Work In Progress archive page 3 (Sept 2019 to Dec 2019)
Carriage & Wagon December 5th 2019
A depleted team of C&W volunteers, to be augmented by a couple of latecomers during the day, met at the station; despite the prospect of working in the cold. A first task on arrival at Meldon was to check the fuel level in the LAB11 tank. A difficult task requiring a torch, much bending and peering to read the gauge. We were relieved to hear that we have sufficient for a few weeks. Without the LAB11 generator providing power for lighting, working in the ambient winter daylight available in the workshop would be almost impossible.
A brave pair, joined later by John Coxon, started work stripping the external top coat on the South side of LAB11 out in the open air. However, by lunchtime it was decided that, discretion being the better part than valour, due to a bitterly cold wind; some other jobs under cover were preferable! However, Alan Harris, after returning from his work at the visitor's site, chose the leeward end and side of LAB11 to start painting the underframe for the rest of the day. Perhaps his new rather distinctive kinky woolly hat, knitted by Maureen, offered him the required protection.
The remaining volunteers finished the undercoating on the mainframe of the SR brake van and applied the second and final topcoat to the running gear (axle box and spring hangers) at one end; then priming after chipping rust etc. off the gear on the opposite side. Finally, a new replacement brake pipe coupling was fitted to the East end to complement that previously fitted on the West end.
Carriage & Wagon November 28th 2019
A full team of 10 C&W volunteers met at the station as is usual, on a damp chilly morning. Undeterred by the weather, having had a coffee for starters in LAB11, work started on various tasks. Attention was paid to adjusting the Thumper 1132 driving car compartment door locks and all were finished by the end of the day; signalled by the satisfying sound of the slamming of multiple heritage carriage doors. Alan Harris carried out his checks on the Visitor's centre first thing then did some painting here and there. Some final touches were applied to more paintwork of the internal door trims on the, now gleaming, Thumper power car by John Coxon. Never mind John, the Christmas Trains await your driving skills for the next few weeks!
The remainder of the team worked on the SR brake van LDS55625, painting the interior of the cabin, applying undercoat to the main frame and filler to the external woodwork. Undercoating on the North side of the frame is complete and a good start made to the South side. Further slackening of the buffer bolts at the West end and chipping rust in that area, including the running gear continued all day. An attempt was made to move the van with a pinch bar in order to provide more room around the damaged buffers and was a dismal failure. So we had another cup of coffee and all went home!
Reflected in the gleaming paintwork, John Coxon paints door trims.
John Davis basks in the warm glow of the floodlighting whilst painting inside the brake van cabin. Note door ajar to allow (cold) fresh air circulation - in moderation.
Filler being applied to the veranda top rail by Patrick Doyle - to prevent the fare-paying punters getting splinters.
Your correspondent painting the South mainframe, having made the ergonomic mistake of painting away from the paint tin.
The platform barrow. "Bodywork requiring some attention, good set of tyres. MOT not required".
Carriage & Wagon November 21st 2019
A large party of cheerful volunteers assembled at the station despite a cold Easterly wind and steady rain. John Coxon however, entered the warm cab of the class 08 locomotive for the day, driving the DRCIC work train with a rather unusual load. (see below)
The remaining 9 volunteers proceeded to Meldon where the LAB11 generator was started and lighting in the workshop connected. An initial discussion was held on the removal of the buffers on the West end of SR brake van LDS55625, but with the power car still in place nothing further was done due to lack of space. It seems that, with the DR Christmas trains about to start and the preparatory work needed, it is unlikely that the DRSA LMS brake van and class 08 locomotive will be released from their DRCIC duties for refurbishment before the new year. This could mean a race to finish either of the brake vans in time for the summer season.
Applying undercoat to the North side of the SR brake van mainframe started, together with priming the running gear on the South side and undercoating the interior woodwork of the cabin. The paintwork in LAB11 guard's compartment was given a fresh coat, whilst more internal work was carried out on the doors of Thumper 1132 driving carriage parked outside. As LAB11 has a Mk1 body, Ron Kirby under the supervision of Geoff Horner continued to investigate the condition of the internal anti-crush pillars at both ends of the coach. This is being done by removing internal panelling and photographing any corrosion.
Alright for some - spending the day in a warm cab! John Coxon speeds on his way.
