Coronation Beavertail 1729 has a new home in Margate
In January 2021, after a complete and faithful restoration project lasting many years; Coronation Beavertail 1729 arrived at The One:One Collection in Margate. We don’t yet know how long it will stay housed here, as there are hopes that it may one day be able to run on heritage lines. But for now it has been reunited with an A4, in the shape of ‘Bittern’.
The 1937-built ‘Beavertail’ observation car, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, is one of only two examples built (Nos. 1719 and 1729), and its restoration has been lengthy and painstaking.
By 1996, this magnificent carriage was a wreck, dumped in Carnforth yard, its distinctive rear end removed and the rest left at the mercy of the elements.
Agreeing, arranging and carrying out the restoration took decades, and even once its rescue was assured, wasn’t without its pitfalls. The presence of significant quantities of asbestos insulation, the hunt for original plans (all but one were lost in a fire during WWII) and the difficulties involved in sourcing original materials in imperial measurements have all added up to a lengthy project.
In 2014, Coronation ‘Beavertail’ No. 1729 was acquired by the Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust, which has funded the majority of its restoration and will continue to fund maintenance.
The project to date was carried out by Nemesis Rail, who ensured that every detail was as authentic as it could be, even down to using all Imperial bolts and fittings. The lack of original plans meant that a huge amount of detective work was needed to work out how some elements of the design worked – from recreating the original streamlined end that gave the car its name to sourcing fabric for the restored armchairs.
We’re thrilled that this breath-taking example of rail history has now joined The One:One Collection and we can’t wait to be able to open our doors again and give you a chance to see it.
Note: Some of the background information for this post was taken, with permission, from the full story of Coronation ‘Beavertail’ 1729’s restoration which featured in Steam Railway Magazine issue 515, February 5- March 4 2021. To read the full article, you can buy back issues from the Steam Railway website.