It's hard to believe that it's eight years now since this most distinctive of FR vintage vehicles was reborn.
For me this replica of Van 1 is as symbolic as the gravity slate train is in showing how the revived FR has embraced its heritage once more.
The model is made from a Worsley Works 'scratch-aid' kit and runs on the same Parkside Dundas bogies as Van 2. (I still want to call it number 10.)
The unique curly roof was rolled from sheet brass by Himself - and what a cracking job he did on it, too - but the real challenge on this model was the high Victorian gold-lined livery.
After experimenting with bow pens and metalic ball pens we eventually settled on using the thinest waterslide gold lining we could obtain from the Fox range. Himself did very well getting it into some very small spaces.
The Up end of the van (the blank end) is lined in white.
Somewhat unusualy I have had the priviledge of riding in this luggage van as a paying passenger.
The occasion was a vintage weekend a couple of years ago. It was Merddin Emrys offical relaunch / sponsor charter with a short rake of the FR's Victorian liveried carriages.
When number 15 developed a hot box and had to be detached at Blaenau it caused something of an acute accomodation crisis. It was typical Blaenau weather that October day - the rain was lashing down - so in the end about 20 or so of us decided to make ourselves as comfortable as we could in the central luggage section of the van for the journey back to Porthmadog rather than waiting an hour or so for the next service train.
With all the fussing about with 15 the train - now formed of just a Double Fairle, a bogie van, a 'bowsider' and a few four-wheelers - was running quite late when it eventually departed Blaenau. I seem to recall it was considerably less late upon arrival back at the bottom of the line......