Our first Rolling Stock Group workday of 2014 saw a really gratifying turnout of eleven volunteers, who braved the cold and occasional drizzle (though even outside the workshop itself, we and the stock are well protected by a temporary building), to produce some very good results.
On the SR van chassis, a good start was made with marking out and drilling the M16 holes for the bolts which will fix the timber solebars and plates to the metal sub-chassis. The second coupling aperture was also filed out – by hand – a long and tiring job.
The second team continued to drill the ends of the SR rails for fishplate bolts (this is also a Rolling Stock Group job, as there’s no point in providing coaches and wagons if there’s nothing to run them on), and also for the studding which will hold the rails, temporarily, to gauge so that we can safely move our stock around the yard on portable panels.
The Coach 7 team finished the repairs (with aluminium sheet and bar) to the outside of all four double doors, primed the new metal, and made a good start on the inside door repairs. The saloon ceiling was given a second undercoat, and the new plywood panelling for the saloon side-walls (to replace the original, very rotten, blockboard) was sanded down and treated with Sadolin. The mechanism for the handbrake was further dismantled (with as was expected, some difficulty): this still refuses to operate, so will probably have to be completely reduced to its component parts.
In the process of removing very badly rusted panel support struts from the inside of the Southwold end “balcony” section, the remaining timber panelling was discovered to be in poor condition. This was therefore removed, and will be replaced by more new treated plywood, to match the saloon sides. All the steel channel support in this end has been cleaned and primed, and new steel angle bought to replace the sections which time and rust had reduced to lacework. The outside Southwold body end was also rubbed down and primed. Water- and draft-proof material has been obtained to seal the opening windows in the saloon. The half-seat from the Southwold end was rubbed down for refinishing: this will be modified, as we need also to provide a seat and some room for the Guard, so he or she can keep an eye on both the track ahead, and our passengers!
While all this hive of activity was going on, new workshop lighting was in hand, and the team moved a very heavy, cast steel, recently-donated sheet-metal guillotine into its final position, and a portable forge, also donated, into a corner to await staff training in its use. The Wenhaston accommodation crossing gate hinges were soaked in WD40, and the rusted-solid pivot thereby released, without harming the artefact.
All in all – very good progress on all fronts.