The WHR Project - Volunteer Projects
East Anglian Group Reports


Please note that recent updates to the East Anglian Group Projects are to be found on the Society's website at http://www.whrsoc.org.uk/Groups/EastAnglianGroupReport.html 

February 14th 2009

Work is progressing on two fronts on the lineside clearance train. Wagon No. 5002 is to be fitted with a balcony and steps for access from the lineside; work on this wagon is centring on widening the deck supports, and fabricating and fitting the steps to this vehicle. Work on 5003 is less advanced; its geometry was measured on 14/02/09 to determine how straight and true the frame the frame might be, given its wartime construction to possibly less exacting standards than would otherwise be the case. In spite of evidence of rough handling by the Royal Navy, the frame is only out of square by 3mm, which is much better than anticipated!

Meanwhile, the sign for the future halt at Nantmor has had its lettering applied and requires further painting before release to the Railway.

October 19th 2008

Wagons: Paul Lewin confirmed at the recent WHRS AGM that the three RNAD wagons are urgently needed for trackside maintenance, as there are some 300 trees in need of attention between Rhyd Ddu and Beddgelert. The rake will be well suited to the task of providing access for branch lopping and brush cutting. Martin Duncan has thrown us the challenge to have two out of the three wagons available for use on the WHR (and FR) during the winter of 2008-9. The two vehicles in question would be the access wagon and the low sided "flat", with the mess van following at a later date. Ideally, Martin would like to use these vehicles with other specialised vehicles carrying, for example, the cherry picker or the shredder. That is a pretty tough target for a very small group, so further assistance from members either on site, or by working on the refurbishment of parts at home will be very welcome. Money is always needed, particularly as we are "going it alone" financially. Boston Lodge has continued to assist as a donor of essential wagon parts, and we are very grateful for their help. We recently received 8 droplight windows from the C&W stores, for re-use in the mess van. These are surplus to requirements, having been recovered from FR Buffet Car No. 103 which has been withdrawn and dismantled. During their first life (1968-2006), the windows are estimated to have covered more than half a million miles! No. 5002 continues to make progress and its brakes were adjusted recently. We now need to "up the ante" if we are to meet our deadline, so have restarted work on no. 5003 in parallel with 5002. In September No. 5003 was pinch barred sideways from "Track 1" to the EAG "Main Line", and on October 18th it was reunited with its wheels. The brake hanger lugs have now been ground off in preparation for re-positioning to suit the new track gauge and the frame prepared for re-painting.

Sign Making: One of two signs recently delivered to North Wales has now been erected at Beddgelert, where it is acting as a temporary advertisement prior to the opening of the railway in 2009. Two more signs for Beddgelert, and one each for Meillionen Forest Campsite, Pont Croesor and Nantmor have been assembled and painted and await application of lettering which will be supplied by Cedric Lodge. These five complete the order for Phase 4.

July 31st 2008

The first two station running-in boards (intended for Beddgelert station as advertising "tasters") left Norfolk on July 21st July courtesy of Martin Coombs, who kindly transported them on the roof of his Land Rover (first picture below). They are travelling via Martin's home in the Lake District, and will eventually arrive in North Wales around August 9th. They will receive temporary lettering once erected. The two signs intended for Nantmor and Pont Croesor continue to make progress at our Cambridge base, where both signs recently received their casings and cornices. The second picture belowshows the difference in length between the two signs. Meanwhile, two further signs for Beddgelert are in a similar state of completion at our base in Norfolk.

March 15th 2008

Four sets of re-gauged wheels (with strengthened flanges) were delivered to the EAG work base on Saturday 15th March from the Talyllyn Railway works at Pendre. Roger Thacker kindly provided the transport. The existing edge angles on 5002 were removed and set aside for reuse, yielding a plane-surfaced underframe with no projections above the top surface of the channel sections. Trunnion bearings have been machined and are the correct diameter to fit the 12" diameter vacuum cylinders presently at Mill Green. Suitable bearing plates were made for the trunnions, and now need completion by hole drilling and welding the bearings to the fixing plates. Plates have been let into the ends of steel channel and dimensions taken, to allow two hand brake ratchet supports to be cut to length at a later date Much has been learned about the actual workings of vacuum cylinders. It has been found that the piston rod from the 10" diameter cylinder is not interchangeable with that for a 12" diameter as its stroke is too short. Two dismantled 12" cylinders have been received from Boston Lodge, and we hope to make up one good one even though some vital parts are missing.

