Sunday, 26 February 2012


It's another very sunny day here - 21 C a sangria and double chocolate ice cream day! Especially as a celebration of our 1st month with over 4000 hits on the blog, achieved yesterday!

Here is Saturday's report from Dave C.

Saturday had 14 in, and yet again we were blessed with excellent weather. This was particularly ideal because it enabled a concerted effort on the two bogies standing outside the Barn, that were destined for RMB 1876 to replace its faulty ones. To the sound of much tapping, scraping, and brushing, Andy, Dennis, Cheryl, Phil Jones, Bob Mac, Chris, Nicky, and myself, over the course of the day gradually removed much of the old peeling coating, green algae, rust and dirt. In an ideal world we would have these grit blasted and sprayed, but with the coach due in service during the forthcoming Gold Cup Festival, time is somewhat limited, never mind the expense. By the end of the day, the bogies looked in a lot better shape, and as such the two sides can be painted which will considerably improve their appearance. Thank you everyone for such a fantastic effort!

In the meantime, RBr 1672 was shunted out of the Barn and placed in the siding alongside, and RMB 1876 moved inside on the Jack road. This enabled its bogies to be taken out and moved down the yard, where one of them decided to "hit the dirt", but the use of two heavy jacks and a willing team soon had it rerailed. Once out of the way, we then hand-shunted the two replacement bogies from  the loco road to the Jack road - great scrum training this - and then carried on with the clean-up process. Bogies with stuck axle boxes will run under a carriage without much issue but free them of the weight of the carriage body, well over 20 tons, and the become very scitish. Peter

Later on, Richard, Phil Salter, Dennis, Andy and Bob Mac began refitting the brake rigging and generally oiling up where required. Finally at the end of the day, both bogies were pushed to their relevant positions and choc'd under the RMB.

In the Workshop, Grenville completed the job of screwing the aluminium rims back on to the re-covered tables for 4790. I later assisted Gren in getting them stored away with the rest of internal fittings for this vehicle.

John Squires set about repeating his excellent work on 4790's steam heating piping, but this time at the Barn end of the coach.He managed to remove the badly corroded section, but will need the coach up on the Jacks this time to be able to refit the replacement pipework.

Also in 4790, Bob Keyte put the final coat of varnish on the veneer panelling in the central vestibule. In the Barn-end compartment, Bob also sanded down and added more stain to the water-marked parts of the veneer next to some of the windows (I had shown these to Eddie when he had popped in earlier, and he recommended this). The final result should now look quite good. Bob later moved out to the Monster Van to continue removing the peeling internal paint.

John Osborn and grandson Ben were also busy, getting the final corner section ready for 4790. What was of particular note is that nearly all of the final welding of the individaul sections was done by Ben, and in John's words, he made a very good job of it too. Well done Ben! John also made a new plate cover for Steve Madge, for his Class 20 diesel which stands on the siding next to the Workshop.

Finally, Richard and I attended a meeting with Malcolm Temple, Alan Bielby, Richard Drewitt, and Mark Young (the Railway's architect) to discuss the C&W Paintshop. In effect, thanks to the wonderful legacy left by Bill Ellesmere, we should eventually end up with not only a paint shop, but new and larger facilities for both our and Building Services woodworking teams, and our Upholstery team, plus a new and larger Mess Room, and more storage. With the move of the Woodworking team this will enable more heavy engineering in the Workshop, including a proper place to be able to do bogie refurbishment. As Malcolm says, it's a real "win, win, win" all round, especially as it is of great benefit to others as well as ourselves.

Dave C.

Thanks Dave and very good news as well. Peter

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Sangriaday hic

Ola from poolside Tenerife.

Thursdays report from Dave C.

Thursday was an incredibly warm Spring-like day making any work outside very pleasant, and very much making up for the severe cold that we had a week or so ago. Bob Keyte, Dick and myself were able to enjoy our lunch outside on the station picnic benches!

