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Heritage Carriage Project


Latest news from Great Yeldham

1st June

Master craftsman Tony Ely has sent us these pictures taken fairly recently of the start of the erection of Carriage No.16.

1. Floor boards and hat rack boards awaiting finishing

2. Both ends laying on stools prior to fixing, brake end is underneath.

3. External view of fitted brake van end.

4. Brake van end with finished boards and painting in progress, brake standard visible. On the right seat parts can be seen and some of the huge quantity of internal boarding being painted to the right of the sole bars. 

5. About to fix the compartment end to the sole bars.

Photos and Text Tony Ely

The last series of photos of carriages 7 and 17 before they left Great Yeldham can be found HERE

Soon after their departure the underframe for carriage No.16 arrived - this report by Norman Willsher.

22nd April 2013

Hi Folks, I know the presence of Coaches 7 & 17 at Woody Bay are taking all the limelight but meanwhile at Great Yeldham - having parted company with Coaches 7 and 17 a mere seven days ago - the underframe for Coach No.16 arrived safely today.

Duncan Milner was on site by 10.30am and after a few buses were re-located off-loading commenced at 11.20am and was completed in just 45 minutes. As bus movements in the hangar were restricted today the underframe had to be kept just outside our workshop. Movement into the workshop took place shortly afterwards.

Once again our thanks to Duncan for a quick and faultless delivery. If all goes well I'll aim for a progress update on Coach 16 to coincide with the May Gala.

1. Coach 16 underframe arrives at Great Yeldham.

2. Duncan Milner edges his way into the hangar.

3. Coach 16 underframe.

4. David Ely, Duncan Milner & Leon Ely.

5. No. 16's underframe awaits a body, watch this space!

Photos and Text Norman Willsher

24th March

The question of livery for the coaches has often been discussed, including recently on this website. To give some of the background, L&BR Chairman Peter Miles has written:

The decision on what colour to paint the rebuilt original L&B coaches was always going to be contentious. Many years ago the Association, at some level, thought that as the Railway would be the ‘Lynton & Barnstaple Railway’ the livery for the coaching stock should be L&BR colours and not Southern Railway. There is a logic to that but many people did not agree – including the owner of coach 17!

When the Trust was progressing the Heritage Coach Project with the aim of rebuilding not just 7 but 17, 4 and others there was healthy debate as to what shade of green they should be painted!

There were two factors that resulted in the eventual decision. The luggage doors for coach 17 had been restored by Charles Gardner when the coach was stored at his home. The colour of the red was wonderful and it became clear that this was something splendid, unseen for many years. Although the assumption had been made that the red & white would look so much like other railways’ liveries it was clearly rather better.

The deciding factor however was more practical. The people carrying out almost all of the restoration in Essex had spent an enormous amount of their lives on the task. What were their opinions? In almost complete unanimity they wanted the second L&BR livery - the same as Charles had provided. The trustees had seen the samples and agreed with the restoration group. That is why we have the coaches arriving in this livery and very fine the coaches look too!

At the same time as this proposal was accepted the decision was made that the ‘new’ coaches will be finished in Southern green (those that are replicas and not ‘rebuilds’). That is a complex livery with various other colours and lining. In the future it is possible that the coaches could be repainted in to whatever scheme may be felt appropriate at the time. However there is a logical reason as to why the Indian Red and White has been used and the results are better than anyone could have anticipated; these coaches are excellent and the appearance is at least the equal of anything I have seen on any other heritage railway.

There will always be a number of people who feel this is not their choice (I admit that I preferred SR green at first)but there are a few practical matters as well. The SR painted over of covered up the top-lights. To reduce the amount of glazing like that is very silly. The interior in SR days was drab with scumble applied all over the place. The chosen livery makes a more impressive restoration than the green and that judgement can be confirmed only when you stand with the end result in front of you. Finally the clincher is that once sat inside the coaches and enjoying the ride and view you cannot tell what colour they are and it doesn’t matter anyway!

