Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 56 - Brakevan progress - 29 May 2005

Sunday 29/4/05 saw steady progress as all remaining fixtures were removed for safe keeping including the last 4 side panels. This leaves the brakevan resembling a skeleton (referred to by some as looking like a circus box car!). The remaining sides of the last bogie were de-scaled and the decks cleared in preparation for Monday's work. On Monday, after Castell Caernarfon had pulled out the first train, Conway Castle was used to pull the brakevan out into daylight. In fact this was the first bright sunshine since New Year for the B-wagons team. The oxy-acetylene torch was bought down from the South Yard and the defective floor sheets were systematically cut out in manageable chunks between the frame members revealing the good state of the frame!

RN_56_01 On Tuesday, again after Castell Caernarfon had left and as the second service was about to leave the shed, Conway Castle was used to bring the brakevan out again. The remaining unusable floor plates were removed but at the last minute volunteers decided to keep the floor plate under the brake column as once it had been removed it was found to be in reasonable condition except the last 8 " to the edge (as was found at the other end of the van).

As the gas axe was no longer needed and it was too hot for hitting/grinding metal outside in the afternoon, volunteers put the brakevan back in side in the shade and started to sand and grind the frame where necessary.

This southerly image(above), (2/6/05) shows Conway Castle with the Brake Van at the south end of the Carriage Shed. The van has been reduced to little more than a skeleton with a brake standard and wheel. Two corner stanchions are missing at the near end and the high arched piece of steel at the far end that the central stanchions are secured to. Click on the image to enlarge. This image is courtesy/copyright Marcus Ingram and was taken on a digital camera. Image post processed using iPhoto Plus4. Image displayed at 96dpi.

Wednesday was as busy as the first day with the frame being completely painted in its first coat of red oxide. The bogies were finished on all sides in black with springs picked out in yellow. There was even time to paint one of the steps yellow. Some of the immovable spot welds were ground and cut off the frames allowing these pieces of floor plate to be removed. This is the hardest and slowest part of removing the floor and still has a way to go.

The next job is to complete the cut away stanchions and replace the high arched end piece at the Port end. The brakevan may be finished in time for September's SuperPower event for a demonstration freight but will be finished with simple side cladding. It is intended it be ready for operational use on the Phase 4 PW trains this November.

Report courtesy Barrie Hughes Welsh Highland Railway News site