The Churnet Valley Railway is excited to announce the latest masterpiece from the volunteers of the line's Carriage & Wagon workshops, as part of the public re-launch of the hugely popular "Moorlander" Dining service ahead of the start of the main running season for 2016. This re-launch includes the creation of a new logo, with a full repaint for both the dining car no. 4779 and kitchen car no. 80030 as well as an update to the internals of each coach, and follows on from the hugely successful conversion of BSK no. 35473 into an Open Access Saloon last autumn.
Ordered in March 1963, Mark 1 coach no. 4779 was one of several British Railways Second Open coaches, which were designed as second-class dining cars for some of BR’s onboard dining trains with their more practical 2+1 seating. The first numbered vehicle of the final order, 4779 was built under the Lot Number 30376 to Diagram 94 at BR’s works in York. Completed in December 1957 the coach saw service on the East Coast mainline before the dining trains were reduced and these SOs entered general service as a simple passenger-carrying vehicle.
Withdrawn from service by BR at the start of the 1990s, in 1991 the Llangollen Railway purchased the vehicle as it started to expand its services. However not much restoration work was completed during this time in North Wales, and 4779 was subsequently sold to the newly opened Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, in Oxfordshire, in April 1995.
Come April 2002 a third sale was agreed, this time with the Churnet Valley Railway in Staffordshire. As soon as the vehicle arrived on the railway an overhaul was undertaken and 4779 was converted into a full dining car for the CVR’s new “Moorlander” dining train, for which it was out-shopped in a unique Green livery. After a number of successful years in service the full Moorlander train was rebranded in 2010, and 4779 was painted into a pseudo-Pullman livery.
Following another period of intense use, over the winter of 2015-16 it was decided to perform some bodywork repairs to 4779 as well as give the internals an update. Once this was completed a new livery was applied, this time loosely based on the Plum & Umber of the Northern Belle. This latest upgrade was financed in part from a legacy left to the CVR by one of the line’s most popular members – Diana Clementson.
A respected fireman, Diana sadly passed away in August 2014 following a long battle with cancer. She had previously been someone who would not hide from the duties of an operational railway, and was always the first into the pit to help remove ash from disposed locomotives whilst mucking in with numerous other tasks around the yard.
“Lady Di”, as she became known as, had an infectious smile, one that is much missed to this day. She also previously volunteered on the Llangollen Railway herself before her time at CVR, and so it seemed only fitting that as part of this latest upgrade 4779 be named “Diana” in her memory.
The weekend of June 11/12 saw “Diana” enter service for the first time for the monthly Cauldon Lunch train, as the most intensive dining programme the CVR has ever operated begins with numerous Cream Teas, Lunch trains and evening diners on offer to visitors throughout the summer. For further information on the dining services available at CVR, call the CVR’s Enquiries on 01538 705755 or check the website.
Lady Di on LMS 8F no. 8624
4779 fresh out of Cheddleton C&W works, proudly displaying the new logo and name.