After the prolonged cold snap it was great to have some “warm” weather at last. Well, it was above freezing, and that counts as warm at Loughborough at this time of year!
The warmer weather coincided with the Diesel Running Weekend for the GCR. One of the other diesels had failed so as well as the Peak having a day out as expected, the 33 was requested to fill in at short notice.
Because it was a Diesel Running Weekend 70013 wasn’t needed for service on the GCR. So she was outside the shed where the cleaners were giving her a lot of attention. Thanks guys!
This photo was taken at lunchtime, I would have taken another photo later in the day once she was shiny and the gang of cleaners had had time to work on the rest of her, not just the buffers, but as usual, by the time I had finished the work I was doing it was dark and too late to take photos. She has finally reverted to her real identity after a lot of painstakingly careful work to peel the other numbers off the cabside and it was good to see her as ‘Oliver Cromwell’ again after her Territorial Army career.
Cromwell wasn’t the only other 5305la vehicle to be receiving attention over the weekend: the area under the cab floor of 45305 is now fully painted and ready for whatever electronics Kevin needs to install, and the right-hand side of the front of the running board has another coat of grey applied. This doesn’t sound particularly thrilling, but steam locomotive restoration is like that; although the main objective is glamorous and exciting, the individual steps leading from the start to the finish are each minute, unglamorous and usually involve a lot of removal of dirt, grease, dust or rust, plenty of elbow grease and probably entail someone contorting themselves into an improbable position.
The support coach was also progressing at the weekend: the warmer weather meant that more paint could be applied under the centre of the body. Hugh had been watching the weather forecast all week and had picked the one warm-but-not-rainy day of the week to come to Loughborough and paint under the coach, carefully doing the bits nearest the edge first ready for the rain which was forecast to fall in the evening and overnight.
Gary has done a splendid job on the Buckeye at the south end of the coach. It’s a big heavy lump to work on and working outside the shed doesn’t help when you are man-handling big lumps of metal.
The buckeye started the weekend, as it has started every day for the last couple of weeks, on the concrete apron behind the shed, covered in layers of solid grease, dirt and general grime. By lunch time on Sunday it had been thoroughly cleaned, fettled, had its burrs filed off and was re-installed on the end of the coach.
In case you think that 5305LA volunteers are superhuman in strength, here's a clue to how one man managed to install a buckeye.
By Sunday evening it had been painted with red oxide primer and is well on the way to being ticked off on the ‘to do’ list. Gary also cleaned the vestibule end doors while he had the equipment to hand., so they have gone from black dirt to their proper orange plastic appearance. That’s not all; inside the coach the paint and varnish application continued with various pelmets, skirting boards and the sliding door between the corridor and the brake area receiving coats of either varnish or paint as appropriate.
Over the last couple of weeks there has been a fair amount of progress inside the coach, more seat bases installed (with modifications to upholstery as appropriate) and more wiring run. We are getting there.