Part 5 – More bodyworks

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New Year, new body…. January 2010

The iffy wintery weather of the Christmas and New Year period did cause havoc with most of the country, and indeed it did interfere with production in the Loco Works. Nothing was ‘snowed in’ or ‘inaccessible’, nor were there gripes to Management about not salting the roads… it was just too bloody cold to be stood on concrete floors and handling metal for very long!

Once the snow and wet had gone, some work was resumed but slowly and steadily for the cold was still there! As of New Year, we were waiting on parts from 4QD and from Dales so the only thing really to do was make sure that Criccieth had been brought up to the same stage as Harlech.

Work on the bodyshell began soon into the New Year.

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The bodyshell is self-supporting once spot-welded together, self-jigging tabs had been designed into the components. There are some steel framework parts involved in supporting the bonnets front and rear, and it is these you can see here bolted through the cab front and rear.

It didn’t take too long to assemble, and here is CC in all its wide-bonnet glory.

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One of the work days was spent making a second trolley, or pram as Mike calls it, for CC as it is now at the stage of being far too heavy to move on your own.

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The body had to come off again for the running board placement, these went on afterwards as there are holes drilled into these to help locate the bodyshell. There are pegs on the steel framework that locate into slots in the frames and ensure accurate positioning of the nose end.

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Work then moved to the bonnet framework. The stretchers were laser cut some time ago and slots designed into these to take the longways steel bars.

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All welded up nicely and tested in position

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The rear bonnet has one of the same design. These are made to lift in and out as required; the front one must be easy to remove as this is the only way to install the batteries! The rear bonnet is for access to the motor.

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Forming the bonnet was much simpler than for HC in that Mike had bought a 4ft sash cramp. The method was much the same. A piece of 0.9mm sheet was measured and cut to size and the bonnet framework positioned on it. The centre bar and inside of the outer bars, and all in between was spot welded to it – a tricky job as it is easy to blow through the thin sheeting, the method was to arc onto the framework and drag down and just momentarily touch the sheet.

This just left the forming of the curved edges – easy on the motor end bonnet as it was short enough and could be done by hand rolling before more spot-welding, but the longer curve of the nose bonnet required a more forceful method.

Two heavy pieces of angle iron and the sash cramp were employed. The curve was started off by hand and then the bonnet dropped between the two angle iron pieces, the cramp applied and carefully but firmly done up. It worked a treat, and was much easier than the frustrating method employing several G clamps and bits of angle and bar that was used for Harlech’s bonnet! So much easier, so fewer naughty words…

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All that was left to do was for more spot welds on the curved section to hold it in place.

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A couple of holes did blow through, but they were soon remedied using JB Weld as filler. A protective coat of primer was applied and CC looks a lot happier now it has a lid on!

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The pair of them out in the afternoon air.

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Harlech didn’t miss out on any attention, it had chance to model its shiny brass name and works plates.

Light at the end….? Late January 2010

With the wide bonnet Criccieth Castle well underway and the weather being so cold and wet that painting was impossible and handling too much cold metal was rather un-appealing, work turned towards making the light clusters for Criccieth. On the real loco, these seem to be the same type of sealed light units as seen on a Land Rover Series 3 or above, so some representations were to be made.

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These were turned from aluminium rod, the three components of the main headlight unit are seen above. The main body is pushed through the hole in the loco’s nose end and the bush applied from inside, behind that the fixing nut (custom made from steel hex bar) is put on and tightened, holding the whole assembly in place. These have been drilled to take 12v MES thread LED bulbs and their holders.

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The side lights are a simpler affair, just a body unit and a fixing nut on the rear. There is some skilled lathe work involved here to get the curves and profiles right, as well as skimming out the face just enough to get a tight push-fit on the lenses.

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The red version of the domed lens covers, test fitted in place. A spot of glue will hold these in for sure.

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The light units in place with the grilles offered up for checking proportions etc. We had no drawings for Criccieth, only Harlech, so its a case of comparing to photos and seeing what looks right.

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The new Bosch motors are offered a home in the loco’s rear bonnet end; this was again a test fit to ensure the rear of the light units didn’t interfere with the other internal equipment.

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As seen in the above photo, there were some bits of bolt and weld sticking out of Criccieth’s nose, so these were set to with the grinder.

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Around this time the second batch of parts from Dales had arrived, including the crankshaft balance weights, rod ends and the frames for a second Toad van driving trolley.

More toads on the bonnet – Early February 2010

With the arrival of a set of Toad van frames in the post, Mike quickly set to with assembling these. The axleboxes and wheels had been done at the same time as the first Toad van, so these were ready and waiting. The frame went together so quickly it was almost done before he remembered to take a photo!

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Brake shoes took the longest time to make, being cut and milled from cast iron block.

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The bodyshop sprung into action again, but as before this was a quick and easy exercise as it was all jigged up from the first set of parts.

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et voila! Two toads….

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It wasn’t long before everything got a spray coat of cream; the weather brightened up sufficiently for a gloss coat on both the DVTs as a temporary top coat, and on the locos to show up any lumps and bumps that needed attention. Mike’s DVT has the more utilitarian chequerplate footboards, which matches in with his other driving trolley.

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The weather then turned on us again, more cold rain and wind and work once again moved indoors. Cosmetic bits we could make quickly, so we set about making footsteps for the chassis. Harlech has four identical steps, all quite angular and basic in appearance, these were made first from a length of this U channel steel sheet.

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Harlech’s steps made and ready.

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Criccieth/Cardigan’s steps were different, there are smaller steps for the corners of the loco and a big set for the cab doors. These are curved and took a little longer as there was some work to do on the bench grinder!

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Other cosmetics that we could undertake quickly was the engine covers for the loco noses; this was partly guesswork as the works plans for Harlech showed a raised panel on the bonnet top, but since it had been modified and the exhaust routed away from the cab, I haven’t been able to find a good photo showing the size and position of the cover in relation to the exhaust. From what we have been able to find, it seems the exhaust is mounted through this cover, so thats what we intend to represent.

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Harlech’s engine cover in place.

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