7828 Restoration Diary

September 2009

The return of roof furniture

The return of roof furniture

© Dave Winter

On Tuesday I put a coat of the light undercoat on the south end, and made up a piece that was missing where the heater control attaches to the wall in the north saloon.

A rare monday visit to Peak Rail saw the deadly four taking on the roof of 7828. Once again this time the job was a little easier as the first coat had soaked in well and this one went on with ease with less paint used with the result that we were then able to continue on other jobs. Ben cycled to Darley to help with the platform, Harvey went back to the BG, Steve painted some of the iron work on the south end of 7828 and Trev gave the north end its first coat of under coat. A full days work completed, the paint store is looking a little bare but the coach has a distinctive glow all will be revealed at the AGM. See you there.

9mm ply side panels for above the tumblehome were measured up, cut to size and test fitted. The roof handrails were also fixed, with the aid of notes made when they were taken off. It's amazing how all the little features add so much to the overall appeance.

Contributors: Dave Winter, Trevor Riley, Michael Fearn.

August 2009

Brush, brush! The roof receives its undercoat.

Brush, brush! The roof receives its undercoat.

© Michael Fearn

Once again I travelled into the wilds of Derbyshire taking along my grandson Stephen and took up the same paint brush as before this time we were joined by friends Ben and Mike to attack the roof of 7828. First job was to flat down the surface then a quick cuppa before the onerous task of painting the roof from end to end without stopping. Flating took around an hour but the main course was started at 1145. After opening a large tin of paint two clambered onto the roof while the others did the sides and apart from stopping to replenish the paint pot, the job was finished at 1450 when a well earned dinner was taken. Overall a plesant time was had with banter and reminisces flowing so to the next time this job will soon be done.

Contributors: Trevor Riley.

June 2009

Armed with paint brushes Trevor and Stephen attacked both roof and sides and now over half the side is done and over a third of the roof is complete. It was good to be working in a sauna and a paint pot was top up with liberable amounts of sweat so if any one else fancies a go be my guest.

Since the colder, wetter season has passed sealing of the roof with a mixture of roofing compound and boiled linseed oil has commenced. The west side framework reconstruction has been completed, along with priming and undercoating, and the commencement of a top coat on the framework to help slow down any future rotting. Some ply has also been cut and primed in preparation for the panelling.

Contributors: Trevor Riley, Michael Fearn.

May 2009

A darker 'shed' of grey

A darker 'shed' of grey

© Michael Fearn

We made some good progress on 7828 today! John Mike and myself (or is it I?) set to with the brushes and the framework in now a darker shed of grey.

Contributors: Alan Taylor.

February 2009

Moisture over the winter has caused the roof boards to expand and squeeze the putty and filler out, now resembling a MK3 coach with the ridges along the length. We will need to wait until the warmer weather has dried the roof sufficiently before we continue with sealing and painting the roof. Meanwhile work continues on some of the remaining components for the side framework in preparation for the panelling of the west side.

January 2009

Making drain channels

Making drain channels

© Michael Fearn

Drain channels in the bottom stringer below the droplights were made, and excess material on the new frame sections was sanded with a belt sander.

December 2008

Old and new steel droplight catches

Old and new steel droplight catches

December has seen the delivery of plywood for panelling the sides, bringing a focus towards the completion of the framework on the west side of 7828. Additional materials recently received include steel strip for fabrication of new droplight catches, and a variety of screws and other fixings.

New and old steel droplight catches

New and old steel droplight catches

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Framework knees (right-angled gussets) have begun to be re-attached with coach screws into the upright and coach bolts through the bottom stringer.

A hardwood section profiled ready to fix to the bottom stringer is marked for positions of obstructions on the framwework, and also where screw pilot holes will be required.

October 2008

A milestone was achieved with the first stage in fitting of the new canvas. The Youtube video shows the steps involved

© Alan Taylor

Some of the tools and materials required on the day: Roof bonding compound (a.k.a. Yellow Peril!), Boiled linseed oil, Disposable coveralls, Disposable gloves, Paint scrapers, Tile adhesive spreaders and floats, Stirring stick, Wooden smoothing blocks, Hammer and Tacks.