Further progress has been made on Phase 4 station running-in boards. Two signs, for Nantmor and Pont Croesor, received their facings of black Foamalux on Saturday 15th March, and similar work is under way in Norfolk on four signs for Beddgelert, and one for Meillionen Forest Campsite.

February 9th 2008

Wagons: The EAGle volunteers met on Saturday 9th February and further progress was made on the vacuum brake system for wagon no. 5002. This included trial fitting the 12" cylinder, which proved to be a tight fit between the frames, and refurbishment of a number of parts. The overhaul of the three vacuum cylinders continues, and an adaptor enabling the SAR pattern plastic operating valve to match the FR combined type cylinder has been located. This means that we need just one more SAR example to complete our requirements for operating valves. We have a near-complete kit of parts for the 12" cylinder, but still need to re-chrome the piston rod, make new trunnion bearings, and source various seals and gaskets. This work must be completed before cylinder re-assembly can begin. The 10" cylinder requires a new piston rod, and other parts, as the originals are being used for the 12" example. These smaller cylinders are no longer widely used on the FR, and indeed Boston Lodge had to machine several piston rods not long ago for the few coaches that still use them. Thoughts are now turning to provision of a train pipe. We have received news that the wheelsets for wagons 5003 and 5004 are now ready for collection from the Talyllyn Railway's workshops at Pendre. They have been regauged, and in addition the wheels have been reprofiled and the flanges strengthened.

Signs: A start has been made on fitting lettering to the signs for Rhyd Ddu, following which the Unistruts will be repainted. The signs will then be ready for transport to North Wales. Further supplies of casings and cornices have arrived at our Norfolk sub-base from a specialist timber mouldings company in Norwich. The material of construction is American White Oak, and we are pleased with the overall quality. Work continued on 9th February on applying black "Foamalux" to the four signs intended for Beddgelert. As luck would have it, the signs do not match standard timber lengths so joints in the Foamalux are inevitable. In the absence of sticky backed vinyl, joins in the material will receive a backing of waterproof tape in addition to the cut edges which will be superglued. Casings have been mitred for the corner sections and these will be glued using Araldite, and screwed together as sub assemblies. Timber skeletons for the halts at Nantmor and Pont Croesor were assembled on the 9th from half-frames made in this way for ease of transport.

January 16th 2008

Wagons: Work continued on the brake system for wagon no. 5002 on 12.01.08. It now appears that the piston rod from the 10" vacuum cylinder can be adapted to fit the 12" cylinder earmarked for no. 5002. However, an adapter block will have to be devised to link the ports on the SAR pattern operating valve to those existing on the 12" cylinder. The MoD brake push links have been modified to suit the revised position of the brake cross shaft, which itself has been modified. The push links were trial fitted on 12.01.08 to ensure adequate clearance between brake blocks and wheels. As steps will be provided from ballast level to the operating platform, the existing brake lever will have to be lengthened to ensure safe operation. EAG will be checking this aspect with Boston Lodge to ensure that the design complies with operating requirements. Another consideration is the permissible width of the vehicle if it is to be used over the FR as well as the WHR, and consultations are also in hand on this element. Meanwhile the wheelsets from wagons 5003/4 arrived at Pendre Works, Talyllyn Railway, shortly before Christmas. News is awaited on progress with their regauging.

Signs: The four station running-in boards for Rhyd Ddu have been completed, apart from lettering which will be supplied by Cedric Lodge. The frame for Meillionen has been modified to accept extra lettering following the decision to change the name to "Meillionen Forest Campsite". One of the four signs intended for Beddgelert has now received a facing of black Foamalux. Construction of sign framing for Nantmor and Pont Croesor will begin shortly.

