After 19 years in service, in early 2005, it was clear that corrosion was starting to become an issue around the sidelights (windows) of this carriage. Rather than patch the coach up and leave it to get worse, it was decided to do the job properly and make the coach fit for hopefully another 20 years service.
Above can be seen sections of corroded panelling cut out and new sections being welded in. The window frames, a thin steel pressing, are also being repaired as necessary, and new transoms fitted (the horizontals between the fixed lights below and the sliding lights above).
The plan was to do a quarter of the coach at a time, and ensure that the coach is available for use at the Thomas event in June and the Santa Specials in December. The photo on the right shows that the first quarter of the coach has been almost completed by 2nd April, and the target was then set to complete the second quarter by the middle of June.
The nature of the work also requires the interior down each side of the coach to be stripped out, and the sliding lights were overhauled at the same time.
With all 8 sidelights on the east side dealt with before the Thomas weekends, the team got cracking on the west side in July, and six of the sidelights had been repaired by the time it was neceessary to put the coach back together again and repaint the affected area for the Santa trains in December. The photo shows the coach, already decorated internally, being painted ready for the Santa trains.
Two of the doors had also received welding repairs, and all the brass sliding lights have been stripped down and overhauled. A limited amount of attention has also been given to some of the worst of the internal varnish-work.
Returning to the works for January and February, the last two side-lights, and the toilet window-frame, were also repaired.
Dave Clarke's photo shows the carriage on 12th February with only one pane of glass to be re-fitted. The carriage then entered the paintshop for a full re-paint, which it received in March.
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