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An exciting year ahead!

An exciting year ahead!

Carriage workshop blog, January 2020

First off, a very happy new year to you all! This year is shaping up to be a very exciting one here at the Watercress Line, with our impending reopening through to Alton, a visit by the worlds most famous locomotive and most exciting of all, the re-launch into traffic of Bulleid open third 1456! Having been temporarily befuddled by the festive season, we are now hard at work making the finishing touches to this exciting project, which will be the first section of the Canadian Pacific project to get out on the line. The locomotive is making really good progress, and the second carriage, Bulleid semi-open brake third 4367 will get underway once we're done with 1456.

The most exciting bit of news is the completion of the exterior paintwork on 1456. We've put it into the Southern Railway livery in which it would have been painted when first built. Along with the other two Bulleid vehicles, it is one of only three carriages we have on the line which can prototypically be painted in SR livery, and so to set it that little bit apart we've decided to do just that. The main difference is the use of a traditional sign writer to hand paint the numbering and lettering. See the photos to see how it looks, it does look rather special! My favourite detail is on the T of Southern, the right hand side of which has shadowing picked out in yellow, which goes through the vertical slot of a screw in the panel work! Again, have a look at the accompanying photos.

On the interior, many more of the details are being installed. The London and country end doors are in place, the difference between the two being that at the London end is one large sliding door, while at the country end the presence of the two toilet compartments means there are two narrow sliding doors which meet in the middle. Inside the toilet compartments the sinks are now installed, just awaiting the plumbing expertise of Sir Christopher of Yates. In other work the final remaining ceilings have been installed in vestibule areas, which have meant the final couple of light fittings are now in place, having been hanging in mid-air for a little while.

Our tame metalworker, Rob, had been feeling bereft and lonely since the departure of his precious MK1 carriage 16083, short of the noisy work he so dearly loves. Over the horizon thumped our Hampshire unit, a two car diesel multiple unit (or DMU) which is of the type used over the railway at the end of its life as part of the national network. The bodywork had become very tired, and Rob is doing some major work around the engine bay, where some of the structure of the unit was at its worst in the grills. Hopefully this should get it going again until we can take a more in depth look at it at some point in the future.

Finally, in a fit of interdepartmental cooperation (gasp!) over Christmas, 1456 and the Hampshire unit got pushed down, with 1456 ending up partly in the boilershop. Here it met Canadian Pacific's smokebox and Talyllyn's boiler (see photos for the funny juxtaposition in size!), all so we could accommodate a curious four wheeled carriage, built to a much smaller loading gauge. It was brought in to the carriage workshop by our boilershop manager, who tells me it is an iconic vehicle built in Solihull, and can even propel itself! I've included a photo so you can judge this vehicle for yourself.

Thanks for reading.


Photo gallery

  • A view down the carriage.

  • Close up of the Southern livery.

  • My favourite detail, the line through the screw slot!

  • Sink installed.

  • London end door.

  • Country end doors, note two narrow doors not one wide.

  • Bulleid coach in the boilershop! Note Canadian Pacific's smokebox on the left, and Talyllyn No. 1 boiler, right.

  • Hampshire unit in for repairs.

  • Example of interior rot.

  • Side stripped off.

  • A curious four wheeled carriage also in for repair.

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