RVP Logo

Railway Vehicle Preservations



In January 2003 RVP launched a major national appeal to "fast track" restore Beavertail observation car No.1719E to full running order for use on the Great Central Railway. This page details the history of this vehicle and progress reports. It is with considerable pleasure that we are able to record the successful conclusion of this restoration, with the return to service of 1719E on May 5th 2007. In four year period of the appeal £60,000 was raised and spent on this magnificent carriage, which is now available for regular public use on the Great Central Railway.
However the project now doesn't end there since we now also have the other beavertail in our care (as the press release below from last March relates). Therefore the page will continue to be updated as this vehicle progresses towards a return to service too. Happily with funding in place we (very unusually!) are not appealing for donations on this page (but you'll find plenty we are happy to take donations for on other pages within this site). We must however record our thanks to the many people who donated to the appeal to return 1719E to service. Without your help (and that of those that did the physical work) this page would not reflect the success story it does.

PRESS RELEASE 18th March 2006:

Pictures of 1729's current condition added 25/1/7 - pic 1, pic 2, pic 3 and pic 4.

Railway Vehicle Preservations, the historic carriage restoration group based on the GCR and who are shortly to successfully complete the restoration of BEAVERTAILģ observation car 1719E, today announces that a new agreement has been reached that will see the other Beavertail car (1729) also restored to running order. 1729 has been in long term store at Carnforth, but RVP Trustee Gordon Maslin has been negotiating its purchase for some time. The vehicle has now passed to RVP under an agreement which will see an RVP member fund its subsequent full rebuild. The project, and future use of the vehicle, will be managed by RVP Ltd. Detailed examination (and removal of asbestos) has already taken place and a schedule of work is now open to tender. 1729 is to be restored to its original 1938 condition with the original sloped end. It will be outshopped in the striking blue ďCoronationĒ livery. This will be the ideal complement to 1719E which is being restored to its 1960 condition with modified observation end. In this way both phases in the life of these historic vehicles will be represented. Once complete 1729 will be available for use on suitable preserved railways. RVPís existing appeal for 1719E guarantees its use on the Great Central Railway once completed. The operating base for 1729 is to be determined as restoration proceeds, but the possibility exists of bringing the two together on the GCR at some point in the future. While the rebuild of 1729 will be privately funded RVPís Beavertail appeal remains open. To ensure the rapid conclusion of 1719Eís rebuild a further £2,000 needs to be raised to conclude the interior work. Full details of the progress of this project is on www.rvp-ltd.co.uk. Donations should be made payable to RVP Ltd and sent to 22 Grange Street, Burton On Trent, Staffs, DE14 2ES.
*BEAVERTAIL is a Registered TradeMark of RVP Ltd.


1719 1719

In original condition at York in 1939 - photo courtesey of Kenneth Oldham. Rebuilt shape at Mallaig in 1967.

1719 is one of two observation cars built at Doncaster in 1937 for the "Coronation" high speed train services between London and Edinburgh. This was a true revolution in rail services. Worked by A4 locomotives (like "Mallard") these trains were the first to employ lightweight fixed formation carriage sets that set the pattern for all future high speed trains in the UK and elsewhere. The streamlining can only be described as striking and the subsequent speed exploits made the trains world famous ("Mallard" holds the world record for steam to this day). As such it can be seen that 1719 is amongst the most historically important carriages in the UK and more than worthy of active preservation.
1719 only ran in its original form for 2 years before the war intervened and the high speed sets were stored. All remained in store until 1948, when various vehicles returned to service used as general passenger stock. They never ran as a full set again, and the observation cars saw only occassional use on charter trains, until transferred to the West Highlad lines in 1956. Their original observation end gave limited views so the decision was taken by BR to rebuild them with a more angled end window. 1719E was rebuilt in 1959 at Cowlairs works Glasgow and emerged it maroon livery. It is to this form that the restoration will return the vehicle. Back on the West Highland line 1719E continued in service until 1968, when it was purchased for preservation by the Lochty Provate Railway (a very short line in a field in Fife). Here it trundled up and down until that railway closed in 1990. Made available for sale an RVP member purchased it, moved it to the GCR, had the asbestos removed, and placed it into store to await its turn in the restoration queue. In 2001 a suggestion on a GCR discussion group showed that there was widespread support for a different approach to be taken to get this vehicle quickly returned to former glory. The appeal was launched...


