The MPO (now named Martha) is nearing completion at the works of Rampart Carriage and Wagon in Derby. The exterior has been painted and the lettering applied. Internally a new ceiling has been put in place, complete with new lights and PA system. The steam heating pipes are also new and the new internal paneling should be completed this week.

The carpet has been ordered and will be fitted upon the return of the vehicle to Bitton, expected the second or third week of March. The final touches, such as curtains, will then be applied before the vehicle starts to earn revenue for the railway.

A special thanks to member Dave Rogers for his support of this project.

Dave Cole.

The MPO was formally a BR Mark One First Corridor (FK) coach, number 13231, built in 1959 at Swindon to Diagram 116, Lot Number 30381.  In 1987 it became an Instruction Coach, numbered DB977132.  It was used by the SAS at Hereford for training purposes, and when it arrived at Bitton contained bullet hole and stun grenade damage.  It was subsequently decided to strip the interior completely to form, in effect, a completly open vehicle that could be used for a variety of uses - exhibition, conference facility, parties etc - hence the title 'Multi-Purpose Open'.

The body of the coach has been modified to contain a set of double doors (similar to those from a brake coach) to facilitate loading of equipment necessary for its future role.  It will become the fifth vehicle available for the 'Steam & Cuisine' set, joining Kitchen Car 'Doris' (RUB 1933), Brake coach 'Grace' (BSO 9208), and the two open vehicles 'Ruth' (TSO 3745) and the Bicester Military Railway TSO (4754).

Tony Wray.

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This page last updated by Tony Wray on 8/3/2004.