| This page has reports on and photos of working parties on W233W at Buckfastleigh on the South Devon Railway.|
28 June 2016
This batch of photos from Steve Hilton shows W233W is now basically complete resplendent in many coats of new paint, a credit to all the team.
31 May 2016
Clive writes - When I wrote the last blog on 2nd February Chairman John added “This is possibly the last blog of 233 restoration work as it is now just about complete, with the exception of some under floor welding work and the associated adjustments to the Auto gear and the final painting work.” It was just as well he added the rider about the auto-gear and the final painting because, as with any restoration, it is rarely finally completed. So, just in case you thought we were sitting around drinking cups of tea for the last four months, (wot, us?) here’s what we’ve been doing.
Earlier in the year we started work on Mark1 brake coach 34991. All of the interior changes made by VSOE when it was their baggage car have been stripped out and John Payne has made a wonderful job of needle-gunning the roof and part-priming the sides. Here he is in action, with us out of shot wearing ear defenders. Note the rest of the work on 34991 will be covered on its page on 5542.co.uk
Inside 233 John B and Steve have been undertaking a variety of snagging issues, just to make sure that she’s in pristine condition for when the passengers come. Outside, Ray and Brian have completed all of the auto-gear and pipework installation. The two images below show, firstly, Brian testing the pipework at the driver’s end and, secondly, the auto-gear appearing at the loco end of the vehicle. The red-oxided assembly stowed on the front of the vehicle is dropped down and attached to a similar assembly on the loco. This provides the control mechanism for the driver in 233’s driver’s cab via the red-oxided 3” bar under the vehicle, all attached to a series of complex levers, springs and brackets. It has all been tested with a loco and works a treat. An especial “well done” to Ray and Brian for their professionalism in achieving this.
Finally, Chairman John mentioned “the final painting work” even though in the last blog I showed a photo on 233 fully painted in the sunshine. We’d agreed with Jason, our contract painter, that another topcoat was necessary to give an even better depth of colour before lining, lettering and varnishing occurred. Unfortunately he wasn’t available until last week so last week the final topcoats were put on her sides (see image) and he’ll be back soon to finish off the ends and do the lettering and varnishing. The next blog might really be the last one!
2 February 2016
This is possibly the last blog of 233 restoration work as it is now just about complete, with the exception of some under floor welding work and the associated adjustments to the Auto gear and the final painting work, so hopefully we can arrange a trip out in her before too long. Again a huge 'Thank-You' to everyone who has contributed an any way whatsoever to the restoration of our carriage it is a credit to everyone involved!
Clive writes - I went over to Buckfastleigh on a Tuesday for a change today - and what a surprise I got. Do they put 233 somewhere different on a Tuesday? Or, worse still, our reader will remember that in the last blog I said “The cover over the two cables with “GWR A5542” on it is a rather nice touch. That will prove very useful if the coach is ever stolen. PC Plod will know where to return it to.” Could my worse dreams have occurred? Had someone stolen 233? Are the services of PC Plod required?
She had to be moved from the shed so that locos visiting for the gala weekend can be accommodated under cover.
The spare coupling has been painted red and mounted on its hook in the tool cupboard.
And finally we have to thank Mike Dunse for providing three of his excellent photos to go in the three photo frames at the luggage end of the vehicle. I’m just hoping that our reader doesn’t realise that Calstock wasn’t in Great Western territory.
25 January 2016
Clive writes - Was it really 9th December the last time I did a blog? Is it really the New Year? I blame towing Father Christmas around Tavistock, grandchildren, visiting relations and a surfeit of Christmas cake. Now that I’ve had my New Year lie down here’s the first 2016 blog. And Happy New Year to our reader by the way - who might even become a passenger this year!
Here’s a clearer image of their work, together with one of the fold up seats which have now been given seat squabs by Andy and they are a treat. We had tried sitting on the basic framework but felt that something was missing.
At the beginning of the month Motorbike Dave and John also started to adjust the bogie gaps. Now that they know how to do it it should be easier as they have to jack the carriage up to get the tapered nuts out and reset them.
Finally, before Christmas Ray and Brian were waiting for some springs before they could proceed with the autogear. They have now been fitted under the luggage end where autogear, braking and steam heat is all coming together.
9 December 2015
Today we had something approaching a full house. Williton arrived and John B and P were there too. Steve had been yesterday but Ray and Brian weren’t there because they were waiting for some springs to be delivered before they could finish off underneath. So what Ray and Brian have been up to is as good a place to start as any.
The other end is slightly further behind but is very much getting there.
Also at the driver’s end two new seat assemblies have been welded up to give superior comfort to the crew (Nothing but the best for our coach). These have been copied from the original GWR pattern.
A collection of smaller things have been happening on the woodwork front. A year or so ago I installed some ply panelling in the toilet to cover up a series of holes. John B has now extended the panelling around the whole toilet compartment so it now looks complete
Some months ago we had some new leather straps made for the droplights. Unfortunately the straps catch on the woodwork when in use so Dave is ensuring that the problem goes away.
A few months ago I mentioned that we needed some type of security door on the tool cupboard. Answers on a postcard were requested from our reader but weren't forthcoming. We’re assuming that the postcard has been delayed in the Christmas post. Meantime John B has placed the tool rack, ladder and spare coupling hanger (the grey thing on the left) in the cupboard to give an idea of what it’ll look like.
Nobody was able to find three picture frames in their loft or garden shed as requested so Williton have made them and here they are in the observation end and the corridor.
Finally, I thought it would be useful for our passenger to know a bit about the history of the coach so this notice has now gone up in the observation end.
I probably won’t be around before Christmas now because I’m now into my part time “job” of driving Father Christmas around the streets of Tavistock, whilst demanding money with menaces from children. So have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year. It shouldn’t be too long before 233 is finished (Did I say that last year?).
20 November 2015
Clive writes - I haven’t been over the moor to work at Buckfastleigh for the last two Wednesdays, very remiss of me I know. However, knowing that you, or at least our other reader, will be waiting with bated breath as to where we are, I dropped in to give you an update as part of a shopping avoidance scheme.
The coded welder obviously arrived because the new fittings made in the workshop for the autogear and shown in the blog for 21st October, have now been assembled.
4 November 2015
Clive writes - Over the last few months we’ve been doing a lot of snagging, small stuff that’s important but doesn’t show up much. So today Dave was making the sliding vents slide better and John B and I did some varnishing and painting. However over the last week or so Ray Taylor has installed an important piece of steelwork. Our reader will remember that last year we installed the steam heating pipes in the saloons. What we didn’t mention was that there was no steam heating pipe under the coach to attach them to! The photos below show the steam heating pipe now commencing its run from the buffer beam and then continuing under the vehicle towards the other end. The somewhat snakelike route was Ray’s design to avoid having to lift the bogies to get a straighter route.
In the last blog I said I’d let you know this week how we’d designed a new door for the tool cupboard. Unfortunately our reader did not provide the answer on a postcard as requested. Consequently we are still considering options varying between Fort Knox and enhanced papier maché. Watch this space!
Not only has Dave been doing windows, but he’s also been doing hydraulic piping in the driver’s cab. The photo shows how far he’s got with the narrow copper piping, but he’s now awaiting another part. Again, watch this space!
