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The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service Bluebell Ashbury Supporters & Helpers

Bluebell Ashbury
Supporters and Helpers

Stop Press: Restoration of the 4-coach set wins top Heritage Railway Association award.

Relaunch Gala: took place on 28th July 2007 - full report.

The relaunch train departs northwards from Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward
The relaunch train departs northwards from Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward 28 July 2007

Welcome to the BASH home page. This was the first web page ever to have detailed the restoration of vintage railway coaches, launched the same day as the Bluebell Railway web site, 27 October 1997!

BASH was a section of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society dedicated to the restoration of the Bluebell's Ashbury-built Metropolitan Railway Coaches.

The O1 with the three coach set, May 2002
The SECR O1 locomotive with the three-coach set on the BASH supporters' day when the third of the restored carriages was first used. 11 May 2002 (Martin Lock)

These pages are divided as follows:

Drawing of the Complete Set of four coaches

Fund Raising

Test run at Horsted Keynes This has been a most important side of this entirely volunteer-run project. One of the major contributors to this was a steady trickle of donations collected in the Carriage and Wagon Department's Exhibition Coach, and more has been raised by donations collected after giving guided tours of the carriage works. For four years the Railway's sponsored walk, displaced from Kingscote Station by its opening to traffic, was organised by and benefited BASH.

One of the most important source of funds was the offer of a gala day on the re-launch of the set into traffic, with donations of £50 securing a third class seat and £100, first class. Earlier as a thank-you to our supporters we held a party on board Pullman Car Bertha, together with an opportunity to view work in progress. We also enjoyed the chance to have a Saturday off from "bashing" bits of teak, taking a ride on the train whilst discussing our favourite project! A second "thank you day" celebrated the return to traffic of the first two vehicles, and a third was held after the launch of the third vehicle.

The first two restored coaches visited Steam on the Met in May 2000, and were on display in the bay platform at Rickmansworth with locomotive Met.1. This generated huge interest in the project, with many people astounded that these vehicles were run regularly in passenger service rather than being museum items.

Photo above: Following restoration of the first two of the four coaches, the test run train pauses at Horsted Keynes, January 1999. (Lewis Nodes)

The Chesham set with 323 at Horsted circa 1964
The Chesham set with Loco No.323 at Horsted Keynes circa 1964 (Keith Harwood)

Relevant Links

The other surviving Metropolitan Railway "Bogie Stock" coach is the other driving trailer third from the Chesham shuttle trains. This, along with a Metropolitan Railway steam loco, electric loco and milk van, is preserved in the London Transport Museum, who have been very helpful to us.

The London Underground Railway Society have also been very supportive of our project.

Three later Metropolitan Railway Coaches are preserved by the Vintage Carriages Trust, and occasionally run on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, and an example of the more modern "T-Stock" is preserved on the Spa Valley Railway. A Metropolitan Railway steam locomotive survives in working order at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. The revived Ashbury Railway Carriage & Iron Co Ltd at Porthmadog are restoring other Ashbury-built carriages. Cravens Heritage Trains care for two more modern underground trains (a reminder here that one of our four Met. coaches was built by Craven Brothers in Sheffield), and have links to other preserved underground stock.

splash The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service
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Valid HTML 4.0 Transitional! Copyright © 14 January 1996.
Last updated 29 July 2007 by Richard Salmon (with minor correction 16 March 2010).
Original drawings by Gerry Bixley, modified by Richard Salmon.

Further information on BASH is available from Richard Salmon, the last project leader.
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