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Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri

Welsh Highland Railway Society

Group Information:

North Wales Group
West Midlands Group
South West Group
East Anglian Group
Wessex Group
Heritage Group

East Anglian Group Activities

October 2013

Wheeling out the chassis - Richard WatsonLifting the chassis - Richard Watson
The first photo shows EAG underframe no. 5004 rolled out from beneath the canopy at Mill Green on 15th June, in preparation for its ‘big move’ to a taller roofed shed a stone’s throw away. This view emphasises the length and width of the underframe, which has been ‘cut and shut’ with an extra two feet of steel channel let in to the existing longitudinals. The wheelbase is now seven feet, and the frame has also been widened to the full extent of the Ffestiniog loading gauge.
The second photo shows the ‘big lift’, courtesy of Rich Blackmore’s large forklift truck. Roger Hornsby is directing the driver.
Photos by Richard Watson

August 2012

The fourth and final RNAD chassis is being extensively refurbished and rebuilt to form a vacuum fitted Mess Van, to complement the two vacuum fitted flats already on the railway. Progress so far has included:

        Re-gauging, building up and profiling both pairs of wheel sets

        Cutting the chassis in two, inverting, thoroughly derusting and acid etch priming the surfaces, and coating in bituminous paint.

        Producing stands or jigs from scrap materials to support the ‘free ends’ of the chassis

        Temporarily re-wheeling the hornguides, inverting the chassis, adjusting the position of the cut ends to restore straight and true geometry

        Welding in 610mm lengths of new steel channel into the solebars, effectively lengthening the chassis and wheelbase by that amount

        Grinding off and re-welding the brake gear hanger lugs to suit 1’11” (597mm) gauge (the original gauge was 2’6” [762mm])

        Offering up the ex-SAR vacuum cylinder to best assess the optimum position, without encroaching on the van’s ‘living space’

The photos give a good impression of the vehicle which is now 2’ longer than it was when built. The chassis will now be built out to the full width of the FR loading gauge, and a body built to enable it to run through Garnedd Tunnel as well as over the length of the WHR.

Mess van chassis - Richard Watson Mess van chassis - Richard Watson
Mess van chassis - Richard Watson

29th January 2012

One of the wagons visited the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway in a train conveying telegraph poles from Minffordd immediately behind locomotive Moel Hebog:-  http://www.whrsoc.org.uk/WHRProject/2012/20120129-at-1.jpg,

December 2011

The Lineside Clearance Train

Apart from a short period serving as a stand for a Halloween witches’ tableau (!) at Dinas, the wagons lay dormant until early December awaiting inspection and entry into service. They have received some minor modifications at Boston Lodge, including the building up of one of the 1920 vintage vacuum cylinder pistons.  We are delighted that the final hurdle has been overcome, and now hear that they are in use on the combined railways.

Mess Van

Work is continuing on converting RNAD wagon No. 5004 into a vacuum braked mess van. The chassis has been cut in half, a drastic measure at first sight but a necessary prelude to letting in new steelwork. This will lengthen the vehicle and its wheelbase by around two feet thereby permitting a roomier body. The halves have been inverted, allowing easier de-rusting, surface treatment and painting of the under surfaces.

Station Running In Board

The sign for platform 2 at Pont Croesor is also making progress. The box section has been covered with black signmakers’ vinyl on its front and rear, and galvanised Unistrut added to strengthen and stiffen the sign. A start has been made on fixing the casings (hardwood mouldings) around the sign.


September 2011

On September 8th the completed wagons were at Dinas, waiting to be examined and have the brakes tested. They will be on view during the Superpower weekend

East Anglian Group wagons - David TidyEast Anglian Group wagons - David TidyEast Anglian Group wagons - David Tidy

Project  completed!

The EAG wagons 5002/3 left for Dinas on Sunday 4th September, using a HIAB vehicle which made easy work of loading the two wagons. It is hoped the pair will be on view at SuperPower, and they represent the fruits of four years hard work by the group. The wagons will have to pass a fitness to run examination, following which we expect them to be used on lineside clearance and other duties, perhaps sandwiching the cherry picker and other specialist vehicles. Pictures and report by Richard Watson

Loading the finished wagons - Richard WatsonLoading the finished wagons - Richard Watson

July 2011

The photos show progress with wagons 5002/3 - both very nearly complete. The first shows wagon 5002, complete apart from edging strip around the deck timbers, and lettering. The second depicts wagon 5003, now complete apart from lettering. Photos taken by Richard Watson on 2nd July.

