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An 'Ugly Duckling' emerges as a beautiful swan - November 2014

An 80-year-old LNER carriage which has been completely restored to its historic best was unveiled in a unique ceremony at the Severn Valley Railway (SVR), featuring a live performance by renowned harpist David Watkins on the station platform.

The restoration of the SVR’s LNER teak train carriage No. 43600 aimed to recreate many of the original features of the vehicles and included fitting new seating, authentic LNER pattern moquette, new lighting, tables, luggage racks, coat hooks and mirrors, along with fresh wall coverings reflecting the LNER’s use of rexine, an early form of vinyl.

The completed restoration project was funded by the SVR Charitable Trust (SVRCT) and was first started by the LNER Coach Fund over 30 years ago. The work also co-incided with the SVR’s major overhaul and re-varnish of the carriage as part of its maintenance cycle.

To officially welcome carriage No.43600 back onto the Railway, harpist David Watkins serenaded the crowd at Bridgnorth station on Sunday, 23rd November during the engine’s service layover. 

Mr Watkins has a close family association with railways as his father, Donald, was a senior designer at the Armstrong Whitworth Scotswood works in the 1930s where he designed the first diesel electric railcar, the ‘Tyneside Venturer’.

Prior to this event, SVR workers from Kidderminster and Bewdley who were involved in the restoration rode in its first public train when the carriage re-entered service on Saturday, 15th November.

Shelagh Paterson, fundraising manager for the SVRCT, said: “This fantastic restoration of Carriage No. 43600 is just another example of how the Charitable Trust is continually working to raise funds to improve and enhance all aspects of the Railway.

“Carriage No. 43600 now looks a real picture, both inside and out, and is a credit to all those responsible for its original purchase and later restoration works over the last 34 years. All the new parts in the upgraded 43600 have been funded by individual sponsors whose input will be acknowledged in a special panel in the carriage.”

The ceremony at Bridgnorth was also attended by Tim Godfrey, the grandson of Sir Nigel Gresley, the LNER Chief Mechanical Engineer, and Tim’s wife, Ann. In its renewed form, Diagram 186 Tourist Third Open (TTO) No. 43600 is a significant enhancement on the SVR’s popular ‘Teak Train’, comprising vehicles designed by Sir Nigel for the former Great Northern Railway and the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER), giving a more authentic ‘Gresley touch’ to the interior.

One notable technical innovation is that carriage No. 43600 will be the SVR’s first full use of LED lighting in a carriage, substantially reducing the power demand and, therefore, saving considerable sums on the battery requirements. ‘Sister’ open carriage, 52255, is set to undergo similar interior improvements in 2015.

The engine has been an innovator before; when built in York in 1934, TTO 43600 was one of a batch of carriages with the first welded underframes reducing the vehicle weight by about one ton, compared with riveted construction. No. 43600 is probably the sole survivor of the batch.

The full restoration of carriage No. 43600, is the first to be completed by the SVRCT since its 2012 change of name and widened purpose.

43600's Restoration Complete - After 'only' 34 years on SVR


The project to upgrade the interior of this hard-working Tourist Third Open carriage has been completed, and a public announcement will be made shortly. But our friends and supporters merit an early view of what has been achieved since fund-raising started in 2009 – including a ‘first’ with LED lights. Thank you for your loyal support. We hope you like the result. The carriage is planned to be in service in the Teak Train for the 10.30am/2.05pm Kidderminster departures and the 12.15pm/4.35pm Bridgnorth departures on 15th/16th and 22nd/23rd November – and, oh dear, just in time to face the knocks and hazards of buffet trolleys on the Santa trains...
GNR 2701 has now taken 43600’s place in the Kidderminster Carriage Works for its own overhaul.

Gresley Tourist Third Open 43600

This substantive restoration project is due for completion at the end of this year, a first for the Charitable Trust. 43600 has been on the SVR and giving sterling service since 1980 – some 34 years, more than twice its combined LNER and BR service (each 14 years). We conservatively estimate that, in today’s money, it has earned the Railway around £1.5m in ticket and buffet revenues. For most of its life, insufficient finance has meant its seating has been a compromise – originally loose plastic chairs and then some surplus seating with inappropriate moquette from the BR era. It has in consequence had a rather drab and uninteresting interior. However it will soon emerge complete with new seating, authentic LNER pattern moquette, new lighting (the SVR’s first full use of LED lighting in a carriage), new tables, luggage racks, coat hooks, mirrors – all reflecting a more appropriate Gresley style of finish. The cost of all these items has been sponsored by individual supporters. It will be a significant enhancement of the Railway’s Teak Train – with ‘sister’ open carriage 52255 to follow with similar improvements next year.

September 12th: Chinasearch Crockery Donation

On August 27th the Carriage and Wagon Department received the two donation orders gifted to us by the Director of Chinasearch David Ward. This donation order was arranged by John Leftwich, Head of the Charitable Trusts Fundraising Board, in late July and was personally delivered by David Ward - the Director of Chinasearch. 80 sets of crockery have been received including 12 sauce boats and 12 salt and pepper sets. This takes the overall value of the donation to around £2000.00. The volunteers in the Carriage and Wagon Department were delighted with the crockery and immediately started designing pockets for the drawers using samples from the 80 sets of crockery given.


This donation of crockery will go towards the 7960 carriage, a Kitchen Car with restaurant accommodation for both First and Third class passengers. LNER Kitchen Cars were amongst the most advanced in the British Empire, and featured combined electric and anthracite cooking equipment, and luxurious passenger saloons. Thanks to this extremely kind gift from Chinasearch and a seperate boost of funding from Mr & Mrs Leftwich the 7960 is now expected to be complete and ready to go back to work by the Spring of 2015.


Chinasearch is Europe's largest distributor of discontinued china, glassware and cutlery, supplying them to individuals, companies, trade outlets, theatre/film companies and embassies all over the world. They have thousands of patterns in stock, including world renowned brands such as Wedgewood, Villeroy & Boch, Royal Doulton and Spade. They are proud of their exemplar service and the attention they give to each customer. They have built their business and reputation on a personal service intent on finding exactly what you're looking for as quickly as they can and delivering it carefully selected, hand-packed and dispatched.

The Trust is extremely grateful to David Ward and his company Chinasearch for this gift.

January 2014 (by Richard Hill)


An informal "roll-out" ceremony took place in Bewdley to mark the midway point of a £75,000 restoration project by the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust. The trust is working to restore a 1943 ex-London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) Gresley-designed Gangwayed Brake Pigeon Van. It held the roll-out ceremony after the vehicle was given a new roof ,which completed the exterior repair, restoration and reconstruction.

Guests attending the event included Nick Paul, chairman of Severn Valley Railway (Holdings) PLC and a trustee of the SVR Charitable Trust and Tim Godfrey, a Shropshire resident and grandson of Sir Nigel Gresley, who designed the carriage. Mr Godfrey is also a vice-president of the LNER (SVR) Coach Fund and of the Gresley Society Trust.

David McIntosh, chairman of the Gresley Society Trust, several supporters of the project, the workers who have built the new roof and other representatives of the SVR Trust were also in attendance. Mr Paul paid tribute to the dedication of the people helping with the major restoration and said that creating the SVR Gresley Teak Train had spanned a period of 42 years.

The trust’s volunteer working group is now focussing on the interior detail.

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