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Smartwater

September 2008

In summer 2008 the descision was taken to give 56182 a quick repaint and examine the air and vacuum system to allow it to be hauled by a diesel locomotive during a gala, recreating its days as a Sandite vehicle. The work was limited however and M56182 was returned to storage shortly afterwards to await full restoration.

March 2014

Several windows-worth of surrounding timberwork has been repaired, stripped of its old varnish, sanded right back and given an initial coat of varnish. This will be a long task with 18 windows to complete, each window having six separate components of varying shapes and sizes. However a reasonable start has been made with 2-3 windows having been completed, mainly from the first class saloon. It is hoped that the window woodwork in this saloon can be finished soon, which will involve 4 coats of varnish followed by wrapping in newspaper to protect from damp and UV rays while the components await the stage at the end of the restoration when fitting out of the interior commences.

June 2014

Workbench restoration of timber removed from the window surrounds continues. About half of the components have now been repaired where required and sanded back, all traces of old varnish having been removed. This process can be harder than it sounds as a variety of curves, shapes and corners can make both repair and access for stripping difficult. As Class 104 interiors are predominently wood, this part of the restoration is a major task due to the number of components involved, and so is expected to take several more months to complete. Once this main part of the process (stripping and sanding) is completed, is is expected that the application of varnish can start.

August 2014

The restoration of timber removed from the window surrounds has progressed steadily and quietly over the summer. Now, the large pieces from above the windows, the curved pieces from below the windows and the small trim that sits below the sliding lights have all now been completed: resplendant in four coats of varnish. These parts have been sealed in newspaper/plastic and are now in store until they are required inside the vehicle. The side pieces (two per window) as well as window woodwork from inside the toilet are now to be stripped, sanded, treated and revarnished.

Restoration of the gear controller has also advanced. This has been dismantled fully into its component parts and thoroughly cleaned. Siezed springs and rollers have been freed and electrical services cleaned. Some broken parts, mainly springs, have been replaced. The components now await reassembly, after which the controller should perform as new.

October 2014

The restoration of timber removed from the window surrounds continues to progress and is approaching completion. The pieces which go each side of the main windows (all 34 of them!) have all now been stripped, sanded, treated and revarnished (4 coats). The final window, from the toilet compatment, is also nearly there and is at the final, varnishing, stage.

With the woodwork task almost complete, attention has turned to cab components. The throttle controller, gear controller, speedometer, engine tachometer and handbrake have all been dismantled and overhauled where required and will have their visible parts shot blasted and powder-coat painted before being reassembled. Additionally other parts including the train "half light" switch, deadman's button, cab light switch, porcelain cab light surround and buzzer switch have been dismantled, cleaned up to their former glory and reassembled.

Work is currently focussing on restoration of the fibreglass housings which hold the four driver's gauges, which are quite dilapidated with corners missing, untidy holes drilled through them and thick paint overpainted.

January 2015

The restoration of timber removed from the window surrounds has finally been completed, the task taking a whole year! The toilet window is now completed which was the last piece in this particular puzzle.

As mentioned last time, the fibreglass “housings” which hold the cab gauges have seen a lot of fettling. Fibreglass has been added to strengthen them and remake snapped off corners. Large quantities of filler have been applied to recreate the mirror finish these parts had in the 1950’s when new. Eight covers which are part of the heater ducting system in the passenger saloons have also joined the cab parts, as they require very similar work. Due to other commitments elsewhere, progress has not been as rapid as it could be, and these parts have been progressed on an as-and-when basis.

One satisfying bonus was the refurbishment of the emergency brake valve from the cab desk. This item is easy to deal with and is bright red so provides a quick boost of morale to encourage further progress on more mundane parts.

February 2015

March 2015

On arrival at the railway M56182 was immediately sent to Holt sidings for storage, as there is currently no capacity in the yard at Weybourne to accommodate it. However work has continued on components in the meantime. The fibreglass housings which hold the cab gauges are now completed, resplendent in black satin. Other fibreglass parts including some heater duct covers and more covers inside the cab have been similarly treated and have made it to the undercoat stage. Other parts which have been overhauled are the passenger communication valves (they put the brakes on if a passenger pulls the emergency chord) and the saloon lighting control box. Both of these components live in the cab. The throttle/gear controllers are also progressing with the visible parts shot blasted and painted in a metallic paint. The saloon lights themselves have now been started and are in the process of being repaired (where their hinges have broken) and shot blasted of old paint/grime.

