The body of North Staffordshire Railway First Class coach no. 228 has been moved to Stanegate Restorations at Haltwhistle for assessment as a prelude to full restoration, courtesy of Duncan Milner Haulage.
NSR No 228 has been placed on a 99 year loan to the Knotty Coach Trust by the CVR's charitable support group North Staffordshire Railway Co (1978) based at Cheddleton. When restored the coach will form part of the Knotty Heritage train that currently operates at Foxfield but is certain to visit Cheddleton regularly in the future after a debut visit in 2015.
Dating from the mid 1870’s this four wheeled coach is from the same period as the Knotty Coach Trust’s restored Third Class coaches no.s 61 and 127. In a restored form 228 will provide an insight to the differing levels of passenger comfort provided by the North Staffordshire Railway ( “the owd Knotty”) over 145 years ago.
Conservation work at Cheddleton during its 30 years in preservation has ensured that the structure of the coach has survived in a restorable form to this day. Stanegate Restorations will now assess its current condition in detail and determine the scope of the work needed and the subsequent funding required to complete the restoration.
Research into the interior design will also be carried out in order to confirm its specific requirements. The originally sumptuous three compartment layout included sprung and upholstered seating, luggage racks and blinds. The ceiling was lined in ornate style with the Company name at each corner.
In parallel with the above, the Knotty Coach Trust are exploring the best option for the provision of an underframe. A search for two pairs of 3ft 6ins wheels and appropriate period fittings is currently being undertaken, the outcome of which will determine if a new build frame is used or whether an existing frame can be modified to replicate the design of the original.
The assessment work on 228 will allow the Knotty Trust to accurately define costs for the project whilst it awaits the outcome of funding applications for the restoration of the NSR Brake Third discovered at Rudyard Lake three years ago. Modification of a frame for this vehicle by the Trust is now complete, and if funding is secured the Brake Third is expected to enter service in August 2018.
Donations towards the restoration of NSR 228 are being sought to both start and complete the work once the assessment is complete. There is a three-tiered membership scheme available to support 228, details of which are >here<. Any applications should be sent to the North Staffordshire Railway Rolling Stock Restoration Trust (the “Knotty Trust”), Project 228, 57 Camborne Crescent, Westlands, Newcastle, Staffs, ST5 3NQ, donations may also be made via Paypal, links via the webite.
Regular updates on progress can be found on the Knoty Coach Trust website and Facebook pages.