As described in the page for the structure of the whole project, the Running Shed is being built in seven phases. The first three phases were all concerned with preparation for the construction work, and phases 4 to 6 were concerned with the actual construction of the building. Phase 6 was completed just at the end of 2016, and then this last phase covers fitting out the building to make it usable.
A key step in this was to make the building secure, by constructing and fitting doors to the south end of the shed, but even while preparations were being made for this there were various bits of work that could be undertaken. One of the first of these, which was done early in January 2017, was to prepare for creating the doorway through into the old workshop, by installing a lintel to support the brickwork above it, as shown in the two pictures below.
Several weeks later, early in February, the lintel had been installed, as shown in the picture below. Also part of the water treatment plant had been positioned (the two blue objects alongside the east wall), but not yet plumbed in, and the electrical conduits and distribution board case had been mounted on the wall.
One piece of work that needed to be done to prepare for installing the doors was to construct the two parts of the doorstep that go either side of the track, and the picture below shows them being finished off.
Also some preliminary work was being done on the floor. Originally it had been proposed that this would be ballast, but we had been given a large quantity of wooden blocks that had originally formed the floor of the machine shop at the premises of Braime Pressings Ltd, and had been recovered from this building when it had been cleared to make space for the University Technical College. It was clear that these blocks would form a much better floor, and the picture below shows some of them stacked up against the wall of the building, waiting to be cleaned.
Meanwhile, there had been some discussion about whether the main door should be a roller shutter, as originally intended, or a pair of conventional hinged doors like the others in the workshop. The conclusion of this was that fitting hinged doors would actually give additional space inside the building. The doors had therefore been designed, and in the workshop the first of them was being constructed, as shown below.
Here the frame of the door had been welded up, and the picture below shows a section of sheeting being welded onto the frame.
Once both doors had been made then they were fitted into place, and this was done early in March. The picture below shows the second one being lifted by the crane while the hinge fittings were attached to the frame of the building.
The picture below then shows the the two doors from the inside of the building. Unfortunately, it is apparent from this picture that actually they did not close properly.
The reason for this problem with closing the doors turned out to be that the frame of the building (which had been designed on the assumption that a roller shutter door would be fitted) was actually flexing under the weight of the doors. A different method of supporting their weight was therefore needed, and so an external door frame was designed and fabricated, and by mid-March could be fitted to the end of the building. The picture below shows this frame being lifted into place.
Once this frame had been positioned precisely and attached firmly to the building, then the doors could be hung on it, and the picture below shows the two doors finally in place.
Meanwhile, even with the external doors as originally installed the building was secure enough that the doorway into the old workshop could be knocked through, and the picture below shows this being done.
Once all of the bricks had been removed then the frame for the new door could be fitted, as shown in the picture below.
Fitting the door into this new frame was then a comparatively simple job, and the picture below shows it in place.
By this point the building was secure enough that we could start to stable locomotives in it, and we could use the pit for washing out boilers. At this stage the building was not yet ready for preparing locomotives for traffic, but other work could be done on them, as shown in the picture below.
To be able to prepare locomotives for traffic the building would need to have smoke troughs fitted inside the roof, and the construction of these had started, as shown in the two pictures below. As can be seen they are constructed round a timber former, using plywood sections joined together with strips of stainless steel. The plywood is then given a heavy coat of black bitumastic on the inside, and this will enable it to stand the corrosive effects of the smoke better than metal would.
Also, inside the building work had started on laying the wooden blocks for the floor, as enough of them had now been cleaned to enable a worthwhile area to be laid.
Once the first few blocks had been laid, it became apparent that the concrete needed shaping off to allow the blocks to fit closely against it, and the picture below shows this being done.
By early July the east side of the blockwork floor was almost complete, as shown in the picture below.
By about the same time, the first complete section of the smoke trough (ie twice the length of the former) was ready to be fitted up into the roof of the shed, and this is shown in the picture below.
Fitting the sections of smoke trough up into the roof was done by a couple of our volunteers who have qualifications in rope access work, but they definitely didn't want an audience when they did it, and so we have no pictures of it being fitted, which was done by the end of July. The picture below, which was take in early September, shows this first half in place, and the second half almost complete. It also shows that the blockwork for the west side of the floor was making good progress.
By early November the whole of the smoke trough had been completed, as had all the blockwork for the floor, and we were close to being able to use the shed for its intended purpose.
Indeed, in December the shed was used for the first time for preparing the locomotives for the Santa special trains, and the picture below shows the shed empty, because the locomotives are out on the train. Even though the weather was relatively kind, this had been a huge improvement on having to prepare them out of doors.
Meanwhile, there was still a little more work to do outside, because there had been some errors in engraving the bricks, and this had required a few bricks to be re-engraved, and then fitted in place of the faulty one. The picture below shows a volunteer laying the few replacement bricks.
This was not quite the end of the fitting out work, as there were still various odd jobs outstanding, like fitting the roller shutter door between the running shed and the old workshop, but for most practical purposes the project to build a running shed was complete.
Also, somewhere well before this point had been reached, it had been suggested that we should think about organising a formal opening ceremony for the shed, and it had been agreed to do this in order to round off the project.
Go on to the next stage in this project.
Go back to the previous stage in this project.
Return to the overall description of this project.
Other pages about this project and the "Buy a Brick" appeal:
- An overview of the project and the appeal;
- The "Buy a Brick" appeal;
- The structure of the project;
- The progress with the project;
- The construction of the pit;
- Design and site preparation;
- Construction of the foundations;
- Erection of the framework;
- Construction of the walls and roof;
- The opening ceremony.
Other pages provide more information about: