Workday: 26th January 2019

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Good afternoon, Oh Children of the VEP!

Harken all ye here assembled, for we bring you glad tidings of Work Completed, Tea & Pasties Consumed, Ice-ed Buns sent Home, Wood Fitted, Filler Applied, Horns Sounded and Floors Swept!

Right – that’s enough of the Town Cryer nonsense; on with the news.

Minions Darren, Trousers, Potter, Lynn and Maggie were in attendance at Strawberry Hill on Saturday for the first work day of 2019, where they made significant progress towards completing the interior restoration of Driving Trailer No. 76262. After the first order of the day was completed (tea and biscuits, folks – very important) Darren, Trousers and Potter set to the work. The first task of the day was energising the unit; making working conditions for several Minions much more acceptable. It’s always a special thing to have the lights on, MG running and to hear the shed periodically filled with the distractive sound of the compressor thumping away to itself. As Darren puts it, “it reminds us of what we’re working towards.”

Trousers was based in the driver’s cab of 76262, fitting the final piece of replacement wood to the walls, then filling the gaps between panels and “making good.” The difference in appearance between the water-damaged condition that the unit returned from Ilford and now is stunning. While Trousers was busy smearing filler and applying sealant to the drivers window, Potter was also starting the long job of ‘keying up’ the old paintwork with sandpaper, along with what he describes as “a rather rewarding hour” of scraping paint from the unexpectedly fine brass hinges on the cab equipment covers. (According to Trousers and Darren it keeps him out of trouble.) Darren, meanwhile, kept up with his now familiar job of bring the passenger saloons back to life; and he’s nearly done it. Hopefully we will be dispatching a crack(ed) team of Van Minions ‘North of Watford’ to collect our refurbished light fittings; the lights go back in and then Darren will be a very excited Minion indeed!
In the cab Trousers is justifiably proud of the work he has done; the interior now needs undercoat on the fresh timber, a fresh coat of paint throughout after that, an interior door & fittings restored and bingo! One ex-works cab ready for some ham-fisted handle-winding knuckle-dragger to ruin (step forward, @DriverPotter.)

While Trousers was up to his knees in sawdust and trying not to stick himself to the floor with wood filler, Potter was left to stand over a sink, covering door hinges, locks, door handles and a coat hook in pain dissolving gel. The reason? To remove 40 years of paint from them. Darren and Trousers were deeply impressed to see that Potter was not flummoxed by “doing something useful” and, after careful guidance on how a paint brush works and how to unscrew the lid from the Nitromors tin, he managed to clean up the required bits of metal rather well. He was even allowed his own wire brush. It was interesting to note that the two of the door hinges cleaned had other coach numbers stamped on them; one is from 76902 and one appears to be stamped 76843. We have been told that when the units were sent to Eastleigh for refurbishment, parts were stripped and simply thrown into a bin for re-use. So as much as enthusiasts and purists have complained about the likes of the ‘Flying Scotsman’ being a kit of parts, it just goes to show that almost every rail vehicle – regardless of fame – is pretty much a kit of parts put together of whatever bits happened to be handy at the time.

Henceforth we will refer to 3417 as “Trigger’s Broom” – or possibly “Buckie’s Brush.”

In the interests of maintaining the share price of the Yorkshire Tea Company, several breaks were taken in order to top up the tannin levels. Additional sustenance was arranged by Lynn and Maggie who understand that railway preservation is boosted by such things as Cornish Pasties, Cheese & Bacon Slices, Sausage Rolls, Iced Buns and Cinnamon Buns. At the end of this fine feast there were two cakes left over but Trousers, being a man who abhors food waste and adores unwanted confectionary, bravely leapt forward to offer them a home in his belly. The SETG would like to state publicly that we applaud his selfless behaviour, unfettered by any concern for his waistline. And thus were we fed, watered and pushed closer to Type Two diabetes; an all-round success for railway catering. 

So where does this 9 hour day leave us?

No. 76262 now needs:

Driving Cab fresh timber sanded, including sections filled.
Driving Cab existing paintwork ‘keyed’ to accept fresh paint.
Driving Cab new timber ‘keyed’ prior to undercoating.
Driving Cab new timber undercoated.
Driving Cab new & existing timber repainted.
Driving Cab inner door keyed, painted.
Driving Cab inner door hinges, bottom bolt, lock and latch refitted.
Driving Cab inner door refitted.

Light fittings installed and strip bulbs refitted.

First Class Compartment seating refitted.
First Class Compartment curtains removed, washed and refitted.
First Class Compartment carpets washed.
First Class Corridor interior window frames replaced and refitted.
First Class Corridor carpet washed.

As British Rail once said: “We’re getting there.”

And finally, for those of you who, like Darren, enjoy the occasional reminder of why we’re doing this, have another look at the video we filmed on Saturday afternoon….

Edit 28/01/19 20:50
Thanks to our chum Peter Spokes, we now know exactly which units those door hinges originally came from:
76902 – 4VEP 3499 Ramsgate
76843 – 4CIG  1886 Fratton
Good to have friends, isn’t it?!