A MIDLAND Railway six-wheel Picnic Saloon that spent more than 60 years in a garden in Shirley, West Midlands, was expected to enter service at the Midland Railway-Butterley as this issue of The RM went to press.
Dating from 1890, the 32ft-long saloon – No. 1260 – has been the subject of an 18-year restoration by Midland Railway Trust volunteer Alan Bridger, who has overseen the project since the grounded body was recovered in 1999.
Mr Bridger worked on the body for 12 years in his native Somerset, completing extensive research, including sourcing original drawings, and recording original features and picking through layers of paint to identify the original livery and stencilled embellishments.
In December 2012 the semi-restored body was transferred to Butterley and mounted on a prepared six-wheel underframe formerly belonging to LMS Full Brake No. 32998.
Work subsequently continued with Mr Bridger leading a larger team, meticulously re-creating interior details such as the panelling, longitudinal upholstered seating, and lavatory compartment. The bench-type seating has cost around £30,000 alone; marks on the floor show the position of the original legs, with the rest being based upon MR waiting room benches.
The restored coach was due to carry its first passengers since being grounded in 1930 (it entered departmental service c1920) during the weekend of April 29-May 1 as part of the restored vintage train.
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