In January 2003 "Steam Railway" magazine carried a feature on 1719E and announced the launch of a £55,000 appeal to rebuild 1719E using paid labour. The appeal has the full backing of the Great Central Railway, who provided a range of incentives for larger donors. In addition agreement was reached with the vehicle's owner to place it on long term loan to RVP, and with the GCR for operation of the completed vehicle. Since then fundraising has taken place at many events and through the railway press. Most notably Wabtec Rail Ltd invited it back to its Doncaster Works birthplace for the 150th anniversary open day - providing a major publicity boost. Major donors to the scheme now include the GCR, Main Line Steam Trust, Fragonset Railways Ltd, and Advantica Technologies. The current fund total reached £60,000 and the restoration work started in earnest in April 2004. It was completed with a formal launch at Loughbrough on May 5th 2007.

Donation are no longer required for this appeal, but we obviously continue to welcome donations for our other projects or general fund.
Donate ON-LINE NOW with our secure server OR Print and complete the DONATION FORM (the latter is preferred for UK tax payers as it allows us to reclaim tax under "gift-aid").


  • 3rd FEBRUARY 2008 - BEAVERTAIL AWARD PRESENTATION - Yesterday saw the presentation of the Heritage Railway Association "Small Group" award to RVP Ltd for our restoration of Beavertail car 1719E. The award was presented by HRA president Dame Margaret Weston at University College London as part of the HRA's annual general meeting. The "trophy" is a coat of arms from a Royal Carriage, in a display case. The picture shows Alan Voase, Gordon Maslin and Darren Martin after recieving the award. As can be seen it is a rather large and heavy item (as was proved when four of us carried it back to Kings Cross to put on a train:-)). Because of this, and insurance limitations, RVP are not able to house the trophy so it was returned to the care of the HRA after the presentation. However we hope to arrange a presentation ceremony at the GCR in due course, and (hopefully) it will then be displayed at Loughborough for the year. Many thanks to the HRA for the award, and congratulations to all who involved with this fitting end to a very successful project.
  • 12th NOVEMBER 2007 - AWARD WINNERS AGAIN! - It is very pleasing to report that RVP Ltd have won the Heritage Railway Association 2007 "Small Group" award for the restoration of BEAVERTAIL car 1719E. The full press release from the HRA is available through our News page. As can be seen the judges were impressed by the excellent standard of restoration achieved. The recognition this award gives is greatly appreciated - it is a considerable morale booster to the volunteers who freely give so much time (often in less than ideal conditions and with little or no immediate reward). Although much of the work on this particular vehicle was completed by contract labour the detailed interior restoration was carried out by volunteers - who were absolutely determined to replicate the original interior as closely as possible. This proved to be a frustrating task with little information to work from and few remaining original fittings. The end result is magnificent and we are glad this has now been recognised through this award. This is our second national award, the first being for 6 wheeled brake van 70654E from the Transport Trust.
  • 1st AUGUST 2007 - AWARD WINNERS!! - In a fitting finale to the first stage of this project, the restoration of 1719E has won the "Leicestershire Heritage" award for the "Best Special Project". Against stiff competition from five other (much larger) organisations the award went to RVP as the judges felt this restoration fulfilled all the criteria for an excellent heritage project. RVP appreciate the recognition this award gives and thank all involved for their assistance, donations and support - without which none of our projecst would get off the ground. The award is HERE.
  • 5th MAY 2007 - LAUNCH DAY - The culmination of this four year project, and the completion of the initial aim - 1719E returned to full service on the 10:15 Loughbrough to Leicester North service. A short speech and door opening ceremony at Loughborough (L to R - Nev Goodman, Dorothy Green, Darren Martin, Mike Lang, Gordon Maslin and Alan Voase) was followed by the trip to Leicester behind 78019 - 1719E on the rear of the train. This is the kind of view of the double track GCR passengers can now enjoy - the view through the saloon and out of the end windows as the train rounds Kinchley Lane curve. At the other end of the coach the seats laid out more in a lounge style. Finally, when the loco runs round at Leicester this is the scene, with passengers able to get a close up of the action. RVP would like to thank all who supported this project - and would also like to thank the GCR staff who provided refreshments on the launch trips. Please help support the GCR by making use of the vehicle - it is well worth the supplementary fare.
