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Illumination Stations

The big news this month is the completion of the electrical system for Bulleid open third, 1456. Graham and Norman who have been our friendly parish sparks, were able to connect everything up for the first time due to the completion of other works, and it was great to see the carriage illuminated with almost a full complement of lightbulbs. The warm glow emanating from the country end saloon which was done first (we didn’t have enough bulbs on hand to do both ends at the same time!) gave another one of those great moments which show the carriage moving towards completion. Have a look at the photos, I think you’ll like what you see.

The guys were able to put in the final bits of the electrical system for the carriage because most of the structure of the toilet compartments has been reinstalled. The cupboard which forms part of the north side toilet bulkhead, is acting as the main electricity control cupboard, and this allowed Graham and Norman to put the main switches in and fire up the lights for the first time. Great work chaps!

The installation of the toilet compartments has been a long running process, as was established last week largely because of the amount of components which needed painting! But they’re all done now, and are almost all in. The next parts to go in will be the country end sliding doors, which are unusual in being two narrower doors instead of one big door, but they have some of our nice newly chromed fittings going on them, which look really rather special (and of course shiny shiny!).

In a move which may well confuse a few people, we’ve actually removed all of the exterior doors from the carriage! This was always part of the plan, they just stayed on a little bit longer than we expected. The doors are relatively heavy, so we decided that it would be easier to manoeuvre them into the correct position without all of the “dressing” on them, like timber work and glass. We completed this test fit in time for Christmas, and left them on really for the February steam gala. We intended to remove them fairly quickly to be dressed on the bench, before going back in the positions prepared for them, but it just never quite happened. They’re off now though, and Gordon has been busy making new panel work and fitting refurbished locks, while some of our dedicated volunteers have been cleaning up the window mechanisms and painting areas which won’t be accessible later, like where the rubber which holds the typical Bulleid style lozenge shaped window at the top of the doors.

Regarding other work about the place, Gordon has been busy putting on the gangway bellows on each end, which almost completes the ends. I’ve installed the toilet windows, including the toplights, which completes the glazing (except the sliders…but I won’t mention them). I’ve also made the backing plates for the carriage light switches, which we’ve made out of black and white three ply plastic (see photos). This was routered to shape, but the tiny bits of routered detritus from the plastic seemed to get everywhere and stick to everything, while also making it look like a herd of tiny zebra had been massacred!

Finally, we’ve taken delivery of the new luggage rack castings. This has been a bit of a pet project of mine, as I felt the carriage would just look very bare without luggage racks, but getting them made was going to take some perseverance. Luckily, we found a willing foundry, and have got a really great product. They need a fair few holes drilling and countersinking, then cleaning up and chrome plating, but they’re going to look superb.

We’re really pleased with how the carriages are coming along. If you’re in the area then do come in and take a look on the viewing gallery, which is open every day the railway is running.

Thanks for reading,


Photo gallery

  • The lights are on!

  • Graham and Norman who masterminded the electrical system

  • Some of their handiwork in the new electricity cupboard

  • Reconditioned south side cupboard for the country end

  • The toilet area, ready to receive the compartments

  • Ceiling structure in, plus new structural ceiling panel

  • The cupboards which form the bulkhead for the toilet compartments go inv

  • Veneer ply panels in place

  • Oooh shiny… newly chromed door bracket

  • Newly routered light switch backing plates

  • The plastic became rather static when routered, it stuck to EVERYTHING

  • Country end with gangway bellows in place

  • Door panels being routered to size

  • The newly cast luggage rack brackets

  • 1The customary mention of the MK1. John appears to be playing with a door.

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