Friday, 26 November 2010

Santa Claus is coming to town...

Preparations continued this week for the 'Santa Specials', which are running from Sunday 28th November. The marquee shelter over the platform at Wansford was undergoing assembly, a load of christmas trees have arrived on site, and the Continental coaches were being prepared and decorated.

However the big news is that SNCB 21013 is now complete! Launched without fanfare, it is seen here coupled to SNCB 23009, ready to provide First Class accommodation for the 'Santa' trains.

These two SNCB coaches are now in excellent external condition, leaving No.21033 as the only Belgian coach on the railway still requiring attention to its bodywork.

The carriage restoration shed vacated by 21013 looked very strange and surprisingly big without a coach in it! I believe the plan is to carry out improvements to the workshop over the next few weeks whilst it is empty, including a clever fold-away scaffolding system to be hung from the shed framework. After that, 'Thomas' should be coming into the shed for a repaint as he is starting to look a little shabby.

'A really useful engine' who has definitely earned a repaint...

Thursday, 25 November 2010

'Kriegslok' Boiler Preparations

As has been mentioned earlier on this blog and elsewhere, the massive 'Kriegslok' (War Locomotive) 2-10-0 No. Ty2-7173 has been sold by its private owner, and will be leaving the railway for a new home in Belgium at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Included in the deal is a spare 'Kriegslok' boiler, which last week was placed on a 'Weltrol' wagon by the LMS steam crane. The boiler was due to leave yesterday (Wednesday 24th Nov) and preparations on site had been carried out to enable lorry access, including emptying the 'Civil Engineering' display track.

The displaced Engineers' trolleys.

The spare boiler had sat in the yard at Wansford for several years, but at the time of my visit was perched on the 'Weltrol' to be shunted down to the lorry loading area (adjacent to the 'new' station building). If everything went to plan, this boiler has now left, leaving the 'Weltrol' free for the next job - carrying the boiler of under-overhaul 34081 '92 Squadron'.

The two remaining boilers on site - in the foreground is that from Danish Class F 0-6-0T 'Tinkerbell', behind it is the boiler from Swedish Class S 2-6-2T No.1178. The overhaul of the former is being undertaken by a team of volunteers, whereas the overhaul of the latter is sadly on ice due to lack of resources at this moment in time.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Flying Visit 2 - 16th Nov 2010

I called into Wansford on Tuesday to see how things were going, as I was passing by on the A1. However the light was fading fast so these photos are for the record only!

The LMS steam crane had been pulled out of the shed and the jib left in the raised position. Looking good! The next day the crane was steamed, and used to transfer the spare 'Kriegslok' boiler from the ground where it has sat for several years, onto an adjacent 'Weltrol' wagon. Some pictures of the lift can be seen here, on the official NVR Gallery page.

I was disappointed to see that the Fowler '4F' No.44422 had left the railway (the tender remaining as seen here), but asking around it has apparently only left temporarily to have some specialist work done. I believe this engine will now be staying at the NVR for the 2011 season which is great news, although I have not heard any official confirmation of this yet - fingers crossed all is ok. 44422 is very much appreciated on the NVR, it is an ideal size for our operational requirements and the type is historically accurate for our ex-LNWR/LMS line.

I was very pleased to see some planters in the process of being painted up, presumably to be interspersed with platform benches at Wansford station when they are finished. At the other end of the platform, the strings of Christmas lights were going up along with other preparations for the 'Santa Specials'. The first 'Santa' train is running on Sunday 28th November and it is good to see that First Class in particular is filling up nicely.

The parcels/luggage trolley with end rails has seen further work, including lettering.

The trolley seen in white primer whilst under construction in a previous posting has now been assembled and painted up. One of the platform benches has also been brought in for some TLC, the end/middle supports can be seen here in green primer. The cast CIWL crests have also been applied to SNCB 21013...

...the coach now looks like this, the destination boards and other small details have been added to the bodyside.

Monday, 15 November 2010

LMS Steam Crane - Nearly There...

The LMS steam crane is now very close to completion - I believe it passed its steam test a few weeks ago. It is a shame that it will have to live outdoors as the paint finish is immaculate. Congratulations to all the volunteers and staff who have spent the last couple of years working on this project, the finished article is a credit to you.

A view of the match truck undergoing painting. The solebar and everything below it is black this time, previously these parts were red. The new shade of red is apparently a very close match to the original red paint discovered during the overhaul.

An overall view of the crane, almost ready to go. A beautiful machine, and useful too.

To whet the appetite, here are a couple of shots of the crane in action in 2007, before the overhaul began:

The crane being shunted at Wansford by former resident B1 4-6-0 61306.

Crossing Wansford river bridge in charge of 'Type 1' (Class 20) D8137, which was visiting from the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Hitting the Roofs

I am pleased to report that volunteers from the IRPS have now given the Swedish 'B' Class 4-6-0 new cab roof timber and felt covering in time for the winter. Two of the cab windows that were badly cracked have also been removed to enable replacement of the glass.

