Watercress Line

On the rack

We’ve got two major fronts of attack being progressed on Bulleid carriage 1456 this month; the outside, and inside of the carriage. To be honest, that sounded more dramatic in my head before I wrote it… The twist is that nobody is actually allowed inside the carriage. Having installed the seating, we’ve actually sealed up the doorways into the two main saloons so that not only people, but no dust can get in and ruin the wonderful seating we’ve had made, so all interior work is happening outside.

The work on the exterior of the carriage has been quite dusty recently, firstly because we’ve had some of our volunteers rubbing down and painting a few of the exterior panels in preparation for the full paint job. Secondly, having removed the exterior doors last month, I needed to do some routering to allow the backing plate for each hinge to sit correctly on the interior of each doorway.

With this done (and of course painted up to gloss), the doors have been put back on. Luckily having had a successful test fit a few months back, once they were whipped off, Gordon spent a few days finishing off the new timberwork and getting the windows sliding with help from some of the usual suspects, and they were ready to be reinstalled. I got out my patented door installation device, and spent a few days getting them final fitted. Gordon followed behind fitting the strike plates for the locks, and then there was the magic noise; a door shutting! It’s one of those things that suddenly brought the carriage to life, and put a big grin on our faces (only slightly dampened by Ian insisting that it didn’t sound as good as a MK1 door. We politely disagreed…).

Getting the doors back on, has been one part of our aim to finish the exterior of the carriage so it is ready for painting. The other main task is finish the roof. To this end, Gordon has spent a fair amount of time up ladders and scaffolding, putting on the brackets for the roof mounted destination boards (see photos) and the rain strip. With these now on, the roof is finished other than a few coats of paint. These are better done now, simply so we don’t spill grey roof paint down the sides of a newly painted green carriage. I think somebody might have words with us if we did that!

I’ve spent the last week or so drilling holes in pieces of aluminium. I have a reason for this, and that is because the pieces of aluminium in question are our new luggage racks. There are sixty-four of them, a complete set for 1456, and then those for the two compartments in 4367. They have been cast from some of the originals from 4367, which luckily had a full saloon set surviving. To make the casting process easier any holes were filled in on the originals, so these needed to be put back in, and it’s taking a while. We had to be a little cunning to countersink the fixing holes, as a normal drill is too wide to go in square to the hole. With a pair of extended screwdriver bits, and a cheeky bit of cable heat shrink, we had a solution! See photos for our extra-long countersink appliance.

Over on the MK1, Rob has been a happy bunny by finally reassembling his bogies, he had a fun few days with a lifting gantry and the fork lift. Soon they will be back underneath 16083 (and its mediocre sounding doors), ready to roll back in to traffic. It’s looking lovely inside, with all the window timbers and panelling being finished off down the corridor, and the varnish work is looking nice and shiny, see photos for the reflection of the yard in the vestibule panelling. Not bad at all!

Thanks for reading,

Ali

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