Welsh Highland Railway's Buffet Car Reaches Restoration Milestone

By Rachel Junior | 26 October 2007
photo of a wooden frame of a railway carriage with a sign with the words 'buffet car' on it

The historic carriage is regarded as one of the most important examples of its kind. Photo WHR (P)

Restoration of the original Welsh Highland Buffet Car has taken a major step forward with the assembly of the wooden body framework. The historic carriage, which dates from 1893, is regarded by many as one of the most important in narrow gauge history.

The buffet car was converted from an Ashbury 1st/3rd composite carriage in 1927. It was the first ever refreshment carriage on a narrow gauge railway in Britain before being sold off when the railway closed.

In the care of the Welsh Highland Railway (Porthmadog) since the late 1980s, restoration began in 2005 with the help of a grant from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council PRISM fund. Work on the under-frame was completed in 2006 and restoration has now moved to the bodywork.

photo of some men working on a wooden frame of a railway carriage in a workshop

The completed framework inside the shed at Gelerts Farm Works. Photo WHR (P)

Specialist restoration work has been carried out by Magnay and Yates, a joinery firm from Haltwhistle, in Northumberland. Peter Mangay, one of the restoration team, said: “Restoring the bodywork has been a time consuming and highly frustrating task… Joining it all together has been a complicated job, but the results are impressive, even at this early stage.”

The restoration will continue over the coming months and the carriage is scheduled to be fully complete by February 2009.

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