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To find out more about the history about the Group and a few more photos have a look at our four-paged article in the December edition of the Heritage Railway magazine.
Work continues with fitting the front of the seat bottoms. When the coach was built the seat fronts were fitted into the sides as they were installed. The seat front is therefore longer than the width of the inside of the coach. The way around inserting the new seat front was to remove some of the door post to allow the seat front to be inserted from behind the post. Originally the tennon on the seat front would have fitted into a mortise in the door post and two metal pins rammed through the door post and tennon, in effect the seat front becoming a brace for the coach sides. As part of the door post had now been removed this method of pinning the tennon would not be strong enough. The solution was to attach a metal plate behind the post and insert bolts.
To have an away-day some members of the Group manned with other members of the Gwili Railway Preservation Society a publicity stand at the Rhonda Model Railway Show last month. It was nice and warm in comparison to what would have been a working day on the railway.
Work still continues in the warmth though. The brass cast trombones for the alarm chain have been acquired. Firstly they were attended to by a metal file to ensure ant roughness in the castings was removed, then they were painted with primer, white undercoat and gloss. Efforts are concentrating on bringing the drop lights up to finished condition with gloss red and two coats of varnish
The Group have completed negotiations for the purchase of Taff Vale Railway coach 153 from the Vale of Glamorgan Railway. Although not in the best of shapes after 134 years as a railway coach, a dwelling and an aborted restoration job it was felt that it would eventually compliment the two other TVR coaches in the Group’s collection. Further details and the history of the coach can be found on the “Collection” page of this web site.
On coach 216, thoughts are now turning towards the picture frames that once were fitted to the partition walls. From the remaining partitions and the detective work of establishing from the screw holes, measurements of the frames were established. Some original GWR frames loaned gave us the shapes of the frames so that these could be built.
Is the end in sight? After months of sanding, filling, sanding, filling! most of the interiors of the compartments are now in undercoat with scumbling (graining ) started in some compartments.
After wards the walls will get a coat of varnish to complete the inside before the alarm chain pipes can be attached. Some more side planks have made and nailed in place below the windows and these along with the floor will get a coat of gloss black. The four leaf springs have been removed for overhaul by a specialist contractor.
A new vacuum pipe has been formed and after painting will be attached to the under frame using the original “J” brackets. The vacuum cylinder has been overhauled and tested and awaits fitting.
Dewi Jones represented the GVCG at the Transport Trust Awards on Wednesday 25th June. This was held at the Kew Bridge Pumping Station in London and the certificate was presented by HRH Prince Michael of Kent. We not only received a cheque for £500 but we were within the best ten from hundreds of entries. The award was made for unfinished projects with which financial assistance would help complete.
With apologies for the lack of updates for the previous months, that does not mean we have not been busy GWR 216 Over the last few months work has progressed on several front Compartment walls All compartment walls and the ceiling have been finished in white gloss
The mahogany side walls have been scumbled (wood grain effect) and given two coats of varnish Some new side panels have been manufactured, fitted and painted to replace those ones damaged/removed to allow the seat bases to be installed Alarm, chain and system Replacement trombones have been cast in GWR style, painted gloss white and fitted to the walls. The trombones act as the holder for the alarm chain pipes. Replacement pipes have been obtained and painted and these are being fitted with the trombones in anticipation of the alarm chain being acquired and obtained later this year. Further replacement parts such as the alarm chain anchor are due to be manufactured and fitted shortly seats.
All of the wooden seat bases, comprising longitudinal beams, have been fitted permanently. This involved countersinking and bolting the seat bases in place via the door frame, which was then filled and painted so that the bolts are invisible. The seat bottoms are also being constructed. These are made of plywood and are screwed onto the seat bases to allow cushions to be sprung and fitted. The next stage in relation to the seats is to make the seat backs and order the upholstery, woven to an original GWR pattern. Doors When the coach was recovered 3 out of the 10 doors were un useable as 2 had been cut so that the tops were removed and one had rotted severely. In the 1990′s one door was repaired by re-attaching the sawn off top (which included the ventilator).
The rotten door has now been removed and sent to a carpenter for repair. His assessment was that the door was repairable, using the Swindon method of replacement of sections – the GWR never made anew unless it was the only option! The repair of this door will leave the one final door requiring a replacement top. We were fortunate to have been donated several GWR doors from The Buckinghamshire Railway Centre in Quainton Road and one such door top will be adapted for use. Exterior The coach will shortly be moved into covered accommodation in anticipation of our 4th annual work week. Here the exterior will be completed with new beading, attaching of grab handles, completion of metal sheets with fly press, insertion of screws…the list goes on! under frame.
Several key jobs are being done on the under frame prior to the coaches’ entry into passenger traffic. The Vacuum cylinder from the under frame has been dismantled and is being repaired ready for use. A brand new vacuum pipe made of galvanized steel is being constructed and shaped to size.
New “swan neck” ends to the pipe are being constructed and other parts such as the ‘elephant ear’ castings and vacuum valve box have been refurbished. New vacuum hoses are to be obtained. It is intended to complete the vacuum system in the next couple of months so that it can be tested prior to entry into traffic.
The four springs have been removed and sent away for professional overhaul. This involves re-fettering the springs (re-aligning the leaves) and removal of rust between leaves. At present the coach is very much on target for entry into traffic on a special weekend over the 25th and 26th October 2008. Although there remains much to be done it will be a sobering moment to see passengers carried for the first time in 75 years and a fitting way to celebrate it’s 120th birthday. GWR 3846 (T.V.R 220) In use on the Gwili Railway’s ‘Day out with Thomas’ event in March.
