Work In Progess archive page 1 (April - November 2018)


Carriage & Wagon November 1st 2018


Work started immediately on the Thumper 1132 power car. Loose and flaking paint on the roof has been removed and repainting begun. One guard's compartment door is in a sorry state and work has started to see what can be done.

Meanwhile work continued on the SR brake van 55625. The running board on the north side has been renewed completely and received a first coat of paint before re-fitting. The cabin door at the west end is in the process of being repaired and re-hung. More removal of flaking paint was carried out in veranda roof spaces; tiring work using a heavy cumbersome power driven wire brush.

The workshop space heater was overhauled and the fuel injection system cleaned out. A vital periodic task if the machine isn't to become a flame thrower!

The existing power connection between LAB11 and Mk2 FK S13436 is substandard and work to replace the electrical power take-off couplings and cable is in hand. The same applies to the electrical connection on LAB11 used to feed the workshop, which is currently a maximum rating of 13Amps and will be upgraded to 32Amps. This will obviate the need for 2 separate cables to supply the workshop and overhead lighting.

Patrick Doyle watching John Davis removing the hinge pins on the brake-van door
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/11/2018



John Davis inside, knocking out door hinge pins
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/11/2018



Carefully following the instruction book lying under his knees, Terry Bridgeman services the space heater
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/11/2018



John Davis wielding the cumbersome power wire brush
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 01/11/2018



Carriage & Wagon October 25th


Almost 100% C&W turnout on a fine Autumn day at Meldon. We were pleased to find LAB11 shunted 'expertly' into position outside the workshop (by trainee Class 08 driver John Coxon) - and the power car of Thumper 1132 parked inside the workshop, ready for its overwinter refresh. The LAB11 generator was started immediately with the intention of warming it up, prior to a long overdue oil and filter change later in the day, which was completed without any problems. Being a fine day, we were able to complete a few unfinished external painting jobs on the Thumper driving unit.

Internal woodwork replacement on the SR brakevan 55625 continued and the headstock is ready to have the buffers re-fitted next week; subject to available muscle power! Meanwhile a start was made on removing the old damper on one of the suspension springs. This is proving difficult as it was discovered that the locking nut on all eight dampers had been locked to the thread on the spindle with a small weld.

Allan Harris putting some finishing paint touches to the driving car of Thumper 1132
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/10/2018



The headstock of the SR brakevan ready for the buffers to be fitted. More rusted-in bolts being drilled out in the background.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/10/2018



John Coxon, Terry Bridgeman (belated welcome to DRSA/C&W Terry!) and Geoff Horner in earnest discussion regarding the best way to remove welded lock-nuts.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/10/2018



A lighter moment as John Coxon hides from the camera - much to the amusement of Terry.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 25/10/2018



Thumper movements at Meldon, October 19th


The pre-Christmas shunt took place on October 19th, and the two Thumper 1132 carriages were swapped out and in to the shed. Geoff Horner took some photos of the action to bring members up to date on progress on the Thumper.

The freshly painted Thumper 1132 driving trailer emerging from the workshop.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



The newly painted Thumper 1132 driving trailer in the sunshine in the Meldon yard.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



The three Thumper cars: left to right, the un-worked on power car, the unused centre car and the newly repainted driving trailer. 3 shades of green!
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



The power car going in to the shed to become the next C&W project. The lighter green patches were applied to hide a recent graffiti attack.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



The Thumper power car in the Meldon shed.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/10/2018



Carriage and Wagon October 18th


A fine cold day, but a chilly wind greeted the C&W workers today. As the summer shuttle service has finished we were told that the DRSA owned Heritage stock would be moved up to winter quarters at Meldon this week and, in addition, that the power car of Thumper 1132 would be brought up for an overwinter refurbish; work on the driving unit being complete apart from a few odd jobs. Morale rose with the prospect of a warm mess room in the form of LAB11 and the powerful on-board generator to run the workshop lighting and more power tools at the same time. Work continued all day on the SR brakevan 55625, with a minor diversion of labour to repair the roll-up door damaged by last week's high winds.

Jon Coxon and Ron Kirby attempt to release the screw coupling between the Thumper and brake van with the aid of copious squirts of WD40. Meanwhile Alan Harris applies a few colourful touches of paint to the braking system.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 18/10/2018



Alan Harris takes a break from painting and 'supervises' John Coxon tidying up a Thumper compartment.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 18/10/2018



C&W versus the elements. Ron Kirby fixing the door with even larger screws! Geoff Horner holding ladder whilst supervising.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 18/10/2018



Carriage and Wagon October 11th


A team of 10 C&W volunteers braved Autumnal rain and wind today. Work on rubbing down the first topcoat on the Thumper and applying the second coat continued apace and it is satisfying to see it looking very smart once again. The remainder of the team worked both on the inside and outside of the SR brake van. The stack of timber planks shown earlier has now diminished considerably. Thanks to the kind donation, by DRSA Committee member Tony Hill of a 1.25 inch thick plank of finest Devonshire oak, the two plates for the buffer beam have been fashioned for a perfect fit. Working on oak made a satisfying and pleasant change from pine.

