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Panel show

I write this accompanied by the soothing soundtrack of a class 20, idly chugging away outside our workshop. To anybody who came to our diesel weekend I hope you had a great time! In the carriage workshop this month, we’re finally ticking off some of those jobs I’ve been talking about that really make a difference to the look of the Bulleid carriage.

Starting on the interior, after Gordon had installed some of his varnished Panelwork last month, I followed along with the ceiling. We were a little apprehensive about the job, because on Bulleid brake 4211 we had used plywood to form the ceiling, and it was jolly hard work. The ceilings tighten to quite a sharp radius and took some force to get up there. Having talked it over with our friends down at the Bluebell Railway, they suggested using a foam centred plastic, of the type often used for advertising and posters. We went for it – and it worked like a dream! In the main saloons, all of the ceiling panels are up, with just the central cover strip (which will be plywood) left to fit. The white panels make a massive difference to the look of the carriage, but also make the interior feel much lighter.

Before the ceiling went in, Graham and Norman had finished off their wiring, and have carried on with the wires that go underneath the carriage. Great work and much appreciated! In other news, we moved around some of the rolls of moquette (which is the material used to cover seats) that we have stored in the workshop. We just had to unroll one to have a look, and it really is gorgeous, take a look at the photo, we can’t wait to have a ride in the coach sat on this, it’ll look really luxurious.

Moving to the exterior, the main difference is there are panels! Two blogs back I promised the toilet compartment panels. Well, they’re still not on... but seven of the main window frames (that’s all but one of an entire side!) and their corresponding lower panels are on the north side, and boy does it look good! There are still an awful lot of panels to go on, but it is already having the magic effect of making it look a lot more like a proper railway carriage again. A big relief to everyone who had a hand in the manufacture of these new panels, that’s for sure. Once all of these larger panels are in place in the window spaces and below the windows (see photos), there are tall thin panels which cover the space in between and have a joggle in them which allows them to sit comfortably over an inch or so of the adjoining panel, keeping a nice watertight seal. Really exciting stuff, and more to come next time!

Over on the MK1 side of the workshop, the boys are getting ever closer with MK1 CK 16083. The London end has the timber surrounds for the corridor connection refitted, while the gangway faceplates have seen the expertise of volunteer Red Chris (that’s because of his overalls I should say!), who has been welding, filling, drilling and tapping where needed to make this BIG lump of metal ready for re-use. Ian is getting on with all the panelling and timber structure of the toilet compartments, while Rob is winning his battle with the country end. He has also given a bit of TLC to one of the most important vehicles on the line, the one that carries the beer! The Real Ale Train bar carriage was taken out of the set for the Watercress festival and the opportunity was taken to give it some maintenance.

That’s about it for this time, we’ll have more from our particular panel show next month!

Thanks for reading,



Please help support the progress of the Canadian Pacific project to bring back our flagship steam locomotive and two Bulleid carriages back to life. We now have a MyDonate page which you can use to donate to Canadian Pacific's restoration by clicking here.

Photo gallery

  • The first ceiling panel goes up on its supports...

  • ...and it’s in!

  • The ceiling complete

  • Some of Graham and Norman’s expert wiring

  • The moquette which will be covering the seats

  • The first side panel being offered up

  • Two panels in place

  • Fourteen panels in place!

  • Gordon working on the country end

  • Rob doing some maintenance on the Real Ale Train bar carriage

  • MK 1 London end with woodwork on

  • Country end looking more complete

  • If you’ve ever wondered what a carriage water tank looks like...this is it!

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