At the Heritage Railway Association meeting on 11 November, Trevor Rapley was presented with the HRA's 2015 Carriage & Wagon Awards "Best Coach" award for SECR Birdcage Brake No.3363, as seen in John Crane's photo which shows Trevor having received the award plaque from Brian Simpson, HRA Chairman. This is the third successive award collected by Trevor, who also led the restoration of LBSCR Bogie First No.7598 and played a leading role in that of Maunsell Open Third No.1309. No.3363, completed 4 years ago, fell within the scope of the 2015 competition because of delays in its judging and presentation.
Lewis Nodes, the Bluebell's Rolling Stock Director, congratulated Trevor and the team, saying "A well-deserved award for many years' work, demonstrating again the continuing outstanding excellence of Bluebell's Carriage and Wagon Department."
The carriage, built in 1910, was restored by a team of volunteers at Horsted Keynes. Having been converted for departmental use for measuring the clearances through bridges and tunnels in 1954, it arrived on the Bluebell in 1999, with water coming through the roof after years sitting in sidings elsewhere. The interior and exterior have been meticulously restored to 1920s/30s condition, when it might well have run over our line since birdcage stock was often used on the Bluebell line. It is seen below in Richard Salmon's photo on its first day in Bluebell service, 22 October 2011.
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