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Built by Cravens in 1892, the four-wheeled carriage is the sole survivor of the Met's 'Jubilee' stock and is of considerable historic value. London Transport Museum was awarded Heritage Lottery funding for the restoration with the aim of returning 353 to running order.
The gleaming carriage, finished with gold leaf and carrying no fewer than 12 coats of varnish, bears little resemblance to the sorry-looking hulk which arrived at Porthmadog, North Wales in August 2011 after being used as a garden shed.
Craftsmen at the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway completed the painstaking 15-month restoration of London Transport Museum's unique Metropolitan Railway first class Jubilee Carriage number 353, largely thanks a £422,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
In January 2013, the carriage was reunited with original Metropolitan Railway steam locomotive No. 1 on a journey through the old Metropolitan Line tunnels of Paddington, Euston, King's Cross and Farringdon to Moorgate to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the world's first underground railway.
A few statistics on the renovation:
· There are twelve coats of varnish on the exterior and nine on the inside woodwork
· There is more than half a mile of lining on the outside
· There is more than £700 worth of 23.5 carat gold leaf on the carriage
· There are no transfers on the carriage; all signwriting was done by hand
· 92% of the wooden frame is the original material
The carriage was originally fitted with gas lighting, forbidden under present day safety regulations. Modern LED lamps have been given the appearance of gas mantles to maintain authenticity.