Watercress Line

All over the shop

I can safely say we’ve had things going on all over the shop this month! We’re beginning to see glimmers of light from the end of the tunnel on Bulleid open third 1456, it’s a really exciting stage in the restoration and the carriage is looking great.

During the gala over the weekend of the 8-10th March, we pulled out all the stops, along with the help of Allen Pavitt our seat supplier, to have a saloon fitted out with the finished seats ready for people to come and try out. Anybody who came in over the gala will have seen the quality with which these new seats have been made, and my thanks goes to Allen and his team for doing such a top job and being great to work with. Seeing them in the carriage was one of those moments that was really special, and showed just what a beautiful carriage 1456 will be once it’s done. It felt a bit strange removing the seats again on the Monday after the gala, but with plenty of work still to do on the interior of the carriage it would have been criminal to leave them in there to get damaged or dirty, so out they went. Have a look at the photos, and if you like what you see then please help us to raise funds for the seating by donating HERE.

Another major item which is progressing well is the luggage racks. We await the castings for the brackets with great anticipation, but our attention has been taken recently by all of the other items which make up the racking. Along with a lot of metal tube and round bar which will need chopping to length and chroming, and plenty of varnished timber, a small but vital component for constructing the racking is the metal bungs which help the sections slot together. Lucky for us we’ve got great tame machinists in Ropley, and after a few chats with Alfie who runs the machine shop, he wondered in a few days later with a biscuit box full of not only the new bungs, but also jigs for drilling the holes needed to slot everything together. Great stuff, and off to the chrome plater I will go.

Another landmark was passed when the final pieces of main glass were installed. It’s another of those items that make people passing through the workshop (and indeed plenty of those who are there every day!) remark happily, “it’s really starting to look like a coach”. Graham of the pens, who incidentally did another star turn at the gala (thanks Graham!), has been busily working on the toplight sliding windows, and these are almost ready for installation. Graham has been replacing the Bakelite sliding pads in each window, which will allow the windows to move nice and freely. Once these are back in place, the coach really will look like, well… a coach!

Shifting our focus upwards a little, the roof has taken another stride in the right direction. Gordon had been installing the roof above the water tank when the bar car came in for its emergency work, and he was happy to get back on the roof of 1456 to finish the job. With the woodwork all back in place, it was then possible to canvas it. A few coats of the grey roof paint will bring it up to the same stage as the rest of the roof, and once all the rest of the roof furniture is in place we can carry on painting the lot. The gutter strips covering the join between canvas roof and steel side panels have been put on, and the rain strip, which arcs along around a third of the way up the roof has been painted up ready to be put in place too.

This means the only remaining items of roof furniture to be installed are the roof vents for the toilet compartments. We were actually short of the two for the toilets, as well as all of them for the next carriage, semi-open brake third 4367, a solution was needed – step forth the group restoring BR standard 4 75079. They’ve fabricated enough new roof vents for us to complete the roofs of both vehicles. They look perfect, thanks chaps! Great job.

Sorry to all you MK1 fans, this has been a very Bulleid-centric blog. Ian was worried I wouldn’t mention CK 16083 at all, so he’ll be relieved that I just did.

Thanks for reading! See you next month,

Ali

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