Monday, 31 May 2010


Barabel (Works No. 10202, built 1964) is a Rolls Royce Sentinel 0-4-0 Diesel-Hydraulic shunter, owned by the Iron & Steel Traction Group. She has been undergoing mechanical/electrical improvements, but the most obvious change is her restoration back to original appearance. The bodyside door hatches have been changed for the original style, and the side sheets have also been reinstated. Painting will follow at some point when the weather improves. Behind her in the shed can be seen Stanton No.50, another beautifully restored industrial shunter also owned by the Iron & Steel Traction Group.

For comparison, Barabel's earlier appearance can be seen in the background of this shot, taken 11/10/2009.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Yet More 21013

The mammoth task that is SNCB 21013 continues. State of play this week:

It can be seen that the trim strip has been attached along the length of the coach on the south side, and that the top half has been painted with primer.

Watching Those Wheels!

Not a lot to report today, half the day was spent making brackets/spacers from scrap steel box section on which to mount mini cameras. These are to examine the interface between wheel and rail on certain Mk1 coaches, which seem to be suffering excess flange wear. The resulting film will be showing at selected cinemas across the region!

The rest of the day was spent carrying out the annual axlebox examination and maintenance on the GNR Lowmac DE414130. This vehicle may get a repaint next week, depending on the weather and other tasks.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Many Happy Returns!

An exciting development at the railway is the agreement between the NVR and the Battle of Britain Locomotive Society to overhaul their locomotive, 34081 '92 Squadron' at Wansford. This lovely engine was delivered yesterday from the North Norfolk Railway.

The locomotive was originally restored from Barry scrapyard condition over a period of 22 years at Wansford before moving to North Norfolk for the last few years, so it has actually returned 'home'.

I am sure all the members of the railway are as delighted as I am that she has returned!

Sign in the cab!

The locomotive in the yard after delivery.

The tender.

Engine and tender reunited.

Carriage & Wagon Today

I spent all day today rubbing down and repainting all the wooden step-boards in the Mk1 rake. Just three more left to do, on one side of E4919. No photo, because we all know what a painted plank of wood looks like!

SNCB 21013 was undergoing further needle-gunning today (quite frankly, I'm glad I'm not the one having to do it) and now looks like this:

The chassis/underframe/headstocks/stepboards etc of the BR brake van have been drastically smartened up with a coat of gloss underframe black. That just leaves the body...

Wansford River Bridge Works

The permissive footpath alongside the railway at Wansford river bridge has had to be closed to pedestrians for 3-4 weeks whilst the bridge spans undergo repairs and painting by contractors. The railway part of the bridge is still operational and is running as normal.

The east span of the pedestrian walkway has been temporarily removed to allow access to repair the steelwork. Mind the gap!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Just thought I'd post a few recent pictures (taken last week) of Danish Class F No.656, nicknamed 'Tinkerbell'.

The volunteers working on its restoration are also heavily involved with the LMS steam crane currently undergoing major overhaul, and have also been working on Polish tank 5485 (now back in traffic). When these projects are completed it is hoped to progress 'Tinkerbell' further.

The boiler has been ultrasonically examined, some of the copper in the firebox is thin and requires replacement. There is also a faulty boiler stay repair that requires attention, but otherwise the boiler is reported to be in fairly good condition.

Top of the cab, cleaned, repaired, and primed.

The bunker.

The primed wheelsets.

The frames have been repainted, and a myriad of smaller components have been, or are being, cleaned and repaired as necessary.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Wheelset Swap

This week some shiny 'new' refurbished wheelsets were installed under BR 20 ton brakevan B954024, as the flanges on the previous wheelsets had worn to unacceptable limits. I have undertaken this operation on an '00' gauge model in the past, but doing it on the real thing takes considerably longer! I can imagine that the new heavy overhaul workshop (with its 10 ton overhead gantry crane) makes a huge difference for jobs like this.

The van is in the workshop and the job is assessed. We have removed the lower step-boards and the tie bars from the W-irons (the parts that support and hold the axleboxes) ready for lifting. The overhead crane is moved into position.

Up and away! Chains are wrapped under the chassis, and the gantry crane makes light work of gently lifting the van at one end to release the first wheelset.

The old wheelset is rolled out and taken away by JCB. The new wheelsets were moved from the far end of the workshop to the van at the other end with precise control of the overhead gantry crane.

One of the new wheelsets installed. This one went in fairly easily, but the other put up a fight as the leaf spring refused to sit properly on the first attempt.

After the wheelsets were fitted, the W-iron tie bars were reinstalled, the brakes were adjusted (not as easy as it sounds!) and the van was shunted on to a siding in the yard outside.

The step-boards were bolted back on...

...and some minor repairs were made to some of the step-boards. Unfortunately some of these could do with replacement, but the repair will have to do for now. This van really requires a lot of new timber to return it to first class condition as the body frame and cladding is decidedly shabby, but at least for now it is useable once again - it is a very important vehicle as it is the only operable brake van on the railway.

Coach Works Continued

SNCB coach 21013 continues to progress thanks to the efforts of the full time carriage restorers. The old paintwork on the top half of the carriage is starting to be stripped back.

New steel window sill sections have been made and installed, and some filler applied over the joints and any dips in the new steel sheet.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

SNCB KIA 21013 Progress

Some time today was spent fettling, drilling, and fixing the last large panel on one side of the coach. There are still repairs and replacements to be undertaken to pieces of trim and window sills on this side, then the other bodyside will be stripped and replaced with new metal.

The hole to be filled, showing the cleaned and painted internal framework.

Steel sheet undergoing sanding. This side (internal face) of the sheet was primed shortly afterwards to help protect it from the dreaded tinworm in future.

The sheet in position, being held with a couple of bolts. The remaining bolts soon followed. Sealant had been applied between the steel sheet and the internal framework.

A close-up view of the leading edge of primed bodywork, showing the new metal feathered into the upper bodyside. The overlapping cover strip along the waist of the coach is beginning to be fitted.

Polish Tank 5485

Apologies for the lack of updates in the last couple of weeks, I have had an exceptionally heavy personal workload which has meant no time to volunteer or even post a small general update.

I was finally able to visit today - Polish 0-8-0T 5485 has seen attention from a paint brush after boiler repairs, being treated with a fresh coat of DSB green (as used on the DSB rake of coaches) and black boiler.