21 October 2015
Clive writes - I appreciate that our reader will have been extremely upset at not having a blog for a good few weeks. I can only apologise because I’ve been in away on holiday and may still be suffering from jetlag although some would say I’m always like that. There is an advantage to being away for a length of time. You really notice the changes when you get back. So here goes.
Essential signs now give detailed instructions for users of the toilet.
The electrical control gear has been installed in the cupboard next to the toilet. We had intended to put the Emergency Tool cupboard (necessary on all brake vehicles) into this cupboard but it wouldn’t fit. After much head scratching and tea drinking - and discussion with persons more worthy than us - we discovered that the tools can go in any suitably secure cupboard, i.e. ours. There was then the question of appropriate access to the tools in an emergency by both the guard and passengers. That caused more tea drinking and I will reveal the result in next week’s blog (possibly). If our reader would like to give a satisfactory answer to this, we would be pleased to receive an answer on a postcard.
At the driver’s end of the vehicle the wiring and paintwork is all coming together and the speedometer is now wired into the fitting on the axle. Will it ever read 104 m.p.h. again?!
Now we move on to internal panelling. An awful lot of minor improvement has been going on here. The luggage end has now been completed (note the lighting too) and the luggage rack has now been installed. We need two compartment picture frames to go beneath it. Before we make some, please look in your sheds and attics.
12 August 2015
Clive writes - Today’s blog should be entitled “Let there be light” because Brian and Peter have been busy installing the lighting. There are two tubes in the toilet, an LED in the corridor outside the toilet and a tube in the vestibule.
Two more pictures have gone up on walls: a GWR map in the vestibule and one of the 'special train' ran for one of our founder members on the WSR in 1999, in the corridor outside the cupboard. Two replica BR Notices have also been put up in the vestibule.
Steve has largely finished the observation end ceiling, which has now been painted by John P. We now just need the trim to go up on both the observation end and vestibule ceilings.
28 July 2015
Clive writes - Last week I mentioned (separately) our new collection of gongs and new control cabling in the driver’s cab. I can now mention them together because a gong has now been installed and connected up to the control cable from the treadle in the cab. It now clangs for the first time since 1964. It makes the whole project come alive.
Chairman John and Gil were hard at work installing the hardboard ceiling and walling pieces in the vestibule. More electrical conduit has appeared there too, including two lovely bell pushes for the guard to use.
Steve had hoped to put up the whole of the observation end ceiling yesterday but, as ever, it wasn’t as easy as expected but it should be completed next week.
A casual conversation between John B and Dave Cooper a few weeks ago elicited the information that Dave has a buffing machine at home. He’s now done a wonderful job buffing up all of our brasswork. Here’s the external handles but all the internal brasswork has been done too.
21 July 2015
Clive writes - A few weeks ago a member of the public said he’d got two gongs in his garden shed and would we like them. After about a millisecond’s thought we said yes please.
The rod that holds the gong to the assembly has had to be straightened on the one of them but otherwise they seem to be in good order. Do we need a third autocoach to go with our third gong? Perhaps not. As an aside, have you looked in your garden shed lately……..?
Remember that we had to take off the north end buffers in order to weld some strengthening plates on? Well David did the welding today.
Meanwhile, at the other end Brian and Ray were deep in conversation about something to do with the control gear.
A quick look at the driver’s cab where electrical conduit and switches are starting to appear, in addition to a number of control cables.
Finally, last week Chairman John mentioned the rubbing down that we’ve been giving to the paint to ensure a perfect finish. I almost finished doing that today.
15 July 2015
Brian and Dave (one or both of them) have completed the plumbing in the toilet and the mirror’s back up on the wall. Water now flows from the taps into the washbasin (see photo) and the toilet also works although we haven’t christened it yet!
Steve has started work on the observation area ceiling. Just three more sections of it to go.
8 July 2015
Chairman John has, we hope, finally fettled the sliding doors into the main saloon. They slide beautifully. And, following a recent visit the surround trim on both vestibule internal doors and corner panelling trim is now fitted, to enhance some beautifully buffed door furniture. Perhaps a picture next time!
30 June 2015
Ray Taylor was there today doing more stuff in the workshop. It all goes towards extending the rodding and piping under the frames. The vacuum pipe has now got as far as the other end’s bogie.
Steve has continued with some unexpectedly complex joinery in the observation end. The ceiling in the short corridor outside the toilet has been rebuilt and there’s also a clever little flap to give access to the alarm chain adjusting point.
10 June 2015
One of the things that occurs sometimes is that we think a task is going forward positively and then we discover something unexpected that delays us. Something under the cab was bent in BR service and this can only be resolved by removing the buffers. However fitting the autogear under the framework from the cab end continues. This image shows the vacuum pipe partly installed.
Someone has kindly reinstalled all the regulator gear in the cab that I removed weeks ago. It all looks very professional (and red!).
Work has started on converting the existing fluorescent lights into improved versions. Fluorescent lights I hear you say? Remember, this is an autocoach for the 21st Century!
21 May 2015
The chairman writes:-
20 May 2015
Clive writes - Today was a good day. The flooring in the two saloons was laid months ago but nothing could be done in the vestibule, toilet and observation area until other works had been completed. Those floors were laid this week, including anti-slip flooring in the vestibule. The vehicle is now really starting to look complete. We have also been able to put the seats back into the observation area after their initial fitting.
Tony arrived to finish off installing his droplights. This has now been achieved on all eight doors and we now just await rehanging the vestibule doors once that area's panelling has been completed.
The above image also shows one of the new steps that Ray L has specified.
13 May 2015
Clive writes - Today was the day of the droplights. Tony came down from Williton with all eight of them and started to install them. They really are a work of art, both in terms of the joinery and the ten coats of paint. Here are a selection of images that speak for themselves.
Brian has come back from holiday and has started more wiring in the driver's cab. The gong has also been mounted and this image shows it nicely above a new droplight.
Chairman John and I laid the ply floor in the vestibule. One 8' x 4' sheet was just the right size but it took us two and a half hours to cut and plane it to precisely the right shape. The image shows John cutting the last piece out.
We then spent the afternoon finishing off some of the ply panelling in the vestibule, including bolting the steps lever to the wall, which wasn't that easy.
The other Dave worked on installing the second double door locking bar and here he is having made the bolt hole in the floor and is about to screw the fixture down.
06 May 2015
Clive writes - Sometimes we have average days and sometimes we have good days. Today was a good day. Chairman John, John C, Francis, Dave and Gil came down from Williton and John B and I were there too. We largely worked in teams of two and got a lot done.
The push is now on to try and get the carriage available for service. We are expecting to have the remaining flooring in situ within the next couple of weeks along with some small modifications to the original covering, so much of our current work is focused on preparation for that .
Firstly though, John P has gone on holiday to recover from a surfeit of chocolate and cream paint, but not before experimenting with red on the autogear in the driving end. Note that nobody's put it back together again after I dismantled it.
Our regular reader will remember the photos of the step levers in the last blog. They had rather manky gaiters at floor level. John B has brought new technology to 233 and replaced these gaiters with nylon brushes.