There were 17 in, with Richard, Phil, Andy and Bob Mac specially coming in for another shunt. The shunt was completed successfully and enabled the freeing up of two bogies to replace the faulty ones under RMB (Restaurant Mini Buffet) 1876 in the Maroon set. The bogies are now stored ready for servicing and cleaning up, prior to fitting under the RMB, which has been split from the set and is now ready at the end of the C&W headshunt.

The RBr 1672 story continues, with some work to repair the capping strip on the set of double doors that had been sticking. The door team had had to free these up the previous day and damage to the paintwork is unavoidable in these circumstances. Chris completed the repair, but unfortunately had to leave early as he was feeling unwell.

With the shunt completed, Andy, Richard and Phil continued with their work on the two bogies under 1672 - the pressure oiler again in use as Andy worked on the bogie at the Toddington end, while Richard and Phil continued rebuilding the brake rigging on the replacement bogie. John Osborn spent the day preparing some strips for the kitchen area from the recently purchased aluminium sheeting.

Meanwhile, with RBr 1675 expected to continue running for the start of the new season, Paul, Rog, and Ron Woodruff continued with the maintenance of its kitchen area. In the Workshop Paul cleaned up and then sprayed the grills and gas burners with special heatproof black paint.

On SO 4790, Eddie had previously completed his staining on the sanded-down panelling, and as such John Hughes put on the first coat of varnish in the central vestibule and around the windows in the Toddington end compartment. Ron Bennett continued with his excellent conversion of the light fittings from twin to single bulbs, and Dick continued with painting up those that had been completed, adding top coat brown to the outsides of the shades. The rebuild of the Cheltenham end also continued with Malcolm carrying on with his roof sections.

In CK 7221, Dave Hancox continued with the compartment panelling and other internal preparatory work, prior to the coach coming into the Workshop later this year.

Work started on the former-GW Monster Van, with Robin and Bob Keyte beginning the long job of burning off the flaking internal paint. This huge skittle alley-sized van will eventually be used to store the seating and other fittings from former Network South East TSO 4869 when we start its restoration.

With the Chocolate & Cream set back in Platform 1, access to the coaches is now much easier. Ron Woodruff cleaned up the Guards compartment in BSO 9000 and repainted the hand brake wheel in red. With such good weather, Rod and I were able to make some essential paintwork repairs to the platform side of 9000. Many of the door and grab handles along the rake were also repainted in gloss black. A very heart-warming touch for Rod and I was when we had a man and his wheel-chair bound wife visit us on the platform. They had never been to the railway and enquired about disabled facilities on board our trains. They were delighted when Rod and I were able to show them the special compartment in 9000, and even more so when we told them that we were in the process of creating further facilities on 4790 to enable wheelchair-bound travellers to be with the rest of the travelling public.

Later that afternoon, Robin Townsend, the Elegant Excursions Manager, called in to collect the large circular headboard for the "Titanic Commemoration Special" train for our railway artist Fred Lea. Robin then showed me what Fred will be painting on the board. On April 14th Robin very much hopes that the rostered locomotive is Foremarke Hall as it will be facing the right direction and, with the headboard in place, the train will look stunning to the lucky diners as it pulls into the platform.

Work finally finished about 1745, but I stayed on till about 1830 as Ian Carpenter (from the Loco Department) had arrived to do some tests of the new boiler in RBr 1672. This gave me time to complete the painting on the replacement bogie under 1672, and do some more repairs to the previously mentioned double doors.

Dave C.

Thanks for the report Dave. Time for ice creams now! Peter

Thursday, 23 February 2012


Thanks to Russ for the report today.

With the weather improving the work moved ahead a pace on Wednesday.

The sticking of new Formica to the tables in the RBr continued with Eddie Paddon and Grenville Care working hand-in-glove with the process.

Having got the new side panelling on SO 4790 on Saturday Craig Dyer set about fitting the locking mechanism to the 2nd door at the west end of the carriage. However,we still need to fit the first door.

Tony Shilham was dealing with the final window that has had to be removed. He shaped and welded a new piece of metal to form one of the bottom corners of the window. It will be back to John Hamer to reinstall the glass once all the internal wooden surrounding is shaped and ready for fitting.

