The Swindon & Cricklade Railway is on the way to having a ‘vintage train’, with the entry of Taff Vale Railway four-wheel composite No. 73 into service.
Built in 1890 at Cathays Works, the coach is unique among preserved TVR vehicles for the layout of its four compartments (with two first class in the centre and two second class at either end). Withdrawn from service in 1927, like many similar carriages it was grounded as a dwelling.
Moved to the S&CR in 1985, it served as an office and first aid room for 20 years until it became the initial project for the line’s Vintage Train group, launched in 2005. It has been placed on the modified underframe of a GWR ‘Fruit D’ van.
The railway’s first vintage train will be formed of No. 73 and Luggage Brake No. 422 - an extensive makeover of a GWR ‘Toad’ brake van to replicate a four-wheeled brake coach of the period. Work on the latter, which will incorporate wheelchair accommodation, is nearing completion.
Also under restoration for the rake are GWR ‘Toplight’ No. 7545 and Cambrian Railways No. 110 - a six-wheel first/second composite semi-corridor vehicle.