This month sees carnage as we begin to rip out even more of the carriage in a desperate attempt to prolong the rotting wood that keeps her upright.
It came to our attention that, even if we were to prop the carriage upright and render all the uneven edges and floor boards, the carriage will still be as uneven and as old as it was to start with. We began by excavating the carriage, searching for the rotten parts of wood in the hope that replacement would be easy. Sadly, the entire lower half of the carriage in the passenger side was in desperate need of repair. The wood was rotten and the sides completely unstable.
We began to look for someone to help us. Like some kind of mockery of an X-factor programme, we auditioned potential carpenter candidates in search for the best one in the local area. One by one they would tell us about how many doors or panels they had made, and to what degree they had done so. But, when faced with the daunting challenge of repairing and refurbishing an 1875 London to Brighton railway carriage, they fled like flocks of geese. All but one ran from the carriage. All but one quivered in all that the carriage had to do. His skills were so equipped and ready, his attention to detail second-to-none. He was to be the hero the railway carriage needed. He was to be its saviour.
Once hired, the carpenter began to slowly take apart the carriage and build her up again, piece by piece. Every rotten groove and crevice re-created with brand new wood, patented together like a masterpiece.
With only a few reference points, some old images of other carriages, and a couple of new ideas, we were able to transform the carriage from its mould ridden state to one of far more beauty and stability. As it stands (excuse the pun) the sides of the carriage are far more stable, half of the original structure – the green parts – remain, and the other brown parts of the carriage (the new parts) have been recreated from the original bits of wood to support and keep the carriage intact. Of course we do not want to keep the carriage in its current multicoloured state, so the carriage will require some more TLC and painting to finish the exterior off so that it looks more sightly.
Although unsure as to how long the recreation will continue, this month has been one of constant work and constant progression. In just this short space of time, the carriage is looking far better and much more structurally sound. But in later months, doors, windows, and the back part of the carriage will need to be added and either fitted in or replaced to ensure that the carriage is at its optimum strength. I guess we’ll just have to see what the future months bring for the state of the railway carriage, and see as to just how much of the carriage can be salvaged and just as to how much needs to be replaced.