This work coincided with the arrival of now ex-rangers, James “Minimus” Morley and Alex Hurrell. The new gas bottle boxes required painting, and “Minimus”, who, at the time was capable of fitting into the small gap between the boxes and the frames, proved a useful tool. The two enjoyed a Sunday painting, however their mothers had different views- “Minimus” was made to change in the garage. New overalls were provided and both boys happily remain active on the railway, although Alex has left the group to become a porter at Alresford station. Work continued inside on the kitchen range - a cycle of cleaning, painting and refurbishment of burners/grills/ovens with repairs and replacement of worn gas taps and valves - it now looks better than when it was new! Electrical modifications were made with the fitting of a battery charger in the fourth gas bottle box, and an inlet for a 240v AC shore supply. This meant that a number of 13Amp socket outlets could be installed within the coach. The ceiling in the lounge (originally grey carpet) was replaced with cut Formica and the wall carpet removed to reveal the original 1960’s melamine. Unfortunately the panels beneath the windows were not salvageable and these were replaced with varnished ply. The fans in the kitchen were unserviceable, and so these were removed and given a complete overhaul by Minimus, under the watchful eye of John Kay. New carbon brushes were made, at a cost of £12 each, there being two to a fan, and four fans. The fans were then re-sprayed and replaced in the ceiling. The fridge in the kitchen was beyond repair and a spare was sourced from classmate 1961. The fridge was in storage at Cranmore after having been removed when the vehicle was overhauled there. As a consequence, the fridge returned to Alresford, only to return to Cranmore on board 1973. This fridge was in much better condition - although the door seals still required replacement. At the beginning of September 2005 the vehicle departed for CTMS at Cranmore for bodywork repairs and repainting. The contract work by CTMS required the full replacement of plate-work at both vestibule ends. The corridor ends were removed and material replaced as required. In addition certain areas of the body side plate-work were replaced including a large section under the kitchen window. All the aluminium window frames were removed (a very tedious job, drilling out numerous steel rivets). The window frames were cleaned and the sliding vents adjusted before the glass was fitted with new rubber seals before the frame was resealed and riveted back into the body side. Much of this work (16 frames in total) was carried out by Clive Warneford. All the external doors were overhauled and one of the emergency doors was replaced with a spare (refurbished by a former MHR volunteer over 20 years previously). The vehicle was prepared for external painting and emerged in lined “Umber & Cream” to match the vehicles in the MHR dining trains. Thanks are extended to Brian, Geoff and Mike at Cranmore for the excellent work and wonderful finish to the coach.
On return from Cranmore in May 2006 the re-conversion to vacuum braking and steam heating was carried out at Ropley works by Bert Hitchen, John Dunkerly and Jim Lawrence.