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Lazybeach Special guard's van

At the end of the Lazybeach Special is, of course, a guard's van.

Who says guard's vans have to be big, heavy, wooden sheds? The sedate speed of the Lazybeach Special is just right for towing a vintage 1970s-style caravan! And, as if the management needed any justification, some of Rowland Emett's illustrations include vehicles with only one axle.

Emett cartoon

Just in case the guard feels like taking a weekend break at the end of the line the rail wheels can be flipped so the caravan rolls on road wheels instead. And, yes, the 'flipping mechanism' really works.

To add to the 1970s ambience, the curtains are vintage Laura Ashley (really!) with the curtain rails concealed behind pelmets. The red tail light actually lights up. However the Calor gas cylinder does not contain any gas.

The number plate reads 'THE END' – a sideways nod of the head to Ffestiniog Railway's 'Final Vehicle' and 'Last Vehicle' signs.

On the basis that every caravan deserves a suitable name, the sign hanging by the door reads 'Sin Bin'. The 'brand logo' reads Caravaggio (in chiaroscuro-style lettering).

The guard has asked for a roofrack to take a windsurfing board on weekend breaks. The management have yet to decide whether to acquiesce to this request.

construction and re-construction

This was the management's first attempt at scratch-building nearly everything.

The main exception is the wheels. The rail wheels are from Binnie Engineering and the road wheels part of an end-of-line job lot from Kit Form Services. The jockey wheel was 'borrowed' from a somewhat over-used 1:72 scale toy.

The 'flipping mechanism' is on a sub-chassis made of brass sheet held together with M2 nuts and bolts. Binnie Engineering also supplied two of the three axles (the flipping mechanism has its own axle) and the pair of axleboxes; the third axle was taken from a Slater wheelset. The main chassis is from strip wood, held together with PVA adhesive reinforced with M2 bolts (used as push-fit pins). The main coupling is a centre buffer from Binnie Engineering.

caravan chassis
caravan chassis
The chassis

The bodywork is mostly foam-core board with 400 gsm card for the curved roof. 600 micron card (about 540 gsm) would have been preferable but had been mislaid.

The delectable Formica finishes of 1970s caravans were emulated with coloured paper. Special thanks to Judi for recommending and supplying Kamoi Paper's 'Washi' adhesive tape. This solved the problem of how to emulate the plastic extrusions which link together decorative surfaces in real caravans. In this case it was literally a case of 'papering over the cracks'.

Long-suffering visitors to this web site might be slightly confused – the photographs show the second attempt at making the bodywork. Nothing seriously different, just an attempt to improve on the assorted 'bodges' which arose when making something for the first time.

The working tail light supplied by I P Engineering was rewired through a 10kΩ trimming potentiometer to control the brightness. One day the management may adapt the Calor gas cylinder to take button cells and use these to power the tail light…

caravan body
The first caravan body partly-constructed
The second caravan body almost completed

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Images and text copyright Bob Trubshaw 2018–2021