East Somerset Railway - Carriages

The ESR has a well staffed and productive carriage department that maintains its fleet of passenger carriages. The ESR has a number of ex-BR Mk1 carriages which are all 50-60 years old and therefore often require substantial repairs to their all steel bodywork which is very prone to rust. These carriages, once commonplace on the mainline, are quite different to modern types with veneered panelling, individual compartments and springy seats which create a nostalgic experience for passengers.

A recent ESR acquisition, CK 16263, after overhaul in the workshops.
Credit: Richard Masters

The carriage team have become highly proficient in all aspects of body repair. Replacement of rusting panels has been completed on most carriages, ensuring that their life will be extended for many years to come. Doors, wooden window frames and windows also frequently need substantial repairs after long years of service. Interiors have been refreshed with revarnished woodwork and reupholstered seats.

2A window frame is sealed and rivetted back into the carriage side and should remain water tight for years to come.
Credit: Richard Masters,

The ESR’s Mendip Belle Wine and Dine train includes two TSO carriages for accommodating diners. These carriages have been reupholstered and carpets, curtains and table lamps fitted to create a comfortable ambience for diners to enjoy.

The interior of Mendip Belle dining carriage TSO 4764.
Credit: Richard Masters,

The ESR is host to a unique fibre glass carriage, no. S1000S. It was built as an experiment by BR but was the only one ever made. It is a suburban carriage with 10 separate compartments and no corridor, designed to transport as many people, potentially 120, during peak times during the day. It ran on the Southern region including the Hayling Island branch line

Unique fibre glass carriage S1000S has been repainted into red livery.
Credit: Richard Masters,

As well as continuing the programme of maintenance on all the other ESR carriages, a major project is being undertaken in the workshops to convert former BR BSK carriage to a new kitchen and bar coach. The huge increase in demand for the ESR’s dining services has created a need for better facilities to support these operations. The converted carriage will have an improved layout, facilities for disabled diners, and better and more hygienic surfaces and storage. Donations have enabled the carriage to be purchased and a grant of £3000 towards the conversion work has been received from the Garfield Weston Foundation.

This carriage is being converted into the ESR’s new kitchen and bar coach.
Credit: Richard Masters,

Applying the finishing touches to a carriage roof.
Credit: Richard Masters,