  • 30th APRIL 2007 - BEAVERTAIL ON THE MOVE - The Beavertail left Rothley this morning for Loughborough ready for its saturday debut. More pictures HERE (showing it leaving), HERE (showing the interior looking back to the entrance vestibule), and HERE (showing it at Loughborough with members of the Monday team who were very heavily involved in the interior restiration, and who weren't in Saturdays photo).
  • 28th APRIL 2007 - BEAVERTAIL READY TO GO! - The final preperations are now complete for the launch of 1719E into service next Saturday. The GCR staff have now completed their inspection of it and have passed it fit for service. Meanwhile our volunteers have now completed the interior restoration with final painting and setting out of the seats. For the first time the completed interior can now be seen - pictures HERE (showing what will become one of the most popular places to sit on a steam railway!), and HERE (showing the whole of the saloon). As can be seat it has a total of 24 seats; 16 tub arm chairs, 2 two seater settees and four of the original seats restored to their original condition (the green ones in the picture). All seating is loose and can be arranged according to the vehicles use; but generally twelve single seats are in the main part of the saloon looking out of the end windows, while the rest are at the inner end of the coach arranged for meeting use. The end result of the interior restoration is superb - a real credit to all who have worked on it and really gone to town to give it as near as possible its original appearance. Finally a photo for the dartboard! - those members of the restoration team that happened to be present (plus a couple of Mark 1 TPO interlopers!) line up in front of 1719. There are, of course, many people involved who aren't in the photo. Many thanks to you all.
  • 26th APRIL 2007 - BEAVERTAIL LAUNCH - After a little scare when the seat supplier indicated they couldn't deliver the seats (happily now resolved) the launch date is now set for Saturday 5th May. Its first public passenger use will be on the 10:15 from Loughborough (for invited guests), followed by a round trip at 12:15 (for invited members of the restoration team). In the afternoon it will be used for a private charter. Full entry into normal passenger service will be from Sunday 6th May, when the GCR will run it on the rear of the RB set and charge a supplement for its use. It will also be available for charter use from that date. The GCR will have details of supplements and charter availability in due course (and all enquiries regarding its use should be directed to them). If you were a major donor to the scheme, or a member of the restoration team, you should have received an invite through the post for the first two trains - if you have not and believe you have been overlooked please contact us by e-mail. Those who participated in our "Buy a Seat" appeal last October should have recieved a letter from the GCR by now detailing their entitlement to use their seat - clearly you are welcome to use your seats from the 6th May.
  • 25th MARCH 2007 - The last couple of months have seen continuous progress on the finishing touches - which includes the original art-deco interior decorations. Photos HERE and HERE. The work is progressing to plan and we expect to launch as planned this spring. The date should be announced shortly and those larger donors who supported to the appeal will receive their promised invite to the launch day.
  • 25th JANUARY 2007 - The interior work is continuing to progress well. The paintwork nears completion, with the tricky business of making and fitting the Art Deco decorations now starting. The floor has had a skim of plywood ready for the fitting of the carpet. Outside, one set of batteries has been fitted, with the second set being prepared. The vehicle was lit by battery for the first time last Saturday. Outstanding job are the vestibule area (which is being meticulously restored to a varnished finished), laying of the carpet (obviously only when we are sure the painting is finished!), fitting of the second set of batteries, fitting the roof vents and finally the seats (which are now on order and due for delivery in the next fortnight). It remains on track for a spring relaunch. In the meantime this is a recent picture of the interior which makes a fascinating comparison with this picture found on the web at Ronfisher.fotopic.net. I hope you'd agree we are close in matching the colour scheme. At this stage we are not replicating the tartan (this will come later). The chairs will be more rounded than the originals (of which four survive and are being re-upholstered). The overall effect will be very close though as you can see.
  • 19th DECEMBER 2006 - Interior work continues - steady progress is being made towards completing the interior. The final colour scheme can be seen in these two photos. The undercoats created much comment when it ran in October, being somewhat unusual! However it is the correct interior colour - the paintwork was still clearly visible on the interior when it was stripped for asbestos removal ten years ago (and extensively photographed).The only variation is the use of a plain colour on the lower panels rather than the original painted tartan (which may be replaced later using vinyls). The seats have now been ordered and are due for delivery in January. The launch will be in spring on a date to be set early in the new year.
