Restored Railcar Takes to the Tracks

 

A unique driving coach from a 1958 railcar is set to return to service in early September, 36 years after it last carried passengers. The restoration of M56182 has been a labour of love for father and son team Paul & Chris Moxon who have carried out the work in their spare time over the past nine years.

 

The Class 104 driving coach was built in 1958 at the Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company as part of the British Railways’ modernisation plan that saw the construction of many diesel trains to take over from steam. The meticulous restoration has seen the vehicle restored to close to its original condition complete with varnished woodwork in the passengers saloons and salvaged seats of the original style including the comfortable first class saloons. The vehicle’s frames have been overhauled, the wheels refurbished and rusty bodywork cut out and replaced prior to repainting in its original green livery with distinctive painted “whiskers” that were a modern touch at the time.

 

The wiring and instruments required for the driver’s desk have been repaired and renewed meaning the coach can once again be used as a driving car when coupled to a compatible motorcoach to make a two-car train that can be operated from either end – one of the time saving innovations that made this type of vehicle attractive to British Railways’ management in the 1950s.

 

Co-owner and restorer, Chris Moxon, commented “We are looking forward to seeing M56182 in action and carrying passengers having spent much of its life out of service and slowly decaying. We have taken great care to return her to original condition and although the wooden finish and comfortable seats look old-fashioned now, they were the height of modernity in the 1950s!”

 

Graham Hukins, the North Norfolk Railway’s Commercial Manager, added “That the coach is returning to service in pristine condition aged 65 – a figure normally associated with retirement is a tribute to the dedication of Chris and the team. We are looking forward to having a Class 104 at Sheringham – the type ran Norwich – Cromer – Sheringham services in the late 1970s so it’s very appropriate the M56182 has been saved for use on the NNR.”

 

M56182 will enter service on Saturday 9 September full details can be found at www.nnrailway.co.uk/opening-dates/ when it will run alongside one of the line’s steam locomotives, scheduled to be No 76084 which was built just a year earlier in 1957. The third train in action on the day is due to be the line’s unique train of LNER teak-bodied, articulated carriages built in the 1920s. By the time M56182 entered service, these carriages had been relegated to provincial lines and were often hauled by a diesel locomotive – just as they will be on 9 September.  As usual, visitors can enjoy unlimited rides so can ride on all three contrasting trains.

 

Two other aspects of the operation of first generation DMUs will also be recreated on launch day – the 14:57 departure from Holt will include a goods van on the rear of the train recreating a common practice on rural railways in the 1950s when local goods traffic was often conveyed in this way. Later the 17:30 service from Sheringham will see the DMU hauled by a diesel locomotive.

 

The evening will see a very rare evening outing for the newly-restored motorcoach which will make extra trips from Sheringham at 18:50, 19:25 and 21:00 with Fish & Chips available on the 18:50 trip – full details are shown on the website.

 

Following 9 September, the railway’s regular day visit timetables run at weekends, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday throughout September and October – please see www.nnrailway.co.uk for further details of standard services, special events and dining trains.

 

ENDS