The canvas had been previously left on the roof of the carroage for a few weeks to let it settle, an on the day was rolled back along its length to allow the adhesive spreading to begin.

After beginning to apply the adhesive, it became apparent that some thinning was required to increase the workability and spread it more efficiently.

The floats were found to be more efficient than the smaller tile adhesive spreaders.

Once the adhesive was evenly spread the canvas was positioned, rolled back and the wooden blocks used to squeeze any air bubbles and smooth any adhesive blobs out. The sides were pulled and tacked down at regular intervals.

April 2008

837 Mike Fearn

Unfortunately work slowed to a snails pace since the last report in July and so during December we reassessed the tasks required to restore 7828 and these have now been aligned with availablility and skills of the volunteers. The shed has been thoroughly cleaned, unnecessary equipment and stores removed. Additional workplaces, machines, lighting and space is now available in an attempt to advance project completion time. This reorganisation phase is complete and is producing better task completion times, satisfaction and interest for our volunteers which is a most important project ingredient.

832 Alan Taylor

831 John Leather

So what's physically happened to 7828 since December?

A team has been assigned to work mainly upon the roof and ends. The roof is essentially complete after much of it was replaced as reported earlier in the project. It has been sanded smooth ready for the canvas covering which will hopefully be in place this year. The team are now diligently filling in the gaps between adjacent roof boards and the hundreds of screwhead countersunk holes with a mixture of sealant and putty. This task is coming along well. On the ends, repairs have been made to framework, matchboarding and beading. Both ends have been painted with two coats of primer with re-filling inbetween. Fittings such as cast plates, footsteps and lighting connectors are now being replaced making the ends look physically complete once again. No attention to the corridor conncections has been undertaken as we feel that these do not require removal. The only matter to decide is whether we need to fit new face plates and adaptors permitting connection to BR Mk1 types. Regarding the interface of the ends and the roof canvas we found that the existing curved and shaped clamping strips at each end needed to be replaced. New ones will have to be manufactured and steam bent to the correct profile We already have experience of this process as it was also required for the coach roof reconstruction. Also requiring new manufacture are the rainstrips, which are incomplete. So there is some work still to do above eye level.

830 John Leather

The internal ceiling framework (consisting pieces of wood attached internally to the roof boards and to support the ceiling panels) has been the domain of another team and this has involved the manufacture of quite a number of new curved and shaped sections, including cable trunking, vent and light bases. This material has been installed ensuring that all the ceiling panels will fit to the correct ceiling profile. This may seem an easy job but many hours have been spent manufaturing, sanding, planing, fitting and securing the dozens of wooden sections. All undertaken from a set of steps whilst working overhead, not the most pleasant working position at the best of times.

833 Alan Taylor

The finishing team are busy stripping the removed internal panels from the 'west' side of all their teak coloured varnish applied during 7828's period at the Derby carriage works in the 1980s. Two of our lady voluteers are undertaking this task as much diligence is required! New bench space and tools have been provided especially for this task. Progress here is also going well, each part being labelled up as we go along. Some internal panelling has unfortunately not survived the ingress of water, so these will have to be replaced later. However at the moment all our woodworking skills are being employed on repairing and manufacturing new framework, panels and beading for the stripped 'west' side.

835 Mike Fearn

Which brings us on to the final team working on the coach sides. Initially we were trying to retain the maximium of the original external fabric as possible if it was not completely rotten. In hindsight this was the wrong decision. Further investigations revealed that all the panelling material had to be removed in order to expose the parlous state of the basic teak framework along the 'west' side (we think the 'east' side may be a little better). The framework and bottom rail (stringer) had been badly affected by ingress of water and resulting fungal growth as found earlier in the roof. Areas for removal were identified, cut out (which has resulted in the bodyside requiring propping at cantrail level), all old screws removed and holes filled with teak plugs. Existing framework was repaired/patched where possible, but a small proportion had to be completely replaced with new sections made from iroko and utile hardwoods.

