Ex-Queensland Railways BU 1141


The Evans Deakin “BU” carriage, or Evans Cars as they are colloquially known, are a very powerful asset to the Bellarine Railway, as they offer a lot of seating in each vehicle. In their time as a suburban passenger carriage, these were certified to carry 90 people in one full length BU. The Bellarine Railway has two BU’s and one BUV (a BU with a guards compartment), and 1141 is the last to be restored. It has sat in one road of Lakers Siding shed for about 15 years, and with the completion of the 2023 carriage projects, it is now BU 1141’s turn to get some love.

February 2024 Update

Further Progress and Roof Condition – 15/02/2024

Work has continued at a great pace on BU1141, with two compartments (on one side) well on their way to being readied for paint. We have been sanding back the peeling QR paint with a low-grit sandpaper, in an attempt to generate some level of smoothness between the existing paint and the raw timber. We have then applied a thick coat of white primer, and sanded this back with some higher grit sandpaper to achieve a smooth finish. The few remaining defects have been fixed with body filler. This has resulted in a respectable finish considering the state of the surface.

As you can see in the third picture, this carriage has had a crane spreader bar dropped on it at some point in its history. We knew this had happened during its moves around the east cost in the early 2000s, and from our inspection of the roof it seems to have survived the impact. The exterior boards will require replacement anyway, as they are warped from a life out in the elements, but thankfully the curved roof beams are, for the most part unharmed.

Work for the next month will once again be focused on cleaning up the south-side of the carriage, working our way from left to right. There is one window needing a new sill beam, and a few needing new trim, but otherwise the rest of this side of the carriage looks to be nice and straightforward.

January 2024 Update

The Project Begins! – 04/01/24

You join us at the very beginning of an exciting restoration effort to return BU1141 to service. The 15th of December 2023 saw the carriage shunted into the workshop space at Lakers Siding, for some preliminary investigations take place. The carriage appeared to be in remarkably good condition on the south side, with some significant (but not insurmountable) challenges on the north side. The bogies appear to be in okay condition, and there is plenty of meat left on the tires. In contrast to our other Evans Cars, 1141 does not have a wooden bolster and leaf springs, but rather a two-part steel bolster, with coil springs in between. This was an exciting finding as the cost to replace a cracked wooden bolster can be quite a lot.

Additionally, the roof has had no tarp for several years, and it looks as though age has caught up to the timber boards, with a lot of them warped and rotten around the edges. This isn’t a massive challenge to renew, but will require a fair amount of new timber and some time working at height to repair it. As for the previously mentioned challenges on the north side, we have three vertical doorframes that are rotten through near the base, which will require replacement of portions of the beams. There are a few cosmetic timbers on the exterior to replace, and the interior is in fine condition for a repaint and patch-up, complete with its pressed steel roof!

The air brake system underneath the carriage is all intact, but we will be modifying this to allow for running on both vacuum and air braking. We will be copying the design of our existing dual braked carriages, whereby the vacuum cylinder and actuating arm is directly linked to the bogie (much like any vacuum braked vehicle), and the air system is positioned further ‘upstream’, and is linked to the vacuum actuating arm, driving the same system/linkage. This is where a lot of time will be spent in the future, as we have to essentially install the entire vacuum system to the carriage from scratch.

The scope of works for the next while will be to progress through the south side of the carriage, fixing any rotten windowsills and door handles that we can find, and then painting a coat of primer over these areas. We have already got the first compartment to a paint-prep stage, with all the structural timberwork now fit-for-service. This involved making a new window sill, and cutting a patch out of the upright beam.