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 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

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?

In fact all I needed were the services of PC John B who took me to 233’s new temporary home, in the sunshine out the back by the boilershop. She looks really stunning in the sunshine after well over two years under cover.

She had to be moved from the shed so that locos visiting for the gala weekend can be accommodated under cover.

Three more things have occurred since last week. The steam heating pipe in the cab has now had a cover put around it and the brown paint in the cab has now been top-coated.

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!

Even John B had a break for Christmas and the New Year holidays but he couldn’t last any longer so restarted on the first Monday of 2016.
He and Ray tested the steam pipework and found minor leaks which were then dealt with. I was there today and Brian and Peter installed the pipework that goes to the driver’s cab, together with its stopcock.

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.

The postcard we were waiting for with instructions for the cupboard door obviously did get delayed in the Christmas post. In fact it got diverted to a convenient joinery workshop known to Steve. They've done a lovely job on it. Here are three images showing the open door with the disability ramp sitting on its inside; the support for the disability ramp; and the door in the closed position.

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 driver’s end pipework and cabling looks complete to me (but what do I know?). 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. Mr. Plod will know where to return it to.

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 main thing is that Ray and Brian have continued to make excellent progress under the solebar. The images below show further work under the cab, the vacuum pipe having reached the other end, and electrics coming on at both positions.

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.

Let’s start with the underside. The control pipes have now reached the luggage end of the vehicle as has the electrical wiring. The batteries are in the battery box and are powering the recently fitted L.E.D. lights. These are now fitted throughout the vehicle. The outstanding fittings for the control mechanism are now awaiting the services of a coded welder..


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.

We also finished rubbing the paintwork down today.

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.

Last week David welded the two required plates under the north end. You can just see one of them in grey primer at the top of the photo. A fitting made in the workshops has now been bolted to it and another new piece lies on the floor.

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……..?

Steve has put in the panelling that hides the side of the toilet water tank - and a very precise bit of joinery it is too.

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!
Steve has added the white-painted hardboard above the end windows in the observation end. The hardboard ceiling will follow on shortly.

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!

Finally more work has been undertaken on panelling the vestibule and observation end. In particular the double doors are now having their lower panelling cut and fitted as shown below.

21 May 2015

The chairman writes:-

Another very good day today with 8 workers in action. Some painting of new footsteps and other miscellaneous odds and ends. All seats (except one) bolted and screwed down throughout the coach ,both main vestibule doors refitted along with the toilet door that had been removed for floor fitting and all door furniture refitted. A bit more panelling fitted in the vestibule with Ray and Brian continuing with work on the Auto gear below the floor, so all in all a very productive week (so far!).

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.

I realise I've not been looking under the coach as much as I should. Ray and Brian have been very busy under there installing the parts that transfer the driver's actions to the locomotive. They've largely been made from scratch. The first image shows the linkage underneath the cab and the other two are hangers for the rodding.

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.

I met Motorbike Dave today for the first time. 233 had been moved slightly so he was able to needlegun the previously unexposed parts of the wheels and then John B followed along with the primer. A bit of a production line really.

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.

In the last blog I showed John B putting the locking bar back on one of the double doors. Did I say then that once that had been done the other one would be easy? I obviously forgot about things like door handles, escutcheon plates, floor levels, checkerplates, anchor holes, droplights........ Watch this space.

While John B and Dave were sorting out the doors, Francis and I worked on putting 4mm ply on the observation end floors prior to flooring being laid. We did two of the three sheets in the seated area (we couldn't do the other one because of the work on the door) plus half of the toilet, the corridor to the vestibule and the cupboard. Lots of angles, cutouts and curves but we got there in the end. Next week we'll finish off the job up to and including the vestibule. The flooring will be laid shortly after that.

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.

Finally, Chairman John took the washbasin up to Williton and re enamelled it, assisted by Dave in special bath paint. It looks like new.

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.

Their main task was installing the four sets of footsteps that they'd made at Williton. Here they are listening to instructions from the Chairman, before they did what they were going to do anyway. You'll also notice John C pointing out to Dave that he doesn't have to kneel when in the presence of the Chairman (and when left alone fitted tread plate to all 4 boards without further instruction).

