Regular blog readers will be starting to gain an appreciation of just how much of a contribution the volunteers make to the smooth running of the museum and, more importantly, the quality of the visitor experience at both Covent Garden and the Acton Depot site.
So, understandably, the museum hosts an annual “thank you” event for all the volunteers who so freely give of their time, knowledge and expertise to help the museum thrive. This year’s event was at the Acton Depot, and featured a diverse agenda covering many aspects of the museum’s operation. Not only did free beer feature, but also a hog roast, so no need to worry – your scribe was at the front of the queue to attend the event. Rumour has it that there was also an alternative for the vegetarians amongst us.
Before lunch we heard from Sam Mullins, Director of the Museum, who gave us a view of the last year and a taste of what 2014 holds, which I can tell you is exciting!
After this there was the presentation of a number of long service certificates to loyal volunteers (and there are many of them). Next came lunch in the yard, which was excellent and blessed with warm sunshine, followed by the the official opening of the Marble Arch Signal Frame, as featured in my previous posts.
On then to a number of very informative and entertaining updates from various parts of the museum; a bus pit tour, with an opportunity to see the underside of a GS type bus; an update on progress with the restoration of the second prototype Routemaster and a guided tour of tunnelling ephemera. After all this and more I left after five hours feeling amply rewarded for my paltry efforts, not to mention entertained and informed.
Written by Dave Olney, Volunteer
As recently restored 353 had not previously run in its current form (using a modified PMV underframe), it was necessary to bed in the suspension and brakes; and to build confidence in the performance and dynamic behaviour of the vehicle. The tests were undertaken on the Great Central Railway over a three day period, with mileage accumulation carried out on day 1 (Monday 19th November). For the initial test runs the carriage was sandwiched between two locomotives (Cl45 D123 and Cl20 D8098 ) to enable rapid reversals at the possession limits and build up mileage as quickly as possible.
Once safe operation at 25 mph had been demonstrated on the first day, the carriage was tested to 40 mph, then to a maximum higher speed of 50mph on day 2 (Tuesday 20th November). The Class 20 locomotive provided the motive power for the high speed test, and with the light load of the carriage was very quick in reaching the desired speed. Day 3 (Wednesday 21st November) was booked as spare in case there were any issues earlier in the week. In the event this was used for additional mileage accumulation.
The following amateur footage shows the test train leaving the outskirts of Loughborough during one of the high speed runs.
The GCR was chosen as it has relatively straight and even track; ideal conditions for undertaking brake calculations and measuring vertical and lateral accelerations. The railway had been granted a derogation from the Office of Rail Regulation for undertaking the high speed test. The Institute of Railway Research carried out the safety assurance work for the carriage and conducted the instrumentation and testing of the vehicle with support from London Underground and Festiniog Railway representatives.
The gleaming carriage, finished with gold leaf and carrying no fewer than ten coats of varnish, bears little resemblance to the sorry-looking hulk which arrived at Porthmadog, North Wales in August 2011 after being used as a garden shed.
Craftsmen at the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway this week completed to schedule the 15-month, £200,000 restoration. The carriage travelled from Boston Lodge Works and over Britannia Bridge in Porthmadog before being loaded onto a waiting lorry for transport to the Great Central Railway in Loughborough. Next week the carriage will undergo dynamic testing on the GCR as it is too large to be tested on the narrow gauge F&WHR.
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
The museum is pleased to announce that it has been successful in its Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) application to restore Metropolitan Railway First Class ‘Jubilee’ carriage No.353. The Phase 2 decision secures £422,000 of HLF funding, which together with a £150,000 contribution from the London Transport Museum Friends, enables the restoration project and its associated learning programme to go ahead as planned.
To read the HLF press release see: http://www.hlf.org.uk/news/Pages/Worldsoldestknownundergroundcarriagetoberestored.aspx
Last week the wooden carriage body was delivered to the Festiniog Railway engineering works at Boston Lodge for further assessment. The road transfer from the Museum Depot took place over a two day period, with the final part of the journey involving use of the narrow gauge railway line. The photograph shows the carriage being hauled as a special ‘out-of-gauge load’ through the local town of Porthmadog on its way to the workshop.
London Transport Museum has received a Stage 1 Development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support the preparation of a Museum bid to the HLF for the restoration of our Metropolitan Railway ‘Jubilee’ First class carriage No.353.
The decision to restore the carriage will be announced later this summer. If all goes to plan we hope we will be able to include the restored carriage in the year-long series of exhibitions, activities and events to celebrate the anniversary – 150 Years of the London Underground
We are also supporting Quainton’s own restoration project for their Met 1 locomotive.
Exciting times ahead!
Please note that this is the full extent of information we have at the moment and therefore we’re currently unable to accept enquiries on this matter. Keep checking back for updates.