and the brakes observed for any activity. Two vehicles passed the vacuum test, having just had their hoses replaced. These will of course be done when they come back to us for bodywork and painting. Of the other vehicles, three are piped (though one with an issue) and the other three had failed the test. The Pipe, Shock Hybar and LNER Tube will receive vacuum overhauls over the coming weeks.

Sunday saw us attempt the vacuum overhauls of the three failed vehicles, starting with the Shock HyBar. Our conclusion is that this vehicle is a right pain to remove the vacuum cylinder from, having to remove the door banger/stop and possbily the handbrake lever. After a considerable amount of faff, the cylinder was removed and taken apart for inspection and overhaul.

The Shock Hybar having taken longer than expected, we then took a look at the LNER Tube. This was somewhat easier to remove (although the hot spanner was required to undo the nuts) and was in remarkable condition when taken apart. The cylinder was cleaned out of the rolling ring dust and reassembled with new rolling ring and joint seals. Dave removed the release valve and overhauled that so it was ready to refit when the time came. Matt took away the piston rod and polished it.

The cylinder was re-assembled and it was put back under the wagon and tested. The re-fit was much easier than the removal!

With just the Tube connected to the exhauster, 21 inHg was achieved and exceeded with the rig, and the cylinder exercised a few times. The brakes applying and releasing just fine, a slow brake application was made and the brakes allowed to apply and sit. The brakes were applied around 1600 and were still on when we left Rothley at 1800, a good result as when initially tested yesterday the cylinder didn’t apply at all!

Next weekend is Easter weekend, and the vacuum overhauls will continue on the Pipe and the Shock Hybar and we will also look at the leaking trainpipe on the Coal Hopper. Join us then and see how we get on!

21/03/21 – Short & Sweet

A small update for this weekend, 5 vehicles dropped off at Rothley for us to attend to this being our 3 Rudds as well as 2 of our Grampus wagons.

With essential maintenance being the order of the day, Axle box exams, brake rigging oil and a general inspection.

The GCR have requested the air system of the Rudds be recommissioned. We are aware of pipe work missing from 2 of the vehicles and all other components were brought up to standard apart from the missing pipes this will be attented to by the GCRs C&W team in the week.

We are looking forward to a return to normal, expected date for this being the 12th April, we are keen to progress other projects and return to our pre lockdown productivity. Although vital there isn’t too much you can say about routine maintenance.

14/03/21 – Bearing up

Our second week back, and continuing with our routine maintenance regime. This weekend the gang has been at Quorn undertaking axle box exams and brake oiling on the van train, its brake vans and a few other vehicles. These vehicles being the 2 Catfish, which also had their doors oiled; the Fish Van, which just had its brake gear oiled as we ran out of the bearing oil; and the Iron Ore Tippler, which had its brake gear oiled. We were quite stuck in, so not so many pictures which makes this rather a short update.

Once work on the van train was completed, we took the opportunity to rebalance some of the loads in the van train including some of our parcels.

We’ll be back again next week, working back at Rothley on the Rudds and some of the Grampus wagons.

06/03/21 – Returning for Routine

As mentioned in last weeks feature we are back on site at Rothley this weekend.
Our focus for the coming weekends being the routine maintenance of our engineering fleet in support of the GCRs plans to resume passenger services.

Those who follow the GCR and Rothley C&W Facebook pages will be aware of the arrival at Rothley of our 8 Dogfish Ballast hoppers.

Nick, Ross, Dave, Jake and I on site, first task was to check the 32 axle boxes.

Also on the list of tasks was the oiling of brake rigging and the ballast door mechanisms.

All the loose/rotten foot boards were then removed.

Arears of bare metal on the step board supports were Red Oxided whilst Ross began the manufacturing of new steps.

A number of the supports were also straightened.

On to Sunday and the same team on site. Th manufacture of the 12 new step boards was completed, then they were painted in wood preserver and fitted.

We then inspected each vehicles condition. Focusing on the essentials for them to operate as intended.