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

Clive writes - It was with bated breath that Ray, John P, Steve and I waited outside 233 just before 11 a.m. The first shot shows the Duke coming out of the workshop, accompanied by Chris Williams, having examined the door painted by John P yesterday. The lady on the stairs is trying to draw his attention to John B's painting of the stairs. At this point Chris is obviously starting to explain 233's restoration to the Duke whilst Dick Wood is explaining to the press how to get the best photos of her.

Chris then introduced Ray (he's the one with the tie) to the Duke and Ray then introduced the engineering team to the Duke before explaining why this other group of reprobates were there (fortunately behind the camera).

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!

At least one thing that did happen today was that we welcomed Steve back from France (I'm not the only one who goes on holiday) and he has made great strides towards finishing the luggage end plywood walling. These two sheets on the side of the toilet wall really start to make the area look complete.

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.

More of the driver's equipment has been installed in the cab. The image shows the vertical bar that starts to link the cab regulator to the loco, the hand brake looking complete, air brake and vacuum brake still awaiting the 'important bits',(interesting to note one item to make it go and three to make it stop!) and do I see some blue electrical wiring near the ceiling?

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.
Two views, one looking towards the cab and the other looking towards the entrance vestibule.

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!

I did a minor bit of painting too. "My" cupboard is now in GW chocolate. The unpainted space is where a large red emergency tool cabinet will be mounted.

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.

Today was more of the same really. Steve showed that joiners can multitask and painted the cream undercoat on the other side of the coach.

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.

Internal work continues steadily now being concentrated internally on the 'disabled' saloon with auto gear assembly and fitting starting soon.

Pictures Mike Dunse and Ray Lee

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.

I'll get my small contribution out of the way first. I spent my time in my two small rooms. The 2ft cupboard is now finished apart from a ceiling and a door. These will have to wait until other tasks are completed. The small opening on the left-hand side will be for an electrical control box.

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.

It was a good turnout today with a large party coming down from Williton to install the remaining five end windows. Our reader will remember that, before Christmas, I wondered whether, with the first one installed, the other five would be easy. They were, to such an extent that the Chairman was to be found wandering around mid-afternoon not knowing what else to do (for once all things went to plan, which is a very unusual occurrence Thanks to John W, John C, Gil , Francis and Dave for fitting them. Below we see Dave using his chop saw to make minor adjustments to the frame size, ably supervised by John C. The other two images show the finished result at each end. They "just" need to be screwed in now.

John P continued filling screw holes outside the luggage end window frames and I did some more work on my 2ft-wide cupboard. Steve has finished altering the interior window frames in the main saloon and just needs a little more trim to finish the small saloon. Today he made the architrave around the door to the cross-passage.

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.

17 December 2014

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.

Williton made another visit earlier this week when Gil, Dave and Chairman John trial fitted the new left hand end window frame and further measurements were taken for the assembly of the remaining cab end window frames. Completion is expected of these frames prior to the Christmas break. (watch this space)

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

For a change we will report on Thursday's goings on at Buckfastleigh, which saw Steve, Les and John (C) working hard to try to complete the window surrounds and panelling trim on the right hand side of the Main Compartment. This is almost complete now and once the door surround to the driving compartment is complete we will be able to attack the final fitting of the seats in this section. The pictures below show the 3 gents hard at work on the task.

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.
Work continues elsewhere on the carriage and also at Williton on the remaining panelling, trim pieces and droplights, along with the end window surrounds, the corner sections of which, to prove everything doesn't always go right first time, we have had to remake. Some pictures of the new version should be available in the next update.

Photos © Ray Lee

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.

We've also experimented with precisely how our road coach seats will be used in the three seating areas. We think we've come up with a solution that will give maximum occupancy and also look right. Below is the final version in the small compartment, now they just need bolting down.

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.

A small distraction for some of the 'workers' is the annual boiler exam taking place on 5542 over the next couple of weeks at Toddington but progress on 233 should continue unabated.

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.

I have continued with un-photographable activity within the toilet. Shall I rephrase that? Some new panelling has been installed together with new stripwood to cover old holes. Formica panels have been replaced and some painting has been undertaken. Because of the limited space it's too difficult to take photos. That's what I meant!