It was also used for a filming contract with the BBC’s Andrew Marr on the 18th June as part of his series ‘A History of Modern Britain’, which is to feature in particular the famous Taff Vale Railway Trade Union case. The program is due to be screened later this year. Taff Vale Railway No. 153 This coach has been acquired by the Group from the Barry Island Railway and has now been transported to Bronwydd Arms.
The coach was built in 1874 and is identical to the Group’s TVR 145 coach acquired in 2006. The coach already rests on an under frame and our initial assessment is that all 10 doors will need to be refurbished (although all are useable), a replacement roof canvass and some framework and paneling will be required, lower partition walls and wooden seats will need to be replaced. No work will start on this coach until 216 has been completed and it is protected by a tarpaulin in the winter.
The coach sheeted over at its new home.
An internal view showing, the task awaiting us when we come to restore the coach. he coach
In preparation for the 4th Annual Work Week Carriage No 216 was moved into the shed at Llwyfan Cerrig and all the tools materials and equipment followed it. The aim was to extend our annual work week into a fortnight and on average 3 or 4 people worked every day. Some of the team deciding that a light hearted (no smiles in the 1890s) moment should be recorded before the real work starts
Some of the materials had been sourced over the last few months, picture frames had been made, glass ordered and photographs chosen from The John Thomas’ Photographic Collection housed in the National Library of Wales. These are now exhibited in the coach by permission of
Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru / The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.
For further details – http://www.llgc.org.uk.
John Thomas was a pioneering Welsh photographer, originally from Cardiganshire, who established the Cambrian Gallery in Liverpool in 1867. He traveled widely throughout Wales during the period 1870-1890 and took landscapes, townscapes and portraits. Many of his landscapes and townscapes are similar to the views originally displayed in the coach and we spent many hours searching the collection for suitable pictures. Around 4,500 of John Thomas’ original glass plate negatives survive and have now been digitised. This fascinating collection can be viewed online at
The third photograph shows yet another part that was made recently. Eight of these running board brackets were fabricated and after drilling, bolted to the carriage under frame ready to fit the running boards
Work continued for a second week in August and every weekend. Much progress was made on making, attaching and painting missing beading. The new vacuum pipe was painted before being attached to the underside of the under frame with the “swan neck” part of the pipe fitted and bolted to the end walls.
The photographs show the new kerb beading that was machined to the same profile as the original. This was then screwed to the main frame of the coach, the screw heads were filled, sanded and then painted with primer and undercoat. Thankfully nearly all of the metal tread plated only required a sanding and painting.
For the inside the compartments seat legs were made. The wood recovered from old pews from a chapel of rest was cut to shape using an original as a template, then routered and primered. These were then fitted into square holes in the floor, married up to the seat front beam, screwed into place and the top portion trimmed of to suit. Although they look decorative they would have been useful to those boarding from low platforms as something to grab hold of.
In the last month work has concentrated on finally attaching the new steel panels to below the waist line. The steel panels are 1.6mm and are galvanised. They came in 8 foot x 4 foot and were cut to size to replace the original wooden panels which had either split or rotted.
After marking up screw holes, there were then countersunk using a pillar drill set accurately to avoid the drill bit going through. Once in position on the coach they were screwed with about 100 screws per panel. These were then filled and sanded before another undercoat was applied.
Inside the compartments work continued on the seats. Although originally this would have been made of 7/8” tongue and groove we decided to use 10mm plywood. This was screwed to the underside of the seat front beam and screwed into the top of a retaining piece of wood which had been bolted through the partition wall. To help the upholstery to breathe a few holes have been drilled in the ply.
All the twenty seat legs have been fitted and painted. The screws are countersunk and the top part of the leg will be covered in upholstery material as well as the seat front beam.
More missing beading has been made out of mahogany panels recovered from a Great Eastern Railway which we demolished near Haverfordwest a few years ago.
The surrounds for the picture frames were fitted to the partitions and varnished. The view frames were then inserted and again screwed into their final position.
Also delivered during this period were the seat bottoms which we trial fitted. Note the advert above the door but the missing mahogany planks for the door have yet to be attached.
To display coach No 216 at the Railway’s GWR day efforts were made to finish off some jobs and make the coach presentable. To try and finish the vacuum brake system the vacuum release valve .bar and “butterfly assemblies were attached and painted. The coach was rolled out into the yard where you can see the vacuum pipe on the end wall. Not all the painting was completed, the running boards are still in undercoat and there is still more beading and the door handles to attach.
TVR 220/GWR 3846 made an appearance on the GWR Days attached to a GWR Toad and Austerity Class locomotive “Haulwen” trying to represent something like a miner’s train.
216 showing the attached running boards note the cut out on the lower board to fit around and allow access to the axle box.
As part of the GWR Days engine No 4566 was hired from the Severn Valley Railway. Whilst it was here the opportunity was taken to pair the engine with our two vintage carriages for a photographic charter. The Autumn leaves were just changing colours and the sight of a GWR engine (built in 1924) and 220 (withdrawn in 1926) and 216 (withdrawn in 1933) along with a few goods vehicles could in one’s imagination have occurred in the past. It gives one an idea of what the scene could be like with a few more four-wheeled carriages in tow.