The history of the Great Eastern Railway Line will be brought to back to life in plans to restore a 19th century railway coach which used to operate on the March to Lynn line.
Members of the Bramley Line Heritage Railway Trust in Wisbech are appealing for help to restore a 136-year-old railway coach that was found in a garden in March earlier this year.
Trust Chairman Simon King said: “We are keen to ensure this piece of local railway heritage remains in the area. We are grateful for donations of money and any other help.”
The coach is number 20 of a type of coach called a brake third, built in 1876 by Barford and Perkins - an agricultural machinery company whose workshops were where Peterborough’s Queensgate Shopping Centre now stands.
Its sister coach, number 16, was built the year before and was withdrawn in 1903 before being adapted for use on the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway.
It has been offered free to the Trust, but it will cost about £1000 to get it transported to a secure site where restoration work can begin.
A series of donations have raised most of the money, with just £250 more needed to bring the carriage to Wisbech for restoration. When completed, it will form a major exhibit at the new heritage railway centre being developed at Waldersea near Wisbech.
Once the carriage has been moved it can be assessed to see how much the full restoration of the coach will cost. It is the aim of the Trust to restore the coach to full working order so it can once again carry passengers on the Wisbech branch.
Trust Engineering Coordinator David Bunting said: “If we have enough volunteers with the expertise and skills, much of the restoration of the wooden body work and interior can be completed here.
“Otherwise we may have to ship the coach out to a specific heritage restoration group to do the work for us. Specialist heritage skills will, nevertheless, have to be bought in to restore it to passenger service.”
If anyone would like to help with the restoration project or make a donation, please call 07951 769180.