Built by Cravens, unlike our other three Ashbury-built Metropolitans, this coach was converted for electric operation in 1906 and reconverted for steam haulage on the Chesham Branch in 1940 as LT No.516.
Purchased by the Bluebell in 1961, it was used during the sixties, since when it was out of use, except for occasional filming work, for 25 years.
It was lifted from its bogies in 1992 and the wheel-sets sent for overhaul, as part of the BASH (Bluebell Ashbury Supporters and Helpers) project to return all four "Chesham" vehicles to working order.
The structure of this coach, like many others of this age, is entirely of wood, with teak panels on a teak frame, and with mouldings covering the joins between panels. Some of the body-side panels had been replaced with plywood, whilst others are metal. We obtained sufficient teak to replace all of these.
The restoration work was undertaken entirely by volunteers, and we also had to do all the fund-raising ourselves. We estimate that we spent around £40,000 to complete all four vehicles, of which this was the last to be restored.
Type: Metropolitan Railway "Bogie Stock" Composite
Built: (Cravens) 1900
Seating: 24 1st, 30 3rd
Length: 39' 6"
Weight: 20 Tons
Original No: 412
Other Nos: 9705, 516
To Bluebell: 2/3/1961
Right: Ray Medhurst putting a finishing touch to the interior of one of the first-class compartments on 9 December 2006 (Richard Salmon)
A series of web pages are dedicated to the history and restoration of the four Metropolitan coaches.
Go to the page with photos and full details of this coach's overhaul, or the page for its test run.