Top of the pile – the humble CCT
Winston Churchill once said “a nation which forgets its past has no future”. The LNERCA certainly subscribes to this view and, being a diminishing breed of preservationists, subscribes to these wise words in that we are trying not only not to forget our past, but actually preserve it as well. Every heritage railway in the country has something in common – derelict vehicles, eyesores and wrecks. The good aspect about them is that they have escaped the breaker’s yard and await their turn for restoration. The downside is their appearance. Welcome, therefore, to this episode of the ‘wreck restorers’.
For some months, in between the huge effort expended on East Coast Joint Stock Restaurant Third No. 189 in preparing it for its successful exhibition at the 1940s Weekend, we have been working hard on renovating our trusty, decidedly tatty and forlorn stores van, alias Covered Carriage Truck (CCT) No. E1308. Although work continues on No. 189, we have the opportunity to have the CCT in the Atkins shed for up to three months. Here, thanks go to not only Kieran Murray, C&W Engineer for allowing us the space, but also the Pickering Wagon Group which has just completed its outstanding restoration of the Pipefit wagon. With some of its Group’s volunteers sampling NHS hospitality, the suggestion was made to have the CCT under cover using the allocated wagon space which will aid its renovation enormously.
One side has been completely rebuilt, new vertical boarding and new doors. The roof has been stripped down to the roof boards only to reveal it is in far better condition than was expected. Only two roof boards were in need of replacing at one side where they join the cantrail (top of the van side).
Several roof boards had ‘lifted’ i.e. the screws holding them to the metal carlines (hoopsticks which span from one side to the other) had lost their ‘bite’ so we began the painstaking task of removing all the rusty screws, derusting the carlines, painting them in green anti-oxide paint, then undercoat and using bolts to secure the roof boards to the carlines. When all 16 carlines have been treated, then a new roof covering will be fitted – type to be determined.
No. 1308 will be permanently stabled in Pickering, so will look pristine to visitors. We are using some artistic license in that although it was built in 1950 (to an earlier 1939 LNER design) and would have emerged from York Works in maroon, we are painting it in the 1939-style LNER Brown with LNER-style lettering.
The CCT ran for 27 years on BR, all over the country. It was withdrawn on January 12, 1977 at Doncaster. The CCT was then given an Internal User number for use within Doncaster Works and, finally, was used by the Works’ Horticultural Society. When this was disbanded in 1996, the Works’ staff most kindly donated it to us and it arrived in July of that year. For those interested, its full history is on the LNERCA website – see: http://www.lnerca.org/home/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/E1308-F.pdf
It is hoped that NYMR members and readers will appreciate that the LNERCA is not only restoring passenger-carrying carriages, but non-passenger types as well, for it is the latter which can no longer be seen on the national system, eg, parcels vans, full Brakes and Fish Vans. It is these vehicles which add the atmosphere and ambience to a heritage railway as we try to recreate and recall by-gone railway times.
Two of our vehicles have left for a new home at Kirkby Stephen. North Eastern Railway Luggage Composite No. 1111, the van which has resided at Levisham for a staggering 45 years. Is to be restored by a group based at the Stainmore Railway. It would be many years before the LNERCA could return it to operational standard, so in its long-term interest, this was considered the best option, the LNERCA retaining ownership.
Also heading to this thriving railway is Gresley Brake Third Corridor No. 3669 where covered accommodation has been offered. This is so important for the well-being of the varnished carriages. It will return, come the day it can be put under cover on the NYMR. No. 3669 has been the Brake carriage for the LNER set during 2018 whilst Brake Third Open No. 43567 has been used in the Pullman set, deputising for Car No. 79.
Not only that, but inside, all the rusty screws which hold the roof boards onto the carlines are being removed and replaced by bolts, inserted from outside and nutted from inside.
The carlines have been derusted and painted with anti-oxide paint, whilst all internal roofboards are being painted white. Here, Nick Smith tightens one of the hundreds of new bolts which will ensure the roof boards will not ‘lift’ off the carlines. Photo: Murray Brown.
Unique Thompson carriage passes to LNERCA
In recent years, the saga of 1947-built Thompson-designed Composite Lavatory (CL) No. 88339 has not been a happy one. This consortium-owned carriage ran highly successfully for several years at the north end of the LNER set (so allowing access to the compartments at all station platforms). However, in 2012 it was withdrawn from service due to faults with its doors, and since then it has been stored in a siding at Levisham. Although under an agreement with the consortium, the NYMR was responsible for its maintenance, it was always low down the list of priorities, so nothing was done and it looked like continuing that way for the foreseeable future. As a result, No. 88339 has deteriorated further, and the owners had to provide a tarpaulin to try and stem further damage.
Committee members of the LNERCA, worried that this historical, unique carriage and so representative of the type which worked the Whitby services prior to BR closing the line, was ‘getting nowhere’ came up with the idea that if ownership could be transferred to the LNERCA, this would open the door to a better future. It is pleasing to report that all the shareholders have agreed that this is, indeed, the best course of action – and ownership of No. 88339 has now been transferred to LNERCA.
