“Camp” in a “camping coach”

By | Category: Travel destinations

The last couple of months may have defined the type of holidays that we are looking for.

One of two coaches to be restored. Image – Ravenglass Railway Museum Trust

Camping, campervan and caravan holidays have been popular, much more popular in previous years as has be glamping and renting holiday homes.

It seems that more of us are seeking holidays where we prefer to stay in a bubble of our own families or in small groups. What may have less attraction, at least in the short-term, are holidays in large hotels or in any place where masses of people can mix.

Therefore the addition of two railway carriages converted into self-catering accommodation may satisfy two of the current requirements, the appeal of staying somewhere different and the ability to holiday self-contained from the rest of the world around us.

The railway carriages are two 1917 Pullman Camping Coaches and they are being restored by a partnership between the Ravenglass Railway Museum Trust and the commercially-run Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway.

With assistance from the National Lottery Heritage, work has already begun with a completion date of the spring in 2021, just in time for the new holiday season.

Usually this sort of accommodation would have an appeal limited to railway fans but not now. Anything slightly quirky and especially self-contained appeals to a more mainstream audience and, given that Brexit occurs at the end of the year with all the doubts of where we can travel to and what paperwork might be required, next year looks like being another bumper staycation year.

The historically important coaches – called  ‘Elmira’ and ‘Maid of Kent’ –  are the oldest railway ‘Camping Coaches’ still in their original location were rebuilt as Pullman Dining Cars in 1921 and converted into Camping Coaches by British Rail in 1960.

Camping carriages wer old rolling stock that had an extended life as static holiday homes.

Work will now get underway to restore the coaches’ historic features to their former glory, combined with new visitor accommodation for between four and six people.

The coaches will also be opened up at selected times for pre-booked, socially distanced visits.

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