Monday, 28 June 2010

Working on it - honest!

Not too much to report this week, good progress was made but none of it is particularly visible. The bodyside framework of SNCB 21013 was undergoing needle-gunning but no more panels had been stripped off since last week - needle-gunning being a very thorough and time consuming process.

Vanfit B759852 saw further work today, again little of it is visible. The very hot weather today certainly slowed progress. However all the bolts have been cut and interior 'skin' removed, so next week it should be a quick job to remove the damaged planks as they are now ready to come out. It may take longer to make replacements but I am hoping good progress can be made next time, perhaps get it ready for the painting stage by the end of the next session.

Vanfit interior before stripping.

Internal strip partially complete. The remaining boards of this panel have since been removed, and the exterior planks are now ready to come out.

Freshly repainted GNR Lowmac DE414130 was out and about today on a works train, this is the first time I've seen it in use since it was smartened up.

I will be away for a few days so don't expect any updates until 5th July at the earliest (may be slightly longer, depending on which day next week I visit).

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Superb Progress - 21013

Above are two views of the south side of SNCB K1A 21013, which is now wearing blue and cream topcoat. Replacing the complete panel, rather than stripping the interior to make repairs, has been a very successful strategy for dealing with the severe corrosion on this coach. The middle strip is still to be painted (yellow?)

What's more, this technique has allowed a start to be made on the north side much sooner than expected - as this pile of scrap sheet metal from the north side testifies.

Surprisingly (to me at least) the side sheets were originally welded as well as rivetted to the structural frame. Cleaning the framework up takes a lot of time and effort. It is not necessary to weld the new sheets on due to the relatively low speeds of trains on the NVR, so in theory at least, in future it should be easier to remove and replace the side sheets on this vehicle.

Another view of the north side, stripping and cleaning underway.

More Wagon Works

The Civils box van has now had its doors painted to match the rest of the bodywork. I believe the identity of this van is B771300, but it is yet to receive its painted number/lettering.

I finished off the remaining 'Lowmac 1' branding as expected, and put a few finishing touches to the wagon plates of GNR Lowmac DE414130. It is now fully finished and ready to go.

A temporary platform was constructed from scaffolding next to Vanfit B759852 (static stores van). A start was made on grinding/chiselling off some bolts which are holding some rotten planks. I began to dismantle a section of the interior 'second skin' that these vans have, to facilitate replacement of the rotten/split timber. This will continue next time.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Y6 Tram Engine Replica

One of the more obscure projects at Wansford, although in my opinion one of the most interesting, is the project to rebuild a Belgian Cockerill 0-4-0 tram engine into a replica of a GER Class G15/LNER Y6. The original versions of these, as well as their larger GER C53/LNER J70 0-6-0 cousins, plied along the much-missed Wisbech and Upwell Tramway, which was located approximately 25 miles to the east of Peterborough. Most people would recognise the Y6 and visibly similar J70 as the inspiration for Toby the Tram from the Thomas the Tank Engine stories (even without a face!)

The steam tram engine, No.1626, is one of several discovered at Vilvoorde, Brussels in 1987. It was brought to Wansford specifically to be rebuilt as a replica of a GER G15/LNER Y6. Sadly the two members who brought it to Wansford passed away before they could see the project completed.

One of the distinctive cowcatchers completed.

According to Nene Steam Issue 83 (Autumn 2006) the mechanical parts are all overhauled. It also appears to have had larger frames fitted, a start made on the bodywork structure, and one of the tell-tale front cowcatchers installed. The last update I have seen was in Nene Steam Issue 94 (Summer 2009) which states that the tram is now a rolling chassis, with a four figure sum required for work on the body and boiler (boiler work estimated at around £4,000 - £5,000, according to 2007 edition of NVR stock book). Unfortunately the project has stalled for the want of this money.

A list stuck to the engine in the shed outlines the outstanding 'major' work:

Make superstructure
Fit air brakes
Repair and certify the boiler (at specialist works)
Fit pipework and controls
Water tank
Rear cowcatcher.

Understandably, being a small locomotive unable to haul long passenger trains the full length of the NVR, it is a low priority. However if funding and volunteers could be found to progress it, I'm sure it could find a use - perhaps on shuttles through the tunnel to Yarwell, for special events - including 'Thomas' weekends, and for photographers charters. If you are lucky enough to have a few thousand pounds burning a hole in your pocket and would like to see a unique East Anglian replica take to the rails, then I'm sure the railway would be delighted to hear from you! An original Wisbech and Upwell tramway coach, number 7, survives and has been recently restored at the North Norfolk Railway so an authentic pairing would be possible. With the help of a generous benefactor, this really could be the next new build/replica locomotive project to be completed...

State of play, June 2010 when the TASC machine was temporarily moved from the shed opening up a better view of the Y6.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Out and about at Wansford - midweek

Polish 0-8-0T 5485 was in use for the midweek steam service, using the continental stock (SNCBs and DSBs, in a combined rake today). Check out for timetables and information on what's running on specific dates.

I don't think I have ever posted a picture of a completed trolley - here is the GPO mail trolley at Wansford. The restored LMS and LNWR trolleys are also dotted about on the platforms but I didn't get a picture of those this time.

The marquee was being set up for 'Steaming Blues X', held on Saturday 19th June. I hope the event was successful and that visitors had a good time.

