For a long time now our project updates have been focused solely on our active project to cosmetically restore LMS CCT 37071 to its appearance in the railway sequences of the 1983 James Bond movie “Octopussy”. Work on this project has been progressing well, with the end of the job clearly in sight. However it has had its ups and downs along the way, and the lack of variety in our work has been trying at times, especially when we take a moment to consider all the other freight vehicles on the railway that desperately require our time and attention. With extra demands shortly to be placed on the goods rake during the Steam Gala of 21st/22nd February and the associated photo charters, it suddenly became necessary to try to add more satisfactory vehicles to the rake in time for the event.
With the above in mind, we decided to bring forward the cosmetic improvement of the Ministry of Defence wagons, a project we were planning to undertake shortly after completion of CCT 37071. As they are in generally excellent condition, we believed one of the pair, or possibly both, could be cosmetically repainted in a relatively short timescale, a ‘quick win’ after the marathon slog that has been 37071. Their modern green and yellow livery has always jarred with us, especially when one could be clearly seen behind the BR ‘9F’ 2-10-0 at the Autumn Gala last year. Although these wagons were built for the MoD in 1963, they are direct copies of the 1950’s BR Diagram 1/044 ‘Highfit’ 5-plank open wagon. Although they have unfortunately had some modifications over the years, they are clearly of ‘steam era’ wagon outline, and a repaint into BR livery would suit them well and enable them to blend in to the existing wagon fleet.
Above: MoD No.4726 in ‘as received’ condition, displaying the somewhat unattractive modern-image yellow ends carried by these wagons in later MoD service.
Above: Philip applies the finishing touches to the BR fitted livery, a vast improvement in appearance to our eyes and much more appropriate for our 1950’s/60’s era BR goods rake. Lettering will be added if we get time, and time and weather permitting, we hope to give sister vehicle No.4730 similar treatment before the gala. Whilst a little more work will be required in future to sort out a couple of other issues, this can wait until after the completion of CCT 37071 in the next few months, and this wagon can help bulk out the NVR goods rake until we are able to restore some more wagons to run with it. As ever, funding is always required (however small!) – please consider donating to our cause, thank you.