December 18th 2007

EAG vehicles nos. 5003 and 5004 have been dismantled, and their wheel sets are now at Pendre on the Talyllyn Railway for regauging and flange strengthening. The wheels were loaded into the back of a large white van at Mill Green on December 15th; Roger Thacker kindly provided the van and acted as driver. Roger arrived at Tywyn Wharf later the same day, and an "EAG Special" comprising ex-Bowater bogie wagon no. 36 double headed by TR diesels 9 and 10 was brought down from Pendre. The TR's Bobcat loader made short work of transferring the wheels from van to wagon, and the 2'6" gauge wheels left shortly afterwards hauled by the diesels. The Welshpool and Llanfair recently sent us an appeal for help, as their stock of Grondana type couplings has run out. As the ex-RNAD bell and pin type provides a near equivalent, we managed to find a pair that had been removed from one of our wagons, and these were taken to Llanfair by Roger on his way to Tywyn. At Mill Green, the temperature started reasonably, and became progressively colder as the wind rose. The revised weigh shaft arm angles for no. 5002 were worked out, and the arms tack-welded. This job will be completed as "homework", along with a pair of push links which also have to be modified. Volunteer Tom Skinner came up with a fiendishly simple way to minimise the work involved on these. We now require a replacement piston rod for the 12" vacuum cylinder, and to adapt a redundant item of handbrake gear as a cylinder arm welded onto the weigh shaft. This item would come from no. 5003, the future mess/brake van, as this will have a pillar brake as opposed to side actuating levers. Wagon no. 5004, now reduced to a bare frame resting on its horn guides, was de-rusted and a start made on priming the chassis. The roller conveyor superstructure removed from this wagon will be going to Dinas after Christmas for possible use by the platelayers on Phase 4. The group also took delivery of ten 8 x 4 sheets of black Foamalux; these will be used to face future batches of signs on order from EAG. Meanwhile, four signs intended for Rhyd Ddu station, are "sub-shedded" at a site in North Norfolk. Two are complete apart from actual lettering, with the others well advanced. All four should be ready to receive their lettering in the New Year.

November 22nd 2007

The East Anglian Group has received details of additional running-in boards required by Rheilfordd Eryri for stations on Phase 4. The halt at Meillionen will now be known as Meillionen Forest Campsite, and the legend "Forest Campsite" will be in smaller lettering under the word "Meillionen". Details of amended dimensions are awaited - the revised frame will of course need to be deeper than standard (468 mm). A timber frame had already been made for this location, to the original specification, and the easiest option will be to shorten this for use at an alternative location. A new, deeper one will be constructed for Meillionen. Further signs (one each for each location) will be needed for Nantmor (2438 x 468), Hafod yLlyn (3328 x 468) and Pont Croesor (3442 x 468). This completes the railway's requirement for the foreseeable future. As far as we are aware, no signs are required for Pen y Mount or Llyn Bach; evidently Hafod y Llyn has supplanted Hafod Garegog as a location for a halt, so no nameboard will be required for the latter. The four signs for Rhyd Ddu have been moved to Norfolk for completion, and work will begin again shortly (at Cambridge) on the signs for Beddgelert (4) and Meillionen (1); black foamalux sheeting is about to be ordered for facing these signs. If anyone would like to join the volunteer working group at our Mill Green site, near Cambridge, we will be there this coming Saturday (24th November) and again on December 15th. Details from Richard Watson.

October 27th 2007

The EAGle volunteers spent a very constructive day on Saturday 27th October. Some might say it was exactly the opposite, however, as a lot of work was put into the reduction of wagons 5003 and 5004 to bare frames. Four pairs of wheels were removed on their axles, in preparation for their journey to North Wales in a few weeks' time. They are going to the Talyllyn Railway, where they will be regauged and the wheels profiled to FR/WHR specifications at Pendre Works. Interestingly, the wheels from no. 5004, the Robert Hudson-built vehicle, are subtly different from those on the other EAG vehicles, as the other three are from different builders. The Hudson wheel spokes are slightly thicker, and we have also noticed that the wagon's coupling spring pockets are different. The latter, however, will not be re-used as FR/WHR pattern chopper couplings are lower than the MoD variety and will be slung beneath the frames. The frames are now sitting on their horn guides, on baulks of timber. The chassis we know as No. 5004 awaits attention from the angle grinder, as we need to remove the steel rollers fitted as a modification by its previous owners. No. 5003 is, as it stands, beyond economical repair and modification. It will be stripped of useful parts and the remainder will probably be scrapped. We plan to renew the frame to yield a longer wheelbase chassis for the forthcoming mess van. Meanwhile, Roger Hornsby has contacted potential end users on the combined FR/WHR system, so that we can reflect their needs in the final design. Four signs intended for Rhyd Ddu have received their outer hardwood casings, together with steel Unistruts at the rear. This now means they can be transported to Richard Watson's home for finishing off, including application of the letters made by Cedric Lodge.

The four signs for Beddgelert also took a step forward with erection of the framework from the previously constructed, car-transportable halves. It has now been agreed that we can use black gloss or semi-gloss Foamalux for the skins of future signs, including these. Foamalux is a foam PVC sheet, is self-coloured and will eliminate the time consuming and pernickety application of sticky backed vinyl. The latter previously acted as a weatherproof facing, and is easy to “snag”. The “order book” has increased by one, as we are to make a sign for Meillionen (aka Beddgelert Forest Campside Halt). We are relieved that a short title has been chosen for this halt!

September 1st 2007

Wagon Progress: Roger Hornsby recently submitted proposals and brake force calculations for fitting vacuum brakes to vehicle No. 5002, and Jon Whalley at Boston Lodge has has since responded very favourably. On September 1st the existing handbrake cross shaft brackets and shaft were temporarily repositioned, and the 12" diameter cylinder trial fitted. There was just enough room to accommodate this item between the frame members with the required lever arm dimension away from the weigh shaft. As we propose to retain hand brakes via the existing comma cam "splitter" system, it will be necessary to modify certain parts to accommodate the proposed new position of the cross shaft. One example of this is that the hand brake actuating levers will need a deeper set or crank put in, as one of them will foul an axle box when repositioned. Both are likely to be altered as the wagon will probably exceed its current width of 1400mm. The vacuum cylinders in stock have been stripped for examination and refurbishment. The 15" and 12" diameter cylinders lack release/operating valves. These valves have two functions, they operate the brakes either by train crew control, or automatically should the train line be severed. They also have a "dump" feature that can be opened by hand (typically via a release cord) to equalise the top-side and bottom-sides of the cylinder to atmospheric pressure, thus allowing the piston to fall and releasing the brake to allow shunting movements to take place without a vacuum connection. It is hoped that these items can be sourced from Boston Lodge.

Signs Progress: The two signs recently completed for Waunfawr Station have been installed on the platform by Cedric Lodge and colleagues. The four signs for Rhyd Ddu made further progress on 01.09.07 with casings (the outer "picture frame") now applied to two out of the four signs and mitred corners made for the other two. The mitres have been glued and screwed firmly, using Araldite and countersunk brass screws. This combination will resist 'gaping' of the joints due to timber expansion and shrinkage caused by weathering. The ogee shaped cornices or "inner frames" will be applied when the casings are complete.

The first of the above pictures shows Wagon No. 5002 with the brake cross shaft bracket trial fitted in an off-centre position, and the casing of the 12" vacuum cylinder about to be trial fitted. The second shows an existing brake cylinder release or operating valve together with actuating lever. The third shows the difference between ogee cornicing (left) and casing material (right), as applied to WHR station signs.

August 2007

Two complete station running-in boards for Waunfawr were transported to North Wales on July 28th 2007, thanks to EAG member Roger Thacker who provided transport. The signs exceed 2.8 metres in length (more than nine feet) so were not the easiest of things to carry. It should be noted that the EAG's "order book" includes a sign for Bontnewydd, over 3.7 metres in length. EAG has not been asked about it yet, but volunteers are wondering how long the sign for Beddgelert Forest Campsite Halt will be! Meanwhile, four signs for Rhyd Ddu station make slow progress.

Wagon no. 5002 is also making slow progress, but the overall project took another step forward on 4/8/07 with the delivery of two vacuum cylinders from Boston Lodge. This was again by courtesy of Roger, who has now mastered the concept of the "return load"! Volunteers have called the wagon no. 5003 and it is to be used as a basis for the brake van but needs a lot of replacement steelwork; so much so, that a completely new frame will now be fabricated. It is likely that only the running and brake gear will be re-used.

The Group rescued three ex-Padarn Railway coach doors from Boston Lodge, originally from 4' gauge quarrymen's vehicles, and part of a set of around a dozen acquired by Mike Hart some time ago from a collector; it is thought they had been used as privy doors in the Dinorwig Quarry after the 4' gauge carriages were broken up. One still retains a warning notice from 1924. It had been hoped that the doors could be re-used on brake van, but their condition is not as good as had been thought. Nevertheless, it is still hoped that some of the parts can be re-used in some way. The Group is still on the look-out for a suitable guard's brake column, perhaps from a scrapped standard gauge loco or brake van, so if you know of a suitable component, please let the EAG know.

June 2007

On Saturday June 2nd East Anglian Group were active again. Wagon no.5002 is to become one of the semi-open wagons for the Trackside Maintenance train, and a milestone was reached on Saturday when the wagon was reunited with its re-gauged wheelsets. There is still much work to be done before this wagon can be completed, however, including fitting a 12" vacuum cylinder - the latter is still at Boston Lodge at the time of writing. Meanwhile, the two running-in boards for Waunfawr were carefully packaged in preparation for their trip to North Wales, and vinyl was applied to one of the four signs intended for Rhyd Ddu. It is likely that some of the signs will be transferred to Richard Watson's Norfolk "sub shed" at some time in the near future to enable work to be speeded up. EAG have received another signs 'order', this time for four signs intended for Beddgelert station, and frame timbers for this sign have been acquired and given an initial treatment with Cuprinol.

