Bluebell Railway

Bluebell Railway LSWR Coach Project

Latest Restoration News - here.

The Restoration - Archive of news reports

We purchased a quantity of French oak and steady progress is being made in machining this timber for replacement bottom rails and repairs to the framework of the wooden body. The East side and South end of the Brake van area were replaced in 1998, and the West-side of the brake-end was structurally completed in February 1999.

Attention then turned to repairing the floor cross-bearers, and dismantling the side structure around the Guard's ducket on the west side - at least some of which was reuseable. We also started costing the manufacture of the disabled lifting gear, in conjunction with the students who designed it at Kingston University.

On Sunday September 26 1999, we fitted another length of new bottom rail to the west side of the vehicle, along with the repaired west-side Guard's Ducket. The ducket looks good, and is largely the original wood.

We also re-fitted some of the internal partitioning. The section between the brake end and the southern-most compartment, which had one-third cut away in 1948 to allow internal access to the brake end, is now virtually complete. All the surviving original partitioning has been retained, and for any passing observer it was difficult to tell what was new and what old, so good is the original material. Half of the partition between the next two compartments, all of which was also removed in 1948, is back in place. This already makes the inside of the vehicle look very different - less like a parcels van and more like the passenger vehicle it is.

An order has been placed for plywood panels to clad the brake end.

News update April 3rd 2000
from Andrew Pepper.

LSWR 1520 partially rebuilt Photo Right: The rebuilt brake-van end framework, prior to replacement of the guard's ducket. (Richard Salmon)

A further 10' length of bottom rail has now been inserted on the east (platform) side of 1520. This brings the total lengths inserted so far to 37' on the west side and 30' on the east side of this 56'-long body. The new section was fitted at the same time as the second of the two repaired guard's duckets, and marks the completion of one of the more tricky jobs. The completion of this work also means that the entire brake-end of the vehicle has received its new bottom rails and either new or repaired body-side framework. This allows us to start fitting the plywood side and south-end panels during the next two months.

Peter Milnes is making the first two of the four pairs of brake-end doors, incorporating the few parts that are reuseable.

We have also dismantled most of the surviving side framework and the remains of the bottom rail from the next section of the east side, and started repair of the reuseable timbers. This section forms the side of two of the four compartments, as well as the lavatory area.

The design of our proposed wheelchair lifts has been received by the HSE for their approval, and we await their comments. Once received, with any required changes, the engineeering students of Kingston University will commence trial construction of the first lift, hopefully this Autumn.

News update May 1st 2001
from Andrew Pepper.

We have now completed the replacement of 47' of the bodywork bottom-rails on each side of this 56'-long vehicle, together with the repair or replacement of the associated bodyside framework, and the needle-gunning and painting of the adjacent areas of underframe. This has been in spite of the worst winter weather we have experienced since starting this project.

Two compartment walls have also been replaced or repaired, and the floor in one compartment temporarily relaid. This has allowed us to move our shop from the north-end Compartment A to Compartment D adjacent to the brake-end, so allowing access to Compartment A for restoration work.

Peter Milnes has recently completed the framework of the first of the eight brake-end doors which he is constructing for us on a contract basis.

Our main target for 2001 is to complete the rest of the bottom-rail replacement and side framework repair/replacement by the end of October - i.e. before next winter sets in.

Further information via e-mail.
Donations to help maintain momentum on this project can be sent to Andrew Smith at Springfield, West Lane, East Grinstead RH19 4HH.

See also the Web Page for this coach's history, and the page for the latest news of its overhaul.

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Last update 30 November 2003 by Richard Salmon.
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