News and Updates

30/08/21 – Painted Palshocvan

For our bank holiday, we’ve been concentrating our efforts on our Palshocvan, B855667. After last weekend’s work sanding and scraping the body, Dave popped in during the week to finish preparing the corrugated end panels.

Saturday saw the team start off at Quorn to prep the Test Car and yard area for the Diesel Gala, and the upcoming War Weekend. We’ve moved everything out of the way we can and tidied the Test Car a little, including moving some gauges around inside to fill some gaps in the slip end. Lunch was consumed at Rothley after the van was de-dusted and wood primer was brush painted to all the wooden panels on the Palshoc.

Sunday was more of the same, but involved a spraying a coat of undercoat all round the van, and then one coat of bauxite top coat, plus another gloss coat on each side as they suffer the effects of the weather the most.

Matt was signwriting Monday and managed to get one side completed with the shock stripes aswell. Richard and Nick brush painted the solebars, and I set up the spray gear again to cover the running gear (apart from the wheels) with a coat of underframe black.

I finished off some of the wiring I’d started on the Living Van, and repalced/supplemented the plastic cable ties utilised underneath for Stainless Steel alternatives. I also painted the handbrake ends and the swan necks white, this being vehicle having a vacuum through pipe only.

It’s the Diesel Gala next weekend, and Dave and some other team members will be there to open up Test Car 2. Come and see us in the Test Car, where you can purchase one of our Stockbook, our booklet on Test Car 2 or a copy of Dave’s book, Rail Vehicle Testing. The rest of the team will be wrapping up the work on the Palshocvan, with the other side still to be signwritten and the roof to paint. Join us next week and see how we get on.

22/08/21 – Back out and about

With last weekends excitement behind us, we would like to thank you all for those who made kind comments and supported the event, our aim was to do something a little different and I think we achieved that.

But as Ross stated last weekend, back to the grind and for Dave this was Tuesday. The repairs to the Palshock carried out the weekend before last to the east side were repeated on the west side. Dave removing the wooden fillets below the plywood sides cleaning out the rust, red oxided and rebuilt.

On to Saturday and with the world returning to a little normality we have started to venture out once again, first on the cards a journey to the standard gauge preservation pioneer, the Bluebell Railway. Following an invite from Laurie, the wagon divisions head to see there collection and facilities.

First a tour of the workshop which is a very impressive facility including a recent expansion. A number of project progressing inside.

Followed by a look at the operational wagon fleet and those awaiting there time in the works.

We also took a walk down the Branch towards Haywards Heath via Ardingly to the end of the existing trackbed.

We saw the two trains in operation and also picked up some buffers, mainly 2 full sets of self contained items as we look at alternatives to Oleos which at the moment are cost prohibitive to repair.

We extend our thanks to Laurie and the rest of the C&W team at the Bluebell for there hospitality. An example of cooperation and networking for the good of our interests within the preservation movement.

Sunday and back to normal. My first task to drill and fit bolts to the dummy shock gear cover, this represents the attachment points.

Dave looked at a few areas requiring rust removal and wood work repairs.

Nicks attention was on rust removal from our newly acquired self contained buffers. They now operate correctly with the expected resistance and this includes one that was partially compressed.

Dave and I then turned to preparation of the van for paint. Sanding and scraping. All body sides apart from the South end being completed.

One final task was the removal of the chassis owners plates for safe keeping.

A little further preparation and we shall soon be ready for paint. That concludes this update, and as is always the case, more next week.

15/08/21 – Railways at Work

Before we get to the gala, Thursday evening saw us take a part in a photo charter run by TimeLine Events in Quorn Yard, featuring the team and Madge and Wilbur plus our collection of goods and parcels. (first 3 images are courtesy of Phil Thorne.)

This weekend has been the Railway at Work gala, which has seen the debut of the Tank train featuring 6 tanks, plus a pick up goods and the van train. On the road vehicle side we’ve Madge, Wilbur plus some other visiting road vehicles incuding a coal lorry, a steam lorry, and a steam delivery van and an Austin delivery van. Dave and Richard also had Test Car 2 open to show people about the vehicle, what it used to do and the role of testing on the railways in general.

Using the large team of re-enactors and our collection of goods and those of the stations, we’ve had goods and parcels flying around the railway. Jame and pat have been using the 15t crane to make various items fly; including Jamie’s tractor, Danny the dumper and Matt’s Aluminium conatiner. The conatiner has been on the back of every lorry, plus the big and little Scammell trailer.