Ralph Pickstone was busy reinstalling the middle door of SO 4790 but great care is needed to get it flush with the side of the carriage. It can be a real problem getting the curvature lined up just right when remounting a door. We try not to remove the door hinges but sometimes it just has to be done.

John Hill, was busy completing another seat arm having carefully folded and stapled some new material into place.

Of course the most important time of the day is when the bell rings to announce tea-break time!
Grenville was promoted to chief tea boy for the day - it's nice to be waited on!!

That's a point another Sangria anybody?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


Saturday and sitting in the sunshine in Tenerife. Temperature 20 degrees CENTIGRADE!

Apparently a little further north and you missed most of the sunshine as Dave's report shows.

Dave says:
16 in attendance and it was a busy day with mixed weather, initially quite cold and windy, followed by rain, but finally ending with some glorious sunshine.

For Richard, Andy, Phil and Dennis, the rain was not so welcome during another long bout of shunting with further bogie exchanging taking place, some in preparation for the replacement of the two faulty bogies under the maroon RMB next Thursday. The bogie in the Workshop has now been removed and the area tidied up, providing a bit of welcome space. With all the shunting completed, Richard, Phil and Andy started refitting the brake blocks and rigging to the new bogie under RBr 1672. Andy used the pressure oiler to lubricate the various moving parts.

Also in the Barn, John Hamer worked with Steve Madge (from the Diesel Department) sorting out the ex-Sprinter batteries that they had brought back from Cardiff on Thursday.

During the morning Richard and Hilary Summers (Head of OTC) visited us to review the status of both the new RBR 1672 and currently running RBr 1675, and discuss with Paul what was left to do prior to the new season starting on March 10th. This included the forthcoming Hot Boiler testing and Gas Safety Inspections for 1672, and the preparations for keeping 1675 running until 1672 can take over. Paul continued with his work in both RBr kitchens.

In the Workshop, it was business as usual with SO 4790. Chris and Nicky worked on the door portal at the east end (Workshop side), removing all the old wood framing. This took quite some time as bits of the framing proved to be somewhat stubborn to say the least. At the other end of the Workshop, John Osborn and grandson Ben cut and prepared new metal panelling for the west end. By the end of the day, it was good to see the new panelling welded in and painted in red oxide. During the morning Martin continued with the refurbishment of the light shades, painting top coat white on the interiors, and top coat Brown on the outside surfaces. Eddie also popped in during the morning, and one of the things he did was apply stain to the central vestibule veneer panel that had been badly marked, and thus sanded right back to bare wood, to see how well this would come out - the remaining panels in this vestibule are less worn and, having had a light sand only, can now be re-varnished.

Some of the tables for RBr 1672 have been recovered with the new Formica, and as such Grenville started the lengthy job of refitting the aluminium surrounds to these.

Both Cheryl and Dave got involved with painting, with yet more kitchen items from the two RBrs, and another coating of white for the large circular headboard for the Elegant Excursions "Titanic Commemoration Special" train. Of particular interest with the latter, Eddie has now attached an extra wooden section to the back of the board, on to which the special bracket will be placed to enable mounting on the locomotive smoke box door.

In CK 7221 Derek completed the replacement of the corridor flooring. He then started the removal of the west end wooden panelling in preparation for the eventual replacement of the end vestibule floor. Also arriving the day before was the new moquette that will be used for the first class compartments in the CK, enabling John Hill to begin recovering this seating, once the second class seats have been completed.

It was a good day all round, with the last ones leaving just before 6 pm. Another shunt is planned for next Thursday.

hopefully this all appears in English for you. It just that as I am in Spain all the controls have come up in Spanish.

You will no doubt be pleased I haven't mastered loading pictures from the iPad or you would have pictures of sandy beaches etc. It sounds like there should be some good pictures to catch up with when I am back home next week. Adios.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Thursday 16th February

Another sunny day but only 12 clocked on. While there is work to be done a lot is waiting on the completion of the west end panelling and door fitting.