May 2015

Good progress has been made on removable components from the vehicle whilst is remains in storage awaiting space at Weybourne Works. Work has recently mainly focussed on the sliding interior doors, of which there are four. The first (which separates the cab from the passenger saloon) has been stripped down and the cab-facing side sanded, primed and painted in undercoat. The second door (which divides first and second class) is still awaiting attention. The third (toilet cubicle door) is the most advanced and has been stripped down, sanded, and given three coats of varnish. The final door (which goes at the rear over the corridor connection to the next vehicle) has also been stripped down, with the side facing outwards painted in primer and the side facing inwards coated with its first coat of varnish. Other components in the process of restoration have included the four jumper cables, which are now almost ready having been stripped down and repainted. They now are just waiting for the (Blue Square) coupling code to be painted on them and the retaining chains adding to them. Lastly, the 16 interior saloon lights have been stripped down, the hinges repaired where they had broken, and several coats of spray paint applied to return them to a shiny appearance. So far they have received three coats, with more to follow.

November 2015

The big news is that M56182 has been moved from storage into the yard at Weybourne where restoration on the vehicle itself can be progressed using the facilities available on site. Exterior restoration will start in earnest once the warmer weather begins in the spring; however preparation work has already begun in the form of the cab interior which requires stripping out to facilitate the heavy metalwork repairs. So far, all the panelling has been removed and the supporting timer work has been taken off the steel. The cab desk has been stripped of its fittings but the desk itself still requires removal. All six of the exterior doors have been removed from the vehicle and the first two (from the cab) stripped down to their component parts. The wooden frame of the driver’s door has now been repaired (it required a new section at the bottom) and all the mechanisms and components inside are in the process of cleaning/repairing. Other components from the exterior to be completed since the last update include the jumper cables, the speedometer generator, lighting contrl box cover and three corridor roof-access steps (removed in the 1960's after overhead electrification became widespread).

Several interior components from the stripped-out cab have been fully restored and stored awaiting the refitting process, the driver's half-height partition having been so treated. The Formica required considerable cleaning and a patch which was hidden from view needed cutting out to provide the Formica for a section on the front which had fallen away many years ago. A replacement BR ashtray was also sourced and cleaned up which adds a bit of bling! The “pelmet” cover for the cab-to-saloon door runner mechanism, the door pillar itself and the fibreglass covers for the two corners of the cab have all been sanded and repainted in cab grey. Controls from the desk that have been fully overhauled and repainted where required have included the throttle controller, the gear selector and the Air/Axle lighting panel. The windscreen wiper motors and driver's brake valve are currently the focus of attention.

Moving back from the cab into the passenger saloons, several aluminium kick plates from the bottom of the bulkhead partitions have been shot blasted and sprayed silver. More progress on the Saloon lighting for M56182 has seen the frames (featured last update) completed and 14 plastic mounting rings stripped of old paint and returned to their original condition. These will be fitted to the ceilings when it is time for the lights to be installed. Also for the ceilings are ten large BR marked plastic ventilator grills. Three out of the four interior sliding doors are also now complete, the doors having been stripped down and completely restored before reassembly. The toilet door was delayed as it was missing its door catch. A replacement found, it now awaits its time when it can be fitted to the toilet compartment. Also from the toilet compartment, the toilet seat and towel rack have received a full strip down and revarnish. Finally, some passenger door woodwork also joins the stack of revarnished components awaiting fittng.

November 2015

The restoration of the speedometer drive for M56182 has now been completed. All external casings have been dismantled and shot blasted followed by coats of silver paint. Some lettering has been picked out in black. The reinforced cable that joins the vehicle to the bogie had perished and has been replaced with new. The unit itself has been electrically tested (working OK) and it was discovered that it was half rewired at some point in its life. The areas of "new" wiring have been retained, however the remaining 50% that was original has now been replaced fully eliminating the 1960's "cotton" wiring - to hopefully ensure that this piece of equipment works well into the future. M56182 was unfortunately missing its driver's brake valve when it entered preservation, and we as a group are short of these components when it comes to spares. Consequently, there were no good-condition valves available for use on M56182, so a scratch example has been made up out of worn bits set aside in the stores. After overhaul work however we hope to have a good valve once again. The first stage has been to surface grind the cast-iron base plate which is required to remove the uneven wear that causes leaks and problems with controlling the vacuum brakes accurately. Correctly machined, this should give this valve a new lease of life.

December 2015

A fresh batch of aluminium kick plates and grills have been shot blasted and sprayed silver for M56182. Any spectators were as high as a kite by the time these had received their four coats!

