Since the last slate waggon progress update there has been much activity at Boston Lodge. The two ‘new’ waggons which were reported on previously have now had new floors fitted and bodywork fully rebuilt, all riveting was carried out and they were sent away for grit blasting along with an LNWR waggon which received attention earlier in the year. Two 2-ton FR slate waggons and a long slab waggon returned from there and received 2 coats of paint on top of the initial primer applied following blasting. Both 2-tonners now await numbers and new wheelsets before they can be commissioned.

An old bobbin from a wooden slate waggon was found recently. It carries a very fetching shade of dark red so we have selected a similar shade to paint a few vehicles in. We hope that the old paint can be carbon dated to find out if it is truly an old company colour. The long slab waggon, No. 20, looks very fetching in this livery. It has received the wooden batons which the slabs would have rested on, new couplings and is sat on new wheels.

3 'new' waggons, 114, 322 & 20, ready to roll - © W. High316 with new floor and paint job - © W. HighBrake work on LMS 284503 - © W. High

On the subject of new wheelsets, the first CNC machined axles arrived, the wheel castings were bored out by the machine shop and pressed together using the wheel press borrowed from Tywyn. Knowing that the axle design was now proven the remainder of the axles were ordered and have arrived enabling the works to continue producing the 50 wheelsets the Society has funded.

Two 2-tonners have received cosmetic overhauls in preparation to be used as display waggons. The inside bearing wooden slate waggon has been receiving some improvements; more substantial buffers have been fitted to lower the buffing height and protect the headstocks, new couplings, quarry allocation & at long last a number, 220. New buffers manufactured during the HLF program have been fitted to the iron bogie waggon. Two waggons from the train have had their loads (steel tanks) removed, repainted and reinstated and the slate packing around their sides improved.

Lots of new axles - © W. HighNew buffer fitted to the iron bogie waggon - © W. HighNew waggons await wheels - © W. High

A spare set of LNWR pattern brake gear has been fabricated for a future rebuild. It was decided this should be done now while the current set of components isn’t fitted to a vehicle as it is much easier to replicate something one can hold in their hand rather than crawling in the dirt under a waggon. This meant that at long last we could fit LMS 284503 with brake gear (or breakwork as referred to by the drawing office at Earlestown); this part of the restoration hadn’t been complete despite the fact this waggon started running in the train in September last year.

Another FR 2-tonner, 316 which had previously been failed from the train has received a new floor. We didn’t remove the bodywork on this waggon as it is in good condition, so the floor was cut in half, slid in to position through the sides and welded back together followed by riveting down. When the old floor was removed we noticed the spine was in a worse state of repair than first realised, so it was replaced with a new piece of ‘L’ section steel. This is interesting because we have not come across this pattern before, they have always been ‘T’ section or double head rail. The whole vehicle was also subject to a session of needle gunning, wire wheeling and painting, it now only awaits new wheels.

Old spine in 316 - © W. HighOverhauled tanks - © W. HighNew bodywork rivets on one of the 'new' Maenofferen waggons - © W. High

The ‘new’ waggons mentioned previously and the LNWR example returned from grit blasting towards the end of August to be painted, fitted with couplings and put on wheels. Nos. 114 & 322 as they have become are ready to run, but temporary wheelsets are currently under the LNWR waggon.

A short burst of progress ahead of the ‘Classic Ffestiniog’ weekend should see wheelset swaps under 5 vehicles, including those mentioned above, enabling them to also enter the operational fleet.

New buffer coupling arrangement on inside bearing slate waggon 220 - © W. HighUnderframe repairs on one of the 'new' Maenofferen waggons - © W. HighWith new floor and rebuilt bodywork, one of the 'new' Maenofferen waggons is turned over for underframe riveting - © W. High

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