In addition to our fleet of locomotives we have also owned an LMS Brake Van for quite a few years, which needed some running repairs the other weekend. It seems almost as a tribute to the last days of Jeremy Clarkson on 'Top Gear' we decided to make replacing one of the original 70 year old rotten timber buffer spacers as eventful as possible.
CJ and Rob found a suitable piece of hardwood, which was cut to size by the carriage and wagon department at the Midland Railway Centre in exchange for a donation, after two cups of tea they returned with the wood cut to size
A bit of drilling and chiseling to shape followed to get it flush, then we were faced with the problem of moving the van to get the forklift in position to lift the buffer. If you haven't got a shunter, but can easily get a Land Rover the answer is obvious, after all Rob's previous one had moved a 20. A couple of chains connected the tow bar to the van and we were away, making sure we had someone inside to put the brake on the van and stop it running away.
The buffer was then lifted into place on the forks, the original bolts lined up easy we thought, however to get enough clear thread to engage the bolts the buffer needed to be under tension. No matter how hard we tried pushing with the forklift truck, we couldn't get it tight enough, so we had to call it a day.
The following day we returned to the task, having to coupled the Brake van up we were able to pull it tight and and tighten the bolts. Job done finally.
If you fancy helping out on some really varied preservation jobs, you know who to contact !!!