News and Updates

22/11/20 – Happy 18th Jake

We begin with a statement, to clarity our access to the tops of vehicles such as roofs and tanks are via prebuilt staging or scaffolding , this is positioned both sides of a vehicle therefore reducing the distance if someone were to fall, this is compliant with the Working at Height Regulations 2005 and specifically relates to Article 6 Para 5. In addition we allocate a spotter to watch personnel to ensure they do not place themselves in a position of danger. Our images do not readily show these scaffolds and platforms in place as our focus is on the vehicle its self, and usually once the work has been carried out. We are more than happy to discuss our High Level Access Arrangements and share our Risk Assessments with anyone willing to openly discuss this with us.

So, once again we begin in the week, Thursday this time as I popped in to sign write B852838, lettering was applied to both sides were required.

Once complete, I woke Madge up and added a H to my trailer thanks to information provided by Peter Smeaton.

I also took the opportunity to line the trailers up for posterity.

On to Saturday and the main task being the removal of Jack’s tank from the tankflat. This is leaving to join our good friends at Up’ an’ at ’em History. This will become part of there bespoke World War I history sessions and events.

Ross and Eireni focused on Danny. Refitting the newly refirbished steering box and reassembling the vehicle. This was to allow a test of the fully rebuilt vehicle. The first movement by it’s self for over a year.

I continued on my trailer adding a number plate light. Whilst Dave and Jake rebutuimened the deck.

Most importantly however we celebrated Jake’s 18th Birthday with a specially baked cake. Happy Birthday Jake.

Back to Rothley Sunday. I continued on A4513 applying the Shell / BP lettering as well as the south end running number.

I also tidied up the sole bar plates and applied the Vacuum release stars to B954546.

Jake tidied up and repainted the springs and axle boxes of A4513

Nick and Eddie began to prepare B439708. Begining the process of removing loose paint, rust and other detritus.

That concludes this week’s update. More as always next week.

15/11/20 – Keeping busy

Yet another mid week start to an update, this time from me. I booked Wednesday afternoon off work with the intention of getting some paint on the bare areas on our Site Dumper, Danny. Eddie has been hard at work over the previous few weeks scraping and degreasing the dumper, in readiness for some paint. Given we are loosing weather for painting and starting to move to Rothley to work on the Yellow Coach for winter, something had to be done to protect the metalwork over the winter. I’ve applied a coat of etch primer to the area made bare on the dumper’s chassis by Eddie, and a coat on each of the removed body panels. I shall return later in the week to paint these up into an undercoat.

Another afternoon booked off work, this time Friday and some more time spent painting the dumper and its bodywork, this time into grey undercoat.

Saturday saw the team at Rothley, focusing on many vehicles. Currently A4513, B954546, B439708 and of course ADB977107 inhabit the shed, which gives us lots to focus on without getting wet in the lovely weather. Matt, Nick and Jake started by fitting a vacuum through pipe to A4513 which enables this vehicle to run in the railways freight trains. Once completed, Matt began by keying the top half of the wagon’s barrel ready for a top half repaint.

Dave and Eireni scraped the bottom parts of B954546 ready for a coat of paint to match the solebar. The roller bearing end caps got a coat of undercoat before their yellow gloss coat.

Jake and I concentrated on finishing the wire pulling on the Yellow Coach, with the last wires pulled into the Electrical cubicle, which finishes the underframe work. The two new junction boxes fitted to the underframe got wire labels applied to the wires and insulation resistance tested, all passed. I also checked the shore supply indicators fitted to the coach. These had briefly seen life but the lamps previously fitted had a short life and their blowing blew the fuse. New lamps fitted and a new fuse and the Bodyside Indicators glowed once more. Last thing I did was to make a new terminal board for the cubicle to terminate the new wires onto. Jake got quite distracted by a cake I’d baked for the team.

A new day dawns and Matt started applying a fresh gloss back coat to the top of the tank wagon. Dave was painting the rest of the freshly scraped brake van underframe. Paint was also applied to the roller bearing end caps (yellow gloss) and the brake van side steps (black gloss)

Nick and Jake removed a buffer from the tank wagon to try to locate a position to attach a wagon label clip to the tank wagon. This came to nought, so the buffer was reassembled. Eventually a home was found for these on the end grain of tank supporting wood. These may seem like little details, but these are used operationally to attach labels to if the vehicle requires works attention or has a defective hand brake, for example.

