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Back on Track

Here we are, only a couple of weeks later, but it’s good to get back on track (sorry, that must be the most over used phrase when it comes to writing about railways, I’ll do better next time…) with the carriage workshop blog. Though it’s only been a couple of weeks, there’s plenty to tell you about!

First off, the big news is that every one of the main panels is now fixed in place on Bulleid open-third, 1456. This is one of those major landmarks, and makes the carriage look really great. It’s been a big job and taken a bit of time, but the result is well worth the wait, so well done to everybody who had a hand in making the panels, from drawing them up, to manufacture and installation. I think we all deserve a big pat on the back! No time to rest on our laurels yet though as there are plenty of jobs to carry on with. What we can do is watch the latest version of the slideshow here. This now shows the coach from when it came into the workshop with all its panels on, through the strip down and rebuild back to it having panels on. It just looks a bit healthier now!

The screw count for the panels has also skyrocketed since the last carriage shop communication, having reached 2,834 with the final installation of the four end panels. There are still the corner panels to go, which will smash through the 3,000 barrier.  Having thought about it, it would have been rude not to make a calculation of how many wood screws we’ve actually used so far… Including the timber frame, the panels and the roof, I think we’re currently looking at 6,296 (or pretty close). And that’s not even counting any nuts and bolts!

In addition to the aforementioned corner panels, there are of course still other panels to be put on the carriage. These are the distinctive skirt panels which cover up the underframe. Sir Christopher of Yates has been busy with the plasma cutter profiling the ends of each skirt, which have some nice radiuses around the running boards. This detail is beautifully art-deco, and echoes items such as the curves of the window frames and lozenge shaped top light windows in the doors.

In other work on the carriage, Mike and George have been happily painting the ceiling. Well, I say happily, they’re as happy as anybody is when they’re painting something upside down and above their head so they’re getting constantly splattered with paint, but they’re doing a grand job. Even further above their heads (and generally not when they’re painting!) Gordon has been giving the carriage roof a good sand down. We’re starting to think ahead to when we put the canvas on the roof, so taking out the ridges formed by the flat boards is imperative to give as smooth a final finish as possible. It’s a large area to crawl about on with a sander, not helped by the hot weather, but again it’s something that will be worth it in the end.

Over on the MK1 things are progressing very well, with all the metalwork on the roof being complete and the internal fitting out carrying on very well. Ian has a new helping hand in the shape of our new volunteer Albert. Bert tells us he started his apprenticeship at Stratford Carriage Works back in 1944, and judging by the smile on his face in the photo accompanying this blog, he’s happy to be back in a carriage workshop!

Thanks very much for reading,


Help us to raise money to purchase seats for our Bulleid carriages by sponsoring a seat for £240! We need to raise £23,000 to buy 96 seats for 1456 and 4367, to read more about the appeal click here. To donate to the appeal or sponsor a seat you can either visit our My Donate page or a cheque made payable to Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society. If you are a UK resident and taxpayer please accompany your cheque with a note giving us your postcode or download our gift aid form.  Please send cheques to Canadian Pacific Project, Mid Hants Railway, The Railway Station, Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 9JG

Photo gallery

  • A trip in an old friend, nice to have a reminder of Bulleid brake 4211

  • Open third 1456, all the panels on!

  • The ceiling being painted

  • Gordon on roof sanding duty

  • Window glass templates

  • Bert, our new volunteer looking very happy with the middle vestibule door for MK1 16083

  • The roof of MK1 16083 with all the metalwork complete

  • London end with a primer on it, ready for a bit of filler to be applied

  • South side with primer creeping along it

  • Doors on the MK1, along with aluminium surrounds

  • Close up of the surround (temporarily fixed)

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