In the carriage restoration shed, SNCB 21013 was having its first topcoat of blue and cream.

Friday, 18 June 2010

C'mon England!!!

73050 wishes England good luck in their match against Algeria in her own special way...

[Update after a painful 0-0 draw] Oh well, so much for that! Lets hope we can put it behind us and go all out for a decent win against Slovenia...

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Back to the Lowmac: Part II

I should work on the GNR Lowmac more often - it seems to coincide with scorching hot weather and I get sunburned every time! (Well, apart from last time, but I'm trying to forget the misery of attempting to paint in the drizzle).

The headstocks, buffers and lower portion of the body were painted black today, along with the chequerplate decking at the wagon ends. The wagon now actually shines - what a difference! I was feeling lazy so I painted around the existing Tare/Gross lettering, but it's not too noticeable upon casual inspection.

I finished off by painting the wagon plates, these are a big improvement. Previously the highlighting of the text could be described as 'approximate'!

All that's left to do is brush paint over the 'Lowmac 1' branding on one side - that can be done any time the weather is good enough assuming the wagon is conveniently located - and I will have outshopped my first wagon. What will be next??

A reminder of the earlier tired appearance of the vehicle, 3rd June 2010.

Bodysides completed, headstocks/buffers yet to be done.

Smartened up wagon plates painted in conjunction with the lower bodysides. The date reads 1909 - making this Lowmac a sprightly 101 years old!

The (very nearly) completed wagon - just got to paint over the stencilled 'Lowmac 1' lettering on this side to complete.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

LMS 40T Steam Crane MP3

The ex-LMS steam crane is undergoing an extremely thorough overhaul in the new workshop. According to the latest issue of 'Nene Steam' (Issue 97, Spring 2010), "The hornguides have been renovated, the axleboxes, bearings and slippers refitted, and the crane lowered onto its wheels...the tail end bogie has been re-assembled and the painting completed. The jib-end bogie and match wagon also require overhaul but this will be left until the very end in case there is not enough time. Both these vehicles should get a quick repaint so that they complement the rest of the crane."

Of course there have also been a myriad of smaller, but no less important tasks undertaken on the crane, but as I have not been involved with this project, I am unable to elaborate in detail. However, as a bystander I can say that the crane will look stunning when it is finished, and can appreciate the hard work and dedication that has gone into its overhaul both by volunteers and paid staff.

Crane MP3 in the workshop.

Match wagon with crane behind.

Closer view of match wagon.

Tail-end bogie.

Jib-end bogie.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Wansford river bridge - open again!

The pedestrian walkway of the Wansford river bridge appears to be open again. The steelwork of the east span has undergone maintenance and repainting, and the timbers that formed the pedestrian access have been replaced with new.

So much for plans...

The first fly in the ointment today was me forgetting my camera, so all pictures are taken on my phone! I had my stencils all cut out and ready, I just needed the wagon to be present and the rain to hold off. At first I thought the Lowmac had been taken from the yard as it wasn't where I had last left it. Eventually I found it hiding away on another siding so I set about applying the first stencil.

The next setback was the lack of any aerosol paint to lightly spray over the stencil, so I had to stipple paint on with a brush.

Fortunately, once the stencil was removed I had managed to achieve quite a good clean outline.

The stencilled lettering was then painted over properly with the brush. Not a bad result!

During the entire operation the weather also decided to throw a spanner in the works, constant drizzle being the order of the day. Everything started to get too wet so I called an end to the painting for today. However later in the afternoon I did manage to apply the lettering with the second stencil on the other side, I shall overpaint it when I get a good opportunity.

I shall paint the bits of the wagon that I left previously, another time. It should look quite smart when it's finished. The Civils train has seen quite a bit of attention lately - today I noticed that somebody has smartened up the Civils box van over the last few weeks/months(?) with some fresh Bauxite paint and it is looking much better, even with the doors still to complete:

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


Making the stencils for GNR Lowmac DE414130. The beverage is optional! If the weather is dry enough tomorrow and the wagon hasn't been whisked off elsewhere, I shall apply the templates and spray with a light coating of white aerosol paint. There will then probably be a fair bit of touching up with a paint brush to finish off.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Coach Works

The interior of under-restoration Mk1 4466 was being worked on today (apologies for the useless photo!)

SNCB K1A 21013 is beginning to see fresh paint on the sides - what looks like a black undercoat is being applied, as a base for the dark blue that it will presumably carry on the lower bodyside. The top half has been painted cream.

Thomas and the Big Shunt

Thomas drew an interested audience today as he was shunted temporarily out of the way, allowing Austerity 0-6-0ST No.22 to take prime position for prepping and use on services this weekend. Unfortunately this shunt has put Thomas out of public view at the back of the shed, but at least he has a roof over his head for the time being. Hopefully he will be visible to the public again soon.

Austerity No.22 after the shunting move, in pole position ready for preparation and service at the weekend.

GNR Lowmac DE414130

This week the MK1 set received running maintenance, and the beautiful sunny weather gave me the opportunity to freshen up the GNR Lowmac DE414130 with a 'selective' coat of paint - i.e. cleaning up and repainting the worst and most obvious parts of the wagon. During the week I shall make some stencils at home in order to reinstate the 'LOWMAC 1' branding on the body, which I shall apply next week if the weather plays ball and the wagon is still in the yard. Below are a couple of quick shots: