JUSTINE and 1091 are out of traffic and now in winter storage. CHAKA was steamed early November for maintenance checks, but will also now be stored for the winter break. TOURSKA is having some routine work done at present.
Chaka newly lined out building up Steam. Photo W. Richards
The restoration and maintenance season is now well underway. Major changes are planned for carriages 1 and 2 of our three carriage set. In carriage 1, the old London bus seats have now been removed, as they were very much life expired. They are being replaced by wooden slatted side seating, which will considerably increase the passenger capacity – particularly useful on Thomas days. No doubt some passengers will miss the bus seats, which we jokingly referred to as 'first class.'
Carriage 2 is having the inward opening centre doors rehung on the outside of the body. The effect will be to widen the entrances making them easier of access for wheelchairs. The entry steps will also be altered for the same reason.
Work continues on the Apedale bogies, which have been totally stripped and are being renovated. They are intended for use under the Wembley carriage. Their history is not fully documented - it is recorded that they were at the BR Poppleton Nursery, York, before Apedale. The high quality of welding on the wagons points to construction in a professional works, we think they may have been assembled by apprentices, possibly BR ones, as part of their training.
Test runs have been conducted with the Simplex diesel and Trecwn carriage coupled together for the first time to ascertain the possibility of using the combination in push/pull mode on off-peak operating days.