Four of Auto 169's Wednesday Gang answered Chris Austin's call for extra
volunteers to work on the underframe of 6705 on 5th June 2013. The task they
took on was to reconnect the vacuum brake system to see if it worked, check its
operating using test equipment and then finally to check the system for
leaks. Pictures show the piston working for the first time
since the mid 1960's. Thanks to Brian Hart for the words and pictures.
Dozens of bogie components removed for
cleaning and painting while Ray Clack gets to work cleaning a tricky bit
of the main bogie frames.
McNelly preparing the bogie frames with a needle gun ready for
painting. There are so many surfaces wanting his attention!
At last! Painting starts. Tim Randle applies primer to the A frames that form part of the brake gear.
request for volunteers.
Time is short to complete cleaning and
painting the bogies and underframe before the coach has to be
reassembled and moved. If you are able to help, working parties at
Williton are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact Chris Austin (firstname.lastname@example.org
) for more information.
On 12 May 2013, the volunteer cutting back gang kindly cleared undergrowth encroaching
on the Trust's coaches stored, awaiting restoration in Sherrings Yard.
This picture shows Martyn Trott tackling the hedge on the south
side of the yard.
This shows the improvement for Toplight compartment
third coach 3665 (the number painted on the end is wrong), where the
hedge had previously filled the space, preventing access to this side of
The Collett coach we are currently
restoring (no 6705) has been jacked up and the bogies run out for
overhaul. Meanwhile, a blackbird has made her nest underneath, and the
picture shows her on her nest perched on top of the DA valve, part of
the vacuum brake system. Work continues on the bogies, but is suspended on the underframe until her chicks have hatched and left the nest.
The next step forward on restoration of Collett Brake Composite coach 6705 (the one that came back from America) is about to start at Williton. During May, the body will be lifted for the bogies to be refurbished and swapped over (they were the wrong way round). Then the coach can be moved inside the shed for completion of work on the brake gear. Meanwhile, work continues on roof repairs (held up by the awful weather), retaining more of the original roof visible than with the initial restoration at Crewe. With new sealant, this should cure the leaks that had been a problem.Chris Austin
After this, apart from the need for a lot more external painting, most of the remaining work will be on the interior. Inside, good progress has been made in rubbing down and painting the ceiling panels. Some of the modern replacements are poorly cut with rough edges and these are being replaced to the standard the Great Western would have expected. Various stains and varnishes are being tested to make the interior panels gleam again.
Elsewhere, the Collett bow ended brake third 5131, that has been at Washford for a few years has now moved to Dunster West where three coaches are now stored awaiting funding for restoration. Our thanks to the S&D Trust who have kept an eye on the old lady for us.
The bracing salt air, sunshine and strong winds have wreaked havoc with the tarpaulins covering the coaches at Dunster and we have had to return several times to repair and retie them to keep the coaches protected. With additional straps, they are now secure, but we are keen to raise funds to buy some replacement covers. These would limit further deterioration until we can get them under a roof for restoration.
Working parties at Williton are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday, and also on Sunday 26 May. Contact email@example.com if you would like to come along.
Work has continued on Collett coach 6705 through the most appalling weather conditions, as we have been banished from Williton shed while the QB set is overhauled inside and the coach has been buffetted by an icy northerly wind which has been blowing continuously since January!
Nothing daunted, our plucky volunteers have donned extra layers of clothing and carried on regardless. The plumb job is paint scraping inside the compartments, as this involves using the heat gun which keeps you quite cosy! We have taken down the roof panels to make this job easier, and the opportunity has been taken to run new cables through the roof void for lighting, to take the rather higher currents required than the low voltage system the GWR used. Further remedial work is unfortunately required as the timber panelling in the corridor up to waist height, which was installed at Crewe, has already warped badly, and this will have to be replaced and screwed rather than pinned to prevent a recurrence.
Good progress has made and I can report that we are more than half way through the task of rubbing down, and will soon be able to start painting inside. We have taken specialist advice on the staining and varnish to be used on doors and picture frames. We are grateful to RAMS, who are helping with the overhaul of some removable wooden components which have gone to Bishops Lydeard. The plan is to get 6705 back in the shed once the QB is finished, to allow Williton Restoration colleagues to overhaul the running gear and restore the vacuum brakes. We will be opening the coach at the SSG weekends, and visitors will be welcome. Working parties continue Tuesday through Thursday each week and the fourth Sunday each month, so if you fancy a bit of 'hands on' restoration, do come and join us. Contact me for further details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, work continues on preparing a Heritage Lottery Fund application for further restoration and a carriage display and storage facility at Bishops Lydeard, working through the project board with the Association and the company. Chris Bolt and I have visited both the South Devon and Isle of Wight Steam Railways to compare notes and prepare our case, and we are also working with Somerset Museums Service. Changes in the HLF rules and approach make this a gargantuan task, but a good start has been made.
