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Renovating NB Invalid Saloon 461 - Chapter 5

The painting team have been busy stripping off the varnish in the east (observation) saloon. The walls were then stained so they all matched. Dave, Reg, George and Jim were all invoved in this task - stripping off the old varnish without damaging the underlying veneer was no mean task.


The door to the Guard's compartment was hung. Making up of the sandwich which forms the upper and lower door panels and fitting the mortice catch and doorlock was undertaken by Don over the New Year period. A start was also made on manufacturing and fitting of the rather elaborate mouldings which surround the panels. Alan Wilson spent many happy? hours fitting the door handles to both sides of the west saloon door. The operation of the door catch was difficult to achieve as even the slightest mis-alignment of the knobs with the mortice catch would stop the (rather weak) return spring in the mortice catch from returning to the "closed" position when the knobs were released.

Guard's door

Door moulding section The photo to the left shows the section of the moulding used to retain the door panels. Several runs through the moulding machine were required to obtain this section. They didn't make it easy for themselves in 1919!

The slow process of putting things back together has begun. The photo below shows Dave Simpson's oak scumbled gangway door hung back in place at the west end of the coach. The middle panel to the right of the door had lost its support at the outer end. Jim Summers removed it, fitted a new supporting timber, then fixed the panel back in place. Young Chris subsequently applied wood filler to cover over nail and screw holes to give a smooth surface.

Gangway door

Robin Nelson has been investigating the electrics with a view to returning the vehicle to 24v operation. One of his first discoveries was a patent plaque on the dynamo regulator box dated 1912. This led to some research in the Mitchell Library resulting in the text of Vickers patent 21157, the text of which can be seen here. It seems that the conversion of the vehicle to mains wiring was not done with full sympathy for the original 24v wiring - various light fittings were removed, blanked over and replaced by fluorescent strip lights. All this has to be undone.

RCN investigates

The invalid entry door on the south side was re-assembled after scraping, cleaning and staining, then hung back in place. Many horrors were found in the condition, and sometimes even the contents, of these external doors. We found books, a scarf, fag ends, newspapers and all sorts when we removed the drop lights. A lot of work was needed to restore the doors to a reasonable appearance - and that is only on the inside! The drop lights in particular seemed to have taken a real hammering - some had to be entirely replaced as they were held together with rusty angle brackets and the like. And just like Mk1's, it seems no two doors were the same width when it came to finding a droplight to substitute for an usable one.

Refurbished invalid door

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