The autocar: Work is now completed on the end, with Alan Chandler finishing this to a very high standard. An article on how he did this is in newsletter No. 20. We have done almost as much as we can on the autocar until the chassis returns from Loughborough in 2014, so most of our time is being spent on the autocoach.
The autocoach: Progress on the autocoach is rapid, with windows glazed, ends repanelled and roof canvassed. Work on the door droplights continues steadily. The approach of winter has now stopped painting and our attention is turning to replacing the doors and internal work. We have been fortunate to receive a grant of £6000 from the Ken Hoole Trust for the replacement of our doors, some of which were in a very poor condition. This has paid for some new doors and these are ready to be fitted. If you can help with restoration, do please contact us. The more skilled volunteers we have working on this project, the higher the standard of restoration will be.
Engineering: Since the engine housing was delivered to our workshop in March, Dave Moore and Peter Van Houten have been working on fitting the ancillary equipment in the empty spaces in the housing. There are spaces at both ends of the housing, so we are splitting the equipment, with the high voltage gear at one end (rectifiers, contactors, reverser etc.) and the low voltage electronic control racks at the other. Having agreed the layout for each section, Peter then draws the various mounting brackets and arranges for Adeys to make them. When painted, Peter fits the components to check everything is OK, all the time trying to keep ahead of Adey’s needs for the next set of drawings. The HV end is partly cabled up, and design of the mounting brackets for the electronic racks and other equipment in the LV end is proceeding apace. Some of the external doors have been hung (these are removable to allow access for maintenance), and the fire resistant glazing units have been delivered ready for fitting. The unpowered bogie from the autocar has been overhauled at Boston Lodge on the Ffestiniog Railway and two lifeguards fitted. We are looking for a volunteer to help at Loughborough – the ideal person would be an apprentice trained Fitter or Electrician, but someone with a background in car maintenance, plumbing or similar could be just as useful. If you live in the East Midlands and would be willing to volunteer say, one day a week at Loughborough, we would love to hear from you.
An extensive shunt at Embsay station, where the restoration is based, allowed the pair to be seen next to each other outside the restoration shed for the first time. Before entering the shed, they had been stored separately, under heavy, overall, tarpaulins. Inside the shed, space and angles are limited and photography difficult.
As can be seen, restoration is in progress on both vehicles. The NER 1903 Autocar Trust was fortunate to obtain three grants, including one of £465,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. These have allowed rapid restoration and the autocar and trailer are expected to be operational by 2015.