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).

BR put the toilet in when it was converted to a Test Car at Derby Works. It came from an SR Mk1 coach. We decided it was essential to keep it to give the vehicle as much flexibility as possible.

As always, the stripping out came first, last month. The gas boiler came out of its recess, together with its pipework. The 1980s lighting was removed as was the flooring tiles and the roller towel on the back of the door. The washbasin came out as did the toilet seat and toilet tank. A few other things left for the great dumping yard in the sky so that there was then a blank canvas.

Have you ever tried taking a photograph of a Mk1 toilet (without getting arrested)? I suppose I could say that I tried panning (joke No.2) the camera to get it all in. Here's the best I could do.

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.

Last month I identified as many replacement items as possible. A secondhand washbasin in better condition than the one I removed was a particular find. It also had genuine 1950s taps. We also have a wooden 1950s paper towel holder.

Today's task was carefully measuring and cutting pieces of ply to support the ceiling and cover the holes above the washbasin and recess. A mirror and other fittings will also be cleverly used to cover other holes. Then I took all the ply home to paint it. I'm thinking of basin' it (joke No.3) on the formica's colour.

Other things that have happened over the last three weeks:
1. More internal window frames installed;
2. Driver's sliding door installed and the associated internal windows being made;

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'

The 'Two Johns' have recently turned attention to stripping back the underframes and bogies and hopefully we will have some more pictures of their painstaking work shortly.

2 July 2014

What's happened over the last five weeks has really made an incredible difference to 233, the main changes are:

1. Ceilings repaired and painted;
2. Main and small saloons' lights (windows) glazed;
3. Further undercoats applied;
4. Main and small saloons' plywood walls installed;
5. More door thresholds installed;
6. All doors repaired and rehung;
7. Steelwork for installation of seats manufactured.

So today we set about building on this success. The first photo has to be an outside shot of the newly glazed windows. It makes 233 looks so much more complete.

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.

Chairman John turned up with David and Gil and spent the day trial fitting the hardwood window sills that had been manufactured at Williton. They're beautifully made with drip channels and screwhead rebates and are the first part of the internal window framing.

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.

We stained the east side plywood walls in the main saloon with two coats of walnut stain varnish.

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.

General view of large saloon.

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 Glass' continued with the glazing, as you'd expect ,and has now almost completed the main saloon with the small saloon also due for completion very soon. I'm sure he could write a book on the trials and tribulations of glazing an auto. Immediately below is at the start of the day's proceedings, also showing progress on the panelling work. Next down is the 'end of day' shot from the 'Cab' end.

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.

And John 'the wood 'Wood was busy cutting oak planks that will soon morph from floorboards into window surrounds and test fitting the samples created at Williton last weekend. Here's a little taste of what it should look like when fitted.

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.

The replacement timbers for the outer edge of the Luggage end floor have been prepared ready for fitting to begin to replace the void that currently exists there.

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)
The first photo shows John, Steve and Brian being extremely camera shy and the second one is the standard embarrassing photo of Brian.

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?!

I was glad I dropped in though because now that processes have been agreed we are moving forward with the windows. Steve and Tony are making the necessary alterations to the window apertures before the new frames are offered up. That's not Darth Vador, it's Tony.


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

9 April 2014

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.

More work has been undertaken on the windows at the luggage end. The rough-cut shapes have been machined to shape, unwanted panels removed and new panels cut to shape, ready for fitting.

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.

The doors were repaired at Williton workshop and that's where Tony Brooks has been machining the new window frames. Every time he comes to Buckfastleigh he brings more completed frames. I hope he knows when to stop! They've been made to a slightly revised design to the originals and should last for many years.

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.

Just another week on 233 but progress continues to be impressive!

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.

The two John's have continued to prepare the external sheeting of the vehicle and earlier in the week John Bryan cut the opening in the bulkhead behind the driver for the second (right-hand) window. We believe the first one was put in by BR when the vehicle was converted to a Test Coach. The two windows will provide an excellent view to passengers of both the driver and scenery. Clive Fairchild subsequently finished the preparation of the new window opening.

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.

