As an observation saloon, coach 7 has been badly affected by exposure to wind and rain. The open observation area is especially vulnerable, and the woodwork has been in a very poor condition for a long while. The rot in one of the doors has been so serious that a whole section had to be replaced from timber supplied by the East Anglian Group.
Following some urgent woodwork undertaken by Dave Evans during the summer, the coach was admitted to the paint-shop in October 2022 for remedial work and a thorough repaint.
All the roundels on the roof have now been replaced (Dave Ely and team produced a new set made from hardwood, which we painted prior to fitting). The roof has been painted with the roundels now in place.
Some internal panels have been replaced as well, and all the panels in both walls and doors are being finished in magnolia.
Outside the coach, a long process has been completed. A new coat of paint has now been applied along with three coats of varnish. All the work has been completed with maximum care and attention to detail as befits a heritage vehicle.
Meanwhile, all the droplights have had to be removed and rubbed down, and each one has received four coats of a specialised marine grade varnish. It has been noted that the droplights have previously been the first obvious feature of each coach to show wear and tear, so Jim Pounds and the Paint-shop Boys have given priority to this new approach to protect the woodwork.
The open observation area is to be protected by new waterproof blinds, now fitted, that should limit the ingress of water.
Jim’s team, including Barrie Cann, Phil Dixon, Chris Shield and John Borwick have steadily worked away to resolve the problems with no. 7 for months and they are to be congratulated on a fine job that is a credit to the railway.
To save them having to tackle all this all so frequently due to environmental conditions where the carriages are currently stored, a carriage shed is badly needed. However, the L&BR planning team is investigating the feasibility of a temporary carriage shed at Woody Bay to serve until Blackmoor depot is constructed. We look forward to the results of this in due course.