Watercress Line

Varnish, varnish everywhere…

If you like newly varnished wood, the carriage shop in Ropley might just be your place. Once it’s finished (which really won’t be very long) you might like to come and take a trip along the line in BR MK1 Tourist Second Open 4910. What better way could there be to see the lovely rolling countryside of Hampshire, than from a seat in a newly refurbished carriage?

Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself, as we have not actually finished it yet! But when we do, it is going to look spot on. There are lots of surfaces around the workshop that are covered in bits of varnished (or about to be varnished) wood. We’ve been doing so much that we actually managed to run out a week or so ago, but Ollie managed to dig out another tin to tide us over till the Williamsons lorry arrives with the liquid amber gold (should probably just lay a pipeline to be honest, but all the way from Ripon might be a bit far). To get the full effect and depth, we try to give up to five coats of varnish on timber, with a gentle rub down between most of them. This gives the wood grain a real 3D effect while keeping it very smooth – beautiful! It is time consuming but worth every second.

The carriage paneling is now very close to complete, just a few narrow panels around four of the doors still to be fitted. The new skirting boards which are made of varnished sapele (what were the chances, eh?!) are made and about to be fitted in, along with the pelmets for above all internal and external doors. We have also got the majority of the seat backs fitted, which really transforms the interior of the carriage. While you can’t actually sit in any of the seats (the bases aren’t there), it now looks the part!

On the exterior, Ollie is beginning his work on the carriage. At the moment it’s all about surface preparation, making sure the thing is smooth and actually worth painting! This obviously doesn’t involve any filler at all… Yesterday the first indications of its new colour even arrived, with a few spots of maroon undercoat dabbed around the place.

On the Bulleid front, work continues apace of the bogies for 4367. The main frame of the London end bogie is now painted to gloss, and refurbishment of parts is underway. The country end bogie is now almost totally dismantled as well, with only the frame, axle boxes and wheels still being together. I’m told one axle box is seized in position, but once Yatesy’s magic wand has been waved at it, all will be taken apart.

In other news, the flat pack cab floor for standard 4 76017 that I showed in my last blog is now in the loco cab. The loco has been pottering up and down on test, and really looks good. Hopefully in traffic soon, it’s another good reason to come on down and have a trip up the line! The fireman will be having a nice ride (when they get the chance to sit down that is) having spotted the cab seat I made loitering on the right hand side of the cab.

Hopefully by the time I write my next blog in a month’s time, we will have finished the majority of our work on 4910, and these pages will be full of tales of Bulleid coach framework… fingers crossed!

Till next time,


Please help support our work on restoring the Bulleid carriages by donating to the Canadian Pacific project by clicking here. Also, you can keep up to date with the project through the email newsletter, that can be subscribed to by clicking here.

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