2019 Q2 – Give us a brake (van)…

Work has continued on the two open wagons which have now been painted and just require the floors to be replaced before they can rejoin the demonstration freight rake. One of them may even gain a dummy load in the process.

Opens Being Painted

Welding Open Chassis

Tim has put together a DVD of wagon related material to be displayed in the Banana Van when it is fully kitted out as the Wagon Group display and sales stand.


After all our efforts to change the wheel sets, vanfit B778019 finally made it back to Wansford having initially failed an FTR due to a defective buffer which had to be rectified before it was hauled back.

The long running body restoration of the civil engineering brake van also saw significant progress with the bulk of the re-panelling now complete. This vehicle now needs the roof boarding and the canvas fitted before it can be finished off with a new paint job.


Tim arranged the recovery of a grounded van body (W65567 – a GWR van) which will be restored for use as storage.


In early June the group had a day trip to the East Lancs Railway to collect some wagon equipment we have purchased from them, and took the opportunity to have a tour of the Baron Street workshops and stock yard – all most impressive. We also managed a pleasant lunch at The Trackside pub on the Bury Bolton Street platform, some photography, and some second-hand model railway purchases!

We returned with plenty of goodies including a pair of wagon vacuum cylinders and a pair of wagon jacks.



A big thank you to Simon at Teversham Motors for the kind loan of the garage van which allowed us to keep the transport overheads down to the cost of the fuel.

Phil & Colin continued sprucing up the open wagons in the running rake with a quick repaint of the MOD wagons up at Peterborough NVR.


And finally, towards the end of June, the planking arrived for the open wagon floors and Tim, Jonathan & Steve made good progress treating them with a 50/50 mix of creocote and waste oil in preparation for fitting.


See up-to-date information on our Facebook Page.

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2019 Q1 – A Tornado sweeps through…

The Christmas period saw some sterling work by the Wagon Group following a request for an Express Freight style rake for a photo charter with LNER A1 “Tornado” in early January. By using the two restored civil engineering goods vans we managed to provide six goods van (marshalled to be immediately behind the loco) in a rake totalling fourteen wagons plus brake van. See video of a run through Yarwell Tunnel courtesy of Nathan Wilson.


The photo charter included some staged scenes including our very own Phil & Tim (as Guard & Policeman respectively). Image courtesy of Martin Creese (C).


Following the photo charter, work commenced on the cosmetic restoration of the two wooden open wagons from the demonstration freight rake. This involved removing the rotten floors in the Southern Open and the BR Shock Hi-Bar plus cleaning, welding and painting the exposed chassis and an external repaint.


In February, Vanfit B778019, which has been stranded at Overton for some time, was the subject of a concerted effort to change the wheel sets in order to replace the bearings which had been stolen previously by the metal fairies. This should enable the van to be returned to Wansford for future restoration.


Tim expanded his replica plate range to include a 35A shed plate which were being sold from the Wagon Group sales stand over the Southern Gala weekend.


In March we ran a combined Freight Driving Experience and Photo Charter, this time using SR Schools class 926 “Repton” as motive power, which proved to be a popular and fun day. Neil managed to grab some video footage near Overton. Image courtesy of Ian Bowskill (C).


See up-to-date information on our Facebook Page.

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A lot of catching up…

This update has been a long time coming, but following Paul’s sudden illness and untimely passing, a certain amount of soul-searching occurred about how/whether to continue with the Wagon Group culminating in the decision to carry on and make the Express Freight Project a suitable tribute to Paul and his vision for freight on the railway.

Over the next year or so, membership of the group fluctuated significantly, until eventually it settled with a core of regular volunteers, perhaps not managing to work as frequently or regularly as the team had originally, but still chipping away…

The website was one of Paul’s areas and, unfortunately, has had only minimal updates in the intervening time. Stu has now stepped up to manage the website, and it has undergone a quick refresh to improve the aesthetics and bring the content up-to-date.

So, here is a brief summary of everything that happened between May 2016 and December 2018, and then we will switch to quarterly summaries on this website, with more frequent up-to-date information available on FaceBook.

