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Carriage & Wagon Works News

GWR 5-plank Open Wagon No. 87782
A Veteran of the Great War!

Restoration Progress Report

Current situation - March 2022

The rebuilding of this wagon is currently on hold, for two reasons.

Firstly, when the ground behind the carriage works was cleared to build OP4, there was no space available to continue with the work on this wagon. Secondly, once work on wagons resumed under the auspices of the new Goods Division, it was obvious that it made sense (for reasons of project timescales, space, available engineering effort, and money) to concentrate on only one major wagon rebuild at a time (alongside quicker intermediate overhauls and repaints).

The reconstruction of SR Bulleid Wagon 12058 was chosen to be progressed, and consequently this project continues at present to be mothballed. We do hope to be able to return to this project at some point in the future.

Just to recap, the Bluebell Railway Trust has agreed to hold donations from individuals towards the restoration of this historic (albeit non-SR) wagon. All work is being undertaken by volunteer members of the BRPS. By September 2009 it was clear that we were more likely to raise the money for the project than not, so with a few hundred pounds in the kitty and work on LMS medium goods wagon 474558 drawing to a close, we requested that GWR 87782 be brought over to the down yard at Horsted Keynes so that we could commence work on it.

If you would like to support the work on this wagon, you can give to the Bluebell Railway Trust online using your credit or debit card, through the Charities Aid Foundation, which reclaims the Gift Aid on our behalf. To donate through this to the GW 87782 project, there is provision for adding a note to that effect.
If you donate directly to us, and give £25 or more and are a UK taxpayer, the Trust can recover the income tax you have paid on your donation if you complete a Gift Aid form. Gift Aid/Donation forms are available on-line here or from:

The Bluebell Railway Trust,
Sheffield Park Station,
Nr Uckfield,
East Sussex
TN22 3QL

Cheques payable to The Bluebell Railway Trust should also be sent to the same address. Please indicate that you wish your donation to be put towards the GW 87782 project.
Please note that to keep costs down acknowledgement of donations to the Trust will not be sent unless you include a stamped addressed envelope.

Thank you for your support,
Martin Skrzetuszewski and the Horsted Keynes Volunteer Wagon Gang.

October 2014

2014 has not been a good year for 87782's restoration, with illness and other projects reducing the number of man-hours spent on it. Despite this, the modified headstocks were test-refitted earlier in the year. Additionally, the inner headstock brackets (manufactured at Bristol Docks when the then new headstocks and Dowty buffers were fitted) have been marked up and chain-drilled to clear the large nuts on the back of the buffers (original circa 1911 GWR pattern) that we will be fitting.

The underframe was revisited during October, when it was discovered that the end of one solebar had splayed out, while that at the diagonally opposite corner had toe-ed in! The headstocks are now in the process of being bolted up in their correct orientations, so that the offending solebars can be returned to their correct positions.

drilling headstock bracket

Tom Simcock chain-drilling one of the headstock brackets on the radial drill in the C&W workshop at Horsted Keynes. David Chappell

July 2013

brackets in undercoat

The brackets shown in the April 2013 progress report were cut back and replacement sections made from new material by Dave Deeks and Martin Skrzetuszewski. All the welding, preparation and finishing was carried out by Andrew Breese. Here the brackets are shown in grey undercoat in the paint shop. The holes for the rivets will be drilled out when the brackets are in situ on the under frame.

painting wheel sets

On a hot summer afternoon, Ray Tanner is tidying up the paintwork on the wheel sets and sorting out any areas which have been missed. You can tell that it is hot, because Ray has removed his overcoat!

repaired w-iron

After protracted delays, a paid coded welder was brought in to repair the defects in the wagon underframe. The major cause for concern was one of the legs in one of the axleguards/w-irons, which had fractured through a rivet hole. This had to be welded and reinforced. A new rivet hole will need to be drilled and a longer rivet fitted.

repaired rivet hole

A rivet hole in another axleguard was fractured through one side only, so this could be repaired by welding alone.

GWR 87782 GWR 87782

Several other cracks and areas of wastage were also repaired.

other repairs

Photos by Martin Skrzetuszewski

May 2013


The old buffer holes in the two headstocks have had plugs welded in to fill them. New buffer holes and pilot holes for the rivets (which secure the brackets on the end of the diagonal members) have been marked out and drilled by John Coleman, Tom Simcock and Martin Skrzetuszewski. Here, John drills small pilot holes through the channel with an electric drill so that Tom can drill them through using the radial drill (on the right).


