Swindon &
Cricklade
Railway

Restoring the Thumper

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On Friday 20th May 2016 we received the devastating news that our two-car Thumper DEMU No 1302 had been rendered useless by fire damage. The obvious conclusion was arson, which had also destroyed three wagons on an adjacent line that had been used for storage.
It was a disaster and, at the time, it was difficult to see any way back. The Thumper had become important for many of our ‘off peak’ services and for events such as our School Holiday Specials on summer Wednesdays, and had been extensively refurbished for the 2016 season.
      What we did not expect at the time was the enormous levels of sympathy and support from local people and from the railway preservation movement. It was clear that for many visitors, the Thumper had been more than just a ‘diesel
train’, while preservationists recognised its rarity and the extent of our loss.But, providentially, the driving car is relatively intact. It will need much work, but that is what the railway is good at.
      Now we must mention the Spa Valley Railway and the Lavender Line. Through the invaluable help and generosity of the individuals concerned, we now have another restorable driving trailer. And, thanks to donations and insurance money, we have the means to bring the Thumper back to life.

Restoration begins

Above On 17th June 2016 Driving Trailer No 60822 and Trailer No 60669 were received from Pershore. 60822 will be restored and adapted as our new Driving Trailer and 60669 will be a donor for fittings where they are better than those in 60822.

Above right No 60669 in the platform at Hayes Knoll with external fittings being removed.

Right The interior of 60822, showing the generally good condition of upholstery and ceiling.




Progress - mid-October 2016
Externally, at the coupling end where it will meet our existing Power Car, alterations are being made so that the jumper cables can connect correctly, because those on 60822 were on the ‘wrong sides’. New steel paneling has also been let in as required on the sides.
      Internally, the layout is different from the Driving Trailer we have lost. Rather than a single ‘Standard Class’ open saloon, 60822 comprised a shorter saloon and three First Class corridor compartments. These were separated by two toilets. So one has been removed to create a walkway between both sections, and a new floor laid. A new floor has also been laid in the driving compartment.
      In the saloon all the wooden window surrounds have been
removed. Nearly all of the components were affected by rot, and it had been decided to commission new hardwood replacements. All the window glass was subsequently removed for safe storage.
      The work on the windows required the removal of the luggage racks to gain access, and upholstered items have been removed to prevent soiling. One of the next jobs will be to remove the internal door panels so that the droplight mechanisms can be serviced. At the moment, it’s ‘not a pretty sight’. But we all believe the end result will be something to be proud of!
More information and pictures will be added as the restoration progresses.

Left - work to re-locate the jumper cables to correctly interface with our existing Power Car.
Right - the Standard Class saloon, with upholstery, luggage racks and window surrounds removed.

Your help is still needed
Thanks to the help and support we have already received, restoration is going ahead much more quickly than we had first thought possible. But there will doubtless be unforeseen costs, and there are already the costs of not being able to run the Thumper for ‘off peak’ services and some special trains. And we must not lose sight of the three wooden box vans that were destroyed along with their contents. So, once again, we will be extremely grateful for any help you can give. Thank you!
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