Securing the future of the Wealden Pullman
We’re working on an ambitious investment programme to enhance and secure the future of the Wealden Pullman dining train – and we need your help!
The project includes:
- Building a canopy for the Pullman siding to ensure these historic carriages are protected from the weather
- Restoration of Pullman Car ‘Aries’ – once a favourite of the Royal Family
- Improving access for wheelchair users
- Restoration of the original 1920’s marquetry panels in ‘Theodora’
But the first part of the journey is to replace our kitchen car, the very heart of the train where all the wonderful meals we serve are freshly prepared onboard. Our existing kitchen carriage ‘Diana’ has served us well, but after nearly 40 years’ continuous service, she will soon require a major update. With this in mind, we purchased another kitchen carriage which we’re now overhauling to the latest standards. But we’re not casting ‘Diana’ aside – she will take a new place in our regular passenger trains, offering a greatly improved range of everyday meals.
In addition to a kitchen to modern specifications, the project incorporates improved access arrangements for passengers confined to a wheelchair. Back in the 1920’s, Pullman Car doors were not designed with ease of access in mind, but by incorporating a wider doorway in the new carriage, access into Pullman Car Theodora will be greatly improved.
Can you help us turn this ↑ into this ↓ ?
The first element of the project will cost around £250,000 to complete, but in 2019 the project gained the support of the LEADER Fund and Kent County Council when it was awarded a grant for £74,000. To this excellent start we have been able to add £36,000 from donations, £25,000 from legacies, £20,000 of K&ESR investment, and £30,000 from the Wealden Pullman’s own staff fund (built up from customer gratuities), leaving £65,000 to be raised.
Fortunately, as a registered educational charity, the project can benefit from Gift Aid, so for every £1 donated UK tax payers, the government will put in 25 pence – so with Gift Aid, the total we need to raise is £52,000.
We need YOUR help to achieve that – every donation, however small, is valued, but if you donate:
We will provide you with an attractive donation certificate suitable for framing, recognising your contribution to the project
A donation certificate, one years membership of the K&ESR for yourself or a friend, project updates
A donation certificate, one years membership of the K&ESR, project updates, complimentary entry to an exclusive members only event and a table for two on the special Wealden Pullman train bringing the new kitchen car into service
All benefits as above, but to include life membership of the K&ESR and a table for four on the special Wealden Pullman train to bring the new kitchen car into service
To make a donation for another amount or to setup a regular donation, visit our dedicated donation page
Update 6 – 28 June 2020
Despite disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the project continues to make progress: we’re delighted to report that structural work on the coach is now complete!
Only two further significant items remain for Arlington’s to undertake at Eastleigh, before the car can return to Kent for fitting out.
The first is the purchase, modification and fitting of Perkins 404A-22SG1 01 diesel generator which will power the kitchen equipment. It will be modified to enable it to be fitted discretely under the floor & will incorporate a fuel tank of sufficient capacity to ensure that the generator can run for a whole weekend of Pullman services. A high level stainless steel exhaust will be fitted on the coach end.
None of this comes cheap – the cost of this essential element amounts to £20,750. Donors have been very generous so far, but in these difficult times we must manage our limited funds very carefully. We continue to seek support towards this phase of work – donations to keep the project moving would be greatly appreciated.
Once the diesel generator has been mounted as tested, the coach will be painted with long-lasting two-pack paint in traditional Pullman colours (£15,000) and transported back to Tenterden (£5,000).
Upon return, the all-important kitchen, including high level extraction system and stainless steel cladding (£15,000) will be fitted, together with an electrical inverter (£2,000) and specialist non-slip flooring (£2,500). The icing on the cake is the carriage signwriting (£900), undertaken (as it is on all our locos and carriages) by Wealden Pullman Chef Meg Gooch.
Our existing Kitchen Car ‘Diana’ will have its life extended to stay in service until the end of the 2020 season but during 2021 the bogies on 1987 will need to be refurbished at a cost of £10,000.
If you feel able to help us to finish this exciting project by making a donation, we’d be extremely grateful
Robin White, Project Director
Update 5 – 1st March 2020
A short update to show the state of progress on 18th February 2020, when K&ESR representatives visited Arlington’s premises in Eastleigh. Arlington’s work is nearly complete and the vehicle is expected to return to Tenterden in March for completion of external paintwork & signwriting by K&ESR staff and the kitchen fit-out by contractors Keemlaw.
We still need to raise funds for the kitchen equipment fit out – every donation, of whatever size, helps us to close the gap – thank you!
Update 4 – 27th January 2020
It is pleasing to be able to report that Arlingtons Ltd have now finished the bodywork refurbishment of the vehicle and are well on with the internal fit out as the accompanying photos show
The current focus is electrical work and the doors.
There has been about a month’s delay to the project, largely due to the K&ESR in-house overhaul of some door components and the fictionalisation of the kitchen plan taking a little longer than expected. Car 1987 will be the Pullman kitchen for many years to come and so it is important to get it right.
