27162 — LMS Period 3, Vestibule Third

27162 (alias M38746M) in its final exhibition livery situated in the Up yard at Quainton Road. The sleeping car, now at Llangollen, can be seen on the far left.

27162 (alias M38746M) in its final exhibition livery situated in the Up yard
at Quainton Road. The sleeping car, now at Llangollen, can be seen on the far left.

© Robert Frise

We have known of the existence of 27162 for some years. Harvey and I first saw it whilst on a tour of preserved railways in the southern counties quite a few years ago now, indeed a photograph of it has existed on the LMSCA website since 1999. It was with some surprise that during March 2009 we received a letter from the then owner asking whether the association would be interested in purchasing the coach as its future was at risk.

We contacted the owner and arranged for two of trustees to assess its condition at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre where it had been located since 1978. We made a full report and discussed terms for a possible sale. No firm commitment on either side was made as the remaining trustees had to be consulted first. We returned to Derbyshire knowing that other parties were interested. After consulting all the trustees and identifying members donations for the cost of purchase, transport and new weatherproof covers, there the matter rested and we didn't expect any further communication. However to our surprise the owner contacted us again some weeks later and said he was prepared to accept our offer. The sale was confirmed a few weeks later and after the planned "Thomas the Tank" event at Quainton Road, 27162 was transported to Wirksworth. We wish to express our thanks to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre officers for their support in moving 27162 to the loading point there.

27162 awaits collection at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre in April

27162 awaits collection at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre in April

27162 was withdrawn from passenger service sometime during the late 1960s and converted for use as an exhibition vehicle, at the same time it was renumbered M38746M. Exhibition trains normally consisted of converted passenger carriages which were then hired by commercial concerns to show off their goods and services around the country. The exhibition trains were positioned for a few days at a time at pre-arranged stations and sidings around the country. This new roll involved removal of all the internal fixtures and fittings, the windows (still all intact fortunately) were panelled over with aluminium sheeting. At least two of the external doors were taken out of use around the same time.

27162 was finally withdrawn in February 1978 and purchased by a QRS member from Micheldever. In its third incarnation it was used as a workshop and storage accommodation whilst the owner restored another LMS carriage, third class sleeping car no. 592.. 27162 was not altered from its 'exhibition' condition either externally or internally during this time. Restoration of the LMS sleeping car progressed with 27162 coupled next to it until the owner decided to move away from the area some time around 1991. The sleeping coach was subsequently sold to the Llangollen Railway where it is still used for volunteer sleeping accommodation. 27162 languished however at Quainton Road out of use.

17th August: On arrival at Shildon the steel sides and roof patches were removed and the wooden framwework allowed to 'settle' for about 2 weeks before repair work commenced

17th August: On arrival at Shildon the steel sides and roof patches were removed
and the wooden framwework allowed to 'settle' for about 2 weeks before repair work
commenced.

It was eventually purchased by three QRS members who at the time were involved with telecommunication projects and intended to use it as an exhibition vehicle in association with that function. The project did not proceed and the original three owners eventually became one. 27162 became too big a project for the remaining sole owner and as a result the condition of the vehicle slowly deteriorated until an inevitable decision on its future became necessary.

So we come full circle, 27162 was to have a new owner or be sent to that final siding in the sky. The LMSCA trustees considered that the vehicle was too valuable to suffer this fate and 27162 made its way to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in Derbyshire for storage, arriving there in late April 2009. During this short stay, a few members volunteered to help clean up and secure the carriage and remove items which we could restore ourselves to reduce project costs. Amongst these items were the sixteen brass window frames, the restoration of which is the subject of another article.

As part of the consideration to purchase 27162 the trustees also made the decision that if the purchase was successful then the carriage would be made the subject of a 'fast track' restoration project. This course of action was new territory for the LMSCA but it would demonstrate whether we could manage this type of project and produce acceptable results at a realistic cost and in a shorter time scale than achieved so far.

23rd Sept: All four corner pillars and some sections of framework were either beyond repair or missing due to previous modifications and had to be replaced. Re panelling the sides with 14 gauge steel sheet was under way.

23rd Sept: All four corner pillars and some sections of framework
were either beyond repair or missing due to previous modifications
and had to be replaced. Re panelling the sides with 14 gauge steel
sheet was under way.

