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Metropolitan Railway Brake Third 387 (built by Ashbury, 1898)

Met Brake 387
The coach, as restored, on its test run, January 1999.
Lewis Nodes

Photo taken soon after the coach's arrival on the Bluebell in 1961. Right: 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.

Type: Brake 3rd
Built: (Ashbury) 1898
Rebuilt: 1907/8
Seating: 50 3rd as built, 30 3rd (1908-1940) and 40 3rd from 1940
Length: 39' 6"
Weight: 20 Tons
Original No: 387
Other Nos: 2761, 512
Withdrawn: 1960
Preserved: 1961
To Bluebell: 2/3/1961

In the Spring of 1999 the Transport Trust awarded us 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. This carriage returned to public service on 13th February 1999 after more than 30 years out of use and a 7-year-long overhaul.

Originally built as a steam-hauled brake coach, with five passenger compartments, it was converted for electric operation as a Driving Motor Luggage Third in 1907/8 (with only three passenger compartments). It was reconverted for steam haulage on the Metropolitan's Chesham Branch in 1940 as LT No.512, with the fourth, guard's compartment returned to passenger use. It was extensively used on the Bluebell during the sixties, since when it has been out of use except by the Railway's Fire department as their one-time headquarters, and for filming work.

It was lifted from its bogies in February 1992 as part of the BASH (Bluebell Ashbury Supporters and Helpers) project to return the set of four "Chesham" vehicles to working order. The bogies have been comprehensively overhauled, as have the buffers, vacuum brake system and the electrical system (dynamo, battery boxes and wiring).

Work on the body has included the reconstruction of the brake end in its original form. Samples of paint covered over in 1908 reveal the original colour scheme of the interior of the brake van, which has been reproduced.

A series of web pages are dedicated to details of the history and current restoration of the four Metropolitan coaches.

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