Monday, 13 June 2016

M50455 Restoration Update

After the application of the first coat of primer on M50455's No2 side, a start was made on flatting it off before applying subsequent coats.

The major task of sanding and filling has been progressing on the No1 side as well.

After a lot of time and effort, this side reached the same stage as the No2 side and the first primer has been applied.

A start has also been made on removing the rotten floor support wood floor bearers at the rear end/corridor connection.

Door jamb repairs have also been ongoing. Some door jambs had suffered rot behind each hinge mounting plate. This has been chiseled out and new sections of wood spliced in.

A number of doorways have suffered the ends of the threshold wood breaking away. In an ideal world with more volunteers, these would have been completed renewed, but for now repairs will have to suffice...

Monday, 16 May 2016

53437 & 53494 Moved to East Lancashire Railway

Two more of our vehicles have moved over the last couple of days from storage at Froghall (Churnet Valley Railway) to the safety of Bury on the East Lancashire Railway: DMBS 53437 and DMCL M53494. They are the only two surviving Class 104 power cars from the original build type with the cab roof mounted marker light and are therefore vehicles that deserve to be restored.

Having suffered from theft and vandalism over the years at Oakamoor and Froghall, they now have a more secure future. Both vehicles will need considerable work to get them back into traffic, including bodywork, a full rewire and internal refurbishment, which will start once other DMU cars at Bury that are currently under restoration are completed.

The departure of the two vehicles leaves the CVR with no DMU vehicles for the first time since 1992, ending just short of a quarter of a century of Class 104 activities. The longest Class 104 preservation story is now with the set at the Llangollen Railway which has been restored and maintained there for 23 years and counting.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Restoration Update for M50455 & M56182

Restoration has been progressing simultaneously on power car M50455 at the East Lancs and trailer car M56182 at the North Norfolk. Below is a summary of what has been achieved in the first three months of 2016:

M50455 - Bury (East Lancasire Railway)

A great many man hours have continued to be spent on the preparation work for M50455’s repaint. Weeks of sanding and filling the two sides of the vehicle have been undertaken and the initial coat of primer paint has been applied to much of it.

It's not the end of the sanding though, as this first coat will need flatting off before more paint is applied, flatting off between each coat.

Other tasks have included cleaning up some multiple working jumper sockets to replace some that are cracked on the front end of the vehicle.

The current focus is on applying more primer and filler to improve the final finish of the paint which will be applied later this year.

M56182 - Weybourne (North Norfolk Railway)

The main focus with M56182 has been the winter project of rebuilding the six exterior doors. The first three were completed during 2015 so the past two months has seen the second half of the job progressed and a total of five have now received all their wooden framework repairs and are now repainted and ready to build back up again. The steel exterior door skins are yet to be tackled.

New switch panels have arrived for M56182's driver's desk. These have been manufactured by John Walton Engraving, and are faithful recreations of the original panels fitted to Class 104's during the 1950's. These black "Traffolyte" panels were all replaced during the 1970's with modified aluminium versions, which is what is currently fitted to all of the preserved Class 104's.

A new black sheet of "Formica" has also arrived, ready for covering the replacement cab desk. After a multitude of setbacks and challenges, the two windscreen wiper air operated motors have been completed and tested successfully after overhaul. They will now be stored safely until the cab is reconstructed and the wipers can be fitted. The current focus is on construction of a “restoration tent” which will allow the cab end to be welded later this year, as well as refurbishing the final exterior door.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Filler Application Starts on M50455

An overall view of M50455 at the start of this month

The bodywork overhaul of M50455 has entered a new phase at Bury. All of the areas which do not require welding work have now been sanded down ready for the application of body filler. The last area to be treated was around the corridor connection at the rear of the vehicle.

The No2 side of M50455 has now had it's first dose of filler and has been flatted off. More filling and sanding and filling and sanding and filling and sanding will be required before the paint can start going on. The final finish is all in the preparation!

