VISITORS to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway can now holiday in a unique way in the newly restored camping coaches.

The two coaches named, ‘Elmira’ and ‘Maid of Kent’ were derelict for some time but have recently been refurbished. The coaches now include modern fittings whilst still including appropriate features to reflect the time period they were created.

News and Star: BEDROOM: The coaches offer modern accommodation whilst still maintaining the appropriate features of the historic coachesBEDROOM: The coaches offer modern accommodation whilst still maintaining the appropriate features of the historic coaches

The special unveiling event included speeches from Peter Hensman, the chairman for the railway, Tim Dunn, a railway historian and TV presenter and Sophie Mckee, the National Lottery Heritage Committee representative.

Peter discussed the history of the coaches saying:

"The camping coahes have a fascinating history, they go back to World War one when they were actually built as hospital coaches and they trundled around Europe. In fact, they have been as far as Italy."

Although, you may not be able to tell the coaches vast history now due to the brilliant restoration, the railway have a section in their museum dedicated to the coaches.

The coaches steadily declined after they were first opened, and they reached a stage where they could no longer remain open.

Peter said: "They needed a complete overhaul and renovation. They needed some modernisation because the standard for catering in 1967 were not the same as they are today."

Peter gave special thanks to those who helped restore the coaches to standard they are now.

News and Star: KITCHEN: The new modernised kitchenKITCHEN: The new modernised kitchen

The National Lottery Hertiage fund granted £250,000, Sophie Mckee who works here spoke about their part in this saying:

"Its a wonderful project, we have been supporting the railway for quite some time now."

Sophie mentioned her own personal feeling towards the restoration from a local perspective. She recalled how important the railway was for those in Cumbria whether tht be through schoo trips or family visits.

Tim Dunn, who cut the ribbon for the coaches spoke about the journey the coaches have been on:

"I must admit 5 years ago when I saw these, they were wetter inside and out"

However, Tim himself stayed in the coaches and said:

"They look terrific and they are terrific."

The ribbon was eventually cut and the tour of the coaches proved the hardwork the railway has put in to deliver the new restoration.

You can book your stay here, but Claire Winter-Moore, the collections assistant at the Ravenglass Railway Museum has warned of the huge popularity this unique stay has garnered so be quick.

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