Knotty Coach 228 Appeal

Knotty Coach 228 To Be Restored!

In 2014 the "North Staffordshire Railway Company (1978)" was pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with the "Knotty Coach Trust" based at the nearby Foxfield Railway, that would eventually see former North Staffordshire Railway 4-wheeled 1st Class coach No.228 restored to its former glory.

The agreement was the culmination of several months of negotiations between the two neighbouring charities, and will allow 228 to become the fourth vehicle in the KCT Knotty Heritage Train that is made up of former NSR 4-wheelers. All of the surviving coaches date from the same period,, and have had a similar history of operation and preservation. With the agreement now in place, NSR 228 is to be placed on a 99 year loan to the Knotty Coach Trust who will then oversee the vehicle's restoration to the same high standard as their own NSR 61 and 127 as well as the ongoing Accesible Brake Coach (ABC).

For a history of 228 please keep reading.

To view the Appeal please click >here<.

Built to North Staffordshire Railway Co. Diagram 16 in the 1870s, no. 228 was originally out shopped in an all over claret livery, though more than likely carried the later Victoria Brown and White (cream once varnished) livery that is currently displayed on KCT coaches 61 and 127 following their recent restorations.

The arrival of No.228 in the care of NSRC dates back to 1985, when Dave Felstead and other colleagues of the NSRC came across a photo which showed the Mellor family at their ‘holiday home’ at Ashley Heath near Loggerheads. After further investigation, the coach body was located and purchased before being moved to Cheddleton, where it stood for many years, being initially used as Santa’s Grotto for the Churnet Valley Railway's Santa train.

After many years of being left outside a decision was made to start the restoration, and as a carriage shed was being built at Cheddleton it was felt there was no better time to start. Under the leadership of Brian Mullen and Pete Green, first a raffle was held and a grant application made whilst oak for the running frame was purchased and new springs for the chassis. The body was lifted onto a former CEGB wagon chassis, with the intention of cutting this back to length, leaving us 2 options as to the frame and brake rigging. Research involving Dr Dave Jolley and Mark Smith resulted in many pieces of the jigsaw coming together.

Glass was removed (in one piece in most cases!) from the windows, doors were stripped down to the frames, hinges and locks were recovered and stored in a secret place known only to Pete, but then came a setback. The mahogany side panels required replacing, and the sizes needed were impossible to source. A decision was therefore taken to use high quality mahogany faced ply as an alternative, which Brian cut and carved before removing all the rotten panels. Using his skills as a carpenter/joiner, the framework was reconstructed and the new panels fitted into place. In the course of this we discovered that at one time the coach had had steps upto the roof at one end, which we assumed meant that it had regularly been marshalled on the end of a train so that the Guard could climb onto the roof to light the three oil lamps (one for each compartment, a luxury reserved for First class passengers).

The roof itself had been cut into for the flue from the Mellor family stove to be utilised, so this required blocking off and shoring up as one compartment bulkhead had also been removed by the Mellors to create a larger living area. Dave Turnock came along, and with his usual technical skills, a new roof skin of canvas was put into place using the traditional methods of chalk and linseed oil. The pictures show how far things had progressed by 2006.

Sadly though progress came to a stop, as Brian’s time was needed to maintain and restore the CVR main running rake of coaches whilst Pete had many other projects to manage in addition to being Chairman of NSRC. That is until now, when as a result of long and cheerful negotiations we have formed a partnership with the NSR Rolling Stock Restoration Trust, aka the "Knotty Coach Trust”, to set up the "Carriage 228 Fund" to fully restore 228 to running order and to partner her with her two 'sister' coaches 61 and 127.

North Staffordshire Railway Rolling Stock Restoration Trust (The Knotty Trust) was formed in 2008 to restore the former NSR coaches 61 and 127 to as close to original condition as possible. The work on the 1870's built coaches has included the recreation of new chassis, extensive rebuilding of the bodies to as built condition and repainting in to the NSR Victoria Brown livery not seen for some 120 years !

Extensive historical research has enabled the recreation of all the fixtures and fittings by highly skilled engineers within the Trust. The Trusts fund raising was augmented by a substantial grant of £30K towards the restoration of NSR 127 plus £20K towards NSR 61 from PRISM. The cost of getting the heritage train on the rails has cost well over £100,000 and now provides the first chance to ride in these coaches for 115 years!

NSRC agreed that the proceeds from their yearly raffle for 2014 will be used to assist with match funding NSR 228's restoration, and it is hoped that the skilled fund raisers from the Knotty Trust will be able to achieve the same level of success in obtaining grants as they have for 61 and 127. The aim is to have a four coach rake ready to operate together by the end of 2017, with the resotred brake coach being rebuilt to include wheelchair access. The completed Knotty Heritage Train will be based at Foxfield Railway permanently under cover, in a purpose built period shed/museum, but it will be made available to operate at the Churnet Valley Railway at various times throughout the year.

The Appeal

The "Carriage 228 Appeal"  has been set up to receive donations so that work can start on the coach as soon as possible. A grant application will be shortly be made to help speed up the planned restoration and, subject to funding, the body will be professionally restored off site with the aim of completion by the end of 2017.

In support of the “Project 228” appeal a selection of benefits are being offered in return for the following subscriptions:-

 *Bronze pass, £5/month for min. 3 Years

Invitation to the launch of NSR No228, plus a Certificate of Thanks.

 *Silver pass, £10/month for min. 3 Years

Invitation to the launch of NSR No228 with a buffet lunch, plus a Certificate of Thanks.

 *Gold pass, £28/month for min. 3 Years

All of the above, plus a Footplate Ride on a steam locomotive at the Foxfield Railway


If you wish to donate to the appeal, then please send either cash or cheque  [ cheques made payable to "North Staffordshire Railway Company (1978) ] to the following address -:

G Chapman - Project 228 (NSRC)

The Station
Station Road
ST13 7EE

To download the official Appeal form please click >here<.


To keep up to date with the NSRC, please see their website

For further information on the NSR Heritage Train, please see the Knotty Coach Trusts website