  • 10th OCTOBER 2006 - BEAVERTAIL RUNS! - 1719E successfully completed its "preview" appearance at the Steam Railway Gala. Starting with the 10:00 from Loughborough it completed 13 round trips during the gala with no mechanical problems. It created a great deal of interest from gala visitors with one notable line up of Photographers on the Sunday afternoon at Quorn all facing the wrong way and taking a picture of the back of the train! Inside a sales stand and display boards did a good trade and successfully raised funds for the seats. Members of the public could not be carried while on the move because of the lack of proper seats, however the use of garden chairs(!) did allow a few members of the restoration team to sample a preview. We can assure you the view is superb and are very confident it will be a great addition to the GCR when it enters service next Spring. Further updates over the winter as this project draws to a successful conclusion. In the meantime some photographs of the weekend are on the Gallery page.
    Meanwhile, elsewhere on the railway the two TPO vehicles operated five mail drops without problems during the gala (all with 45305 as motive power). Back at Rothley our repaint job for "Renaissance Railcars" was completed - their stores van 96187 now looks like this.
  • 5th OCTOBER 2006 - BEAVERTAIL PASSES PRE-RUN CHECKS - 1719E had the final adjustments made to its spring settings this morning and is therefore fit to run during this weekends gala. Picture HERE shows it immediately prior to it leaving Rothley shed as a working vehcile for the first time, and picture HERE shows it back where it should be - on the back of a train! (at Loughborough this afternoon). Its debut appearance on a passenger train will therefore be the 10:00 from Loughborough on Saturday (and then every trip formed by the "RB" set). Visitors to the gala are welcome to view the coach internally while the train is stationary at Loughborough and Lecicester (and watch the loco run round from an unusual angle!), but because of the lack of seats passengers will be asked to return to normal carriages for the journey itself. The full launch (with seating) will be on a date to be announced next Spring, but in the meantime we hope you enjoy this preview appearance!
  • UPDATE - 2nd October 2006 - RETURN TO USE!! - see NEWS page.
  • UPDATE - 14th September 2006 - Interior work has taken another step forward and the final colour scheme can now be seen - pictures here and here . This colour scheme is similar to that carried in the 1960s, except that the lower panels were originally painted tartan! This is being omitted for now because of the time consuming nature of recreating it (although we intend to at a later date). Although a feel for the final appearance can be gauged there is still a lot of finishing work to be done, and we currently hope for a year end conclusion to the project. More details as we go....
    Meanwhile sister vehicle 1729 has had contracts placed for the manufacture of pressure ventilation ducting and corridor connection materials. This is a precursor to the placing of a contract for body overhaul in due course. The vehicle remains at Carnforth for now.
  • UPDATE - 20th August 2006 - The interior work has continued and the side panelling and ceiling is now virtually complete; picture HERE. This week it is expected that the interior panelling will be painted and the carpet is now on site and ready for fitting. Light fittings have now been fitted and the windows are being sealed and rain tested (with the hose pipe!).
  • UPDATE - 20th July 2006 - Apologies for the length of time since the last update. During the silence work has continued apace on the interior. This has revealed several difficulties because of the non standard nature of the vehicle, in particular the awkward interior curvature at the observation end and the fact that the end windows never sealed properly after their 1959 rebuild! This latter fact is what led to the total replacement of the timberwork in this area and a great deal of recent work to get it to seal as well as possible. This work, and equally difficult things like window fittings and ceiling trimming, have led to much more work than originally anticipated. Nevertheless our carpenter has done a magnificent job in virtually completing the ceiling and interior trim; as these pictures show. This brings this phase to an end and it is anticpated that volunteers will do the finishing touches, while paid staff complete the underframe. The lauch date gets ever closer, but we still need seats!
  • UPDATE - 15th April 2006 - The tricky task of fitting the ceiling panels to the awkward curved end is now complete. Aluminium beading is now being fitted to cover the joins - I'm sure our carpenter will be glad to see the back of this job! Work then continues onto the main side panelling. The carpet is being sourced, and we continue to make enquiries about potential sources of seats. Meanwhile the other Beavertail, 1729, remains at Carnforth. However the first two contracts associated with it have been placed; for manufacture of new heating ducting and floor material.