West Somerset Steam Railway Trust and Heritage Carriages Project update Christmas
Work continues on BCK 6705,
with some further upgrading being carried out to the coach wiring, and a great
deal of removal of and rectification work to the plywood panels in the corridor,
which has enabled us to access the wiring runs, and will also give access to the
cant rail in order to be able to further improve the waterproofing of the join
between the roof and the side of the coach. Also a great deal of rubbing down
and preparation of woodwork has been carried out in readiness for re-painting or
One significant event has been that we have been offered, and gratefully
received, three packages of original Swindon blueprints for various coaches some
of which date back to 1896. For this we are indebted to the LMS society and to
Alistair Wright, their Drawings Officer. This has proved to be an interesting
collection, with several drawings of real relevance to us including a painting
diagram, a drawing of an American bogie, three drawings of bow ended corridor
coaches, and several drawings which I am sure the people who restored the
sleeping car would have loved to have been able to see had these drawings been
available when that coach was being restored.
We have also formalised a stewardship system for the five coaches currently
in the Sherring's yard at Williton, each steward to
keep a watching brief over their particular designated coach, and to initiate
any remedial work to prevent any further deterioration of these coaches.
Work parties continue to be held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays,
(recommencing on 2nd January), we are shortly to also start holding a work party
on the last Sunday of every month.
Claire Sheppy, Christmas 2012.
The Annual General Meeting of the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust will be held on Saturday 20th October 2012 at 14.00 hours in the
Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard.
The report and accounts are currently going out to full members.
Work recently has mostly
revolved around work to BCK 6705, this has included continuing working
on the gutters to prevent water getting in above the doors,
rectification work to some of the woodwork around the window frames, and
rubbing down and preparing the ceilings of each compartment ready for
Work also continues on endeavouring to
assist BCK 7538 to dry out, for the sides of the coach this involves
constructing a frame for each of the 30 windows currently in the coach
(the coach having been substantially altered from its original form),
and on which a sheet of polythene is affixed, thus throwing rainwater
onto the ground rather than through the window or door. And instead of
fixing a tarpaulin, we are going to try fixing sheet vinyl on the roof,
lapped over at the sides, and sitting on battens to create an airflow
below the vinyl.
However the most recent work has
involved four of us spending a whole morning at Bishops Lydeard giving
the Sleeping Car a good clean, this included going round with the cobweb
brush, vacuuming all the way through the coach, and cleaning all of the
glass both inside and out.
This was in preparation for the run
from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and back on Sunday, 23 September 2012.
This was the day in which a whole month's worth of rain fell in one day
in parts of the West Country, but even so we have noted that there were
various people along the line taking photographs. Some photographs of
the run will be included as part of this update [see below]
Probably the most satisfying thing
about this particular day was that as it was so wet, and with it having
been announced that the Sleeping Car was on the rear of the Quantock
Belle and was available to be seen by visitors during the layover
between arriving and leaving Minehead, we showed round at least 50
people. Stewards for the day, were Chris Austin, Claire Sheppy, Malc
Stacey, Jennie Dunse and Mike Dunse.
Claire Sheppy, 25th of September 2012
Photographs by Mike Dunse
Sleeping Berth, showing wash basin in the open position.
Chris Austin standing ready to welcome passengers aboard.
The Buchanan family, believed to be the first fare paying passengers in
the sleeping car since 1931. Taken and published with permission.
Corridor, showing clearly the ornate panelling.
Left to right, the Stewards: Chris Austin, Jennie Dunse,
Malc Stacey, and Claire Sheppy.
The attendant call system.
A visitor at Minehead looks with interest into the coach.
A unique chance to ride in
an 1897 Great Western carriage
The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust is offering the
chance of a ride in a beautifully restored Victorian railway carriage on Sunday
23 September 2012, starting at Bishops Lydeard, near Taunton.
0n the 23 September 1896, Queen Victoria became the
longest reigning British monarch and this was celebrated the following year at
her diamond jubilee, the same year that our sleeping car entered traffic with
the Great Western Railway 115 years ago.
To raise funds for the West Somerset Railway’s Heritage
Carriages Project, the Trust is offering the opportunity to ride (seated!) in
this Dean sleeping car, no 9038. Usually
kept in the Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard, the coach will be attached to the
Quantock Belle on Sunday the 23 September.
For the price of £45, passengers
can ride in the sleeping car one way and travel in the other direction in the
Quantock Belle where light refreshments will be served. A souvenir pack will include information on
the sleeping car and the other carriages in the restoration project. Pre-booking is essential for this unique trip
which starts with check-in at 12.30 and concludes at 18.10.
For further information and bookings, please contact
Chris Austin on 07913 653594, or at email@example.com.
Proceeds to the WSSRT
Heritage Carriages Appeal