Chairman John and John C worked with one of these levers all day. Their task was to work out how to install panelling on the wall in such a way that the lever could still be bolted to the wall. Sounds easy. It wasn't.
While all this was going on Gil was cleaning up the luggage rack that will go above the four seats against the bulkhead. Unfortunately he couldn't think about installing it because there were too many people working in there. Which can only be a good thing.
22 April 2015
Clive writes - John P, John B and I spent most of our time working in separate parts of the vehicle although we did speak to each sometimes. John P continues painting chocolate and cream everywhere but now it's inside the driver's cab. I had to remove the nicely installed regulator and associated auto-gear so he could paint behind it. I hope someone more knowledgeable than I is around to put it all back again. John is looking forward to painting the auto-gear red, which will make a welcome change from his normal colour palette. (P.S. I will take a photo of John with a face at some point......)
The rest of the time I was in the vestibule. John B and I finished reinstalling the sliding door to the luggage area (oops, I must call it "the observation saloon" now). I then re-fixed various handles and locks to the double sliding doors to the small saloon. It was fortunate that BR Derby had kept them on the vehicle.
You've seen a few images of the retractable steps on this blog. Have you ever wondered how they retract? (Probably not, but I'll tell you anyway). Each side's steps have its own operating lever in the vestibule (which John B has painted a nice red not to be outdone by John P) Pulling the lever inward splays the steps outward and releasing the lever causes them to return under the vehicle by gravity.
Meanwhile John B was painting in the observation area, following up on some more of Steve's panelling from earlier in the week. In the afternoon he turned his attention to reattaching the locking bars to the observation end double-doors. This is a good example of when you've worked out how to do the first one, the second one is easy.
And not to forget a) Brian Palmer who has continued to work his wonders with more electrical wiring and b) Chairman John who has started panelling the vestibule because that now appears a better option than leaving the T&G boarding.
The Chairman along with Francis, Gil, and Tony were busy at Williton today doing amongst other things, preparation for repair and refurbishment of sink and components as shown below, along with preparation of almost all the required edging trim for the vestibule panelling which will hopefully be nearing completion by the time the next blog is published.
1 April 2015
Clive writes - it may have been April Fool's Day but all of the following is true - even though you may think we're joking about how well we're doing. There was no Royalty about today either, unless you count Chairman John who arrived with John C, Dave and Francis.
The previous week the second set of vestibule steps were returned from Williton and John B has finalised their installation. Some of the supporting steelwork had been bent in BR service so that's had to be trued up too.
John B has also refurbished a couple of BR carriage pictures and they are now installed in the main saloon.
Work has now turned to the vestibule (or cross-passage). With modern seats having been installed throughout the vehicle, apart from the driver's cab the vestibule is the only area that can be returned to its 1953 condition. So we're keeping the tongue and grooved plank walls (does anyone know what colour they should be painted?) and here John C is seen sanding them down. Note the electrical trunking that has started to appear. There's even a light switch in the cupboard next to the toilet.
We've also had to take out the sliding door to the luggage end to ensure it slides properly. That means taking out part of the walling - but it's designed to come out. Dave is going to make a couple more brass support runners, he enjoyed making the ones for the driver's door so much that he wanted to make some more - not!
19 March 2015
The Royal Visit
Chris then continued his in-depth explanation of 233's restoration before the Duke took 233's regulator and drove her off to............
OK, but we can dream, but he did drive 6412 to Staverton!
18 March 2015
Clive writes - Firstly, I've returned from Austria and, as requested by the Chairman in the blog ten days ago, here's an image of me returning and climbing up the rebuilt steps, rebuilt by the aforesaid Chairman and colleagues at Williton (always keep in with a Chairman......)
More importantly, today was the day before HRH the Duke of Kent came to see 233. Someone told me he was coming to open the new workshop extension but I'm sure that can't be true. Word of our progress obviously gets to the highest circles. So here's an image of John P painting the workshop door in chocolate (he's had a lot of practice for that) and John B tidying up, both for the Duke's arrival in front of 233. After I took this shot John B painted the stairs in chocolate!
This is what the Duke will see when he leaves the workshop - 233 in all her glossed glory.
Roger has built two electrical connection cabinets and here he is pop-rivetting one of them to the bodywork. You can also see the handles that John B and I painted and screwed on today.
While I was away things started happening in the toilet again. John B has sourced and installed the mirror and Brian has started the plumbing by installing the toilet cistern.
Words and photos from Clive Fairchild.
8 March 2015
Clive writes - A lovely sunny day today made a welcome change. We're now at a stage where lots of small but essential things are starting to happen.
Some of that wiring seems to be appearing at the other end too.
The gong has been repainted for outside the driving end.
Ray Taylor and Brian have made the last pair of legs for a seat and, yes, we do know it's upside down.
Is this a step too far? The box is only temporary because the steps have gone to Williton for renovation.
And while all this has been going on John P has been painting topcoat, John B and I have been varnishing windowframes (will these tasks ever stop?!) and Steve has done most of the panelling and insulation in the luggage end.
Chairman John will be pleased to know that after his correspondent has been away on holiday for a fortnight, he's off to Austria next week!
(Chairman's note, I'm obviously in the wrong job!)
However the Williton Gang have not been idle with construction and painting work by Gil, Dave and John today on the missing steps which should be fitted in time to allow Clive to make a grand entrance on his return.
And painting on the missing Droplights by Tony.
17 February 2015
With my regular correspondent on another holiday its left to me (JW) to update on things 233. A visit on Tuesday found 5 Buckfastleigh regulars at work , joined by 3 visitors from Somerset. John was busy with the second coat of external paint which has been required to obtain the finish we are hoping to achieve. Painting conditions even whilst we were inside the workshop have been far from ideal, but at least we are not outside.
Steve was busy starting on panelling work in the former Luggage end so Gil and Dave of the Somerset contingent added assistance with cutting and fitting the insulation material whilst I assisted Steve with some woodwork.
Les continued outside on tidying various rough edges on the underframe whilst Auto Gear installation was progressed by 2 others including a 'new to 233' helper whose name will be revealed in a later edition. The seating in the 2 main saloons has now been laid out and loosely fitted in its final arrangement and will be firmly bolted down before too long.
11 February 2015
Clive writes - 233 looked really good as I walked in this morning. I casually asked how it was going and when the topcoat would be started. Err, the far side had already been topcoated, the two ends were done today, so the whole vehicle will have been topcoated by the time she leaves the workshop on Monday. Here's Steve and John P finishing off the far side, together with a view of the driving end.
John B had also removed his 34 topcoated sliding vents from his boiler room at home and reinstalled them!
Some mechanical work has occurred over the weekend. Two things were installed, but neither works - yet. Ever wondered how the driver controls the loco from the autocoach's driving end? Well here's his regulator above the window, with the brake below. The whistle cord is hanging down on the left.
The communication cord has been threaded through from the driving end to midway down the luggage end.
Our regular reader might remember an image of the pipework to the diesel tank being removed many months ago. Over the weekend the tank itself was removed. The only problem was that it was too large to come out to the side of the coach so it now waits in the pit for the coach to leave the workshop!