Looking ahead, as we always try to, once we have finished the 233 restoration we will start work on our Mk1 BSK currently in store at Buckfastleigh. That came to us straight from the main line so is air-braked. We have grabbed the chance to acquire 2 new vacuum cylinders at a favourable price and they were delivered this week. We will need them to make the vehicle dual-braked like 233.

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 delicate work of cleaning and restoring the aluminium upper frames is keeping John Juan busy with a mixture of patience and remarkably mild language when one of those tiny screws heads towards the floor. John Too, with ear defenders and a wicked grin is finding yet more metal to attack with that noisy needle gun

233 was substantially modified during its career on "The Big Railway" and actually spent longer in service as a test car than it did as an autocoach in passenger service. The internal changes saw the installation of a WC compartment and generator room in the original rear saloon. The WC is to remain and we removed the whacking great generator a while back. This has given us an opportunity to do something a bit different with that area. Heritage railway vehicles were not designed to be very friendly to those of us who are less nimble that we would like to be. Now 233 has a pair of double doors on each side of the luggage compartment and the redundant adjacent area . So we have removed the partition dividing those spaces to create a good sized seating zone with wide doorways on both sides that, with the aid of a ramp, will give good access for wheelchair users, other folks with restricted mobility, and their companions. Of course other carriages on heritage railways have been altered to allow this but there is something special about travelling on a GW or WR autotrain next to the engine and we want this to be available to all.

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.

Guttering finished.

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.

Interior progress.

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.

The hole in the roof where the generator exhaust passed through in Derby days is now patched and faired-in and the caulking of the panel joints is underway. The gutters have been cleaned and primed and another grand meet of volunteers is planned shortly as we refit them to the roof. It will be like keeping a 60ft tin snake under control.

Tony joined us again from our Williton workshop with more newly machined timber for the inside window frames that hold the glass in place and spent a productive day trimming them to fit more of the window apertures. They iinevitably differ from each other by a millimeter or so. One size does not fit all if you are doing the job properly!

The near side driving cab corner pillar is has now been readied for repair. Once the metal foot bracket is rebuilt we will be able to fit new timbers and turn our attention to the near side central cab pillar where it looks as though there may have been a small amount of lateral movement at its foot. Remedy by G-cramp, Spanish windlass or sledgehammer? Watch this space!

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

This week has seen the biggest gathering yet of the volunteers driving forward the return of 233 to passenger carrying use. They travelled across Dartmoor, down the M5 from our base in Somerset and even via the 4am ferry from the Isle of White. All of the SDR would have known we were at work as 233's current home rang to the sound of needle gun, power saw and other tools.

There is always a symbolic point in any restoration with the moment when you fit the first newly made part and start the positive process of putting it all together instead of just taking bits apart. There is of course a way to go and it is from now on that things can get expensive but we feel good about turning that corner after just a few months of intensive work.

Unfortunately Mrs Kipling could not be with us this week but she made sure that we celebrated the occasion together with the birthday of one of the gang by sending not one but two cakes. We 233 regulars take great comfort from the effects of her watching Mary Berry on the box. To cheer us up even more on a real damp Dartmoor day, the editor of Bulliver, the SDRA magazine, took a photo of us grinning happily with 233 towering over us. We doubt that any of us will be offered modelling contracts but you never know.

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

We at 5542 are enthusiastic about most things (Great) Western but even we have to admit that Swindon did not always get it right. A Hawksworth carriage is a paragon of practical, no frills engineering - but one element of earlier designs was carried forward to try the patience of today's heritage workers. Along each side of the carriage above the windows runs a gutter to catch all the rain running off the roof and prevent it from reaching the carriage's delicate little places. It would make sense to give that gutter something of a U-shaped cross section similar to the guttering on your house, but no: Western carriages from before and after WWII feature a design that is little more than a half gutter in cross section. Think of a letter Z on its side where the angles in the letter are no more than 90 degrees. Bolt that to the carriage so that the roof forms the other side of the channel and it is only as watertight as the flange joint between the gutter and the roof. With the putties and mastics available at the time of building it is a design bound to fail and the subsequent corrosion of the roof and water ingress has been the bane of many a Western vehicle. We have now removed the gutters from both sides of 233 to overhaul them and they will be refitted with modern sealants that are more adhesive and remain more flexible than the originals. 60 years on we will make those gutters work as they are supposed to!

