Status: Restoration will begin once 3916 is complete. Preventative maintenance occurring as required currently
Location: Wansford: Part of Nord Express line up by Main Entrance
The restaurant car, no. 2975, was built in 1927 in Italy. It is currently painted in the Pullman colours of cream and blue livery.
In its service life, this car spent most of its time in Switzerland. This is a major reason why the coach survived World War 2 while many other Wagons-Lit's carriages were not so lucky.
Restaurant cars were usually attached to the back of other regional expresses and then removed at the country's border.
2975 is actually the heaviest coachin the UK, weighing in at 55 tons.
The coach was withdrawn from service in 1977 and moved to the railway in 1978 after being purchased by Thomas Cook and used for dining trains on the NVR.
The car is now located in the entrance of the car park at Wansford, as part of the Nord Express display. It requires a substantial 6 figure sum to get it into running condition again however. This will be our next project after the Sleeping Car.
As the previous update suggested, a top coat or two of paint would be added to the coach roof when volunteers were available.
Fortunately there were two or three on hand during september to get the roof well and truly protected.
Here is a recent photo showing the finished job:
Despite the roof of 2975 being in good condition structurally, it still looked worse for ware. A few days were spent giving the whole roof a few coats of grey paint. The top coat will be applied over the coming weeks depending on availability of volunteers.
The top coat has now started to be applied.
Since 2975 has been moved into public view as part of the 'NORD Express' display, we felt the need to make it look more presentable.
The first step was to wash the whole coach down and clean off the less stubborn rust marks. The before and after photos below show the extent of the dirt we had to remove.
We recently began to remove the worst of the rust and cut out any corroded metal plate. The plan is to cover the worst parts with new plate as a temporary measure.
As for the surface rust, our young volunteers have been carefully removing, rust treating and priming along the length of the coach.
The interior of this coach had been been untouched for years, so as you may have guessed, it required a thorough clean. So we used one Sunday morning to wash the whole coach from top to bottom, sweep the floors and give everything a good dusting.
Pictures of the clean interior can be seen below:
Keeping with the interior theme, there are plans in the pipeline to split off the pantry & kitchen area from the rest of the vehicle. As the condition of the two areas is terrible and they contain asbestos it would be in the public interest to isolate this area.
However, we intend to allow public access to the Saloon area subject to Asbestos and air quality checks.
This area will contain information boards & display cabinets to add interest and explain the history of 2975 and Wagon-Lits in general.
We hope in doing this, that visitors will be encouraged to donate towards the project.
The first step in allow public access to the interior was to construct some steps, which can be seen here:
In its early days at NVR the original kitchen was removed along with the Anthracite stove. We had assumed that all of the kitchen equipment from 2975 had been lost many years ago.
However, parts of the stove have recently been found in the tunnel. The search for the remaining pieces will continue but we are not expecting to find it all.
Below you can see the doors from the original stove:
The parts that are still missing will be manufactured using original drawings.
The car was moved to form part of our Nord Express Line up in January 2011
2975 after being moved to platform 1 to allow the shunting of other stock at the NVR
Some of the damage the coach has sustained over the years.
Pump Trolley experiences and hire are run by volunteers from The Night Mail Group at The Nene Valley Railway. All funds raised are used to support the restoration of our historic railway vehicles and the developement of The Night Mail Museum at Ferry Meadows Station.