Railway Vehicle Preservations
OBS 1719E and 1729
Possibly the most historic vehicles in the collection - so important they get a page of their own, BEAVERTAIL APPEAL. Built at Doncaster in 1937 these vehicles were the streamlined observation cars for the rear of the "Coronation" trainsets. Styled to match the locomotives (A4s such as "Mallard"), and with heavy 1930's Art Deco influence, these trains became world famous for their speed exploits. Sadly the war curtailed their operation after just two years, and the carriage sets were disbanded. The observation cars went into store, not to re-appear until the 1950s on various special trains. In the mid fifties they moved to the West Highland lines in Scotland for regular summer use. Rebuilt in 1959 with a more angled end to give a better view they saw a further ten years use on these lines before withdrawl. By now the only surviving carriages from the "Coronation" trains both were preserved; 1719 at the Lochty Railway in Scotland and 1729 on the Keighley and Worth Valley.
By the 1990s both had fallen into disuse and were stored (riddled with asbestos). RVP members had always taken an interest in these vehicles and in 1990 a member stepped in to purchase 1719 when the Lochty Railway closed. Stored on the GCR for a further 10 years a fast-track appeal to restore it was then launched which has now been successfully concluded. It has been returned to its 1959 condition (top photo) as it would have run on the West Highland lines. In this form it will see regular use on the GCR. Meanwhile the fate of 1729 continued to be monitored. It was known to be for sale and enquiries made in 2003 resulted in negotiations which saw the completion of a deal which passed ownership to an RVP member, who in turn loaned it to RVP and will provide funds to restore it. This vehicle will be restored to original 1937 condition and, at the time of writing (July 2009), the original framing has been restored, the bogies overhauled and the underframe repaired. Work continues on the bodywork and it is hoped this striking vehicle will return to service in 2012.