As I’ve reached the approximate half way point of my train reno, I thought I’d post some pics.
The back story to my train is that Ravensridge was, at one point, a bit of a hippie commune. This is good, in the fact minimal clearing of the forest was done, trees and wildlife are abundant, and building work shows creativity and sensitivity to the environment, such as composting toilets and gravity fed rainwater. It is bad if you prefer little luxuries when you move into a place, like hot running water, doors that lock, or no snakes inside.
Anyway, what happened was the owner of the property died, the hippies dispersed, and the property was left to its own devices for several years, to be partly absorbed back into the bush.
There are assorted dwellings and studios, amongst them this train, which I have been slowly renovating over the past year as my studio. On our arrival, the train was in a very bad way. It had only two glass windows left, the rest boarded up or covered in plastic or open to the wind, the weather and the wildlife.
Bats had taken up residence, and had pooped everywhere. Thick black mould covered most surfaces, especially the beautiful curved ceilings. I cannot begin to describe the smell. Most of the back wall had rotted and disintegrated, exposing the interior lining boards, termite trails and various nesting creatures.
At first glance it seemed beyond restoration without a hefty budget, but they sure built these trains to last. It is rock solid, the frame is hardwood and steel with a mostly silky oak lining, and the original bitumen roof had been covered with corrugated iron. The deck that had been built off the front was also solid.
It was really really really hard work getting it to this point. The cleaning job was the worst. After I had removed the mould and guano, we replaced all the window panes. Then we panelled the entire back wall. Then patched all the rusted or rotted holes. Then launched an attack against the termites. Then I painted the entire interior. I cleaned and polished the floors. We hooked water up to the little kitchen, and a power board for electricity.
I haven’t as yet found out all there is to know about this train, but I’m getting there. I know it was moved here from Eumundi Qld. I can place it as a Queensland Rail carriage from about 1915, so roughly a hundred years old. I know that this is a guard room and two first class cabins. I know this because it had GUARD painted on the door of one cabin and FIRST on the other two. They don’t call me Sherlock for nothing. There are various original features, like the bench seats, Bakelite switches, light fittings, bell pulls, shutters and luggage racks.
I imagine it is obvious how much I love this train. It has been a labour of love. To be honest I would have been thrilled with just one ‘room of one’s own’, so to have all this space is heaven.
It has three main rooms inside plus a small kitchen, and a bathroom has been added on to the back. There are also two little cupboard-type rooms. Along the front edge is a cage where they would have kept people’s dogs on the train journey. This is underneath where the guard would have slept. I won’t post too many pics of the inside because as I say it is only half finished. Also I don’t want to tidy up and put away all my half finished projects. 🙂
So now that I’ve painted most of the exterior, I am about to start the repainted Queensland Rail signage on the doors and side panels. I took plenty of photos originally, so I’m confident I can replicate them. I am still tackling the termite invasion, but it appears I am finally winning. At some point I need to evict the antechinus living in one of the bench seats. But she is relatively harmless, she just likes to steal anything soft that I leave on the floor.
Oddly enough, the question I am asked most often about the train is ‘Is it haunted?’ In case you’re wondering, the answer is abso-frickin-lutely. But that is another story.