Grinding out yet another 70 year old rusted-in bolt on the brake van. Ron Kirby rubbing down the first topcoat on the Thumper whilst, in the far background, Nigel Green prepares a paint roller for the final topcoat. (The chair in the picture was replaced, shortly after the photo was taken, with a pair of newly purchased steps).
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 11/10/2018



Your correspondent proudly displays one of the pair of oak plates now fitted on the brake van headstock. Protective steel plates will be fitted next, to avoid damage by action of the compressed springs, before the buffers are replaced. One of these prepared plates can be seen on an upturned buffer below the headstock.
Photographer: John Coxon
Date taken: 11/10/2018


Station maintenance September 22nd


David Bell also reported from Okehampton this week:

Three intrepid members turned up. Despite strong cold winds and constant rain, the walkway onto platform 1 was cleared of luxurious weed growth by Paul Vodden who, having got a good soaking, finished the job and went home cold and wet a little early. Meanwhile, several jobs were undertaken in the CCT. The two pictures below show:

- The immaculate high gloss white paint finish given to the interior of the CCT 94691, by Geoff Brookes our usually solar-powered painting machine. With a bit of imagination it conjures up an image of the interior of a military ambulance train "operating theatre"!

- The photographer stood outside, in wind and heavy Dartmoor rain, for H&S reasons, whilst an angle grinding session took place. One regular C&W Thursday member has taken a shine to working in the CCT and is depicted in the process of making a sheet steel, hand ash removal shovel for the brake van stove; the latter being a vital survival facility for the guard on days like today. The shovel was handed over to the guard in time for the last trip of the day to Meldon.

The freshly painted interior of the CCT, 94691.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 22/09/2018



A stage in the manufacture of an ash removal shovel for the brake van stove.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 22/09/2018



Carriage and Wagon September 20th


A mini C&W team of 5 today, the low number not being due to a reluctance to turn out in gale force winds and heavy rain. Painting the first topcoat on the Thumper continued whilst the main effort centred on replacing woodwork on the SR brake van LDS 55625, both internal and external. Chipping rust on the buffer-less head stock was finished and a coat of red oxide paint has smartened things up. Surface cleaning and examination of the brake piping at one end has been carried out and all seems well, although a new coupling hose will be required.

A buffer, condition as removed. The buffer is resting on its head and as a result has pushed the spring, partially revealing it.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 20/09/2018



Scraping off accumulated dirt, old grease and rust from the brake piping at one end of the SR brake van. Not for the squeamish! Once the buffers are refitted the next "heavy lift" task will be to replace the 8 perished rubber sandwiched dampers attached to the springs; one of which can be seen.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 20/09/2018


Carriage and Wagon August 23rd


A small team again today but a lot accomplished. The first task attempted was to remove the 2nd buffer on the SR brake van after successful removal of the first last week. Three nuts came off easily, the 4th took some ingenuity and a little physical exertion, perforce a requisite of the C&W team. When the buffer came off there was some dismay as the internal heavy coiled spring had been broken in the past and had caused some damage to the internal guide tube; perhaps the result of the perceived historical heavy shunt mentioned previously. However, undeterred, work continued chipping away the corrosion on the head-stock to prepare it for a coating of anti-rust paint next week. Hopefully, we can either weld the spring (unlikely perhaps) or source a replacement.

Work continued on the external planking on the SR brakevan 55625, both on one side and on the cabin door area, whilst the roof of Thumper 1132 received more paint and filling-in and rust removal continued on the cab front.

After work ceased a refurbished drop window grip bar (removed from scrap rolling stock) was taken across to the station and fitted to the Mk2a FK S13146 carriage, after several attempts at repairing the original item in the past failed.