Eat your heart out DB Cargo UK. Santa's brand new sleigh en-route to the North Pole, via Meldon for some undisclosed reason. Strewth.
Carriage & Wagon November 14th 2019
A cold, wet and windy day greeted a reduced number of chilled C&W volunteers at the station. Even the (younger and) more hardy DRCIC team had lit the stove in the DRSA ex-LMS brake van on the PW train before venturing up the line.
Despite this, the space heater was fired up and a fair amount of work was completed. The small petrol generator was warmed up, then had an oil change and checked over. Yet again a small oil funnel had to be bodged out of a small plastic bottle cut down and short length of small bore tubing fitted through the cap. This particular "locally manufactured item" always seems to disappear by the time the next oil change is due.
Our painting machine Alan Harris gave the Thumper power car running boards an extra coat of paint for luck, having finished his usual trek across to the visitor's site. John Coxon, taking a break from driving and work on DRCIC stock, finished the day touching up internal paintwork on the doors of the Thumper; after supervising the dismantling of the staging around the Thumper. The nuts on the damaged buffers on the west end of brakevan LDS55625 were loosened off in readiness. Hopefully, the Thumper will be outshopped next week and we will have more space to work safely in the area of the buffers whilst removing and refurbishing them.
A large tin of grey metal undercoat has been procured for use on the SR brake van LDS55625 underframe and steel work next week, if it isn't too cold. Another job will be to replace a defective electric heater in the LAB11 saloon after vociferous complaints by the C&W luncheon club, despite being given generous slices of Geoff Horner's birthday cake.
Carriage & Wagon November 7th 2019
Another day of cold, windy unsettled weather. John Coxon waved goodbye to us from the cab of the Class 08, clutching yet another plastic cup of free coffee from the buffet; as he drove the DRCIC permanent way train in the up direction at short notice. The rest of the C&W volunteers made our way to Meldon and a warm LAB11 to drink cups of our own coffee from flasks. Although somewhat reduced in number, we achieved a lot during the day.
Work was completed easing door locks and drop down windows on the Thumper driving car. John Davis and Patrick Doyle spent the entire day painting the inside of the SR brake van cabin, whilst the remaining two volunteers chipped away at rust and paint, in addition to completing the last priming of the mainframe on the North side. Work has progressed on cleaning up the oil boxes and running gear ready for painting. Although painted at sometime in the past the springs will be cleaned off then merely oiled.
Meanwhile Tony Hill delivered the sad remains of an SR pattern platform barrow which he had discovered amongst the bushes somewhere, apparently suffering from about 50 plus years of neglect. Basically only the steel frame and wheels have survived in good condition, with just a hint of oak framework remaining. It appears to be a similar model to the one currently displayed on Platform 1 at Okehampton. Delivery entailed opening the Western roller shutter door on the North side and the strong Meldon wind nearly blew your correspondent out of the open door at the other end!
Alan Harris, having completed work over at the visitor's site and some colourful painting on the Thumper power car, cleans up the Eastern platform of the SR brake van. Note the stove's steel back plate waiting to be installed and the competed priming of the North side mainframe.
Geoff Horner takes a break from cleaning up the running gear and discusses the final internal cabin paint scheme with Patrick and John. The wheels of the barrow can be seen in the mid-distance.
Station Maintenance November 6th 2019
The Station Maintenance Team's main job for the day was to collect a surplus cabinet we have acquired from Crediton Museum, and deliver it to the second museum room on Platform 2. It's now in place, and currently surrounded by loose platform fittings like sacktrucks and suitcases being sheltered from the depredations of the Christmas activities. When we're back to 'normal' in the new year we'll refurbish it and get it into service.
New museum cabinet
Carriage & Wagon October 31st 2019
Unsettled weather greeted the C&W volunteers. Two remained all day at the station working on DRCIC stock, whilst the remainder found a warm and comfortable LAB11 awaiting them for morning coffee at Meldon; during which John Davis provided a tasty slice of cake each, in lieu of his absence on his birthday.
Alan Harris splashed paint here and there, after his usual work over at the visitor's site, whilst attention was paid to easing door locking and drop windows on the Thumper 1132 driving car stored out in the open. Daylight available in the workshop was so poor that the LAB11 generator was started up first thing to provide lighting in addition to powering various tools.
