News and Updates

13/10/19 – Con-tinuing despite the rain

Back to the grind, work continues on the Conflats and Containers. B505313 and B507489
both receiving bitumastic paint to the solebars and headstocks,  This being applied by Jake, Harry, and new recruit James.


Eddie had the job of toning down the wood preserver applied last weekend.  A touch of bitumin worked into the planks.


Dave and I continued with BD 3403 B. Gradually sanding down the areas filled, unfortunately, the door with the large repair had an area of the old fiberglass delaminate, this was cut out, filled and fiberglassed by Dave.


Whilst I continued sanding


Sunday and rain, Dave took the opportunity to overhaul our stock of vacuum release valves ready for the Van Trains Christmas brake overhaul, more on that in December.


I manufactured repair plates for Nicks containers end door,  which was fitted once the rain stopped. 

I also, with Daves’s help, bolted in a wear plate for the end door.  This tightened the whole installation, closing the doors up very well.


06/10/2019 – Autumn Gala

Welcome to another update from us lot at Quorn.  This weekend has been the Autumn Steam Gala, which means Travelling Post Office demonstrations.  Most of us are TPO crew, so have been busy running the TPO train.  The van train has also been running at the gala, at the full strength of 16 which is the longest it has been for many years.  Progress however, hasn’t stopped for the weekend.

New recruits, Eddie and Harry continued work with Nick on the Conflats.  The rails, fitted to B505313 last week, have been cleaned down and primed.  On Sunday, these were painted in black bitumen paint.  The decks of the Conflats have been swept down, hoovered and painted in the first coat of wood preserver.

Meanwhile, the foundations have been laid for the start of the Quorn Wagon and Wagon Travelling Post Office Display team.  I have taken another bike in storage out of the GUV and resurrected it.  Matt blew up the tyres and I too it for a test ride.  Whilst at Loughborough to get the TPO, Nick and I liberated the frame of another GPO delivery bike.  It is intended to build this back up to increase our number of bikes from 2 to 3. Matt is able to borrow the bike from the station, and I have the resurrected one.

Image courtesy of Jack Shaw

On Saturday evening, we had a visit from Jason Cross asking if he could test some new acquisitions which can be used at photo charters. Test Car 2 was used as a test subject to try the new lights. Thanks to Jason for the use of the pictures, they look fantastic!

Thanks for reading this short update, there will be more progress made next week. Why don’t you join us then!

29/09/19 – Steel, Wood, and Fibreglass

Work continues with the Containers and their “chariots”. The main focus being BD 4303 B. My task, looking at the substantial damage over the end doors. The outer layer of Fibreglass has cracked and split from the inner layer.

The rain strip was removed, and the inner and outer layers clamped together.20190928_121325.jpg

I then removed the Gelcoat and exposed the original fiberglass over the area of the crack and between each clamp in preparation for applying a new layer of fiberglass.

Of course, the weather once again didn’t play ball and work was occasionally stopped with a mad dash to keep things covered.

Whilst I was on the container, Nick and Jake continued with B505313 spot replacing rotten floor planks.  You may also notice 2 short lengths of flat-bottom rail, Our thanks go to the GCR P-way team for cutting these defected rails for us,  These will form the subframe of  BD 4303 B.

I applied 2 layers of Fibreglass, over the crack and to bond the outer and inner layers together.

Between fiberglass layers, I also applied more fiberglass filler to last weekend repairs.

Sunday saw the full team in action.  I removed the G-Clamps from the container, closed the doors and everything lined up as it should.20190928_170743

Unfortunately once again the weather was not in our favor.  Nick and I took a trip to Swithland to look over the vans ready for next week’s running.  At the moment they are at 15 vans and 2 brakes we are hoping that the fishvan joins them taking the rake to its current full strength.  The first time it has ran as such, fingers crossed.20190929_141432.jpg

Whilst we were away, Ross, Jake, and Dave began preparing the sudo subframe for BD 4303 B.  Borrowing the mag drill from Carriage & Wagon they began the time-consuming task of drilling into the defected rail. The rail is not suitable to run trains on and is ideal as a stand-in subframe.

