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Vintage Coaches. Pre and Post 1948 Carriages

Discussion in 'Heritage Rolling Stock' started by iowcr3429, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    The LMS Inspection saloon was an odd one for sure. It did suffer from a leaky roof which rather sealed its fate (I don't think it's run since, on any of its new homes), but nevertheless, it did seem rather underused especially after all the work that had gone into it.
    The Hawksworth was, as you say a full brake used by P'way. they got a Mk1 BG that was fully fitted out with kitchen and seating when the Hawksworth was knackered, and being a full brake there really was no future for it on the GWSR, it would never have been restored. I believe it went to Didcot.
    Yes, the toplights. The left around 1995 I'm told. At the time they were considered basket cases. As you know, before around 2003 the C+W department could have 2 carriages in the old goods shed at Winchcombe, and it was rather cramped. At the time I think thy were working 2 days a week. I'm not sure how many volunteers that would have been, maybe 3 dozen or so? Assuming we had the skills to do it, how many years would it have taken, and how many coaches would we have not worked on instead? It was a tough period for the GWSR, it was sill a tinpot little outfit who no one thought would ever become a serious contender. Even if we had them now, it would be a major challenge. Wood work is already the limiting factor in our restorations and that is just what is required for Mk1s, let alone an all wooden carriage.
    I share your interest with older rolling stock, I'd absolutely love us to have some toplights, so much lining out! :) But I have to be realistic, it was never really a viable option for railways like the GWSR.
     
  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    It is indeed sad reading. As you say though, most were bought with that in mind rather than a "Run and scrap" policy. I can only see ne that, from the description, matches that. I suppose I more had in mind those second generation lines that could only use Mk1s when posed my question, but nevertheless it's an interesting link.
     
  3. toplight

    toplight Member

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    In the 1950s they used quite a lot of a wood called Meranti for coaches. I understand the Thompson coaches were built with it. You can still get it and have used quite a lot myself, but it is much softer than say teak or sapele so doesn't last as well particularly I guess if it gets wet. I expect supplies of woods like teak became harder and more expensive to get in the 1950s. A lot of teak came from Burma but I guess it wasn't available after ww2
     
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  4. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Oddly enough, it is S.E.C.R. brakes, particularly the 2nd class declassified to third which impress me, along with the "droplight" vehicle as being so much better than B.R. efforts. L.B.S.C. stock has never had the same reputation as Chatham vehicles but Brighton thirds are actually not at all bad.

    Perhaps it was the time when the decently appointed but dreadful riding 4COR stock was replaced on the Portsmouth line by B.R. stock of utter blandness that my dislike of the Mk.1 set in. Tourist railways ought to avoid bland rolling stock if they can!
     
  5. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    It was done elsewhere.
     
  6. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    If you're talking about the IoW, I'm not convinced I'm afraid. The LBSCR bogie stock just happened to be the equivalent of the Mk1 on the island, and it was purely by circumstance that this was the case.
    I think the Swanage are showing the only way railways of that era can really go about doing it; farming out a large proportion of the work. That's fine but has meant dilapidated carriages having to be stored for a long time, and on some railways that leads to the dreaded linear scrapyard! And is also of course even more expensive, and wooden carriages are more expensive than Mk1s to begin with anyway.
     
  7. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Now what do you need to know?

    I was not around at the time so this is not from first hand experience but there were no covered facilities at all at first. After construction of the workshop i.w.r. 46 went into a corner,along with the locos to emerge in 1986 in award winning condition. She was in Burma teak which helps. The seperate carriage works was opened by H.M. The Queen in 2004.

    Until "Train Story" was opened, complete vehicles were stored during winter months under tailored tarpaulins. Unrestored carriage bodies now are stored under cover away from the railway.

    To date, nine carriages have been restored to the rails and a further one is in hand.

    This should answer all your points.
     
