Well it’s finally here….
After a lot of fund raising and a lot of hard work behind-the-scenes it feels good to be talking about the reconstruction of car 31 after a long period of quiet.
We’ve had some wonderful help from a lot of people including our design engineer Steve Screaton, our friends at Crich, our small but loyal team of volunteers and our fabrication firm, Adey Steel at Loughborough. Adey are actually based on the site of the Brush Falcon works in Loughborough next to the Midland Main Line – a site that has a long history of its own in building trams and locomotives for the world. Our Car 31 is actually a Preston built Dick Kerr car but Leicester did buy Brush built cars too. Adey Steel have been excellent and in choosing this firm we have maintained one of our core ambitions to use local firms for the newly built aspects of the project.
Why have a new steel under-frame when Car 31 was originally built with a wooden under-frame I hear you say? Well… This new steel will form what we call a composite under-frame. Basically we will line the new steel with wood so that visually from all angles it looks like the original build, however with a reinforced steel backing carrying the structural load we will ensure the car satisfies modern rail preferences and will be around for many years to come. Basically its much safer, modern wood is not seasoned as well as it was in the Edwardian years, if we built a wooden under-frame and then it warped or cracked after the rest of the car had been fitted we would have to go right back to the frame to rebuild the car yet again! Not a thought we’d relish!
Amazingly, Leicester was actually introducing steel frames to many of its cars so we are not completely going of the rails with this plan – unfortunately for car 31 she was never treated to one of the original LCT designs so we have had to design our very own.