Too right. Very nice.
You may recall that, for the last couple of years there have been mysterious goings on in the (WH)WHR carriage shed - but also that every time I visit either the doors are tightly closed or I get chased away, so I've only got occasional glimpses of what's happening, which so far suggest a relatively ordinary WHR carriage taking shape? Albeit one that doesn't quite correspond to any photos or drawings I've seen. So why the secrecy? Who knows???
Last time I caught such a glimpse, the carriage had taken on a slightly unusual twist, in that it was painted a rather alarming shade of yellow. Was this a version of the 1934 "rainbow train" publicity drive to attract more passengers by painting the carriages funny colours???
No, it appears it was just undercoat, because yesterday as I walked past, the shed doors were open again for the first time in months:
For a Mystery Carriage, it's not very mysterious... Oh well, it looks like it's nearly finished, so I guess we'll find out soon.
This weekend I took advantage of the good weather and went for another stroll in the direction of the Carriage and Wagon Works, with the intention of seeing if I could catch a glimpse of the latest progress on the Mystery Carriage.
The shed doors were closed, and the carriage was nowhere in sight. Just outside the shed, however, was a small flat wagon, on which some recently-painted cast iron lettering was drying in the sun. Only the last four letters remained, the rest having been boxed up to await being screwed onto the carriage, but I reckon they'll spell out "WELSH HIGHLAND Rly", like the those on the railway's Summer Cars.
There was childish sniggering coming from within the shed, presumably at my inability to speak Welsh, in which language I guess the remaining letters mean something terribly witty???
My late father claimed that this stood for "Assistant Regional Signals Engineer" during his time at New Zealand Railways.
Ah yes, that's probably it - not Welsh at all, but New Zealand-ish. Strange they should be referring to a signals engineer on a line with no signals, but that's probably what they were sniggering about? Pretty sophisticated stuff, way over my head...
More news from the carriage shed shortly - I heard rumours of a delivery...
I know very little about carpet, but presumably that mysterious letting on the back refers to the depth of the pile or something???
More news as I get it...
Another delivery to the shed this afternoon:
It looks like the seating's going in - rather plush seating too, I hope the foreman's overalls are clean...
The end must be in sight now???
Passengers to fill the Mystery Carriage are arriving at the carriage shed - even if the manner of their arrival is somewhat unceremonious:
For those still awake at the end of this three year long (and frankly, rather self-indulgent) saga, it seems that the shed doors will be thrown open at about 6pm this evening.
Fear not, I shall be there with a camera...
Today, the doors are opened:
Enjoy! Apologies for the cheesy soundtrack - I couldn't resist!
Glad you like it! It was one of those things where, once I'd thought of it, I just couldn't not do it - even if it did take over three years...
So, the idea is that it's a "what if"... What if, instead of drawing on the Caledonian Railway's "Maid of Morven" for inspiration when designing their observation cars, the modern day Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland team based their work on an original NWNGR/WHR carriage? If Ashbury, when they built the distinctive Summer Cars and "corridor" carriages in the 1890s, were also asked to build an observation car, a little like the Gladstone Car, but fully enclosed?
This is what I came up with, a kind of synthesis of the Gladstone Car (the interior layout and partitions), the corridor carriages (the exterior styling) and the modern observation cars (the round end):
As per usual, it's made from ply and stripwood and runs on old Big Big Train bogies. Construction was fairly straightforward, with the obvious exception of that curved end - where the roof meets the end stuff's curving in three different planes, which came close to frying my brain at times. In the end, I relied on trial and error more than mathematics!
I wasn't sure how much use it would get, because it's not a genuine WHR carriage - but, after all this time building it, real and model have become rather blurred in my mind, so I don't think I mind about that too much!
The observation car will be known as "The Seymour Car". That's after some old friends of mine - but I was also rather pleased with the cheesy pun...
PS Fans of cult TV series The Prisoner may notice that Patrick MacGoohan has seemingly escaped The Village, legged it across The Cob, and boarded the 2:15 to Dinas Junction. Can "Russell" outrun Rover??!
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