Today was another busy day at Strawberry Hill, and a very productive one too. After a hiatus of a few weeks thanks to shift work and the usual non-railway Real Life intrusions, we were able to put a small team together to move work forward on coach No. 76262. But before we could begin work, depot procedures had to be followed…
After the obligatory tea (and optional chocolate biscuits) and lead by one of our senior fitters Darren Franklin we continued restoring the standard class seating area. This has involved removing all the water-damaged fittings within the coach and replacing them with ‘good’ fittings – either freshly made or recovered from elsewhere along the unit. The previous workdays have made good progress towards this goal, and today has moved us still further forwards.
The two images above shown of the freshly restored seating bays, with new quarter pads installed and internal window trims recovered from coach No. 76263. Darren estimates that two more work days will be required to finish the remaining bays. At that point we will refit the deep-cleaned seat backs and, after their return from TBM at Crewe, refit the lighting panels. At that point the saloon will once again be fit to carry passengers. Our attention will then turn to the first class compartments.
The work plan remains to work through from No. 76262, along the unit, consolidating the restoration work and allowing us to minimise the overall amount of work needed. It also means that we will know exactly how much time, effort and money will be needed to complete the restoration of the passenger accommodation.
As well as this we have spent part of the day paying attention to non-train related work; namely making temporary repairs to the roof of our portacabin. Recent heavy rain lead to water ingress (a topic we are regrettably expert on) and something had to be done urgently to make sure that things did not get worse. Hopefully the work carried out today will buy us time to make more permanent repairs at a later date!
Away from the shed we have been contacted by the Brighton Belle Trust who have very kindly offered us an amount of trim liberated during their 5BEL building program. This trim will be collected from their base in Mansfield by our friends at TBM Rail of Crewe for cleaning, and then delivered to us after that. Needless to say that we are immensely grateful to both the Brighton Belle Trust and TBM Rail for their support. We have high hopes that this will push the restoration forward faster than anticipated. Thank you, folks!
We’ll have further news for you in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!