The events of 23rd July 2017 will linger long and painfully in the collective minds of the NYMR. That was the morning we discovered that our beloved LNER teak carriage set had been utterly trashed by a gang of youths who, for the want of anything better to do, had broken into the set while in store at Pickering and wreaked ‘merry hell’.

Lights and light fittings were smashed, fire extinguishers set off, chairs were used as battering rams, upholstery spoiled and windows smashed during the rampage. It was enough to not only make local and national television headlines, but to receive coverage around the world, and the public response was phenomenal - £50,000 donated in just a week.That strength of support is fantastic, but the attack clearly highlighted a long overdue need to get our carriage fleet under cover.

And it’s not just vandalism that we need to guard against. Our Mk1 fleet is our prime mover, but many of the vehicles are over 60 years old.There is a tendency to view Mk1s with a touch of complacency; taking it for granted that they will always be there. Our Carriage & Wagon department does a fantastic job in maintaining the fleet up to the highest main line standards, but their efforts are hampered by the fact that the stock lives out in the open, exposed to everything the Yorkshire climate can throw at it, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Rot and corrosion are one of the biggest issues faced by the Mk1 fleet.Water ingress beneath the body panels collects around the solebars, eating away at the frame beneath. We have to stay on top of this maintenance, as there are no new Mk1s to replace them. The Mk1 represents the last of the steam-era rolling stock. Later coaches with electric heating, air breaking and power doors are just not compatible with steam locomotives.

The Severn Valley Railway has repeated the benefits of being able to store its carriage fleet under cover. Its carriage stable at Kidderminster has helped to considerably reduce maintenance, but has extended the longevity of the fleet, particularly in terms of paintwork.Their teak set is a case in point; the varnished finish retaining its lustrous appearance for a much greater length of time.

Pickering Carriage Stable 

Our solution lies at Pickering on a site on the west side of the line, just short of New Bridge and opposite the old overflow car park.We are not overrun with suitable sites to erect a shed of the size we require, and this site is the best available to us.

The primary development will be the erection of a four-road single-storey carriage shed running parallel to the railway; a cantilever roof will stretch out over the current long siding to provide a fifth road.

Nearly forty carriages can be kept under cover here, typically our three regular rakes of seven coaches, the teak set, the Pullman diner and other carriages awaiting restoration.The facility will be primarily for covered stabling. Platform access to most roads will be provided for servicing and cleaning and one road will have a pit along its whole length to facilitate fitness to run inspections, brake block changing etc.

Provision has been made for a second stage to this development (not part of the Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey scheme) embracing a dedicated carriage repair works adjacent to the main shed, capable of allowing nine carriages to be restored, overhauled or painted at any one time.This will inevitably have to come later!

The shed will swallow around a third of the total £9.2million YMJ budget, but the benefits that it will bring will repay that investment time and time again.The deterioration levels will drop significantly, which in turn will have a positive effect on the throughput of carriage overhauls and on the quality of the journey experience for our visitors.

We need this facility, so that events like those of July are confined to memory only.

Can you help us transform the care of the NYMR’s precious carriages?


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