Volunteers work to restore rail carriage

The carriage was gifted to the Deeside group to bring back into running order. Picture: Royal Deeside Railway
The carriage was gifted to the Deeside group to bring back into running order. Picture: Royal Deeside Railway

Volunteers at the Royal Deeside Railway (RDR) are restoring a 125-year-old carriage to its former glory.

The former London and North Western Railway ‘picking saloon’ is one of only two remaining in the world.

It has survived because it was turned into a private residence.

On the death of the last resident, her family gifted the carriage to the RDR on condition that it was brought back into running order.

Project leader Fergus McGhie said: “After three years of hard work from a skilled and dedicated team we have the coach almost wind and water tight, all bar the roof.

“The original roof was of canvas, waterproofed with three coats of white lead paint. None of this is acceptable today for environmental reasons.”

Alford-based roofing contractors A & B Buchan were brought in to cover the roof with a tough and highly durable material, which matches the colour of the original.

Volunteer and retired architect Mike Rasmussen said: “I contacted Louis and Stephen Buchan and once they found out that the job was for a new roof to an 1894 railway carriage they very interested and kindly offered to do the job as a donation to the project as they are both supporters of heritage projects.”

The next stage of the project is to paint the saloon and raise £20,000 for new windows and to complete the interior.

Meanwhile, the railway group is appealing for volunteers, particularly young people, at its Milton of Crathes base.

Training can be given for steam engine driving, and recruits are also needed for guard and catering work.