The Churnet Valley Railway is delighted to announce the completion of the overhaul to its former BR Mk1 Brake Second Compartment coach no. M35473, that has included the transformation of its former Parcels & Luggage storage area into an “Open Access” Saloon.
This part of the coach has always been used for such whilst in service on the CVR but it has been on a more make-do basis as little work had been performed to the vehicle, with it retaining many of the original features from its past employment prior to preservation - except for the removal of the cages used to secure the luggage whilst in transit as it prevented wheelchair access into the coach.
This latest overhaul though has seen the coach undergo a complete revamp, with a much greater attention paid to this section of the coach. New windows have been constructed into the coach to allow users to enjoy the scenic journey that the CVR offers through Staffordshire’s “Little Switzerland”. A much improved lighting system has been installed to give the area a more welcoming look, whilst the heating system has been completely replaced to help ensure this area is kept as warm as the rest of the train during the winter months. Finally the internal panelling has been replaced with a more period styling, and new flooring has been fitted including a carpeted section in the Saloon part.
The CVR has completed all this work in-house using primarily volunteer labour, which has seen the cost of the project kept to a highly respectable £15,000. The completion of this project brings an end to the first stage of the planned Carriage upgrade, which is to see all of the line’s carriages receive an extensive overhaul over the next 2-3 years, with this vehicle being the fifth to receive such work within the last 18 months. However this is the first Brake Coach to receive such treatment, meaning the CVR is now able to show off a fully restored rake of Mk1s for the first time in its history. The line’s other Brake Coach, no. M35343, has just entered the workshops to receive similar treatment, but as this vehicle underwent an overhaul in the early 2000s not as much is expected to be needed as with M35473 and so it is planned to have the coach ready for the start of the CVR's popular "Santa & Steam" services that run throughout December