Building no.1a – Addressing the Cinderellas of the Heritage rail movement
Every heritage rail group has them if they offer rides on the train. And indeed what is that train – but motive power and passenger carrying vehicles. But the shiny engine draws more gasps from the admiring public than the steam engine – and why? Is it solely that the locomotive is seen as a live being? The carriages, the Cinderella still do a much work…..providing comfort and cushioned seating, good view and the experience and whatever else to comfort the traveller, safely.
The Cinderella effect also separates out into the repair, maintenance and restoration of heritage passenger carriages. Basically they take up a lot of space first in the storage yard and then in the engineering shed. Then, as we are trying to save the heritage stock of the Victorian and Edwardian era we face another challenge, as the running gear is of steel but the body a structure of timber. And there is a simple mantra in heritage restoration – you will always have problem mixing steel and woodworking.
Why we need our own dedicated buildings….
That is why this Trust recognised from its formation that to save, rebuild and store complete or unrestored vehicles we needed our own dedicated facility – to protect against flying metal, welding, filing and sanding down, of all-metal vehicles.
The condition of any grants given in support of our work had to be accompanied by an ability to hold the newly completed vehicle in safe and weather free premises – and especially that they should afford an easy access to the public.
But the public is also expected to be able to access each finished vehicle – to show what the donations have achieved, the conditions required by any external funding body.
The Trust produced a new concept – a mini exhibition hall – especially as its first fully rebuilt and restored classic gem of a 6-wheel carriage of 1888 build was nearing completion. Also designed by Leicester-based Diamond Wood partnership this was to attach to the main Engineering Building no.1 to provide a more attractive front for the arriving visitor. So here in concept, ready to proceed when funding becomes available, is Building no.1a – our first public display case…..