John Hamer borrowed Pat Green's truck for a trip to Cardiff to pick up some ex-Sprinter heavy duty batteries. 

When I popped in it was good to see Malcolm up the scaffold tower working on the roof infill section. He did have to go up and down a bit getting the curvature right before welding it in place. He got some help from Pete Lucas using the heavy press.

He also got some help from Ben and John.

Ben Carroll working on another new corner at the Barn end of 4790 under the supervision of grandfather John. The individual sections can clearly be seen. Each one is cut, moulded to the shape of the corner, secured with a temporary screw, and then spot-welded to the one above. When the column is complete, it will be taken down, the spot welds cleaned up, and then the sections fully welded. Finally, the column will be trimmed and then painted in red oxide, ready for welding into place on the corner. Although very much a bit-by-bit process, the effort is very worthwhile and enables John to match exactly the complex curvature of the coach body corner.

Just as Paul thought he was coming to the end of cleaning the kitchen equipment for RBr 1672 he discovered we have to also do the same for RBr 1675 before the new season starts as it will probably be in the Chocolate and Cream Rake at the start of the season. So it wa back to cleaning grills.

and  Cheryl painting two of the hob plates.

meanwhile work on 1672 continues apace. Ron Woodruff spent much of the day finishing the interior with Executive Grey paint.

Ron Bennett fixed the undersink leak

Paul, having sprayed the oven plates with oven black, now carefully bakes the paint with a hot air gun.

Having got the replacement bogie in place under the RBr it now needs cleaning and painting. John Hughes in action.

The headboard for the White Star Line Special is also progressing well.

We also had a visit from Bob Keyte, with two friends, for a tour of C&W. So Dave got to play tour guide again.  As part of their tour, Dave took the group up to see the start of the major restore of Chicken Curve. 

Work on the internal fittings for SO 4790 continues.
Pete Lucus continued cleaning and painting the table supports. 

and cleaning up and painting more parts of the metal light covers.

After lunch, several other members of C&W also went to have a look. With all the trees and shrubbery removed, some major earth clearance done, bundles of plastic piping around, and bits of heavy machinery, it already looks very impressive. 

Thanks to Dave for some of the photos today. As I said I only popped in on my way to an airport to depart for some winter sunshine and WARMTH!!! So while I hope to bring you some news forwarded to me there will be a lack of pictures for a couple of weeks. Well, nobody wants to others lazing on a beech do they? (plus I haven't found how to get the iPad to upload pictures. I had to borrow my daughters laptop for this report.)

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Wednesday 15th February

Half term so I have been looked after by the Grand-Daughters today. Thus our report for the day comes from Rod Wells thanks Rod.

A much better temperature today at 9 degrees with 17 signed in during the morning.
This dwindled to just 9 for the afternoon.

I arrived late to find a conference in progress round the double door wheelchair access in SO 4790. The result was John Hammer agreed the position was finally good. The door was then removed to allow the skin to be fitted before final fitting.

Peter Fisher will be pleased now he can tackle the other end for change.

A visit to CK 7221 revealed  no work being done today. However, the coach’s special ambulance feature was now very visible since the panelling has been removed, one of the main windows opens to allow stretchers to be load into the compartment. There are locks on the out side and handles on the inside.

The same compartment viewed from the outside shows how much work is needed on the skin.

Today the upholstery coach was very cosy whilst John Hill and Dave and Penny Dron were worked on the “new build”  single seat for the disabled area of 4790.
This seat will match the standard single seat that exists on the other side of the carriage. The carriage has a 2 -1 seating split. This seat has had to be cutdown from a double seat because we couldn't find a spare single seat swab. Looks like a good job folks.

The tables for the RBr got some more attention today with new Formica being applied to some.
The on-going task of 4790 lampshades refurbishment continued with scraping and sanding of the bases and Rod filling a badly dented example of “soft furnishing” and painting others.
Quite how something mounted 6 feet in the air can get so badly dented is amystery!

