Can we also save Midland Railway steam railmotor?


I have been reading, with interest, the article in Heritage Railway issue 248, about the restoration of the NER petrol-railcar at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.

It reminded me of the sad state that a similar vehicle is in – No. 2234. The pictures show a general view of the vehicle in question, last July. This coach was built in Derby for the Midland Railway in 1904 as a steam railmotor. It lasted as a passenger rail motor only until 1907, when it was converted into an officer’s saloon for directors and officials.

Panelling on one side of the coach shows its Midland ancestry. TONY COLLINS

In 1917 the boiler and engine were removed and it then was hauled by a conventional locomotive across the network when lines needed inspecting, or special visits were made.

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It was preserved in 1968 and became a holiday home in Machynlleth until the National Railway Museum bought it in the late 1970s. It is mahogany and teak and the ‘rooms’ are as they were when it was an officers’ saloon.

A seemingly-forgotten heritage gem: unique as the only surviving steam railmotor coach from the Midland Railway. Could it be restored? TONY COLLINS

You will note that this former National Collection carriage appears to be rotting outside.
This is not a complaint about the current ‘guardian’, the Chain Bridge Honey Farm near Berwick-upon-Tweed. It came to the Chain Bridge Honey Farm from the NRM due to insufficient space, time or resources to ensure the vehicle’s future.

I wonder if this is the right way forward for this sort of vehicle, particularly as it could have a revenue-earning role if restored.

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Tony Collins,
Shawbury, Shropshire

Read more Letters, Opinion, Reviews, News and Features in Issue 249 of HR – on sale now!

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