'Project Bubble 19'
After 49 years of W55019 not carrying any passengers, we have the chance to bring 'Bubble 19' back to life again at our new railway.
The Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway is based at the former colliery site of Cynheidre, approximately 6 miles north of Llanelli in South West Wales, UK. We opened to the public for the first time on 3rd September 2017. Since this date we have successfully undertaken five public running days between 2017/18 with two more public events planned over the christmas period in 2018.
The project needs your help to fund the work and we are seeking £15,000 to allow us to complete the restoration of our 1958 built Class 122 Diesel multiple unit vehicle number 55019. This vehicle has not carried a passenger since 1969.
Affectionately known as 'Bubble cars' these single carriages were ideal for branch line services. We have named this appeal ‘Project Bubble 19’ for this reason! We have the majority of the materials available to bring this vehicle back to life, but we really need your help to make it happen by allowing us to fund the man power and expertise.
Will you help us to make this vintage vehicle run again?
The vehicle can seat 65 people at once and is highly versatile as it can be self-propelled or used as a hauled vehicle by our equally vintage diesel locomotive for the public to enjoy at our open days. The wide windows at both ends of the vehicle allow panoramic views of the journey as well. It will be used at Christmas, Easter and other events. It would massively help us to have this old unit working again.
The funding is required for the main concentrations of the restoration which will concern checking the internal electrical wiring for the lighting and heating systems, replacing the plywood boarding on the ceiling panels, replacing the side panelling and insulation, replacing the floor lino and fitting the seating frames. The vehicle will also require a full mechanical service and external repaint.
This funding will allow us to improve our offering to the local community by increasing our train ride capacity using a vintage vehicle, as well as enhance the skills of our volunteer workforce to teach valuable skills that can be used now and in the future. We would give them the opportunity to learn the skills required for this kind of restoration by providing tutoring from experienced restorers as well as the materials to complete some of the outstanding tasks. The funding would also enable us to outsource work where required when more experience and knowledge is needed.
The unit is one of just 8 still in existence and will be one of our principle passenger carrying vehicles once restored. The unit was heavily modified internally when in use as a departmental vehicle which in many ways assists us as it will allow us to create purpose built disabled access and bays within the guards compartment. Where possible it will be returned to an original state as well as modified according to modern requirements.
Our current running line of 0.25 miles will be increased to almost a mile in length over the next few months as part of a training exercise by the Army for the public to enjoy in 2019. This is another reason why we need to have this useful vehicle available for use as soon as possible. Our project is entirely dependent on volunteer labour and public funding. As part of our community engagement we work with local volunteering services as well as allowing local people with learning disabilities to carry out restoration work including our wooden brakevan which was restored to an excellent standard.
Our project has proved to be extremely popular with the local community and we receive regular support from our local MP and Assembly Member as well as both the Carmarthenshire County Council and Llanelli Rural Council.
Our first two events saw us use a wooden brakevan, which only allowed us to carry a maximum of 10 passengers per ride. Due to increased demand during 2018 we managed to increase this to 26 with the introduction into service of our Buffet carriage. Unfortunately using this vehicle has prevented us from offering refreshments on site without externally sourcing caterers and therefore the use of our Class 122 diesel multiple unit is now paramount in order to meet the demand that our success has created as well as keeping our offering to the public as consistent as possible.
We need to bring this unit back into service to give us room for 65 seated passengers to enjoy our running line by 2020.
We require funding (approx. £15,000) for labour and material costs.
We already have the vast majority of materials to complete the restoration.
We are seeking anyone with experience of First Generation DMU restoration to get in touch about forming a restoration team!
This particular unit has not carried a passenger since 1969.