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What’s brewing in the carriage shop?

We’ve got a lot brewing in the carriage shop at the moment, including a large Standard 4 boiler shaped mash tun, but I’m not sure a successful pint would be brewed in it, so let us class it as the elephant in the room and ignore it henceforth.

Work on Bulleid carriage 1456 is getting into its stride. The cladding has been entirely stripped off, exposing the wooden framework, which is in an awful state. We will be replacing this entirely as it is past re-use. Every single upright would need to be spliced back together, which would result in a carriage that took twice as long to rebuild and would fall apart very quickly. Construction of the new framework has been started, with the honour of the first new pieces manufactured going to the middle rail, south side, London end. We have started milling up some of the curved uprights using our spindle moulder, and also the long, wide bottom rails, into which the floor fits and the uprights screw.

We have temporarily put the floor in, though it is not fixed down yet. This is so we can remove the old ceiling panels without having to balance on the under frame. Many of the panels were taken down in the last week, the work undertaken by a brave band of volunteers who didn’t mind (or couldn’t feel…) the bits of paint, light fittings, hardboard panels etc. falling on their heads.

One of the most time consuming jobs we’ve undertaken so far has involved the buffers on the carriage. After not a million miles away from 50 years out of use, these were seized well, truly, absolutely and utterly solid. Even when we had finally managed to remove the buffing assembly from the carriage under frame, it still seemed impossible to actually dismantle the individual parts (buffer, extender plate for different couplings, spring sleeve amongst others). Generally with seized metalwork, if you can’t get it apart in the manner in which it is supposed to be dismantled, either heating it or hitting it is usually next on the menu. After a fair amount of the latter, the former was undertaken, starting with a goodly dose of propane, and followed by a whole day and night in a bonfire! This did the trick, and finally it was possible to disassemble the buffers, clean them, grease them, and re-assemble them as shown in the photos below.

On the other track, MK1 4910 is progressing well, with a lot of things being put back on it. Most of the metal window frames have now been put back in, meaning the inside timbers can return soon too. I’ve been making new timbers for the doors and have begun to fit them, and the ceiling has been replaced where needed and re-painted. On the metalwork side the framework of the London end is well on its way. This used to contain two toilets with water tanks in the ceiling (largely the cause of the rot in the first place), but the lavatories have been removed and the area will now be used as buggy parking for those with young children.

I’m sure you will agree that is quite enough excitement for one month, so that’s last orders at the bar. Time please, gentlemen!


Photo gallery

  • The very first pieces of new framework for Bulleid coach 1456

  • New framework including the first curved uprights and the angled bottom end rails

  • The buffers removed from 1456 (after some considerable time and effort!)

  • The buffers back on 1456!

  • 1456, showing the cladding removed, the ceilings being removed and the temporary floor in place.

  • New timbers being fitted to the doors of MK1 4910

  • Windows being re-bedded in MK1 4910

  • Interior of MK1 4910, showing repainted ceiling, stripped partitions (which will be covered with veneer) and luggage racks removed one side

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