Upstairs, downstairs

After all the activity last week on the internals of the FR coach, attention has shifted downstairs. The vehicle sits on a set of ex-South Africa bogies, which are not original to the vehicle. The vehicle came to us minus bogies, because the FR wanted to re-use the originals under their new coaches. Although we were able to move the coach around on the SA bogies, it was obvious something wasn’t right with how the vehicle was sitting. To investigate this, one end of the vehicle was jacked up and the bogie removed; the vehicle was then supported on a timber trestle to allow safe investigation underneath. As suspected, the body is sitting too low on the bogies – so the body is hard in contact with the bogie side frames, which is a bad thing. However, the good news was that the correct vehicle centres are fitted, so it’s a fairly simple job to manufacture packing plates to slightly lift the vehicle body and hence create the all-important clearance. The clearance between the body and the side frames is a variable – as the vehicle is loaded, it sinks on the springs, and closes the gap. On the other hand, we don’t want the vehicle too high, as it increases the stepping height from the platform. So we’ll need to do a bit of careful thinking to get this correct.