The first picture shows one of the two sets of wheels re-united with no. 5002. The wagon was re-assembled and returned to the rails using a very large all terrain fork lift truck, by kind courtesy of our neighbour Patrick Haylock. The picture shows EAG members Tom Skinner (left) and Micky Smith (right). The second picture shows no. 5002 back on the rails again, with the replacement headstock prominent.

May 2007

EAG have completed two running-in boards for Waunfawr. There are only two existing at Waunfawr at the moment - they both face the original terminal platform. If you're coming the other way, there's nothing there to tell you where you are! In the photo (taken 28.04.07) are, left to right, Mark Neilson, Roger Hornsby, Tom Skinner and Richard Watson. Photo was taken by Micky Smith. We are aiming to get the signs up to Waunfawr within a few weeks, and the existing posts already have the requisite brackets attached.

February 2007 - The Next Project

Following discussions with Mike Hart and Paul Lewin, the East Anglian Group has accepted a new challenge, the rebuilding of three more ex RNAD wagons for the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways.

A rake of three vehicles is needed for the lineside clearance teams on both FR and WHR. The teams work in groups of 4-6 people and attend to minor (in size) but very important clearance work of rubbish and vegetation. The railways need to equip them with their own train which could be self contained, and sit in a siding with all necessary kit on board, ready to go. Currently they borrow vehicles from other departments and lose time loading and unloading their kit from the wagons. With a combination of Mike Hart's Simplex and three support vehicles they could go anywhere, and deal with any problem at short notice. With 40 miles of line this is the kind of facility that will be essential to maintaining standards.

The railways have in mind a brake van with balconies, or other means of achieving a good view, that can accommodate six people. It would need a vacuum brake and a handbrake too. Something like this already exists in the form of Van 51, but another such vehicle would be extremely useful. Space for a kettle etc is of course vital, as is space for hanging waterproofs. Toolboxes could usefully form seats in the brake van, and the ensemble needs to be lockable so that it can be left at an intermediate station overnight, with peace of mind.

The two support vehicles would be, respectively, a vacuum braked runner wagon with tool boxes that can accommodate all the chainsaws, bow saws, ropes, sacks and the like. It would also need areas into which cuttings and rubbish could be placed for transport to the skip. The third vehicle would be a simple drop-sided flat, again probably equipped with a toolbox. Given the nature of the works and the gangs that carry it out, it is important that it fits both FR and WHR loading gauges, although most of the time it would probably live on the WHR. Ideally, there would be a battery box to power lights on the ends of the wagons, and inspection lamps to plug into wander leads.

EAG has begun design work for approval by FR and WHR management before work commences. Clearly, this is a major task for a small group, and will have to be phased over some period of time, but we will rise to the challenge. What we need now, more than ever before, is resources:

If you can help with any of the above, please contact the working party coordinator, Richard Watson, on 07971 130829 or by email richard.watson7@virgin.net.

Update from 14.10.06

Wagon No. 5001 left Mill Green for Dinas on the 14th October, courtesy of member John Edgar who kindly provided a Land Rover and trailer. The wagon restoration team turned out in force and 5001 was slowly winched on to the trailer. The vehicle was securely strapped down and the ensemble left Mill Green at 11.30 bound for North Wales. It was due to be met at Dinas by Track Supervisor Alun ("Tom") Tomlinson later in the day, with the intention that the Dinas rail gantry would be used to unload the wagon. The wagon is being stored temporarily inside the goods shed until it can be inspected by Jon Whalley from Boston Lodge. Once this has been done, the KMX tamper will be fitted with safety chains either side of the chopper coupling, and will run light to Dinas before taking the wagon to Rhyd Ddu. The wagon will become the only vehicle without continuous brakes authorised to run on the operating railway, this being on condition that it is semi-permanently coupled to the KMX with the safety chains in addition to the main coupler.

The wagon is seen below in Dinas Goods Shed the next day.

Update from 16.09.06

The small group of East Anglian Group volunteers has almost completed the restoration of ex-RNAD wagon No. 5001. The wagon is intended for use as a "runner" with the KMX tamper. Volunteers attended a wagon "session" on the 16th September and one chopper coupling was fully welded up and fitted. The group is hoping to have the other finished by the 23rd. Roger Hornsby kindly arranged the drilling of the coupling side plates to 1 5/8", but we have experienced some problems in getting the chopper hooks themselves drilled to the rather large diameter of 2 1/64". We are hopeful that this issue can be resolved during the next few days. The wagon has been fully lettered using vinyl decals. A steel toolbox safe has been donated to the group, and this needs to be reduced in height before it is mounted on the deck of the wagon.