  • UPDATE - 8th March 2006 - Interior work has now moved on to the tricky task of panelling the ceiling. This is not easy as the curvature of the roof requires bending of the hardwood sheets to get the profile. This is a slow process with acro props to provide support while the glue cures.
  • UPDATE - 7th February 2006 - The interior work continues apace. The ceiling planking is now complete through to the observation end including the very awkwardly shaped section as the roof tapers in - photo. The heating ducting has also gone in, this time made of plywood rather than steel and rather shorter than the original (it is believed this will suffice for the kind of use it will receive on the GCR (as opposed to long high speed running in original form). The steam heating system was tested during the winter gala when a spare loco was available in Rothley yard - this showed no major problems.
  • UPDATE - 12th January 2006 - Work continues on the interior - the side panelling is now going in. This is the inner panelling (originally tongue and grove planking, now plywood). This encloses the insulation, but is then covered by the finishing layer of plywood, which is what users of the vehicle will see. There is a tentative aim to have the vehicle fit to run in train (if not fully completed) by the GCR Spring gala in March. There are many factors which can still affect if this achieved, but watch this space!
  • UPDATE - 9th December 2005 - Continuing work on the interior now sees the ceiling planking complete at the South end, while at the North end the floor is now complete in the observation end. This photograph also gives a good idea of the superb view which will be available from this vehicle.
  • UPDATE - 20th November 2005 - Interior work continues. As this photo shows the centre roof planking is now in place and the floor is also complete (apart from carpet). Work will continue with the rest of the ceiling planking and then panelling, and the side panelling.
  • UPDATE - 17th November 2005 - The interior fitting out is underway, with the ceiling planking partly completed and the floor now underway. This will continue over the next couple of months or so until the interior is complete. Outstanding work is now down to some minor finishing touches on the underframe and fitting of batteries and dynamo. We still need to source seats before the vehicle can enter service - any assistance with this is welcome.
  • UPDATE - 4th October 2005 - Work has continued apace during the long interval. The vehicle has now been completley rewired and the pressure ventilation system test run. Some further work is required on this, but nothing that will delay entry into service when the time comes. Meanwhile the GCR's paint staff have been completing the undeframe overhaul with the body lifted on the jacks. This has included overhaul of the vacuum system as well as drawbars and cleaning and painting. At the time of writing some minor work is outstanding but the coach is now reunited with its own fully overhauled bogies - picture here. The main outstanding work is now the interior fitting out - for which we await the availability of the contractor.
  • UPDATE - 5th August 2005 - Work has now started on the refurbishment of the underframe. This is being undertaken by the Great Central Railway's paid staff, and will include cleaning and repainting of the underframe, plus overhaul of braking and drawbar equipment. To facilitate this the vehicle body has been lifted - picture here . Once completed it will then be lowered onto the newly overhauled bogies and another significant stage of the project will be complete; leaving the interior to be fitted out, for which materials are to hand.
  • UPDATE - 17th July 2005 - The front buffers, removed last year, have now been returned overhauled and refitted - picture here. The sharp eyed amongst you may notice that they have changed shape! Previously 1719 had been fitted with LMS wagon buffers which looked somewhat out of place, and were also in poor condition. While these were removed for repair a set of buffers identical to those fitted to the other beavertail (1729) became available. These were purchased and overhauled instead. It is these which have now been fitted improving the appearance of the front end considerably. The part overhauled original set are now available for sale for use on a more fitting vehicle. Woodwork for the interior fitting out has now been ordered and a quote for fitting out is being prepared. The underframe work will be done by the GCR's own staff and will proceed as soon as they are available. A completion date by the year end seems attainable, and an earlier appearance in service may be possible.
  • UPDATE - 29th May 2005 - The bogies arrived back at Rothley last week from FM Rail's Derby works. They have been extensively overhauled, including attention to springs, axleboxes, brake rigging and tyres turned - picture here. This completes the second significant stage of the restoration and we now move on to the final phases. Electrical rewiring will follow next (mid June), with remaining underframe work to follow as soon as possible afterwards. The overhauled bogies will then be placed back under the vehicle. A quote is awaited for the interior but we expect to be able to continue with this with no delay. This will only leave the sourcing of suitable armchairs to complete the rebuild (suggestions, or potential sponsorship, welcome for this). On the financial side following a significant donation from the estate of the late Peter Thomason (a previous major donor to the scheme) and a good response to our appeals it is pleasing to report that the £55,000 appeal target has been reached. This should ensure work can continue to completion, although the appeal remains open as estimating costs is always a tricky game in this kind of project. Any surplus left in the project fund on completion will be applied to other vehicles in our collection (or can be returned to the donor if requested).
