LNER 20T Brake van E246710
IF this wagon has been an aircraft, it would be nicknamed a ‘hanger queen’ in view of the length of time that it has been under cover at New Bridge yard either in the throes of a spasmodic overhaul or awaiting its turn in the queue. E246710 was the infant NYMR’s first proper conventional brake van when it was delivered in early 1973. It quickly became a favourite in view of its comfortable and commodious cabin, its efficient stove and its very effective handbrake system.
As well as being used on Engineers works trains, it was also paired with suburban vehicles to form the NYMR’s second rake of passenger coaches when no other passenger brake vehicle was available. Other uses over the years have included the carriage of hounds for the Goathland Hunt (yes honestly), to house a generator as part of the NYMR disco special train and as a site hut during extensive track relaying at amongst other locations, Green End and Levisham. All this took its toll and despite an interim overhaul by Pickering C& W in 1982 when the roof felt was replaced and some attention paid to rotten bodywork, eventually time caught up with it. It was withdrawn by 2006 awaiting transfer to the NRM, by then the vehicle’s owner following transfer from it’s original purchaser, the Hexham Rolling Stock Group.
A realisation that the Engineers trains on the NYMR would operate more efficiently with a brake van at each end of the train formation, saw an ongoing requirement for this vehicle and the NRM thus agreed to its continued operation on the line. So, in early 2007 a start was made on refurbishment. Most of the bodywork tongue and groove boarding, particularly at the ends, was beyond repair and virtually all the veranda screen and bodywork corner posts required major surgery.
PW dept volunteer, Alastair Dalton, was on ‘light duties’ only at this time so used this time away from track work, to do the initial strippng-out of the saloon and burning- off of what was left of the paintwork. Major surgery carried out at the same time by Nick Hutchinson our ace welder consisted of total replacement of both metal end platforms and a substantial rebuilding of one guard’s ducket. Some framework repairs were undertaken Bryan Blundell skilfully making new supports out of hardwood sleeper off cuts and splicing them into the existing timber. Some bodywork preparation and painting in primer and undercoat was also carried out in 2007.
Priorities changed in 2008 and the urgent need to refurbish a GRAMPUS wagon and undertake a complete bodywork overhaul on our SHARK ballast brake, caused 246710 to be shunted to the back of the shed, serving as a general depository for our timber supplies at this time. Completion of work on these other vehicles in Spring 2010 saw the spotlight fall back on 246710, the work becoming more urgent as our other brake van B955225 is itself becoming in need of extensive bodywork repairs. Work on 955225 included a quick patch up of leaking windows and new footboards to keep it in traffic temporarily as we realised we could complete 246710 in less time, to take it’s place.
So far in 2010 we have almost completed the bodywork timber repairs, removed and replaced a failed concrete floor at the north end after carrying out structural metalwork repairs and repaired all the corner posts. Gloss painting in freight brown livery (1964 style as applied at the last overhaul by Shildon Works) is well underway. We are planning for a Spring 2011 return to traffic. We know that the full time staff of the PW Department are eagerly awaiting it’ return to service.
Before that time we have to complete a full repaint of the interior, attend to numerous fitting jobs, refit LNER patter ventilation cowls and rain strips, replace all the footboards and complete the bodywork tongue and groove boarding on the north east corner.
In use with the Q7 and a train of hoppers 5th October 1991
Strip down of body timbers in progress.
The state of the doorway timbers was almost non existant in places. All 4 corner posts and sills have had new timber inserted
Gradually the bodywork progresses and paint is applied, plus the odd dollop of filler.