Sunday, 24 April 2011

Blog break

Unfortunately my workload is getting in the way of visiting the railway at the moment. I hope to be able to at least call by Wansford within two or three weeks, when normal service should resume.

Monday, 18 April 2011

'Christabel' Update

After a quiet few months, fundraising and the gathering of support for the restoration of BR Mk1 SO No.4794 "Christabel" is now under way. Please see the new page for this project on the official NVR website:

No.4794 in the damp cutting, September 2010.

"Christabel" seen between the platforms at Wansford as part of the shunt to its new location, 1st February 2011.

The coach in its new home, the 'TPO platform' at Wansford. With your cash and support, this neglected carriage can be restored for use once again.

BR Mk1 No.4794

Build Location: York
Built by: BR, 1957
Diagram number: 94
Lot number: 30376
Type: SO

Preserved 1987 on isolated piece of track as 'Railway Inn' restaurant, Whittlesea. Donated to NVR late 1998, but not to Wansford until Nov 1999. Repainted brown and cream from previous faded red/cream livery. Bar. Some conversion work internally: no operating brake.

Information from the Vintage Carriage Database, by the Vintage Carriages Trust.

Building works

The cafe extension at Wansford is coming on nicely. According to the latest 'Nene Steam' (Issue 100), the brick plinth will support timber panelled walls to approx. 3ft above floor level, with glazed panelling above that in LNWR style. Double doors will be located at both ends to give access the the outdoor seating on the platform. It will be interesting to watch it develop.

The old waiting room ('The Barnwell Building', as it was formerly the station building at Barnwell) is also undergoing some maintenance. Rotten planks are in the process of being replaced and the rear of the building is undergoing repainting. This asset is sadly a little under-utilised at present but I believe there are plans in the pipeline to present at least part of it as a steam-era Stationmaster's office.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Tanks Again

The shed staff kindly shunted the Esso tanker from the turntable and back into the bay platform, so an air line (for the needle-gun) could reach from the shed.

There was no other option other than to clamber up on top of the tank to continue the needle-gunning. This was the unusual view of the engine sheds from my lofty perch. I should mention at this point that I really don't like heights - even relatively modest ones - it was ok when I was settled in position but I was considerably wobbly when climbing up there in the first place!

Paint is now removed from the top of the tank on the eastern end.

At the end of the day progress was noticeable. Just as the metal was fully exposed, it started to rain - typical! The tank will be stripped and painted in sections where the steel sheets are butted together, in order to minimise the time that the metal is unprotected from the elements. There is probably 1-2 days worth of needle-gunning still required on this section, before rust treating with acid, priming, then undercoat. At one day a week that's at least five weeks work - hence the need for more volunteers!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

New Arrival

LMS BG (gangwayed brake van) No.31359 arrived safely on Monday at Ferry Meadows station, from the Battlefield Railway. The intention is to restore it for use with the LMS TPO M30272M, which interestingly, is the only surviving rail vehicle from the Great Train Robbery of 1963.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

The next victim

Change of plan - the operational 'Palvan' had gone back to Peterborough during the weekend so the repaint of that will have to wait a bit longer. This means that a major bugbear of mine, the appallingly shabby 'Esso' fuel oil tanker has been bumped up the queue.

This tank wagon is currently used for boiler washouts so permanently lives in Wansford yard. As a consequence, it is a wagon that is very visible to the visiting public, and its current state does not give the best impression.

A couple of hours on Wednesday were spent examining it and experimenting to decide the best course of action. After playing around with a scraper and chisel, it became apparent that needle-gunning and full repaint was the best course of action to take, as the existing paint is not as stable a base for repainting as it initially appeared. Being a smooth-sided vehicle with large expanses of 'flat' surfaces, it will also be much less forgiving in terms of paint finish than some of the timber planked wagons.

As I only had a couple of hours available, I made a start but didn't get very far. The rotten timber baulks need replacing but will be left for the time being as new hardwood means £££! For the moment I will work on a decent cosmetic repaint, leaving the timber for now. In future, it is hoped to replace them and bring the wagon up to operational use in the demonstration goods train. A newer, larger tanker standing at Ferry Meadows would then become the washout tanker (after cosmetic restoration to 1960s condition of course).

The proposed new washout tanker currently out of use at Ferry Meadows station. This is a 32 ton tank, No.5181, built in 1965 by Metro-Cammell of Saltley.

Back to the 1941-built tank, there is clearly still a long way to go!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Back to Carriage & Wagon

I thought it was about time I put something up about restoration work as that has been lacking in recent postings.

I arrived at Wansford and discovered someone had very kindly painted the remaining half of the 'Vanfit' in my absence over the last couple of weeks.

I had to find something to do, and as the stencils for the lettering are not yet complete, I decided to smarten up the underframe with a quick coat of gloss black. The ends can wait until another time, I want to paint an operational wagon ('Palvan' B778810) first.

The public side of this van is now looking quite smart.

Speaking of repaints, the TPO brake No.80456 emerged from the sheds in an incomplete state in order to be used on the TPO exchanges at the gala weekend.

Since the outshopping of freshly painted 'Thomas' from the C&W shed in February, SNCB 21013 has returned to the workshop and is seeing its end vestibules substantially rebuilt.

Monday, 4 April 2011

VIDEO: Mixed Traffic and Transportation Gala

The "Mixed Traffic and Transportation" Gala this weekend (a replacement for last years Spring Diesel Gala) was a lot of fun. It was nice to see that the gala weekend seemed quite busy, so hopefully all the hard work put into the event by those organising and running it has paid off.

Since I recently discovered video-editing software on my PC, I decided to experiment with the video option on my camera for the first time. Apologies for the wobbly camera work (I only have a 'point and shoot', and more importantly, no tripod!) but here are the results - the first (and so far, only), thing I've ever uploaded to Youtube!