Monday will see 233 swapped for Prairie tank 5526 and we'll be out in the shed again, picking up the necessary work on the luggage end.
9 February 2015
It may have been the weekend but John has homework to complete and despite protestations from his wife 34 top light windows have been painted and stored to dry in his boiler room. Progress has continued at Buckfastleigh today not only the painting by John and Steve, but Auto Gear fitting by Ray, Brian and Dave. More pics of that later in the week.
4 February 2015
Clive writes - I was in Iceland for a long weekend (that's the country, not the supermarket) so I missed the start of the painting. I looked in the holiday insurance to see if there was a clause about painting a coach, but there wasn't. You've already seen Mike and Ray's photos over the last few days so will know how much the work had progressed by last night.
John P did the fiddly chocolate along the gutter.
John B took the sliding vents out and undercoated them cream. He's taking them away today to topcoat them at home.
By the end of the weekend Steve's side will have had the chocolate treatment and the ends of the vehicle will have been undercoated too. Then there's only the topcoat to do......!
On other fronts the steam-heating pipework has been successfully pressure tested and Alan has been removing all the 1950s wiring so that the vehicle's new electrics will all be up to current day standards.
3 February 2015
Much more of Auto 233 has now been painted, it's looking good!!
2 February 2015
Painting is progressing!
31 January 2015
Last Saturday saw the 'beginning of the end as far as painting 233 is concerned. South Devon Engineering have allowed us use of the Buckfasteigh workshop for a short while so hopefully we can complete the painting of the carriage. As some may know our 233 is clad in galvanised steel which requires specialist paint and preparation.
So soon after 8 am on Saturday Johns1,2 and 3, Mike and Paul started the process of preparation involving no less than 4 coats of various liquids. Meanwhile reserves Dave, Ray and John 4 spent the day on a clear up exercise around the area we have used outside for the past 15 months. By 3 pm the roofing team had completed their tasks up to the point of 'etch priming' and departed followed shortly after by the clear up gang, leaving wide open spaces soon to be refilled by other 'junk' as space always does in preserved railways. Sunday saw Johns 1 and 2 along with Steve and 'gofer' Ray compete 2 further coats of paint to bring the weekend's operations to a successful conclusion.
John and John stand in front of the completed roof.
A view of the instrument panel soon to be refitted.
21 January 2015
Clive writes - Today we had a similar working group to a fortnight ago. I think that the Williton lads have worked out that if they turn up on a Wednesday they might get their photo in this blog.
Over the Christmas period I had prepared a way of covering up a series of holes in the toilet. We now have a 1950s BR poster of Torquay on display in the toilet! (The other option was one about Looe - Toilet Joke No.4) The mirror next to the poster is now on order.
Steve has now finished the window frames in the small saloon and started renovation of the sliding doors out to the cross passage. Here he is rehanging them, ably assisted by Francis.
Chairman John arrived to finish the installation of the six end window frames, which have now been varnished. I said last time that they "just" needed screwing in. I was right to use quote marks! Here's John making final adjustments assisted by Gil (and proving that we do occasionally use 'old fashioned' hand tools).
John Bryan then used his glazing expertise to install the glazing to both the end frames and to the last of the three luggage end side windows, using butyl tape to ensure a snug fit between glass and frame.
The final steam heating pipes have been installed, in the luggage end, and they should be pressure tested tomorrow.
John Payne continued filling, sanding and priming the screw heads on the outside of the newest window frames. He is looking forward, as we all are, to external glossing occurring over the next few weeks, starting with the roof, hopefully in the next fortnight.
7 January 2015
Well, here we are again after a three week holiday eating Christmas cake, although most of us hadn't finished it all during the Christmas break from the look of the amount of Christmas cake in our lunch boxes. I'd also like to wish our reader a Happy New Year.
The other thing that our reader will remember is that we had to take the legs off the four seats in the luggage area so that we had enough for all the seats in the main saloon. So one thing that did happen over the Christmas break was that the paid staff welded three new legs together for the seats in the luggage area.
Clive writes - The last week has very much had a focus on windows (again). Steve has been working overtime (i.e. he's come in for a few extra days) to reconfigure the frames in the large saloon. It has been decided that the continuous level of trim along the top edge of the windows wasn't quite right. The section between each frame has now been removed giving a much more prototypical appearance.
He is also moving on to finalising the new small saloon window frames in a similar style.
At the luggage end Chairman John arrived with two beautifully made frames for the end windows. Only four more to go John! He and John B spent the day fitting one of them and glazing it. It looks very impressive and no doubt the other five will be easier as is always the case with serial installations.
John Castle and Gil spent their day putting the grills back over the heating pipes in the luggage area.
What was Clive doing I hear our reader cry? I seem to be developing a reputation for shutting myself away in small rooms. Having done the toilet (as far as I can at the moment) I have now moved on the an even smaller area (yes, that is possible). Next door to the toilet is a two foot wide storage cupboard. Yesterday this was repanelled so that whatever clutter we keep in there will appreciate the excellent surroundings. I'm pleased to note that there aren't any other small areas.
I'm not back until the new year so a Happy Christmas and New Year to you all (I often wonder how many of you there are!) In particular it will be a happy new year for 233 as it will be the year she returns to revenue earning service.
3 December 2014
Clive writes - Last week the Williton gang came down and did a good job on refurbishing the new seats in the main saloon where necessary. This action photo also shows John in supervisory mode.
We continued with seats today by transferring legs from the seats in the luggage area (they'll be installed later) to those in the main saloon so that all the main saloon seats now have legs. A replacement frame for the luggage area seats has been specified for Ray and Brian to weld up. We also finished off some of the work that the Williton gang were unable to finish last week by removing the last of the grab handles on the back of the seats. It's tasks like that that nobody notices but takes time.
The seats are now ready to be installed. The next photo shows that the necessary bolts have now been installed in the new box section on the side walls and the grill has been added to hide the steam heat pipes. That really made the wall look complete. It's funny how one little addition can make everything come together.
The seats can be installed once Steve has finished the main saloon interior window frames (should be done tomorrow) and when an issue regarding the floor covering has been dealt with.
On the subject of cab ends, I realise that I haven't mentioned that some technical stuff has been happening at the driver's end. Extra pipework and wiring has been installed and three gauges have appeared above the windows. One for brake pressure, one for something electrical and one for m.p.h., although the maximum of 120 m.p.h. looks rather optimistic. (not in its previous existence!)
20 November 2014
Update from Buckfastleigh 20/11/2014
Whilst we work to the usual railway preservation timescale of 'It'll be ready when its ready' we are hoping the coach will be completed by mid February in time to make an appearance in the SDR's Spring Half Term trains. Whether it will or not remains to be seen but we will be working hard over the next few weeks to try and attain that goal.
12 November 2014
Clive writes - The Chairman has caught me out (that's why he's the Chairman!). He worked out I just couldn't be bothered to take photos in the toilet, so it's now my turn to prove that I actually can do it. This is where we are with the toilet at moment.