Once back at Quorn I looked at manufacturing filler pieces for the side straps of both containers, this is the area that connects the lifting frame to the subframe and both containers originals show signs of wastage. I measured, cut and primed the back of 8 pairs of filler pieces.

With the weather remaining persistent we finished with an hour or 2 tidying the tool van.  Next weekend is the GCR autumn gala, TPO duties for us.20190929_130546.jpg



22/09/19 – Conflats and Containers

With our thanks to the Ops department, we are back in our usual position with Test Car on the front road and our next project brought up from the yard. First task a brake test to find out how the two vehicles behave. B507489 held vacuum for 10 minutes with B505313 being no better after fitment of a Branch pipe, the original one having long since perished, new vacuum hoses were fitted all round.

So next we looked at the Release Valves.  Both were removed and overhauled by Dave. This has become second nature to him and both valves were done very quickly.

The next test and B505313 held for just under an hour but no change to B507489.  With only one 15″ rolling ring in stock B507489 was chosen to receive it. With the “Lighter” cylinder the decision was taken to drop it manually rather than use the loading shovel.

Once out it was split and found to be in remarkable condition. A quick hoover new ring fitted, rebuilt and refitted to the vehicle.

A final test and after 3 hours it was still holding and another Defect Card filed.

Whilst this was going on, my attention was on BD4303B, voids were filled with expanding foam. Surface and full cracks, as well as dents, were scolloped out.

One of the doors had a hole straight through it. The top hinge was unbolted, loose fibreglass removed. Tape was applied to the inside and again the void filled and taped over

Full through cracks received a fiberglass matting and resin to restore strength and then a fiberglass filler applied along with the other areas prepared earlier.

Finally, for Saturday we welcome Eddie and Harry who have started with the paint preparation removing loose paint and verdigris.


On to Sunday and the weather was not in our favor.  Despite this Ross and I continued with work on Nicks Container.  The areas of foam added were cut down, scolloped exposing original layers of Fiberglass

Matting was then resined into position to provide strength and support, this will then have a layer of filler applied to restore the smooth outer layer although only if we have a drier day.

Ross’s task was to begin the sanding of previously applied resin and keying of the gelcoat ready for painting,  we would have liked to of restored the gelcoat fully, unfortunately working outside this is ni on impossible.20190922_180933.jpg

Nick replaced a number of floor planks as well as removing the remains of the bottoms of the chain boxes.  These have not faired well so the decision has been taken to open them up to limit further rot20190922_163848.jpg

Eddie and Harry continued with their cleaning regime, with the conflats complete they moved on to E280364 20190922_181730.jpg

With rain towards the later half of the day Ross and I took a trip to Swithland to fit our refurbished first aid kits to our brakevans, replacing the modern kits with more period looking items.

Being at Swith also gave us a chance to see our latest van with the rest. With all of our restored vans in the one train,  well all apart from the fishvan and tool van. 15 Bauxite vans in one train, is there anywhere else that can offer this?

Our final image.  The two proud Container owners with there rare items.received_2507036179515307.jpg

15/09/19 – Back on the Wagon(s)

We are back to normality following the Diesel Gala, and have been working on wagons and wagon loads. However, before work on that started, we had some goodies to investigate with regards to getting the intercom system working in Test Car 2. Using the 3 speaker boxes we have, we can get the intercom working in the slip end, Main saloon and Kitchen. There is the hope of finding some more Speaker boxes to expand the system as necessary. Having proved it, we have developed a plan for its continued usage.


On to Wagons, and I started by continuing to grease the pins in the brake linkages on the Air Braked Steel High. Armed with a 12-ton hydraulic jack, 2 hammers and various punches, (oh and a big bucket of grease) I  crawled under the wagon to remove a few more pins, clean up the holes and replaced the pins with a fresh smear of grease.  This resulted in the successful repair of this vehicle’s hand brake and removal of the defect labels.