Norman Willsher, a key member of the Carriage Restoration team, has been providing regular updates on the progress, and we are expecting another bumper photo-fest. In the meantime, he sent in these pictures, taken yesterday:

Coaches 7 and 17, doors open. top coat finished, waist lettering in place

Coach 17, very close to completion.

Peter Snashall was also at Great Yeldham at the weekend, and took these pictures:

Richard Bullock, from Surrey, applying a final coat of varnish to the doorframe.

Alan Coney from Kent, signwriting Coach 7

David Ely, from Essex, manufacturing the letter-rack for Coach 17's guard's compartment

Another door, another sign. The result!

11th March

Heritage Carriages Update 11th March 2013

Another month has sped by and this Update is somewhat overdue.

Hopefully the pictures will speak for themselves but I'll add just a few comments:

Re. Picture 3: The roof canvas needs six coats of paint.The first five coats are all oil-based paint and coats 1-4 can be any colour we can get hold of. We were lucky enough to be gifted several gallons of paint by a local building and decorating merchant, but the colours are whatever is available! You're looking at coat four, just a little something for the odd Southern enthusiast out there! Rest assured coat five will be white and the final coat of bilge paint is light grey.

The photographs show just a few of the many people who are engaged in work on our coaches. Several members choose to work at home in their own workshops on such tasks as door locks and the finishing of a wide variety of brass castings. Of those at Pilton East, no less than four are now travelling quite long distances and choosing to stay overnight in order to put in two full days work on the coaches (Richard Bullock from Surrey and Alan Coney, Pete & Julia Snashall from Kent). David Smith travelled down from Derby to donate transfers for use on the coaches and stayed on all day to help with painting before heading back to Derby. Then there are all of you out there who donate and raise money towards the coach restoration project. To everyone who supports us, a big THANK YOU!

And just to show how busy we are, last week was our first ever seven-day working week at Pilton East, as Alan, Pete & Julia put in a full day on Sunday (bitterly cold and snow on the ground). And they plan to do the same over the next two weekends!

Text and Photos by Norman Willsher

1. 16 Feb: Alan Coney applies dark grey undercoat to Coach 17

2. 16 Feb: Primer applied to Lincrusta in 1st Class Compartment of Coach 17

3. 16 Feb: The roof of Coach 7 - Thomas the Tank Engine Blue, Southern Green & Stroudley's Improved Engine Green!

4. 19 Feb: Richard Bullock from the Surrey Group applies undercoat to 3rd Class in Coach 17

5. 20 Feb: Doors hung and undercoated on Coach 17

6. 21 Feb: Trial fitting the luggage doors to the Guard's Compartment on coach 17

7. 21 Feb: Coach 7 being fitted with internal lights

8. 21 Feb: The final white gloss finish applied to the Lincrusta (1st Class) in Coach 17

9. 23 Feb: "Let there be Light" - Coach 7

10. 23 Feb: "Let there be MORE Light" - Coach 7

11. 23 Feb: "Let there be Light" - now also in the Coach 17 Observation Compartment

12. 23 Feb: The walls of a 3rd Class Compartment in Coach 17, finished in Magnolia gloss

13. 23 Feb: Pete Snashall presents his best side whilst painting in the Guard's Van of Coach 17

14. 23 Feb: Meanwhile, Julia Snashall masks the disabled access doors prior to painting

15. 23 Feb Coach 17 - Getting there!

16. 23 Feb: Coach 17. The roofline awaits attention and the observation end a change of livery

17. 26 Feb: Coach 17 Guard's Van walls painted, Coach 7 in the background

18. 26 Feb: Coach 17 Guard's Van walls painted.

19. 26 Feb: The disabled access doors within Coach 17s Guard's Van

20. 26 Feb: Disabled access doors from the Guard's Van showing access into the 3rd class compartment of Coach 17.