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.

Last week's efforts focused on further exploration of the corner pillar of the driving cab near side. Removing the screws that secure the steel panelling to the timber frame in that area has let us see all the framework in that area now and the news is good. The corner "post" is actually made up of four separate elements and only one of these needs to be replaced . The metal brackets attached to the subframe and cantrail channel are open to the front so that with outer steel panel removed or eased away fitting the new post component will be straightforward.

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 Buckfastleigh regulars have been busy again this week carrying on the rapid progress, sadly cakeless without the help of Mrs Kipling this time. John Too has spent several days continuing the needlegunning to remove all the previous paintwork on the exterior while John Juan brings his expertise to overhauling all the opening and fixed windows. In addition to this Wednesday's work saw the removal of the first part of the floor bearer that needs to be replaced.

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.

Removing the Derby RTC lining from the driving cab has uncovered the original panelling but it has also shown that the left hand corner of the cab has suffered heavily from water ingress and the timber upright needs replacing. However the joys of the construction are that replacing any timber is far simpler on a Hawksworth carriage than on earlier GWR carriages. It requires carpentry not joinery so we have just added it to the To Do list and will take it in our stride.

What have we also discovered this week? On Monday with the aid of a fork lift truck we removed with ease the redundant generator from its lair and found that BR had butchered very little of the original structure to fit it in so we have less remedial work than we anticipated. The construction of the floor bearer is simpler than we thought so that fitting its replacement from within the carriage will also be more straightforward.

There are some key words in our little world of railway restoration. Hope: Abandon hope. Research and plan instead. Hope usually equates to underestimation. Just: Never just do anything. It won't be good enough. Right: Do it right, do it once. It takes longer and costs more in the short term but you won't have to revisit the task in the long term.

Make a date to visit us in Williton at the WSR Autumn Gala to add your keywords to this list and see what progress we have made on 169.

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

The largest work party yet convened at BFL to continue the work on 233 when the Williton gang combined with Buckfastleigh regulars so that a total of 7 of us made good progress. John Too and Ian A continued the removal of the old paint with the needle guns and now part of the roof and half of one side are stripped backed to the galvanised metal surfaces. The roof panels revealed so far appear in good order and should need little attention. Most of the body panels will merely require repainting with minimal pinhole corrosion found so far on just one or two.

In the main saloon, John Tree, Brian, Rob, Ian G and Mrs Kipling removed the interior cladding from the right side and we were pleased to find that the structural timbers appear to be on good order and they too have been treated with preservative to keep them that way in the future. In the afternoon a start was made on removing the left hand longitudinal floorboard bearer that needs replacing.

Mike spent most of the day hiding in the generator compartment allegedly stripping out the very non-original sound proofing that lined it – a cunning ploy to avoid the racket made by the needlegunners. One of our options is to combine this area with the adjacent luggage compartment to create a saloon easily accessible via the latter’s double doors for those who find normal carriage door entry difficult. However achieving this worthy aim is in addition to 233’s restoration and may well depend on how our funds are. Hopefully many of you will be visiting the 5542/169/233 stand at the WSR Autumn Gala and any purchase or contribution you make will be a big help.

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 renovation of 233 is really getting into its stride and the rate of progress has increased. As more of the interior panelling has been removed no fresh issues to delay us have been uncovered. The work on removing the 240 volt equipment and wiring harness, installed by BR to power their test equipment, is almost complete although the fluorescent strip lighting has been left in situ to help the work over the coming short days of winter.

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.

Much remains to be done in the coming months. Visit us here again soon to see how we are getting on. Better still, like the two Johns, join us as we fast track 233's return to active service.

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
Forsdike.  On arrival we were treated by Ray lee to a shunt with bubble car W 55000 of short ride on W233W from coach sidings to loco shed service road, where we achieved tasks set out of stripping out kitchen, one side of paneling and electrics, air horns, electric wiper etc altogether a very enjoyable and good day.

Derby fitted speedometer and vacuum gauges in driving cab end.

Section of saloon panelling stripped

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


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