Patrick Doyle and John Davis marking out the cut for the last replacement plank on the side of the brake van. Ron Kirby in the background painting the Thumper's roof.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/08/2018



Head-stock showing corrosion after removal of 2nd buffer
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/08/2018



And with a heave by Ron Kirby .... The slight droop of the buffer head pictured should have provided a clue that something was amiss with the spring.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/08/2018



More teamwork.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 23/08/2018





Carriage and Wagon August 9th


Yet another fine warm day with an even smaller team than last week. Two members stayed at the station initially in order to repair a drop down carriage window. This entailed warning the trolley PW maintenance team, who had gone in the Up direction, that a line-side carriage door may be opened and ladder placed near the track to do the work. The brake van was raided to provide a good old fashioned red flag, as no charged battery lamp could be found to place on the track as an advanced warning. In the event it was not needed as the repair was carried out with door shut. A long trek down the line to recover said red flag concluded the episode.

Meanwhile back at Meldon it was discovered that an attempt had been made to force the entrance door lock. Ron Kirby dismantled the damaged mechanism and made a good job of fashioning a very professional looking protective metal plate, pop riveted to the steel door. Ron is now the expert C&W locksmith!

Other work on producing planking for the SR brake van and chipping rust continued, whilst work started on preparing the Thumper 1132 power car front end for priming and undercoating. Undercoating on both sides of the Thumper is complete and work stated on painting the internal faces of all the doors.

Other odd jobs, which included sorting out a recent kind donation of various useful hand tools and mounting an electric grinding machine onto a workbench - no more blunt chisels and screwdrivers.

John Coxon preparing the Thumper 1132 front end for a face lift
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 09/08/2018



More tricky rebating with the indispensable flat bed saw. Note fingers carefully positioned out of harm's way
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 09/08/2018



Carriage and Wagon August 2nd


Another very welcome submission from David Bell:

A beautiful warm day with a reduced C&W team due to holidays etc. Work was concentrated on Thumper 1132 and the SR brake van LDS 55625.

Staging has been erected in readiness for painting compartment door trims and linings on the Thumper, prior to applying the top coat to the body sides. This involves more time spent fixing masking tape than it takes to actually apply the paint! Work continued painting the underframe and replacing a footboard. The shock absorbers have been carefully painted a contrasting blue - a nice touch amidst so much black gloss! A "Proper Job" by Alan Harris.

Meanwhile 5 members were busied both around and inside the brake van fitting more replacement woodwork and removing corrosion from the headstock and buffers at one end. The latter work revealed heavy rot in the 1" oak plate between each of the buffers and main frame which will require removing both buffers. With much relief it was found that the four hefty buffer retaining bolts turned quite easily after a 70 year sleep. Hopefully, pictures of our first, likely successful, buffer-removal epic will appear at a later date!

Ron Kirby trying a board for size on LDS 55625
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



John Davis fitting prepared boarding to to the cabin door area
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



A tricky bit of rebating for a bottom sill to the brake van side, using the flat-bed saw. The ever present John Coxon is in the background erecting the staging in readiness for the door painting phase.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



Geoff Horner preparing replacement woodwork for the Thumper 1132
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



The brake-van headstock during rust and paint removal. The rotten oak plate can be seen and the cold-chisel wedged in the resultant gap. From examination of the heavy steel plates in the area it would seem that the brake van has suffered from a heavy shunt at sometime during its previous (BR) existence. One hopes that the guard wasn't aboard at the time! (Just a muse by your correspondent whilst chipping away at the rust)
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018



Alan Harris signifying end of work! (Every C&W picture tells a story)
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/08/2018




Carriage and Wagon July 19th


Thanks to Geoff Horner for a couple of photos showing activity on the 2 current C&W projects:

John Davis signals the end of another day's work on the SR brakevan LDS 55625. Patrick Doyle and David Bell seem unimpressed.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/07/2018



Thumper 1132 being repainted in the Meldon workshop. Nigel Green at work, Alan Harris supervising.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/07/2018



Lineside gang June 9th 2018


Thanks to Tom Baxter for a few pictures of the lineside team's recent efforts:

Picnic at Halse Bridge - note the garden furniture
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 09/06/2018



Alan Cocker demonstrates the Wickham replacement.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 09/06/2018



The long march home at Halse summit.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 09/06/2018




Station Maintenance June 2nd 2018


Whilst the usual unphotogenic SMT miscellania was carried out around Okehampton station, some of the team continued work on the CCT van 94691. More plating was added and small corrosion spots repaired with filler and sanded down, whilst Geoff Brookes prepared the roof for painting. Out of view, internal replacement of mains electrical fittings and complete re-wiring progressed.

Work progressing on CCT 94691
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 02/06/2018



Carriage and Wagon May 31st 2018


Thanks to David Bell for the latest report from the Meldon team:

Work continued replacing woodwork on the SR brake van LDS 55625. A long slow process, as the timber has to be cut to various lengths and widths, rarely ever the same, then rebated, using hand saws and wood chisels; finally treated with preservative before fitting.