The bodywork on M50455 is far from in the best condition and will require a lower half re-skin at some point in the distant future. At the moment though, it's a case of trying to make the best of it.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Review of 2015

Firstly we’d like to wish all of our readers a Happy New Year. Looking back, 2015 was one of the busiest years the BRCW Group has had for some time, with several major changes within our preserved fleet.

In February we relocated trailer car M56182 to the North Norfolk Railway where its restoration (in progress since 2014) was to continue. Indeed, components for the vehicle had been under restoration on the line for over 12 months, however until an official agreement had been confirmed we were unable to make our intentions to base a Class 104 on the NNR public. Due to a lack of space in the yard M56182 was stored until November when it finally took its place and restoration of the vehicle itself could begin. Serious bodywork will commence in 2016, however the cab has already been fully stripped out in preparation for this work. All year, members have been working hard on overhauling components which will be refitted to the vehicle over the coming years. Although not exclusively, the main focus has been on panelling and components from the cab area, as this will be the first part of the vehicle to be refitted. Several of the exterior metal doors, and interior sliding wooden doors, have also been stripped down and overhauled, this being possible as the doors were removed from the vehicle whilst it was being held in storage.

A second movement took place in April, with our unique centre trailer M59137 and prototype Mark 1 GUV van W86500 moving to the East Lancashire Railway, joining 2-car set M50455/M50517 which had moved the previous year. Unfortunately it will be some time before we have the resources to re-start M59137’s restoration; however it was good to see he vehicle reunited again with the powercars that M59137 is to operate with when completed.

May saw M50455 withdrawn from traffic at the East Lancashire Railway, as the time had come to tackle the long overdue cab rebuild project, bodywork repairs and repaint. Over the year, a great deal of progress has been made stripping out the cab front and roof dome, cutting out rotten metal (including the entire cab front end) and starting the reconstruction process of welding new metal in and also sanding back the areas of the body not receiving new metal.

Over at the Llangollen Railway, 2-car set M50454/M50528 completed another successful season under the care of the Llangollen Railcar Group. This set was the only place a Class 104 could be enjoyed in service during 2015, with the exception of a handful of trips made by the ELR set in the early part of the year, so it is especially good to have seen M50454/M50528 performing regularly.

The group continue to monitor the four vehicles that are on loan to the Telford Steam Railway. Other than some hauled working of M50479, there has been nothing to report on these vehicles for 2015.

All preservation groups have to be guarded when making predictions of the year ahead. However the group hope that the positive restoration works started in 2015 continue to gather pace with major bodywork reconstruction on the front ends of M50455 & M56182 scheduled for completion. Whilst the restoration  journey is still ongoing for M56182, it is hoped for M50455 to return to service during 2016, following which M50517 will be withdrawn for a similar repaint, although the bodywork required will be far less drastic than that on M50455. It is also intended for M50454/M50528 to continue to provide regular services during 2016.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

M56182 Restoration Update

As hinted in the last news update, the M56182 restoration page and gallery has now been fully updated covering all the restoration news and activity since May of this year. Some 57 images have been added to accompany the report and to showcase some of the items have had received restoration work over the summer.

Our current pair of restoration candidates, M56182 and M50455, could not be more different in terms of the type of restoration we are undertaking. On the one hand M50455 is being tackled over a large surface area with huge lengths of bodywork being cut out and repaired or sanded back. On the other hand, M56182 is currently being transformed piece-by-piece, with smaller individual components being the main focus.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

M50455 Overhaul Update

With group members being so busy over the summer period primarily working on the restorations of M50455 & M56182, there hasn't been a great deal of time to keep the website up to date. However now that the darker nights are drawing in some of the pages can be caught up on. The first to receive attention has been the M50455 Overhaul page, which has had a massive update of 60 images added detailing all the progress made on the bodywork whilst it has been in the shed at Bury (ELR) this summer/autumn. A restoration update on M56182 at the NNR will follow shortly.