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Camping Coaches, Any interesting stories/pictures ?

Discussion in 'Heritage rolling Stock' started by toplight, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. toplight

    toplight Member

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    I am quite interested in the old camping coaches which were originally introduced by the LNER before the other big four also started their own schemes. It was only stopped by BR in about 1973 on LMR and after a number of interesting coaches were torched after it ended. The western region kept them longer but only for staff not the general public.

    In particular when they were torched, a lot of LNWR coaches were lost and now the ones preserved are mostly things like Royal Saloons rather than the more common coaches in general use.

    I have got three books on the subject but does anyone have any interesting photos or memories of staying in them ?
     
  2. Robin

    Robin Member

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    No personal memories - a bit before my time! There was a GWR camping coach on the Severn Valley at Arley in 1938; there is a short article with a couple of pictures on the SVR Wiki. There was also one at Hampton Loade around the same time.
    https://www.svrwiki.com/Arley_Camp_Coach
     
  3. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad Active Member

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    The two Pullmans are still at Ravenglass. They seem to be quite popular ...
    As yet I haven't stayed in them, but "Maid of Kent" now has a three-seater sofa that I had *something* to do with a few years ago !
    [​IMG]
    RER - new full frontal
    par StoneRoad2013, on ipernity
     
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  4. buseng

    buseng Part of the furniture

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    Aren't there some, albeit disused, at Marazion near Penzance?
     
  5. toplight

    toplight Member

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    There were some pullman ones there ( I think 6) that later were just used for WR staff. I think 2 or 3 ended up and Petworth and the rest were scrapped. I did see them myself (the ones left) around 2001 and they were in very bad condition with the bodies derelict and the chassis very very badly rusted where the salty air had damaged them. One at least was a 12 wheeler. I believe also at one point they had the Marquetry panelling from them stolen. Not sure when they were last used for sleeping in.
     
  6. toplight

    toplight Member

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    There is a book about GWR camp coaches and it has more photographs and info on this one. Some of the locations still exist like Arley and others were on lines long since gone. In fact that was one of the reasons for their demise was that the whole line and stations they were often on lines axed by Beeching. The GWR put their coaches just one at each location and tried to make them a bit more exclusive that the other railways. The LMS for example used to group a number of theirs together at the same location. Western Region did the same but not until the 1950s
     
  7. marshall5

    marshall5 Active Member

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    During the 60's family holidays often included a visit to Bettws-y-Coed station which had an ex- Pullman camping coach (Emerald of 1910) stabled in the loading dock siding. Interestingly it still there now as part of the Conwy Valley Railway Museum see: http://www.conwyrailwaymuseum.co.uk/rolling-stock.html It's on the bottom RHS of the page.
    Would this be the only one still 'in situ' from camping coach days or are the Bishops Lydeard ones still in their original positions also?
    Ray.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  8. toplight

    toplight Member

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    The Pullman coach at Betws-y-Coed is not the one that was there in BR days. There are two books which I have British Railways Camping coaching holidays (part 1) (part 2 covers other locations) which has a number of pictures of the station. The first of the Pullmans there (according to the book) was originally called 'Anaconda' and there around 1960 to 64. It was then removed presumably when a lot of the station was destroyed. After it became a museum I think they purchased the Pullman coach 'Emerald' which was older and a slightly different design and put it in the same location. So from two photos in the book 1961 and 70 it looks like the coach is still there but slight differences such as windows a bit different and the original coach having round buffers and the later one oval buffers you can see it is a different one
    When camping coaches were used sometimes in winter they were taken back to places like Swindon works to be refurbished and in the spring they wouldn't necessarily go back to the same location. They were mobile and could be moved around although towards the end they were just left in one place.

    The LNER in the 30s had one coach that you rented and it moved about. So you started at York and it was towed to one place for 3 days, then another two places for 2 days then back to York being each time attached to the back of branch line trains.
     
  9. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    That sounds great fun! Price-wise, would it have been the equivalent of staying in a caravan park for the week or more than that?
     
  10. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    I'm sure the SVR had a plan to do something like that not so long ago, not sure what became of it, it seems to have snuck off the radar.
     
  11. weltrol

    weltrol Active Member

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    Probably a lack of siding space....;)
     
  12. toplight

    toplight Member

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    According to the book the touring camping coach cost £2 per person and £2 10s in peak summer in 1935 for a party of 6. No idea how much that is in today's money but I can image quite a lot. It started from York and went to Pateley Bridge, Aysgarth and Glaisdale for a week tour being attached to the back of scheduled passenger trains. It could also be hired off season for custom trips. You can see some pictures of it here. You had to buy your own food or request in advance from the Royal Station hotel in York .

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    Using an online calculators for historic prices it will be £99.45 out of season and £124.31 in the main season at today's value. So it wasn't dear at all.
     
