The "North Staffordshire Railway Company (1978)" is pleased to announce that an agreement
has been reached with the "Knotty Coach Trust" based at nearby Foxfield Railway,
that will see former North Staffordshire Railway 4-wheeled 1st Class coach No.28
restored to its former glory.
The agreement is the culmination of several months of negotiations carried out between
the two neighbouring railways, and will allow all three preserved NSR coaches to
run together in the same set. All three coaches date from the same period, and have
had a similar history of operation and preservation. With the agreement now in place,
NSR 28 is to be placed on a 99 year loan to the Knotty Coach Trust who will then
oversee the vehicle's restoration to the same high standard as their own NSR 61 and
Knotty Coach 28 To Be Restored!
In support of the “Project 28” appeal the following benefits are offered upon receipt
of the following donations:-
Bronze pass, £28
Invitation to the launch of NSR No28 and a buffet lunch.
Silver pass , £50
As above plus a commemorative certificate
Gold Pass, £100
As above plus priority access to No28 as seating will be limited.
Built to North Staffordshire Railway Co. Diagram 16 in the 1870s, it is the sole
surviving vehicle of its kind. Originally out shopped in an all over claret livery,
it probably later carried the Victoria Brown and white (cream once varnished) livery
that is currently displayed on KCT coaches 61 and 127 that have recently been restored.
The arrival of No.28 in the care of NSRC dates back to 1985, Dave Felstead and other
colleagues of the NSRC came across a photo which showed the Mellor family at their
‘holiday home’ at Ashley Heath near Loggerheads.
After further investigation, the coach body was located and purchased before being
moved to Cheddleton, where it stood for many years, being initially used as Santa’s
Grotto for the Churnet Valley Railway's Santa train.
After many years of being left outside a decision was made to start the restoration,
and as a carriage shed was being built at Cheddleton it was felt there was no better
time to start. Under the leadership of Brian Mullen and Pete Green, first a raffle
was held and a grant application made whilst oak for the running frame was purchased
and new springs for the chassis. The body was lifted onto a former CEGB wagon chassis,
with the intention of cutting this back to length, leaving us 2 options as to the
frame and brake rigging. Research involving Dr Dave Jolley and Mark Smith resulted
in many pieces of the jigsaw coming together.
Glass was removed (in one piece in most cases!) from the windows, doors were stripped
down to the frames, hinges and locks were recovered and stored in a secret place
known only to Pete, but then came a setback. The mahogany side panels required replacing,
but the sizes needed was impossible to source so a decision was taken to use high
quality mahogany faced ply as an alternative. Brian cut and carved all this before
removing all the rotten panels and using his skills as a carpenter/joiner the framework
was reconstructed with the new panels fitted. In the course of this we discovered
that at one time the coach had had steps to the roof at one end, which we assumed
meant that it had regularly been marshalled on the end of a train and the Guard would
have climbed onto the roof to light the three oil lamps (one for each compartment,
a luxury reserved for First class passengers).
The roof had been cut into to allow for the flue from the Mellor family stove, so
we had to block that off and shore up the roof as one compartment bulkhead had been
removed by the Mellors to create a larger living area. Dave Turnock came along and
with his usual technical skills a new roof skin of canvas was put into place using
the traditional methods of chalk and linseed oil. The pictures show how far things
had progressed by 2006.
Sadly though progress came to a stop, as Brian’s time was needed to maintain and
restore the CVR main rake of coaches whilst Pete had many other projects to manage
in addition to being Chairman of NSRC. That is until now, when as a result of long
and cheerful negotiations we have formed a partnership with the NSR Rolling Stock
Restoration Trust, aka the "Knotty Coach Trust”, to set up the Project 28 Fund to
fully restore 028 to running order and to partner her with her two 'sister' coaches
61 and 127.
North Staffordshire Railway Rolling Stock Restoration Trust (The Knotty Trust) was
formed in 2008 to restore the former NSR coaches 61 and 127 to as close to original
condition as possible. The work on the 1870's built coaches has included the recreation
of new chassis, extensive rebuilding of the bodies to as built condition and repainting
in to the NSR Victoria Brown livery not seen for some 120 years !
Extensive historical research has enabled the recreation of all the fixtures and
fittings by highly skilled engineers within the Trust. The Trusts fund raising was
augmented by a substantial grant of £30K towards the restoration of NSR 127 plus
£20K towards NSR 61 from PRISM. The cost of getting the heritage train on the rails
has cost well over £100,000 and now provides the first chance to ride in these coaches
for 115 years!
NSRC have agreed that the proceeds from their yearly raffle for 2014 will be used
to assist with match funding NSR 28 restoration, and it is hoped that the skilled
fund raisers from the Knotty Trust will be able to achieve the same level of success
in obtaining grants as they have for 61 and 127. The aim is to have all three coaches
ready to operate together by the end of 2015, plus a new build brake coach is planned
afterwards in order to offer a ride behind a full NSR Heritage train. The completed
Knotty Heritage Train will be based at Foxfield Railway permanently under cover in
a purpose built period shed/museum, but it will be made available to operate at the
Churnet Valley Railway at various times throughout the year.
In addition to the NSRC Appeal, The KCT have opened the "Project 28 Appeal" to enable
work to start on the coach as soon as possible. A grant application will be shortly
be made and, subject to funding, the body will be professionally restored off site
with the aim of completion by the end of 2015.