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  8. Fireline

    Fireline Member

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    It's probably easier to get a railway together if people stop publicly sniping at it from the outside. Yes, the KESR has scrapped coaches in the past. Curiously, it offered a number of those coaches to other parties, but there were no takers. The KESR has also suffered from a number of absentee owners, meaning that it has had to wait until the vehicle becomes a danger before it could go to court to show just cause to take possession. This is far from ideal, and was born in the "rescue it first, worry about it afterwards" days of the 60's.

    The carriage shed is subject to certain agreements, and as a result, we can't just stuff it until the buffers are all compressed, then shut the doors and hope. If you want to know why something is done, or not done, please ask. Airing your groundless fears on here is only likely to annoy those who are trying to get to a better situation.
     
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  9. Tim Light

    Tim Light Member

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    I don't think anyone is arguing that preserved lines should scrap their Mk1s and run their services with restored hen-huts and cricket pavilions. It's quite clear that Mk1s were, and are, the right choice for many operations.

    One role of the vintage carriage is to provide something a bit special for the more discerning customer. Some lines (like the KWVR) give their vintage stock a limited number of well-publicised outings each year. Others may add an odd vintage vehicle to the rake of Mk1s and charge a premium fare.

    The other role for vintage carriages is to give the enthusiast/volunteer the satisfaction of restoring and running some really antique rolling stock. The money and time that goes into this type of restoration is extraordinary, and we are exceptionally lucky to be able to ride in and photograph these vehicles. We can show our appreciation by riding them when the opportunity arises, and supporting organisations like the Vintage Carriages Trust.
     
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  10. Andy Williams

    Andy Williams Member

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    Tim, my post was in reply to Paul Hitch, who seems to espouse the idea that heritage railways should indeed abandon their Mark 1s, and run their timetabled services with vintage carriages. As a pragmatist, I believe that the best compromise is to have both types of carriage in service, as you state in your post. For many heritage railways, it is a fact of life that without the Mark 1s forming their core running fleet, there would be insufficient traffic vehicles and thus fare income, to pay for the restorations and rebuilds of the vintage carriages.

    Andy
     
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  11. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Quite clearly, if you haven't got the stuff you cannot use it. Equally clearly if it has been permitted to deteriorate beyond straightforward redemption, then it cannot be used.

    However if "heritage" is to mean anything more than a marketing slogan, as in so many ways, the narrow gauge world has got there first. Lines have carried out total, or near total, recreations in several instances.
     
  12. iowcr3429

    iowcr3429 New Member

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    Hi there Fire line,
    Glad you have been able to set the record straight as to the reasons for many of the carriages in the past and goes to show some of the problems that would otherwise not be known. As to the carriage shed I hope that ways are found to make best use of it to preserve some of the carriages that you have on the railway both for the now and future restorations so that we and people in the future can enjoy some of the interesting stock you have.
     
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  13. 6024KEI

    6024KEI Member

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    Having watched from afar the progress on various Didcot carriages, I'm personally under no illusions of the time it takes to restore and maintain historic carriages. Whatever anyone may say about the short running lines, there isn't a mark 1 in sight - which certainly does take its toll in terms of trying to get project overhauls done in between maintaining the running fleet. And that's with them mostly being kept in covered storage. So I can understand that a line which is hard pressed to make ends meet, and has limited volunteer or paid staff resources takes the path of least resistance and gets the carriage that only needs a quick weld and a repaint back into use rather than allowing that time to be used getting another month further in a 4 year overhaul of a wooden carriage that in effect is being rebuilt from the frames up. Those old carriages are absolutely a thing of beauty that should be preserved but they fall into the heart wanting it rather than the head being able to justify it territory.
     
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  14. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Paul, I know all this. I accept that my examples of the SVR and GWSR were one extreme and the other, and the IoW probably sits in the middle. In terms of existing infrastructure, much closer to GWSR. In terms of the starting point of carriages, much close to the SVR for a starting fleet. I know you have worked wonders with grounded bodies as well, but if all you'd had in terms of pre-grouping stock was grounded bodies from the beginning, things may have been different. There is also the fact that the IoW operation requires fewer carriages in service than, say, the GWSR, to attain the same passenger numbers and revenue.
     