834 Mike Fearn

836 Mike Fearn

Work since December has involved measuring up and making templates for the numerous different sections required. Then obtaining the hardwood required in the right sizes, marking out it and finishing with saw, router, mortiser and fitting finally to the bodyside using hand chisels. All this replacement framework is now manufactured and 'dry' fitted to the side and now awaits gluing and/or screwing into place. We are using polystyrene glue and stainless steel screws for this purpose giving a strong bond and no corrosion problems for future years. To give an idea, of the amount of wood removed, three quarters of the stringer between the doors has had to be cut away as far as the back face of the tenons, this was all done by hand with chisels and as there were also copious numbers of rusted in screws and nails to remove at the same time, sharpening of same has now become second nature to some!

829 John Leather

So now we await the arrival of materials to begin reinstatement of the 'west' side framework and stringer together with plywood for replacement bodyside panels. Once these materials arrive we will see more progress.

838 Mike Fearn

839 Mike Fearn

July 2007

Photograph 828: Harvey Coppock

LMS TO 7828 is having new components machined for the miriad bits of timber that are screwed to the inside of the roof, to carry cables, anchor lighting, ceiling panels, and so on. Externally work has also been started on the removal of the lower beading and the plywood paneling that was fitted in the 1980s, and is now rotten in places, can be removed. Some of the upper areas where both panelling and beading are sound are being cleaned up, with a view to preserving these areas. Underneath, the wooden body framework is basically sound but requires some attention due to water ingress and removal of hundreds of rusty screws and pins, repair of the holes and final cleaning. Some parts of the frame require some repair, due to rot, and some sections have already been let in, some missing sections are being remade from Teak. The worst of the knee irons have been removed, and repaired or replaced, painted, and bolted back on. New beading has been manufactured and fitted to the corners, and new boxes for the RCH through lighting control cables have been made. In preparation for the making of the new wooden beading on the sides of the coach, a number of jigs have been designed and constructed. These will enable us to make the various shapes of beading required much more quickly and to a consistent quality. The jigs enable near size blanks to be secured whilst the edges are formed to size with a router. We should be able to get a production run going, which will speed up the manufacture of the considerable lengths of beading required.

February 2007

Photograph 820: Harvey Coppock

The coach was moved out of the shed for the whole roof surface to be sanded, so it was a bit more of a curve across its surface, and to clear some remaining bits of old compound. A new section of timber has been let into the end of the bottom rail at no2 end. Some of the side panelling and beading has been removed from the first side, to allow frame repairs to start.

December 2006

Photograph 824: Harvey Coppock

Roof board fitting was completed, the final bottom boards being planed down to fit snugly. Their edges were bevelled off slightly also, to facilitate sanding. The ends were sanded to a line a bit more accurately, and curved over top and bottom. The roof tank was drained at last, with several alarming leaks from the 1980s plumbing work.

August 2006

Photograph 822: Harvey Coppock

Roof board fitting was started. There was some discussion about which way up to fit the boards, as the new boards appear to have curved away from the centre of the tree, but the old ones towards! Ratchet straps were used to pull the boards up tightly so they were in the same place as the originals. Some good existing boards are being refitted, and these have been used where indicated on the plan. The boards screw down from the top into the wooden roof sticks, and up from below through the steel roof sticks. That's a lot of screws!

June 2006

Photograph 821: Harvey Coppock

Remaining bits of ceiling, and ceiling securing pins have been removed. The water tank has been lagged, and filled with water to test, as its more accessible with no roof in place. The remaining coach end fittings - passenger communication gear and so on have been stripped off, and the minor bits of damage to the end boards have been repaired. Some new sections of beading have been machined for the ends, and fitted. No1 end has been sanded up, filled and primed. At No2 end the bottom rail is split at the end at one side, and needs repair before the beading is refitted.

