Carriage & Wagon Works News
Work on Metropolitan Brake No.387
No.387 was completed and returned to service in the middle of the month.
Due to re-enter service on the Victorian Evening train on 15th June, the last coat of varnish is still awaited in this photo from Dave Clarke. The work has taken longer than expected, due to the problems with the rotten roof boards, and delays in obtaining the roofing materials. However, this has enabled a thourough spruce-up of the remainder of the vehicle to take place.
The final icing on this small overhaul, the curved end handrails which will make quite a visual alteration to this end of the coach, are seen below and around the buffers, and were fitted just over a week after this photo was taken.
Here we see the new replacement panels prepared and ready to be fitted, replacing the three split panels on the east side. Another was replaced on the west. You can also just see the roof-boards removed at the far end of the carriage.
After eight years back in service, the first two of the Met coaches to have been overhauled now require a little "tlc" to put them into tip-top condition as we come to the end of the project to overhaul the entire set of four Victorian carriages. No.387, the brake coach, entered the work area at the start of February, following the use of the set on almost every day the railway ran public trains between Boxing Day and the end of January (13 of the 15 days), culminating in the Victorian Weekend at the end of January. Contrary to what one of the monthly magazines has written, they will not be in use for the Branch Line weekend at the end of February. Because the set is close-coupled, it cannot operate without both of its end vehicles, so the entire set is therefore withdrawn from service temporarily. Their next confirmed use will be the Victorian Picnics in June, but we are aiming to have all the work on the various Met coaches completed during May, and are hoping that the re-launch gala will take place fairly soon thereafter.
We had experimented with a fire-proof plastic fabric for the roof covering, which has been found to be successful elsewhere. However, with the intensity of use our carriages are subject to, the occasional hot cinder has been found to melt a hole in the roof covering, and so, a few years back, that on No.394, positioned next to the loco as it climbs our 1-in-75 prevailing gradient, including through the tunnel, was replaced with a traditional canvas. We now have the opportunity to do the same for No.387, and not before time, since several holes have become apparent, and in fact some of the roof boards have rotted and will have to be replaced.
At the same time, four of the teak panels which have split are being replaced, and a number of teak mouldings, pinned to the bodyside, which have come loose, will be refixed using screws to provide a firmer attachment.
The gold-leaf lettering (see below) requires some minor repair, where it has been pulled off by companies using the coaches in filming work, and the coach will receive a re-varnish, which in any case was overdue.
Split panel, and damaged gold-leaf.
Note the bar coupling (for the close-coupling arrangement of these coaches) sitting on the running board.
One item that was not completed during the initial overhaul was the restoration of the hand-rails on the end of the coach, a distinctive feature of the brake end. One had been prepared, and the second one part-fabriacated about 8 years ago, and this work is now being completed.
Three of the four vehicles need some attention, with No.368 needing tyre-turning, and the fitting of dummy blinds in the first class. In the last couple of weeks it has also had its remaining luggage racks fitted. No.394 will follow No.387 into the works for attention to its panelling and varnish work.
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Last updated 20 July 2007 by Richard Salmon
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