Following further work to improve the capture of any water which may enter the body around the opening droplights, the magnificently restored carriage was re-launched into service with a special train formed of Maunsell carriages hauled by Maunsell U-Class loco No.1638. This train was run as a thank-you to those members of the railway who have worked on the restoration of the carriage over the last decade.
Dave Clarke's photos right and above show the occasion, and more of his photos are here.
A big push was made through 2008 to prepare the coach for service on this year's Santa Special trains, culminating in a visit to the paint-shop.
Brian Kidman's photos show 1336 over the pit for final adjustment of the brake gear on 19th November, whilst Dave Clarke's photo shows the interior of the coach on 6th December, on its entry into service on the Santa Special trains.
The exterior is now pretty much complete, and the drop-light mechanisms have now been adjusted to work. The interior is coming together well, with the ceilings finished, and the seating in the process of being installed. (Photos from Dave Clarke)
Work on the coach had taken something of a back seat due to other priorities in 2005-6.
With all the panelling and cover strips, and windows in place, the coach now once again looks like a droplight open third!
The seating has been trimmed in a reproduction SR Jazz-pattern Moquette, specially reproduced for this project. It is the 1930s moquette which No.1309 was trimmed in when first built.
One design problem with this coach is that it is virtually impossible to prevent water entering through the large opening droplights in the body-side. The original design included provision for drainage from the bottom of the droplight cavity.
In our restoration we have endeavoured to improve these arrangements, as can be seen here with these newly fabricated stainless steel trays, and (blue) plastic drainage tubes below.
The first of the new interior mahogany panels, with mahogany veneer centres, and white celluloid banding between, have been fitted in one of the saloons.
The first section of new exterior panelling to be finally fixed in place is that seen here at the south end of the coach, together with tare and restriction plates, and gangway surrounds.
The project had started in 1998. The first phase was to dismantle the body and recover what was re-usable.
The ingress of water had caused corrosion of the steel re-inforcings below the opening windows, and this had split every one of the 28 main body pillars. The solution was to dismantle the carriage body down to a bare underframe and rebuild it on the new bottom side members, which replaced the completely rotten originals.
This photo, taken sometime in mid-to-late 2000, shows the reconstruction of the body proceeding.
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