Carriage 26

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group
Carriage 26
Type Compartment Third
Seating 42 x 3rd
Home Railway FR
Original Railway NWNGR
Status In service
Built by Ashbury Carriage and Iron Company
Built 1894
1959 Restored to service
1986 New body built
Length 32 ft 6 in
Body Width 6 ft
Frames Steel

Carriage 26 is an ex-NWNGR Summer Carriage now operating on the FR. Rebodied in 1986, it bears little resemblance to its original appearance.


This carriage has carried the following numbers

  • NWNGR 11
  • WHR 26
  • FR 26


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 11. 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 26 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.

Post Preservation[edit]

In the early days of preservation.

Sold by demolition contractor George Cohen to a farmer for use as a hen house at Waenfawr in 1942, the carriage body was acquired by the Festiniog Railway and moved to Portmadoc on 26th October 1958 using an ex-Army Bedford crane.[1] An account of how he helped move it was written by Ian Smart.[2]

"Near Groeslon, Caernarvon, was former Welsh Highland Carriage No. 26. Allan Garraway asked me what I thought about recovering it to Boston Lodge. I weighed the job up as the carriage was fairly accessible. I called upon some friends in the Manchester area and managed to borrow a Bedford crane; brother-in-law in Scotland lent me a four-wheeled skeleton trailer. One weekend we assembled the gear and the old gang, Fred Boughey, John Halsall and a few others whose names I forget. After loading we brought the lot to Harbour Station where Allan G had organised a pair of bogies. We dropped 26 on the bogies and the Simplex brought the lot to Boston Lodge."

It was identified as 26 from the positions of the screw holes on the body which had formerly carried metal numbers. The carriage was placed on the bogies from number 21. The livery at this time was green and ivory with red ends.

In 1965 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.

It was painted in a blue and silver livery in 1977, to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1986 it was given a completely new body made from jarrah, similar to that on Carriage 22. The profile of this new body matched that of the centenary stock. At some point it received roller bearing bogies.

At the beginning of the present century a generous sponsor offered to fund a rebuild of 26 back to its original NWNGR condition. However on investigation it emerged that no parts of the original remained in the present No 26, and the sponsor agreed to the construction of a complete replica instead, which entered service in 2002 as the present Carriage 24. 26 remains in service as a semi-modern carriage.

Carriages 23 and 26 may be distinguished as former NWNGR vehicles by the double plumb-bobs on the couplers: the FR type has a single plumb-bob. Otherwise ex-NWNGR 26 is now similar to FR 22.

In September 2005, carriage 26 visited the Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon) for that year's Superpower event to replace Carriage 23 on F-set, whilst that carriage was in use as part of the Colonel Stephens set.

It was fully repainted in the winter of 2005, with black rather than maroon ends. Over the winter of 2020/21 it was in the carriage works where it received attention to repair rotten woodwork, the jarrah not having lasted as well as expected. The doors received a new set of droplights.


  1. ^ Festiniog in the Fifties(1996) Mitchell V & Garraway A G W, captions 114 & 115, Middleton Press, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9AZ.
  2. ^ Smart I in Great Railway Eras, Festiniog 1946 - 1955: The Pioneers' Stories (2007) Davies M and Mitchell V, pages 82, Middleton Press, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9AZ.

See also[edit]