  15. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Dealing with your last sentence first, this is one of the principal reasons for avoiding an over long route mileage. However, that is not really a matter for this thread.

    Turning to the principal issue, the I.O.W.S.R. is by no means the only line to start life with pre-Nationalisation rolling stock. What makes it unusual is in its eschewing the quick fix. There was such a quick fix around at the time as referred to earlier, in the form of redundant emu stock. These would have been even more inappropriate for a country branch line than Mk1s are. The refusal of the quick fix is why you can ride in the Ventnor West push-pull set today.

    I would agree that "forty years on" it is a little late to review the supposed "quick fix."
     
  16. martin1656

    martin1656 Part of the furniture Friend

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    Whilst having a shiny new carriage shed may be a god send, it can also create as many problems as it solves, especially if like the KESR, it's not in the same location as your C&W Workshop, so that tends to make it hard to keep stock under cover and increases milage if you have to split a rake then work single coaches from the shed to do an 18 monthly, then you have pressure from the loco dept to store undercover out of ticket engines that otherwise clutter up the shed yard, so further reducing the stock space, I can remember when the pit and examination road went undercover at tenterden, straight away there was always someone wanting to put this or that vehicle inside. and other vehicles that were long term taking space, that could have been used to store the next 4 wheel coach to be done to dry it out, items such as the GW railcar, that was progressing to slowly to warrant long term covered storeage took shed space that could have been used an an stripped down 08, that should have been tarped up making space for another coach that could have been worked on. sometimes management needs to be firm and say no,
     
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  17. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Best off here I think, apologies to OPs for "pinching" their posts:
    A good point, well made. I'd never thought of that comparison before, but you're quite right. I can think of a few reasons why this might be the case, but it probably all comes down to the fact that there are more people enthusiastic about locomotives than vintage carriages. So you have less money donated for carriage projects, and fewer people interested in helping restore them. Crucially but little mentioned on this thread so far though, is fewer people with the right skills. Lots of volunteers worked with metal in various ways in their working lives, and the skills involved are somewhat transferable to locomotives, and Mk1s as well. But far fewer people worked with wood professionally, and this is a problem. Even now, woodwork is still the limiting factor in our restorations, and that's only the wood required for Mk1s, never mind something older.

    That's a perfectly reasonable view to take, but it is difficult to reconcile with your views on locomotives Paul, where you seem to place practicality and economics above any other considerations. I've said it before, both are perfectly respectable arguments, but to swing one way on carriages and the other on locomotives is really hard to understand.
     
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  18. martin1656

    martin1656 Part of the furniture Friend

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    I agree with what Alex says here, theres less people who seem to want to work on coaches than on Loco's, and much of it is highly specialised, The problem with working with wood is that often your using very dangerous machines, bench saws, spindle moulders etc, and you need to know what your doing, and not everyone is a trained carpenter, and then your into training people, and different departments have different rules , When I worked for Mid Hants, training was always given, machinists didn't mind teaching you to use a lathe under their instruction, same as firemen didn't mind training you how to fire, fitters showed you how to exam coaches and engines, on the KESR, I found a reluctance, especially with in C&W to train people on using machinery unless you had bit of paper saying you were competent and had previous experience of that machinery luckily I had such certification from the MHR,
     
  19. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    If you think about it they are absolutely the same. Appropriate rolling stock for appropriate motive power in relation to a matching branch or secondary line use. Don't let W.I.B.N. pull you to extravagance.
     
  20. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I didn't have in mind your views on 8P pacifics on the KWVR say, but more like Halls on the GWSR or Britannias on the GCR, both of which are extremely appropriate for the line but I presume would fall under your criticism of big chufferitis, and the Ivatt tanks on the IoW which, if judged by the same standard as you judge carriages, are boring and inappropriate and not heritage. I'm not criticising the use of the Ivatts at all, merely using them as an example to highlight an apparent inconsistency between your views on carriages and locomotives. On the IoW, the Ivatts are there for the same reason the Bluebell uses Mk1s regularly.
     
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