News and Updates

29/03/18 Signwriting preparation

Hopefully if the weather does hold B850498 will have a gloss coat this weekend.
I have taken the time to prepare templates for the signwriting and will have them with me this weekend fingers crossed all goes well.

BR had set lettering sizes for vehicles.  On Goods stock this was:

3″ for Running Number
3 1/2″ for Running Number Prefix
2″ for Capacity, Tare and Wheelbase detail

The best reference is always images of stock you are doing or at least vehicles from the same batch and lot.  It so happens we have an image of B850333.

B850333 in 1957 ex works condition

Author: J.H. Russell
ISBN: 0860931552

This image shows the vehicle in ex works condition in 1957,  so fresh out the paint shop that the signwriters chalk marks are still visible.

In Photoshop I create a file that’s dimensions match precisely that of the vehicle I wish to sign write, with an image such as above and a little manipulation I can stretch and skew so the van side in the image is stored in digital form at full size.

With that image I can then manipulate the lettering and confirm the BR sizing was used, which was confirmed, I then overlay the lettering I wish to apply and in the relevant style, this is a mixture of hand drawn and scanned templates, Photoshop draw typefaces and system fonts.

With further research we know the vehicle was allocated to Bynea in Wales and that early BR vehicles allocated to the Western Region received GWR style lettering along with BR Style.

This results in the below image which details my proposed placing of letters on the vehicle.

Proposed lettering styles and layout

The areas of lettering can then be copied and saved as individual files although retaining there full sized dimensions and when printed create the templates.
Sole bar plates are also sign written and in the fullness of time maybe cast in house as we are currently looking into the process.
When I begin the signwriting I will detail how these templates are then transferred to the vehicle.


25/03/18 We have painted!

Welcome to this week’s update from Quorn Wagon and Wagon! The weather was excellent the weekend just past, so we managed to paint B850498, the first van to be painted this year. Looking back to last year, we painted B852838 into undercoat on the 2nd April, so we are one week ahead this year!

Warm sunny weather!

On Saturday, we finished preparing the wood work on the van while the temperature rose sufficiently to begin spraying. The wood was painted with wood primer, where special care was taken to sand down the temporary numbers so that they wouldn’t show through. The iron work was painted were is was bear with red oxide primer.

On Sunday, we went one step further and painted the van into undercoat. Sadly we must mourn the loss of our beloved compressor, Edward. This van proved too much and the motor burnt out!

Despite threats of the “Beast from the East 3.0”, we are hoping to paint the top coat next weekend, whilst the Railway’s Easter Vintage Festival is taking place. Thanks for reading!

18/03/19 Snow, Scraping and Sanding

A small update this week due to the weather. Last weekend, we had to turn the heater off in the yellow coach, this weekend we could have done with another!


This weekend has focussed on B850498 to ready this vehicle for paint. We started by stripping old layers of paint by using a heat gun, as was successful on B780282. the heat gun proved of limited success, due to the wind and the temperature, so we cracked out the gas blowtorch. The gas torch proved very successful if a little vicious especially near the new roof sheet.


Following the paint stripping, we sanded every panel using 40 grit paper. This cleared the small slivers of paint left during the stripping process and leaves a fairly even surface on the ply, ready to receive some primer when the weather is warmer. Unfortunately, we also killed our 2 sanders prepping this van, so the hunt begins for more!

A few small jobs were completed: Fitting wagon label clips and repainting the number after sanding, in order to abide by GCR rules. This has been stencilled under the chalkboard so that it won’t be seen when the van is painted up.

11/03/18 Shocking stencils

A little fragmented this weekend as we had a few distractions for members of the team,  Mothering Sunday, Scout activities, a Photocharter, but more importantly the first Swapmeet of the year.


B850498 now has the dummy shock gear attached permanently and once it was fitted the bare aluminium received a coat of bitumen


A requirement for vehicles on the GCR is to have their running number clearly visible on serviceable vehicles. A number of the P Way fleet had lost their numbers so it was decided to apply these.  Quite by chance, however, looking around the swapmeet we found an almost complete set of brass stencils these were put to work instantly.  Although not to BR standard each vehicle is clearly identifiable and full signwriting will be complete as each goes through restoration, more than likely next year.