The ceiling has been screwed back up to a level line; the panelling visible below the ceiling covers a variety of unwanted holes and missing formica panelling; the washbasin has only been placed there for the photo but it does show the 1950s taps, and a toughened glass mirror will go above it; the wooden towel holder has been positioned in the recess and I will donate something to the project to cover up the large holes above it; a litter bin and a coathook have also been installed and we have a vintage toilet roll holder in stock. Now we await the new flooring.
Outside the toilet the new panel next to the toilet window has finally been welded in, filled and primed. The photo also shows John P's tasteful colours on the bogie.
John B and I spent an hour or so extending the experimental placing of the new seats that we started a few weeks ago. We think that we now have the final version that gives a good number of seats and looks right.
You'll note that that there are four double seats that are sitting on the floor. These are not for vertically challenged passengers. We just have to transfer legs from elsewhere. You can also see that over the last week Steve has been installing the left-hand internal window frames. We have also positioned four seats against the bulkhead in the luggage area. These will particularly be for the carers of our wheelchair passengers. The photo also shows the grey grills that have been made to cover the steam heating pipes.
Finally, I try to mention the names of as many volunteers as I can, even though I'm only at BFL on Wednesdays and haven't even met all of them. My grapevine tells me that I've missed out Brian Palmer, who attends on Mondays and Tuesdays. Well done Brian, for all your help with all things metal. Perhaps we'll meet one day!
Words & photos from Clive Fairchild
5 November 2014
Clive writes - it might have been bonfire night but a) we haven't burnt 233 to the ground and b) there were no fireworks, just steady progress. I forgot my camera but, as our reader will realise, this was obviously because I can't take photos in the toilet (But the Chairman can!) I've finished it all for the moment, that's walls, ceiling and some fittings, but will start up again once the flooring has been laid and I can put the washbasin back in.
Before and 'Work in progress' (below)
Work continues apace at the luggage end. John B has now put the frames and glass into the remaining three main lights so we have a completely glazed coach, subject to final fettling. Steve has put some more end panelling up and John P is painting pipework, having finished the bogies off with a very fetching yellow on the timken roller bearing housings.
Meanwhile work continues at Williton on the 'Final version' of the end window surrounds, due for completion next week. The planned attempt to paint the roof last week was abandoned due to the very damp conditions, however we have rescheduled for early January when we hope to have a more hospitable environment available to us for a few days.
Words & photos from Clive Fairchild
29 October 2014
Clive writes - what a difference a fortnight can make. Two weeks ago the luggage end had no floor and no windows. Thanks to Steve it's now got a floor and the beginnings of panelling around the windows. Chairman John (with assistance from John C at Williton) has produced a temporary central window frame to John B's design and glass has been temporarily installed in all three openings, so we hope that it won't be long before all three windows are completed once finished frames can be produced.
Meanwhile, Ray Taylor has been finishing off the steam-heating pipes in the saloons. This has meant moving all the seats over to the other side of the main saloon.
Elsewhere John P is still needle-gunning the less accessible areas of the bogies. The last of this task will have to await their removal for overhaul in the New Year. The springs on the bogies have now been picked out in red.
15 October 2014
Clive writes - Six weeks since the last blog and three weeks since I was last there. I must get out more. My task at the moment is the renovation of the toilet. Now I must resist the temptation to say that I'm flushed with my success...... (it gets worse).
The walls are all grey formica, but with lots of holes in them. The washbasin was in the corner with a small mirror above it. The gas boiler was in the recess just visible on the left.
3. Bearers installed for the new floor at the luggage end;
4. John P has largely blacked the red oxide primer on the underframe;
5. The replacement panel next to the toilet window has been welded in;
6. And, without which the toilet would be useless, the support brackets have been welded in for the water tank and the external supply pipes have been installed.
Meanwhile the new leather straps for the droplights have arrived at Williton where the glazing and painting of them continues.
Photos and text from Clive Fairchild.
3 September 2014
With the lack of recent updates, for which I apologise, you would be forgiven if you thought nothing was happening, but nothing could be further from the truth. Work inside the carriage has included fitting of the flooring in the main compartment and the removal of all the seats from our temporary (and costly) store and they now reside in the carriage although not yet fitted in place.
Steam heating pipework has been manufactured and is awaiting final fitting. The communication cord housings have also been fitted. Window fitting is now one of the main priority and as has been the case all along it still holds some 'interesting surprises'. The latest of which is that although the main glasswork looks perfectly vertical the large sheets below the sliding windows actually slope at a couple of degrees outwards so a very fine cut has to be made in the lower part of the side woodwork! The pictures below were taken on Friday 29 August.
We have been beavering away at Williton recently on the internal doors removing the numerous coats of varnish and also repairing the driving cab one that had the corner cut away to accommodate wiring for the cctv cameras carried in its 'Derby Days'. All the remaining internal panelling cover strips and window surround woodwork is now completed and 'in stock'
2 July 2014
What's happened over the last five weeks has really made an incredible difference to 233, the main changes are:
Well done John B for overcoming all the trials and tribulations of the last six months or so and doing such a professional job. Now I'm afraid he's just squirting silicon sealant into gaps. Not quite so challenging.
David also brought in the new sliding door supports that he had made in brass. An exquisite piece of engineering from a model engineer.
There were meant to be two of these pushed vertically into the bottom of the driver's sliding door but one was missing. The dished end sits on the floor rail and slides along it as the door is opened. At least we had one for a pattern.
Just three coats of gloss varnish to go now. We already have some completed test pieces and they look really good. Also note the repainted ceiling in the photo.
Steve has continued using his woodworking skills to make more replacement door thresholds. The ones here on the central doors are wider than the driver's door ones.
John P has continued undercoating. This seems to have been going on for ever but getting a very professional finish is essential to the longevity of the final paint job. Thanks to John for helping with the wall staining too.
The flooring contractor is due to attend this week to look at the job. Once the flooring is down we can think about installing the seats on the east side.
25 June 2014
A few shots of our visit by Ian, Ian and John,we finished taking off fittings on rest of seats off site and returned to Buckfastleigh to rub down the small saloon roof prior to painting etc.
Ian Aldridge attacking the ceiling.
Ditto with John Crocker as well.
John B taking a rest from windows to cut new window apertures in the plywood sheets in the drivers partition.
18 June 2014
A visit to Buckfastleigh in what must be the holiday season found 3 workers (all named John to add to the confusion) in action but that doubled to 6, thankfully 2 Ray's and a Harry, when the 'late shift' arrived for some early evening welding.
John 'the paint' continues to find things to paint and repaint and amongst other areas that had his attention was the 'neck breaking' undercoating of the ceiling after completing the rubbing down. Additional roof and partition panelling completed last week by Tony. For the other workers , don't panic, we haven't filled in the front windows, they await being cut out from the newly fitted panel.
The Late shift found Ray, Harry and Ray welding the replacement brackets at the luggage end.
11 June 2014
Ian, Brian, John and Ian spent a warm day removing surplus fittings from the new seats. Brian, Ian and John take a rest (that's not allowed!!) between proceedings.
Some of the unwanted seat fittings they'd removed.
Our lead carpenter Tony cutting and fitting coach panels making a big difference to internal appearance.
4 June 2014
Earlier in the week the first of the internal panelling had been fitted and begins to make the inside a little more 'carriagelike'.
