Once Andrew and his girlfriend had departed on Friday morning, the front room was cleared, chairs dragged to one side, and one-by-one I set about marking up the boards for cutting to form the cab lining of the class 14. Ever since we first came into contact with ‘901, the cab interior has been bereft of decorative surfacing, and instead we have had a trellis of support bars and glass fibre, some exposed and some in bags. Whilesoever we have been more concerned with getting the thing to work properly, it has not bothered us, but ever since the loco has started to appear in operation, and members of the public have peered in to see the curious driving arrangement of this unique ‘14, I for one have been conscious that while the paintwork is adequate, the interior left a lot to be desired.
The back corner with brake handwheel, taken in April 2008
..and the engine bulkhead on the same day
Saturday: The day dawned clear and sunny, so I cleared space outside the kitchen door, set up some oil drums as a cutting area, and assisted by Mrs B, started jigsawing sheets of pegboard into various shapes, some rectangular and some downright weird. Twenty metres of the strip was reduced to more practical lengths, and I then attempted to load the assorted pieces into the 407. Needless to say several shapes could not be persuaded to pass through either the side doors or the tailgate, and I pondered whether to blame Swindon for such lack of foresight or the gallic temprament that designed a car that would not accept both the sheets, strip and tools essentual for fixing all at the same time. Some pieces were returned to the Hall. By 1pm Mrs B and I were at Rowsley, and over the next 3 hours set to work to start transfering those pieces we had brought into the cab and securing them to the walls. This of course produced three interrelated conclusions. (1) I can’t measure properly or the change in temperature/humidity since September has caused certain areas to expand/shrink (2) when I came to mark out I couldn’t read my own writing (nothing new there) and (3) trying to wangle several convoluted shapes into certain parts of the loco (in order to reduce the visible joints) was simply not practical. By 4pm we had about half the cab sides roughly in place and headed home.
Sunday: Repeating Saturday morning in much more sombre weather, some of the pieces deemed untransportable yesterday were unsubtly trimmed, the remaining 5m of ally cut down and Mrs B and I set off for Rowsley before 11, with Andrew’s workwear in the back and Andrew on his way to meet us. Two of us working in the cab of the ‘14, me trying to trim large pieces of pegboard with a jig saw, cutting/drilling bits of ally strip, Mrs B trialling and sanding pieces of 6mm ply destined to form the window surrounds (and some of which, I realised too late need to be in place before I can do the roof lining!) became a slightly fractious atmosphere. I would put things down on top of bits she wanted, and vice versa. In a workshop one would of course take the component to a workbench and vice, trim it accurately, and return to the loco with it. But here in volunteer-ville we balance the part on any bit of the control desk handy and hang on to it as best we can. I would pick up first the drill, then the jigsaw, then the drill, then the jig- until the cables become hopelessly twisted and a hazard to health and sanity. Surprised there isn’t an EU directive forbidding it. Thus it was perhaps best that when Andrew arrived he disappeared off to start recovering unwanted pieces from D9500 and left us to it. Three in the cab and only two would have come out alive…
That same bulkhead and our control box, tonight
By the time an early dark descended, the cab was beginning to look smarter, and although much securing remains to be done, it is at least well on the way. I couldn’t resist one last photo of the 14 in the floodlight as the night drew in.
Fourteen by floodlight