21. 26 Feb: 'Two Brush Tony' top-coats Coach 7

22. 26 Feb: Pilton (East) Carriage Shed

23. 26 Feb: Coach 7 gleams, with parts for Coach 16 in the foreground

24. 26 Feb: Viewed through' Coach 17's Guard's Van, David Ely top-coats Coach 7

25. 26 Feb: David reflects on his work

26. 2 Mar: Coach 17 roofline completed and livery changed on the observation end. (see picture 16)

27. 2 Mar: Coach 17 goes Indian Red

28. 2 Mar: Coach 17 observation end now in Indian Red

29. 2 Mar: 18.10 - The end of the day at Pilton (East)

30. 5 Mar: 3rd Class compartment in Coach17; gloss painting finished, varnishing next

31. 5 Mar: The Scroll Bracket re-fitted to the Coach 7 Observation Compartment

32. 5 Mar: 1st Class seat components from Coach 17 ready for the Upholsterer

33. 5 Mar: The end(s) of the day

34. 9 Mar: Lunch break for the Pilton (East) Saturday Crew - L to R Tony Ely, David Ely, Alan Coney, Pete Snashall, Julia Snashall, David Horsfall.

35. 5 Mar: It's been a long wait, but at last two original L&B Coaches in matching livery.

10th March

The EAST volunteers on site at Great Yeldham this weekend were regulars Tony and David Ely from Colchester and Norman Willsher from Bury St Edmunds. They were joined again this weekend by L&BR Trustee Pete Snashall, his wife Julia, and Alan Coney - all from Kent, and L&BR Trustee David Horsfall from Peterborough.

Pete Snashall sent these photos of their labours:

David H. rubs down the paintwork on Coach 7

Julia paints window surrounds Coach 17

Norman painting the folding doors to the disabled compartment of Coach 17

Interior of Guards Compartment Coach 17 showing ducket and seat

Tony at work with a drill on Coach 7

A Guard Van door being built and assembled by David Ely

Pete paints the interior of the guard's compartment door on Coach 17

Alan varnishing a series of coach ventilator internal louvres

Alan and Julia pose for the camera by the varnished louvres


23rd February

On Saturday 23rd February. The nine L&BR Trustees were in Great Yeldham for a Trust Meeting, so naturally they dropped in to see how the carriages were progressing.

These pictures, taken by Peter Miles that afternoon show the interiors of coaches 7 and 17 - nearly completed, with final painting proceeding apace, and the internal light fittings now in place, working and giving a soft "period" feel to the illumination:









19th February

Coach 7 is rapidly approaching completion, and Coach 17 isn't far behind. Trust Chairman Peter Miles visited Great Yeldham yesterday (19th February) and sent in these photos...

. Coach 17, undercoated and ready for the final colour application

Coach 17 first class compartment, with Lincrusta fitted to ceiling and top panels. Coach 7, now in its final livery, is visible in the background.

Platform-side view of Coach 17, waiting for a final coat of paint.

Coach 17, First-class Observation compartment, from the outside.


10th February

It's only a week since the last Update but some of the detail work undertaken at Great Yeldham (Pilton East) yesterday, 9th February 2013, might be of interest.

We now have three regular volunteers travelling up from Kent - Pete & Julia Snashall,  and Alan Coney. Alan is a signwriter and has quickly begun working his magic on Coaches 7 and 17. Both coaches now having their Tare weight on both sides of the underframe. Coach 7 now has some internal signage.
Pete and Julia were joined by another regular volunteer - L&B Trustee David Horsfall - who travels down from Peterborough. The three of them spent the day painting the roof canvas on both coaches. Lots to do as each roof requires six coats!

From Colchester, Essex we had stalwarts Tony and David Ely. Representing Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk was yours truly.

David continued his work on the disabled compartment doors for Coach 17. Meanwhile Tony and I had great fun measuring, cutting, pasting and fixing the embossed and very heavy Lincrusta decoration to the ceiling and upper wall panels of Coach 17's 1st Class compartments (with a little help from David E). We are really pleased with how the Lincrusta looks. Next week we'll fix all the mouldings around the Lincrusta in readiness for gloss white to be applied.

The day ended with further painting of exterior waist panels on both coaches.

I should also mention that on Tuesdays and Thursdays we are now joined by Surrey Group Member Richard Bullock, who travels up from near Guildford. Thanks to everyone who volunteers at Great Yeldham and a special thanks for those who travel such long distances.