  • Express Freight Project renamed Paul Foxwell Express Freight Project
  • B761651 restored and returned to traffic
  • Express Freight Project appeared in Steam Railway magazine
  • Freight rake appeared at 2016 Steam Gala
  • Tim’s brake van B953944 underwent a repaint
  • B881987 (Banana Van) cosmetically restored
  • Tim developed process to cast replica D-plates in resin
  • Freight photo charter with Jinty 47406
  • Evening Freight Experience with 92 Squadron sadly did not happen
  • B786075 restored and returned to traffic
  • B768248 restored and returned to traffic
  • B954024 civils brake van body restoration commenced
  • D-plates made by Tim fitted to RVP Diesel Brake Tender at GCR
  • B773100 restored and returned to traffic
  • B785122 restored and returned to traffic
  • Freight Driving Experience with Jinty 47406
  • B759852 re-wheeled (eventually!) and returned to traffic
  • Flying Scotsman and Tornado both spent time alongside us undergoing repairs
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April Progress

We have decided to try a slightly different format for the Wagon Group online news updates from now on. This page will be updated on a monthly basis, in order to package a few weeks of progress in one place. Short pictoral updates, often posted within a few hours of a work session, will be posted on our Facebook page (which can be viewed even if you’re not a member of Facebook). So to kick us off, here was the progress made during April…


160424 NVR 045Above: Van B761651 has received black gloss topcoat to all the underframe areas, including wheels and axles. At the end of the ‘Industrials’ event it was shunted from a live shed road and moved into the old open shed, temporarily buffered up to B786075 (which is still awaiting funds to finish the doors which will complete its restoration). Now B761651 is no longer blocking any ‘live’ vehicles, the brakes can be stripped and overhauled, which will complete the restoration of this van apart from a tiny bit of special signwriting and the end blackboards yet to be applied…


160424 NVR 035Above: BR Banana van B881987 has had a metal patch applied to seal in some exposed fibreglass insulation, where the plywood had rotted away. This van is to receive some minor repairs and a cosmetic repaint as it now looks rather tatty.

All in all, an unusually quiet month for the Wagon Group – however there is a very exciting development which will be announced soon… watch this space!

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‘Vanfit’ B786075: Part 3

Unlike the previous update, there is now an abundance of photogenic material with the end of the overhaul firmly in sight!

What’s more, we also welcome two new volunteers to our ranks, Stan and Peter. Stan will be looking at fundraising initiatives on behalf of the group, and Peter joins Tim, Philip, James and myself on the restoration team. With more volunteers available, restoration work should speed up – but the fundraising then becomes more critical to keep up with progress. You can help – please consider donating towards our cause!


DSCF4684Above: B786075 cleaned up and prepped with red-oxide primer as required. The brake gear has been stripped off and is undergoing restoration off the van.


C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_12065743_452011684988811_6395116164498055004_nAbove: During March, the underframe and headstocks were painted up to topcoat, followed by the bodywork with the exception of the doors, which require replacement.


C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_12801554_452011654988814_8879394647040493893_nAbove: The fully-overhauled 8-shoe brake gear was reinstalled with plenty of grease and new split pins throughout.


DSCF4688Above: B786075 now looks like this – apart from the doors and signwriting, it’s now pretty much good to go. It will join van B759852 already running in the goods rake, and B761651 will join it soon after, the overhaul of which is well in hand. We require £100 for materials to make the new doors, finish the job and get this van back in traffic – which means we need only 10 people to donate £10 each (or more of course, if you are that way inclined!)

Please help us – make your cheque payable to ‘Nene Valley Railway’, download a donation form and send it to: Wagon Group, Nene Valley Railway, Wansford Station, Stibbington, Peterborough, PE8 6LR. Please write “Wagon Group” clearly on the back of the cheque.


160325 NVR 047Above: Speaking of sister van B761651, the south side of the underframe has been cleaned up and painted. Once ply-bodied B786075 is completed, B761651 can then undergo its own brake overhaul before also being returned to traffic for the first time in many years – we will then be up to three operational vans, with plans for many more…

For some inspiration of what we’re trying to recreate with our “Express Freight” project to restore the unique NVR 1950/60s van train, and with “Flying Scotsman” back in traffic and wowing the crowds after a decade in pieces undergoing overhaul, I leave you with this beautiful shot from Steve Nakoneczny, so redolent of the early 1960s but actually taken at NVR during 1994…

60103 S NAKONECZNY credited

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Website updates

With our “Express Freight” project to restore the NVR van train now physically under way, the Wagon Group website has had a minor overhaul. An introduction to “Express Freight” can now be found here, and our ‘Image Gallery‘ pages have had a few updates.

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‘Vanfit’ B786075: Part 2

Good working progress continues to be made with several small tasks on 1961-built ply-bodied box van B786075, which although essential, are not of a particularly photogenic nature. The chassis cleaning has continued, and the bodysides have received a skim of filler where required ready for painting. Yet more of the brake gear has been cleaned up and painted up to topcoat, with the bearing surfaces greased ready to be reinstalled back on the wagon. The curved roof strips have been added above the doors, and the roof has received a first application of bituminous roof coating, in an effort to extend its life for a few more years. A trial area of BR brown paint has been applied to part of the bodyside, but this will need further work.

These small updates can be followed as and when they happen on our Facebook page, which can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/nvrwagongroup

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