  • UPDATE - 26th April 2005 - Away from Rothley the bogie work has continued; the wheelset were sent to Toton and have now been returned to Derby for reassembly. The springs have been sent for repair and various other repairs have been made to the bogie frames. Reassembly should follow shortly. Meanwhile the electrical drawing has been finalised and a contract should be placed shortly for complete rewiring. A quote is also being prepared for the interior fitting out and this work will proceed as soon as the rewiring is completed.
  • UPDATE - 20th February 2005 - The bogies have now been dismantled in Fragonset's Derby workshops, and the wheelsets sent to EWS at Toton for tyre turning. Photos here and here
  • UPDATE - 12th February 2005 - Out into the open! - The finishing touches on the body overhaul were completed yesterday, and the fully lined and lettered vehicle moved out of Rothley shed this morning - PHOTO HERE (impressive!). The bogies are now dismantled in Fragonset's Derby works and the wheelsets go to EWS at Toton next week. The completed bogies are expected to be returned in March. WORK WILL THEN STOP!!! We urgently need to raise the £15,000 needed to complete the interior work and allow this important and impressive vehicle to re-enter service on the Great Central. Please make a donation if you'd like the opportunity to see trains pass on the GCR from a most unusual viewpoint (the back of a train going the opposite way!). The range of incentives offered by the GCR remain available - details of how to donate are given elsewhere on this page.
  • UPDATE - 2nd February 2005 - Photo of the comleted bodywork here. The bogies left for Fragonset Railways at Derby on Wednesday Photo here. These will now be fully overhauled, work expected to take around 2 months.
  • NEWS - 24th January 2005 - John Robinson expects to complete the body and roof overhaul of Beavertail car 1719E on schedule for this coming weekend. It will therefore be on display at Rothley shed during the Winter gala weekend. At this stage it is not known whether the Beavertail will be inside or outside the shed (waiting for a weather forecast - we don't want to get it dirty:-)), but access to it will be provided and photography should be possible. We'll also have a sales and appeal stand both days to raise funds for the interior fitting out. The end result of the body rebuild is superb and a credit to John's abilities. I'm not going to post a photo in advance, you'll have to come and and have a look, its certainly worth the trip. This marks the completion of the first major stage in the restoration project and a very visible demonstration of where the money raised so far has been spent. We now urgently need to raise the outstanding £15,000 to complete the underframe and interior fitting out. Please come and have a look at it, and if you agree it represents money well spent please consider making a donation. A range of incentives provided by the GCR remain available for larger donors. The final completion date is now solely dependant on funds flow and is well within grasp.
  • UPDATE - 8/15th January 2005 - The roof canvas was fitted over these two weekends. Pictures here and here. This was completed by volunteers and I understand this was a little more difficult than expected (glad I was on holiday:-)), it has nevertheless allowed the painting of the new bodywork to proceed and the vehicle should be making an appearance outside as scheduled at the forthcoming Winter gala (29&30th Jan).
  • UPDATE - 10th December 2004 - The buffers have been removed and sent for overhaul. The front end has now been reskinned, after the new framework was fitted. Pictures here and here. Work will now move on to fitting the new glazing, followed by painting of the bodysides. Amongst this we do also have one task to be completed by volunteers - the fitting of the new canvas to the roof will take place on sat 8th Jan and volunteers are needed for this. It is then hoped the vehicle will be sufficiently externally complete to be displayed outside during the January 29/30th GCR gala.
  • UPDATE - 7th November 2004 - The bogies were swopped over as planned yesterday. The shunting to allow this to happen gave a brief appearance of the vehicle outside. As this photo shows the work on the bodysides is going very well with the side panelling complete and work now concentrated on the nose ends.
  • UPDATE - 3rd November 2004 - Work on the repairs to the nose end framework and panelling is ongoing as these photos , show. The bogie swop is expected to take place this coming weekend to release the bogies for overhaul.
  • UPDATE - 18th October 2004 - The spare set of bogies have now arrived at Rothley shed. These will be swopped for the existing pair while they are sent away for repair. Ultimately the spare set of bogies are intended for overhaul and use under other vehicles in our care.
