Our Project

The Barry Railway Carriage Trust was formed in 2009 to complete the restoration of Barry Railway Company carriage 163 for use on the Severn Valley Railway. The coach was brought preserved in 1992 having been used as a holiday home in the Clent Hills with sister vehicle 164. Since arrival the roof and bodywork have been repaired, doors repaired or replaced, partitions between the compartments re-instated and it has been mounted onto a replacement underframe. This was adapted for use under the vehicle and is a four wheeled rather than the six wheeled originally fitted.

We are aiming to get Barry Railway carriage 163 into traffic in time for its 125th birthday in 2020.

To achieve this we expect to need to raise at least £25,000. This means that we need to raise about £6000 per year - about 50% more than we have done in recent times. Our income comes from four main sources – sales from our shop in GWR tool van 66 at Hampton Loade, donations, membership subscriptions and our day selling chestnuts at Christmas.

Early Days

163 arrived at Hampton Loade along with some parts of sister 164 in 1992. All the useful parts from 164 were stored for spares or as patterns. Historical research occupied the early years, in order to ascertain what materials and fittings were used in the construction and maintenance of the coach. Broken windows were replaced and the vehicle made watertight. All doors were made to open which was a time consuming task – some had not been used for 60 years! All doors were repaired - including one with 95% new material – by volunteer carpenter Andy Clarke.

An in depth article on the restoration to date in Heritage Railway magazine in 1999 and coverage in Severn Valley Railway News helped spread awareness and support for our project.

Restoration Progression

A 1937 built four wheeled steel underframe from an ex Southern Railway ‘Van C’ was acquired from the Gwili Railway. It arrived at Hampton Loade on 24/2/2001 and prepared for taking the body in a relatively short time but then had to wait until 16/8/2003 before the body and underframe were eventually united, thanks to the volunteers of the SVR Bridgnorth crane crew. The coach is stabled on a truncated siding prepared for the purpose and since the uniting of body and underframe work has included the fitting of vacuum brake gear.

Work in the mid 2000s concentrated on fitting out the interior of both the first-class and second-class compartments. Progress focused on the second class compartments with their red upholstery, lincrusta wall panels and ceilings, and moldings of light mahogany. The compartment at the Bridgnorth end is the most advanced and almost was completed.

The first class compartments have blue upholstery, Lincrusta ceilings and bird’s eye maple wall panels with very dark mahogany moldings. We have obtained some of the bird’s eye maple.


By 2008 work had slowed in 163. Problems with the roof canvas were resulting in water damage to the internal restoration already carried out and volunteer numbers were low. Dave Flavell, project coordinator of the Barry Coach Fund enlisted the help of others to form the Barry Railway Carriage Trust in 2009. The newly formed trust took on custodianship of Great Western Railway tool van 66 owned by the GWR 813 Preservation Fund for use as a sales shop at Hampton Loade, and set about making the vehicle watertight.

Progress since formation of the trust

Since 2009 we have been working to put in place organisational measures to facilitate the completion of 163. This has included appointing trustees, holding an AGM and maintaining proper accounts. We have considerably refurbished the interior of van 66 and completely replaced its external planking on both sides and one end. 66 is now established as a popular feature at Hampton Loade and is our main source of income.

In 2013 we launched a Facebook page to spread awareness of our work and provide regular updates. The page now has over 900 likes around the world. This website was launched in 2014 with the same aims and has given our project a stable internet presence. Membership numbers are slowly growing and most importantly we have increased the number of volunteers working on the restoration.

We signed a loan agreement with the Severn Valley Railway in 2014 – this paves the way for an operating agreement on the railway once 163 is restored. Most importantly the coach is now considered as resident on the railway. The loan of two tarpaulins from the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust also in 2014 has helped slow the effects of the weather over the winters since then.

During 2014 and 2015 we have focused on improving our fundraising and making 163 watertight once more so proper restoration work can recommence. To this end we have used a contractor for various jobs and replaced the roof canvas completely - any interior water damage and rot is being attended to currently.

