A HERITAGE railway carriage has been restored to enter service at the Llangollen Railway.

The coach, number E48004, was originally built by British Railways in 1954 and intended to carry commuters into London.

It was laid out for high-density seating, cramming as many as 80 into the available seats, plus some room for standing.

The latest restoration project to be turned out by the volunteer team is officially described as an ‘Open Suburban type with Lavatory’.

A Llangollen Railway spokesman said: “For the modern passenger, the layout is unusual and those sampling the coach, without the benefit of a cosy crush, found much to remark upon from the upholstery to the individual drop down door windows.

“The finished product is a remarkable example of restoration involving new material and recycled parts.”

Llangollen Railway volunteer Paul Bailey said: “The restoration comes at a cost of about £12,000, including the acquisition of two carriage hulks, one of which has donated parts to complete the project.

“The cost of new materials and replacement parts has been funded by members of the Llangollen Railway’s Suburban Group, with some assistance from the Llangollen Railway Trust.

“It has taken two years of voluntary effort to rebuild the coach and restore the internal fittings. We are naturally very pleased with the finished product and delighted to see passengers enjoying the travel experience.

“The restored coach now joins three other types of suburban coaches in the Llangollen fleet and operates as a complete set of the once familiar trains serving London stations before they were ousted by diesel and electric multiple units in the early 1960s.

“Few Suburban coaches survived into preservation and only the Llangollen Railway and North Norfolk Railway offer complete sets of the type for use on service trains.”

The new coach operated in the Easter weekend of train services to Corwen and it will be the star of the show for railfans at the Spring gala weekend planned for April 13 to 15.