The rivets holding the GWR brackets on the original diagonals have had their heads ground off and the brackets have been removed. The Bristol Docks "alterations" can be seen. As the angle of the brackets is not 90 degrees, it may be more sensible to repair them rather than renew them, despite their apparent condition. The crack in the original GW diagonal member was probably caused by the members being forced over into new positions during repairs at Bristol. This has to be repaired by a coded welder; either one from Sheffield Park or a contractor and has to be funded from project funds.

Photos by Martin Skrzetuszewski

February 2013


The two headstocks were removed during 2012 and are shown here on the floor of the paintshop in the afternoon of 3rd February. One has being needle-gunned and primed by Paul Hailes and by the end of the evening, the second had been cleaned up and primed by him. At least eight of the old holes in each of them will need to be filled with plugs welded in. The plugs have been recently cut from round steel bar. More new holes will need to be drilled to fit the original-pattern buffers and re-positioned brackets for the diagonal underframe members (moved when Bristol Docks fitted the new headstocks and Dowty buffers). In addition, two larger holes will need to be cut in each headstock to accommodate the large nut on the back of each original GW buffer.

Photo by Martin Skrzetuszewski

November 2012


This photo taken in July 2012 by Martin Skrzetuszewski shows the two headstocks sitting on top of the under frame with an overhauled buffer casting being used as a template to determine where the new fixing holes need to be. The two existing holes to the left of the buffer will need to be plugged. Paul Hailes and Tom Simcock have progressively needle-gunned the underframe. Components which require repair or replacement have been removed. Tom, Martin Skrzetuszewski and Ray Tanner have primed and brought the frame up to topcoat.

July 2012

The drawgear components have been dismantled, allowing the headstocks to be removed. The drawgear components have been cleaned up and painted, ready for refitting. The headstocks are Bristol Docks replacements and are modified to fit the newer Dowty buffers that 87782 was fitted with when purchased. They are also bolted on (instead of being riveted, so they are fairly easy to remove once the drawgear is out.


While the axles have been ultrasonically tested and have been passed for running, the axleboxes have been needle-gunned and cleaned up and are shown being progressively painted up to topcoat inside the paint shop.


There are fractures in one leg each of two of the four axleguards ("W-irons" to some). These have been ground out by Eddie Carter to facilitate welding, which will have to be undertaken by a (paid) coded welder, probably from the workshop at Sheffield Park.

Photos by Martin Skrzetuszewski

May 2012


The GWR buffers from Washford have all been dismantled, the components cleaned up, painted and re-assembled, the finished buffers being put into store. This view shows the results of the work in progress. The short draw hook is from GW87782 but the red oxide coil springs are for the buffers on SECR567. One GW buffer has been kept in component form to use as a template when the headstocks are removed, welded up and re-drilled.


Paul Hailes has now needle-gunned the open-spoke wheel sets and the axle boxes show here. They have been primed and brought up to topcoat by Robert Macmillan, Tom Simcock, Martin Skrzetuszewski and Ray Tanner.

The brake gear components, which were removed when the wheel sets were released, have also been cleaned up and painted.

Photos by Martin Skrzetuszewski

May 2011

Early in May the wagon underframe was moved by Mark Hailes to a position nearer the workshop, allowing access to air and electricity supplies. The frame was subsequently lifted and the wheelsets were run out. This will allow the open-spoked wheels to be needle-gunned, together with parts of the underframe which were previously obstructed by the wheels. The two cracked axle-guards can be examined and repaired if possible. Once the 'continuous' drawgear has been dismantled the two headstocks can be removed for welding up and re-drilling to take original-pattern buffers. Additionally a number of the existing securing brackets will need to be replaced, as a result of holes being in the wrong place or having been badly gas cut oversize.

The similarity in design between this and the later SECR underframe for 567 is quite interesting. However, the more one looks at the frame, the more one finds things that need repair or replacement - not unexpected on a vehicle that will be 100 years old this year, and which has suffered several bodges during its career! It is therefore extremely unlikely that 87782 will be completed during 2011, but we expect to make significant progress. (MS).

GWR 87782

Photos by Martin Skrzetuszewski

September 2010

Work has been continuing on the buffer components. One remains to be dismantled.