I think all that’s left to say is the team have had a brilliant weekend being part of the action, and we are really looking forward to make next years event even better. Thanks to everyone who made this happen, from the vehicle owners, the re-enactors, the ‘goods’ collectors and the plethora of GCR volunteers. Matt shall resume our normal service next week.

Photo credit: Brandon Morley.

08/08/21 – Box vans and Spelling Mistakes

We start this update with a request from the operations department for an additional van to operate with the Suburban coaches at next weeks Railways at Work Gala.
The only one we had available and not in traffic was recently transferred B765272. This Darlington built vehicle having been stood for some time was given an annual exam to base line what was required.

As suspected a full vacuum cylinder overhaul including release valve was required. This was dropped, disassembled, cleaned, seals replaced, reassembled and refitted. Followed by a test which was passed successfully.

A number of other odd tasks were carried out. Vacuum hose replace, missing instanter coupler fitted and a number of missing split pins fitted.

There was also an issue with a brake block not applying pressure correctly. It was discovered this block was moving too far laterally this being down to a missing retaining strap. A suitable piece of steel was located welded and trimmed keeping the block in check and applying the correct pressure to the correct place.

We noticed on the ferry tank that a spelling mistake had been made. Immediately had its e and l the wrong way round. This was painted out and the correct order reapplied.

Work also continued on the PalShock. Main focus being the dummy shock gear covers. These were manufactured and welded to the door runners. Additional plates were manufactured to provide further support and prevent vibration fatigue to the welds.

As well as the covers a number of other details were attended to. Door pins, Split pins, and removal of plate rust from under the floor as this were preventing the door from closing fully.

On to Sunday and the Palshock once again taking the focus, due to elongated holes in the door a repair plate was manufactured, holes drilled and the plate affixed along with the door bar holding catch.

Next, we looked at the floor of the van, during its time as a grounded van it was used as the 5305LA shop, as part of this use the original floor was covered. With it now back on a set of wheels and wanting the floor to breathe, we removed the plywood cover.

With the original floor back on show, it was swept and hovered and as the vehicle will be seeing use the shelving fitted was secured. Dave also repair some stools that were included with the vehicle whilst Richard tested those complete

Next was to remove the wooden fillets on the Eastside, again due to rust this was warping and allowing water into the vehicle. Rust was removed and the wood refitted after red oxide was applied to the relevant areas.

The dummy shock gear covers were also tidied sanded and red oxide as well as vacuum hoses fitted.

Final task was to clean the inside of 765272, this will be being loaded as part of the Railways at Work gala along with others in our fleet, we hope to see you next weekend as a large proportion of our fleet will be in use, as well as a number of us suitable dressed and “working”

01/08/21 – Quiet before the storm

We’ve all been quite shocked by the news of the passing of Cliff Perry after a short illness. Cliff was a long term member of the GCR family and always graced the footplate with a beaming smile. A mentor and friend to many, he will be sadly missed.

Moving on from the sad news, this weekend has been a quiet one. Dave is on holiday, Richard has visitors at home and unfortunately Matt has car trouble so can’t get here. Jake works Saturdays as well, so that left just Nick and I.

The first job completed was the proving of the repairs to the through air pipe on the Ferry Tank. Thankfully, the only leak found was one on the cock that just required a bit a wiggle to seal.

Our attention then turned to the Palshocvan. Some items were left in there from the previous owner, so we sorted through them and emptied four barrows into the skip. Another job completed was freeing off one of the screw couplings.

After lunch I moved to progress the jumper cabling on the Living Van, wrangling with flexible conduit and the cable recovered from the roof. Nick started scraping the underframe of the Palshocvan, going through many layers of paint.

Jake joined us again on Sunday, first assisting me with the jumper cabling, and then helping Nick with the scraping.

The last job done as to dust off the Ferry tank before it leaves the cossetted confines of the shed to join the rest of the tank train at Swithland. A bit of a short update this week, normal service should be resumed next week, join us then!

25/07/21 – Ferry much done

First of all we would like to advertise the GCRs β€œRailways at Work” gala. This will see a large proportion of our fleet in operation. Recreating the once daily activities of the railways. Our road fleet will also see extensive use, centred around Quorn Yard, moving goods in and out of the village and on and off trains. Join us on the 14th & 15th August. We will also be opening Test Car 2.