Nick took a journey to Quorn to pick up some suitable wagon label clips for the tank and the Yellow Coach. He also painted the chalkboard and bare bolt heads on B852838, putting a finish on the work on that vehicle until the warmer and drier weather is back with us.

Jake and I continued with the wiring on the coach, me mounting the terminal board made yesterday and Jake labelling and terminating some of the new cables we’d pulled into the box. Some of these were continuity checked, with the rest being done when work is picked back up again.

Other small jobs included new vacuum hoses on the Iron Hopper and the tank wagon, with the integrity of both through pipes tested using the exhauster at Rothley. Jake also cleaned out some of the detritus gathered in the bottom of the hopper.

Quite a lot achieved this week. Join us again next week to see what we get up to!

08/11/20 – We Continue

As stated by Boris, voluntary work should continue due to both the mental well being it brings to volunteers and the crucial part they play in the survival of the organisations they volunteer for. The GCR agreed with this statement and our work continues. However just in case this was not to be Dave and I made our way to Quorn on Wednesday to add a top coat to my trailer.

With the news volunteer work could continue we began by adding gloss to the plywood for B852838.

A little later than planned but with the pressure now off we could relax knowing it wouldn’t be 4 weeks until we were back on site. We began on my trailer. It was moved into the sun to warm up and dry off.

Moved back we started the topcoating. Crimson for me and Black for Dave

On to Saturday with the main task being the replacement of some of B852838s van sides, Jake demonstrating why it has become necessary.

Nick, Ross, Jake and Dave focused on this task. Bolts and panels removed from the west side. The backs of the frames were cleaned up, rotten wood hovered up and red oxide applied.

New sides were measured and trimmed to length, these had be left slightly long to allow for any possible variation

The sides were then drilled and fitted.

I tasked Eireni with two items of signwriting, the replacement common user plate for B850498 and the maximum speed side for my trailer.

I of course continued with the painting of my trailer,

I also fitted some lighting units, which will need wiring up, as well as the number plate holder and Eireni’s signwritten 20 sign.

On to Sunday and to the East side for B852838 only one section to be replaced with Nick, Ross and Jake focussing on this. Old side out, new trimmed, red oxide to the rear of the frame, drilled and bolted up. It is of cause easier and quicker to type about what was done than to actually do it. Jake cut and primed a new chalk board and this was also fitted.

Eireni and I continued with my trailer. I applied the lettering whilst they painted the coupler.

This last push resulted in a completed trailer including 2 triangular reflectors fitted to the mud guards. Just the wiring to do at some point.

Sign writing continued on to the other two trailers, with CT 11246 E and T 86256 E receiving new fleet numbers, research has discovered Loughborough Midland Station had a trailer with the fleet number D26, those around the London terminuses began with the letter A so we have decided to place our other trailers in the D2 series numbered in the order of purchase.

Final task was to fit the replacement non common user plate to B850498

Eddie was also on site Saturday and Sunday continuing the scraping and preparation of the site dumper known as Danny
That concludes this update, and as always more next week.

01/11/20 Once more unto the breach.

Once again we face lockdown and await guidance from the GCR as to whether our activities may continue, until then……… Saturday and a split for the gang. Dave and I remained at Quorn, whilst Nick, Ross, Jake and Eireni went to Rothley.

At Quorn Dave applied undercoat to the plywood cut for the Shocvan last week.

Whilst I manufactured, primed and undercoated a 20mph speed restriction sign for my new trailer, a replacement non common user sign for the WR pattern Shocvan and a plate for the Test Cars slip lamp.

We then moved to keying my trailer ready for undercoat and applying primer to bare areas of metal.

At Rothley the task of wiring the yellow coach continued, with it being pulled through the majority of the trunking.

Eireni painted the southern vestibule with our imitation formica orange as mixed many months ago.

On to Sunday, Dave and I once again at Quorn joined by Eddie with Nick, Ross and Jake at Rothley. The wiring tasks continued with the full run for the new sockets installed.

Before Ross headed to Rothley he striped Danny of removable components that can be taken away if the inevitable happens. Eddie spent the day preparing these parts for further work.

A Rothley Nick applied the correct colours to the brake pipes on B954546 as well as top coat to the rain strips replaced in a previous update.

