The replica porthole bugbox under construction (Photo: Jim Hewett)Progress in August 2010  the roof is being fitted and the body looks largely complete.Two of the original Brown, Marshalls 4-wheeled carriages of 1864 were completely open. They were later rebuilt with huge, fixed, glazed windows, one either side of a full height door. With only one droplight per side (against three in a closed third class vehicle, or five in the first class coaches as built), additional ventilation was provided by a series of three circular ventilators high up on the vehicle ends (giving rise to the -porthole' bugbox name) together with a further prominent ventilator mounted on the roof. The 'porthole' bugboxes were still fully enclosed in the early 1900s but had lost their large glazed windows and droplights in the doors before WW1. From the side, in appearance they were then similar to the previously converted semi-opens Nos. 1 & 2. However, the prominent circular openings on the ends made them very distinctive. Photographs of these two vehicles during the Colonel Stephens era show that they had been renumbered again, to Nos. 11 & 12. Both these survived into the new administration in 1954, one becoming what is now known as the flying bench and the other being scrapped after a side fell out. The latter one could have been saved.

However, having rebuilt most of the other types of these vehicles it was felt that a Port-hole bugbox was needed to complete the set.

The aim of this project was to recreate semi-open "porthole" bugbox No. 12. TwThe completed porthole bugbox - © Norman Bondo 'porthole' bugbox doors survive, one each from Nos. 11 and 12 and it was planned to refurbish them and use them for this carriage. The finished vehicle incorporates a set of steel underframes built a number of years ago, in common with most other bugboxes in service but, externally, the carriage appears as it is seen in photographs taken between the wars.

"Team X" and other carriage works volunteers carried out the work during their regular monthly working parties. As the project approached completion it was hoped that it would make a debut appearance in time for the FR Vintage Weekend 2011. Unfortunately the project leader suffered an accident, and “Team X” were diverted to other work during 2011, so this was not possible.

No.12 did, however, enjoy its moment of glory exactly 12 months later, during the vintage weekend of 2012.


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