27162 Background

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27162 Pages: 27162 (LMS P3 Vestibule Third D1999) B0LRo ~ 27162 Background ~ 27162 Restoration ~ 27162 Updates

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27162 was withdrawn from passenger service sometime during the late 1960s and converted for use as an exhibition vehicle, at the same time it was renumbered M38746M.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27162 was finally withdrawn in February 1978 and purchased by a QRS member from Micheldever.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.

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.

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.

1. 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.

2. 27162 awaits collection at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre in April 2009

27162 Pages: 27162 (LMS P3 Vestibule Third D1999) B0LRo ~ 27162 Background ~ 27162 Restoration ~ 27162 Updates