This week's model is one of the most challenging carriages I've built so far, the unique 122.
Steve Coulson designed and built this prototype carriage to make maximum use of the available FR loading gauge and incorporated many design ideas from modern bus building, such as bonding the flush aluminium skin to the bodyshell.
Inside it is very spacious, with excellent views from the large windows and many believe it is the most comfortable carriage on the railway to ride in.
The trickiest bits of this model were the ends which are not flat like most other FR carriages but slightly curved, like the 'Bug Boxes'. My solution to this was to make ends in much the same way as I make my roofs with a double skin. I started off with a flat base to which I added some longitudinal strips in the middle, and then a curved skin was stretched over the top.
The vents on the top of the roof also needed some thinking about. On the real carriage they are the round vents you see on yachts or narrow boats. I made these out of Milliput employing a small off-cut of styrene tune as a mould to make a small circle of putty and smoothing down the top surface to make something that looks like the flattened dome shape of these vents. A few pricks with a needle around the edges completed the effect.
122 reminds me very much of an earlier, distinctive prototype, 116, and not only because of their large bus-style windows. Like 116, which was followed by a fleet of Boston Lodge built 'Tin Carrs' (to a much more utilitarian design) 122 did not lead to a series of production vehicles because the railway chose instead (for very logical reasons) to utilise the skills and facilities provided by the HLF heritage carriage restoration programme to built a new series of wooden bodied 'Barn-style' carriages for the FR and the WHR.
It is never-the-less a lasting tribute to the originality and ingenuity of its designer, the one and only 'Stefco'.