The issue of bums on seats, specifically fare-paying bums (with rest of valued customer attached) is one which pre-occupies any operator of a passenger railway. As the Moseley Railway Trust works towards the hoped-for opening of the Apedale passenger railway during 2009 (watch this space!), the issue of where our potential passengers are going to park their bums has been high in our minds.
The MRT already has one passenger coach. This (seen above) is basically a re-build of a vehicle used on the Penrhyn railway in North Wales to transport quarrymen to and from their work. This vehicle is currently being fitted with air brakes by our friends at Alan Keef Ltd. Anyone who has been to a Keef open day in recent years will have seen and travelled in this vehicle. However, this vehicle has a couple of drawbacks – it has limited seating capacity and it has no roof. It has, on the odd occasion, been known to rain in North Staffordshire.
We also have a much more “original” Penrhyn coach, but that is more of a museum exhibit, although we may explore how to sympathetically modify it for passenger carrying in the future.
Attention has therefore been given recently to a second vehicle, which a steel brakevan built by Hudson as recently as 1991; it was built in Ilkeston after Hudson closed their famous Gildersome work, and merged with the mining equipment company of Becorit. The vehicle was new to RAF Chilmark; it then spend a while at Eastriggs, near Carlisle, before joining the MRT collection. It is in need of some cosmetic work and a re-trim. The bogies have now been removed, as seen in the picture, for overhaul and adjustment of the wheelsets – Dave the Gauge is seen determining how much the wheelsets need adjusting to “fit” the railway correctly and safely. The vehicle also needs to be fitted with air braking equipment. It remains to be seen how it performs in traffic – being basically a steel box, it may be necessary to issue ear plugs to passengers!
The third element in the MRT’s passenger fleet will be a replica of a Hudson Toastrack coach, similar to those still in use on the Ffestiniog Railway. Under construction currently, this vehicle will solve our passenger carrying issues for the foreseeable future.
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