There are a few items to be completed before the wagon can be delivered to the Railway, but we have begun enquiries regarding transport. Offers of assistance will be gratefully received - please contact Richard Watson or Mark Neilson if you are able to help.

Update from 29.07.06

The EAG "Works" now has resourced the parts that are needed to complete the FR type "chopper couplings" for wagon no. 5001, thanks to Mike Hart. Roger Thacker has kindly offered - yet again - to dash to North Wales to collect these essential bits for the project. With the coupler draught boxes now modified and the assorted springs, washers, collars, nuts and split pins to hand, our attention has turned to the modification of existing MoD link and pin couplers. These have to be beheaded and the shafts narrowed at the ends to accept the SAR variant FR style "choppers". With the side plates on site it has been easier to mark up what has to be effected. One shaft has been completed and mocked up, the other is under attack. The wagon now has a deck and two ends, albeit short of paint as the deck boards had only been painted sides, ends and what was to be the underside before being fixed. The ends need topcoating but other inaccessible surfaces at the ends have gone yellow. This tedium of waiting for paint to dry has not helped progress!

On Phase 4, wagon EAG 3 has had to be retired owing to a wheel shifting on the axle and causing it to derail on points. Its place has been taken by EAG 1 and this was used, appropriately, by EAG members Mark Neilson and Bob Turner during the tracklaying session on the 29th and 30th July 2006.

Update from 08.07.06

The East Anglian Group volunteers have been attending the Mill Green site more frequently recently in an effort to complete work on ex- RNAD wagon No. 5001, the "Yellow Peril". Much effort has been put into modifying the dragboxes, to allow greater lateral movement of the coupling bar. This is an important change to the design as the faces of chopper couplings on adjacent vehicles need to be parallel at all times. Components for WHR chopper couplings have been received from Dinas, but these are in kit form and therefore need to be machined and welded before they can be fitted. The chopper eccentrics did not come as part of the "package"; these will have to be made elsewhere. Our thanks to Roger Thacker who kindly transported the components to Cambridgeshire. The wagon chassis has received a first coat of bright yellow paint, matching the KMX tamper, and the running gear and brakes have been finished in black with a distinctive yellow disc on the axleboxes - an EAG trademark. EAG is looking into the possible use of vinyl lettering for the finished wagon. New timber for the deck has been donated by Roger Hornsby, cuprinol treated, and also painted "KMX Yellow". The toolbox donated by Tom Skinner may need some modification before it can be mounted on the deck of the wagon.

Update from 03.06.06 and 10.06.06

Wagon 5001 has been identified as the vehicle the WHR will use as a "runner" to accompany the KMX tamper. It will be painted the same colour as the KMX, coincidentally the same paint specification as a well-known make of mechanical digger. Consequently, the East Anglian Group "EAGles" have dubbed the wagon the "Yellow Peril"! Good progress was made on both dates. The newly regauged and re-wheeled vehicle has received modifications to the existing brake gear. The original brake hanger lugs on the frame cross members were ground off, and re-welded closer together. The cross shaft was modified similarly. The brake hangers were refitted and repositioned further inwards, to suit the narrower track gauge of the WHR. The brake gear was trial fitted over the weekend of the 10th and now awaits final assembly and adjustment. The original RNAD coupling gear is being modified to accept standard FR/WHR chopper coupling assemblies. This work includes modifications to the headstocks and dragboxes to enable a larger degree of lateral swing, required by the "chopper" style of coupling. Member Tom Skinner generously paid for a steel tool "safe" to be mounted on the deck of the wagon, and this arrived on Saturday 10th. Underframe and wheels have been primed and now await application of yellow paint.

Update 18.05.06

The East Anglian Group has been asked to ready one of the ex-RNAD flats for use as a runner with the new KMX tamper/liner. This is because of the need to keep the cabs, and their electronic equipment, 'office clean' and clear of tools, grease and general clutter. EAG has therefore decided to 'fast track' the example known as EAG 5, or WHR 5001. The refurbishment will be as a fixed low sided wagon, to retain tamping tools and necessary drums of lubricants, yet allowing the tamper operator a good view when propelling the wagon. Some details such as bunding to retain oil spillage and a form of secure storage have yet to be finalised.

EAG took a significant step forward during the working session on Saturday 13th May, when volunteers re-wheeled the wagon using wheel sets re-gauged for us by the Talyllyn Railway. The lugs supporting the brake gear were ground off, and are to be re-welded in new locations to suit the revised track gauge. We have begun priming the chassis - the overall colour scheme will be "JCB Yellow" with black running gear, to generally match the livery of the KMX. The photo below shows EAG 5 (aka WHR 5001) on 13th May, newly re-wheeled, and awaiting addition of re-gauged brake gear. The graphic represents the wagon as it should appear once completed.

