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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‘Vanfit’ B786075: Part 1

With the overhaul of the roof and bodywork of van B761651 outside in the yard completed in time for winter, attention has now switched to 1961-built van B786075 in the shed. We intend to work on this van until it can be released into traffic, before bringing the more advanced B761651 into the shed for final mechanical attention to split pins and the like, and completion of minor finishing touches before also being outshopped.

Ply-bodied B786075 requires new doors, but apart from this appears to be in generally good order. We have managed to salvage the existing roof covering by means of a small localised repair, and will give the whole roof a coat of bituminous roof paint in order to prolong its life for as long as possible.

Cleaning and preparation of brake parts continues, and will do so until the brake gear can be reassembled. We anticipate a quick wash and rub down, with a little filler in places, will take care of the majority of the bodywork. Philip has cleaned up the chassis and body ironwork, and has also cleaned back the chassis of  B761651 outside in the yard, ready for painting below solebar level once its own mechanical overhaul is completed.

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Vanfit B761651: Part 3

With winter now closing in, efforts are being made to complete ‘Vanfit’ B761651 in the yard before it gets too cold and wet to paint. A opportune window of drier weather allowed enough time to complete the overhaul of the body, as seen below…


151115 NVR 043Above: The final previously-prepared side undergoing painting into topcoat…


151115 NVR 046Above: …and then completed, wrapping up the roof and body overhaul in time for the colder and wetter winter months. Apart from the lettering, all work remaining is now focused on the chassis/underframe, namely an overhaul of the brake gear and renewal of corroded split pins, and some new underframe black paint to smarten it up.


151115 NVR 055Above: After completing the topcoat to the van body, my attention turned to cleaning up the headstocks and patch-priming any bare metal…


151115 NVR 058Above: …before giving the whole lot a coat of black underframe gloss. Both ends were completed to the same level as the last of the daylight faded.



IMG_20151118_134459295Above: Newly-restored James Bond “Octopussy” film star, ex-LMS CCT No.37071, has also now been shunted into position in order to serve the railway in its new storage role. It was stood next to the loco prep area for quite some time, so has got quite dirty and could do with a quick wash over! Here we see the van being turned, as the doors only open on one side due to previous structural damage.


Image0902Above: Now parked up in its final location with ongoing preparations for the ‘Santa Special’ trains happening all around, interior works by others are continuing in order to fit out the vehicle for its static support role in the bay platform.

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Vanfit B761651: Part 2

Work has been progressing with ‘Vanfit’ B761651, with the bulk of the works to the roof and bodysides now completed.

02 Above: Tim and James spent an ambitious session installing the new felt roof covering. The old single-layer felt is being replaced with a new 2-layer felt roofing system, which should allow the felt covering to expand and contract at a different rate to the roof boards underneath. This should help prevent cracks and bubbles appearing in the roof covering (as was the case with the previous stuck-down felt), and will therefore hopefully give a longer lifespan to the roof covering. The 2-layer system should also be easier and quicker to remove when it does eventually become life expired – at least that’s the theory! The first layer is an underlay felt with sealed lapped joints…

01Above: …The underlay is then covered with a capping sheet, care being taken to stagger the joints with those of the underlay underneath, in order to minimise the possibility of water ingress. The roof is very nearly complete – only requiring a little further attention to the seams seen above to finish off.

DSCF4564Above: Philip has now given the remaining body side its last preparatory works, wood hardener and primer being used as required before applying topcoat as soon as we are able.

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