Over the past six months good progress has been made on restoring the carriage. After removing most of the exterior panelling to reveal the framework, work started on repairing the main structure and roof timbers. Nothing unforeseen has been discovered and overall the condition of the woodwork is very good. With the insertion of new compartment partition walls made of Pitch Pine (as originally fitted), the profile of the carriage body has been gently restored and subsequently stabilised.
Exterior corner areas of the carriage that had suffered from rot have been cut out and repaired using prime Teak. Minor damage to exterior woodwork caused by cracking and shrinkage has been repaired using glued in plugs and slips. Where possible the repair is made of Teak salvaged from parts of the carriage that can’t otherwise be reused. Although visible when varnished, the repair respects the integrity of the carriage and allows clear identification of where work has taken place. Whilst most of the restoration is taking place in the workshops at Boston Lodge, the fabrication of modular items such as replica gas lamps, seating and door handles are taking place off-site and will be added later during the project.
What’s next? A great deal of thought has been going into the design of the underframe and how it will be modified to accommodate the carriage body. Auto-Cad drawings have been produced detailing the proposed changes and have been checked by an independent Assurance Engineer. The task of stripping and shortening the underframe is expected to start in the next few weeks. In terms of schedule for completion, the project is still on target to return the carriage to operational condition by October 2012. To find out more about the project please see: www.ltmuseum.co.uk/collections/projects/met-353