The remaining volunteers spent the day chipping rust and paint, whilst Patrick Doyle and John Davis refitted and primed more of the internal cladding on the SR brake van.
Nothing photogenic happened.
Carriage & Wagon October 24th 2019
A brisk, mainly dry day greeted ten C&W volunteers who set off for Meldon. A partial shunt had been completed previously at Meldon and Lab 11 had been parked in the usual overwinter place. Because of heavy lineside work in progress, the DRSA LMS brakevan 731411 has been commandeered by DRCIC for lineside work trains. This included recovering timber after some serious tree felling. The brakevan will enter the workshop for an overhaul at a later date at the same time as the thumper 1132 power car is out-shopped.
Work started on the interior of Lab 11, including installing emergency battery lighting, after the on-board generator was checked over and started to provide lighting and power. Lab 11 will enter the workshop for an external refurb' once there is room for it and there is no longer the essential need for the overwinter use of the generator. Meanwhile it will provide a welcome warm accommodation for the exclusive C&W luncheon club.
FK S13436 has had a Fitness To Run check by Julian Pope on the braking system at last and we await the report.
Alan Harris carried out his usual tasks over at the Meldon DR visitors facilities, then returned to put finishing colourful touches to the paintwork on the Thumper.
The usual team of four continued work on the SR brake van LDS 55625 refitting the internal cabin lining, scraping and chipping at various points and priming the bare metal of the Northern main underframe. It is planned to paint the van in the London and South Western Railway scheme of red and 'chocolate' finish before going into service. A vote was held as to the re-roofing material to be used, as a suggestion was made to use aluminium sheeting. This was voted down and traditional canvas will be used. This stage however, is still in the far distant future ...
Our regular C&W correspondent, David Bell, applying grey primer to the north side underframe of the SR brakevan LDS 55625
Lab11 now parked overwinter with a rather splendid set of steps fitted, replacing the usual wonky cut-down ladder.
John Coxon chats with Graham Isom whilst Brian Mills (DRCIC) unloads cut timber from the DR Sturgeon flatbed wagon. Note the DRSA brake van proudly carrying out the sort of duty it was built for.
Carriage & Wagon October 17th 2019
A bright chilly day saw the C&W volunteers meet at the station then separate into two groups. One to work on the DR(BARS) stock and five other volunteers to Meldon, where work was concentrated on the DRSA owned SR brake van LDS55625. Patrick Doyle removed all the sheets out of the newly fitted internal cabin lining and gave them a lick of primer on the reverse sides, whilst Geoff Horner and your correspondent chipped away on the main frame. By midday the North side of the frame was finished and given a power tool wire brushing, ready for priming next week. In the meantime Phil Hull fitted washers here and there to improve build quality of various fitments, then started chipping rust and paint on the buffer beam at the west end. Later the remaining three pairs of hands chipped away here and there on hand rails and the upper steelwork on both sides.
Meanwhile Alan Harris, having completed his morning's work over at the viaduct visitor's site, resumed painting the underframe of the Thumper 1132 power car.
A final little job entailed three of the fittest volunteers rescuing a steel filing cabinet, in good condition, which had been discarded some weeks ago behind the workshop.
David Bell with power tool brushing down.
Patrick Doyle stripping old paint.
Having removed the drawers from the filing cabinet to lighten the load, the Hatton Gardens heist team returns in triumph with their loot. Brian Mills DR(CIC) looks on with interest.
Carriage & Wagon October 10th 2019
The C&W volunteers split into 2 groups on meeting first thing at Okehampton station. Five members remained to work on the class 31 locomotive doors and DR special event rolling stock. The remaining 4 went to Meldon. As painting the Thumper car is virtually finished, work concentrated on the SR brake van LDS55625. DB started chipping rust on the North side together with Geoff Horner but having such a small area left in the middle of the frame Geoff was left to it and DB moved to the South side and started chipping away higher up on the body frame and grab bars. Meanwhile, John Davis decided that a first lick of primer on the new internal cabin woodwork was due. However, this was frustrated by insufficient paint of the right type to hand and so that will have to wait until some is procured by next week. Undeterred he spent his day applying filler to woodwork and then chipping rust off grab rails. Patrick Doyle trimmed various new bolts in the woodwork with the angle grinder, then joined in with the other 3 at rust chipping. The noise by then was almost unbearable and cease work at the end of the day was a relief on the ears.