Work continues on window preparation but now we have reached the stage of actually starting to fit the glass. This continues to be a challenge and is taking all our patience to achieve any progress. It's amazing how different similar looking window frames can be!
The lengthways supports for the seats were being prepared and drilled today ready for fitting to the sides.
The recent pair of Luggage end doors have been fitted, and the final pair have now been completed at Williton and are being collected today ready for fitting as soon as possible.
21 May 2014
Today's work at Buckfastleigh included checking our 'new ' seats for fit and proposed layout. We are pleased that it appears the 'bay' format will be achievable in most of the carriage as the pictures of our first test fit below show.
Other work underway way was the making and fitting of the driving cab door thresholds along with further external painting of toplight fittings and buffers.
Photos © John Wood
14 May 2014
After having a large number of people helping last week it was down to three yesterday. John P continued roller-priming the outside of the vehicle. It's taking ages but he's doing an excellent job. The finish should be second to none.
He also primed the new wall in the driver's cab earlier in the week. Clive finished putting the new cab floor down yesterday...
...and started work on making the cab door slide better. John B has completed the first window frame.
Your scribe will now be away for the next few weeks. However our reader can expect more painting and window frame installation generally, and bracket welding and new tin, at the luggage end. Let's see how wrong I was when I get back (always underestimate, if we've done more than that, it'll look impressive).
Photos © Clive Fairchild
Williton Window, Door, and now Seating Department busied themselves with a trip to darkest Pontypridd to retrieve a set of seats for 233. As mentioned briefly last week the need to be able to get 'Bums on seats' at the very earliest opportunity has very much forced our hand on this issue to which end we have purchased (mainly via the sponsorship of one of our supporters) a set of 49 recently removed and in excellent condition luxury road coach seats.
When we collected the seller was suitably impressed with our cause that a further 16 were supplied at a very reasonable rate that now allows us to furnish the whole vehicle in the same design. We are aware that this may not be fully to the liking of all but it was a quick and relatively easy fix to what was becoming a potentially difficult problem. We believe they will look very smart when installed and will also be very comfortable. Having had a chance to study the way these seats are assembled we are also reasonably confident we will be able to fit them in the original 'Bay' type formation. And after all many autos had 'Bus style' seats fitted originally. The carriage is very much becoming an 'Autotrailer for the 21st Century'
Tony and Dave are seen testing the seats and report a 'comfort factor of 100%
Other news to report is that the axles have been ultrasonic tested and all passed with flying colours!
8 May 2014
Our member from abroad arrived today. That's Brian Hart from the Isle of Wight. Gets up at 4am and gets home at 11pm. Well done Brian. I want a lie down just thinking about it. Brian joined Steve, Tony and John P working on the windows. I (Clive) finally finished off the plywood panels in the driver's cab (I don't think I'm allowed anywhere near the windows).(best place to be, John)
Meanwhile the Williton Door and Window department continue to busy themselves, currently on the Right Hand Rear Luggage, soon ot be Disabled Compartment doors. Picture below shows the replaced bottom rail on both doors which are now almost ready for return to Buckfastleigh.
This week's task for us is to collect the 'new' seats that we will fit into the carriage over the next few weeks. We are continuing the original idea that B.R.used in the later Autotrailers using 'Bus' style seats. However they will have a slightly more luxurious feel than those originally fitted having been obtained as surplus to requirements from a international travel company. All will be revealed very soon. Replacement glass sizes and type has now been confirmed along with method of fitting so we expect to complete the ordering, take delivery and begin fitting shortly.
30 April 2014
One of the things we're thinking about is seating. I got the offer of a Mk1 compartment seat that might go against the bulkhead in the luggage area. So I went into darkest Cornwall to get it, checking the visa first, intending to take it home until next Wednesday. But the A38 goes all the way to Buckfastleigh doesn't it?!
The external fittings have been bolted back on to the panelling at the driver's end of the vehicle. Much of the driver's cab floor has now been replaced and two rebuilt doors have been returned from Williton. They are stored in the driver's cab before we finish them off and hang them in the centre vestibule.
I'm conscious that normally I'm only there with the Wednesday regulars so it was nice today to meet Ian Grady and John Crocker who had come down from Somerset to remove all the pipework from the generator's diesel tank.
And finally, Chairman John has been cornerposting again. The new one at the luggage end has appeared.
Williton workshop supplement
Having taken delivery of the next pair of doors on Saturday no time has been wasted in trying to get a quick turnaround of them to which end John Castle above (Paint stripping) and Dave Carter below (removing the rotted bottom framework) are seen in action on Tuesday. At first glance this pair of doors look in better condition than those we have had so far with a much simpler arrangement to replace at the bottom wood frame.
22 April 2014
A 'special' day today as the 'Chairman' himself made a guest appearance to remind all of his existence, and just to prove he's not only a talker. He (I) proceeded to create the beginnings of the new corner post in the rear luggage/disabled area. (See picture below) It might just look like a piece of square timber but it goes in every direction in the top corner! The 2 Johns were also in attendance working on paint and windows prior to John P jetting off to sunnier climes for a few days and Ray (2) was also busy preparing to weld new support brackets for the rear end woodwork.
Today we welcomed a new volunteer: Steve Hilton who is a joiner by trade and whose skills we will undoubtedly value. The two images show the embarrassing photo of himself (a sort of initiation ceremony) together with the result of his day's labour. He cut out the remaining rotted parts of the luggage-end framework and prepared the new sections for installation later.
Otherwise it's been more of the same: John B has been weather-proofing the sliding vents, Clive has almost finished the driver's end plywood walls, Harry and Adam have welded some more brackets, Ray Taylor and Brian have cut some more tin, but John P has the best job. He's gone to Spain.
Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, the Williton 'Gang' Dave, Gil and John C and John W were busy completing the cornerpost and doors ready for return to Buckfastleigh on Monday. The almost completed vestibule doors need to be re hung to allow the remaining exterior body panels to be completed. The final cosmetic work on them will be completed 'in situ'.
Thursday saw yet another new helper. Les was tasked on his first day with preparing the new floor for the cab using some very much appreciated offcuts from the London groups' coach flooring exercise.
All in all a busy week so far with more happening tomorrow when Tony will be in window frame action at the South Devon.
16 April 2014
Today's image shows the excellent primed finish that John P has achieved on the driver's end of the vehicle. He's now working his way down the sides.
Clive spent today finishing installing the plywood walls at the front of the driver's cab. The image shows the final, central, panel awaiting the cutting of its window aperture. This was completed before the end of the day. John B hopes to have finalised his discussions with Tony about the window installations and we hope to proceed with this major task shortly.
And just to prove we do do something at Williton, here's one of the vestibule doors nearing completion. Just to decide paint or varnish, varnish or paint, and then what shade? Decisions, decisions.
Photos © Clive Fairchild
This week has been "a case of two ends". John P is now satisfied with his filling and priming on the driver's doors so has progressed to priming the driver's end of the vehicle. The image also shows the black effect that the t-wash etching liquid gives.
