Watercress Line

What month is it?!

I had a puzzling moment when sitting down to write this January edition of the Carriage workshop blog, to find that I’d already done it! Or at least, I wrote the December edition a few days late, and called it the January blog... I’m not quite sure what this should be, I think I might settle on Pre-March. Either way, welcome to a slightly bamboozled blog from the carriage works!

The biggest difference in the workshop this month, is actually part of the fabric of the workshop itself, in that we’ve had a new mezzanine level put in. Space is at a real premium in the carriage works, and we’ve often kicked around the idea of putting a mezzanine level above our work benches, to go between the existing upstairs areas above our mess room and machine shop (where the viewing gallery is).

Happily, this was done during the first week of January, and we now have a nice new area for storage and painting, especially useful for cumbersome items like exterior panels, which aren’t necessarily heavy but do take up a lot of space. In the short-term we plan to give visitors to special events access to this new area to see how we work on different items, while long term, once the two Bulleid carriages are completed, we plan to link up at least part of this new area to the existing carriage workshop viewing gallery (which is on the same level) and use it for interpretation. It benefits the railway in two ways, firstly making the work space more efficient (and safe) and secondly providing more space for public participation.

Both the coaches we’re working on have taken decent steps forward since the turn of the year. On Bulleid open third 1456, the roof has now got all the wide boards across its width, and the rest of the boards are in the workshop ready to be narrowed down so that they can form the tighter shoulders at the bottom of the roofline. We’ve also started to think about interior work, with many of the bulkhead panels having been cut out and then varnished by railway stalwart, Roger.

On the metalwork side, the window panels and frames are being soldered together. This has been a bit of a head scratcher, as it’s thin material so if too much heat gets in, the metal will warp. Trouble is, it needs some heat to make sure the solder flows. Tricky! Luckily one of our volunteers seems to have got the magic touch, and they’re coming along nicely. The first few panels (including one that will be going on the next carriage, 4367) are having their first coasts of paint on them. In other news, Sir Christopher of Yates has been busy with copper pipe. There is some suspicion that he’s actually about to start distilling some form of alcohol, but he swears blind that it’s actually steam heating pipes for the toilet compartments. Take a look at the photos and see what you think!

Over on the MK1 (CK 16083), Lord Rob of Weldingrod has finished his battle with the London end, the rust being smote, fresh steel standing victorious. It’s been an epic job, but it’s looking great, all ready for some paint. He’s now getting stuck into the same job at the other end! As is typical on a MK1 repair of this sort, the crash pillars were hoovered out, though his feeling is that actually the country end seems to be in slightly better nick, and consequently more original material may be salvageable. Most of the windows on the MK1 have now been refitted with their glass, which is one of those nice milestones in a carriage restoration where the coach really starts to look like a coach again!

Finally, we’ve got an updated version of the slideshow showing the restoration of Bulleid 1456, and this time even has an interior view, click here to view.

Thanks for reading,

Ali

 

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