East Anglian group clearance train - Richard WatsonEast Anglian group clearance train - Richard Watson

March 2011
Richard Watson

Nobby Clark removing the VoR valve on the Vacuum cylinder. (Photo: Richard Watson)The lineside clearance train project is moving closer to completion, with the drawgear in place and awaiting final adjustment. The wagons, when delivered, will have two adapter couplings at the inner ends, and FR style chopper couplings facing outwards. Careful offloading will be needed to ensure that the adapters face one another, with vac hoses on the correct side...

The vacuum brake systems are also complete, though final testing will have to wait until the wagons reach the railway as we are unable to test them on site. The new style ball valve assemblies (in plastics) have a higher profile than the older, bronze type and we found that our example fouled the brake mechanism. Thanks to Boston Lodge we have been able to obtain an ex-Vale of Rheidol example in bronze, which provides better clearance.

We started preparing the decking timbers on 19th March and some of these are now bolted down on No.5003. Vinyl lettering has been purchased showing vehicle numbers and ownership by the two railways. We contemplated, rather tongue in cheek, the wording “North Wales Narrow Gauge Joint Stock” but that would have been longer than the wagons!

All the boards laid out on wagon 5004. (Photo: Richard Watson)With only a couple more sessions needed to complete these vehicles, we expect them to be ‘ready to ship’ to the railway during the next couple of months. Can anyone assist with transport please - preferably at little or no cost to the Group? Each vehicle weighs an estimated 2 tonnes, and the dimensions are 4.090m over couplings and 1.834m width. Very many thanks.

The East Anglian Group now has photos of its activities on line, courtesy of member Keith Thomson. Please visit http://www.pbase.com/keiththomson/whreag

February 2011
Richard Watson

Roger Hornsby begins fitting decking to wagon No. 5003 on 12/02/2011Chopper couplings welded up from parts supplied by the FR Co on wagons 5002 (left) and 5003 (right)EAG lineside clearance train
Work slowed down over the Christmas period because of wintry weather but tangible progress is being made once again and conclusion of the project is in sight.

New couplings and draw gear have been fitted to the pair of flat wagons. These replace the originals which had gone missing before we acquired the vehicles, but would have needed modification to suit the lower coupling height of FR/WHR vehicles. Substantial fabrications had to be made, including four new drag boxes, sprung coupling gear, two chopper couplings and two ‘Harlech Universal’ couplings which will normally run inboard of the pair. Roger Hornsby spent many freezing hours in his garage fabricating these items. The arrangement allows the ‘Universal’ couplings to marry with existing FR Co. rolling stock such as the cherry picker and crane vehicle – and perhaps a well wagon, one day – as a sort of through vacuum piped ‘MoD sandwich’.

Vacuum brakes have been fitted, using recycled FR Co cylinders, and some adjustments will be necessary before the pair leave our premises. The vacuum brakes are a ‘first’ for this type of vehicle and are essentially untested as we do not have suitable equipment to do this task. That will have to wait until they arrive on the 40-mile railway.

Nobby Clark contemplates the next move as work starts on decking wagon No.5003. Note the "Harlech Castle" style coupling and vacuum pipesBob Turner rebating decking boards for No. 5003 to accommodate steel edging strips. 12.02.2011
The vehicles are being completed as straightforward 4-wheeled flats, in accordance with the wishes of the External Engineering Department and work began on decking No 5003 on 12th February. The wagons have been extended widthways to the full width of the FR loading gauge, and suitable boards purchased and rebated to accommodate longitudinal steel edging strips. The timbers have been pilot drilled and recessed to take coach bolts, and lots of Cuprinol sloshed on as preservative.

With the end in sight at last, we are making enquiries about transport to North Wales – can anyone help please? If you can, please let Richard Watson know by email at richard.watson7@virgin.net. Many thanks........ (The overall length of each vehicle is approximately 4.3 metres and it is estimated they weigh about 2 tonnes each).

Mess Van No 5004
Thoughts are turning to the prospective mess van no.5004, which will complement the two flat wagons. This will be more complex as the existing frames will be lengthened as well as partly renewed, and the F.R. Co. is being consulted as the van will be used on both railways. We need to maximise the headroom inside the vehicle as the chassis top is further above rail level than usual, so we propose building the body out to the full extent of the F.R. loading gauge. It is proposed that storage space for long tools such as tree loppers and strimmers will be provided under bench seats in the vehicle, along with hanging space for overalls etc., and other home comforts.
The Phase 4 Hudsons
The little ‘EAG’ Hudson flats used to good effect on Phase 4 construction were sold recently to the Penrhyn Railway at Bethesda, where they arrived in December. They are sure to find good use on Penrhyn construction trains when the time comes, and have already been teamed up with their Ruston diesel. http://amutek.co.uk/penrhynrailway/11Dec.JPG
The money raised will be used to help fund our latest project, the construction of the useful vacuum-braked mess vehicle for the 40 mile railway.  

