We also named the FO's. Orchid & Fern. Sunday May 29th 1988 saw our train run to Woking to attend the ‘Woking 150 celebrations’ undertaking two round trips. Later that year, on September 10th. The train again ran on the Main Line for two round trips to Waterloo for the naming of a Class 73 ED.
Lessons learned on these trips and the increased running of Wine & Dine trains on the Mid-Hants meant that we should consider another catering vehicle for use on the train so that the third FO could be bought into regular use. After discussions amongst ourselves (the owners) we sought a full Kitchen Car, an RKB. For reasons I will not go into here we didn't get an RKB so an alternative was sought. We opted for an RU and actively sought vehicles of this type available for Tender.
We now come to RBr 1973 (built as an RU). Very little is known of this vehicle regarding its use on British Railways, but we have ascertained the following; - Built between 1960 & 1961 at Ashford/Swindon to Diagram 23 with 33 Unclassed seating and rebuilt twice, between 1979 & 1988 as RB(S) to Diagram 27 with 23 Unclassed seating and further rebuilt as RBr to new diagram AJ414, converting to Air-Braked and Dual Heat. With a Buffet Bar, fixed polypropylene chairs, fluorescent lighting, suspended ceiling and carpet on the walls. Painted in InterCity livery it found its base as Oxley (Wolverhampton). The coach was photographed at Wigan on 19th October 1988 by which time it was based at Edinburgh Craigentinny (EC) (and is shown in Platform 5 Spring 1990, edition on page 5). Still based at EC in 1989 the coach was classified as 100m.p.h. Air-Braked & Dual heat and on November 4th within set No.EC79 en-route Penzance to Carstairs. On 26th January 1990 the coach received a Classified C4 exam at Glasgow Works. Recorded 15th December 1990 as based at Derby (Etches Park) now in sub-status 0. Available for Commercial Use, the coach was used on the 17.10 Manchester Piccadilly-Derby service running as DY271. By which time it had run 164,590 miles since its exam at Glasgow Works. It was still based at Derby in the Spring of 1991 but by August 1991 was withdrawn and awaiting decision as to its future and stored at Wolverton.
This is where we come in, we visited Wolverton Works to view several of the type and found that 1973 was the best of the batch and more or less complete, within a short period of time we had made an offer and this was accepted and after receiving paperwork and clearance we made arrangements for the coach to be delivered by road to the Mid-Hants. Little work was undertaken on the coach for a number of years for various reasons which I will not go into here, but suffice it to say we knew it would be restored one day; meanwhile we were still running and maintaining five other vehicles. Restoration of 1973 commenced in earnest in 2002. All the work on this vehicle apart from its visit to Cranmore was undertaken........outside, in all weather conditions by a very small band of dedicated enthusiasts.
The next part of this article was written by D.Gutzewski, with help from others, my self included, and I will let him tell the next phase.