- This is the third carriage 12 of the preservation era. The first was the Brown Marshalls brake van now numbered Van 5 it is currently carrying the number 12 after restoration to its 1960s appearance. The second was the "Flying Bench" but it never carried this number, and is now allocated the number 11.
|Type||4-wheel porthole ‘bug box’|
|Seating||14 x 3rd|
|Status||In service, Heritage Fleet|
|Built by||FR Co.|
Carriage 12 is a replica of a "Porthole bugbox".
The FR had two of these carriages, known colloquially as "Porthole Bugboxes", on account of the ventilators in the ends, as seen in the photograph below.
Though the photo illustrates No.11 (identified at bottom of door), the identical carriage No.12 is the next in the train. Note the different liveries, typical of the time.
The two carriages were created in the late 19th century, when the the two fully open carriages were enclosed. The bodies were added in place of the original leather aprons and canvas canopy, to make 1st class observation carriages. The side windows were completely glazed with a single pane of glass either side of the central door, which had a glazed droplight. It does not take much imagination to see that the glazing would have acted like a greenhouse in any sort of sunlight. By the time of Wheeler's photo the "portholes" had been glazed (or more likely had fine mesh fitted to stop midges and flies) but originally they had sliding ventilators which were in evidence to the end. There are two different styles of ventilator, and a sample of each exists and are being used to produce replicas.
Some time soon after the Great War the glazing was removed and substituted by the wire mesh and rails, seen in the photo. The small board in the waist panel of the door bears the legend "Observation Car" and was applied when the carriages were first enclosed.
Norman Bond and Team X built this replica vehicle. It incorporates the last of the metal "underframes" built for Ron Jarvis and is vacuum braked. It uses two original doors! It currently carries the 1920s style Colonel Stephens livery.
The 2009 revision of the Rule Book allocated the number 12 to The Flying Bench and number 11 to this vehicle, however as of the current (2013) edition this has been revised to call this carriage number 12 and allocate The Flying Bench number 11.
Carriage 12 entered service in September 2012, just in time for the "Classic Ffestiniog" Vintage Weekend.
In 2016, Carriage 12 visited London King's Cross Station along with Carriage 1 and Princess and Liverpool's Albert Dock with Carriage 1 again and Lilla. It will also visit the Shrewsbury and the Southport Flower Shows with Carriage 1 and Velinheli from the Launceston Steam Railway.