  14. 6024KEI

    6024KEI Active Member

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    The ones that were (need to check if they still are) at Dawlish Warren were owned by the Western Region staff association but were certainly open to the public to stay in. We had a few days as a family in the LMS inspection saloon. Was certainly a quirky experience! We stayed there during a pretty decent Easter week. The problem with these (like static caravans) is that the insulation is pretty limited so at that time of year it was roasting hot during the day in strong sunlight and literally freezing by morning. We had two young sons with us at the time and the general morning routine was for them to crawl into our bed from their bunks whilst we put the electric heater on enough to make it bearable to get out of bed. Some of the interior was still furnished in that legendary blue grey formica that BR used. The other thing I remember vividly was there was a joint in the track literally alongside our heads as we lay in our bed so the first up train in the morning clunking over that ended any chance of a lie in! Wasn't cheap but was one of those things that I'm glad we did for the experience!

    Edit to add - looks like they are coming back into use after a refurbishment - they were sold and it was assumed the site would be redeveloped but at the moment it looks like they are staying.
     
  15. toplight

    toplight Member

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    I am particularly interested in the ones at Dawlish. Originally they were GWR toplight coaches newly converted in the 1950s (I think there was 9 of them) and then in 1981 the decision was taken to replace them as they were getting old so they were sold off and I think all but 1 preserved. They were then replaced with Mark 1s and the LMS inspection saloons which were newly converted around 1981 (at Swindon works) and that is the ones that you stayed in and which are still there.
    It was typical that the conversions were done by works apprentices to gain experience.

    It is great that the new owner seems to want to keep them going after refurbishment. Hopefully this still will be the case and the land not sold for re development. I hadn't realized they were still offered to the public then, it may have been more low key in that they didn't advertize it too much.
     
  16. 6024KEI

    6024KEI Active Member

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    Wasn't well publicised - you had to know they existed and then track down an obscure arcane web page that had a downloadable pdf availability chart on it so you could email them to make a booking.

    To be fair I suspect the conversion of our one didn't involve that much work - the two end saloons were left pretty much as is - the two central compartments off the corridor became a kitchen and bathroom, with the access way across to the mid door becoming a tiny bunk room with built in home made bunk beds.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Couple of internal shots here if you're interested.
     
  17. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Active Member

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    My wife booked a weekend at Petworth two years ago for our 40th wedding anniversary, it was great, complete with a four poster bed and the meals in the Station building itself were fantastic, we had a great weekend, sadly its all up for sale now, don't if when its sold it will stay as a hotel, The owner of the V.S.O.E. has I heard asked about buying the Pullman coaches should they become available.
     
  18. 44662

    44662 New Member

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    My family stayed at North Berwick in an ex Caledonian coach at whitsuntide in 1966. The coach was one of 2 stabled in the goods yard at I presume what was a loading bank. North Berwick Station was staffewd with canopies and a bookstall. We used a toilet and washroom on the eastern platform. The coach was comfortable but had no electricity and I think water came from a tap in the yard. The goods yard was open and the pick up came daily with Clayton D8570. I remember making the short journey to Drem and seeing the Deltic hauled up Flying Scotsman complete with gold winged thistle headboard plus a rake of the then new blue and grey liveried coaches. Highlight of my week was seeing J36 65288 near Dumfermline from a bus whilst on an adverised road/rail tour to cross the 2 Forth Bridges.
    Also at about the same time of the year in 1958 my family stayed at Culross Station in what was advertised as a "Camping Apartment" on the Scottish region. The station had closed I think in the 1930's. The line at this time was hardly used . One light engine passed all week and Dad rushed me out to see it. I was only 4 and wished I could have been that bit older to appreciate a Leeds to Dumfermline journey up a steam ridden ECML!
    Frustratingly I can't find the one picture of the camping coach but I attach a picture of Culross in May 1958 culross june 1958 - Copy.jpg
    Charles B
     
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  19. toplight

    toplight Member

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    There is a lot of pictures of Scottish Region Camping coaches including a lot of Caledonian ones in the following book. There is a picture of the ones at North Berwick but they are two Pullmans. It does seem that coaches were moved about in Winter so may have been moved somewhere else another year. The book is unfortunately not printed any more as the publisher no longer exists but you can see second hand copies on either ebay or amazon. The part 1 covers other parts of the country. Both books are full of photos and information on them

    [​IMG]
     
  20. 44662

    44662 New Member

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    Thankyou I fortunately have a copy. Apparently the Caledonian coaches were only at North Berwick for the 1966 season having been moved from a station possibly Kentallen on the Ballachulish Branch which had closed. I think the closing of the goods yard by 1967 stopped the coaches being kept at North Berwick. Found the picture! My late mother is at the window.
     

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