The restoration of Brake Third 387
No.387 (LT 512) is the brake third, built by Ashburys in 1898 with 5 compartments. Substantially rebuilt in 1907 or 1908 as an electric driving motor coach with 4 compartments, it was soon found that there was insufficient luggage space, and 10 more seats were lost to form a guard's and luggage compartment, these seats being reinstated in 1940 using components from dreadnought stock. The motor equipment was removed creating a large new luggage space.
Above: Photo taken by Chris Majer soon after the coach's arrival on the Bluebell in 1961, showing the large windows and metal ventilators that had been added in 1907/8.
With restoration of the timber body of No.394 starting in 1991, work of a different nature was undertaken on 387. It was re-wired, the entire underframe needle-gunned, the dynamo, battery boxes, brake cylinders, buffers and draw-gear overhauled, steam-heat piping renewed, and the bogies reconditioned. The later is a slight understatement of the magnitude of the work required, given minimal mechanical maintenance for the best part of fifty years.
Then the woodworking gang moved onto 387.
Left: Reconstructed framework of the brake end of No.387
Right: Repanelled brake end, complete with new (1898-pattern) windows.
Much of the roof and one of the partitions have been replaced, and the large driver's windows replaced by the original narrow brake-end windows. The steel louvres from the former motor compartment have also been removed, and replaced with panelling. The four compartment interiors have been re-worked in the same way as the seven in No.394, and the inside of the luggage van has been completely re-newed and repainted into the original 1898 colours, traces of which were found during the restoration work.
This drawing shows how the sides of the brake van have been re-panelled with teak, since the 1907/8 ventilator louvres had been thrown away as a result of an earlier filming job.
The restoration of this 101-year-old coach has won The Peter Allen Award and a cheque for £750, which has been used for further restoration work on the Metropolitan Coaches. The competition
was for projects not completed at the time of judgeing, but due for
completion within a year. The coach, together with No.394, re-entered service in mid-February 1999.
The Brake coach, No.387, at Kingscote on the test run. (Lewis Nodes)
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Copyright © 14 January 1996 - 10 March 2000 by Richard Salmon. Last updated 29 July 2007
Original drawings by Gerry Bixley, modified by Richard Salmon.
Credits and disclaimer.