Our Building Projects
When it comes to providing secure cover for our heritage wooden bodied stock at the Transport Heritage Centre we are continually having to adapt and compromise. The obvious factors are – Wooden bodied railway carriages were never designed to be stored externally, open to the elements and vandalism, and that a railway carriage occupies a great deal of space – then multiply it by eight and there is no easy solution. On site, we have to contend with the conflicting requirements firstly of storage, in the open but then into covered, secure and waterproof buildings. The latter can be even light agricultural or industrial in structure – with rail access of course – but they have to be vandal proof too.
The second requirement, usually a transition, is a secure waterproof workshop. Here is the next compromise – to work on a carriage needs space around it, preferably not snuggled up to another vehicle either in the queue or being worked on simultaneously, or with competing metal or woodworking operations underway. Metal and woodworking do not mix.
The third and fourth aspect is stabling the restored vehicles for regular service use or display in dedicated public-accessible exhibition facilities. We put forward a proposal for a Building extension to provide a display Hall attached to the main Engineering Building no.1.
The Ruddington Heritage Centre site location is the most appropriate one for the GCR stock collection – but it is already very cramped. If only we had the space and finances, as well as volunteers and skills, for instance, of the Bluebell Railway at Sheffield Park. Wonderful. A restorer’s Heaven.
All we have managed so far, very gratefully, has been to borrow covered space on the site – currently a Barnum in Building no.1, where a 6-wheeler had been transformed previously, and temporary storage in Building no.5, where we helped donate funds for floor concreting. We have proposed a structural extension to building no.1 – 1b, to increase the available work-space and a dedicated public display hall (1a). The biggest dream is taking on the new in-fill building No.4 for our wooden carriage rebuild and storage – but even this is a compromise as it is so narrow and confining. It has two tracks for storage, fine but not one for restoration or maintenance. Ideally, these twin requirements need separate facilities with a dedicated restoration workshop and parts storage facility.
We are looking at other potential solutions – but see the details of the two initial schemes for Buildings nos.1a, 1b and 4 that follow…..