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Railway relic 'executive jet of its day' back on track

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 14, 2013

  • All aboard the restored Great Western Special Saloon – the Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall, Colonel Edward Bolitho and his wife, Alexandra Picture: Peter Glaser

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A magnificent relic of an elegant bygone age of transport has made its maiden voyage in Cornwall.

The Bodmin And Wenford Railway commissioned into its service a rare railway carriage which was once the last word in luxury.

Jimmy James, spokesman for the attraction, said it was a thing of beauty. "It is a unique Victorian carriage. There's nothing like it anywhere" he said. "It has taken a long time and a lot of dedication, but it has been worth it."

The carriage was built in 1881 and used privately by the Prince of Wales, later King Edward Vll.

"It was built to a very high specification, fit for a kind you might say," said Mr James. "It was the executive jet of its day. It must have been an interesting place to be. As someone said, if only those walls could talk!"

However, as fashions changed and new rolling stock came on line the carriage's VIP status was eroded.

It was taken on by then British Railways where it became a saloon car used by train inspectors.

Finally, the carriage was pushed into the sidings and might have been left to rot but for the intervention of a group of enthusiasts.

The project was half complete when six years ago it was handed over to Bodmin and Wenford Railway to complete the job. It was now pretty as a picture, said Mr James.

"It looks fantastic. The small team of restorers have done a wonderful job."

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