Watercress Line

Another Level

This month in the carriage workshop, we are literally moving to another level... in the form of a scaffold around a carriage! It’s been a good and very varied month in the workshop, with progress coming on in leaps and bounds on all fronts, but also a visit by an old friend in need of some TLC.

First off, Bulleid open third 1456. The most visible change on the carriage is on the North side, which now has the skirt panels in place. These really change the look of the carriage, giving it a much more antique feel. A problem I’ve often felt with Bulleid coaches is how modern they look, and they must appear very similar to the more common MK1 carriages, when they are really a much more antiquated design of carriage (despite Mr. Bulleid’s reputation as a radical thinker). The skirts being on are a real milestone and look great. The south side is all ready to go, and just waiting for the vacuum pipe (which sits behind the skirt) to be tested. We’ve also had the lino laid in both 1456 and MK1 16083, which allows us to install things like seats (donate here), and the steam heat system.

We’ve also had a jolly good shunt around. This happened in late September, partly to allow the boiler for S15 No. 506 to be released from the boilershop (and I should offer my congratulations to the Urie locomotive society, it looks great in the frames!), but also because we needed to swap our vehicles around to allow our scaffold to be erected around 1456 so we can install the canvas roof. The shunt meant the carriages were outside briefly, and I think I slightly confused Jason our new general manager by running out of the workshop to photograph this while in the middle of a conversation with him. We hardly ever even get to see the carriages move, so to see them outside was really something special! (Sorry Jason, I’ll explain what I’m doing next time...!)

The time taken while things like shunting and scaffolding has been going on in the workshop has been very useful though. Our first completed Bulleid coach, Brake 4211, had developed a few leaks recently, and so while our usual workspace was otherwise engaged, 4211 was put into the wheeldrop shed. The leaks were coming in at gutter level, and so the gutter (really more of a rain strip across the join from canvas roof to steel side) was removed, cleaned up, re-painted and re-bedded on a sealant. We’ve also taken the opportunity to re-paint the canvas roof several times, which we had scheduled to do later in the year anyway, but it seemed too good an opportunity to miss as we had it out of traffic for a couple of weeks.

Gordon took the time to do a little touch up work on the carriage interior, including the ceiling and seats. While working on the seats he managed to find one pine cone, £3.70 and some adult only items. A strange collection, but you can’t say working here isn’t varied! With the first of two gloss topcoats on the re-fitted gutter strip, and the second gloss and another coat on the roof to come, she will be fit and ready to carry passengers at our Autumn Steam Gala.

On MK1 16083, interior work continues with lino laid and more panel work installed, while on the outside the roof vents have been fitted, more glass installed, and the sides are being filled and prepared for painting. We’ve also had the bogies removed ready for an overhaul. This was an exceptional day, as you see from the photos, the usual rule of “jib goes up, rain comes down” was well and truly bypassed, with almost no clouds in the sky (save for those which we manufactured ourselves from the steam crane).

The scaffold will still be up during the gala over the weekend of 19th-21st October, so make sure you come in to the carriage workshop to see the work we’re doing. On the Friday we will have more of the pens made by our expert volunteer Graham, manufactured from reclaimed carriage timber and with all proceeds going towards the Canadian Pacific project.

Thanks for reading!

Ali

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