Update from 01.04.06

In spite of reduced attendance, the Group was able to make good progress on ex-RNAD wagon EAG 6, aka WHR No. 5002. We were pleased to welcome Tom Skinner to our working session. Tom was once a full time employee at Boston Lodge, so is well experienced in the art of wagon repair and restoration. The new length of steel channel was cut to length and trial fitted into position, and this will eventually form the new headstock. The position of the bolt holes was marked up and the channel is now at Nobby Clark's home workshop ready for drilling. The chassis was given further red oxide primer treatment and consideration given to the thorny question of how to fit vacuum cylinders and FR style couplings. The former will depend upon the space available between the frames, and the diameter and depth of two ex-SAR cylinders now at Boston Lodge. The couplings will also require further thought as the existing coupling slots are above the level of those on the ex SAR DZ and B class vehicles. It may be that extra sub-frame assemblies need to be fabricated and underslung beneath the existing frames if a sharp downward crank of the chopper couplings is to be avoided.

Update from 04.03.06

The EAG wagon group worked on the frame of EAG 6 (probable WHR No. 5002), and inverted it on to a sleeper cradle. The corroded headstock from one end of the wagon was removed after much altercation with rivets, and a new piece of channel trial fitted. This will form the new headstock. The under surfaces of the frames were derusted and treated with base and top coats of red oxide. Meanwhile, Nobby Clark was busy refettling the axleboxes and roller bearings. The latter, interestingly, were found to have been manufactured by Hyatts in the USA. The regauged wheelsets for EAG 5 and 6 were brouht back from Pendre Works on the Talyllyn Railway in January; in addition to regauging, strengthening rings have been welded to the backs of the flanges.

Roger Thacker painted about 50 metres of mouldings intended for the 'other' EAG project. This involves the manufacture of "running-in" boards for Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu stations.

Update from 03.12.05

The two ex-RNAD flats have now been stripped to bare underframes with hornguides, though some of the modification steelwork remains to be trimmed to conform with the deck level. General cleaning of the steelwork has started, together with painting such surfaces that have been cleaned back to bare metal. The wheelsets are at the Talyllyn's Pendre workshops for regauging and flange thickening, this work is expected to be completed early in the New Year. Their recovery to Horseheath is under discussion. Brake parts and axleboxes are scattered across East Anglia for refurbishment as literally "homework" projects, the idea being to re-wheel the wagons as soon as possible. This will let us run them under cover should the weather be inclement, progress can then continue to reset the brake gear to suit 1'11" gauge and continue painting.

Decisions on redecking, couplings and vacuum brakes are likely to be afflicted more by cash flow than design and procurement constraints, so any contributions to the cause are more than welcome

With your help it could look like this … all four of them!

All four of the Hudson "mini flats" are now at Dinas. We wish them good use on Phase 4 - users, please mind your shins on the parking brakes. At least the loss of our convenient work benches will hasten the re-decking of at least one of the ex-RNAD flats!

Work on the Station Nameboards [Running in Boards] can now continue as Basil Seymour has sourced and delivered the hardwood mouldings for the casings and cornices. Fitting the mouldings and the rear support channels will protect the vinyl covering to their faces, lessening the risk of damage to the vinyl and disturbance to letters as they are moved in and our of our limited weatherproof storage.

Update from 05.11.05:

RNAD Wagon EAG 5 (5001) has been stripped down to a bare underframe, the wheels, brake gear and decking having now been removed. The one remaining centre coupling has also been removed. The frame has been derusted and partially painted with primer. Some of the brake gear had already been refurbished at the home of one of the volunteers, and two of the axleboxes have been cleaned up. Some of the timbers can be re-used, but quite a little will need to be replaced.

Wagon EAG 6 (5002) still retains its decking at the time of writing, though it, too, no longer has wheels or brake rigging. The latter has now relocated to Norfolk for refurbishment! The decking on this wagon is now useless and will require complete replacement. The 4 "buffing plates" added by the MoD have been ground off. We are expecting to transport the wheelsets to Pendre Works, Tywyn, for re-gauging during December.