We shall also have available from Railways at Work our Test Car 2 information booklets as well as out new stock book. The stock book details our entire fleet as of July 2021 and includes space to annotate when you have seen a particular vehicle. Come and see us at the Test Car or send us a message on this site or our Facebook page.

So this update begins on Friday, with myself popping in after work to chalk up the west side of the Ferry Tank. All lettering apart from the Traffic Services Ltd was chalked. Boxes lines and stars were then masked and applied. All in readiness for the last push.

Saturday, Dave and I once again signwriting.
Not more can be said that a full day on the brushes for us both

The rest of the team comprising of Nick, Ross and Richard focused on the Palshock roof.

Roof hoops and years of continual re-felting removed. Up to 5 layers in one place. This however has left the roof in remarkable condition.

During its time as a grounded van the roof was extended. Again this has preserved the body however it is out of gauge to operate on the railway.
It has been trimmed to its correct width with lath strips applied to receive a new roof sheet.

Ross also applied orange paint to the Living vans new conduits.

Richard fitted label clips to the ferry tank and also cleaned the Palshocks roof hoops for refitting.

On to Sunday and a marathon for me and Dave. As the Ferry Tank travelled on the continent the usual contact information for the vehicle owner/user is not only in English but French and German. This was a full day for us and Dave will be popping in to complete β€œhis” end Monday.

Nick and Jake attended to the re-sheeting of the Palshocks roof. Occasional assistance from Ross, first task was to cut a suitably sized portion from our sheeting material, which was collected from Quorn.

Sheet was pulled, tensioned and stapled into position. The roof hoops were then fitted completing the re-sheeting.

Ross fitted the conduit and socket which will allow the living van to be powered from the Test Car.

Jake then took some time to lubricate the Ferry Tanks brake rigging.

Finally lamp irons fitted to the Palshock and the roof hoops trimmed to the now in gauge width.

A new label clip fitted

That wraps up another week. Tank with one last bit to complete and the Palshock coming together. As always, join us next week

18/07/21 – Scarabs, Signwriting and Sorting

Matt starts this weekend on Friday by starting chalking up the Ferry Tank. There’s a lot on this wagon with all its continental markings, so Matt and Dave have their work cut out! Some other news, Jamie and Pat welded the body of the Palshocvan to the donor chassis, so this is now one piece.

The team were at Quorn on Saturday, tidying up the yard in preparation for the Living Van‘s return. Dave, Matt and Jack spent some time on Madge, getting her ready for a photo charter. There’s more work required in the future, but for now Madge is running better.

Once I’d fixed our power cable, the rest of us tidied the yard and removed the remnants of the now redundant gate and fence up to the turntable. This opens up the area, making it easier for all persons to manoeuvre.

Sunday saw us back at Rothley, Dave and Matt signwriting one side of the Ferry Tank.

I worked on the coach, sorting out some tower bolts for the doors that won’t be used often. I also sorted out some rigid conduit for the jumper cable from the Test Car. I’ve finalised the arrangement and painted into primer, so that will get top coated next week.

Richard and Jake painted some of the underframe of the tank, in behind the anchor plates that hold the barrel down. Richard then worked on some replacement wagon label clip backers for the tank.

Weather dependent, we’ll be back at Rothley next week to progress the Tank, the Palshocvan and the coach. I’ve some conduit to lay in and there’s the East side of the tank to signwrite. Join us then and see how we get on.

11/07/21 – Black and Blue

For the first time since April our focus has been upon a wagon. The wagon in question Ferry Tank 500817.

With last week’s under coat dried, black gloss was the order of the day. All hands on deck as Nick, Ross, Dave, Richard and I applied paint to the barrel.

This was followed by a final tidy and hoover of the sole bars.

Quickly followed by application of underframe black to the sole bars and head stocks

The plates manufactured were also fitted after a layer of gloss was applied to the interfaces.

Ross’s attention was diverted to the repair of the through air pipe. This had rotted through at the north end. New pipe was cut to length, threaded and fitted

Brake standard and hand rails were also painted. With the outer rail receiving white. Once dry the OFF lettering was picked out.

Vacuum swan necks were painted and new hoses and vacuum dummies fitted.

We also began the last body work task on the Living Van, the cleaning of the windows.

Our Palvan Shock has also arrived from Loughborough for welding to the donor chassis.