By next week we hope that the "big shunt" has taken place and we will have the full team of volunteers available to work on the LMS brake van and the 08 locomotive in the workshop, together with LAB11 outside to supply power for lighting during the rapidly shortening daylight hours. However ....
Geoff Horner chipping away at the last of the rust, paint etc. in the area of the brake piping. By the end of day very little remained to do.
Patrick Doyle trimming bolts with the angle grinder whilst John Davis waits patiently with ladder ready to apply filler to the woodwork.
Patrick moves elsewhere with the grinder whilst John gets on with filling-in. The nearby bag wasn't at risk and survived intact!
General view showing the freshly painted East end of the Thumper power car, now ready to be outshopped.
Station Maintenance October 2nd 2019
Actually we were in attendance last week as well, but so little of note was achieved that it wasn't possible to wring even one sentence out of it. Today we were at full strength, three. Of these, Tom Baxter managed to find himself a nice little job mucking about with an old generator, which eventually went brumm brumm very nicely. In fairness it will be a useful piece of kit, but it left the other two thirds of the team painting Oke Station's wooden stake fencing again. I (JK) had to leave early to return to planet Earth, so poor old Paul Vodden bore the brunt of it. When I left he'd undercoated about 10 feet of it, with just another 14 miles to go, so it's possible he didn't quite finish. This really is an enormous task. We were very chuffed when Alan Harris spent a recent Saturday working on it. Can anyone else lend a hand?
Carriage & Wagon September 26th 2019
[Our thanks to Geoff Horner who submitted the following in David Bell's absence]
Due to holidays, illness and other commitments a reduced team of five gathered today at Meldon. A sub-team of John Coxon, Nigel Green and Ron Kirby finished the painting of the East and West ends of Thumper 1132 and then carried on with the painting of the North side internal door trims and the underframe. John Davis continued cutting and fitting the plywood inner lining to the cabin of the SR brake van whilst Geoff Horner continued the task of chipping the rust from the North side underframe. In Alan Harris's absence on holiday one unsung hero also attended to the 'facilities' at the Meldon buffet! Finally we wish a speedy recovery to our usual correspondent David Bell after a fall whilst shopping in Exeter last week.
Station Maintenance September 18th 2019
A glorious, cloudless day, and unlike last week there was a little bit of progress to report, though none of it was pretty so we didn't take any pictures.
Useful Brownie points were earned by refixing a castor under one of the buffet cookers. Hanging on by just one of four bolts, and bent and unstable as a result, it must have been annoying the buffet staff for years, and took about 20 minutes to fix.
Repairs to the (bus!) ticket machine used by the Travelling Ticket Inspectors should also earn us a bit of credit, at least with Alan Harris, a former bus man who appreciates these things.
The effort to fix the marker lights on D4167 wasn't quite so conclusive, though progress was made. Otherwise it was back to the painting, and worse, preparation for painting. There's quite a lot to do.
Carriage and Wagon September 12th 2019
A very small team of volunteers on a fine Autumn day, due in part to sickness and holidays. Half the members remained at the station all day again to continue work on the DR special events rolling stock, including internal painting in the buffet coach.
The remaining three C&W volunteers spent the day at Meldon, in an unusually quiet workshop, fitting prepared cladding to the South side of the SR Brake van and chipping rust etc. on the North side. A warm damp Autumn morning resulted in heavy condensation on the bare metal of the underframe and prevented painting with primer. Apart from the sound of chipping and woodworking the only other sign of life was the running of the generator later in the day to provide some extra lighting and sharpen some tools on the grinder. Stalwart/unsung hero Alan Harris spent the morning across at the viaduct visitor's centre, then continued painting the underframe of Thumper 1132. It's doubtful if there will be a rush of volunteers to clean DR toilets whilst he is away for the next week or two!
Bolting-on the last two pieces of the jigsaw puzzle on the North side of brake van LDS55625 by John Davis. Seen from across a jumble of DRCIC equipment. An original Ashford identification underframe marking uncovered today revealed that it was originally plain 'S55625'.