Progress on many fronts!

This update could be the largest ever to date! Below can be found the results of several working sessions over the last couple of weeks or so – most photos courtesy of Wagon Group volunteer Philip Halstead:

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Above: Tim and I fitted the new plywood doors to ‘Vanfit’ B777654. This turned out to be a pig of a job, unexpectedly taking up most of the day. However we also managed to get the new floor planks for MoD open No.4726 cut to length, ready for fitting as soon as possible – photos of this to follow once they have been installed.

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Above: A couple of weeks later, Philip followed on behind and topcoated the previously installed and primed doors, completing this van, apart from a couple of minor details which will be installed shortly.

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Above: Philip has now turned his attention to the neighbouring van, 1952-built B768248. The eastern end was cleaned up and patch primed, the corrugated metal ends generally being in better condition than those of the aforementioned B777654. As can be seen, this van already sports replacement doors which saves us a job!

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Above: The western end was cleaned and patch primed to match, as was the timber panelling to the platform side of the van. Ply patches will be required to the lower body sides to provide a more secure mounting for the door catches and an easier surface to paint…

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Above: …however the platform side of the van was painted in topcoat, ready for the ply patches to be fitted and painted at a later date.

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Above: That said, this pair of vans is now beginning to look really quite smart, a massive improvement on their neglected and unloved previous appearance. We just need someone to come forward and sort out the neighbouring second-hand bookshop Mk1 coach. BR ‘crimson and cream’ livery would be nice…?

Above: We return to ex-LMS CCT No.37071, which was externally restored back to James Bond “Octopussy” condition by ourselves, with the interior works now being undertaken by others. For the first time in two and a half years it now finds itself outside in the daylight, and so Philip took the opportunity to grab a couple of portrait shots in the open.

Above: The other side of No.37071 in the loco yard, heading up a line of wagons…

Above: …of which one is our next project, ‘Vanfit’ B761651. It is intended to restore this van to running order, although we need to check the reason why this van was ‘red carded’ (banned from running). We are hoping that the only reason is due to the unsightly graffiti, although it will of course receive a thorough check over to be sure there is nothing more sinister in store. This van otherwise appears to be in remarkably good condition, needing little more than a repaint, and possibly a new roof covering – to be confirmed…

Above: The southern side of B761651, also in apparently good condition apart from some faded and flaking paint.

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Above: Not only has B761651 been brought in, but also 1961-built plywood ‘Vanfit’ B786075 – our grateful thanks to everyone who helped out with this task. This van is also in reasonable order and should be a relatively quick turnaround. Unfortunately this one will probably require new doors, which as we found with B777654 at the top of this posting, are quite time consuming both to build and install. These two vans, along with ‘Vanfit’ B759852 already running in the operational goods rake, will form the beginning of our new project to bring back the NVR BR van train…

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