What we achieved in 2015

In 2015 we gave ourselves an ambitious target of what we wanted to achieve - a great deal of progress was made with 163 including:

  • Replacing rotten roof boards
  • Removing the old roof canvas and replacing with a new one
  • Repairs to the can rant rails and gutters
  • Kidderminster end repaired and repainted
  • Body side repainting

Before the new canvas could be fixed all the fixtures and fittings had to be removed off the roof. We have also taken the opportunity to re-profile the side gutters. These were to the original profile but were a weak point of the design in that they weren’t deep enough and allowed water to run down the side of the coach rather that take it away to the ends, damaging the paintwork.

The cant rails also needed attention, with rotten sections replaced and the remainder filled to provide a better surface for the gutters to attach to. The end gutters also needed replacing. This involved steaming wood sections before gluing them together at the correct profile before they get machined. It all sounds very easy when written down. Each of these jobs took plenty of time, for example the cant rails took about 7 working days to deal with prior to painting, 2 working days to clear the roof furniture and another day to remove the old canvas, plus the time to fix the new canvas then paint it, etc.

Apart from the roof repairs our other major job was the repainting of the Kidderminster end of the coach. This was last done in 2009 and due to facing most of the weather (sun, wind and rain) was looking very tatty. The corner posts on both sides of the coach had some sections of rot in them, but being made of oak this was only on the surface, so could be easily dealt with by our contractor.

What we achieved in 2016

In 2016 we intend to finish repairs to the roof (having replaced the roof canvas in 2015), replace a number of rotten body panels and finish painting the river side of the coach. We are also planning to start overhauling the doors and are currently stripping the water damaged areas of inside the coach so they can dry over the summer. Our objectives for 2016:

  • To increase the number of volunteers helping restore Barry Railway carriage 163.
  • To increase the amount of financial support to enable us to be able to return 163 to service for its 125th birthday in 2020.
  • To increase the number of people helping to run the Trust to enable us to spread the workload.
  • Reasonable weather to enable us to make good progress externally on 163's restoration during the summer.

This is the first time we have stated a date for getting 163 back into traffic, but it is dependent on getting more physical and financial help to achieve it. For the latest progress with our project please view our updates page for the latest restoration updates and Facebook updates.

Our Plans for 2017

Facebook updates

What Remains to be done?

Internally we have the compartments to be finished fitting out. Some of the materials for this are to hand and others have yet to be purchased. The majority of the lincrusta has to be applied in the compartments plus Scotia to be fitted and gold leaf applied. The woodwork will require re-varnishing. The internal lighting requires wiring and ventilators need fitting (they are on order).

50% of the seat backs need to be recovered due to sun bleaching and the seat cushions are not of a high enough standard for service so also require replacing. Externally there are some rotten and delaminated panels to be replaced and the whole vehicle will require a final painting and lining out after the doors are overhauled.

Work is required on the chassis and running boards to ensure they are suitable for traffic. The door locks require overhaul and a number of items need to be replaced to comply with modern standards that were not an issue when the restoration started, e.g. the bolts that secure the body to the underframe need the requisite paperwork. We require batteries and a dynamo/alternator for charging them.

The majority of the money we need to raise will be spent putting the coach through Kidderminster works where the underframe will need to be cleaned and painted. The vehicle will also need to go through an acceptance procedure to ensure that it is safe for service on the Severn Valley Railway and final painting and lining out will take place. Once all this is done and the Severn Valley Railway Carriage & Wagon department is happy that no other work or modifications are required - 163 will be ready for service!

The Future

Once carriage 163 is restored, we intend to operate it on the Severn Valley Railway. The vehicle does not fit in with other carriages on the railway so instead of regular use it will be suitable for gala days, private charters, photo charters and filming work. When not in use the coach can be kept undercover in the carriage shed at Kidderminster. 163 could also be hired out to other railways to run with appropriate four or six wheeled coaches, such as those on the Gwili Railway.

There will also be the opportunity to help progress the restoration of other surviving Barry vehicles such as number 45 currently in store. We intend to keep our sales shop at Hampton Loade in Van 66 as our main income source and keep our workshop base at Hampton Loade.

If you would like to help us reach our goal, there are many ways you can do so. Please visit our How to Help page.