The car is now expected back on the K&ESR in March for final fit out. Car 1987 will initially return to traffic on bogies loaned by the K&ESR ‘TREATS’ group while its own bogies undergo overhaul. The Railway is grateful to them for this.
The K&ESR management team are now turning their minds to the use of ‘Diana’ on service trains when Car 1987 takes the Pullman load.
Approximately £60,000 remains to be raised to complete this project and allow us to move on to the other items to make the K&ESR Pullman sustainable for the long term. Every donation, however small (or large!) to close that gap would be most appreciated
27th October 2019
Project Manager Dave Raimbach, supported by K&ESR experts Alan Crotty, Alan Brice and David Brailsford, visited Arlington’s on 15th October to inspect progress to date. All asbestos has now all been removed, and the underframe has been cleaned and painted.
Bodywork and roof repairs are underway, surplus air brake equipment has been removed, and K&ESR refurbished vacuum cylinders and pistons are ready to be fitted..
The biggest risk to any project of this magnitude is funding. Can you help us with the major “Next steps” and their expected cost?
- Parking brake modification to include an interlocking parking brake and isolating valve – £10,550
- Install steam heat pipework and refit existing radiators – £11,900
- Water tanks and pipework, overhaul water raising equipment, fit drain down valves and thermostatically controlled trace heating system – £5,040
- Refurbish and fit gas cabinets, run gas services to kitchen – £2,975
- Fit 24v DC carriage lighting system, supply and install electric generator, connect to coach AC electrical installation and provide shore supply/vacuum brake interlock – £20,860
- Overhaul vestibule connections, buffing and draw gear, re-fit drop-head auto couplers, fit vestibule diaphragms, gangway hoods and tail-pin rubbers – £6,836
- Bodywork and roof repairs, replace buffer-beam top plates – £12,600
- Alterations to windows, doors and roof fans – £23,205
- Create Guards Brake area – £10,000
- Replace flooring throughout – £5,452
- Guttering repairs – £2,500
- Fit insulation material, walls in saloon area and Guards partition – £3,275
- Repaint in Pullman livery – £15,000
Sponsoring any of these items would make a huge difference to the K&ESR. If you are a UK tax payer, please consider gift-aiding your donation, which boosts the value by 25% thanks to the UK government
17th August 2019
The carriage is now safely in Arlington Ltd’s premises at Eastleigh.
K&ESR Project Manager Dave Raimbach, supported by Alan Crotty, have met with the appointed contractors and asbestos removal will be undertaken shortly.
Back at Tenterden, the K&ESR C&W Dept are making plans to refurbish a pair of ‘Commonwealth’ bogies on which the refurbished coach will run.
The project cash-flow needs to be carefully managed, as funds have to be spent and then the 40% contribution claimed back from the ‘Leader’ fund. We are very grateful to the K&ESR Loco Trust for a £20,000 loan to the project, and a similar sum loaned by a number of private individuals which have provided some much needed ‘working capital’ for the project
29th July 2019 – We’re Off!
Departure from Wittersham Road
The first physical steps in the ambitious project to restore a kitchen carriage for the popular ‘Wealden Pullman’ dining train were taken today. Having been loaded onto a specialised lowloader yesterday, the carriage left the K&ESR for transfer to Arlington Fleet Group Ltd’s restoration workshops at Eastleigh, Hampshire.
The bodywork overhaul is expected to take around 6 months. Following restoration, it will be returned to Tenterden where specialist catering contractors will fit out the kitchen.
The restoration of ‘Restaurant Unclassified’ coach No.1987 is a significant and essential step in securing the future of the ‘Wealden Pullman’ dining train by having a newly refurbished kitchen car in service during 2020. The new kitchen car will replace car ‘Diana’ which will take up its new place in our public daytime services. The new coach will have enhanced kitchen facilities, including a commercial dishwasher, enhanced disabled access and a guard’s compartment.
The work to prepare the coach for departure:
The K&ESR-based ‘TREATs’ group have kindly lent some spare bogies for the duration of the Arlington’s overhaul, so that we can prepare an overhauled set, made up from the existing RU1987 bogies and other commonwealth wheelsets that we have in stock. The bogie swap was completed 12th July – thanks to all those involved! The carriage’s preparation for transport including the replacement of buck-eye couplers and the boarding up of windows without glass.
Specifications for the overhaul of Mk1 RU1987 were finalised by the K&ESR in June, and contract agreement with Arlington’s of Eastleigh was reached soon after.
The coach was loaded onto road transport on the 29th July and left the Railway that evening for a delivery to Arlington’s the following day.
The expected progress of the project:
The £250,000 overhaul is expected to take around 6 months, following which the interior fit-out will be undertaken at Tenterden.
If you have any questions, Dave Raimbach, Project Manager will be pleased to assist via [email protected]