Work Report – Saturday 25th March 2017

Editor’s Note:

Owing to holidays (mine – very nice, thank you) we have a few reports to catch up on. Apologies for the break in service!



Arrived at Strawberry at 09:00. Shed heaters turned on and Section 4 Sub section 6 amendment (a) of depot operating instructions carried out.

As some of you may be aware rules and regulations have to be reviewed from time to time to ensure that the rule is still fit for purpose. Section 4 sub section 6 is still fit for purpose, including the optional Bacon Butty but to ensure that the rule remains relevant for the railway in the 21st century, Amendment (a) has been added.

This gives the option of Bacon Butties to be omitted and Porridge to be used in its place.

Section 4 Sub section 6 amendment (a) now reads (amendment in bold text)

‘Before any work is carried out on rail vehicles, staff must ensure that they have consumed at least two cups of steaming hot tea. It is optional to have a bacon butty or (a) Porridge, with the consumption of tea but this is not a mandatory requirement for rail vehicle maintenance to be carried out.’ 

The new amendment was used for the first time at Strawberry Hill on Saturday, was deemed a success and will be permanently added to the local instruction. Right – enough Due Process; on with the story.

Today was about Quarterpads, Shoegear, Pipes and other important stuff.

As you all know the interior of the VEP has seen better days (And indeed months & years – Potter) and needs a lot of retrimming. Today we started on the mammoth task. The plan is to carry out the work systematically and restore one coach at a time instead of a using a ‘scatter gun’ approach; the first target is the second class accommodation on Driving trailer 76262.

Another willing volunteer (Thanks Julia) was drafted in (kicking and screaming) to start the task of removing the rotten Quarter pads. These are the plywood-backed fabric pieces fitted next to the doors, under the windows. Thanks to the 4VEPs being single glazed, quarter pads tend to suffer from damp caused by condensation pooling at the bottom of the windows and so slowly rot out.

On inspection we found that most of the plywood backing was rotten and will need to be replaced. They aren’t hard to make up; basically they are squares of wood with foam attached and material stretched over and stapled to the back of the board but it looks like we will need at least a hundred off them so more expense. We have a very small supply of material enough to do maybe 20 so we will need to buy a roll or two of this material along with First and Standard class seat material. A company has been contacted regarding supplying the material to us and swatches of the material we need have been sent to ensure that we get the correct items. We are just waiting for the reply and the cost (GULP). I suspect we will probably need a sit down and a stiff drink when the quote arrives…

Next was the Batteries. We carried out a final check of the water and top up. The cover latches were greased, oiled and then boxed up; one more job that can be ticked off.

The MG (motor generator) covers were then removed and a seal placed on all four. The seal is similar to the draft proofing you use on your household doors but bigger and ensures that water and (God forbid) snow does not get into the internals of the machine. Another tick!

Darren was busy repairing the speedometer cable on 76263. The cable itself is a bit tatty and has been repaired several times  so a permanent repair was needed with some new flexible plastic conduit which looks fantastic. Unfortunately the speedo lead was soldered to the wheel wear adjustment resistor in the box on the sole bar (No, I don’t know either – Potter) so the cable could not be removed as we didnt have a soldering iron at hand. It looks like this is the original 1967-fitted cable as they are normally crimped on if and when they are replaced. The wheel wear box had signs of water ingress so that has been left open to dry it out and will then need to be resealed.  The speedo cable will have to wait till the next work day when we have a soldering iron

Shoegear next!

Trousers (Steve Trower) has kindly volunteered to weld the shoelead bracket back onto the  shoearm pivot bolster so myself and Darren removed the newly fitted shoearm on 1+2  side of 76262. Well at least the bolts came off easily. The bracket decided to put up a fight. It was firmly glued with rust (best glue in the world) and needed a gentle talking to by means of a hammer before it decided that it was a good idea to comply with our requests. Trousers will now take it away and weld the broken piece on. Hopefully this will be the final saga of the shoegear and I can finally sign it off.

Julia was busy with the Trimming and found some graffiti on the back of one of the wooden Q /pad pieces in big black letters “95 DAYS TO GO TO XMAS 1995” written by DJW who seems to have done a lot of trimming on the VEP; probably an Eastleigh works lad. Does anyone know who DJW is…?

Hmmmm…. What’s next? Pipes and little bits.

Darren was tasked with fixing the non-working toilet light in 76262 while I started to remove the life-expired Main Reservoir and Train Pipe air pipes. Darren’s job was a quick fix as it was only a faulty lighting inverter to replace – another tick in the box little victories. While we were searching for a new inverter we came across a box of assorted electrical brushes, Hidden in the box were 20 MG brushes!! Overjoyed isn’t the word as I had just had a quote for 12 new brushes that came to £386! Hooray! Those brushes don’t last long; these will keep us going for a bit but not forever.

The Air Pipes were… How can I put it? ‘Being a bit of a nuisance…?’ Paint is nearly as good a glue as rust and the fact that the pipes had been in-situ for years contributed to the fact that the bloody things didn’t want to come off. Brute force, ignorance and the correct spanner  (a 1 inch spanner from the LSWR – I kid you not) helped to remove the offending items.  They will now be labelled up and sent to Arlingtons for repair.

Lastly, some attention for the Master controller on 76263. Covers off and a good look around; nothing untoward found so a liberal amount of grease and WD 40 was applied. The handle isn’t silky smooth yet but its getting there. Hopefully a few more days allowing the WD40 to work it’s magic will improve matters further.

So that was the day it was. Another day of good bits, bad bits, a few ticks (Parasitic insects? Weirdo…. – Potter) and a few more jobs to be attended to in the future.

God this is fun 🙂

But we’re getting there by hook or by crook.