WSR Carriage Restoration and Preservation

Restoring and maintaining WSR Carriages

Phoenix MD (2)

Restoring and Maintaining our carriages

The coaching stock in use on the West Somerset Railway is made up of British Railways Mark 1 vehicles dating from the 1950’s and 60’s. The majority are of a type known as Tourist Second Open vehicles with sixty four seats arranged in sixteen units of four aligned with the windows to give the best view of the Somerset countryside and the activity on the railway. There are also a limited number of vehicles with compartments and side corridors as seen in films such as "The 4.50 from Paddington”, "The Lady Vanishes” and more recently the "Hogwarts Express” sequences in "Harry Potter”.

When these coaches were built it was never envisaged that they would still be in regular use sixty years later.  Keeping them in good condition and fit for use in the modern world is quite an undertaking.  Rot and corrosion are one of the biggest issues and water ingress beneath the body panels can eat away at the frame beneath. We have to stay on top of this maintenance, to ensure  passenger comfort and safety and deliver an authentic heritage railway experience.

The Mark 1 fleet represents the last of the steam-era rolling stock and is an important part of the railway's heritage. We take a pride in keeping the vehicles regularly painted in their authentic livery.

Three of the coaches have been adapted for use by wheelchair passengers. Two of the TSO’s have an area cleared for passengers in wheelchairs to travel with good views of the world around them. "Lorna Doone” is a vehicle especially adapted for the use of larger, pre-booked, groups of wheelchair users.  This very versatile vehicle is undergoing a major overhaul at WS Restoration in Williton during 2019, funded by the Friends of Minehead Station.

Preparing a carriage for painting

carriage preparation at WN (2)

Donate towards Restoring and maintaining our carriages

Online giving is safe and easy, but if you prefer not to use online facilities please send your cheque to the address below.

Please consider giftaiding your donation.  We receive an additional 25% at no cost to you.  Gift aid declarations are available HERE

WSR Carriage Preserve and Protect Fund, West Somerset Railway Association, The Railway Station, Bishops Lydeard, TAUNTON, TA4 3BX.

Ask how you can help with carriage painting and refurbishment

A Shed to Preserve and Protect our carriages

The aim of the WSR Preserve and Protect fund is to provide year round covered space for some of our most valuable and valued heritage carriages. At the moment we don't have enough covered storage space to protect our carriages. This is especially important for wooden bodied vehicles, like our Hawksworth designed Taunton Engineers Inspection Saloon.

There are several possible ways of achieving covered storage and the Trustees are exploring a number of options, including the possibilities of building a new shed or re-locating an existing heritage shed from the national network onto the WSR. This will take time and be subject to external factors. The Trustees would like to start raising the funds now, so that they will be able to take advantage of any opportunities that arise.

Donate towards a shed to Preserve and Protect our carriages


Supporting the Heritage of The West Somerset Railway