Coach restoration completed at heritage railway

Restoration enthusiasts are celebrating the completion of their project to return a 1950s compartment coach to working condition at the Llangollen Railway.

Suburban coaches on the Llangollen Railway
Suburban coaches on the Llangollen Railway

The coach, once used on commuter trains in and out of London King's Cross, has been restored in a three-year project by volunteers in the carriage and wagon works.

It features six separate compartments for passengers with a guard’s compartment and will join an existing rake of four previously restored suburban coaches.

It was recently taken for a trial run hauled by the class 26 diesel locomotive No.5310, recreating a scene from the late 1950s when such trains ran on the Eastern Region lines in north London.

During the restoration the opportunity was taken to provide additional capacity for the less able passengers to travel. The luggage space within the guard’s compartment was partitioned off and fitted with seats and space to accommodate wheelchair users and their carers. An added feature is the installation of two windows in the end wall which offer an observation coach view of the line when at the rear of the train.

Project leader Peter Jump said: “It shows what dedicated volunteers can achieve working one day a week in the open air with a minimum of facilities. This style of coach has 18 doors, half of which had to be replaced and the rest repaired. The bench seating in each compartment has been reupholstered and each compartment has four framed reproduction prints of British Railways countrywide scenes, each sponsored by supporters.

"The project has cost about £5,000, plus innumerable volunteer hours of work.”

Llangollen Railway Trust deputy chairman Phil Coles praised the volunteers for their dedication.

“The suburban coaches will provide the regular set for weekend trains during the autumn period running through to Halloween. Either a steam or diesel locomotive will haul the train and offer an example of what it was like to travel into the city of London in pre-electrification days.”

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