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: https://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.