The coaches are looking good and there is light at the end of the restoration tunnel, but we still need more help. Please consider joining us, we would welcome your company.

You can email me at

1. Alan Coney at work on Coach 7

2. Coach 17 1st Class, Lincrusta upper wall panel template.

3. First Lincrusta ceiling panel fitted.

4. Lincrusta ceiling panels for Coach 17 1st Class compartments, with Coach 7 in the background.

5. Lincrusta panels fitted in a six-seat 1st Class compartment.

6. Lincrusta panels fitted into the 1st Class Observation Saloon.

7. More of Alan Coneys superb signwriting in Coach 7.


2nd February 2013 Update

Despite the cold miserable weather, progress continues to be made as follows:

Number 7 
Exterior completely rubbed-down in readiness for the final top-coats, varnish and transfers/sign-writing.

Number 17
Except for those of the Luggage/Guards Compartment, all doors are now fitted and 90% of the windows are glazed. 

Painting has commenced in the third-class compartments whilst detail work continues in the First Class compartments.

The folding doors for the Disabled Compartment are complete and ready for fitting and more undercoat has been applied to the exterior.

The majority of the black metalwork (steps, handrails etc) for the exterior of both coaches is also ready for fitting. The roof of each carriage requires several more coats of oil-based paint to be applied and then the roof furniture can be fitted.

Both carriages now have the new timber housing fitted for the emergency pull cord system.
Sadly our painter Bryan Sears has decided to bow out of the project. I'd like to take the opportunity on behalf of the team to thank Bryan for his friendship and invaluable assistance in progressing the project. All the best to you and Celine.
We have received offers to help out with the painting but we can always use more hands. If you feel you can help out with painting or any other task we are always happy to welcome new volunteers. If interested then email me at and let me know what skills you have and/or the areas you might like to help with on the carriages project.

Currently there is not a lot of room in the workshop and the low levels of natural light and profusion electric lights also add to the challenge of taking photo's. So my apologies for the poor quality of some of the following images.

First there is a sequence of photos I took back in the summer which I hope show the skill and dedication of all those who have the privilege of being able to be part of the team resurrecting carriages that we thought were lost forever. Try guessing what is being made.

1. 7th June 2012 blocks prepared with finger joints.

2. 7th June 2012 four blocks will complete one unit.

3. 7th June 2012 Tony glues & wedges three units.

4.  7th June 2012 three units glued and wedged in the jig.

5. 7th June 2012 one complete unit ready for machining.

6. 7th June 2012 first unit attached to the machining template. Any idea what it is for?

7. 7th June 2012 the full machining jig.

8. 7th June 2012 Tony profiles with the router

9. 7th June 2012 three units after initial machining. Can you guess what they are yet?

10. 14th August 2012 fitted to upright support.

11. 14th August 2012 trimmed to size and decorative face profiled.

12. 14th August 2012 Full size plan, measured and drawn by Tony Ely.

13. 14th August 2012 Tony checks against drawing.

14. 14th August 2012 Armrest positioned in 1st Class Observation compartment of Coach 17.

15. 14th August 2012  ... along with side-wall arm-rest.

16. 21st August 2012 remainder of the set for Coach 17 alongside a photo of interior of Coach 2 at NRM.

17. 1st September 2012 woodwork completed for First Class Arm-rest, smoking red, non-smoking blue (final finish will be real leather).

26th January 2013

18. Coach 17 ready for glazing.

19. 1st Class Observation Saloon.

20 .Guards Ducket and view into the Disabled Compartment.

21. Inside of Guards Door showing ventilator and droplight.

22. Same door from the outside.

23. 1st Class Observation Saloon awaits its red leather upholstery. Get ready to reserve your tickets!

Photos and Text Norman Willsher

9th January 2013

Coach 7 almost there & Coach 17 panelled out and in undercoat.

L&B Chairman Peter Miles visited Great Yeldham yesterday and  took these photos whilst there.

1. Coach 7 looking resplendent with one coat of varnish to go.

2.. Coach 7 - the view from the other end. The metalwork on the right will be used to remove both carriages from Great Yeldham.

