Relaunch day - 26 May 2011 (Alex Morley)
Having been voted funding for the project by "The People's Millions", part of the Big Lottery Fund, work started on the project once the carriage was moved into the shed in the New Year of 2010. The conversion of the brake area and adjacent compartment into a small saloon, using the double-doors to provide wheelchair access, was one of the key features of the project. The two compartments at the north end of the vehicle have been restored to original condition. In line with the long-term plan for the Bluebell's LCDR carriages, it is restored in the SECR purple lake livery to match our P-class and other SECR locomotives. Extensive evidence of the lining, as now applied, was found during the stripping of the original paintwork.
The funding of £49,500 covered the costs of materials and some contract labour, but about 50 volunteers also contributed around £100,000 worth of volunteer labour.
The news reports describing the work carried out on the carriage are available in the C&W Works News.
Right: Body exposed by removal of the bungalow built around it, August 2003 (Malcolm Saker)
Type: 4-wheeled Brake Second, later Brake Third
Built: Longhedge*, 1889
Original No: 51
Other Nos: Brake 3rd: 285 (1897), SECR: 3360 (in 1901)
Seating: 30 2nd class, later 3rd class
Length: 26', Wheelbase: 15'
Original Weight: 10 Tons
Withdrawn: 1925, after use for hop-pickers specials, as No.14
To Bluebell: 3 September 2003
After withdrawal, like many other such carriage bodies, it was sold, without its underframe, for use as a domestic dwelling in Ashington, Sussex. It was offered to the Bluebell when no longer required by its owner, and recovered during August and September 2003 by a team of volunteers (seen in the photo on the left dismantling the bungalow which surrounded it). It retained the unusual LCDR pattern of guard's ducket (lookout) at the end on one side (which has been stored for eventual use in the overhaul of No.48).
A suitable underframe has been modified in a similar way to that used for other 4-wheelers, by cutting a section out of the end, and re-positioning the wheels, brake-gear and internal structure.
The modifications to this coach have not changed something unique, since we have already restored the identical LCDR brake, No.114 to its original condition, and others exist elsewhere. We also have Full Third No.3188, six-wheeled Brake Third No.48, and SER First Saloon No.172 to form, we hope, a complete train of LCDR/SER vehicles in SECR livery to match the P-class and other SECR locomotives.
* Longhedge carriage works was part of a complex built on the land of Long Hedge Farm, which was purchased by the LCDR in 1860. The
works was opened in 1862, producing and repairing locomotives and carriages until this work was transferred to Ashford Works by the SECR.
The main building of the carriage works was incorporated into an extended carriage shed for BR's Kent Coast Electrification scheme in
the 1950's and continues in this use today.