Good morning, followers of VEP!
I apologise for not keeping a tighter rein on the updates to the website, but as always I have been finding (or have been found) other things to do or simply neglecting to sit down and write when I should have. As those of you who follow us on Twitter and Facebook will be aware, work is progressing well at Strawberry Hill. For those of you who don’t have access to those sites, you’ll find below a brief outline of the past two months’ work and what has been achieved. We are extremely pleased with our progress, and despite extremely limited funds we are making steady headway. As our Chief Spanner Monkey rightly observes, “there are things we can do for pennies and we’ve got spares. Let’s get on with what we can do rather than fretting about what we can’t do.”
January and February have been busy and productive, with four work days fitted in. The team have been working on a number of fronts:
Driving Trailer No. 76262: Completion of painting and presentation.
At present the coach is approximately 95% complete. All trim has been refitted, the wasted window frame in the First Class connecting corridor has been replaced and painted, the cab has been approximately 80% repainted with a few areas left to finish – the rear of the drivers seat and the storage area for the paddles behind the second man’s seat. Curtains remain to be refitted to the first class compartment windows.
All the lighting and heating systems work as required and the coach is, even now, fit for traffic.
Non-Driving Trailer 70797: Refitting of Available Trim and Repairs to Window Frames and Other Faults.
We have now re-fitted the seat backs to all except two bays. These two bays have been left unfitted to allow the lower trim trims to be replaced after suffering heavy water damage whilst in open storage at Clapham a few years ago. Once the frames are fully painted and dried, the seat backs will be fitted. We have been recovering existing but damaged quarter pads for recovering and manufacturing new pads to replace those damaged by water ingress and mould, again suffered during open storage at Clapham. These are being fitted as we work our way through the coach. There is currently an electrical fault on the coach which means that the heating system does not function correctly. Our fitters will be be tracing and rectifying this fault in the coming weeks so the we can preserve the condition of the coach interior.
House Keeping And Other Duties:
As well as working on the unit, we have been spending time tidying the shed and moving spares and good trim around to make it easily accessible as work moves forward. The former stack of trim cleaned and delivered by our friends at TBM Rail of Crewe has been started and stacked ready to be refitted to the unit, and a good deal of plastic waste has been sent away to be recycled. Some has been retained to use as surface covers to prevent spillage of paint or oil as we work. We have cleaned the entire shed and at present the building is in as good a condition as we can achieve; maintaining this is now our priority. We have made further progress with our trim shop, and production of quarter pads had recommenced in line with work on No.70797.
And so work is progressing. Thanks are due to the Minions who have given up their free time to work on the unit, and to those of you who have continued to donate fund to us via PayPal; that money is already earmarked for work on the interior of the unit!
Well, that will have to be all for now – I have to go and drive trains on the Big Railway!
Potter – Scribing, Painting & Tea-Making Minion.