Restoration of Taunton Inspectors Saloon Carriage

by West Somerset Railway Assoc. in Bishops Lydeard, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 16th July 2020 we successfully raised £100 with 5 supporters in 42 days

The refurbishment of this historically important Inspectors Saloon will bring this unique carriage back into action on our heritage line.

by West Somerset Railway Assoc. in Bishops Lydeard, England, United Kingdom

97th place in the Calor Rural Community Fund - £5,000 Category

What is the need for your project in the community? How will your project improve local life?
This carriage is of particular local historical importance as it was the Taunton Inspector's Saloon (stock number 80976w) and would have been used to cover the Great Western Line (GWR) from Bristol down to Exeter and local branch lines. It was designed by Hawksworth the chief mechanical engineer for GWR, and built in 1948. It significantly enhances trips on our line in that the carriage has large picture windows at either end, which were used to view and check the line.

What support do you have from the local community for your project?
The Railway has 1,100 volunteers, the WSRA 4,000 members and over 150,000 visitors a year. We are a charity embedded in the local community as feedback from volunteers shows: . - 88% expressed a love of steam trains. - 85% wanted to give something back to the community. - 77% wanted to make friends. - 76% wanted to feel useful. - 74% wanted to have fun. - 59% wanted to learn a new skill. - Others: being part of a team; building self-esteem, keeping active.

Who will benefit from your project?
The refurbished Inspectors Saloon will be available to the general public on our heritage railway and when not in use, on display at one of our 10 stations. The refurbishment work will be undertaken by volunteers, helping to develop skills, combat rural loneliness and isolation, and help us promote heritage education. In addition to being available to the general public it will also be used for special occasions and for school educational visits.

Tell us more about your project and how it will benefit your community if you are successful.
The West Somerset Railway offers the unique opportunity to go back in time, to experience the beauty and wonder of the steam train as it winds its leisurely way along West Somerset's beautiful heritage railway, through the stunning Quantock Hills, past the ancient port of Watchet, along the coastline to Blue Anchor Bay, until reaching the Promenade at Minehead. It will encourage learning about our heritage, about the importance of steam and industrialisation, with a particular focus on the South West.

Please give a breakdown of the costs of your project.
Curtains - £500. Guard cords, carpet cleaning, wood varnish and woodwork - £2,000. Upholstery costs - £5,000. Total £7,500

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