The inside of the driver's cab is now ready for rebuilding. Clive has started cutting 8x4 sheets of 12mm ply to fit the front wall. The image shows the left-hand one fitted and with the window aperture cut out, whilst the right-hand board has been shaped but is awaiting its window aperture. The central one is yet to be fitted.
John P continued to work on finalising the painstaking detail with which the windows will be constructed and fitted.
Meanwhile work at Williton has also seen progress on the Right Hand centre door replacing the bottom frame which, as on all the doors so far, has suffered with rot and middle cross-member which had woodworm. The plywood paneling is also being replaced.
Photos © Clive Fairchild
2 April 2014
The most exciting change this week has been the cutting of windows in the brake end of 233. We've done this so that passengers in wheelchairs can get a good view of both 5542 and the passing countryside. However, the purists should not worry too much. 233 was one of the later batch of autocoaches that did not have windows at the brake end but earlier batches (like 169) did. So we are merely putting right BR(W)'s 1951 omission!
Most of the rot in the doorframes in the northern half of the vehicle has now been repaired. The one that was pictured three weeks ago has now had the work completed by Ray Taylor and Brian and the associated panelling has now been screwed back on. This is an opportunity to thank the pair of them for all the woodwork and sheet metalwork they've done over the weeks. Note the brass handles to the steps. The door threshold will be replaced shortly.
One of the driver's cab doors has now been etched and undercoated as an experiment for what is to come on the whole coach. It looks really good against the brass grab handles but the sanded filler over the screwheads that seemed so flat when it was done shows a slight indentation when painted. So just a little more filler is required to get that perfect finish that we're aiming for. Two more doors will shortly be finding their way to the workshop at Williton for repair.
Photos © Clive Fairchild
12 March 2014
This was one of those days when lots of stuff happened but it was of the boring-but-essential nature. More screw head filling, more sanding, more priming and more stripping out of minor pieces of woodwork that need replacing. Clive temporarily screwed back two of the driver's compartment's tall handles. This was, of course, for health and safety reasons - or just because the brass looked really nice!
During the previous seven days the driver's compartment has moved on considerably. All the galvanised sheeting is now installed and all necessary welding has been completed. Thanks to Harry and Adam for that. Various fittings such as lamp brackets and handles have now been bolted back on. The doors that we fettled last week were hung on their hinges.
There's still a little more rot to be replaced in a small number of areas. Here the bottom of a doorframe is being replaced.
Cover strips have been screwed over the joins between each galvanised sheet.
The ceiling at the luggage end of the vehicle was taken down so we can give better thought to replacing various fittings.
7 March 2014
An awful lot more is coming together now, despite having to negotiate the carriage work around shed repair work that is underway, curtailing external work for a while. We have manufactured and installed the new replacement front cornerpost and very professional it looks too. The picture does not reveal the intricate shaping and maneuvering required to fit it around all the existing woodwork and metal platework.
With the front end framing completed a few weeks ago the new galvanised steel panels have now largely been fitted. The front end is beginning to look like a coach again!
The doors were sent up to the workshop at Williton for any necessary repairs and the two driver's cab doors have now been returned in rebuilt condition. Clive and John Bryan reassembled some of the woodwork, primed the internal surfaces and screwed the brass fittings back on. The door handles are especially fine.
Having cut the additional hole for a window behind the driver, we have now acquired two ex-DMU window frames which fit wonderfully well, with the same curved corners as the main lights. Thanks to John Bryan again for doing that.
19 February 2014
Most of the welding at the driver's end was completed so we screwed in a few timber cross-members and finished the priming. Just the cornerpost to be done now. More work was done on the steel sheeting, countersinking screws and filling them. Have you ever wondered what happens to the condensation that dribbles off the windows? Thought not, so now we'll tell you. It dribbles through a hole in the windowsill, down through the wooden framework and then out through the floor. Not good because it can rot the framework. So we've devised a system of plastic pipes that takes the condensation directly to the outside.
Photos © Clive Fairchild
12 February 2014
There's been a lot of action at the driving end this week. Rotten woodwork cut out from the base of the uprights has been replaced and new steel brackets have been prepared for welding in. Chairman John and David have started work on replacing the previously removed rotten cornerpost.
Photos © Clive Fairchild
24 January 2014
On Friday 24 January we solved one of the issues we had been wondering about ever since we first saw 233 at Butterley last year. The vital little tube fitted between the ceiling and the roof and runs the length of the carriage to the whistle chain from the driving cab to the engine was missing from the cab and the rear sections of the carriage. Would we have to take all the ceilings down to replace it? We found that the tube remains in the vestibule and saloon apart from about a foot next to the cab. That has saved us a lot of work.
22 January 2014
With the distractions of the Christmas and New Year festivities behind us we are stepping up the pace. On most weekdays now there are volunteers at work on 233 in the shed at Buckfastleigh. Today a little milestone was reached. The last of the outer floorboard timbers was removed. Both the decayed and the sound wood has been removed so that all the metal brackets that support the vertical framing timbers can be examined and, where necessary, repaired. Around half the brackets in the main saloon have received attention so far and another metal bashing session will happen shortly. Something in 233's history has caused the brackets on the left hand side to have suffered more from corrosion that those on the right.
The bare shell of our new easy access compartment. Work has started on leveling and strengthening the floor.
Window ready for glazing, replacement kick boarding in place and replacement floor boarding trial fitted.
Remember the hole the generator left through? Now the new framework and panelling have been completed and the window is almost ready for glazing.
Meanwhile, at Williton work on the doors includes replacement of the bottom bearers on both doors, minor repairs and paint removal on the tongue and groove internal panelling and replacement of the droplight window frames that appear to have been made from a thick hardboard/MDF type material. Door work is now virtually complete with the exception of fitting the replacement windows. Although it will not delay progress at present we are trying to locate/produce the metal components that fit to the bottom of the droplight windows on GWR/Early BR designs. Anyone having spares or wanting new ones please get in touch.
7 January 2014
A visit to Buckfastleigh last Wednesday 7 January found 6 workers undertaking various tasks. Some of the work completed previously or on the day is shown in the accompanying pictures from Clive Fairchild. Work also continues at Williton on the two cab doors along with new and replacement woodwork for window fitting and replacement framework. The now removed generator area is being returned to use as a disabled persons area. Steel for the manufacture of the new/replacement operating gear for 3 Auto Coaches has also been received - no, we haven't obtained yet another one but some is needed for another SDR coach so better to produce it in bulk!
Remaining seats now removed to allow work on side brackets.
Fittings for new windows recovered.
Fittings for new windows and patterns for production.
Front bufferbeam (and buffer faces?) freshly painted.
Roof ventilators fitted.
19 December 2013
A very good day guttering, both gutters up, screwed in and mastic applied. Thursdays workers were the Two Johns, Graham, Brian and Clive. The photo of guttering shows it supported at each end on the towers and held up by rope in the middle. Then it's just screwed at each end, mastic applied and then completely screwed back in place. Sounds easy! Any offers for when we do it again in 50 years time? However, surprise, surprise, the second one was much easier. There is also a sneak preview of the refurbished and re-galvanised ventilators inside the carriage awaiting fitting.
All the major areas requiring new tin have been completed, the other ex-heat-vent panels and the generator room.
