Thursday, 8 December 2011

MOTW - Mess Coach 1000

Narrow gauge railways like the FR have been recycling long, long before it ever became fashionable and the WHR mess carriage 1000 was just one of the more recent examples.

It began life in 1965 as the first of the 'Barn' Observation Carrs and was truly revolutionary in terms of passenger comfort and luxury on the FR.

By the early years of the 21st Century the wooden body was well past its designed life-span and rapidly reaching the point where it was financially and practically more sensible to scrap it and start again: which is exactly what the railway did.

The original 100 had a final fling in passenger service on the WHR before it was stripped of its posh Pullman armchairs in the rear saloon, mounted on a pair of ex-SAR bogies, and saw out its days as a mess coach for the volunteer gangs laying the track on Phase 4 of the rebuilding project from Rhyd Ddu to Porthmadog.

And when the rails reached Porthmadog it was no longer needed and was scrapped.

To avoid confusion with the brand new Observation Carr 100 it had an extra 0 added to its running number.

Our model of 1000 is also a neat piece of recycling.

It began life in the passenger fleet on Dduallt as a model of 100. In time, as my scratchbuilding skills improved, I made a second model of 100 and this one gathered dust in a drawer.

When the real carriage was requisitioned for 'departmental service' at Dinas, Himself decided to give our old 100 another lease of life.

Accordingly it was mounted on a new set of bogies, had most of its interior detail stripped out and received some wasp stripes at either end.

Running as 1000 this previously discarded carriage now has many years service ahead of it on Bron Hebog.

The Green Party would be proud of us.

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