  • UPDATE - 23rd September 2004 - Work continues at a very rapid rate. The new side panelling is now in place on the majority of the vehicle. This just leaves the end to complete the reskinning. This is currently propped up while the framing is replaced - the wood used in the 1960 rebuild being of very poor quality and needing complete renewal. Meanwhile the long awaited arrival of a spare pair of bogies will take place next week. These will be swopped over in due course. The wheelsets are then to be sent to EWS at Toton for turning, while the bogie frames are overhauled. We do need to raise some more finance if work is to continue without a break beyond the year end - we currently have a raffle (sent out with our own newsletter and shortly with an edition of "Main Line"). Please support this if you receive tickets or make a donation (above).
  • UPDATE - 7th September 2004 - The frame recieves minore repairs and a coat of protective paint before the new panelling goes on. Photo.
  • UPDATE - 23rd August 2004 - Old panelling removed from bodysides revealing the wooden frame
  • UPDATE - 17th August 2004 - Work has now resumed in earnest with a stat made on the repanelling of the body work. Pictures here and here show the new upper panels screwed into place. These wil be welded to the new lower panels in due course to form the smooth bodysides.
  • UPDATE - 18th July 2004 - Work continued on the roof with the new formers fitted as this interior view shows. The window glass has alos been removed pending the start of the body work, after which new safety glass will need to be fitted. There is currently a temporary pause in work while the contractor undertakes a previous commitment for the GCR, but the body overhaul will resume shortly.
  • UPDATE - 20th May 2004 - Progress remains rapid, and all of the new roof woodwork is now in place (picture here). The new roof has made a massive difference to its appearance, and it is now beginning to look like the impressive vehicle it once was. Although all the wood is now in place much less obvious work remains to be done to complete the roof. Presently the formers (which are screwed underneath to hold the roof in shape) are being made, and will then be fitted. The top will then need sanding round to give a smooth surface ready for the fitting of the canvas.
  • UPDATE - 5th May 2004 - John has proceeded rapidly with work on the roof. All of the old wood has been removed, the roof hoops cleaned and painted and the new wood delivered. The first of this is now being fitted (picture) . As can be seen this is fitted from the centre outwards. Once all the wood is on a period of sanding begins to smooth the roof ready for the new canvas. Current plan is to stop work on the roof after the sanding phase. Reskinning the bodyside will then start with the canvas going shortly before the externally finished vehicle emerges.
  • WORK STARTED - 17th April 2004 - The major rebuild has now started as planned. The first stage is to completely renew the roof. Contractor John Robinson has already removed the old roof (pictures HERE and HERE). Completely new wood will be then be fitted topped with a new canvas. As can be appreciated there is a considerable amount of work involved in this, but when this phase is finished work will continue immediately onto the reskinning of the bodysides (and rectification of minor collision damage on the nose end). Funding for all of this work is in place after the very successful launch of fund raising last year. We would very much like to continue the job through to completion and now need to raise around a further £20,000 for interior work. If you've been waiting to see if the project actually gets off the ground, now is the time to make a donation!. Meanwhile work on the bogies and underframe, delayed awaiting the arrival of a spare pair of bogies, is now expected to commence in the second half of the year. This will not cause any delay to the progress rate since the bogies will be worked on off site.
  • UPDATE - Feb 2004 - The work on the bogies and underframe is being slightly delayed awaiting the arrival of a spare pair of bogies (to stand the vehicle on while its own are away for overhaul). In the meantime a quote from coachbuilder John Robinson has been accepted for the work on the bodywork and roof. This work is expected to start in April, with the roof work expected to be tackled first. This will then continue to completion, with the bogie and underframe work slotted in as circumstances allow. The end result, later in the year, should be an externally rebuilt vehicle then needing interior fitting out to complete the project. Fund raising has slowed at present (though donations remain welcome!), but will resume in earnest once the restoration work starts.
