The coach had a successful test run from Horsted Keynes to Kingscote and back on Thursday 14 December 2006. It enters service on the Victorian Christmas Train on 21st December.
Photos available here.
With the last exterior fittings added on 2nd December, the coach was shunted over the pit the following day, and Ray Medhurst assisted Richard Maxwell with the final mechanical set-up and inspection, over the pit.
The photo on the right shows the members of the BASH team present on 9th December. L-R: Ray and Pat Medhurst, Eric Mobbs, Ian Osborne (on steps), John Copeland, and Malcolm Watts (plus Richard Salmon who took the photo).
Ray Medhurst is seen in this photo putting a finishing touch to the interior of one of the first-class compartments. Only two small items remained to be fitted on this day - one piece of glass in a view-frame, and the polishing and fitting of the last of the brass drop-light strap spiggots, which had somehow been overlooked earlier. The main work undertaken was the cleaning of the glass, and some paintwork under the coach.
The coach will enter service on the sell-out Victorian Christmas Specials, but then further remedial work will be done on the other three Met coaches (the first two have now been in traffic for 7 years) before the Gala Launch is organised (hopefully in the late spring of 2007).
During the autumn the interior fit of the compartments was completed, new luggage rack netting obtained and fitted, and the remainder of the trim fitted. In November the A-road dock position in the workshop was regained, and the final two coats of varnish applied in the better lighting available in that position.
By this time the drop-lights (opening windows in the doors) had arrived, made for us by Peter Milnes, and we finished these off, varnished and fitted them to the coach. Most of the remaining brass work had now been polished, but commode handles and other exterior brasswork remained to be fitted, waiting until the last coat of varnish had hardenned.
Whilst lifted, steam heat and electrics have been advanced, the brake gear machined and fitted, and the one missing item of brake gear, the brake trunnion hangers for the nothern bogie (labelled 'a' and 'b' in this photo) were manufactured and fitted during February.
During a spell back in the A-road dock in May, Paul Welch did the lettering and lining for us. This photo taken on 8th July shows the coach in D-road, where access to complete the electrics and steam heat was possible.
This photo from Dave Clarke shows the coach, having moved to the south end of 'B'-road, where it could be lifted to free the north bogie. There was still some mechanical work to be done on this bogie, rebushing of brake gear, etc, and this is in hand. In addition a new pair of brake trunnion hangers have been made.
Underneath the coach, the needle-gunning and repainting of the underframe has been completed, and the battery and regulator boxes hung, dynamo, vacuum brake and reservoirs put in place, and wiring and steam heating attended to.
The step-boards (running boards) for the sides are at an advanced stage of preparation, and the 52 bolts to hold them to the brackets have been shortenned from old ones held in stock for many years, and then re-threaded.
Also, as can be seen in this photo, all the quarter-lights (windows) are now in place, and varnishing completed to the stage where lettering and lining can be applied; this will take place once the carriage is back in the main shed work area.
The roof is now complete bar a final coat of paint, with the ventilators fitted, and the rain-strip profiled, jointed, painted, and screwed down.
New luggage rack brackets have been cast to replace those missing (and to account for the extra compartment that was created at the start of the project out of the electric driver's cab). 10 new luggage rack poles have been machined out of teak (using salvaged timber from some old lab benches). These were machined using an existing ovolo cutter of the correct radius, on one of our router tables, saving a large sum of money compared to getting them made externally.
Also received from the foundry, and now prepared and painted ready for fitting, are the two new "Lobster pots", replacing two broken ones. These cover the passenger communication gear on the ends of the coach.
The fitting of door locks and remaining interior mouldings on the doors is largely complete, and the third-class doors have received their rexine panels.
During the course of 2004 the doors and exterior were largely completed, as were the interiors of the compartments excepting the luggage racks and the seats (which are stored having been trimmed already).
This photo shows the interior of a first-class compartment, with restored American walnut panelling, lined in gold, surrounding replacement Lincrusta.
Similarly the third class compartments are now almost complete. These have teak mouldings and plain panelling.
By the end of 2003 the replacement panels and new bodyside mouldings were in place, the doors were re-hung, and the windows in at the third-class end of the coach. We were, however, still awaiting the blanks to make the remainder of the first-class window bolections (frames).
With the new roof timbers in place, the interior fit of the compartments can begin in earnest. Here we see that the packing timbers which support the inner ceiling have been fitted.
All external mouldings are now made; the new roof is about half complete; steam heat radiators and interior backing panels are now in most of the compartments. The first coats of varnish are going on the outside of the coach. The photo shows one of the overhauled doors fitted, the compartment has the new partition in place, and seat support and steam heat fitted.
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