The Trust has completed the restoration of the last known surviving railway box car in Gibraltar.
Gibraltar had an extensive railway system within the Gibraltar Dockyard and neighbouring works and storage facilities. It included tunnels, one of which traversed through the rock. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries there was also a temporary industrial railway in Gibraltar. At the period when both railways were operational, it was possible to travel right round the entire coastline of Gibraltar by train. The dockyard railway had a roster of 17 locomotives, distinguished by numbers, but four of which also carried names: Gibraltar, Catalan, Rosia, and Calpe.
Work on the project commenced in early July 2014 when local carpentry and joinery firm, Rock Joinery, who are carrying out the project on behalf of the Trust, carefully dismantled the boxcar where is stood in its siding in Dutch Magazine Gorge. Each piece was painstakingly labelled, every nut and bolt and bracket carefully removed and taken off site for safe storage. GibDock then provided the necessary support to remove the undercarriages into their yard in the Dockyard where they have been sandblasted to remove the rust and reconditioned ready for reconstruction of the carriage.
The pieces where then moved to the premises of the Gibraltar Electrical and Mechanical Services yard where they were reconstructed by the Rock Joinery team. The process was a slow one because the team reused as much of the original timber as possible. This entailed stripping, filling and reconditioning each and every piece, making a replacement using the original as a template where this is not possible and putting it all back together following the drawings and notes made on disassembly.
Now its ready the boxcar and associated items will be displayed in John Mackintosh Square until the end of August before being moved to a more permanent location, recovering a piece of our industrial and little known railway heritage for all to see and appreciate.
Thanks to all those involved in the progress of this project – GibDock, RockJoinery, GMES, Government of Gibraltar and Gil Podesta.