The Wickham trailer, which had always worked with the same power car since new, was in a parlous state when we bought it, having had the interior ripped out as part of an asbestos strip and with the body showing the evidence of the many modifications it had had during its period in departmental service.
This included the plating up of a pair of the doors and the gutting of the interior.
56171 before the restoration began.
Inside there was little left of the fine interior and, as this picture shows, the first class saloon, its partitions and the cab walls were all missing.
Much of the rebuild followed the pattern of the power car but at the rear the repairs to the framework and to the exterior were more extensive. Once everything had been removed and stripped back to bare metal the whole interior was painted. On the right of this photo can be seen where one of the windows had been plated over.
In the early part of the project the missing doors had to be recreated from scratch, this also involved removing the plating and reconstructing the door apertures.
The cab was completely stripped back and would require a complete rewire, along with a new desk and refurbished controls. There wasn’t much left when we’d finished!
Here the coach is seen again in May 2002 when the end panels and corridor connection frame had been replaced. The missing window had been opened out again with the parts used coming from one of the windows that was removed from the power car. By this time the body had been sanded down to the original aluminium.
By August that year the new partitions had been constructed, the floor replaced and a start made on blocking out. Matters were helped considerably by the discovery of a number of original interior views and the purchase of some drawings which showed the glass sizes for the partitions.
The toilet compartment had to be reconstructed from scratch as it had been replaced at some point with one twice the original size. Car was taken to recreate the original appearance and to use period fittings. The roofing sheets and the bonded aluminium wall covering had also been added by this time.
With the work almost completed the seats began to arrive for fitting. As all the originals were missing we used Class 101 seats converted with new grab rails to look like those which had been fitted when the unit was new. The trim was a copy of the original Wickham pattern while the luggage racks were built from scratch using photos for reference.
The first class area, with its darker wall covering, and plush seats was recreated from scratch with the greatest difficulty being manoeuvring the large seats frames into the vehicle! Here the first of the cushions go in place.
The completed job was worlds away from what we had inherited some years before. It is the only example of a Wickham two-car unit in the country and is the only example of its type of body construction. Since completion it has been used at the Llangollen Railway every year and has carried thousands of people.