At Quorn I glossed the plates manufactured the previous day whilst Dave re-undercoated the van sides, there was a slight issue with that used the previous day as it would not take a gloss coat.

The undercoating continued with Dave and I applying it to my trailer.

So as I said at the beginning of this update, we will have to see what the week brings us.

25/10/20 – BR road pair.

This week’s update predominantly features our vintage road vehicles, the main focus of which was the Timeline Events photo charter held on Friday. The focus being Quorn yard, were we attempted to recreate Goods Yard scenes of a bygone era. We saw the first public appearance of B786181. We believe this is the first time since at least 1968 it has been moved by Steam traction, in the form of BR Standard Class 2 78018.

Matt was also happy as we saw the return to the railway, after a 5 year hiatus, of Wilbur. This is Matt’s 1968 8 cwt Morris Commercial Van. Meeting Madge for the first time, the pair look stunning in their BR Crimson and Cream livery.

Another Charter depute was Nick’s Mk1 Transit van, carrying the livery of his late father’s business. Although a 1972 registration the Mk1 Transit began production in 1965. Nick and Matt both intend to purchase show plates with more age appropriate steam era plates for these types of events.

Left Hand image courtesy of David Pond
Right Hand image courtesy of Mark Cullen

The Charter raised the group some additional funds and we send our thanks to Neil and his team. We hope the photographers enjoyed what we were able to bring together for the event. Below are a few images.

Images courtesy of Mark Cullen

Images courtesy of David Pond

Images courtesy of Nick Halling

On Saturday, we wrapped up after the charter, tidying items away and sorting out our ‘props’ vans. Matt sorted out Madge and I undertook a little bit of work on Wilbur, tightening a loose alternator belt and changing one of the mounting bolts to make them the same size.

Jake and Nick got four sheets of ply to begin production of the side sheets to repair B852838. This van got measured and the sheets cut in the CCT, out of the rain. These were then stood up in the CCT and painted into primer. These have been left to dry after which they will be undercoated and glossed before they are fitted to the van. Dave and Richard helped with the cutting of the sheets, and Jake hoovered up after us. Matt and Nick readied the lorry and loaded the Scammell dolly on to it ready for tomorrow. I also fitted the new handbrake pawl spring and skip catch springs to Danny.

Dave finished off by sanding back the undercoat on Danny’s seat and applying a first coat of grey gloss to the top side of the seat.

On to Sunday, Nick and Matt heading off on a road trip, again our thanks to Kenway for the loan of their 7.5T lorry. Heading north to High Green the trip was to pick up Matts latest purchase, a Taskers Trailer for Madge, this is a 15ft trailer and will be more prototypical behind the Scarab.

Back at Quorn Jake continued the mid project tidy, clearing out our used can mountain amongst other tasks

Eddie and James were also on site, continuing the paint prep for Danny.

Eddie also brought some more parcels, the pile is almost touching the roof.

Nick and Matt returned and after unloading by Volvo, the trailer was tested with Madge.

With the weather now turning and the light failing in the afternoons its likely our updates will move to Rothley, but as always we shall let you know next week.

18/10/20 – Medfit Loaded

This weekend begins with a quiet day on site for Nick, Eireni and Ross, joined by new volunteer, Richard. Welcome,Richard. We are currently between vehicles, having finished B786181 last weekend, so this weekend is our usual small jobs weekend, to get us ready for the next push onto something new.

They started with preparatory work to B852838. This van was genesis, the key stone for the van train way back in 2017, and it is now looking rather worse for wear. Some of the ply fitted to the van was on borrowed time, so the fact it has lasted 3 more years is a bonus. We have previously used this van as our ‘ Theatrical van’ which housed our props and parcel used for photo charters and galas, this has been moved to another van, so we could start work. We sorted items inside out and removed items that were no longer useful. we then shuffled everything around inside and removed a workbench to be able to gain access to the 3 side sheets that need attention. Eireni cut out a new chalkboard for the van, which will be painted up ready to fit.

After helping to ready the van, Ross continued working on ‘Danny’ our site dumper. We are still waiting for the steering box back, but he replaced nearly all of the grease nipples and pumped grease into the steering linkages and the pedal linkages. everything seems to be moving a lot freer now. he also manage to obtain a pan seat which is close enough to be correct. Ross painted this into primer, ready for undercoat. Richard assisted by removing the school chair from the locker box. Last job for Ross was to adjust the clutch linkage.