3. Coach 17 - in undercoat from the Brake end

4. Coach 17 - from the the Observation end.

5. The Observation Saloon awaits its buttoned-in leather upholstery. This has been ordered and will be delivered when the compartment is ready to receive it.

6.  Coach 17 - all the panelling is now complete and the doors are being fitted.


30th October 2012 - Coach 7 now has a brand new canvas roof.

Six of us assembled at Great Yeldham on the morning of Saturday  27th October to tackle a job that was probably last undertaken on Coach 7 over 116 years ago. Naturally  we were all a bit apprehensive, never having put a canvas roof on a carriage before,  But we had done our research, assembled all the necessary tools and materials and now it was time to bite the bullet!

25th October

1. Scaffolding erected between Coaches 7 & 17 by Leon Ely.

2. A tight squeeze - scaffolding neatly slotted in between 7 and 17.

27th October

3. 09:42 Leon Ely checks the roof canvas on Coach 7.

4. 09:52 Strategy meeting! Leon Ely and John Russell. 

5. 10:11 First section of canvas being pressed onto the already applied bedding compound. L to R Julia & Pete Snashall, Leon Ely, Tony Ely behind John Russell.

6. 10:13 the team get to work with the smoothing blocks, bedding the canvas and ironing out the creases.

7. 11:14 Ninety minutes elapsed and nearly half the roof completed! Julia, Pete, Leon & John.

8. 12:15 Julia Snashall takes time out to admire Coach 7's paintwork.

9. 16:57 roundels and lamp housings are temporarily placed on the completed roof.

10. 16:58 not bad for our first attempt at canvas roofing.

11. 16:59 Pete and Julia Snashall.

12. 17:08 smiles all round and a job well done, Julia, Pete, Tony and Leon.

The Team comprised Pete and Julia Snashall (who had travelled up from Kent on a cold and miserable morning), Leon Ely, Tony Ely, John Russell and Norman Willsher. 

In the end it all went very well and took less than five hours for the complete job and we all really enjoyed it and are looking forward to joining up to do it all again for No. 17.

Photo's and text by Norman Willsher

Heritage Carriages - 16th October 2012 UpdateNorman Willsher (along with most of the EAST Group) has been putting in too many hours at Yeldham and not getting enough time to do justice to the updates for the website!  Although a more detailed update in progress, Norman thought that as a significant milestone in the restoration of No. 7 has been reached, a short update was needed now. 

At the beginning of July we erected three 12 metre-long canopies, one over each of Coaches 7 and 17. These canopies ensure the coaches are protected from the rainwater leaks from the hangar roof as well as providing some dust protection. The drawback with the canopies is that the support poles are plainly visible in most photo’s of the coach sides.

The canopies also come with a complete set of side-screens which will allow us, if necessary, to cocoon a coach in the final stages of painting and provide a means of containing the warmth if we are able obtain some form of heating during the winter months. L&B Company Director Dave Blencowe visited us a couple of weeks ago and gave some encouraging news about a source of heating. We’re relying on this as we need to maintain progress through these cold, damp days.

Here is a record of Coach No. 7's recent colour schemes:

1. 21st August 2012: masked ready for etching primer to be sprayed onto aluminium panels.

2. 25th August 2012: Olive Drab etching primer and my bit of fun with a few bits of masking tape!

3. 13th September 2012: green primer gives an SR livery

4. 27th September 2012: first undercoat of light grey.

5. 2nd October 2012: second undercoat of dark grey.

6. 16th October 2012: our latest recruit, Mike Rice - a professional painter - applies the first topcoat of L&B Deep Indian Red

7. 16th October 2012: Mike reflected in the high gloss finish.

8. 16th October 2012: the Barnstaple end of No. 7 gleams.

9. 16th October 2012: magnificent!

10. 16th October 2012: from the Lynton end. As well as the exterior, a great deal of painting has taken place on the interior, with all walls and partitions now in magnolia topcoat and the ceiling in gloss white.

Many people have wielded paint brushes in recent months, just to get us to this stage. Our very grateful thanks to Bryan Sears (Paint Team Leader), Mick Rice, Chris Hill, David Horsfall, David Gandell, Charles Summers, David Ely and Peter Miles. My apologies to anyone I may have omitted.