Work sanding down the Thumper 1132 driving coach paintwork and repairs continued.

Meanwhile, we were requested (at short notice yet again) to find a replacement window panel and door drop-window for the recently vandalized Buffet Coach at Meldon Viaduct. Other tasks were cast aside and a team located suitable panels amongst the stored rolling stock that is beyond economic repair. (I think they came from Class 411 DMBSO 61742 - JK). It was a fairly straightforward job to lift the selected complete double glazed panel out, although very heavy; by drilling out the rivets holding the frame in. Once the thick coating of years of mindless graffiti had been removed from the glass, the panels were taken up to the coach for fitting by DRCIC staff.

Patrick Doyle working in the cool shade on LDS 55625
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 31/05/2018



Centre punching rivets for drilling
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 31/05/2018



Drilling out rivets
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 31/05/2018



Out it comes.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 31/05/2018



Station maintenance May 12th 2018


Work started on making repairs to the corroded panelling on the CCT van 94691. The internal space is partitioned and part has been allocated to the DRSA station maintenance team for use as a light workshop and storage area. It's more conveniently positioned than the GUV for tool storage etc., and those 'little' and 'not so little' jobs. As a bonus it is connected to the main electricity supply. The double doors, which were sealed off some time ago, have been reopened and the slam door handle/lock reinstalled using ingenuity and cannibalized items. Next step is to clear out years of accumulated junk, whilst an executive decision is awaited as on the external livery.

Meanwhile the Trackside Team set off on the Wickham trolley, and the gardening ladies were busy wherever green fingers were required.

Patching rusty panels on CCT van 94691. Plating cut and formed by John Coxon, drilled and fixed by Paul Vodden and then primed by David Bell. It's time we invested in a bigger brush.
Photographer: John Coxon
Date taken: 12/05/2018




Carriage and Wagon May 10th 2018


Latest on the C&W team from David Bell:

Our meeting at the station, prior to moving off to Meldon, was frustrated by a horrendous traffic jam on Station Road. Four of us who had made it to the station turned back and work was done on Lab11 plumbing system for an hour. By then the jam had cleared and we went to Meldon where the rest of the team was at work, having given up trying to get to the station. (I digress!)

Preparation work continued sanding-down the unpainted side of the Thumper driving trailer whilst Geoff Horner "did something inside", which was too dark to photograph! Meanwhile Alan Harris continued to make an excellent job of repainting repaired damage to the toilets in the Visitor Centre, caused by water, following an overwinter burst pipe and subsequent collapsed ceiling.

A couple of pics follow. C&W work isn't always glamorous.

A good start has been made to fitting replacement rebated and prepared timber to the far side of the SR Brake van LDS 55625. The roof has been finished and awaits a fabric waterproof covering.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/05/2018



John Coxon captured trying (unsuccessfully alas) to align slats on the damaged roll-up workshop door. There must be an easier (and less nerve shattering) way John, but we just haven't thought of one yet.
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 10/05/2018




Lineside gang April 28th 2018


Recently there has been a welcome return of regular lineside vegetation and fencing parties, arranged and led on Saturdays and Sundays by Alan Cocker.

Andy Turner, Alan Cocker, Rosie and the Wickham at Crook Bridge (no. 589) on fence replacement working party.
Photographer: Tom Baxter
Date taken: 28/04/2018



Carriage and Wagon April 19th 2018


Short report and picture from David Bell this week, and subsequently a further half a dozen photos from Geoff Horner. Our rolling stock looks a credit to all concerned:

The main C&W team spent the day at Okehampton station finishing off various outstanding jobs on the DRSA owned shuttle rolling stock, ready for the inaugural run on the 21st. (See first photo below). Two other members went across to Meldon to carry out cleaning and electrical repair work at the Meldon Viaduct visitor's area, being told by said visitors that it was a pity having to work on such a lovely day!

The DRSA rake (RDB975046 aka Lab11, Mk2a FK S13146, LMS brakevan 731411) refurbished, washed, polished and ready to run
Photographer: David Bell
Date taken: 19/04/2018



D4167 final wash - Patrick Doyle supervising, John Coxon wielding the brush & hose, John Davis observing how it is done
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



Nigel Green doing some final retouching on the LMS brakevan 731411.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



The team working on the LMS brakevan flooring seem to have a very top-heavy management structure.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



In case you'd forgotten, this is what the Lab11 saloon interior looks like.
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



A compartment in the FK, S13436
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018



The corridor in the FK, S13436
Photographer: Geoff Horner
Date taken: 19/04/2018