Thursday, 18 August 2011

Wagon Roundup

The top half of the tunnel end of 'Vanfit' B759852 was quickly rubbed down and top coated.

It is more and more likely that this van will become part of the running fleet, after transferring the contents to another van which can remain static in this location. Whilst it makes sense to make this van a runner after all the effort that has gone into its restoration so far, unfortunately it requires new doors and some new timber on the other side, plus a new roof canvas/felt. The good news is that the doors are already built and in stock awaiting fitting, and thanks to the experience the restoration of this van has given me, I now have a relatively quick and easy method of replacing bodyside planks.

The first third of the southern side of the Esso tanker was given a coat of black topcoat. This means that the first third of the tank is completed, and properly protected from the weather. My plan is for the tank to remain in plain black until the rotten timber baulks are replaced (in a year or two, if funds can be raised?) then the whole thing will be rubbed down and given a second topcoat, followed by reinstatement of the "Esso" markings, lettering etc.

Another hour or two was spent needle-gunning the next section of the tank. I managed to get up to the middle bracing rail as seen here...

...and made the interesting discovery of this lettering under the paint. I think there was another line or two of text, but I couldn't prevent the needle-gun obliterating it. I will be more careful on the other side and try to preserve the whole thing for measuring/photographing so a record can be kept for the future. Study of other tankers in this 1950s/60s "Esso" livery suggests that this lettering doesn't appear to be a feature, and so I am led to believe that it belongs to its original WW2 Air Ministry livery. This tanker was constructed in 1941 as a 'Class A' tank, for the wartime job of transporting aviation fuel. It was later downgraded to become a 'Class B' tank, which means it was used to transport fuel and heating oils rather than 'Class A' spirits such as aviation fuel and petrol. For the record, the text reads, "NO LIGHT TO BE BROUGHT NEAR THIS TANK. THE COVER MUST BE KEPT SECURELY FASTENED". As mentioned, there may well have been another line or two which I was not able to save.

Speaking of lettering, Tim began the task of lettering his brake van. I believe it is hoped (and realistic) to have it ready by the steam gala on 10th/11th September.