It has been a momentous week in Ropley carriage shop, because 1947 built Bulleid brake coach 4211 has finally been passed over to Alresford Train Care for vehicle acceptance and should hopefully be in service within the next few weeks!
It has been a massive job! The extent to which we rebuilt the structure of the carriage is illustrated in the photographs below. It has a wooden framework that has had a huge amount replaced, in fact the brake end of the carriage is almost entirely new! It has a new floor and guard’s compartment, the seats have been refurbished, as have the doors and windows. It has also been re-panelled inside and out, not to mention a new canvas roof, which was a particularly interesting if messy job! The blog entry for that particular job can be found by clicking here. The extensive work has given us the opportunity to create wheelchair access, which means a greater number of our valued passengers will be able to access and enjoy a ride on this carriage.
When you see the carriage, something that is rather obvious is the livery - it is the only vehicle currently in use (or at least soon to be!) on the Railway that is finished in Southern Railway colours. If we are being strictly fastidious about this, the carriage never quite made it into this livery during the 1940’s as it missed it by a few months. However, as very similar vehicles did run in this livery, we did not think that it was too big a crime! The Southern livery will make it stand out from the crowd of BR Mk1’s and will also finally give Lord Nelson and Cheltenham a carriage in matching livery to run with. We’re sure that you will agree that the carriage looks fantastic behind the malachite green schools class!
We’ll keep you up to date with progress of this carriage’s introduction into service, as well as starting on the Heritage Lottery Funded Canadian Pacific project that will see us restoring two more Bulleid carriages. Stay tuned for more!