Carriage 23

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group
This article is about the current 23. During the period of the original WHR the number was carried by the carriage that is now WHRL Coach No. 10
Carriage 23
Summer Car
Type Compartment Third
Seating 42 x 3rd
Home Railway WHR
Original Railway NWNGR
Status In service
Built by Ashbury Carriage and Iron Company
Built 1894
Length 32 ft[1]
Body Width 6 ft
Frames Steel
Wheels Bogie

Carriage 23 is an ex-NWNGR Summer Carriage now operating on the WHR.


This carriage has carried the following numbers:

  • NWNGR 12
  • WHR 24
  • FR 23

It is now based on the WHR as No. 23.


Built in 1894 by the Ashbury Carriage and Iron Company, Manchester. This coach was built for the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways as a "Summer Coach" and numbered 12. It had half height doors and dimensions were Length: 29"11" Width: 6" Height:7'5". In 1922 the NWNGR became part of the Welsh Highland Railway and the carriage was numbered 24 in the combined F&WHR series. This coach, with others, was cut down in height to facilitate through working the FR's old Moelwyn Tunnel to Blaenau Ffestiniog. In 1926 the coach passed into Festiniog Railway ownership in exchange for three ex-WD bogie coal wagons. At some point after this transfer it was re-numbered 23 in the FR series and the Ashbury Corridor which previously had carried the number 23 became No 24 in the combined series.

Post Preservation[edit]

In the sidings at Harbour Station, 1965
FR varnished livery Aug 1966

In 1955 No 23 along with Coach 12 formed the first train to run on the newly reopened Festiniog Railway. The original preservation livery was green and ivory with red ends.

In the mid 1960s a steel underframe was fitted and the body was rebuilt with panelled sides rather than matchboarded. At the same time, the half-height doors were replaced with full doors with droplights (some ex-No.21). The doors were made at Watson's Birkenhead to drawings made by Fred Boughey. The remaining paint was burnt off and the carriage was then varnished in the pseudo-teak livery.

Unlike 26 it has since been kept in a condition quite close to how it was when it ran on the WHR. The half doors were fitted to Carriages 37 and 38.

Other preservation era liveries have included the standard maroon and maroon & cream liveries of the 1970s and 80s. During the late 70s, the coach spent some time painted in the green and ivory livery to celebrate 25 years of FR preservation.

23 has now been restored back to its 1920s condition (with the exception of the full doors which it retains) in "Colonel Stephens" livery with "Welsh Highland Rly" lettering. In May 2001, it was transferred to the WHR, following overhaul and repaint at Boston Lodge. 23 was regularly attached to the Blaenau end of one of the main WHR carriage sets.

It made a return visit to the FR for the FR50 celebrations. Following No. 23's return to the FR for the 2004 Vintage Weekend, it was partnered with Carriage 10, Carriage 1 and Prince on the Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon) Superpower Weekend in September 2005. On Friday 16th September 2005 this rake reached Rhyd Ddu.

Since the completion of the WHR and its connection to the FR, 23 has made many appearances back on the FR at special events. A notable example is that, in 2020, it was used on the FR to form part of the special heritage service run to comply with Covid-19 social distancing restrictions. For use in these services plywood partitions were fitted between adjacent compartments to enable social distancing.

Over the winter of 2020/21 carriage 23 was taken into the carriage works where part of the framework that had warped was replaced and the carriage repainted. As more WHR corridor carriages were now available, 23 was no longer used on WHR service and was used in one of the Woodland Wanderer sets from 2021.

In the sidings at Harbour Station about forty years later
In service on the WHR in 2019

See also[edit]


  1. ^ General Rule Book