Future work is expected to include the following:

1. Complete refurbishment of frames, horns, axleboxes
2. Re-wheeling
3. Modifying the brake gear to suit the revised wheel back-to-back measurements
4. Making provision for vacuum brake fitment, including further modifications to the existing brake cross shaft.
5. Procuring and fitting through vacuum through pipe including provision for vacuum cylinders.
6. Procuring and fitting chopper couplings and springing arrangements. The choppers may require a deeper "joggle" than the SAR wagons, due to the MoD coupling height exceeding that of the the latter.
7. Re-decking the two wagons (as flats). Repainting as required.

Update from 10.10.05:

Sign making: Construction of signs for the railway has slowed down until a supplier for cornices and casings (the "picture framing" around the signs) can be finalised. We now have the necessary cutting tool, and one of our members has approached the owners of a boat yard on the Norfolk Broads for  help. We are confident of success, so await developments (and price confirmation!).

Wagon restoration: Mark Neilson recently took completed Hudson flat wagon EAG 2 to Dinas, where it acted as gate guardian at the Superpower weekend. It is intended that EAG 2 and its three companions will be used for transporting materials during Phase 4 construction. Work is now well under way on the refurbishment of the first two (of four) ex-RNAD flat wagons for use on the railway. The other two will be tackled as funds permit. The brake assemblies have been dismantled for cleaning and painting, and all four sets of wheel run out from beneath the wagons.

A provisional booking has been made with Pendre Works, Talyllyn Railway, for re-gauging of the wheels from 2'6" to 1'11". This operation is expected to take place during mid-December. Although most of the timbers will have to be replaced, we will remove and store any re-usable material. The frames will then be accessible from above, allowing refurbishment of the frames and repositioning of the brake gear to suit the new gauge of the wheelsets. Provision will be made for future vacuum braking.

These are exciting times for the East Anglian Group - new faces are always welcome at our sessions at Mill Green, near Horseheath, Cambs. Why not join us?

Previous news:

The East Anglian Group now has a mini "production line" set up. The Group have now constructed nine signs to the stage where fronts and backs have been applied to the timber framework, following which signmakers' vinyl is applied to the faces, followed by casings (rectangular sections with rounded edges) around the signs, and ornate cornicing within the casing. The final job will be to apply the lettering, to be supplied by Cedric Lodge. The longest sign we are making is a replacement for the one at Bontnewydd, and is over 3.7 metres in length. The sign below is for Waunfawr, and is seen freshly faced in vinyl.

The East Anglian Group has finalised the purchase of all four MoD wagons (see below) for eventual use on the Welsh Highland Railway.  The wagons were once used at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Beith in Ayrshire. The Committee would like to record its grateful thanks to everyone who contributed to the fund - your generosity has been fantastic. We anticipate that work will begin later in the year. There's always a sting in the tail of course - money is still needed for their restoration, so any further contributions will be more than welcome.

The fourth wagon is seen below being delivered to the EAG site on July 16th 2005 - all of 50 yards from its location with its previous owner!

The photo below shows one of the MoD wagons on site at the EAG premises on 18th May 2005. In spite of appearances, the wagon is in generally sound condition. This one, alone, was modified by the MoD, possibly for end loading of bulky items such as packing cases or sheet materials. The uprights with the bearings for the rollers will have to be removed prior to the wagon being regauged and refurbished.

The intention is that these wagons will be used on the WHR main  line as runners between the existing ex-SAR bogie wagons. The MoD wagons were originally at RNAD Beith in Ayrshire, and made their way south initially via a dealer in Lincolnshire. It has been agreed that these wagons will be through vacuum piped, as opposed to their receiving full vacuum braking. This is because their intended use will be as "runners", sandwiched between the existing ex-SAR bogie flats. The latter, of course, are fully vacuum braked.

The picture below shows the first wheelset to be removed from an ex-MoD 4 wheel wagon, on September 3rd 2005. This wagon has been dubbed "EAG 5", possibly a future RhE No. 5001. Quotations are being obtained for regauging of the wheelsets, and guidance sought from the Railway as to the specification required for completion of these wagons.

Like all of the other projects, however, the purchase and refurbishment of these wagons must be achieved at virtually zero cost to the railway. 400 is needed in the first instance, and more will be needed to purchase materials for their restoration. If you can help, please contact Richard Watson (email link above).

The EAG "Paint Your Wagon" session on 2nd April 2005 saw the four ex-Duxford Hudson flat wagons completed. The four wagons, numbered EAG 1-4, comprise one unembellished flat wagon, two wagons with low side kerbs and ends, and one with corner stanchions. This last will permit the loading of long items. We now waiting to hear from the railway as to when they will be needed. The pictures below show various stages of the restoration process, and finally the completed wagons. These wagons are now awiting the call from the construction company for transport to Wales.




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Authored by Ben Fisher; last updated February 15th, 2009