On to Sunday, with the tank once again taking the focus. Richard and Jake continuing with the gloss and underframe black.

Dave looked at the cat walks. Fitting the previously manufactured walkways with J bolts. This replaces the prototypical wooden planks which are just a rot trap.

Speaking of wooden planks however, Nick trimmed, drilled fitted and primed new step boards.

Ross continued his through air pipe repairs replacing rotten pipe at the southend of the vehicle.

My focus was on the continuation of the window tidy. Even Michelle, the wife, lent a hand.

I did take a break to paint the air cocks and hose ends.

In to the afternoon Ross assisted with the final push on the windows and Dave applied Gloss to the ladders and assisted Jake and Richard

Nick also refitted the couplings

That leaves us with the Mess Van ready to return to Quorn and sign writing and some small details to complete the tank.

Next week however we are returning to Quorn as we need to prepare for the coaches arrival / our return. Our Scarab also requires a service as we near the Railways at Work gala. Of course, as always, we’ll keep you up-to-date next week.

04/07/21 – BCKomplete

Last week, we left you with a coach that was cosmetically and bodily repaired and repainted, leaving just the varnishing to go. Before I get onto the varnishing though, I need to mention some work Matt and Dave did for the wagon group at Chasewater. Their group has been working on a VEA van, much similar to our own 230097 (B784409), and asked Matt and Dave if they’d signwrite the van into an early Railfreight Livery. Dave did 2 days (Wed/Thurs) and Matt just Thursday. The van really looks excellent, and Matt and Dave enjoyed themselves. Matt also enjoying seeing an original Master Cutler headboard!

Onto the weekend and working on both the Living Van and the Ferry Tank. The team began on Saturday by wiping down the coach. Richard and Jake then moved onto applying undercoat to the tank barrel and bodywork. Unfortuantely a bit of a patchwork as we didn’t seem to have enough grey undercoat to finish the tank. The gloss black will cover all the same though.

While Richard and Jake attended to the tank, Matt and I covered the coach in a coat of varnish. Its the first time that either of us had varnished anything, so we took our time to ensure we got a good finish. Following Jamie’s advice we went down each side; first person focusing on the panels themselves and the other on the intricate and tricky details on the coach like the bump stops and window frames. Matt and I flipped a coin for it, and I drew the short straw of having the panels.

Taking our time, we got the west side completed and up to the guard’s door on the east side where we had to stop. This task was continued by Dave and I today. Between us we did the final section of bodyside and both ends of the coach, complete the repaint. There’s a few items still to sort out on the coach, but these can be done anywhere.

Richard and Nick concentrated on the tank wagon again, this time getting black gloss around the tank filler and other accoutrements on top of the barrel. Once we’d done with the coach, Dave joined the work on the tank.

I had other duties, in my capacity as our resident sewing expert (not a huge accolade for us really, just means I have and can drive a sewing machine!) I was roped in to help Matt make something for work. Answers on a postcard for what said item is…

Matt was only around until dinner due to a prior engagement, but came to complete his homework for work. He also popped in at Quorn and popped a lock on the new gate by the signal box, which was pre-agreed with the Ops Manager.

That about concludes the work this week. All that left on the coach is to clean the windows and give the roof a wash, and the tank to continue painting. Both of these and probably much more will be tackled next week, join us then!

27/06/21 – Dots and Crosses

This weekend sees us applying the final details to SC21202, The proverbial doting of the i’s and crossing of the t’s. The east side of the bogies receiving final tidy and paint application.

I attended to the door edges and shuts applying the lining and touching up runs and bleeds.

This was followed by applying black to the door bump stops.

Ross took some time to look at assembling some conduit for the inter-vehicle jumper which will connect to Test Car 2. This will allow the Mess Van to be powered by the Test Cars generator.

Final items on the Mess Van for Saturday was the application of the wheel profile marking to the South bogie west side.

We then all moved over to 500817, carrying out the final few areas of scrapping and preperation.

I manufactured two replacement plates for the number panels, the need for these is quite evident from the below images.

The number plates were also given a coat of primer.

On to Sunday with all hands scraping the outstanding trussing and bogie areas requiring paint.

This was followed by final prep and blow down of the ferry tank and with all the dirty work completed Ross and Dave applied black to coach.

Whilst Nick and I applying primer to the tank.

To finish up Dave applied red to the Distributor Isolator and brake cylinder test point. As well as the East side wheel profile marking.