We’re well overdue for a blog update, so let’s wind back the clock and review some of our work from late last year.
Finding a BS car in largely original configuration is a somewhat rare occurrence these days, with most of the S-type carriages represented in preservation being their second class FS counterparts (in fact, when this car is completed it will be the only operable BS car based in Sydney). This makes it rather more valuable than it appears at first glance, not only thanks to the comfort it provides with its cosy 6-seat compartments (compared to 8 in the FS cars), but also due to its significant value to the heritage community. With this in mind, this restoration will be keeping everything as original as possible while still telling the story of this car, which includes a few modifications that have crept in over its years of service with the NSWGR.
At the start of its life, the toilet windows were timber framed – the same as the rest of the car – but during its career, XBS2158’s were replaced with fixed windows featuring frosted panes to provide privacy in the WC. These have been mounted and sealed using rubber locking strips:
The Chippies were understandably overjoyed at this, as we only had to assemble a set of 29 timber window frames, rather than the full complement of 32 as would have been required for the fair-dinkum original when it first rolled out of the Clyde Engineering workshops in November 1937. Each of the existing windows was first removed before being individually assessed to determine what could be salvaged of the original frame. Water damage has proven to be the most common symptom throughout – witness to the car’s time spent in storage – but thankfully for the most part this was confined to the lower mortise and tenon joints. This deterioration had been accelerated as a result of the Railways fitting the dreaded Tee-nuts in the later years of their service, so these have now been duly removed and replaced by timber plugs.
The installation of fresh timber plugs has meant we have been able to use heavy gauge brass wood screws to attach the window latches, as per tradition. The windows that proved beyond repair were discarded and replaced with spares sought from our extensive window store at Eveleigh. Here is an original that’s been in storage since it was brought to the LES following the closure of the Carriage Works. This window has never been used… the LES is home to some real treasures!
Pretty soon we had a good looking set of windows that just needed a final sand before painting. Dulux are big supporters of our restoration efforts at The Large, and we are immensely appreciative of their invaluable support in the provision of superior paints from their oil based range.
The paint system used for the window exteriors is oil based Preplock, of which we apply two coats:
This is then followed by two coats of Dulux Super Enamel Indian Red – this paint has been proven to wear remarkably well in what is a gruelling environment when in regular mainline usage. This system has proven to last well in excess of 10 years, no mean feat given our cars are often steam hauled! (Apologies at this point to the Candy fans among you, as XBS2158 is being painted into the Indian Red livery complete with cream ‘buff’ lines – the way God intended!)
The inner faces of the frames meanwhile are painted with 3 coats of clear varnish, giving a smart internal finish.
We spent over 60 hours just painting the windows – not including all the prep and timber repairs. It is easy to forget when appreciating a gleaming carriage on the platform the work that goes in behind the scenes long after the passengers and crew have gone home! For the best results, the next step is to stack them up in a safe place and let the paint cure fully before we trim the excess paint off the glass pane and fit the windows later in the project.
Stay tuned for more BS!