Unwanted passengers discovered on 100 yr old railway carriage

The South Devon Railway Trust (SDR), custodians of a seven mile former Great Western Railway branch line, built in 1872 run steam trains with heritage rolling stock, travelling the stunning Dart valley from Buckfastleigh to Totnes.

One of the attractions for visitors is the ‘rolling restaurant’, comprising of historic dining carriages offering customers an a la carte menu, whilst they relax and enjoy the panoramic views from the train.

During a routine maintenance inspection, unexpected guests were discovered inhabiting a 100 year old dining carriage, regally named King George. The carriage is of great historical and heritage value, as only five of the original eight handcrafted carriages survive.

Small round holes where found within the antique wood panelling of the King George carriage. These holes where swiftly recognised as woodworm activity.

The concerns of SDR where two-fold, they needed to ensure that any treatment carried out did not damage the structure or fittings of this historic carriage. The treatment also needed to be quick and effective as the King George dining car needed to be promptly returned to service for customers waiting to enjoy the experience of fine dining whilst on an historic train journey.

Our approach was to use a fumigant gas - ProFume, which is unique to Rentokil in the UK. This fumigation process eliminates all life stages of wood boring insects from eggs and larvae to pupae and adults. It is effective in penetrating hard-to-reach areas, effectively eliminating deep-seated insect infestations that other conventional pesticide application techniques cannot reach.

This large dining carriage was successfully treated and the unexpected woodworm guests were eliminated without damage or contamination with pesticide residue. This allowed the King George to resume its stately role as part of the fine dining ‘rolling restaurant’ along the majestic heritage railway.

John Haslam – SDR’s Operations Manager; “The fumigation treatment was very effective, ensuring that we can continue to operate our carriage for the foreseeable future, but without the unwanted woodworm passengers!”

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