March 2006

Photograph 823: Harvey Coppock

All the metal roof hoops have been cleaned down and repainted. The bolts that secure them were nipped up slightly. Remnants of screws in the cant rails have been removed, and some small bit lets into the ends, before they were treated with wood preservative. Some curved sections of timber have been cut to repair the mouldings that sit at the top of the coach ends, under the overhang of the roof boards. The existing good roof sticks have been cleaned up and treated with wood preservative, and these are now being refitted. Those that were damaged are being replaced.. Some sections of green ash were purchased, and we have steam bent these. A steamer was made from a couple of lengths of large bore cast iron drainpipe. These were supported on trestles, and lagged well. A steam cleaner, and a wallpaper stripper were borrowed as sources of steam; the timber was then left inside for a couple of hours. A spare steel roof hoop was used as a former, with as many clamps as we would find. Ideally we would have fabricated a former with a slightly tighter diameter, but the difference was negligible, and these wooden hoop screw to the steel ones anyway, which therefore give the actual roof shape. Results were acceptable, although we could probably do better next time. It was discovered - predictably - that the wood soon cools down. Also, though, that if it is rushed too much into the new profile the timber fibres tend to part company with their neighbours, and the wood splits, its almost as if you have to be a bit patient while it gets the hang of bending into its new shape. Also any knot in the timber make a weak point at which it will easily break, which is also predictable, I guess! The new roof sticks were then screwed in place. The good end of the coach roof has been left intact, and new boards will be interleaved with these existing ones. The joints in the roof boards are staggered, so at any one joint only every other roof board is jointed. The roof sticks at these joints are wider than normal; these were mahogany, and all in good condition, unlike many of the others. Some adjustments have had to be made to the position of these joint roof sticks, as the original boards were up to 23 ' 9" long, which is no longer obtainable. Therefore an additional joint has been made, so there are now 4 boards along the length of the roof, and not 3.

January 2006

804: John Leather

805: John Leather

Roof dismantling finally reached an end, and it can only look better from now on. The seemingly logic-less jigsaw puzzle that defined the arrangement and spacing of the iron roof hoops, the three different types of wooden roof hoops, and the various other bits if timber, has been mapped out by John with all parts removed labelled so they, or their replacements, can go back from where they came. Some slight alterations have been made to the plan, as timber in the longest lengths required is no longer available, so the position of one of the staggered joints of the roof boards is moving. The steelwork in the roof has now all been cleaned up and given several coats of paint. Existing old screws in the cantrails (the timber framework member behind the gutter) have been removed. Fortunately this is in good order, compared to the condition that other areas of the roof were in. The cleaning and painting of roof top components continues. Materials for the roof repair that John has sourced and the NRM are funding are starting to arrive, so preparations are in hand to steam bend the green ash for the 4 replacement wood roof hoops whilst the ash is still green.

October 2004

Fittings have been stripped off the ends of the coach, and catalogued. Somewhat intriguingly, it was discovered that one end handrail had a slightly non LMS appearance, this has been identified as a Mk2 interior guards door handrail! Fortunately we have many LMS straight end handrails in stock...

Other Mk2 components have been discovered. The toilet compartment panels were temporarily removed at one end to facilitate roof removal, exposing a toilet water heater. This looked to have been newly re-plumbed, and a very nice job they had made also, as it is somewhat complicated, it was thought that this must have been some of the work undertaken in the 1980s. But the heater had no connection for steam inlet, or a condensate drain, but did have some 24V electrical connections. This makes this a Mk2 component also, as these were the only coaches that had heat exchangers like this, there is no steam connection as the Pressure Ventilation unit is a long way away on the coach, making pipe work just for this somewhat impracticable. To prevent the heater from flattening the batteries in a Mk2 the system is wired to the alternator so it only switches in as the voltage rises when the coach is moving. This is somewhat impracticable for 7828 as the rest of this system does not exist, so it is likely that we will leave well alone, and survive with cold water only.

The end boards have been treated and splits filled/glued as appropriate, with a view to retaining this timber.

One of the LMS charging sockets has a missing cover, these appear to be the same as a cover for an air connection on BR air braked stock, so one of these has been obtained. A replacement for the missing dynamo cover has also been obtained, and cleaned up and painted, this was somewhat smaller than the usual BR type.

With the replacement materials for the roof and ends now identified, quotes are being sought for timber, mastic, fasteners, paint and so on, and experience and equipment obtained for the job (including two lengths of large bore cast iron pipe which are reputedly to make a steamer to bend roof sticks... anyone got any wallpaper strippers?)