Nick, Richard and Eireni sited the workbench removed from B852838 and sited it outside, next to our shed. This has already come in handy, so should continue to be so!

As for me, I was working at home on another member of the fleet and the first time it has graced one of our updates, Numbered MB 2426 E and named Wilbur, this is my 1968 built Morris Commercial and carries an appropriate BR livery. A final few little niggles to sort and hopefully we shall see him at the GCR again.

On to Sunday and the odd jobs continue, Eddie beginning to scrape down Danny ready for a little more TLC.

The bench removed from the shockvan was given a new rubber top by Dave to protect the wooden surface.

The main event however was the loading of B458484 with Container B55897B.

A little careful adjustment with the Volvo and it was in. Sleepers were positioned at either end and wedges driven in to hold the container longitudinally. Blocks were also measured and trimmed to hold the Container laterally.

Although the blocks and sleepers will actually do the main task of holding the container to give the prototypical look Ross roped the container as per BR20427, Instructions for the loading and securing of containers on rail vehicles.

I did read a statement somewhere that Containers in Medfits could not be opened, this image proves that statement to be untrue. Although it would be awkward to actually do anything practically.

Finally Eddie applied the layer of undercoat to Danny’s seat.

That concludes this weeks update and I shall leave you with a few images of 3 vehicles loaded with Containers

As always, more next week.

11/10/20 Containerised Freight Revival

With the completion of my Container last weekend we begin with a clearout. Container emptied and swept out, although there is still a few items to complete inside this can wait for a rainy day, well an even more rainy day.

Nick, Jake and Dave focused on the west side axle box inspection of 786181. Splitting the boxes and inspecting the bearing surfaces, journals and oils pads. All found to be in excellent condition. No scores or damage visible.

For this and next weekend we have planned to display the container on Madges flat trailer, this was loaded and the opportunity taken to take it for a spin around the yard.

We then parked up next to the loaded conflats bringing our three containers together fully restored for the first time.

All attention turned to completing 786181, chalk boards fitted and the replacement of the vacuum cylinder with one previously overhauled. The original piston rod was descaled and polished and a new gator fitted

The east side axle boxes were then inspected, and again, no issues apparent

I also completed the signwriting, with vacuum stars, East side wagon plate and a little note on the end chalkboards written.

Eddie was also on site and had brought us some more parcels which we loaded in to M500954

On to Sunday and a brake test of 786181. A leak or two was found and these quickly rectified.

After a few applications to exercise the brake and a leak rate test carried out the brakes were left on to determine their effectiveness, they remained on for in excess of 5 hours so deemed a success.

With the successful brake test all that is left to say is B786181 can be released to traffic. Below can be see the transformation and of cause we have branded the van with a suitable location.

Our attention then turned to B763305, this has been running around with a blue roof after its bitumastic covering wore off due to it raining soon after application. With the good weather this was reapplied.

I also did a spot of Signwriting for the Class 27. A legend for the main engine room door.

Nick brought his Mk1 Transit on site to iron out some running issues and posed with Madge and our fleet of Containers.

That wraps up another weekend, a loaded Scammell trailer and another completed van. More as ever next week.

04/10/20 – Rain shall not beat us

Unusually we begin last Sunday, with a School visit to the GCR on Wednesday we were asked by the Education department if we could take part in telling the story of how Goods were moved by Rail. Whilst I was painting my Container roof the rest of the team along with Jack were moving into the Goods Shed.

The blank canvas was filled with a number of our items including the bench and shelving from my container to create our interpretation of the interior.

With the scene set, Jack, Jake and I were in attendance Wednesday to tell the story assisted of cause by Madge, we also had a visit from Channel 5 and Rob Bell but more on this at a later date.

As quick as it was set up the building was emptied but we will be working closely with the education team to make a more permanent interpretive display.

Jack took the opportunity to make a British Transport Films inspired video. This is included below, this will for part of a larger project and I hope you enjoy.

On to Friday and with the rain forecast to be with us all weekend I set up a cover to allow the signwriting to begin on my Container.

