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Ada, Jane and Mabel are three open coaches on the Skarloey Railway.

Biography

When the Skarloey Railway was built in 1865, in addition to the five passenger coaches, six coaches were built for the conveyance of quarrymen to Ward Fell. These were somewhat shabbily maintained, and by 1925 were almost expired. As the quarry had declined and men layed off, Sir Handel Brown had half of them scrapped, and the other half repaired, primarily from parts canibilised from the chassis' of the others. The coaches remained in service until 1947, when the Quarry closed and were subsequently put into storage.

In 1953, the railway found itself in need of new passenger stock to cope with increasing visitor numbers, however lacked funds to build new stock. Upon the suggestion of former Chief Engineer David Hugh, it was decided to rebuild the former quarry stock to a higher standard and use them as a stop-gap until better coaches could be acquired. The bodies were condemned, but the chassis and frames were in satisfactory condition and fitted with new bodies constructed at Crovan's Gate Steamworks, with the first emerging in late 1953 and the other two arriving in time for the 1954 season. Their name's were chosen by Sir Handel Lloyd Brown, who named them after his aunts, Ada and Jane on his father's side and Mabel on his mother's.

Ada, Jane and Mabel proved very useful and allowed the railway to satisfy demand until the construction of Gertrude and Millicent in 1958. While they were looked down upon by Sir Handel and the other coaches for being plain and their truck-like appearance, Peter Sam is very fond of them, as they're the most down to earth of the coaches and the easiest to handle. During these early years, they were usually paired with Cora. In 1958, a television crew was invited to film the railway and the three were used to carry their equipment.

Following this, their use declined as more bogie coaches came to the railway. Their lack of roofs meant they could only be used for the summer months, and even then they were unpopular due to the unpredictable British weather, lack of shade and uncomfortable. Fortunately, following large passenger numbers in the summer of 1974 which overwhelmed the other coaches, it was decided to rebuild them with roofed open bodies and basic upholstery, allowing them to be used for longer periods and improving the ride quality for passengers.

Following the construction of Ivo Hugh in 1996, the Skarloey underwent a programme of improving its coaches. In 2001, Ada, Jane and Mabel's chassis were heavily overhauled and fitted with air brakes, the last coaches to receive such modification. Since then, they have rarely travelled together as a rake, instead being added to trains as required and being chartered for special trains. As of 2018, plans for another extensive rebuild are being drawn up.

Personality

Livery

Ada, Jane and Mabel were originally painted entirely blue. Following their 1974 rebuild, they've been painted blue with white frames.

Trivia