August 2010

The Lineside Clearance Train Project          Richard Watson

Tom Skinner (left) and Roger Hornsby (right) measure up a chopper coupling assembly prior to welding and fitting to wagon 5002 - Roger WatsonIt will be remembered that the three out of the four RNAD (MoD) wagons purchased by the East Anglian Group lacked any sort of coupling gear, as the assemblies had been removed by the MoD. The original couplings were - in any event - positioned much higher above rail level than those on the FR and WHR. The opportunity has therefore been taken to re-think the situation. As a result, we will be mounting new coupling assemblies below headstock level to a design approved by Boston Lodge. Much has been achieved in recent weeks as spring assemblies have been scratch-fabricated in Roger Hornsby’s garage – homework in its truest sense! Other work has included dressing welds and improving the appearance of the wagons, but we’ve also been busy fettling the square section bars for the coupling shafts in preparation for welding. The chopper coupling side cheeks obtained from the F.R. Co. have been re-profiled to match the shafts, and will be welded up shortly.

A view of the two lineside clearance wagons, 5002 (nearer the camera) and 5003 with Roger Hornsby and Tom Skinner working on the latter - Roger WatsonThe two flats, nos. 5002 and 5003 will normally run as a pair, with F.R. chopper couplings on the outer ends, with the inner ends equipped with link and pin couplings similar to those on the FR’s diesel Harlech Castle and Mess Carriage No. 1111. This will enable specialised vehicles like the F.R.’s cherry picker to be coupled in an “MoD sandwich”. 

Vacuum brake gear has been fitted to nos. 5002 and 5003, making them unique as no other RNAD wagons of this type are so equipped. The cylinders, brake gear and train pipe installation is substantially complete, and stanchions for the vacuum hose dummies have been fabricated and trial fitted. Flexible hoses have been cut to size and fitted between the two wagons so it’s now looking like a real train! 

A drawbar spring assembly, newly fabricated and awaiting fettling - Roger WatsonThe wagons now sport side plates fixed to the frames to carry the wagon numbers and identification transfers.  The frames of both wagons have been painted black, while the extremities of the brake levers and axle box centres are painted “JCB” yellow – an EAG trademark. The steps and wagon i.d. plates have been picked out in the same colour.

We are now thinking about buying the timber decking, following which the wagons will be ready to be sent to the RhE. However, cash is still in short supply as we have to rely on donations, and materials are sometimes eye wateringly expensive. If you would like to contribute, please contact Richard Watson either by email richard.watson7@virgin.net or by phone on (07971)130829. Many thanks. 

May 2010

Pont Croesor sign (Laurence Armstrong)Signs – Pont Croesor

The new sign was erected in time for the opening to Pont Croesor in May 2010

March 2010:

Pont Croesor signSigns – Pont Croesor
  • Lettering has been received from Cedric Lodge and fitted  
  • Sign just needs a few finishing touches then to be transported to site

Lineside clearance trainLineside Clearance Train
  • The handbrakes on wagons 5002/3 are being modified following fitment of the vacuum cylinders.
  • The main train pipes are being fixed to their respective chassis.  
  • Finishing touches are being made to the chassis modifications
  • Chopper coupling eccentrics have been machined for us, courtesy of Andy Williamson and  John Startin

Recent activities - report  early March 2010

  • Rebuilding 4 small Hudson wagons - these have been extremely useful on the building of Phase 4
  • Rebuilding an ex- Royal Navy wagon for use as the KMX tamper 'tender':

Tamper wagon

  • The current project is the rebuilding of two further Royal Navy wagons with vacuum brakes, for use as a 2-vehicle lineside clearance train. A future project is to rebuild and lengthen another RN wagon as a mess van for the clearance train
  • Making some 14 new signs (running-in boards) for the railway. Currently making signs for Pont Croesor and possibly Tryfan Junction
Three signs for Rhyd DduMeillionen sign

  • In the past we have visited places like the Bure Valley Railway and the Cleethorpes Coast Railway.
  • Here we are all enjoying the Audley End Miniature Railway in June 2008. (We called it a "Midsummer Night's Steam" - ouch!)
Audley End RailwayAudley End Railway

  • The Group visited Mike Schumann's Norton Hill Light Railway on August 16th 2009
EAG Committee meeting 16 Aug 2009JZ 20 on turntablePaul Bradshaw driving

Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri is a Registered Charity, №1094938

All content webmasters or as indicated - This page updated 31st August 2012 by David Tidy