Sunday, 21 March 2010

In the Works

Currently in the Carriage and Wagon shed is SNCB (Belgian State Railways) coach number 21013, which requires major bodywork repairs.

The Nene Valley Railway is unique in the UK in being able to run standard gauge European locomotives and rolling stock. Continental trains are taller and wider than their British counterparts, which means they are simply too big to fit through most British bridges, tunnels, and platforms. It was found in the early days of the preserved NVR that some relatively small modifications to existing structures would allow the use of Continental stock, which at the time was available in far better condition and for a substantially smaller sum of money than withdrawn British Rail stock. As well as offering the general visitor a taste of Continental rail travel, the European locomotives and carriages have also proved attractive to TV and film producers - the railway featured heavily in the James Bond film 'Octopussy' amongst many other productions, both large and small.

Back to SNCB 21013, this coach has been rusting from the inside out. The problem is a familiar one to classic car owners. Rainwater has gradually seeped into the cavity between the internal and external skins of the bodyside, and sat there without draining out properly. This has caused the steel bodywork to corrode, with severe rust blisters and holes appearing along the entire lower edge of both bodysides. This will all require cutting out and replacing - a big job. Although the rust appears pretty bad in the photo, it looks even worse in the flesh!

The roof has fared better, repairs are nearly complete. The roof has been primed and is at the undercoat stage.