Work Day 3rd November 2018

Welcome to today’s edition of “Playing With 1:1 Scale Toy Trains for Fun and Frustration.”


“It’s all good fun playing trains, until someone asks you to fit a four-wide seatback to a bulkhead that has decided that it doesn’t want to have a seatback fitted to it, thank you very much. At this point the fitters get cross, drivers find themselves grateful that they never became a fitter and everyone wonders exactly how, in years past, pairs of drunken teenagers managed to throw the bloody seat backs out of trains in the first place. Fitting seats isn’t for the faint of heart, folks. For the record, we managed to refit the seat after using two shoe paddles, two screw drivers and a lot of railway-grade language. (And a brief chorus of “Right Said Fred” when things weren’t going well.)”

It’s not often that shifts allow us to get a team together on consecutive weekends, but yesterday we managed it. The order of the day was simple – continue getting Driving Trailer Composite No.76262 back into serviceable condition. More seating bays to be restored, more seating to be refitted, more quarter pads to be made and then a few house keeping duties to deal with at the end of the day. Potter and Trousers went to the quarter pad manufacture with gusto, as Darren put himself to fitting fresh window frames and getting the second class saloon back into order. The interior is now looking far more civilised than it has for some time, and save for a few coats of paint and needing the light panels reinstalled we almost have a coach fit for service. Darren confesses himself briefly flummoxed by the quarter pads in first class, which don’t seem to watch to attach themselves to the wall no matter how much he swears at them – fortunately we have a huge resource of expertise called “various railway groups on Facebook.” You’d be amazed how many questions can be answered this way. It’s like having the railway’s biggest Mutual Improvement Class available 24 hours a day. So at present we have a standard salon that is almost ready to have cushions replaced , and First Class Compartments that are not too far behind. As Darren noted yesterday evening when he posted pictures of the completed work, “I can’t wait to see it with the lighting installed and switched on.” He’s not alone.

Away from the shed we have been chasing some promising leads from the Big Railway. We are potentially in line to receive a raft of redundant equipment that will be compatible with 3417; we will have more news on that in due course. We are also in discussions with a major sponsor that could potentially put money into our coffers. As with all things, the conversation is ongoing and we hope for some developments in the next few weeks. 

The last duties of yesterday involved bundling up the stripped out light fittings ready for transport to TBM Rail at Crewe. The fittings will be stripped to bare metal, undergo anti-corrosion treatment where required before being repainted and returned to Strawberry Hill. We would like to thank TBM Rail for their continued support of the restoration project. Without their help, progress would be considerably slower. And finally we treated the interior of Driving Trailer Composite No.76262 and Trailer Open No.70797 with ‘bug bombs’ to finally deal with the nuisance of the moths who decided to eat our upholstery! (No more free meals for them after this, the little buggers). We will treat the other two coaches as work progresses from the blocks end of the train towards the shed doors, and then make sure that every 6 months or so fumigate every vehicle to keep things in check.

So in summary:
Potter, Darren, Trousers & Lynn spent the day making more quarter pads, fitting them, swearing at seat backs that didn’t want to go back into the seat they were made for, discovering new and unexpected uses of shoe paddles, eating well-deserved pizza (thanks Lynn), drinking quite a lot of tea, bundling up light fittings for TBM Rail and setting off anti-moth smoke bomb things.

The Minions had access to power tools, knives, cutlery that was made of metal, hammers, staples, a kettle and pesticides: no one is more impressed, or indeed astonished, than your author are that they all survived. All in all, a good day and solid progress made. Slowly but surely we are getting there. Stay tuned!

Important Preservation Note:
For the record, we had Milk Chocolate Hobnobs with our tea (until they ran out because Potter is a guts), and the pizzas were an Olive Special and Barbecue Chicken from Olive Pizza in Surbiton and were absolutely bloody marvellous; just the thing after 5 hours solid work. Although next time we’ll order something else for Darren as he’s allergic to cheese… Whoops. Sorry Daz.