2741 Background

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2741 Pages: 2741 (MR Picnic Saloon MR D465) Bp0LSo ~ 2741 Background ~ 2741 Restoration

In May 2005 we were offered and took on the task of conserving a unique Midland Railway built carriage body.

The body started life in 1884 mounted on a six wheeled underframe and its basic internal layout was that of an open saloon. This particular example came under the general heading of a 'Family Saloon' or 'Picnic Saloon'. From 1884 until withdrawn sometime in the late 20s or early 30s its primary use was equivalent to a road motor coach today. A whole family or group of people would hire the vehicle for the day. It would then be included in a suitable service train to transport its occupants to whichever railhead they desired. Most of these saloons (about 60 odd) were constructed to third class comfort, 10 were more luxuriously fitted out and allocated for first class passengers, presumably at higher cost! These workings continued until the early 30s when the last examples were either transferred to other railways for other uses or were scrapped.

The open design was however well suited to conversion into living accommodation and a number were removed from their underframes and so converted. Our saloon, number 348 (renumbered 2741 from 1902) was converted into a dwelling in Mossley. In this disguise it remained in use until the then owner decided to build a more permanent home on the same site.

Rather than ending up for firewood, 348 was rescued and sold and transported to the Foxfield Railway in 1976 and there it has remained ever since until transferred to the LMSCA on permanent loan in 2005. During its stay at Foxfield some restoration was undertaken, it was used as a home and eventually became a store. However in recent years and because the amount of work and expense required to restore it to original condition was unavailable, its condition whilst stored in the open, has deteriorated. When 348 was offered to the LMSCA we looked carefully at its condition and came to the conclusion that it was still possible to restore it in the longer term. However the most urgent requirement was to conserve what remained for the future. This work we agreed to finance ourselves and also decided that no alteration would be undertaken which would compromise 348's overall integrity for any future restoration project.

2741 Pages: 2741 (MR Picnic Saloon MR D465) Bp0LSo ~ 2741 Background ~ 2741 Restoration