Thursday, 30 September 2010

This Weekend: Autumn Diesel Gala 2010

It's that time of year again for one of the best diesel events in the country! The Nene Valley Railway Diesel Gala is being held this weekend on Friday 1st, 2nd and 3rd October.

The event this year plays host to an impressive line up of visiting traction, the mainline link via the Fletton Loop proving invaluable:

From the Severn Valley Railway, BR Maroon Cl.52 D1062 'Western Courier', Cl.50 50035 'Ark Royal' (currently seen as 'Loadhaul' liveried 50135), and Cl.37 37906 in large-logo BR grey.

From Barrow Hill, a BR blue liveried quartet of Cl.33 33108, Cl.47 47375, Cl.20 20096, and Cl.37 37275.

Current mainline operators GBRf are to send a 667xx, while DBS are sending '08' shunter 08995 from Ketton Cement Works.

All of these locomotives are of course subject to availability, although I believe that 20096, 33108, 37275, 37906, 47375, D1062, and 50135 are already on site for the event.

In addition to the above, the home fleet will also be operating:

Cl.40 D306 'Atlantic Conveyor' (a personal favourite class of mine, along with the 'Peaks').

Cl.31 31108, which will soon be making an appearance in Eastenders on BBC1...

And finally, the NVR-based Cl.14s, D9523 (WR Maroon)...

...split personality D9520/Corby Quarries No.45...

...and D9516.

On an unrelated note and further to my previous posting, I was unfortunately unable to visit Wansford this week to do any volunteering - hence no work update. I have a particularly intense personal workload at the moment, but I will get up there again as soon as possible, even if only to grab some new photos and catch up on the latest gossip! In the meantime, keep checking back for updates as my next visit should be fairly soon...

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Odds and Ends

Well I have been away once again, and although home again now, have not been up to the NVR for a good week or two - I am suffering from terrible withdrawal symptoms! I am very much hoping to pay a visit later this week. In the meantime here a few recent(ish) photos.

The increasingly stripped 34081 '92 Squadron' was on display at the NVR steam gala weekend of 11th/12th September. The Battle of Britain Locomotive Society have clearly made great progress so far and I wish them good fortune and every success with this overhaul.

The LMS steam crane had also been pulled out of the shed - it can't be too far from completion of its extensive overhaul:

Meanwhile, one of our intrepid volunteers, Andy, continues his work renovating another platform trolley (his most recent trolley restorations were featured in the early days of this blog and can be found somewhere in the earliest archives on the right of this page). Like the other trolleys, he is building a completely new replica timber body to replace the well-rotted original, using the salvaged and repaired metalwork. The three trolleys completed so far (one LNWR grey, one LMS red and one GPO red) can be viewed on the platforms at Wansford. It looks like this one, seen here on its side as it undergoes construction, will have raised end rails:

Finally, while on the subject of replica timber bodies being built from scratch, another of our volunteers, Tim (and various helpers) have made fantastic progress with his BR 20 ton brake van No.B953944. A new replica body is being built on what was, until fairly recently, an unloved empty chassis that would probably have got the chop eventually. His Fotopic site here and this (very out of date) page here give further details on the history and restoration of this former 'no hoper'. This was the view a few weeks ago, on 6th September 2010:

That's it for now, hopefully I will visit again in a matter of days!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The end is in sight!

Some photos of progress this week on Vanfit B759852. The remaining 'normal' planks were inserted and bolted in place, while a decent start was made on the lowest 'thin' plank with its special profile. For the latter I thank John, one of the full-time carriage restorers, who took time out from carriage work to help me for a while. This piece is not quite finished, but the hardest part (i.e. shaping the correct profile from a length of plain timber) has been completed, and it only requires a little more fettling to get it in its final position.

As left at the end of the last session.

Both planks inserted and fixed in place.

A general view of the van side, timber replacement just about completed, apart from the thin strip (bottom right).

The thin strip is loosely put in place but requires further work to make it fit properly.

Once the thin strip is fixed in place, the bare wood can be protected with white wood primer as per the top half of the van. Depending on the weather and my availability, undercoat and topcoat can then follow - at last!

Before going home I had a look at the other three static vans and tried to choose the next candidate to receive some TLC (this is an old photo, taken before work started on B759852, second from left). I concluded that they're all pretty much as bad as each other!

I could do with a bit of variety having worked on this van for several weeks (months?), but these vans are perfectly located for wagon work as they are adjacent to the workshop whereas finding a practical space to restore other wagons is proving tricky at the moment. Also, replacing planks is not quite as weather dependent as painting jobs, especially now that we are fast approaching the winter months. We'll have to see I guess!

I will be away again for the next few days, and am unsure when I will next be able to get up to Wansford - but I will post an update as soon as possible.

Monday, 13 September 2010

'Christabel' to be restored?

Two current views of out-of-use BR Mk1 SO (Second Open, i.e. without compartments) No.4794, for some reason named 'Christabel' and painted in a somewhat dodgy Pullman-esque livery. Note the fake window, to the immediate left of the nearest door in the first photo - presumably this forms the back of a small bar which is inside this coach. The bodywork generally is clearly suffering from the effects of corrosion.