Viewed from Wansford car park, showing one of the cab windows removed.

The other side, showing the second cab window removed.

The LMS CCT in the bay platform has also had a new roof covering (apologies for the quality of the photo, it was dark when I made this visit so I have had to play around with the brightness/contrast to actually see anything!)

The timber on this van is in poor condition but the C&W department is very small in number and there is a lot of stock to look after - and the running carriage fleet always comes first.

Volunteers are desperately required in this friendly department to help with the large workload - no special skills are required and your commitment can be on an 'as and when' basis if need be. If you are interested in lending a hand, please contact the railway - E-mail (replace AT with @) or call 01780 784444 and ask to speak to someone about volunteering. We hope to see you soon!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Absolutely Trolleyed

The good news is that the NVR has started employing a part-time worker who is helping to restore the platform trolleys amongst other things. Hopefully this will mean that at least some of the currently very tatty platform furniture will be restored, which will really improve the appearance of the stations on the railway.

The bad news is that the trolleys come into the workshop like this...

Oh dear! The trolley 'in-tray', to which I added another from the platform.

However, as our volunteer Andy has proved, the timber bodies can be rebuilt and the metalwork restored. The last time I saw him, he was working on this trolley with end rails (featured earlier in this blog) which is now well on the road to completion.

Another completed trolley ready to roll.

Our new worker Dave is progressing the next trolley - there has been quite an output of overhauled trolleys over the last couple of years!

There are at least two more in the 'in tray', and there may well be others hidden away which need work. It is great to see these smaller items get the attention they deserve, and I hope secure winter storage space can be found to spare them the worst of the weather.

SNCB 21013 - Update 21

The painting, lettering and lining seems to be complete on Belgian K1A 21013, and the scaffolding has been dismantled.

New holes have been drilled in the pristine bodyside...

...for the new 'CIWL' crests. Previously the CIWL crest was carried as a flat transfer, this casting will look infinitely better.

This CIWL 'Pullman' livery is not authentic for these coaches, but there is no denying it looks very smart. These coaches form the First Class accommodation for the 'Santa Specials'. You have to pay a little more, but I would recommend the upgrade - the SNCBs have lovely interiors whereas it has to be said that the DSB coaches used for Third Class are not the best on the railway.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Every Little Helps

I managed to drop by Wansford this week for an hour or so to get some updates and do a little bit of work. I was very pleased to find that Gordon had fettled and temporarily fitted the one remaining plank on the south side of Vanfit B759852 - saves me a job! I just need to cut and fit a backing plank to provide the full thickness of timber - this will probably have to wait until mid-December unless somebody does it for me in the meantime.

I spent a few minutes painting the newly-fitted plank with white wood primer.

General view of the van. I must admit I didn't notice at the time, but thanks to this photo I see that the left-hand door catch, removed when replacing both the lower planks, has also been refitted during my absence - thanks Gordon!

I've now decided that the left-hand side could do with some more spots of white wood primer before applying undercoat. Pity I didn't think of that before putting the paint away!

To finish off this unexpected (and very brief) working session I moved a badly broken trolley that was by the Southern TPO off of the platform and hid it away out of public view. This area leaves a lot to be desired but even just doing this two minute job makes a bit of a difference.


...and after. Amazingly the trolley held together for its short journey to the trolley restoration 'in-tray' (more on that soon when I get a chance). I believe the TPO windows are currently being refurbished as they were leaking, and when they are reinstalled, the TPO should get a deperately required repaint of its current livery. (Nene Steam Issue 98, Summer 2010).

The rest of the platform equipment seen here (various weighing scales etc) would also benefit from some attention with a paint brush - anyone up for doing what would be quite a nice little job, that would make a huge difference to the general appearance of the site? I have found volunteering to be extremely worthwhile and would recommend anyone thinking about becoming a volunteer to go for it - you'll find a dangerously addictive hobby and great cameraderie. You will need to become a member of the railway if you're not one already (the form is in the timetable leaflet, or use the contact details on the NVR website) but that is the only requirement - there is a great variety of different jobs to do, and many jobs can be done on an 'as and when' basis if you have a very busy lifestyle. As a well known Supermarket chain says, every little helps!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Eastenders - Part Two

Here is the link to Monday's episode of Eastenders, featuring the rest of the Wansford crossing footage during the first few minutes. 31108 makes its appearance at last!

As sad as it may be to admit this, I did notice the same wagons pass the back of the car several times over! I also noticed the GNR lowmac in the rake of wagons, quickly painted over the spring/summer by yours truly...

And is it just me, or did the train keep getting further away the longer the scene went on?

Anyway all good publicity, and hopefully a nice cheque for the railway.