Thursday, 30 December 2010


Tim and Co. continue to make great progress with the standard 20T BR brake van No. B953944, the body being built from scratch and mounted on the now-restored bare chassis over the last few years. The roof timber has gone on, and since this photo taken a couple of weeks back, has been trimmed to length.

An overall view of the van which is already out of date! Tim's Fotopic site found here has a comprehensive collection of photos taken during the restoration, with more being added as work progresses.

Another platform trolley undergoes a complete rebuild - this is the primed metalwork from the broken one that was next to the Southern TPO...

...and this is the remains of the rotten woodwork!

Every Sunday in January should see steam-hauled services operating on the NVR (yellow timetable), and also on Saturday 1st and Monday 3rd January. So if you have been suffering from steam withdrawal symptoms over the Christmas period, come along to the railway for a day out riding the rails!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Out and about at Wansford - in daylight!

NSB (Norwegian State Railways) 2-6-0 No.377, 'King Haakon 7'. This attractive engine is on loan from Bressingham during the 'Santa' season whilst our other steam locos on site undergo essential repairs. I believe the brown diesel shunter behind, English Electric 0-4-0 D1123 'Muriel', is undergoing investigative work by volunteers in order to fix an oil leak.

SNCB No.21013 also in daylight and out of the shed. It should be coming back into the shed in the New Year for further attention to the end vestibules, which aren't too bad and were deliberately left in order to get the coach serviceable for the 'Santa' trains.

Now the LMS steam crane has been completed, a TPO coach (I think it is brake tender vehicle No.80456) has taken up residence in the Heavy Overhaul Workshop. The old paint is being stripped off to reveal quite severe corrosion in several places. The new livery is to be early Post Office red, although the coaches are in post-1963 (Great Train Robbery) condition with small bodyside windows, and most of our examples weren't built until the late 1960s anyway - when they would have been painted in the then current blue and grey livery.

A view of the other side. In the foreground can be seen the steps which are intended to lead to a first-floor viewing gallery in this workshop at some point in the future.

A close up of some of the corrosion on the end of the carriage. There are also holes around the bodyside windows.

Finally for now, I would like to wish all readers, volunteers, staff, and visitors a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Great News!

Further to previous postings, I am very pleased to hear that the new owner of the 'Toby'/Y6 Tram loco is a keen NVR supporter and working member and wishes to keep the engine on the railway.

This is great news, and with a little imagination in how it is used it could be a real asset at the railway. Thomas on the 'main line' and Toby up to Yarwell? Hiring in the always unusual, now unique, surviving Wisbech & Upwell coach (number 7, built 1884) from the North Norfolk Railway for a special event? An authentic short goods train photo charter with a couple of general open wagons and vans? An unusual 'Driver Experience'?

Although it has a vertical boiler and outside cylinders (unlike the real 'Y6's), the bodywork and side skirts will hide these internal details. The engines frames (chassis) have already been rebuilt and extended, presumeably to 'Y6' dimensions, which offers a unique opportunity to recreate one of these lost locomotives in appearance at least.

Workshop Overhaul

The new overhead gantry is undergoing installation, with some other bits still to add, such as hand-rails and walkway spans to the ends. This gantry can be swung up and out of the way quite quickly, unlike the previous scaffold towers that took a lot of time to set up each time they were needed. The railway is indebted to volunteer Andy, who has made this long-desired piece of equipment a reality.

The BR Mk1 coach in the background of the above shot is 4466 - owned, and being restored by, a very supportive working member of the railway - which has come into the shed over the Christmas period for roof repairs. I believe the intention is for this one to emerge in BR Maroon, and its restoration will hopefully lead on to the creation of a second rake of Mk1s at the railway. I am unsure how close this coach is to completion, but it is clear that a lot of work has been carried out on the bodywork over the last few years.

We also have a new carpentry area shaping up nicely in a corner, which I may find useful when I can get back to wagon work...

Moving 4466 into the C&W shed has freed up a little space in the siding outside. The maroon LMS coach (BCK 18017) nearest the camera is due to be moved into the main yard at Wansford to have corridor connections reinstated (for cosmetic purposes; internally the coach is being converted into overnight volunteer accommodation). I've no idea what is happening with the Class 56 Diesel under the bridge - it could be a source of spares for other Class 56's that operate on the mainline but I could be wrong on this. I believe the BR Green DMU car that is next in line is still undergoing rectification work to eventually bring it into passenger use, and the 'blood and custard' Mk1 bringing up the rear (E25639 if I remember correctly) was a serviceable coach until recently, but the flanges are worn out so is now out of use. The plan is to bring some spare Mk1 bogies into the yard/workshop early in the new year for overhaul, then put them under this coach to get it back into service as soon as possible.

I am hoping to take advantage of this general move around of stock, and reserve a slot on this siding for wagon restoration work - it is ideally located for proximity to C&W tools and equipment, power supply etc - but we are rather pressured for space at Wansford so I will have to wait and see what happens.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Going green

As mentioned in the previous post, this week I saw that Gordon had progressed 'Vanfit' B759852 in my absence. He has wire brushed the metalwork on the lower panels and painted with green primer as a fill-in job between carriage maintenance duties.

He has also needle-gunned and painted the end piece (to the left of the 'VANFIT' lettering in the photo). This had been stripped back to bare metal a few years ago, but had not been painted to protect it from the elements. Due to the lack of C&W volunteers, the stripped lower panel was then unfortunately left to rust up all over again. It is good to see that it has now been properly dealt with.

This side of the van is now ready for pink undercoat but the weather must warm up first. When I carried out this visit, the sides of the van were coated in a thick crusting of ice, apparently the temperature at Wansford has been down to -12 on some mornings during this cold snap!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Flying Visit 3 - 7th Dec 2010

I called in very briefly to a sub-zero Wansford this week, and found 'King Haakon 7' and 'Thomas' being warmed up in the yard. 'King Haakon 7' seen here (if you squint a bit) is a lovely little Norwegian 2-6-0, and at her (or should that be 'his'?) usual Bressingham home only runs on a short demonstration line. Being a Continental locomotive, the NVR is the only railway of any length it can run on in the UK. (Continental stock, which is larger than UK stock, will not fit through many UK platforms and bridges).

During my brief visit I was pleasantly surprised to see that Gordon has made a little progress on 'Vanfit' B759852 over the last few weeks during my absence - pictures and report to follow shortly. I have not been able to properly volunteer for a couple of months now, but am hoping to put in a few hours work at Christmas. Hopefully the cold weather we are experiencing at the moment will ease up a bit by then, as the freezing temperatures are no good for painting jobs.

Friday, 3 December 2010

'King Haakon 7'

I have just noticed that the official NVR website announces the visit of Norwegian 2-6-0 'King Haakon 7' to the railway for the 'Santa' season, courtesy of Bressingham Steam Museum.

It is due to operate its first trains on Wednesday December 8th.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

'Y6' Replica Tram Loco - Sold

The sadly stalled project to reconstruct Belgian Cockerill steam tram loco No.1626 into a replica GER 'Y6' now has a new owner, after being put up for sale on an online/telephone auction website by its previous private owner.

It would be wonderful if the new owner chooses to complete and run their new purchase at the NVR, but of course there is now a possibility that this engine will move away from the railway for a new home base. I have no further information at present, so do not wish to speculate. Whatever happens, it will be lovely to see work resume on the engine and the restoration/rebuilding finally completed after a number of years.