We wish all our friends and followers a Very Happy and Peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Raising the guttering.
The inside of a new panel.
More interior progress - with a gutter alongside!
Gutter ready to be fitted.
10 December 2013
A few photos of the working party's progress during the day.
Ventilators ready for replacement.
Gleaning new panels installed.
Two of the team admiring their handiwork.
Closer view of the section around the window to be replaced.
3 December 2013
Team building at Buckfastleigh
Two further recruits to the 233 team today seen with the Two Johns (in the carriage) are Andy and Ray getting to grips with Autotrailer restoration with close inspection of the carriage in its new livery of 'Galvanised Silver' . Driving cab doors have been removed ready for transport and overhaul at 'Unit 7' at Williton. Ray will be involved with parts overhaul and manufacturing replacements as required.
27 November 2013
Despite a 'gang of 4' being dispatched to Toddington to complete the annual steam test on 5542 the regular work at Buckfastleigh continued unabated. Work continues on windows and window frames, roof preparation and replacing the woodwork on the sides that was unceremoniously removed when the coach was converted to departmental use and ventilated panels (now removed) were fitted.
Overhaul of the doors and associated components are soon to start with them being delivered in rotation to our Williton workshop for any attention they might require. We are also currently researching the appropriate techniques to ensure the pitfalls of painting galvanised metalwork are fully understood before commencing that part of the project.
New timber side framework produced at Williton and fitted on Wednesday last,
Roof vents removed for repair and sealant applied to joints.
Internal panels and woodwork primed.
Another window removed to allow replacement woodwork to be produced.
Photos © Clive Fairchild
20 November 2013
This week our efforts focused on three areas of 233: The roof, the window frames and that dodgy front corner pillar.
John Juan prepares the roof blanking plate
Tony B at work tailor-making his window framing a precision fit.
A soft focus John Too at work on the gutters
Tony's handiwork awaits the new glass.
7 November 2013
Many hands make (drop)light work
Several of the gang debate which cake to devour first.
All the linoleum has now been removed from the main salooon and the floor is in good condition. Much of the O/S floor board bearer has been taken out to allow us to examine and, where necessary, overhaul the steel support brackets on that side.
Trial fitting the new window inside frames
Tony with the first pieces made for 233
Newly renovated brackets for the timber side frames
Photos © Mike Dunse and Brian Hart
29 October 2013
A Tale From (of) The Gutter
26 October 2013
Over the last week or so the task of removing all the paint from the sides and roof has been finished. All those working in the SDR shed where 233 is currently located are thankful that the racket from the needle gun is over. The ongoing renovation of the window ventilators continues and the jig to mass produce the timber mouldings that retain the main window panes is ready to produce test pieces.
Mike uses a gas torch to heat up and loosen the screws holding the the steel panels to the frame.
Jennie at work on the window frames.
Clive removing the panelling screws while John Juan removes the window glass.
The galvanised roof now free of bitumen and old paint.
Photos by Clive Fairchild and Mike Dunse
25 September 2013
Four volunteers met again at Buckfastleigh to continue the work on 233. Johns Juan and Too carried on with their chosen tasks of window refurbishment and the needle gunning of the entire exterior to remove all previous coatings. This has now reached the stage where both sides are all but complete as is the driving end and much of the luggage compartment end. The roof area is about one third completed. Inside 233 more of the damaged longitudinal floorboard bearer has been removed from the left hand side of the vehicle. A preliminary look at its equivalent on the opposite side would seem to indicate that it *may* not need replacing.
We were joined for the first time by Clive, who has come to us having in the past played a major role in the restoration of Bulleid coaches of similar vintage on the Mid Hants Railway. By the end of the day he had removed one of the exterior louvred panels that we need to replace. This combined with the removal of the floorboard bearer in the same area has let us examine fully both the steel brackets, welded to the underframe outriggers, that carry the main loadbearing vertical timbers as well as the timbers themselves. The good news is that the timbers examined so far are in excellent condition requiring no attention other than precautionary treatment with preservative.
Here is a thought for you: One project, four viewpoints drawn from the differing preservation backgrounds of Mk2 coaches on the Plym Valley, Bulleids on the Mid Hants and Collets on the WSR. All working in harmony. Now why can't all heritage railway groups be like that?
18 September 2013
A Week of Discoveries.
The more you uncover when restoring an autotrailer the more you find. So far we had exposed nothing that we had not fully expected after our inspection of the coach at Butterley. This week stripping the paint from the roof has revealed the sources of leaks, actual and potential. Bitumen had been applied to cover them but had oxidised and become brittle so had to be removed, but if you don’t find the leaks you can't fix them.
Work has continued with needlegunning to remove all the previous paintwork on the exterior.
After the extraction of the generator.
Timber in cab corner needs replacing.
Photos © Mike Dunse
11 September 2013
A busy day at Buckfastleigh
Outside John's needle gunning of the body continues apace.
Wednesday Williton gang members John Crocker and Rob start task of taking off another side interior cladding
Busy scene later as John Rob and Brian Hart attack cladding.
All interior 1970's plywood paneling, plus seating and carpet in the main saloon has now been removed to allow inspection of the frame structure to ready for a repair plan to be created if necessary. Above is looking towards the driving cab end and below towards the luggage compartment end. More of the 1970's Formica panels in the driving compartment have also been removed.
Photos © Brian Hart/Ian Grady
4 September 2013
The roll call of regular volunteers working on 233 at Buckfastleigh has grown again. Two new members, both called John and fresh from the restoration of MkII carriages on the Plym Valley Railway, have matched their enthusiasm for a fresh challenge to 5542 Ltd's reputation for getting things done.
The very unauthentic kitchen units have been carefully removed. Newly exposed structural timbers have been coated with preservative to ensure their future longevity. The life expired carpet that had been fitted around BR's test benches and desks has been lifted prior to the examination of the flooring components. The first glass window panes have been removed. The straightforward manner of their mounting, much akin to the manner of modern double glazed windows is allowing us to work on the inside of the steel body panels, manufacture new wooden interior beading and rebed the glass without special tools or techniques.
After experimentation with different methods and tools, the process of removing the old paint and filler from the galvanised body panels by needle gun and airline is now under way. This is proving to be particularly successful on the roof panels where the removal of the time expired painted bitumen coating is a high priority.
John Juan removes the glass from one of the main saloon windows
John Too taking the driving cab front back to bare metal
Jennie, aka Mrs Kipling, takes a break from her work inside 233
The late afternoon light reveals this ghost-like reminder of 233's past as Test Car 1 through the more recent paint.
Photos © Mike Dunse
21 August 2013
We had well attended working party of 5 able bodied volunteers at Buckfastleigh including Mike Dunse, Ian Aldridge, John Crocker, Barney
Derby fitted speedometer and vacuum gauges in driving cab end.
Another shot of main saloon compare with previous view towards driving compartment.
Kitchen area now removed.
Close up view of body frame in good condition for age compared to other coaches of same vintage.
Another view later in day of main salon looking towards driving cab.
Above and below W233W being shunted back to coach sidings later in day.
Photos © Ian Grady
This site was last updated 28-06-2016