On to Saturday and with the side completed Friday evening dried the sheet was transferred to the opposite side and also signwritten,

The rest of the team consisting of Nick, Ross, Eireni, Jake and Dave carried out a number of tasks, Gloss coating 786181s chalkboard brackets, undercoating the chalkboards, refurbishing a number of Vacuum Release valves and sheeting 786181 ready for Sunday.

Dave’s final task was to cut and and paint some dense foam ready for fitment to my containers door stops.

On to Sunday and another sheet move on my container, this time to complete the door signwriting.

Nick and Ross started Sunday preparing the sheet over 786181 tying it back to allow me to signwrite underneath.

With my containers signwriting completed I moved on to the van chalking and painting.

All hands turned to the van. Eddie applying fence paint to the bare doors for protection

Nick Ross and Jake applying bitumen to the underframe and headstocks. The sheet was a godsend and with the intermittent rain held off the signwriting was complete as well as the headstocks and west underframe.

I moved to the GUV to apply a gloss coat to the release valves refurbished by Ross Saturday.

It was this time we was joined by something unexpected. Blue skies and sunshine, with a quick look at a number of weather apps and the forecast looking much better, the sheet was removed and the Eastside painted.

I took the opportunity to apply a second coat to the containers roof followed by fitting the door stops and touching up a number of areas with bauxite.

Whilst I painted gloss so did Ross with Lamp irons vacuum pipes and brake levers painted, Nick applied topcoat to the chalkboards and to finish the weekend I completed the west side wagon and repair plates.

This completes the exterior of my container and progresses the van to the point that all that remains is to fit the side chalkboards, replace the vacuum cylinder and test the brakes.

More as always next weekend

27/09/20 – Yellow no more

This week has seen progress on the Yellow Van, B786181 and Matt’s container, B55897. That said, this weekend starts on Friday afternoon with Matt being on site to finish off work on his container; sanding the roof and masking the rubber bumpers.

Nick, Matt, Eireni, Eddie and myself were on site Saturday, with the first task being moving Matt’s container away from the Test Car with the Volvo. While Matt guided Nick safely to put the container next to the GUV, I started thinning down the etch primer. Our target was to have both the van and the container in undercoat by the end of the day, which seemed like a tall order as the container first needed priming.

After a few gun issues, I got to work priming Matt’s container, starting with the roof and then the sides in the white etch primer. Once completed, I thinned down some undercoat to make a start on the yellow van, which was soon to no longer be yellow.

With the van suitably coated, Nick painted the door edges and frames with unthinned undercoat, while Eireni and I thinned down some more undercoat in order to spray Matt’s container. As with the primer, I started on the roof, this time in my socks.

There ends Saturday, with the container and van sat in undercoat, ready to receive gloss.

My first job on Sunday was to paint the van into gloss, with Jake as my assistant, straining the paint and filling up the gun. Matt started by cutting out and priming two chalkboards, destined for the yellow van. He also primed and undercoated four of the necessary brackets to fix these to the van.

The van received 2 coats of paint which was left to cure while Jake made a start on Matt’s container, not having to do the roof this time.

With the container completed, Jake sprayed a third coat of paint on the doors of the van. We opted to do a second coat on Matt’s container too, as this was showing some patchiness, though with the light of the day it was hard to see because every time you moved the patches changed.

While Jake and I were on painting duties, Eddie continued his efforts scraping and cleaning the underframe of the van, which I’m looking forward to spraying. Nick was again on door frame painting duty, and while during breaks was surveying the efforts of Jake and I, checking for misses.

The last job of the day was for Matt to paint the roof of his container in Dark Sea Grey, by brush.

And then, because he could, he picked out the letters on the number plate of his container.

At the end of Sunday, we find ourselves with two vehicles awaiting signwriting and one awaiting the underframe spraying. If the weather holds, Matt will make a start of that next weekend. If the weather doesn’t hold, who knows!

20/09/20 – Two more doors

I’m afraid this update is shorter than last weeks, work continues on both B786181 and B55897B, Nick and Jake sanding down the ends and steel work of the van. Applying red oxide to bare areas of steel.

Dave’s task was to manufacture the final set of doors which will complete the woodwork repairs for this vehicle. Measured, trimmed, assembled and primed.

I of cause continued with my Container, manufacturing a replacement corner bumper. This was made from a foam ball, shaped, fibreglass applied for strength, then filler and sanded to shape.