January 2016

After a multitude of setbacks and challenges, the two windscreen wiper air operated motors from M56182 have been completed and tested successfully after overhaul. They will now be stored safely until the cab is reconstructed and the wipers can be fitted. Door reconstruction work continues into the New Year. Two "droplight" (opening) windows from the cab doors have been taken apart, cleaned and reassembled. The difference before and after cleaning is quite apparent! New stainless steel plates are being added to the wooden door frames, to receive the bolts which hold the three hinges in place. The original examples were made of normal steel and had corroded quite badly. Each one (there are 18) has been cut out of flat bar, six holes drilled accurately and finally four of them tapped out to take the bolts. So far four (of a total of six) doors have been fully stripped down to their component parts, and three have also received all their framework repairs and are now repainted and ready to build back up again. The steel exterior door skins are yet to be tackled.

March 2016

The winter project of M56182's door reconstruction has reached a small milestone, with the fifth door (of a total of six) being completed to the stage where it is a fully restored kit of components ready for reassembly. Only one more to go and then a start can be made on repairs to the pressed steel outer skins. New switch panels have also arrived for M56182's driver's desk. These have been manufactured by John Walton Engraving, and are faithful recreations of the original panels fitted to Class 104's during the 1950's. These black "Traffolyte" panels were all replaced during the 1970's with modified aluminium versions, which is what is currently fitted to all of the preserved Class 104's. A new black sheet of "Formica" has also arrived, ready for covering the replacement cab desk. Both of these components will be used in the reconstruction of M56182's cab, hopefully later this year. Another component currently removed from M56182's cab has been fully refurbished and is now ready for refitting at the appropriate time. This is the vacuum brake "automatic feed valve", located centrally underneath the driver's desk and responsible for regulating the vacuum brake.

April 2016

The front end of M56182 has been un-sheeted for the first time in several years to assess the body repairs that will be required to the front third of the vehicle later this year. It is mixed results with some severe corrosion being discovered throughout the cab end of the vehicle, and worse-than-expected body distortion in the lower half of the Secondman's side. However the good news is that most of Driver's side of the First Class saloon is intact, and the body above waist height along both sides also appears to be in sound condition. Once some more preparatory work is undertaken shortly, bodywork restoration will commence now that the lighter nights are with us. Now that M56182 is "under canvas" work has immediately started on it's bodywork restoration with the main bodyside windows on the Driver's side of the First Class saloon being removed - the start of a long process!

May 2016

Bank holiday weekend has seen good progress with the strip down of the first class saloon. At the end of the three days all glass has been removed from the side windows, including the opening sliding lights. All supporting aluminium and wooden trim from around these windows has also been removed for safe storage. This was followed by the removal of the departmental era seating and the aluminium panels which sit above the windows behind where the luggage racking was. The supporting woodwork for these and also for all the veneered side panelling was removed from the steel body to allow full inspection and repainting. All heater ducting was removed from the saloon, as was the lino floor covering, revealing the plywood below. Finally, a start was made on the driver's side door in the first passenger vestibule, with the hinges, protective rain strip and wooden door jamb removed to inspect the steel door pillar beneath. This was all achieved with the help of Paul Hughes and Michael Hughes who were welcomed onto their first working day on M56182. The two battery boxes have been removed (after a great deal of struggle!) as they are shortly being sent away for restoration off-site. Inside the First Class Saloon, the driver's side bodywork has been needle gunned to remove all loose paint and corrosion, which also has the added bonus of thoroughly testing the structure for strength. The steel which has survived the process will be repainted and retained, whilst that which has not shall either be strengthened or replaced depending on the severity of the rust.

January 2017

It's been quite some time since this page was updated, but work has been progressing constantly on M56182's restoration. The bodywork repairs to the secondman's side of the First Class saloon were completed during June and the interior panelling painted to protect it. The first class seat cushions were also dismantled ready for re-upholstery as we had an opportunity to have these completed at an advantageous rate. Sadly, this did not work out and they had to be returned to storage after only the cab seats had been done. The bulkhead between the first class and cab areas was also removed to allow access for bodywork repairs to the doorways. During July the underside of the roof was scraped back and repainted and all of the leaking roof vent holes were welded up and made watertight. The fibreglass cab roof dome was removed to allow repairs to the cab front to be undertaken. During August and September the secondman's doorway and cab corner, which were severely wasted, were repaired as well as the first part of the cab front itself. October saw the driver's side of the First Class saloon fully welded up and repainted on the inside. The rest of the cab front was also similarly treated. In November, the two cab front marker lights were fully restored and have been kept until they can be refitted. In December, the flooring under the cab desk was discovered to have corroded badly so had to be removed and cleaned up before a new floor was fitted during January.