Although the primary purpose of Llangollen Railcars is to look after the fleet of DMUs that we have we also have some ancillary vehicles that also need some care.
Two of these are VJX 'Ferryvans' that were built for the traffic in fresh produce that used to come across from the Continent by rail. They are a much longer wheelbase than normal vans were at the time and also have both air and vacuum brakes fitted. Nowadays both are used as stores vehicles and while one of them was 'done up' about four years ago the second one was only partially treated. However recent work to this has included fitting new plywood panels to the large sliding door and painting them in the proper bauxite colour.
Work also continued on Cravens 56456 with the painting of more ceiling supports and seat supports while there was also some trial fitting of the timber frames above the vestibule doors.
Retrimming of the seats for Class 108 trailer 54490 is now well advanced and all the backs have been completed. Also ready for picking up are the retrimmed seat squabs and backs for the centre part of Class 104 50528, although these won't be fitted until the seat frames come back from powder coating.
The Class 141 put in another four days work at the Midland Railway - Butterley last week without incident. Passenger loadings were good, despite the changeable weather, meaning that a great deal of sand which had found its way into the train from the artificial beach had to be removed each night!
With the Thomas event at Llangollen behind us once again we have had to spend the weekend cleaning up our units which had been left with the usual debris on the floor, handprints on the windows and food on the seats! A good day's washing, mopping and elbow-working has sorted all but one vehicle.
The only vehicle we've not cleaned has been Class 127 51618 which has now gone into the workshop for investigation into corrosion. One section of the bodyside has been removed, along with the interior in the same section so that we can get a clear idea of what is going to be involved in the repair.
A detailed list of parts is now being drawn up and will be sent over to the fabricator so that the repairs can start within weeks. As can be seen the situation is a bit grim but it is no worse than many other vehicles that we've dealt with over the years.
Over at the Midland the 141 has been working hard once again. Although it wasn't due to run last week it was called in to substitute for one of the home fleet units that became poorly. It has been used on the 'trains to the seaside' event and comes home each night with most of the contents of the beach inside it! It will also be in action again this week Monday to Thursday.
It's been a very busy week for us with train operation this week as we have had three sets out working in multiple for the Llangollen Railway's 'Thomas' event over four days and another set out at the Midland Railway working 'Seaside Specials'.
We have carried in excess of 3,000 passengers over the period and it's been lovely to see lots of smiley faces on our trains.
Work has, however, continued in the brake van area of the Gloucester power car where new ribs are being welded in to support the new wooden floor. This job is now complete and we are just checking that some waterproofing work has been successful before we order the wood.
The Class 127 has moved into the workshop at Llangollen where there will be a start made on stripping part of one side so that some body repairs can be carried out. This job has been outstanding for some years and we are looking forward to being able to tackle it.
With a lot of work for the fleet in the coming week Sunday was mostly taken up with marshalling three of our sets in to the correct order for four days of 'Thomas' events. All eight cars in the operational fleet were refuelled, while the final jobs on the FP Exam on the 108 set were also completed.
There were some minor maintenance jobs carried out, too. One of the glass fuel gauges on Class 127 51618 was swapped for a new one which now means that the fuel level can easily be read, a speedo fault on Class 104 50528 was checked over and was found to have been a s a result of water ingress in the wheel wear compensator box while a detached panel on 50454 was re-attached properly.
Some more work was done on one of the VJX stores vans which is having repairs to the wooden doors, and inside Cravens Class 105 56456 there was more work to the partitions.
Repainting of the Class 141 at the Midland Railway has been completed and the new transfers and numbers have been applied. This train is now booked to work the lineís 'Trains to the Seaside' on four days this week.
Inside Class 100 51118 the floor in the remainder of the brake van has been cleared out and three bags of rubbish and rust have been removed to reveal the corrugations underneath. These are now being cleaned up prior to being repainted. Work has also continued on the welding in of the new parts of the rear van floor.