And finally a reminder that funds are still required to complete Nos. 7 & 17 – just a further £3,000 is all.

Your support remains vital, so if you like what you've just seen  PLEASE CLICK HERE and make a donation - we would be very grateful.

After a wait of over 70 years, the day when we can ride the line in one of these these coaches is coming ever closer.  A very significant step towards the L&B's aims of creating the L&B that we all want to see.

Text and Photos by Norman Willsher, L&B E.A.S.T.

Two views of Coach 7 as at close of play on Tuesday 2nd October 2012.


Painting of Coach 7 proceeds at a reasonable pace.



The other side awaits the dark grey undercoat, this should be completed this coming Thursday. After that we will be ready to apply the first (of two) top-coat of Dark Indian Red, so long as the air temperature holds up.


Internally, No.7's walls have been extensively renovated prior to commencement of painting. Off-white undercoat has been applied to about 70% of the T&G boarding and one end wall (Lynton end) has received it's first gloss coat of Magnolia. Last Thursday I had the workshop to myself so cleaned up No.7's floor then masked all remaining internal panelling ready for off-white undercoat to be applied tomorrow (Tuesday 9th Oct).

I hope to get another update to you this week for publication on the website.

Norman Willsher

A recently received letter regarding the Heritage Coaches


Coach 7 Underframe arrives at Great Yeldham

Courtesy of Duncan Milner Transport, the underframe constructed at the Ffestiniog Railway's Boston Lodge works arrived at Great Yeldham at 11:30 on Tuesday, 2nd May, about 30 minutes later than scheduled due to the bad weather and traffic conditions.

Once off the lorry the underframe was jacked and placed on "dollies" which added greatly to the ease of moving such a large and heavy lump of metal. The underframe was finally slid under No. 7 at 15:15 and fully positioned by 15:55.

1st May 2012 - Coach No. 7's underframe arrives at 11:30

12:40 - Off-loading ramp set up

12:55 - on the ramp

13:00 - On the ground

14:25 - On dollies ready to turn

15:00 - Turned through ninety degrees and lowered onto track

15:15 - No. 7 meets her underframe

15:55 - Underframe positioned under No. 7, No. 17 in background

 Text and photos Norman Willsher

Coach 17 underframe arrives at Great Yeldham Click HERE for more pictures



21st November 2011 - Coach 17 underframe being loaded at Minfordd
Photo by FR CME Jon Whalley



Tony Nicholson provided these photos of Coach 17 underframes nearing completion at the Ffestiniog Railway's Boston Lodge Works, September 2011.  

Read more below about our exciting project to recreate an L&B train 

Down in deepest Essex our East Anglia Support Group has been beavering away for quite a while on the L&B's Heritage Coaches.   Charles Summers introduces this very exciting project

We currently use four ex-Thorpe Theme Park coaches as our passenger coaches at Woody Bay and although, they continue to give good service, they are nothing like the original L&B carriages in either size, ride or detail.  The authentic Lynton & Barnstaple experience will only be experienced when we eventually have coaches of the same size and built to thr same exacting standards as the originals.

This work started some years ago when in order to prevent over-enthusiastic members removing bits from the original carriage sections stored at Landkey, barnstaple we moved most of the parts to Essex and rebuilt the body of Coach 7 in the gasworks at Stanford-le-Hope. Although we learned a lot from that exercise, we were unable to put the carriage back into service because we lacked the funds for the bogies, brakegear and couplings. The coach was returned to Devon and was displayed at Woody Bay for some years attracting a lot of attention.  However, as a mere static exhibit it earned no revenue and the North Devon weather began to take its toll.  The coach was put in storage pending completion.

A suitable restoration base was found at Great Yeldham by the Essex Groups Ron Hill and the Trustees agreed to return Coach 7 to Essex, along with parts of Coach 17 and any others, for safe keeping and conservation.


