Saloon Railcar

electric_railcarOrigins of this vehicle go back to the 1957/1958 when Les Anderson and his father were running their 15in gauge railway at Severn Beach near Bristol. This was when the bodywork was first built, making up two four wheeled enclosed coaches.

During the early 1970s, they operated the Longleat Railway in Wiltshire and it was there that the two bodies were united on a new steel frame, more than 20ft long and with a new roof.

Subsequently, the vehicle moved to the formative Axe and Lyme Valley Railway, and was included in the sale of equipment when that scheme to reopen part of the ex BR (SR) Axminster-Lyme Regis branch line as a miniature railway folded.

At Easter 1979, the coach was in store at Birnbeck Pier near Weston-Super-Mare, ready for use on another railway there which never opened to the public.

Then it was purchased by Norman Hayne, owner of the Blaise Castle Miniature Railway, north of Bristol. He converted it in 1983 to its present form as a battery electric railcar, having a 24 volt milk float motor driving on one axle. In this form the railcar operated successfully at Blaise Castle for some fifteen years, subsequently being stored on site in the shed/tunnel, where it suffered minor damage from vandals.

During July 2003 the Blaise Castle Miniature Railway was sold to Austin Moss and its equipment moved to the Windmill Farm Railway in Lancashire. This vehicle was then purchased by Simon Townsend and was delivered to Rhyl in October 2004.

Having American ‘Pullman’ lines, it is an appropriate luxury saloon car to run with Cagney No 44 and was also our first all-weather carriage. At Rhyl, the vehicle has returned to its earlier form – with open verandahs at each end – and has been painted in green ‘Pullman’ livery.

During June 2007, we purchased ‘deep cycle’ batteries which have enabled this vehicle to be able to operate trains in its own right. Being electrically powered it is an economic unit, being used for instance on Saturdays in the less popular months of the season.  It is very robust, its only real disadvantage being that its low height, which makes access into it difficult for some elderly passengers,

During 2017 the brakes on the power bogie were overhauled and the back bogie was fitted with air brakes

In Autumn 2022 this vehicle was rebuilt with a new taller body. The chassis and the roof both remained the same. The original timber sides and ends were passed for preservation to the Sherwood Forest Railway.

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