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Beading 101

It has been one of those months where a few things have gone on to Bulleid carriage 1456, and all of a sudden it feels like it’s taken a big leap closer to completion. Particularly on the interior of the carriage, progress has been really gratifying, but with the looming prospect of masses of a particularly time consuming decorative element rearing its slightly fussy head – beading!

As was reported a couple of months ago, all of the newly cast luggage rack brackets are in the workshop, and have been fettled to give us the fixing holes and other apertures we need. To complete these, we will be sending them off to be polished and chrome plated, along with copious amounts of tubing and bar which will make up the rest of the luggage rack structure, but before we do that we’ve actually test fitted them in the carriage. This is because of all the beading which we need to fit around the brackets. While the beading isn’t a structural component, it is important as it can be considered the icing on the cake. Forming the finishing touch that neatens up the job, it covers the joins between panels and links all the elements together to give a cohesive finished look. The only trouble…there’s LOADS of it!

Running right around the carriage at roughly head height (at least for me!), covering the interface between the varnished panels and the white ceiling panels, is a section of beading an inch wide. This is broken up by the luggage rack brackets, so it was much simpler to fit with the brackets in situ. In addition to this line of beading, between each bracket sits four half inch sections of beading running horizontally, which form a sort of backing to the racking, protecting the white ceiling panels. In all there are 96 of these sections in the carriage… let’s be honest, it took a while to cut and fit! We used a template (see photos) to make sure everything went in at the same height, but it still took a jolly long time.

In other work, Gordon has been hard at work dressing the interiors of the doors and each vestibule. These are mostly panels that we’ve had in stock for some time, for one reason or another it has not been feasible to fit them until now, but it is really good to see them going on.

Over on the MK1 we have a familiar face wielding a paint brush. Duncan, formerly chief splodger here in the carriage workshop, has dusted off his finest set of paint brushes and joined the fray once again for a limited time only, to do both Bulleid 1456 and MK1 16083. He’s started with the MK1, which has currently got its undercoat completed and some gloss work done around doors and windows on the north side. The interior of the coach is also inching ever closer to completion, so it will not be very long before we have a completed seven compartment carriage (including four First class!) to add to our running fleet.

Mention should be made of our new workshop mascot – regular readers may remember Boris the buzzard who continues to look out over the workshop from atop Bulleid carriage 4367, but Missy the dog has taken over many of his tasks. Her designated human (in this instance, owner does not seem the correct term) Ian, has been bringing her in recently due to a slight injury she sustained, but her presence in the workshop has been very warmly welcomed.  Not least because she’s a bit more responsive than Boris!

Thanks for reading,


Photo gallery

  • Test assembly of luggage racks

  • First rack bracket installed

  • All the brackets in, lights on!

  • Template for luggage rack beading

  • All 96 pieces of beading…

  • Bulleid doors dressed

  • Vestibule panelling installed

  • Exterior of the carriage

  • Interior of MK1 16083

  • Painting of MK1 exterior coming along nicely

  • Our new mascot Missy, in the cone of shame

  • Missy’s owner, er, trying out a new look…

  • On a recent trip to Swindon’s Steam Museum, I found the perfect vehicle for our Real Ale Train… just WOW.

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