Tyne & Wear

Tanfield Railways volunteers restore carriage once used as home

Restored steam loco
Image caption The carriage was pulled by a restored steam loco from the 1940s

A 117-year old wooden railway carriage that was used as a family home for 60 years has returned to service on a County Durham heritage rail line.

The 1901-built North Eastern Railway carriage spent more than 25 years ferrying commuters across Tyneside.

In the 1930s it was moved to Norfolk and converted into a bungalow.

Two sisters who once called the carriage their home were invited back on board by volunteers from Tanfield Railway who spent years restoring it.

The carriage was home to two generations of the Clarke family in Norfolk, before it was abandoned in the mid 1990s and was eventually returned to the North East to be restored.

Sally and Linda Clarke, who grew up in the structure in the village Wiggenhall Saint Germans, near Kings Lynn, said they were "delighted" to see it return to the tracks.

Image caption Sisters Sally, left, and Linda Clark spent their early years in the carriage
Image copyright Clarke family
Image caption The carriage lay abandoned for years
Image caption Volunteers spent four years restoring it

Sally said: "It has been an honour to see it restored; they've obviously spent a lot of time, effort and money on it.

"It's a bit weird seeing it as it is now, because we just remember it as being our house.

"It was always warm and cosy and never seemed cramped."

Stewart Waugh, who brought the carriage back to County Durham, said: "As soon as I saw it in 2013 I knew it was worth saving.

"So we rescued it from Sally and Linda's back garden and brought it back to the North East.

"At that time it didn't have any wheels so we had to acquire a chassis, which we managed to salvage from an old milk carrier."

The carriage was hauled by a 1943 steam loco, which has also been restored by volunteers at Tanfield.

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