March 2004

All removed roof parts have been removed, catalogued and labelled. Some of these have been cleaned up ready for re-use. The sound sections of roof have had the remains of the canvas bedding compound removed. This was a remnant of an earlier roof covering; in the 1980s restoration the roof had been covered with the plastic type of roof sheet as used by BR on box vans in later years (it even featured the barbed wire logo embossed in the surface - as does the material used to make the blinds, but is is very small).

The rotten areas of roof boards and roof sticks are now being removed, and plans made for replacement. The boards are tongue and grooved, with tongues pointing towards the centre as normal for any damp to run out, and a board with two grooves as a 'keystone' in the centre. They are jointed in a couple of places, these joints being staggered every other board. This does pose some restrictions as to the areas that can be replaced, we would naturally like to replace just the damaged timber. It could be possible to slide some sections in, perhaps with a bit of lubrication, a strategy for replacement is currently being devised.

The logic of the pattern of roof sticks is also causing some head scratching, the structural ones are angle iron, with timber screwed to them to anchor the roof boards and ceiling panels. Wider mahogany hardwood roof sticks appear where there is a roof board joint, others are softwood, a couple appear to be oak, some carry cables, some only extend apart way up the roof.

February 2004

We continued removing guttering and roof fittings. Sound sections of gutter were cleaned up. Rotten roof boards were starting to become somewhat evident! Mouldings also removed at the top of the end panels to allow 'canvas' removal. Also removed were the various toilet tank fittings, and roof top grab handles. How well Peak Rail guards cope with having to climb on a roof to fill up the tanks with water remains to be seen!

January 2004

Work started on removing the guttering, rainstrips, roof vents and other roof fittings. The gutters were secured by steel screws, no doubt new in early 1980s but now very rusty and difficult to extract. The plastic roof covering was secured with upholstery tacks, a start was made on removing these and the roof covering, and cleaning up the surface of the boards. All parts removed were labelled up and catalogued.

17th January 2004

Photograph 784: Harvey Coppock

7828 entered the shed!

December 2003

Interior fitting removal continued.

November 2003

Efforts continued removing interior fittings for storage. The remaining pins were pulled out of the quarter panels, debris was vacuumed out of them, then they were boxed up into 'OK', and 'Require attention'.

October 2003

Work commenced by removing the remaining interior fittings - table support brackets, light switches, heater covers etc. for safe storage. Also towards removing the luggage racks, to allow roof access. These were secured by steel screws and somewhat seized in. The quarter panels were removed also, these were unfortunately rotten in places from damp ingress. All parts were catalogued on Alison's laptop.

Coach Background

Photograph 781: National Railway Museum

7828 was an early LMS third open coach, built at Derby Works in 1925, to a design little modified from Midland Railway days.

Photograph 782: National Railway Museum

It seats 56 passengers in two saloons, with a toilet and luggage shelves at each end. These are termed 'twin window' coaches, as each seating bay has two windows, one is fixed, one a 'droplight', similar to the window that can be 'dropped' in a door.

Photograph 785: National Railway Museum

7828 was withdrawn from passenger use in 1962 but gained a further lease of life as part of the London Midland Region mobile control train, assembled to control and administer the country in the event of disaster. With the end of the Cold War it passed to the National Railway Museum in 1980. In conjunction with two other, similar vehicles, restoration was then started by apprentices at Derby Carriage and Wagon works with the intention of assembling a joint LMS/LNER main line set. Work completed at this time included some to the bogies and underframe, a rewire, and parts of the heating system were replaced. The interior was stripped and revarnished, reupholstered, and new linoleum fitted. The exterior panelling was repaired, and painted up to primer. The roof was recovered with the plastic type material used on box vans. With the introduction of the ban on further wooden framed coaches being registered for main line running, the restoration was halted with the work partially completed.

Photograph 783: Alan Taylor

The LMSCA has undertaken to complete this restoration. With almost 20 years of storage since the earlier work the existing condition of the vehicle has suffered slightly. The plastic roof covering has not been watertight, and substantial rot exists in the softwood roof structure. The lino has lifted, and the upholstery has rotted in places. The interior varnish has blown slightly. The exterior panelling and beading is damp damaged. NRM volunteers have removed the seating and tables, and some interior fittings for storage. They have also removed the damaged ceiling panels.