The BGZ attached to the Pullman train, about 1996 (Richard Salmon)
This design of van followed the LMS coaching stock outline, and could not be more different from the Southern Railway design. It is carried on six-wheels, and has gangway connectors. However, as far as the guard was concerned, the interior was rather more spartan than the SR design, which had a padded chair for the guard in a separate compartment. It came to the Bluebell via a scrap-yard in Chesterfield, being bought by individuals in the Locomotive Department.
It was restored over a decade, involving repairs to the wooden structure, complete replacement of the external steel sheeting, including that on the roof, the re-instatement of the gangway connectors which had been removed during its time on BR, electrical re-wiring and complete overhaul of the interior components.
It has subsequently had two further periods in our workshops. Between January and March 2007 repairs were needed because of water penetration around the roof and gutter, resulting in an improved method of waterproofing this area. The Duckets (side lookouts) were corroded and were therefore replaced. A report of this work is available.
During 2008 a more major refit saw the BGZ fitted with water and gas systems, and steam heating. The guards area has been partitionned off, and the remainder of the interior fitted out to provide the pantry and service needs for the Bluebell's Pullman train. The work has been done in such a way that the changes can later be reversed, once a further Pullman vehicle has been overhauled to undertake these functions. As seen in the photo on the left (Richard Salmon, February 2009), it has been painted in Pullman colours to blend in with the remainder of the Pullman set (and its roof has subsequently been painted white). The conversion enabled us to dispense with the services of the hired-in 1960 Pullman kitchen car "Eagle".
It was judged to be the winning "Carriage" in the Heritage Railway Association's 1996/7 Carriage & Wagon competition, becoming our third outright winner in 12 years. The photo on the right of its interior formed part of the competition entry submission.
Type: Stove R (Luggage Brake Van)
Built: 1938, at Wolverton
Weight: 18 Tons
Original No: 32975
Other Nos: M32975M
To Bluebell: 27/6/1979
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