In the past, it was thought to be the slack adjuster causing the brakes to lock up. After surveying the vehicle, it was found that a number of linkages were seized, causing the brake to jam on. The slack adjuster is working absolutely fine, much to our relief. A number of linkages were done the week before the Diesel Gala, with Nick sorting a few more once TPO duties had finished.

Getting sick of crawling around from under the Steel High, I decided to remove the floor with assistance from Nick. The floor is due replacement as all of the boards are rotten. The floor came out in no time, thanks to a novel feature included by the LNER on this wagon. Instead of the floor being fixed in by bolts, the floor is held captive in a C-channel attached to the wagon side. there are 2 cut-outs to drop the boards into, and provide the planks are appropriately sized, should slide along to where needed.


While I was crawling under/over the Steel High, Dave, Jake and Matt started work on the Fibreglass containers. Matt started fabricating a plate to repair the end door of his container, while Dave and Jake set about freeing the end doors on Nick’s container.


Matt disappeared early in order to take part in a photo charter at East Kirkby with their Lancaster “Just Jane”.


Having got the Oxy-propane cutting bottles out, Dave, Nick and I started to heat up and manipulate the bent straps on Nick’s container and loosened the rings on Matt’s. In the meantime, Jake was on the roof of Nick’s container cleaning out the debris which had found itself under the lifting frame.


On to Sunday, Matt finished the repair to his containers door as well as removing the box from the locking bar and adding a missing staple.


Nick continued Jake’s task from Saturday by completing the roof de-veg of both Containers.


The final task for the weekend was to secure the strapping of Nicks container, this was drilled by Matt and then secured in place by both.  As a safety measure and to keep the 2 containers looking similar, the same was done to Matts.


This concludes this update, more as always next week.


08/09/19 – Test Car on display

Here we are, Diesel Gala and Test Car 2 is on display for the public. Dave and I were in attendance for all 3 days with Nick and Jake poping in between TPO duties.


We are humbled by the number of people who came to see us,  especially those of you that regularly read this website. Thank you all for your generous donations and finally thank you to those former BR and Serco staff that came to see your Test Car.
Specifically, Paul Mosley, Ray Smith, Chris O’Donnell and Dave Moore.


A few more images from over the gala:


Back on to wagons next weekend, something a little flatter we feel.

01/09/19 – Test Car Done

We begin this weekend with an exciting number of items.  Our thanks go to Serco Rail Technical Services for the loan of these items that will aid in telling Test Car 2s story.

The most exciting of which being the Slip Coupling, with the coupling and coach reunited we re-hung it back in its rightful place.

All of these pieces of equipment will be discussed further during our tours over the diesel gala. Work of cause continues with the gala target in view.  My first task was to progress the “A” end door, marking out, masking and applying the stripes to the door.

Jake cleaned up and applied undercoat to the buffers. Whilst Dave continued with the “B” end headstock details before being assisted by Jake.

Nick and Ross scrapped down the eastside underframe before once again Jake took the lead and sprayed it black.

We also had a look at our new signs for next weekend’s opening. Hopefully, these will leave visitors in no doubt whether we are open or not.

On to Sunday and preparations continue, sometime in the late 80s a member of the testing team applied a car sticker to the “A” End door, we decided to recreate this detail.

The rest of the team continued with the eastside underframe springs and axle box covers as well as the buffers receiving black a coat of black.

With the car sticker complete I continued sign-writing, Brake Stars, ETH Lightning bolts, wheel profile markings, and the builder’s plate.

Nick and Ross then turned their attention to the defective hand brake on the Steel-High

Dave, Jake and I then turned to preparing for the public.  Tidying, an extension to the fence and adding the components to the steel high required for slip/brake testing.

We shall not go into detail yet, all will be revealed next weekend.  The last thing to do, however, test the operation of the slip coupling.

All is in place for our first public opening for Test Car 2.  6th, 7th and 8th September Quorn and Woodhouse station behind the signal box. Please come and see us and we will explain this unique vehicle’s place in Railway History.20190901_201016.jpg