04/03/18 Two become one

B850498 Shed 2

The big news this week,  with thanks to the locomotive department, B850498 is no longer a van body resting on a chassis it is one single 12T Boxvan.  The body and chassis were welded together in the week and unfortunately due to the weather has remained in the Loco shed awaiting return to Quorn.

With the van away we spent time cutting some felt pads for the imitation shock gear.  These are essential because the brackets are made from aluminium and the van has a steel solebar.  These materials although quite close on the galvanic scale are far enough apart to take steps to reduce corrosion.

We also took a trip to Loughborough to prepare the van sole bar for the permanent attachment of the imitation shock gear.  Both sides were scraped, rubbed down and painted in bitumen again as a measure to reduce corrosion.  We have not done the whole underframe as we usually spray the bodies first and there is a possibility of overspray.



Finally, for the theatrical van, we wrapped some more parcels as well as refreshing the wrappings over the newspapers.  This meant that for the first time since preservation our Newspaper Packing van (GUV) was used for packing newspapers.

25/02/18 Roof sheets to the wind…

At the tail end of last weekend, I mentioned that we had prepped a roof sheet ready for fitting onto B762855. As it was still very much frozen upon arrival at Quorn, we shunted the vans down so that we could get the scaffold tower round all side of the van and be on even(-ish) floor.

The Roof end hoops were stripped off, along with the old roof covering. The roof boards were scraped of roof adhesive and then brushed off all debris.

The new sheet, having been rolled up in the week, was hoisted up on the roof and rolled out and positioned. One end of the sheet was fixed to the van using one end hoop, and then tensioned north to south, and fixed in place with the next roof hoop.

The roof sheet was fixed along the side using stainless steel staples through the sheet and into the roof boards. The west side of the van (the side facing the running line/GUV and yellow coach) was positioned such that it could just be tucked up and fixed, which left the east side of the van with a huge curtain, as in the photo above. Curtainsides work for lorries, why not for box vans?

Today, the roof was painted black using black bitumenous paint and the leftover sheet on the sides were trimmed level with the frame of the van. Other tasks completed today was the scraping of B850498. It was hoped the van would have tripped to Loughborough in the week for the welding to be completed. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen so it is hoped that the van is moved to the loco shed this week.


18/02/18 Brakes, Brake Vans and Broken Floors

Quorn Wagon and Wagon have had a busy weekend, we have worked on B850498, B954268 and prep work has been started for B762855. The van train has also been de-branded following the 2 recent photo charters and the Winter Gala.

Matt in the distance removing branding posters from the van train.


As mentioned here previously, the donor chassis is that of a tank wagon. We know this was a saddle mounted tank wagon, built in 1942 for the Air Ministry. These had non-coacting push brakes. this means both sides can be applied independently of each other. Originally the push brake rods had wooden spacers, these were found to be rotten and could rotate and fall onto the railhead.

Push brake rods, modified to the BR style spacers.

The wood was removed and replaced with galvanised steel pipe, as was used by BR to repair these items.

It was decided to replace a single floorboard in the south end of this van. The old plank was removed and a suitable replacement found and cut to fit in the hole. The new plank was then dropped back into the hole, and the hole drilled for the bolt. Job done, you would think. Unfortunately, as with many jobs in preservation the 5-minute jobs often take much longer as was the case here. In the end, 5-floor planks were replaced in this van. Under some of the boards was found some pea gravel, evidently from its time as a grounded body at Swithland Sand and Gravel.

The imitation shock-gear the Matt has conjured up has now also been removed in anticipation of the vehicle moving to the loco shed at Loughborough for the completion of the body to chassis welding.

After the photo charter on 12th Feb, the van train was deposited back to us with B954268 as the brake van for the set. It was looking a bit worse for wear, with some planks under the East side ducket having rotted through, and a layer of green slime covering the north end of the vehicle. Whilst cleaning a step board was found to be rotten, and this was replaced too.

Matt has also spent some time tidying up the letters on the side of this van, which are currently stickers. If the resources can be found, it is hoped this van could be repainted this year, once B850498 and B854782 are completed.
In other news

Whilst having a hunt for props to fill the theatrical van, it was found the B762855 has a few holes in the roof. This occurs when the roofing felt has cracked, due temperature cycling hot and cold, and the flex that the vehicle is put under when running in the train. We have obtained another lorry sheet on site and spent this evening cleaning this down over the turntable pit, ready for next weekend, where it is intended for the roof covering to be replaced. Watch this space!

Thanks for reading!