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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.

387 as it arrived on the Bluebell
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.

387 Brake end 387 Brake end repanelled 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.

387 as rebuilt

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.

Brake coach restored
The Brake coach, No.387, at Kingscote on the test run. (Lewis Nodes)

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BASH :- History - Engineer Article - Restoration Project - Full Third 394 - Brake Third 387 - Test Run
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Original drawings by Gerry Bixley, modified by Richard Salmon.
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