The present thinking is that if its repair is regarded as a joint venture, with the LNERCA providing labour and the NYMR providing materials, the cost of repairs can be significantly reduced.
No. 88339 will have to wait its turn – the LNERCA is committed to finishing No. 189 and NER No. 945. In the meantime, thoughts are being given to safeguarding the carriage and preventing further deterioration. Several options are being explored but it would be premature to name them.
If the carriage does leave the NYMR (a possible option) for storage and repair, the Trust Board is keen for it to return. The new contract between LNERCA and the NYMR would transfer maintenance responsibility to LNERCA, and the NYMR would pay a hire charge per mile, with a minimum mileage per annum. In this way the coach can be guaranteed to be used, and the impasse that has occurred over the last eight years about its maintenance would not be repeated. A win-win for both parties.
The clock is turned back to happier days for CL No. 88339 – October 26, 2004 when it had just been ‘scumbled’. The possibility is now on the cards that this condition will one day be recreated. Photo: David Idle.
It was withdrawn in June 1967 in Scotland prior to arriving on the NYMR in March 1970.
Photo: Murray Brown.
A herculean effort by volunteers saw East Coast Joint Stock Restaurant Car No. 189 totally transformed to take part in the Steam, Speed and Sumptuous Dining’ exhibition which took place during the NYMR’s Wartime Weekend. To get to this stage, an enormous amount of work was put in, led by Marcus Woodcock and his merry men.
From what was still very much a skeleton shell, parts of the 1894-built carriage were dramatically changed – with ceilings and panelling in place.
Visitors first saw the pantry. Not long ago, this didn’t exist but partition and cupboard was now in place and furniture was varnished, installed and displayed ECJS silverware. There was a mock-up of the carriage designer’s drawing office (David Bain) with drawings and pens depicting the carriage design being finalised. The next stage depicted the First World War through which the carriage survived – a dug-out with sandbags, very much in keeping with this year’s 100-year anniversary of the ending of WW1. The final section was the eye-opener – two tables set for diners. These even has ECJS plates, a bottle of ECJS Claret and Port. There was even a carpet down the middle of the carriage – a foretaste of things to come.
There were some 1,600 visitors who enjoyed the exhibition, the participants wearing a headset and listening to the fictional tale of ’Nipper’ who was a pantry lad relating his life through the years.
What was particularly rewarding was the fact that the Heritage Lottery Fund was most pleased to see this exhibition as part of the HLF-funded project.
Special mention and thanks to must be made of Helena Fox, the NYMR’s Education Officer, and Wendy Taylor, our Education consultant, for all their skill and effort in putting the show together. The accompanying graphics – posters and prints and attention to details – were outstanding. Because the exhibition was so successful we’ll try and repeat it at some point in the future.
Photo: Murray Brown.
Photo: Murray Brown.
View of the exhibition – with the pantry behind the camera, this view shows the recreation of David Bain’s drawing office (the designer of No. 189) with, beyond, the WW1 scenario and, at the far end, the dining area. Photo: Rodney Towers.
Teak panels start being fitted to ECJS No. 189 and The Institute of Railway Research passes No. 189 as fit to run on the NYMR.
Another major step forward with the restoration of No. 189 has been the fitting of the first teak panels to the bodyside. Prior to this, a huge amount of preparation work took place – both to the body framing and to the teak panels themselves.
The body elements comprised the half-pillars, the vertical wooden sections over which the panels are fitted. These were sanded down, especially their sides where the glue blocks would be attached.
Several of the long teak panels had splits which required mending, some as long as 8ft. To repair a split panel, the end of the split is drilled and plugged with a teak ‘bung’ in order to stop the split propagating. Using the superb ‘West’ glue, the crack is carefully widened and the glue applied to within the crack itself. Then, clamps are fitted and tightened with considerable force and left for 24 hours to enable to glue to set. Then the panel is sanded. No sign of the former crack can be seen.
Once the panel has been lifted into place, it is pinned along the bottom using copper pins (to stop corrosion). Clamps hold the panel in place whilst glue blocks, triangular pieces of wood about 3” tall, are fitted on the inside of the panel. One side of the block is glued to the panel itself, whilst the other side of the block is glued to the vertical half-pillar. This is why the faces of the half-pillars must not be painted, but left bare so that the glue is not trying to stick to painted wood – a recipe for failure.
Once the glue has set, the entire inside panel and glue blocks are painted with aluminium primer.
Meanwhile, many man-hours have been spent sanding down hundreds of components for the inside of the carriage in preparation for the many coats of varnish.
Other work progressing has been the fitting of the wooden stringers. These are curved pieces of wood which are screwed to the roof planks. Once in place, the plywood ceiling panels can be fitted, the ceilings being screwed into place by means of the aforementioned stringers.