Then into 4790 to sand down some water stained wall panelling ready for Eddie Paddon to apply some of his magic own brand stain before varnishing.  This is his own blend to get the right colour match.

A steady days progress then but with the door pillar now in place, I suspect we shall see some quick leaps forward. Thanks Rod for the pictures and report.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Saturday 11th January

Our report for Saturday comes from Dave as I was attending a wedding. Well it is national wedding week leading up to Valentines Day on Tuesday. What you forgot!

It was a bitterly cold day - at 09:00 the temperature was still -6C in the station car park. Paul, Dennis and Peter Fisher were there when I arrived. Paul had made the tea, but he had to get water from the sink in the Gents as all the supplies to the Mess Room and Workshop were frozen up.

Richard arrived soon after as we had more shunting to do to continue our long run of carriage bogie swapping. We had 11 in attendance, with visits from Bernard Dudfield and Barry Cordell (MD Riviera Trains).

Shunting was central to the plan for the day starting with a lift of SK 25341 on the Jacks, remove the bogies and park them on the back sidings and replace them with the spare B1 bogies currently outside the bar. SK 25341 would then be moved to the pit road, and the new RBr 1672 moved on to the Jacks. The RBr would be lifted to allow access to the replacement bogie (that had been put there last week to replace the defective one), and work could begin to clean and lubricate it. When completed, the coach would be lowered to enable all the brake gear to be connected - much of this would be taken from the original defective bogie.  That was the plan until the 04 shutter needed to moved!

The first job was to start and warm up the 03 shunter.

The battery charger was needed to get things going.

Then moving the 04 shunter proved to be a problem.

Bob Mac and Richard laugh as the 03 initially struggles to pull out the heavy 04, with wheels slipping on the icy rail. There is a slight hump in the track out of the Barn, but some sand on the rail did the trick.


Bob Mac looks on as the bogies from under SK 25431 are hauled out of the Barn.


 As Bob Mac checks that the wheel chocs have been removed, Richard attempts to connect the special link to the bogie.

At this point the air supply to the 03's gear box packed up and all shunting came to a most unwelcome halt.

Lunch was taken.

The shunter apparently appreciated the break because on a retry after lunch everything was working again. With shunting able to be resumed the planned moves were completed with the RBr now in the Barn.

Richard and John Cruxon (from the Loco Dept) looked on as Bob Mac begins removing the various bits of brake rigging from the RBr's defective bogie. By now, the temperature was dropping and it was becoming decidedly chilly to say the least. (Like it was ever warm!)


Other work continued throughout the day.

In the Upholstery coach, it was also somewhat chilly. John Hill had a heater providing some warmth, but a makeshift curtain drawn across the entrance to the little workshop very much improved things, as did the light in the photo which he said was very useful for warming the hands! John in the process of fitting new moquette to one of the large seat backs from the CK.


A close up of the seat's newly-covered arms.

Dennis continues his good work overhauling all the communication cord equipment on our coaching sets.

The chocolate and cream coach set has now been completed.


Grenville completes his work to remove old Formica and sand clean the tables from the RBr 1672. He then started to clean up the insides of SO 4790's windows.


Martin completed the sanding down of the varnished panels inside SO 4790. He then began cleaning up the three covers that will be used to go over the steam heating pipes in the new wheelchair area. He completed the job by painting them silver-grey.

Under the watchful eye of grandfather John, apprentice Ben uses the plasma cutter to create a new section of panel for 4790.


Following on from last Wednesday's Blog, the curved top hat rail that had been giving problems on the west end rebuild of 4790 was replaced. Having welded the new rail it in place, and re-attached the door hinge placements, Peter cleans up the welds. Fingers crossed we have the positioning exact.

Steve Barnfield making some new table legs for the "Brighton Belle" motor coach, owned by Russ Smith.

It's a great pleasure to be able to help Russ complete the refurbishment of his coach, especially after all the help he has given the GWSR with ferrying between Toddington and Winchcombe, and with the trips to the GCR and SVR for the Landslip Appeal special events. Russ never charges for the use of his coach donating everything he receives towards the Landslip appeal.