The association had funds which were intended to be used for other longer term purposes. The current depressed economy, restrictions on large Lottery Grants, constant delays with lease extension arrangements and the fact that a charity is not supposed to hoard donated funds indefinitely persuaded us that we should proceed with this project. We had the carriage, with the agreement of donors we had most of the funding in place and now we had to find a professional restoration team in which we had the confidence to complete the work to our specification, at a reasonable cost and to a restricted time scale.

21st October: Steel panels have been screwed to the framework and the roof repairs completed. The corridor connection has been refurbished and filling the hundreds of countersunk screw holes has started.

21st October: Steel panels have been screwed to the framework
and the roof repairs completed. The corridor connection has been
refurbished and filling the hundreds of countersunk screw holes has
started.

A couple of years ago we made contact with the management of Rail Restorations North East and decided to approach them to see if they were interested. RRNE is a relative newcomer, discussions with the management and staff were very open and constructive. RRNE also had previous industrial experience with wooden framed vehicle body construction, recent specific experience with LMS carriage body restoration and a first hand appreciation of the railway preservation movement in general.

A specification was written for 27162's restoration which was later approved by the trustees and a subsequent site visit by RRNE to see the carriage and discuss terms took place. This resulted in 27162 being packed off on a Heanor Haulage lorry to Shildon Works on July 13th 2009, since then a lot has happened. Some of the tasks completed are listed below, they are not necessarily listed in the order in which they took place:

17th August: Classic signs of splitting on the main floor rail due to the expansive corrosion of steel bolts securing the knee irons.

17th August: Classic signs of splitting on the main floor rail due to the expansive
corrosion of steel bolts securing the knee irons.

The list of tasks is not exhaustive and there have been a number of other smaller tasks undertaken during the restoration.

The brass ware items removed whilst the carriage resided at Wirksworth have been refurbished by volunteers and delivered to RRNE as required. Further items required but not extant on the carriage such as the passenger emergency communication equipment (pass-com) have been made available from our comprehensive collection of items obtained from scrapped LMS carriages and grounded bodies in Scotland.

9th December: Bodywork repairs are complete, window apertures cut out and the refurbished brass window frames fitted. The doors have been hung and fitted. A first coat of metal primer has been sprayed on to highlight surface imperfections, and final body filling is under way.

9th December: Bodywork repairs are complete, window apertures cut out and the
refurbished brass window frames fitted. The doors have been hung and fitted. A first
coat of metal primer has been sprayed on to highlight surface imperfections, and final
body filling is under way.

Importantly and to ensure that the project continued on course, we have made monthly visits to Shildon to review progress with the staff there and resolve any changing requirements and potential difficulties as they occurred. From the beginning we judged this aspect as being critical and it has ensured confidence levels have remained high. As a result work in progress has been positive at all times.

But of course all this is costing us a lot of money, the amount is not finally known but will certainly exceed £50,000. The initiation of the project itself has enabled LMSCA to become VAT registered thereby enabling us to reclaim the VAT on the restoration costs. The project has also generated considerable additional members' donations which may not have been forthcoming otherwise.

27162 newly arrived from RRNE, Shildon after major bodywork restoration. Coupled next to inspection saloon 999504 at Wirksworth Station during the Easter Holiday. A small exhibition was set up inside and both were available for public viewing.

27162 newly arrived from RRNE, Shildon after major bodywork restoration.
Coupled next to inspection saloon 999504 at Wirksworth Station during the Easter Holiday.
A small exhibition was set up inside and both were available for public viewing

27162 was delivered back to Wirksworth from Shildon on the 30th March 2010, only 8 months after leaving. The refurbishment of the exterior bodywork is complete and the colour chosen to finish is 'Edinburgh Madder', slate grey roof and black ends. The carriage was placed on display at Wirksworth station during Easter weekend when many volunteers, members and the general public had the oportunity to inspect the work to date. The general public had no appreciation of the framework constructional methods employed and for them to compare this with photographs of similar carriages in their completed state created much interest. The weekend was very useful for us to meet with all these groups, some new members resulting.

27162 is now coupled to 27001 and her internal restoration will soon begin. Our vision is to operate 27162 in the first train in about a year's time. We have a lot to do, but the concensus is that we can do it.

Elsewhere

The 27162 Story — photos by John Leather

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