  Coach 17

It  became clear that the first carriage that would be needed was a composite coach with a guard’s compartment. So No 17 – the last carriage built for the L&B and supplied by Shapland & Petter, the local Barnstaple joinery company – was the most appropriate restoration project.

Some excellent sections had survived having been cared for by Roger Ladbury and Charles Gardner (both past L&B Trustees, Directors and Committee Members). Work began by restoring these sections and designing replacements for the missing parts (to original specifications, naturally). The overall length and internal layout and dimensions are not the same as coach 7 or indeed any other L&B coach

Length overall including coupling 40 ft 5in.
Length over buffer beams 36 ft 2 in.

  Third Class compartments - 5ft between bulkheads/partitions
First  Class compartment -  5ft 9in between bulkhead/partition.

On all other coaches

Third Class compartments - 4ft 10 ins between bulkheads/partitions
First  Class compartment -  6ft 0in between bulkhead/partition.

The Van section is 10ft 9ins long internally against Coaches 1 & 2 - 12ft 1in and Coaches 15 & 16 - 9ft  9ins.

The L&B's coaches were originally made of teak but as this is no longer commercially viable we are using Iroko instead which is most suitable substitute being very similar to teak.


Coach 17 - details of the joinery and quality workmanship

The wooden bodywork is now about 95% complete, including the doors. The wood has cost about £22,500 to date and has been funded by a three-year interest-free loan from a member. Other costly items including a steel underframe at £7,500, a pair of bogies at £21,500 and Norwegian couplings are being manufactured by the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales. We already have the door locks, thanks to Ron Hill and financial support from the Surrey Group but there is still the matter of upholstery, glass and door fittings.



A stack of doors await hanging in Coach 17


Coach 17 - the framework takes shape

  Coach 7

This has also been receiving attention. Paint and panels have been removed, as has the underframe.  Tenons retro-fitted between seat rails and side frames. The underframe was to go to Boston Lodge for alteration and strengthening as well as to be fitted with a pair of bogies and couplings, brakegear etc. However, it was decided that it would be easier and quicker if Boston Lodge were to make a new underframe to the same specification as the one they built for coach 17.

Completion and a return to North Devon for revenue earning service is now planned for 2013.  But exactly when is entirely dependent  upon having sufficient funds and enough willing hands to complete!

When finished these coaches will be delivered together to Devon where they will be stored in the extended Running Shed.

The sight of these two unique coaches operating once more in Devon on the railway for which they were especially designed will be truly magnificent - please help us to make this a reality.


The coaches will be fitted with dual braking air and vacuum, They will also be fitted with steam heat. The bogies are a tried and tested FR design.  Photos of the underframes and bogies are available HERE and HERE

Operationally - the Thorpe Park coaches and heritage carriages cannot be used together. Total capacity of the four Thorpe Park vehicles is just over 70 passengers including 4 first class. Coaches 7 and 17 will provide 74 third class and 9 first class seats - 83 in total at a squeeze! The Railway will eventually need over a hundred third-class seats. The next carriage was going to be No 4, a lovely end-observation saloon but having 28 first-class and only 8 third it is not required at present.The Trust has decided that as we have parts of the originals in store the next carriages will be No.16 a third class brake followed by No.11 -a 56 seat seven compartment all third.

A heritage coach costs around £150,000, a very reasonable sum given the size of the vehicles and the quality of finish, appearance and comfort.


Other "Heritage" coaches will follow, whenever possible using parts of the originals recovered from various locations around North Devon

The principal dimensions of an L&B coach are as follows:

Length overall 39 ft 6 in. including couplings.
Length over buffer beams 35 ft 2 in.
Width over bodies 6 ft Oin.
Width over steps 7 ft 4 in.
Total wheelbase 28 ft 10 in.
Bogie wheelbase 4 ft 4 in.
Wheel diameter 1ft 6 in.
Height, rail to centre of roof 8 ft 7 in.
Height, solebar to cant rail 6 ft 4i/2 in.
Height, maximum internal 6 ft 6 in.

Some of the L&B Essex Team in Summer 2010, with Coach 17 - an excellent example of their handiwork. 


Photos;by Pete Snashall, Tony Spencer and Tony Nicholson

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