  • UPDATE - December 2003 - Fund raising has continued and has now reached £34,000. This is a magnificent reponse in a little over 8 months. While the rate of donations has now eased I'm confident the remaining £20,000 or so required will be raised once we are able to publicise the start of work in earnest. It is pleasing to report that there have now been over 130 individual large donations together with contributions from the GCR, MLST, Advantica Ltd and Fragonset Railways (see below). The Beavertail currently remains at Doncaster works where it was inspected by Wabtec. Unfortunately Wabtec have decided only to quote for the bogie overhaul and then not until April next year. As we find ourselves in the happy position of having funding available we've taken the decision to return the vehicle to the GCR, where work should be able to start much more quickly. We remain grateful to Wabtec for providing the opportunity to display the vehicle in Doncaster last year, and for sponsoring the movement of the vehicle to and from there. Meanwhile the dynamo has already been removed from the vehicle and has been overhauled by Fragonset Railways at Derby. The cost of this has been well over £1000, which Fragonset have generously covered. Once back on the GCR, as soon as space is available in Rothley shed the bogies will be removed and dismantled by contractors. The components will be sent to Derby for overhaul and re-assembled at Rothley on their return. A contractor has been asked to quote for the work on the body, and this work should commence in the new year. Once these stages of the work have begun the associated work on the roof and interior of the vehilce will be open to tender. Predicting timescales is always a dangerous game in railway preservation, but the Beavertail should take a significant step forward in the first half of next year, and with continued funding could be entering service sometime in 2005.
  • PHOTO - On display at its birthplace in Doncaster
  • BACK TO DONCASTER - July 2003 - The Beavertail is returning to Doncaster for the "Plant 150th" celebrations being Organised by Wabtec limited. It will be displayed in in the building in which it was originally built and will be accompanied by a stand to promote the appeal. This will give a major publicity boost to the appeal and Wabtec will inspect the vehicle while it is there with a view to quoting for some of the restoration works.
  • PHOTO - Loading onto the lorry at Quorn for movement to Doncaster
  • PHOTO - The current state of the interior - July 2003
  • PHOTO - Axleboxes being prepared to make fit for movement
  • ASBESTOS REMOVAL - April 2003 - a contract has been placed for the removal of remaining asbestos insulation from 1719E. This is essential work that has to be completed before any restoration work can begin. It has to be done by approved contractors - and the work is therefore costly. It should take less than two weeks to complete
  • APPEAL LAUNCHED - February 2003 - Railway Vehicle Preservations Ltd are announcing the launch of a major national appeal to restore one of the UK most distinctive and historically significant railway carriages to full working order; "Beavertail" observation car No. 1719E, built in Doncaster in 1937. In 1937 the London North Eastern railway introduced its high speed "Coronation" service between London and Edinburgh. This was a revolutionary service, using dedicated locomotives and specially built lightweight train sets to allow the 393 mile journey to be undertaken in under 6 hours. The locomotives that hauled it became world famous (Gresley A4's such as "Mallard"), but the carriages were equally impressive, especially the sleek observation car on the rear of the train. The war brought the service to a premature end, and the observation cars saw relatively little use until withdrawal in 1969. Their significance was realised and no.1719E was purchased for preservation. However, it was not restored and has spent the last ten years in store on the Great Central Railway. Now, with the vehicle on long term loan to RVP, the opportunity is being taken to fully restore the vehicle for public use on the Great Central's line between Loughborough and Leicester. The vehicle will be returning to its Doncaster works birthplace in time for the July works open days (26/7th July) where it will be displayed in its unrestored condition. The overhaul will then begin - subject to funds being available. £55,000 is the appeal target, to ensure the work is completed to a high standard. Once finished the vehicle will return to the Great Central Railway for use on the UK's only preserved double track steam railway. This will enable this fine example of the UK's railway engineering heritage to be seen and used by the widest possible audience. Donations are now urgently required; the Great Central Railway is offering a package of incentives to large donors to the scheme:
    • Donate £1000 or more - a free GCR Silver driver experience (32 miles of main line steam train driving)
    • Donate £700-£999 - a free GCR Bronze driver experience (16 miles of main line steam train driving)
    • Donate £400-£699 - four free GCR evening restaurant car tickets (6 course meal on steam hauled train)
    • Donate £200-£399 - two free GCR evening restaurant car tickets (6 course meal on steam hauled train)
    • Donate £100-£199 - two free GCR daytime dining tickets (3 course lunch on steam hauled train)

    Of course small donations are equally welcome, all will be acknowledged. Donations can should be made by cheques payable to "Railway Vehicle Preservations Ltd", and sent to 22 Grange Street, Burton On Trent, Staffs, DE14 2ES. For further information please write to this address or e-mail darren@rvp-ltd.fsnet.co.uk.