Underneath the carriage, far from view, are large runs of wires, all carefully secured in place on the underside of the floorboards. Whilst 189 was originally gas lit, one improvement on yesteryear will be LED lights – at least passengers will in future be able to see what they are eating.
All this work being undertaken by every volunteer who ventures into the Atkins shed is all for one thing – to have No. 189 ready for the exhibition ‘From Speed, Steam and Sumptuous Dining to Tracks into the Trenches’, due to be staged at the NYMR’s Wartime Weekend on October 12th-14th. Whilst the carriage will not be fully restored, it is intended to have sections in it representing what it was like in its heyday through to the present rebuild, during which visitors will be able to enjoy an audio visual presentation. The LNERCA’s press release is shown below:
Finally, regarding No. 189, the LNERCA heard on September 6 that this historic dining carriage had passed the stringent examination to declare it fit to run on the NYMR. Because a replacement underframe has been used for No. 189 which has necessitated shortening and modifying it for its new purpose, it was necessary to seek external independent expertise to sanction its use.
To satisfy the requirements of the NYMR’s safety management system it is necessary for the design and manufacture of these modifications to be independently reviewed by a ‘competent person’. The LNERCA engaged the Institute of Railway Research (IRR) at the University of Huddersfield to carry out this review. No. 189 has now passed the IRR’s exhaustive review.
Work has temporarily stopped on renovating the CCT to enable all resources to be directed towards making No. 189 ready for the exhibition to be staged therein on October 12th-14th
Fish Van E 75169
No further progress to report apart from the kind offer of the Pickering Wagon Group to assemble the brake cylinder with new components.
The first teak panel is fitted. Using copper pins, which are less prone to corroding, along the bottom and top, the panel is held in place by the batons using a screw into the waist rail half way up each baton. On the inside of the teak panel, glue blocks are applied, each one of which is glued to the half-pillar and to the rear of the panel – see later picture.
Once a teak panel has been secured to the framing and the glue blocks have set, the entire inside – panel and glue blocks – can be painted in aluminium primer. This painting helps keep out moisture and possible water damage. This image shows how the glue block adheres to both the half-pillar and the rear of the teak panel. The phantom hand belongs to Gary Lyne.
The only way is down – 189’s body is finally lowered all the way onto its underframe
It only took just over an hour to roll East Coast Joint Stock No. 189’s body off its underframe of nearly 30 years onto its newly modified one, but it has taken weeks since then to actually lower the body so that it sat evenly on its underframe and bogies.
The final lowering took place on Thursday July 19th. Not only were there delays in supplying the special bolts but it then took several weeks to drill the holes through the bottom rail and the new solebars and rubber pads in order to allow body and underframe to be bolted together. When all the bolts were in situ (but not tightened), the body was jacked up very slightly to allow the removal of the wooden blocks, separating the body from the underframe. The wood packings were removed bit by bit as it was thought that if one end of the carriage was lowered in one go, it might jam the bolts at the other end of the carriage. Once the entire body was flat against the underframe, cushioned by the rubber pads, the bolts were then tightened. Job done at last.
Inside, many of the window frames have been prepared for varnishing. Several poor quality floor boards have been replaced and the partition walls for the pantry have been trial fitted.
The next aspect of 189’s restoration is to fit the external teak panels – this will begin to hide the skeletal frame which has greeted visitors to the Atkins shed for several years. There is now to be a major push so that the planned exhibition which includes an audio visual display can take place at the 1940s Weekend in October.
Covered Carriage Truck No. 1308
It is good to report that much of the west side of this 1950-built CCT now has new panels and new doors. By the end of July, the last panel was receiving attention, the internal framing of this section of the vehiclke being in somewhat poor condition, necessitating various new support members. Once these are finished and painted, the new tongue & groove panels will be installed, primed and top coated in LNER Brown. The new doors are fabricated inside the Atkins shed, this necessitating numerous mortice & tenon joints. All the metalwork from the derelict door is removed and totally refurbished before being bolted onto the brand new sliding door. The plan is once the west side is completed, No. 1308 will be turned so that the restored side is facing the trains – and the public.
We are taking ‘artistic licence’ with No. 1308. Being built in the British Railways era, it would have emerged new in maroon. However, as the type made its debut in 1939 (the second batch from 1950 was identical) we are painting No. 1308 in the colour had it been built in 1939.
Fish Van E 75169
The first application of the top gloss white paint is now being applied to the stanchions.
The scorching heat some days in July did not make for good painting conditions as the paint became tacky almost immediately.
A replacement brake cylinder piston has been procured, thanks to Ian Broadhead of the Pickering Wagon Group. This means the brake cylinder can now be assembled with new components and fitted to the underframe.
No longer can anyone walk the length of the carriage – as was the case when it was built in 1894 – because the pantry walls have been trial fitted. This is the view showing the corridor past the pantry. Photo: Marcus Woodcock.
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