As well as continuing with the internal work inside the new RBr, Paul began extracting some of the kitchen equipment from the existing RBr 1675 ready for cleaning prior to the new season.

Dave continued cleaning up the new bogie under the RBr until it was shunted into the Barn in between taking all the pictures for the blog.
He later gave a tour of the Workshop to a large party from the Dean Forest Railway (the DMU

Overall, it was a very interesting day, with a lot achieved despite the cold weather and hiccups with the two shunters.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Thursday February 9th

Another bitterly cold day but still 15 willing worker signed in.

Thanks to Jeff we now have a very tidy tower containing all the new screws properly sorted.

The RBr kitchen continues to require attention with a number of fiddle jobs to be completed. We still have to get the gas system tested, the boiler tested and the kitchen area hygiene certified. here Robin is repainting the drawers after re sanding the sides. With all the paint on they started sticking. So they have had to be 'slimmed down'. A job for the workshop.

In the carriage itself Ron, Roger and Paul were hard at work.

Painting shelves and replacing screws.

Rod Wells and Dave braved the chill air to clean up and paint the replacement bogie under the RBr.

Dave was again hard at work sanding the panelling in the entrance vestibule of CK 7221 at least he was out of the wind.

The door behind him is in the workshop, paint stripped and undergoing a total overhaul.

Ron Bennett was again working on some of the wall light fittings for SO 4790 you can see here the modification the a single bulb from a double fitting. The new light bulb regulations affecting us all a real problem for heritage railways. This helps preserve our limited stock of bulbs a bit longer.

Elsewhere on 4790 it was largely the welder day. Malcolm was again shaping the roof patch for the west end of the carriage. He finally has it fitting, the problem being every adjustment meant a climb down and back up the work tower. With luck it will be welded in place on Saturday.

Pete Fisher was again working on the vestibule door entrance and John Osborn was cutting sections of steel ready for fitting once Malcolm can move the work tower.

I completed the removal of the now redundant electrical heating connectors from the east end and removing the lower section of the end plate to facilitate restoration of the main pillars.

Having removed the first section of plate you can see the build up of rust at the base of one of the pillars. In this case the pillar proved to be in pretty good condition. However,  you can see the rivets of an earlier repair. That sections has also now gone and a whole new section will be put back when all the other tidying up has been completed.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Wednesday February 8th

Our thanks to Russell Smith for the pictures and report today.

Tony Shilham working on a drain pipe from the base of one of the windows in SO 4790. These drains take the condense from the windows down the inside of the panelling and empty under the carriage.

Mike Blakeman doing some more work on the door pillar insert for a middle door. Most of the pillar inserts on this carriage have to be replaced.

Geoff Gore working on a hinge for one of the doors.

Russ Smith painted another undercoat on the headboard for the forthcoming Titanic Centenary Night special train. Three undercoating may seem a lot but they soak into the board and exposed on the front of the loco it will get a bashing.

Eddie Paddon trying out a new piece of timber for the Toddington end entrance door.

Penny and Dave Dron working on the upholstery. Penny using the hand machine to achieve a nifty bit of sewing.

"Why won't this door close properly? Or "How do we need to adjust this? 4 heads are better than 2 or 3 when it comes to fitting this door into its final resting place on the disabled entrance at the Winchcombe end entrance to SO 4790.Having replaced the structural steel work getting everything aligned take time and precision.

I hope they leave enough space for the paint or the doors will be sticking!!

Thanks Russ a great update on the days work.

Also in action okay we're Clive Thomas and the C&W maintenance team.

They completed the buckeye exams and lubrication on all the service coaches.  All are essentially Ok except the buckeye on the south end of 4787 which is showing signs of excessive wear so will have to be changed.

We need to add this to our list of jobs for the next couple of weeks.
All the lubrication and brake adjustment on the service coaches is now complete. They also carried out brake tests today and they all went fine.
All this work on the service coaches is paying dividends. Good work by the maintenance on a very cold day!