4601 in green undercoat in the shed, September 2015 (Martin Lawrence)
In August, with all but the floor timbers removed, the van was shunted outside and down the yard to allow the steel framework to be grit
blasted by a contractor.
Left: The framework of the van prior to grit blasting (Martin Lawrence). Middle: Gritblasting in progress (Sheina Foulkes).
Right: The blasting produces a clean "silvery" surface (Martin Skrzetuszewski)
4601 was then returned to position inside the carriage shed where all of the cleaned steelwork was treated with anti-rust solution before
painting up to undercoat. The two curb rails which had been removed prior to grit blasting were fixed back in position on top of the
sole bars. There was a significant amount of rust build-up between these and the top of the sole bars each side. The rails were cut into
manageable sections and bolted in place using mastic strip on top of the sole bars to help prevent water ingress in the future. The sections
were then welded back together.
4601 in primer and grey undercoat (Sheina Foulkes)
A template was made from a set of the original roof sticks and new ones were machined by our timber supplier. These were trimmed to fit and
bolted to the metal roof hoops.
The long side hardwood planks which run between the two sets of doors on each side have been repaired. To obtain replacements of this length
these days would be extremely difficult. The rest of the planking will be machined from utile: the planks for one side are now on order.
The replacement roof sheets and their connecting straps have been ordered. The sheets are with a contractor for the rolling process and are
expected to arrive shortly.
The floor is being removed and replaced gradually so that there is still sufficient floor to stand on to allow other work on the van to
continue. The original floor comprised conventional style boards which were laid across the width of the van, and an extra layer of one inch
thick boards was laid longitudinally on top of these, presumably when the van was designated for use as an elephant van. Contrary to previous
reports for these vans, there was no steel reinforcing floor. The original floor is removed using a circular saw, and once the timber is
removed, the securing bolts are cut off and the top of the exposed underframe is cleaned off. This is then painted up to top coat for
protection before the new boards are shaped to fit, painted up to top coat, and then bolted into place. Much of the painting of the new floor
boards has been achieved by members of the 9F Club - we are very grateful for their help.
The design of the interior is progressing, with the assistance of a professional designer. A small team is spearheading this aspect with the
aim of distilling our many ideas into a workable scheme.
Right: 4601, mainly in grey undercoat. One of the curb rails is in situ while the other, painted green, is ready for refitting
4601 inside the C&W workshop, May 2015 (Martin Lawrence)
A full survey of the van has taken place, with a record of measurements and plenty of photos having been taken before any dismantling was
allowed to start.
9F Club members have scraped a lot of the loose rust off the underframe, and estimates are being sought from companies with regard to grit
blasting the van framework once the timber components have been removed.
The floor was found to have woodworm so has been treated with Cuprinol 5-Star. An investigation of a rotten part of the floor has shown it
to comprise two layers of timber boards which are separated by a sheet of what appears to be a bituminous material.
The roof sheets are being cut in half to make them manageable before removing from the van. There are discussions taking place on how we
can best replace the roof as its construction is not an easy one to replicate. It's important that it looks right, and there are a few ideas
After marking up, the various metal fittings such as door handles, grab handles, hasps and staples, and ventilation bonnets are being
removed. There is an on-going programme of cleaning off the paint and grit blasting these before painting them in Bonda primer. The glass has
been removed from the sidelights, together with the steel protective bars from the inside.
Three of the four sets of side doors have been dismantled and the planking stored. Work is progressing on the freeing up of the seized door
hinges on the sides and ends of the van.
Most of the nuts on the bolts securing the planking to the sides have actually undone cold with a spanner, and the rest will be cut off to
release the planks.