The two non-GWR body end tees from 87782 (having been extended - again courtesy of Eddie Carter - to modify them to the correct GWR pattern) were trimmed to length on our mechanical hacksaw at HK and new holes were drilled using a broach bit mounted in our small radial drill (shown below). In order to ensure that the dimensions were correct an original GWR tee was bolted to the back of the modified tee and the holes drilled through.

GWR 87782

Photo by Martin Skrzetuszewski

May 2010

We were lucky enough to be informed by Ollie Holmes of the Avon Valley Railway of the existence of a set of four GWR buffers, of the correct pre-1915 pattern. These had been at Washford on the West Somerset Railway for some years. The Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust very kindly sold them to us and C&W members Paul Hailes and Robert MacMillan kindly collected them from Washford in their van. Tom Simcock, Robert and I started dismantling them, one by one.

GWR 87782

Photo by Ollie Holmes

Paul Hailes has been needle-gunning the buffer components. A member of the management remarked that he had never understood what went on at HK on Wednesday evenings until 10pm - well, this is one of the jobs that is best done outside normal working hours in order not to disturb too many people.

GWR 87782

Buffer casting after needle-gunning.

GWR 87782

The other component parts of the buffers.

GWR 87782

Robert MacMillan at work!

GWR 87782

The results of his work: two primed buffer castings.

GWR 87782

One needs a good sense of humour to spend an evening needle-gunning! Here is Paul Hailes grit-blasting some small components for another project after working on items for 87782.

GWR 87782

Tarpaulin rope cleats for 87782 removed from scrap sections of a tube wagon. These have been in stock since the early 1990s.

Photos by Martin Skrzetuszewski except where indicated

April 2010

Following a spell inside the carriage shed at the end of B-road, during which a fair amount of work was carried out, the underframe was moved to a spot outside the paint shop. Whilst inside the underframe had been needle-gunned, primed and some sections undercoated. Wasted sections of the top flange of the solebars were repaired by Eddie Carter and extraneous holes were filled in. Much of the brakegear was removed for overhaul. Some of the brakegear brackets and safety loops will need to be replaced.

GWR 87782 GWR 87782

GW 87782 outside the paint shop.

GWR 87782

Roger Barton's door pillars (with welding courtesy of Eddie Carter), almost complete, are now in primer.

GWR 87782

The existing GWR door hinges, which were cut short at Bristol Docks, have been lengthened and now await drilling. The other set (not shown) were non-GW and will have to be either modified or replaced with new.

GWR 87782

Eddie Carter has machined up some new brake pins and spacers from steel bar purchased with funds from our generous donors. The drawings for these were produced by Andy Prime.

Photos by Martin Skrzetuszewski

November 2009

At the end of October GW 87782 was moved outside the paint shop to allow easier access with air and electric tools. The first job was to finish removing the non-original door stanchion fittings on the east side, nearest the camera in the picture below. Needle gunning of the underframe then commenced with the nearest GWR OK 'F' axlebox and axleguard.

GWR 87782 GWR 87782

Upon cleaning up the axleguards, a stamping was observed 'GRC&WCo' which confirmed that this axleguard originated from the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company, the original builder of GW 87782. It is always nice to confirm which parts are original on vehicles of this age, and if there was any doubt about the original number of GW 87782, it was confirmed by a further stamping of the vehicle number on the left hand end of both solebars.

GWR 87782 GWR 87782

The final two pictures show the current progress of needle gunning and priming. Tom Simcock is shown cleaning up the solebar and I have indicated in this picture the position where the vehicle number is stamped into the solebar.

GWR 87782 GWR 87782

Photos by Andy Prime

October 2009

15th October saw the arrival of GW 87782 from the up yard at Horsted Keynes.

GWR 87782 GWR 87782

Photos by David Chappell

Over subsequent weekends all the old and rotten timber has been removed, several pieces being retained as patterns. The door pillars on one side and the end tees at one end (all Port of Bristol Authority repairs) have been removed and put into stock for modification to correct pattern or re-use on something more appropriate in the future.

September 2009

Since metrication and the diminishing of the British steel industry, many steel sections are no longer available. Two new door pillars will be made from these four end stanchion tees (probably from a BR tube or pipe wagon) which have been on site for at least 15 years - perhaps everything that looks like junk or scrap at Horsted Keynes is not so?

GWR 87782 Stanchions - Dave Clarke GWR 87782 Stanchions - Andy Prime

Roger Barton (a structural steelwork designer in a previous life!) is in charge of this job and is seen above preparing the replacement door pillars.

Photos by Dave Clarke (left) and Andy Prime (right)

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