It can be seen that this is a relatively early Mk1 carriage, because the windows are flush with the metal bodywork. In BR service, this window design led to terrible rust problems in a surprisingly short length of time, particularly around and below the windows. Later builds of Mk1 coaches (and earlier builds that had their windows replaced by BR to counteract the problem) have a raised edge to the frame, it being an aluminium unit that overlaps the bodywork on the exterior. I believe the NVR has examples of both types in service in the Mk1 rake.

According to the Vintage Carriage Trust database, this particular coach was built in 1957, at York. It was preserved in 1987 on a section of track as the 'Railway Inn' restaurant, Whittlesea, Cambridgeshire. According to the same source, it was donated to the NVR in 1998 although it didn't arrive at the railway until November 1999.

In the most recent edition of 'Nene Steam' (No.98, Summer 2010) there is an appeal for volunteers, experienced or not, to help restore No.4794/Christabel back to running order. I believe there has been some interest in the project (although more volunteers will always be welcome), so hopefully the future for this coach is looking rosier. The condition of the bodywork gives cause for concern however - if the project progresses, repairs to the metalwork will almost certainly have to be undertaken in the workshop by the full-time C&W restoration staff. I love to see neglected things being restored, so I really hope this project generates the required support. I also hope it's given an authentic paint job!

SNCB 21013 - Update 19

The north side of the coach has had its undercoat rubbed down in preparation for the topcoats. In addition, the old paint has been needle-gunned from the vestibule area on the south-eastern corner of the coach, as seen here.

The same area has now had black undercoat applied.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Getting there...

Excitement this week - filming work for Eastenders was being carried out on the level crossing at Wansford. The crossing gates were removed and replaced with dummy lights and barriers, and the signal box was made to look like a disused example on the national network by being boarded up with weathered and graffitied plywood and corrugated iron. No photos I'm afraid - I wasn't sure if the filming was supposed to be 'secret' - but the news has since come out in local press and online. The episode is expected to air in about six weeks (around November) and I believe will also feature Class 31 31108 with some wagons.

Anyway the activities of the cast and crew provided suitable entertainment as I continued work on the Vanfit at the other end of the station:

The planks on the right-hand side were fixed in place and a plan devised to replace the lowest thin strip - this will be left until last.

I then started to break out the two lower planks on the left-hand side.

Unfortunately the wood behind the metal end piece had rotted. These rotten remains put up a lot of resistance to being removed and slowed progress to the extent that time ran out on me and I had to pack everything away before I could finish. However the replacement planks are cut to length, ready to go in barring minor fettling.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Swedish 'B' Class Repaint

A series of (not very good) pictures showing progress over the last few weeks on Swedish 'B' Class No.101, which is being given some much-needed cosmetic TLC by the International Railway Preservation Society, based on the railway.

29th July 2010

1st September 2010, green primer has been applied to the firebox cladding.

6th September 2010, blue undercoat has been applied to the same section, as has a coat of black to the smokebox. The lower part of the boiler (obscured by the hedge) has also been painted with green primer.

29th July 2010, showing the other side.

6th September 2010, the tank below the running plate is completed in black as is the remaining boiler cladding.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

SNCB 21013 - Update 18

During the last week or so, the new steelwork was primed and prepared for undercoat while the old cream paintwork was rubbed down further.

Black and cream undercoat has now been applied to the full length of the north side.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Never Ending Story

Apologies for the lack of updates over the last week or so, I wasn't able to get up to the NVR and I also had a holiday which got in the way of my usual visit. Anyway it's that time again for a progress update on Vanfit B759852 - progress would be much faster if I wasn't working alone, so if anybody ever fancies joining me (must enjoy hitting things with a hammer) you would be more than welcome!

During my absence last week a member of the C&W staff kindly moved some of the internal 'stuff' away from the van wall so I could get access. They also arranged the purchase of some fresh new timber to the correct profile, so everything was ready for work to begin when I arrived on site.

Experience gained from the two previous panels meant progress was fairly quick today. I used a cutting disc to cut through all the necessary bolts on both lower panels this time.

The metal patches were levered off - this is a BR-style 'bodge' repair holding a split plank together.

The planks were broken out if there was any sign of resistance to movement - again due to previous experience on the other two panels. Unfortunately the thin bottom plank had rotted to compost and fell apart, so a replacement will need to be made. It's a nuisance because it will be a bit tricky to cut and shape - it is thicker than the other planks and has a special profile - but I am told it can be done.

The new planks were cut to length and have been loosely put in place to help keep any rain out over the course of the week. Final fixing should happen next time, when the planks on the other lower quarter should also be removed and replaced.

General overview, the bottom left panel has also been prepared for removal of the split/rotten planks during the course of today. The bottom right panel is not too far from completion, and the top panels as previously described (and the doors) are ready for painting. After all this, the three other vans coupled to this one need doing too - and then the other sides that are out of public view! I think I'll do something else in between each completed van side, a change is as good as a rest, variety is the spice of life etc etc...

One final bit of 'news' on these four Vanfits for this week is that they are due to be moved a few yards into the station platform, because the CIWL Restaurant Car is apparently going to vacate its current position (next to the Southern Railway TPO) in a few weeks time. Hopefully the relocation to a platform berth will make my life easier!